“‘Never lose a holy curiosity,’ Einstein said; and so I lift my microscope down from the shelf, spread a drop of duck pond on a glass slide, and try to look spring in the eye.”
-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
My circumstances are nowhere near those of Ms. Dillard when she wrote those essays. I don’t live near a creek bed in Virginia, away from all technology, except a trusty pen and notebook; I don’t own a microscope anymore. Abundant nature still surrounds me, though I’m too far away from the crickets and frogs and can only hear my laptop’s hum: one note, subsonic, between a whistle and a sigh.
I do still rely upon a pen and a notebook, carrying them with me wherever I go. Ideas rarely come conveniently; usually while I’m driving or walking or during conversations; especially during church. Sometimes really compelling stuff comes while I’m supposed to be worshiping. Maybe that’s a form of worship.
Little things oftener catch my attention than the grandiose. Give me a negligible smirk or a slightly raised brow; let me catch your eye subtly shift or see your back just barely tense; let me notice the tiniest edge or softening to your voice. All the action is in the nuance. I want a front seat. The blatant leaves nothing to satisfy.
We’re supposed to wonder. We’re supposed to search. Our desire for knowledge is inherently sacred. The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth 1. This is [God’s] work and [his] glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man 2.
Transitively, intelligence leads to eternal life.
Not that nothing can’t be learned from the obvious. It happens all the time, and it all becomes obvious, with enough desire and faith. Ignorance can’t really be bliss if our wonderment is consecrated. Not that I’m perfectly probing, always asking the right questions; “I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray” 3. Sometimes it’s all I can do to look eternity in the eye, one moment, one question at a time; a single drop’s revelation expanding my purview.
Worship, indeed. To be wholly inquisitive is inherently divine. It is to have holy curiosity.
1 Doctrine & Covenants 93:36
2 Moses 1:39
3 Tegan and Sara, “Back in Your Head”