Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for WONDER

Tarantulla Nebula from the Hubble Spacescope, Courtesy of NASA.

One of the basic human responses is wonder.  It's an inner state, a mood or attitude, that seems to have an accompanying emotion that can be very intense.  There are also certain thoughts that go along with it.  The external universe elicits these thoughts with its size, beauty, complexity, and simplicity.  But just as we know from our own internal experience that the seen has unseen behind it, so we suspect that the external universe hides even as it expresses mystery.  I'm not sure if WOW! is a thought or not, but the inner state produces questions, so we often use it as a verb and say, "I wonder what/if/etc."

Why is there something rather than nothing?  Why are these the somethings that are and not some others?  Wonder is a crucial part of religion, philosophy, art -- and especially fantastical fiction.  We express our sense of wonder in science, in worship, and in the sub-creation of worlds that have the inner consistency of reality.  What other animal wonders?

Here's wishing you all the wonder you want, and then a bit more to surprise you at just the right moments.

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