The faculty of wonder

…the only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder… – Jostein Gaarder


In his phenomenal book ‘Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy‘, Jostein Gaarder gives us a beautiful quote, and I’ve been trying to find out if it comes from him initially or from some other source. I’ve drawn a bit of a blank, hence crediting it to Gaarder here.

What a great line! There is something beautiful about ‘wonder’ – I watch our two children grow, and marvel at their daily discoveries. Each time they find out something new, or take a little step further into an unknown world I find truly breathtaking. This faculty, to be curious; to investigate; to examine; to have a sense of awe; to be amazed – to find out something that you didn’t know before. What a brilliant faculty to have! We ought to cultivate this ourselves, and go out of our way each day to help others cultivate it too.

Many a journey of discovery must have started with such a simple phrase “I wonder…”

What do you wonder today?

Image credit: sektordua.

footnote: I quoted this at an event I was at in August last year. Curiously, those present took ‘faculty’ to mean ‘staff’, and began talking about the ‘faculty of wonder’ being an organised, structural thing. Certainly not how I would have thought about it.

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