Understanding Yourself—And Others
(It’s Not That Hard!)
Humans are born with a few built-in emotions. One of the most important is Interest (or curiosity). It works from Interest on the low end to Excitement on the high end.
Interest is responsible for all our exploratory and learning activities.
Interest represents the core of oneself…what we are genuinely intrigued with, excited about. Clearing away the underbrush to our interests is crucial.
Our most important psychological task may be to understand what we are most curious about and to elicit our children’s authentic interests. And, by learning about the interests of others, we can better understand our fellow human beings.
Read More About Interest (Curiosity)
All innate affects (“primary affects”—feelings) are important. Again, these affects—reactions to stimuli—ultimately form our more complex emotional life. This happens as these affects combine with each other and with experience, and as they undergo symbolic encoding—i.e. are linked with words and self-awareness, beginning at about 18 months.
Yet, one affect is particularly crucial to the character structure and developmental outcome of humans, and that is Interest.
In the various models of emotions, we see most make some reference to interest, or attention, or curiosity. This is true regardless of whether or not the model is more psychological or biological or integrated. The affect of interest is crucial. It is the basis of our learning, gathering information, and adapting.
How is it enhanced? How is it restricted? Some people seem self-directed, passionate and excited about what they are doing. They may have known what they wanted to be and do from the dawn of their memory—perhaps a veterinarian or lawyer. Or possibly the feeling developed later. They are curious, wanting to learn, playful.