“Today, the exploration of new places and new ideas seems self-evidently a good thing. For much of human history, though, priests, politicians, and philosophers cast a suspicious eye on curious folks. It wasn’t just that staring at rainbows all day or pulling apart insects’ wings seemed weird, even childish. It also represented a colossal waste of time, which could be better spent building the economy or reading the Bible. Philip Ball explains in his thought-provoking new book, Curiosity, that only in the 1600s did society start to sanction (or at least tolerate) the pursuit of idle interests. And as much as any other factor, Ball argues, that shift led to the rise of modern science.”
I’d like to read this book one day, and I recommend you all do so too. It sounds really interesting – the article is great. I will post expanding on this one day with a review of an essay called Doing Nothing is Something by Anna Quindlen. It’s about downtime, a bigger word for boredom. It is the inspiration of creativity, and day by day we are losing it once again. Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand, and perhaps the Enlightenment can be narrowed down to just that.