When Jex interviewed me at Everything and Nothing about Charlinder’s Walk, one of the questions she asked was:
In your wildest dreams what author would you like to co-author a book with?
And I went and fangirled the heck out of Ta-Nehisi Coates, because she asked.
Today, in writing on the death of Andrew Breitbart, TNC reminded me of why I gave that answer:
That is what took me to sadness. I have experienced curiosity as a primarily selfish endeavor. It originates in the understanding of the brevity of life, and the desire to see as much of it as possible, from as many angles as possible without doing too much damage to my morality. The opposite of that–incuriosity, dishonesty, the opportunistic deployment of information–is darkness. Breitbart died, like all of us will, in darkness. But as a media persona he chose to also live there, and in the process has impelled countless others to throttle themselves into the abyss.
Yes, this is it: curiosity is a selfish endeavor. It’s not selfish in the sense that it takes anything away from others, but curiosity is a self-interested pursuit. I love learning about new things, whether my reaction is awed or horrified, because I want to make as much use as possible of the limited time I have on Earth with the limited resources I have at my disposal. Curiosity is about expanding the world in which you may live. It makes humanity less frightening, not more. Sometimes darkness is comforting, but only if you have no intention of leaving the room.