Why wonder is the most human of all emotions | Aeon Essays - Deepstash

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Why wonder is the most human of all emotions | Aeon Essays

aeon.co

Wonder is said to be a childish emotion. However, as adults, we experience it when gaping at something unexpectedly spectacular.

Adam Smith, an 18th-century moral philosopher, describes wonder as something new and singular that is presented, and memory cannot find any image that nearly res...

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The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:

  • Sensory: The marvelous things take hold of our senses - we stare and widen our eyes.
  • Cognitive: We are perplexed because we don't have a past experience to understand ...

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At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.

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  • French philosopher René Descartes described wonder as the emotion that motivates scientists to investigates phenomena.
  • Socrates said that philosophy begins with wonder - wonder leads us to try to understand our world.
  • Richard Dawkins portrayed wonder as the core from which sc...

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  • In a way, science shares much with religion: Both are used to explain life's unknown. Similarly, they have the ability to make us feel insignificant and elevated. Awe, an intense form of wonder, makes people feel smaller than they are.
  • Art primarily appeared in a religious context, b...

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Science, religion, and art are unified in wonder. Each engages our sense, draws out curiosity, and instills reverence.

They are all uniquely human institutions and reflect the cultural maturation of our species. They are inventions for feeding the appetite that wonder excites in us, gener...

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