Where “Wondering” is Sparked

By Carissa Chapman

When the word wonder is used as a noun, Google defines it as “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” But it can also be used as a verb. Then, it is defined as “desire or be curious to know something.” Wondering in the state of a noun leads to wondering in the state of a verb.

Let's pick apart wonder when it is referred to as a noun. Our mind is where “wondering” is sparked and where it takes place. Wonder is sparked by different things for different people, but when you break it down, it's almost like a formula. Each person's mind is intrigued by different things, but once it is sparked, each mind follows the same chain reaction. The spark I am referring to is a type of puzzlement, one that we are perfectly content with not solving. 

When one finds something that catches their eye, they will then pay closer attention to it than they had before. They will then start to notice all these new things about it that they didn't notice before. This more thorough observation will bring the realization of how complex this thing is. Before, it seemed simple and ordinary, but the closer you look, the more in awe you will be of it's features. These new and interesting things will then bring on lots of questions, and that is when our mind is in a sense of wondering. When the mind is in a state of wonder it is mesmerized by the object in front of it. The mind is puzzled by the amount of beauty and complexity this singular object holds. It then begins to wonder how this beauty and complexity is possible and how it came about, it's the desire to know more. But that is a different kind of wonder. The state of wonder the mind is in at this point is nothing more than ignorant amazement. The mind is transfixed on this one thing because it was stunned by it's beauty once it took the time to notice it. That is the amazement part. The ignorant part is the mind not having the slightest idea as to how or why something holds such beauty. 

For the mind to truly have a sense of wonder, you must see the value in whatever caught your eye. You must appreciate its characteristics and its being as a whole. If one doesn't see the value or importance of the object, then the mind won't be sparked by it. There must be a fascination with the thing in order for the mind to notice it. The object's beauty is what stopped you in your tracks, but in order to stay stopped you must care and have an interest in it. 

To keep a sense of wonder alive, the noun and verb version sort of overlap each other. When the mind is in the noun state of wonder it is sparked by the beauty/complexity of something, which then leads to the verb state of wonder. This is when the mind produces questions because it can't fathom how one thing contains such beauty. But in order to keep the ignorant amazement that comes with the noun state of wonder, you must not act on the verb state of wonder. The questions that are produced must remain unanswered. The desire to know more about this impeccable thing must be dismissed. It must be dismissed because producing an explanation for this flawless thing could pose a threat to the noun state of wonder. That ignorant amazement is gone, the complexity of the thing is no longer complex. It's simple. It's explained. It's now just a thing. The mind can no longer wonder if it already knows the answer/reason.