Curiosity might be pictured as being made up of chains of small questions extending outwards, sometimes over huge distances, from a central hub composed of a few blunt, large questions. In childhood we ask: ‘Why is there good and evil?’ ‘How does nature work?’ ‘why am I me?’ if circumstances and temperament allow, we then build on these questions during adulthood, our curiosity encompassing more and more of the world until, at some point, we may reach that elusive stage where we are bored by nothing. The blunt large questions become connected to smaller, apparently esoteric ones. We end up wondering about flies on the sides of mountains or about a particular fresco on the wall of a sixteenth-century palace. We start to care about the foreign polity of a long-dead Iberian monarch or about the role of peat① in the Thirty Years War②.
②Thirty Years War：17世纪上半叶，以德意志为主要战场的一次席卷欧洲的战争。它是欧洲各国间争夺领土、王位、霸权以及各种政治矛盾和宗教纠纷尖锐化的产物。----译者