This is the first of three brief extracts from book eight – creating from wonder – in my series of free e-books: empty canvas : wondering mind
wonder is a wonderful word to wonder about:
wonderful – wondrous – a wonder – with wonder – to wonder – wondering –
to do wonders – wonderland – wonderment – wonder-worker – wonderstruck…
We can talk about wonder and wondering in so many ways – it’s one of those English words that baffle foreign language students. We call something ‘a wonder’ when it is an astonishing thing or accomplishment like the Seven Wonders of the World, or when it is miraculous like the birth of a babe. It is also the “emotion excited by the perception of something novel and unexpected, or inexplicable.” And sometimes this emotion of astonishment can be “mingled with perplexity or bewildered curiosity.” (Shorter Oxford Dictionary) And again, it’s the state of mind in which these emotions are held. When we observe something marvelous, wonder-full, we are filled with wonder, which is like being infused with awe.
But then we sometimes say “I wonder…” and there is a shift in meaning. To simply say, “I wonder…” usually implies doubt. Yet to preface a phrase with “I wonder if…” is to imply curiosity. In French, one says “Je me demand…” – I ask myself. Then it implies that I’m going to explore, to inquire in and of myself about something. The way I’ve used the word wondering in this book embraces all these meanings. For to wonder in the sense of exploring, with doubt and curiosity, is to never be far from the wonder of marvel. Perhaps the greatest wonder of all is that we have the ability to wonder, to reflect. And to have that capacity as a natural by-product of being alive is simply amazing.
Marvel and wonder go hand-in-hand, and their offspring is true learning. [Continued…]
– miriam louisa simons