Why Wonder?

February 8, 2015

Socrates said that wonder was an essential human emotion, one that is responsible (for better or worse) for our seemingly constant and inevitable chug towards progress. It has been harnessed throughout history like a hound gnashing at its muzzle by countless human people (the implication that wonder can be “harnessed” or willed in a direction of desired concentration is a topic for another discussion). Based on historical accounts, wonder has been a kind of mechanism, a tool: one that inspires change, faith, and action. Today the suggestion is that wonder is at work in the neuro-explosions that lead consciousness towards a creative act, utterance, gesture, or fart.

At any rate, wonder can be a liberation; an emancipation! from the terrifically mundane, the aesthetically complacent, the commonplace.

It is the powerful capacity scattered throughout our consciousness to be open to the alluring suggestion of new ideas.

It is a meaningful experience: to wonder. And it may just be one of the largest distinctions between ourselves and some of the other alive-things on this planet.

People have grappled with understanding the capacity we all undoubtably have, and similarly, it has been something that Chris and I think about often. Many considered wonder an indispensable keystone in their lives and have attempted to define it as a means to come closer to understanding it. As we explore a multitude of definitions, one that seems to work well for us (perhaps because it is the easiest to remember) is simply this:


This simple approach allows wonder to inform virtually everything we do, and we are fond of that. The act of consciously steering our sense of curiosity towards a more desired outcome keeps us bright-eyed and hungry for new thoughts and insights.


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