On curiosity, change, and self-expression

ImageJ. Charpentier 

… one of the more inspiring things about Sontag: the way in which she positions curiosity as not just a primary critical value, but a primary human value. To be curious is, in the most vital sense, to be serious. There’s another wonderful moment, later on, when Cott mentions phoning her to ask about completing the interview, to which she replied that “We should do it soon because I may change too much.” Sontag sees nothing very unusual about this; it’s simply good practice to move on from being the person you’ve already established yourself as being:

‘I feel I’m changing all the time, and that’s something that’s hard to explain to people, because a writer is generally thought to be someone who’s either engaging in self-expression or else doing work to convince or change people along the lines of his or her views. And I don’t feel that either of those models makes much sense for me. I mean, I write partly in order to change myself so that once I write about something I don’t have to think about it anymore. And when I write, it actually is to get rid of those ideas. That may sound contemptuous of the public, because obviously when I’ve gotten rid of those ideas, I’ve passed them on as things that I believe— and I do believe them when I write them— but I don’t believe them after I’ve written them because I’ve moved on to some other view of things, and it’s become still more complicated … or perhaps more simple.’ 

From Mark O’Connell article in Slate, Nov 5, 2013

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “On curiosity, change, and self-expression

  1. Curiosity kept many prisoners of war alive, even men like Frankel, who could see beyond the brutality.

    A curious mind is similar to the beginners mind, nothing preconceived all new.

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