I’m a big fan of the concept of curiosity. I wake up in the morning and ask myself what can I do today that will awaken in me a ravenous sense of wonder & wonderment. What is wonderment? Wonderment is when the world bewitches you, when the world in-trances you, when the world arrests your attention. Charles Darwin actually talked about this back in the day about the power of attention, how attention, how our capacity of focus to become enchanted by something was a necessary precursor for any kind of interpersonal experience that is transformative, that is educational.
We need to be focused & need to be paying attention. Looking begins with love. Love begins with looking. That is a prerequisite for transformation and so, wonder requires attention. If we’re lucky enough to get attention when sudden and when close, as Darwin used to say, we’ll then graduate into sort of a sense of surprise. A sudden and close graduates and surprise and this then graduates to the next stage, astonishment.
You’re inspired; the moments to take your breath away and then astonishment will graduate to the next level which is just stupefied amazement. Cognitive ecstasy that sense of first sight unencumbered by knowingness when you have no mental models, no references for what you’re seeing and it’s just coming in and you are in the living, breathing, act of accommodating yourself to what’s happening. You’re letting it all in without your film screen of defense mechanisms and filters and prejudices and all these things that get in the way of experiencing that thing, freshly and intensely.
I’ve talked about the power of awe to be so decentering, it’s been described as an experience of OPA de de Jason, you’re sort of blissed out of your own way and in turn, something significant. It can actually happen, you can finally be shaken to tears, you can finally be moved to the point of tears and we love these cascading waves of cognitive ecstasy. A sort of neurological neuro storm of intense intellectual pleasure. Carl Sagan was right, he said understanding is a kind of ecstasy. There in an ecstasy of understanding, there’s a sense of revelation, a sense that the cloud parts, the curtain parts and what had never been seen as being devoured by the eyes, even a blade of grass, we’ve been told by the romantic poets when seeing through a microscope, when given complete attention, becomes a magnificent universe in itself.
Radiant and alive and exploding with wonderment.