OK, this is complicated, bear with me.
I spent the day today watching the rebroadcast of Carl Sagan's Cosmos on the Science Channel. My wife, Teri, flitted in and out without a real interest in the show. After 18 years of marriage, I'm used to that - my sense of awe and wonder not being reflected back is common - she just doesn't care.
It sometimes bothers me. I know my wife is intelligent and I always took her lack of interest in science or history as an affront; a personal insult since - to me - a lack of interest was a vague reproof since she obviously had the brains to comprehend the material.
I know she loves me and wouldn't want to hurt my feelings, so there had to be another answer. Sagan inspired, I began to think about what was going on. I came to what I believe is an answer that has profound implications in a lot of areas.
What if she doesn't care about these topics because she's not genetically or intellectually predisposed to do so although entirely capable? Is it possible that there is an evolutionary governor in our brains that sets limits to the amount of interest we should show in certain topics?
I think it would be part of the survival mechanism. What good does it do for an individual to be too wrapped up in looking at the stars if a sabertoothed tiger is coming in for the kill?
Is there a mechanism in our brains that limits our interests in areas that have no direct bearing in our personal survival in the here and now? Is this why so many kids have a hard time learning abstract math like Algebra?
Are those of us who yearn for more information about the Universe and read history genetically inferior because we are diverting energies away from attention directly related to personal survival and the propogation of species?
Does evolution put soft barriers in our minds - "No, no you don't have to think about that" on certain subjects? Is that barrier elastic insofar as it can be stretched when an area of thought is linked to another area the brain thinks is important? I think so.
So many things make sense if my hypothesis is applied. I'm sure I'd word all of this better if I was a psychiatric clinician.
I wish I could explain it better.