In praise of wonderment

Amazing, isn't it?

Amazing, isn't it?

Cheri’s comment about my use of the word wonderment made me … wonder. And so, a brief paean.

Einstein (on page 387 of this biography), once said:

The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.

I’ve talked before about Einstein’s love of simplicity and his non-conformity as keys to his astonishing creativity. But I should have started with his famously child-like ability to wonder.

Wonderment is the origin of every creative act. The natural flow of Hmms leads to questions and inquiries that are usually never quite answered but become signposts on a great journey, a great story.

People sometimes ask journalists how we get our ideas for stories and I’ve never had a good answer. There is no shortcut, no ten-steps process, no secret vault. Instead, it always starts with simple–and yes, child-like–curiosity and wonderment.

An ability to wonder is of course also what the reader/listener/viewer of a story needs. If you don’t find your own life and its ups and downs somewhat mysterious, you probably won’t enjoy my book when it comes out.

So here’s to wonderment, and its official inclusion in our thread on story-telling. Every good story begins and ends with it.

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2 thoughts on “In praise of wonderment

  1. “…….Wonderment is the origin of every creative act………..”.

    Is not our capacity to wonder also to do with our becoming childlike? So, to the degree that we don’t (or can’t) become childlike, we don’t wonder.

    • I would say Yes. That’s why I’m so in favor of remaining child-like (which does not equal childish). Did not Nietzsche say that man graduates from a camel that bears the brunt of society’s values and ideas passively to a lion that rebels with a terrifying roar and thence to a child who starts afresh and playfully creates something new?

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