Curiosity is a normal human trait. Some people are insatiably curious. Most explorers and scientists possess more curiosity than average. For some of them, it is their strongest talent.
David McCullough quotes Miriam Rothschild who quotes Karl Jordan who may be the epitome of curiosity. Karl, 96 years old, curator of the Tring Museum (I didn’t recognize either his name or the museum either, so don’t think I expect you to have heard of it), is peering through a microscope. He tells Miriam, “I shall know it all in the next world. I shall know it all in the next world.”
Suppose God made us to be naturally curious, which seems evident if you’ve ever tried to answer a small child’s questions. Suppose there is new life in “the next world,” after death. If we are ourselves in that life, we will still be curious. Can you imagine the excitement of finding answers to every question you ever had, a solution to every problem you ever faced? That’s what Karl Jordan expects.
“Miriam Rothschild knows all about butterflies and fleas, birds, fish and poisons, lady bugs (my first real love), medieval meadow grasses, Shetland sheep dogs, photography, farming, Clark Gable, and the wild flowers of Israel. She designs her own clothes. She has an art gallery devoted to paintings by schizophrenics. She owns a pub. She has raised six children…”
So begins David’s chapter on Miriam in his book. His interview ends with the quotation from Karl Jordan, the curator of the museum the Rothschild family founded. Check out the museum website for a photo of Lord Rothschild driving his carriage with a team of three zebras and one horse!
Most of McCullough’s books are at least as thick as the Harry Potter books, but this one is not so thick, and because each chapter tells of a different person, you can read the chapters that interest you most. The subjects include pioneer pilots, the Brooklyn Bridge architect, explorers, a photographer, of course Miriam Rothschild, and more.
Curiosity drives exploration into every kind of knowledge. Curiosity must be why David McCullough finds out so much about the people and events he writes about. Miriam and Karl possessed so much curiosity that maybe you could say they were possessed by it.
“I shall know it all in the next world!”