Curiosity, as we all know, killed the cat. It is also responsible for humankind’s fall from paradise (thanks, Eve), for the spread of evil all over the world (great job, Pandora), and for the humiliations suffered by Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Our culture and vernacular are full of ancient warnings against inquisitiveness, but most of us no longer believe in them. On the contrary: Over the past few hundred years, curiosity has gone from an affliction born, supposedly, of vanity and lack of piousness, to a virtue that is celebrated in everything from space exploration to family movies (Hotel Transylvania, The Croods).
British author Philip Ball chronicles this journey of liberation in his 2013 book, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything.