“Curiosity can be quite a treacherous journey. And what I’m interested in, particularly, is what are the moments when one might retreat again from discovery.” ~ Narendra Keval
Psychotherapist and clinical psychologist Narendra Keval observes “racism demands certainty” – the opposite of curiosity. His is a thoughtful call for cultivating social spaces for curiosity and exercising our capacity to think under fire.
What I Learned: The most regressive human fantasy is a return to the womb, to the imagined state of total comfort in an idealized past. We return to that fantasy place when we’re anxious. We all do it, we’re just triggered by different things.
What I Loved: Narendra pairs curiosity and concern. He reminds us that to stay in dialogue — especially under fire, in the face of the resistance and anger and alienation — one must have genuine concern for the other. I am very moved by the political and social implications of cultivating concern for people we find particularly difficult. Traci Ruble and her Sidewalk Talk colleagues seem to embody that practice. I love that.
How might you help create space for these conversations, and do so in community?
Narendra Keval is the sixth in my series of interviews with the contributing authors to the anthology Curiosity Studies: A New Ecology of Knowledge (University of Minnesota Press, 2020). This episode first aired in November 2019 on WERA-LP; it has been refreshed, November 2023.
Narendra has written a whole book on this important topic. I commend you to his elegant, evocative prose.
Check out Sidewalk Talk. Is there someone near you, ready to listen?
Check out the Choose to be Curious shop!