It’s a Wonderful Life | Inspirational Philosophy Podcasts

Podcast Excerpt: Every inch and every moment of this world, all its aspects and performances, and every act of our senses, invite us to look into their significance—calling us, if not to a Credo, yet to an Admirer. All facts, from stars to blades of grass, from the death of Caesar to the death of a mouse, are for wonder and thereby for thought. And the only way toward wisdom is that which begins at the gate of Surprise and goes along the dim groves of Bewilderment.

“Into the Kingdom of Science, as into the Kingdom of Heaven, we cannot enter, but as little children.” To have the run of both kingdoms, to know them well enough to be sure that they are not two but one, is wisdom. And the entry into them requires the child’s mind, its love of mystery, its readiness to be puzzled, its open-eyed astonishment.

Watch how a baby takes notice. Its own fingers and toes, and every sound and color, bring it to attention. What is this? What is that? There was something; there is something else. Two somethings; and here a third. What a world. The wonder of it, that here are fingers apart from toes. And here is Mother’s breast, which is neither Daddy’s face nor Grandma’s apron. Thus, in a blind animal fashion, come the first beginnings of our taking notice, taking thought.

So with us, wonder must precede reason. Or we shall be, to the end of our lives, not wise, but fools. Fools are those who take for their motto Nil admirari: they do not wonder at anything. They chose this motto because they say in their hearts that there is no divine, no sublime, nothing to wonder at.

But we have as our motto, Semper admirari: let us see what comes of Wonder. However, we must begin at the very beginning, and go the way of Nature. Nature never preaches to us: it is we who preach to her. Nor does she tell us to “look through Nature up to Nature’s God.” It is not so easy to look through Nature. Nor does she bid us to find her perfect—for, in Nature, fair is foul and foul is fair; and, if she were perfect, she would not be here. One commandment (and no more) she gives us: that we read her name, Wonderful.

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