I have always assumed that the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is “Yes.” Sure, curiosity can sometimes get you into trouble when you poke your nose in the wrong places. But in those cases it isn’t the curiosity itself that is at fault so much as a lack of wisdom, thinking that curiosity always needs to be satisfied.
There are lots of things that I am curious about but I know I don’t really need to know. Often I think of questions while I am driving. For instance, I’ll wonder about the etymology of a word, and whether it is related to another word that starts with the same few letters. Or I’ll wonder how something is made, or how some natural process works.
If I’m at a computer when I think of such questions, I often take a few moments to look them up. Or if I still remember the questions by the time I get to a computer, I’ll look them up. But more often they were “idle curiosity” and by the time I get to the computer I remember that I had a question but not what it was. Clearly those aren’t important matters to me.
A blog post on First Thoughts yesterday calls curiosity “a strain of intellectual intemperance opposed to studiousness.” I have always thought of curiosity as an impetus to study, creating the desire to know more. But Gregory Pine points out that “scholastic theologians saw curiosity as a wayward pursuit which impedes the studied application of the mind to worthy things.”