Culture + Community
Wonder | Typewriter Series
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.
is difficult to come by in the age of google
which has an answer for
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