I love this quote. I heard once that the anthropological definition of intelligences is "curiosity, combined with a desire to put things into logic patterns." (I was delighted that the definition did not include, say, "ability to read a map.")
All my most fruitful seeking and making in life has been born out of curiosity, and hopefully always will be. I feel like curiosity and stubbornness have been the two guiding stars of my existence as a writer, in particular. (The author Robert Stone once quipped, recognizably, that he had the two worst character faults possible in a writer — that he was lazy, and a perfectionist. I've always thought that if you can trade those two creativity-killing traits out for simply being curious and stubborn, then you are ON YOUR WAY.)
I'm on record, too, as having said that I prefer curiosity as a driving force of life to passion. (Interesting that Einstein uses both words here.) Passion, to my mind, is a tall order, emotionally consuming, sometimes difficult to reach or sustain. Curiosity is more gentle and enduring — a tap on the shoulder, rather than a flaming torch. Curiosity doesn't burn out, or cause you to be wildly reckless. Curiosity never says, "Let's jump off that cliff!", but often says, very softly, "Let's see what happens if we open that door, shall we…?"
It has been my curiosity about plants, for instance, that pushed me to write "The Signature of All Things" — not necessarily a passion for botany, just a little twinge of constant inquisitiveness, a little sense of: "Huh. I wonder what that all about?" And I followed that whisper all the way to the end of the novel.
So a toast today to the places curiosity can take us…and tell me, where has it taken you?