Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Folly in Wonder Alone

Picking my daughter up from her workplace (a veterinary surgery) recently was a real treat; “puppy preschool” was on. As all the excited puppies were arriving with their owners there was much interest, sniffing, clawing and play-biting. There was a sense of wonder at it all for these toddling dogs, and wonder too for their owners, and me.

It got me thinking about this quote below:

“Ignorance never gets beyond wonder... while vulgar folly wonders wisdom watches for the trick.”
–Balthasar Gracian.

Without being sceptical, at times we’re fooled by wonder. We stay there and don’t move on, and certainly where there is even more to experience or capitalise on, for instance, reality.

It’s also true that we often tire of wonders, yet don’t see the wonder in the normal day-to-day.

There are all sorts of things ‘frocked up’ these days to entice a sense of wonder, and we can be tempted to fall for it every time. I remember watching a documentary on hypnotism where they especially featured some of the psychology of wonder in advertising and marketing. It seems we’re targeted implicitly, subliminally and totally without much conscious effort; we commit our time, money and heart to things we possibly don’t even need.

Whilst I don’t advocate scepticism very much as I think sceptics can be killjoys, it does have a place in sifting the things that are targeted for us. The ‘do yourself a favour’ pitch often has a real paradoxical sting about it. Once the novelty wears off (and wonder becomes nothing much to speak of) we go searching for the next toy or thing to induce our sense of wonder.

When it comes to people, especially people with something to gain (at the expense of others), there is usually little real wonder to be seen. Now again, genuine wonder comes in things most people don’t even notice--things coincidently from God... like puppies.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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