A life driven by the imagination and curiosity is one that is alive with awe, wonder, excitement and engagement with everything, yes everything—a deep immersion and awareness of the total situation, circumstances and all of their possibilities. It inquires of everybody and everything, “what is this?”, “what am I to do with this?”, “how do I take it with me?” and “what comes next?” It creates a spirit of insatiable exploration and life-long learning.
Imagination and curiosity are inseparable companions on the journey. Imagination is forever at work; no perceived part of present or future life is a void. If there is a real nothing or an unknown the imagination will create a conscious fictional experience of the alternative possibilities for curiosity to pursue. And along the path of exploration as the real evidence is accumulated the imagination will update its vision of the possibilities and lead the curiosity into new avenues.
Curiosity is a pure emotion, a pure energy; it is done for the sake of itself without an agenda, without anticipated rewards, just to be alive and to be engaged with the world. It is a path with unexpected forks in the road leading to imagined but unknown destinations. The rewards are not sought but they are found, “what am I going to do with this”, how do I incorporate these entities into my current life, and magic happens.
Whenever the word “curiosity” is put into play, a smirk and the rejoinder of “killed the cat” follows. Yes, entering into unknown worlds has its risks and that adventure must be undertaken mindfully and with caution. But the absence of curiosity also puts one at risk, you don’t know what you don’t know and life has factors that can bite. Curiosity is inquiry unrestricted by what you know, it potentially can explore one’s entire circumstances. No one knows the future but the imagination can create alternate realities and curiosity will lead one down many paths of exploration; you can pursue the future or just let it run over you.
What drives one from being a mechanic of farm machinery, construction equipment, military airplanes, tanks, cars and people to being the lead mechanic on the Hubble; what leads one from big mainframes to the biological brain; what leads one from neurosurgery to spaceflight; what pushes one from mechanical work, medical ergonomics, physiology and choreography to spacewalking; what carries one from ballet and figure skating to the near perfect walk in space and what exposes all the factors necessary to take any endeavor to the desired finish line—imagination and curiosity.