Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner, and the Vice of Curiositas
Last week, I found myself utterly devastated by news that had absolutely nothing to do with me: Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are separating after four years of marriage and two children together.
If you have absolutely no idea who or what I’m talking about, congratulations – you are probably a million times more virtuous than I! But for those of you who felt the pain too, I think I can help us understand why.
You see, from the outside, this celebrity couple had a seemingly “perfect” marriage. They were silly, goofy, glamorous. They poked fun at one another and seemed to love each other fiercely. They biked around Manhattan on city bikes! They had two babies together! What happened?!
As I scrolled Twitter and the internet for morsels of explanation (all of it pretty much made up and extrapolated from alleged “sources close to the couple”), I began to feel a sneaking suspicion that none of this was really my business. And, come to think of it, why was I so devastated by the dissolution of a marriage of two people I do not know in a situation I know nothing about?
This past weekend, I attended a retreat at the Dominican House of Studies on the Cardinal Virtues. And as we learned about virtues, we also learned about vices. One of them stuck out to me: the vice of curiositas.
The vice of curiositas can be defined as “knowledge pursued poorly.” For example, it’s found in the pursuit of information or gossip that does not pertain to us and is not relevant to ourselves, our close community, or our holiness. This is an extreme form of the virtue of “studiositas” or studiousness. Whereas studiositas rightly ordered can draw us to the true, good, and beautiful, curiositas is an excess desire to know, or to gain all of the knowledge that is not for us to gain. In fact, it can be an expression of pride. (You can read a far more scholarly explanation here).
Because we live in a digital age, it is incredibly easy to fall into this vice. We wonder about something and immediately pick up our phones to google the answer. We think about someone we haven’t seen in a while and can pull up their Instagram or LinkedIn in an instant and see what they’re up to. It’s a lot of information (and can be used for good!) but can ultimately distract us from what’s really important.
So back to Joe and Sophie – yes, it is very sad that their relationship has ended. I’m hurting for them and their kids. But my incessant googling to find answers when they’re not mine to have is not helping me grow in holiness. I fall into curiositas many times a day, but this week I’m trying to intentionally stay aware of this tendency and stop myself before I google the answer to a question that’s bugging me. Instead, I’ll sit in the peace of the unknowing, trusting that if it’s really that important, I’ll find the answer later. And instead, I’ll commit myself to gaining the knowledge that is good for me to ponder, to embrace the virtue of studiositas.
Do you experience the vice of curiositas? Reply and let me know if you struggle with this one too!
What we’re loving lately:
Podcast Episode 86: Love with Courtney Taylor | Fruit of the Spirit Series
- Courtney Taylor is here and today we’re talking all about love!! What is love? How do we define it and live it, especially in a world that seems to distort the meaning and purpose of true, self-giving love? Courtney shares so much wisdom and encouragement for all of us who desire to love others and God well! Tune in here on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!
Celebrating my sense of smell
- This might be so silly, but truly nothing has brought me as much joy over the past few weeks of living in my new home like celebrating my sense of smell. Almost every time I’m sitting in my living room, I light my volcano candle. I am still giddy over my Mrs. Meyers honeysuckle handsoap (and recently purchased the matching fabric softener so I get to smell it all day!). And since the beginning of 2023 I’ve started wearing perfume (my favorite is “I Do” from Anthropologie.) The point is, these simple delights cost me so very little compared to how happy they make me. If you neglect your sense of smell, I encourage you to try something this week that celebrates it!
Share bad news quickly
- My bff Erica reminded me this week of one of our shared recent mantras: don’t procrastinate sharing bad news. It is SO tempting to avoid telling someone bad news or letting them down. Maybe you can’t make it to their wedding, or you have to cancel upcoming plans, or you’re no longer able to follow through on something you offered to them. But the longer we put it off, the worse it gets. Stop reading this email right now and go deliver some bad news you’ve been putting off!!! You know exactly the news I’m talking about 😉
- For a reader’s husband who was recently deployed
- For a friend to find her missing miraculous medal!
- For a special intention
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.