Curiosity (from Latin curiosus "careful, diligent, curious," akin to cura "care") is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation.... The term can also be used to denote the behavior itself being caused by the emotion of curiosity. As this emotion represents a thirst for knowledge, curiosity is a major driving force behind scientific research and other disciplines of human study.
That is the definition of "curiosity" from Wikipedia.
Here's mine. Curiosity expands the boundaries, fences and captured ground on which we live. It is inquisitive because it knows it cannot live on captured ground forever. It is evident because when we explore, investigate and learn, we are moved.
What the brief film "Overview," above, accomplishes is to simultaneously hold out the particular and the general for examination. That's the secret of perspective. It succeeds because when we take leave of ourselves, when, for example, we stand under the tented firmament of the Milky Way staked from one horizon to the next, or face the singular calm of the morning star-rise, or when we extend mercy - even when none is merited - we feel something toward the object of our thinking. We are changed.
Having spent my tween years fitting together newspapered kites and model airplanes and flying (and crashing) them over the clay hills and soybean fields of northern Louisiana, I was moved by people like Edgar Mitchell, who appears in Overview. Because people like Mitchell - people who flew - were my heroes, I would pedal my bicycle in the summer months out to the control tower at the airport in Monroe and knock at the locked door at the bottom until the controllers admitted me. I would wait and wait and wait. Sometimes I would pedal home, disappointed.
As the Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Mitchell and Commander Alan Shepard executed a particular maneuver during the pair's ascent from the lunar surface that brought the Earth, Sun and Moon into view with clock-like regularity, years of investigation, exploration and learning - his waiting - was rewarded by this thought:
The molecules in my body and the molecules in my partner’s body and in the spacecraft had been prototyped in some ancient generation of stars. In other words, it was pretty obvious from [his academic studies] that we are stardust.
As philosopher David Loy says elsewhere in the film, astronauts often experience "something 'other than them.' Mitchell was "at some very deep level, integrating, realizing [his] interconnectedness with that beautiful blue ball."
The irony is that whether for a little while or a long while, curiosity calls us out of ourselves so that we can know what there is in us to know. So when I think of the "emotion of curiosity," I think of a furious knocking.
I think of a sudden seeing.