Wonder is a pretty cool emotion, one that we can feel toward so many things: the stars above us, the beauty of nature all around us, the artistic feats that humans are capable of. And it’s not just big things: watching a hummingbird in your garden, hearing a beautiful guitar solo, or feeling sand under your feet at the beach—those things can fill you with wonder too.
What Is It
Descartes said that the purpose of wonderment is “to enable us to learn and retain in our memory things of which we were formerly unaware.” He also said that those who are not inclined to wonder are “ordinarily very ignorant.” So what exactly is wonder, and how is it different from awe? Is wonder at the core of what drives us to search for novel insights? And can we suffer from an excess of wonderment? Josh and Ray stand in awe of Helen De Cruz from St. Louis University, author of Wonderstruck: How Wonder and Awe Shape the Way We Think (forthcoming).
Where does our sense of wonder come from?
Does wonder have a purpose, or is it gloriously useless?
How can we pay more attention to marvelous things?