What's Wonder? - Jonathan Haidt

November 27, 2012


Hold on. What is wonder? 
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt found that there's not much research on awe. And when he took on the task, he discovered that they're not easy emotions to study.


I believe that I have and always will be wired for wonder. I am 68 years old and as a child in Phila from a poor neighborhood in Phila loved being in Fairmont Park and when I was old enough I would take publoic transportation to places of culture and natural beautiful or uniqueness where I could wander.
This yearning never left me.
I have a sense of wonder als but it isn't my primary impetus.
I can also see how cyncism can kill the drive to spend your time/money on experiences.
All makes sense to me now.

I took a personality test a few years ago and came out with a label of sorts: my two greatest characteristics are gratitude and appreciation of beauty. I think that perhaps, along with Judy, these two things together bring me to many moments of wonder. I studied nature even as a child, hours spent watching ants or looking into the center of a tulip. I don't think this will ever leave me. And the man in the article is right, you need to stop and breathe and hold still to be enveloped by wonder. It doesn't fit in well with a fast-paced life. It's as if you need to slow down to open your heart to it.

I have to admit, I am not going to feel that much awe watching a nature video on a 55-inch screen. Maybe move the lab to the Boston Museum of Science's Omni IMAX Theater, or a similar environment? If vastness is a requirement, it's hard to beat a five-story screen.