One of the great, unsung virtues. Curiosity brought the world math, physics--in fact all sciences--and of course cryptanalysis, to name a few things. Insofar as curiosity leads to productivity, personal accomplishment, and satisfaction, it seems that it could very easily be classed as a virtue, or at the very least a Good Thing.

Yet this is not the general response I receive. The most common response is "who cares?", an incredulous "why should I know?", or some variation upon the same theme. From this I conclude that curiosity is at best under-appreciated, at worst, derided as a foolish pursuit. Curiosity does not, at least within the general population hold the status it deserves.

Why is this, then? My first theory is that our society has encouraged transparency in all things, to make tasks as effortless and simple as concievably possible; that other things should take care of all the unpleasant work and procceed to the end with all due haste. Curiosity, of course, leads one to desire to examine that which lies beneath, and have not so much transparency. Combined with a general current of apathy within society, this would lead to the thesis that those who are curiosity leads to more work, therefore curiosity is foolish. Valid, perhaps, but only within an "ease dominant" value system. And one that does work 99 times out of 100, in all fairness. It's just that 1 time in 100 that's a real bugger if one is used to perfect execution the first time.

The other potential culprit I see is a general feeling that certain things "don't matter." Which is daft--everything tends to matter in the long run; little things often escalate into distressingly big things without anyone knowing how or why. Of course, "not mattering" is often connected with a sense of personal importance. Obvious, considering that hobbies are often personal pursuits, but pernicious in the respect that personal importance becomes less and less as things become more complex and transparent, but that leads to the above argument, and so I digress. Once something does matter enough, steps will be taken to address the curiosity, but this is where I begin to fear the state of society: given the responses, as stated above, to general curious inquiries, society seems, as a whole, to stifle inquiry and curiosity, perpetuating a cycle of not asking questions.

Thus I send out a request: ask all the questions you can, and perhaps one truly interesting but slightly ridiculous question every day. Perhaps people will become more willing to ask their own questions, and curiosity will assume its proper place.