Culture + Community

Wonder | Typewriter Series

by | Oct 8, 2018

Imagine you’re on vacation without internet access. Your friend says to you offhandedly, “I wonder what will happen if we…” or “I wonder where we should go for…” or “I wonder when…” What do you think the ensuing conversation look like? Maybe you’d start a lively debate or elicit advice from a stranger. Maybe you’d put your heads together and think of a new, creative solution. Or maybe it’d lead to a long, rambling conversation that leads somewhere else entirely.

Now imagine your friend says the same offhanded statement, but this time, you have access to the internet. I am willing to bet that – more often than not – the conversation would quickly lead to “let’s google it!” Let me be clear: I am an avid Googler and as guilty of this response as anyone else.

But it leaves me wondering about the state of wonder in the twenty-first century (a very meta problem, I know). Wondering is key to our human development. According to Psychology Today, “being in awe of something greater than oneself promotes prosocial behaviors” such as empathy and kindness. To wonder is to accept the multi-layered complexities of life; as such, a sense of wonder is foundational to creativity and nuanced thinking. And it’s no coincidence that “wonder” and “wander” are so similar: just like wandering, wondering requires that we engage with the world without a predetermined destination, without knowing where we’ll end up or how we’ll get there.

The following poem, entitled “Wonder,” is a meditation on wonder, its importance, and the state of wonder in our world today.

WONDER

is difficult to come by in the age of google

which has an answer for

almost everything

which always knows the right roads

to turn down

and will get you to work to home to

happier thinner richer

as quickly as possible

it saves time and money to know things

to know is sharp

and final, something to hold onto

as the planet spins

without ever having asked our permission to do so

it is risky

and blurrier to wonder about our lives

to bow before them

and not understand why or how or in what order

to feel it deep within the ancient

technology of our bodies

the gut sinking the heart aching the lungs filling

and trust what it is

and be overcome