Sunday, December 14, 2008


Human beings are creatures with an insatiable curiosity. At least, most of them are. I have a hunch that even those who seem indifferent are curious deep down, but are too concerned, image-wise, to show it. I suppose it stems from that whole theory of man being a social animal and what not.

Curiosity can range from being about the most mundane things possible (Why do you always eat Butterscotch Ice cream? Why do you spell your name ‘Koushik’ and not ‘Kaushik’, or vice versa sometimes), to things which may be of some importance to you (What did she mean when she told me she’s happier being my friend…what does it really mean?), to things which are not even remotely connected to you (Do you think she was two-timing him? Why has he started drinking so heavily?)

Funnily enough, I think it’s the last category which is most discussed, most thought about and most philosophized over. So let me rephrase to say, human beings are creatures with an insatiable curiosity about others. Which possibly explains why Agony Aunt columns in magazines are the ones which are (more often than not..and don’t you lie to yourself here) opened and read, one can scarcely (and with Herculean self-control stretched to its tautest)stop oneself from reading another person’s diary, why the right to privacy is so often stressed upon and even more often violated.

I suppose this incurable interest in other people’s life stems from the constant need we have to move in herds. Misery loves company, they say. And something I have observed is that the one thing we look for, in any situation, whether good or bad, is company. At least, I do; and admittedly, I am a prime example of a non-loner, if there ever was one. But I think it’s something which can be generally observed in human masses at large. Which is why it feels awful to be the last to be picked in any sport in gym class (because you are left alone as the non-picked person). And why it is so comforting when you’re not the only one pulled up for some (even) not-so-gross violation of discipline in class. Or why it is a great sense of relief that not just you, but your brother is also going to be reprimanded for coming home past curfew. I think we feel that not being punished alone, or giving explanations as part of a group seriously nullifies the general humiliation we would feel had we been alone. That we can face the world bravely in herds, but would trip the second we were to be alone. There’s a strong need to not be singled out, to hunt for precedent and not be faced with anything unique. I don’t think this need for company just limits itself to being caught in situations which may (rather, will) have negative implications, though. For even in the happiest moments of our lives, I think we’d like to look around and see others who have had similar good fortunes.

And I suppose we read Agony Aunt columns in magazines to ensure that we are not alone in our misery, that someone is doing just as badly or worse, with problems like ours. Because so long as we’re not alone, we can handle it.


Divya said...

This agrees with my comments theory!

Bhavya said...

What is your comments theory?

Divya said...

Check :

Bhavya said...

Stop pimping your blog on mine! Shamelessness!! :P

Yeah.. we're sad creatures. I think we often are sad for effect, though things might be going right otherwise :D