Whether you know who Brian Glazer is or not, you’ll recognize some of his output. His work includes films like “A Beautiful Mind” and famed television show “Arrested Development”. His new book, “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life”, lets readers in on an open secret – that curiosity is not only a virtue, but the key to a life of adventure and discovery.
Waco, Texas may not be the first point on the compass you’d think of as a place where the arts are revered. Maybe it should it be.
I was channel-surfing recently when I stumbled upon Waco City Cable Channel. On offer was a series of live musical performances taped at the Bosque River Stage and downtown, at the occasional musical evenings held there. I was amazed at the variety of music I was seeing. It was a veritable smorgasbord of world music. There was even Latin Funk, played by an Austin-based group, sharing the sounds and flavors of rumba, cumbia and cha cha.
If I hadn’t been channel-surfing in search of something I hadn’t seen before; something that might capture my imagination and transcend the mundane, I might never have stumbled on Latin Funk. I hadn’t, in fact, known that such a thing existed. But because I set out to find something different, I opened a door and behind it, discovered something I’d been missing out on.
Human curiosity is what provokes us to reach beyond ourselves. When we seek beyond what we’re accustomed to, we’re able to open the door on a richness of experience that we might otherwise miss. Living in this culture of the self-imposed ear bud silo, we tend to be indifferent (or even hostile) to the unfamiliar. That indifference stands between us and a universe of sensation and beauty.
In Glazer’s book, he encourages inquisitiveness as a prescription against banality. His message to readers, implicit in his work, is that natural human curiosity is a saving grace. Curiosity can save us from a life drawn in shades of the mundane, opening our personal worlds toward wonder.
“Curious mind” doesn’t bill itself as a personal development bible, but it certainly points the reader in that direction. Glazer discusses how his curiosity walked with him throughout his career, helping him arrive at the success he now enjoys. It was curiosity that propelled him forward, prompting him to develop himself in ways that made it easier for him to get to where he is today.
Glazer’s proposition is that when we allow ourselves to take an interest in a wide range of artistic expression, we develop a better sense of who we are and what we like. This is formative and also works to make us more confident in our dealings with other people. Exposure to artistic variety also makes us question ourselves and our assumptions about the world around us, building our intellectual integrity.
Being curious doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to become an “arts snob”, eschewing all manner of popular artistic expressions in favor of the road less travelled. Rather, your natural curiosity will lead you to a better understanding of the “why” of the arts and how artists in all media communicate with the world. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities that await the curious, unafraid to encounter artistic worlds they haven’t ever explored.
Brian Glazer’s life and career are his witness. Curiosity about the world around him, the book relates, have driven his career. “Curious Mind” is Glazer’s message to those of us who’ve set aside curiosity in favor of the familiar. It’s an invitation to step out of that familiarity and into the unknown, where the world has no limits for those who’ll take the step.