If you’ve ever seen a ship in a bottle (that is done well) it lends itself to the curiosity as to how did the artisan get that ship into the bottle? While the truth of the matter is rather simple (it was assembled inside the bottle, which is a talent unto itself), the actuality of my point is this: Why is it SO important for us to know how it was done, instead of appreciating the fact it was done and done well?
I’ve got one of those personalities that tends to wonder (and wander) about things that are pretty much useless tidbits of information. For example, I wonder about “Firsts”:
- What was the first person to eat lobster thinking? Lobster is usually not a shoreline critter, isn’t exactly pretty to look at, and doesn’t seem to be overly thrilled about being dropped into a of of boiling water. So what kind of person was it that decided on this course (pun intended) of action?
- Cashew nuts are wrapped in a shell that is poisonous. Who was the first guy to discover the nut inside the shell? Probably not the first guy that actually bit the shell, obviously, but there are some hardcore people out there that would fight through the poison just to prove there’s a nut.
- Think about the cup of coffee you’ve enjoyed (or are still enjoying). That coffee has been through quite a process. The beans were grown, picked at a certain time of year, roasted at a particular temperature for a specific amount of time, then they are ground up, hot water is passed through them, and voila….you cuppa joe is born. Who was the first person to think up THAT process.
- I also read about a particularly rare and delicious coffee that takes an even more bizarre journey. First, the beans are eaten by a particular goat and the outer shell is digested. The actual bean is pooped out by the goat, and that bean is harvested from said poo, to begin its roasting and water adventure. Who was desperate enough for a cup of coffee so as to dig through goat poo to get the beans?
- The person who figured out that copper wire was a good conductor of electricity; I can see them in a lab (complete with lots of buzzing electrical thingies) running up to the lab tech with the ends of two copper wires. “Here, hold these for a second.” Dash back, crank the handle on the generator, and the smell of roasting lab tech hair fills the room, and the Don King hairstyle is born.
I remember as a child, and YES I was once a child, asking all sorts of questions trying to figure out “why?” and being told by many a frustrated (and longsuffering) adult that I should really spend more time appreciating the inventions instead of constantly trying to figure out why or how. This is true up to a point, I believe. We do need to appreciate the things of life we enjoy, for we do take them for granted far too often. Yet if we are satisfied and become complacent, then there can be no discovery or invention.
Imagine if the Neanderthals were satisfied roaming about the countryside fire free and clothing free. Gnawing on bits and branches they find lying about. What would we be doing right now?
Ponder, appreciate, and seek!