First, There Is Wonder…

Or so says Socrates at one point in Plato’s Theatetus. While thinking about what I could post to support today’s HWFDW theme of “Teaching & Learning,” I thought of that quote and this piece in Aeon that I read back in June.

Here’s a small chunk:

Bringing these threads together, we can see that science, religion and art are unified in wonder. Each engages our senses, elicits curiosity and instils reverence. Without wonder, it is hard to believe that we would engage in these distinctively human pursuits. Robert Fuller, professor of religious studies at Bradley University in Illinois, contends that it is ‘one of the principal human experiences that lead to belief in an unseen order’. In science, that invisible order might include microorganisms and the invisible laws of nature. In religion, we find supernatural powers and divine agents. Artists invent new ways of seeing that give us a fresh perspective on the world we inhabit.

Art, science and religion appear to be uniquely human institutions. This suggests that wonder has a bearing on human uniqueness as such, which in turn raises questions about its origins. Did wonder evolve? Are we the only creatures who experience it?…

Read the whole thing, and then go find something that will provoke the wonder in you.

One thought on “First, There Is Wonder…

  1. A timely post, not because I’ve been attending the faculty development sessions which are very good, but because I came back to the office between sessions and had a student walk in and ask about all the art and architecture courses we offer at HWC.
    He declared his interest in all the arts and wanted information on all the intro courses our department was offering for the Fall semester so he could pursue his goals. He made reference to our location, liking the fact that we were in the heart of the city, and thought it was key to his success. I could see where he was coming from.
    I expressed my equal interest in all the arts and we had a good discussion. He didn’t settle on any courses and it was not my goal to get him to commit. Not yet.
    I thought it best for him to wonder about the possibilities our courses could offer him. I also needed time to wonder on how to best serve his goals.
    I told him my schedule for next week and I expect to assist him with registration then.

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