I love wonder. I love feeling astonishment, appreciation, and profound delight. I feel a transcendence beyond the boundaries of my limited self. I feel connected to something far grander than my mortal existence.
I have a wide array of friends of all shapes and sizes, beliefs and creeds, spanning the entire spectrum from anthropologists to Zen masters, from bikers to yacht artisans, and from cashiers to xylophonists. I am thrilled and filled with immense hope when I share a photograph on my Facebook profile, and two individuals who are otherwise enemies both like and praise the image. What joy it brings to me to say two individuals, maybe one is a married gay and the other an evangelical preacher, both love the same image.
Wonder can be found in many places, from marveling at the vast expanse of the cosmos to watching an amazing performance. Wonder transcends fleeting gratification, and evokes a profound sense of astonishment and awe.
The sensation of wonder serves as a catalyst for creativity, fostering receptivity to novel approaches and thereby facilitating the pursuit of truth and knowledge on a grander scale. Educators who instill a sense of wonder in their students are far more likely to engage, motivate, and instill a genuine thirst for learning compared to those who resort to rote teaching methods, treating students as mere vessels awaiting knowledge to be poured into them on an assembly line.
Wonder frequently gives rise to emotions of elation, reverence, and thankfulness. Recent scientific investigations propose that encounters with wonder can ameliorate symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and despondency. Moreover, wonder often engenders a more compassionate, empathetic, and altruistic worldview. Love is yet another sentiment intricately entwined with the experience of wonder.
It is the allure of wonder that propels me to delve into its mysteries and undertake research to compose this discourse. And, indeed, in a marvel of marvels, what significant keyword might surface in my exploration?
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter of paramount significance, assumes a pivotal role in the realm of wonder. Inextricably linked with sensations of pleasure and reward, dopamine courses through our intricate neural network and physiological framework when we are bathed in wonder and awe.
When events unfold that surpass our expectations, giving rise to profound feelings of wonder, the natural consequence is the surge of even greater quantities of dopamine. This is precisely why unanticipated delights often prove more fulfilling and meaningful than meticulously planned ones.
It is an open and receptive mind that is most predisposed to bask in the radiance of awe-inspiring moments, uttering that unmistakable exclamation of "wow."