This post is going to be about something that, I suspect, makes being curious harder for all of us: fear. In my case I have been afraid more or less continuously since waking up to the U.S. election results on November 9. I am afraid (selfishly) for myself and members of my family. More obviously I am afraid for my friends of color. Attacks on students of color and women, some verbal and some physical, seem to have gone up already. One at Texas State University was done specifically in Trump’s name (“Now that our man Trump is elected, time to organize tar and feather vigilante squads and go arrest and torture those deviant university leaders spouting off that diversity garbage.”1).
On a note of real weakness, I am also afraid of all the hard work we’re going to have to do to unite this country. We need, I believe, to reach a point where each side understands the other’s concerns and is prepared to give up some of what they want so that we can live and work together productively. Without that cooperation we don’t have a chance of solving our very serious challenges in terms of race relations, employment, and environment, to name just a few.
It will come as no surprise, I’m sure, that in this state of fear I find it more or less impossible to be curious. I’m convinced curiosity would help. I think every kind of curiosity I’ve been writing about—existential, mindful, desire-to-know, and interpersonal curiosity—would help me personally and us as a group meet these challenges better, but all I want right now is to put my head under the covers and stay there until someone comes to tell me it’s safe to come out.
Since I don’t want this blog to become politicized, this will probably be my last post about this election, but I found I simply couldn’t write about anything else today.
1 Dickerson, C. and Saul, S. “Campuses Confront Hostile Acts Against Minorities After Donald Trump’s Election.” New York Times, 10 November 2016.