By Eli Amdur
“We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.”
So observed G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), the inimitable English writer, philosopher, poet, and journalist. His words gain more relevance as the years push them further into history, and were he alive today, he would not budge an inch from them. Would that he were here to remind us!
One of the few characteristics human beings can claim as distinctly ours – separating us from all other species – is our capacity to wonder. We don’t even have exclusivity in creating wonders, as certain species not only use tools but make them, proving the capacity to invent. But to wonder? Yes.
Why, then, do so many of us disengage from the process of wondering? Not flipping over dazzling new technologies, but wondering at simple things: an idea, melody, theory, opportunity, synergy, or fantasy?
Extended, this behavior leads to a global pandemic of dissatisfaction with satisfaction; compulsion to have the latest software, app, or add-on to replace one that hasn’t been fully mastered yet and doesn’t need replacement; to upgrade to the latest smart phone simply because the fierce competition makes you forget your basic needs while feeding your latest desires; to play “Words with Friends” where we used to play word games with friends – you know, around a table; and to be immersed in many of these at the same time, creating a condition which, in 1998, Linda Stone called “continuous partial attention.”