Why is man so curious?

Acharya Prashant
6 min readNov 27, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: What brings me here is curiosity — to know what I don’t know — about the mind. Who am I? What’s going on actually? What’s behind everything, whatever is happening in this world — me, you, everyone. Why do we do what we are doing? We just keep on doing it without even thinking about why we are doing it. One day the life ends; we won’t even get to know. So, why is it? Yes, that’s my question.

Acharya Prashant (AP): What’s really going on?

A great drama keeps unfolding, in predictable ways, in strange ways, every moment. And it is very difficult to really put it in a framework, make sense of it, put it within a logical equation and one keeps struggling with it; trying to fathom the ends of it. And before that can happen — one is gone; One is gone. What is all this that is happening?

What do we see happening from morning till evening and then in the night, in the dreams, in the peace, everywhere? What do we find?

Listener (L): It’s life-unfolding.

AP: Life. Unfolding. Happening.

The moment you say ‘happening’, you mean change, you mean time, you mean events, you mean the entire world in which changes are happening. What perplexes us is that one thing doesn’t really seem connected to the other and sometimes it does. If it were never connected to the other, then we would have simply come to a conclusion that nothing can be made sense of. But often, things are connected, the law of cause and effect holds. And that leads to expectations. The central expectation is that “I can decipher life.” I can come to know what all this is all about. And why does one want to know all that? What is it that one calls as curiosity?

L: Mind

AP: Alright, let’s look at it this way, by way of an example. Man was curious about a lot of things and he was able to unravel those mysteries. He came to know that steam exerts pressure. Heat water — it turns into steam — and steam exerts pressure as its temperature rises, alright, curiosity solved.

He came to know what is photosynthesis; what is this compound called chlorophyll? He came to know how to extract particular elements or compounds from the…