With regard to books one can actually hold in one’s hand, bookmarks are handy. I love them and have a modest collection. A metal-and-leather one which my daughter gave me several years ago records a saying by Socrates: “Wisdom begins in wonder.”
One definition of wonder is “a desire to know something.” “I wonder if . . .” or “I wonder why . . .” There is curiosity for no particular reason, and there is curiosity with a purpose. The latter describes the verb wonder. If wisdom is sound or prudent decisions following acquisition of knowledge, the wise person first gathers facts. Wonder in action.
- Francisco de Orellana (b. 1490) navigating the entire Amazon River and founding the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.
- Galileo Galilei (b. 1564) dropping two spheres of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Benjamin Franklin (b. 1706) hanging a key on a kite string in a lightning storm.
- Auguste Piccard (b. 1884) making record-breaking hot air balloon flights and inventing the bathyscaphe to explore the ocean's depths.
- Neil Armstrong (b. 1930) hitching a ride on a rocket ship and stepping onto the moon.
The breadth of human knowledge exists because of individuals like these who possessed a sense of wonder that impelled them to explore and learn. The millions of facts gathered by countless wonderers provides us with the raw data without which wisdom is unlikely-to-impossible.
Not many will explore the oceans depths or outer space or the Amazon jungles. But each one of us can exercise wonder on our own levels in our own worlds. One of my grandsons illustrates this. If something is mechanical and/or electrical, he’ll disassemble it to see how it works. Wonder! Wonderful!
Our lives are enhanced when wonder leads to wisdom.