Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Are We Without a Sense of Wonder?


I watch the dragonflies outside, swooping and darting, chasing the mosquitoes. Who eats the dragonflies?

I've never forgotten the seller on Ebay who mailed me a handcrafted towel rack for the kitchen with a hand-drawn map of where every screw went. It still works beautifully and holds towels and potholders and dishrags and my oven mitts. A self-taught man who loved his work.

I am a firm believer in that some things can't be taught by others. At least to a creative level. Try as we might to teach it or to learn it. I think if we truly want to learn something, fire up a hobby, fulfil a passion, we just go ahead and acquire the resources and then the skill and then experiment and do it. This belief comes on the heels of trying to teach software and then Irish rug-hooking and writing and now people asking for more writing classes and Irish knitting workshops and photography lessons.

I should clarify that I am writing about mid- and elder life learning or rediscovery of self.

I think that passion comes first and that whets the appetite for more knowledge. No one has ever knocked on my door with a piece of knitting looking for help. Or with a chapter of a book they are writing. Or with an album requesting a photo critique. No one. I would love if they did. Advertising workshops and then conducting “classes” in creative arts is a waste of everyone's time, I believe. The huge dearth I perceive out there is a sense of wonder.

One can't teach a sense of wonder.

I could riff off further into what I've come to believe on all of this but I'm still thinking about it.


14 comments:

  1. A sense of WONDER woman...?!!! Surely you jest, you ask too much, these days I'd be satisfied with curiosity about life or even mild interest in anything beyond what's on television tonight or what to buy next...zombies, that's what they are all becoming a culture of zombies...I am surrounded, so so sad. But we can always hope they awaken some day, thanks to Pandora and her box ;D

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  2. This is why I love to take a young child for a walk - the whole world is a wonder to them and I like to see see it again, with their eyes.

    I have a container sitting on my kitchen counter.... fancy helping me to blow bubbles to float on the breeze?

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  3. No, one either has it or doesn't. It is all in one's conditioning.

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  4. Thomas Edison Is purported to have said that genius is 99 percent hard work and sweat, or to paraphrase Shaw, those who can, do, those who cannot, don't.
    The sense of wonder you allude to gets overlaid by the banal exigencies of daily life: "Getting and spending,/We lay waste our powers."
    Retaining a sense of wonder is one of the hardest things we apes can do, when we're not stealing food from each other, but not to sound totally cynical, and to drop one last quote, "Man's reach should exceed his grasp,/Else what's a heaven for?"

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  5. From your compatriot and poet, WWW:

    “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
    ― William Butler Yeats

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  6. Old people lose it e
    when they stop taking their lives seriously and get involved in pastimes.Or they are still stuck on the notion of productivity and do a lot of copy-cat work in various media.
    I do think that many are trapped in understimulating environments or in places where they have to pay for everything and all entertainment is canned.
    And as to all those workshops and such: I can't be bothered. These are pastimes. In my ceramics class, about half the class is unserious and the other half is doing great, and several of them never did ceramics before but have great imaginations and are creating fantastic work with practically no instruction.

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  7. Anon:
    I agree there are far too few out there still open to the wonders of the ordinary and the mundane. Most are medicated. Either by self or by the friendly local doctor dangling zoloft and ambien or whatever floats the boat. There are some that need it, of course, just to get through what passes for daylight hours.
    Light being something we all crave.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. GM:
    I would love to sit and blow bubbles with you.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Ramana:
    I'd say some are born with it.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Marc:
    I use the daily evening sunset to spark up mine.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. T:
    I love this quote, thanks for reminding me :)
    XO
    WWW

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  12. Hattie:
    It must be hard for some to find something that fires up the creative flow, too many years submerged in bureaucratic hell that kills off whatever spark was lying dormant. There is another price tag on everything we do for money.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Indeed, you can't teach a sense of wonder. You have to learn for yourself how to see things with fresh eyes and forget the bad habit of jadedness.

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  14. Nick:
    Well said. We have to let go of the old spectacles.
    XO
    WWW

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