Do you know how your iPod works? Do you care?
Inspired by this question.
I’ve noticed that old books, especially children’s books, focus a lot on how the new technologies of the day worked. I’ve seen a few books from the late fifties dealing with how space shuttles, especially, work. And others dealing with radios, and other such things.
And when I’m around my grandpa I notice how many things I don’t know about the way things work, because he asks about them. On Saturday he asked me how I thought they get the bubbles in the soda, and why the soda doesn’t go flat if it’s in an unopened bottle, but if you open it up it goes flat really quickly. And he sat there and puzzled over it. And then he started talking about how they close the soup can once the soup is in it.
And he’s asked about how pianos work, and opened up his piano to find out.
And he’s wondered how the refrigerator works.
And how the vacuum cleaner works.
And (he’s 89 years old; I guess this wasn’t taught in schools in the 30s.) he’s wondered why the seasons change, and he was intrigued when I told him. (He had thought it had to do with pressure in the atmosphere.)
Nowadays though it seems like there’s less knowledge of how the world works, and less desire to learn. I feel like most people I know hold the view that they simply don’t need to know how their microwave oven works, and they couldn’t care less.
Have we lost our curiosity for how the world around us works? Why is it that older people, and older books tend to focus on these things more than younger people and newer books? What was different in my grandpa’s time that cause him and other older people to have this curiosity that isn’t seen very often today?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.