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Wonder

What is the principle of knowledge? Plato and Aristotle had no doubts: what gives rise to knowledge is wonder.

The reference to wonder is significant, which is always something unexpected, sudden, unexpected. The astonishment aroused by wonder cannot be foreseen, anticipated, or it would not be so. Knowledge, on the other hand, seems to have to do with what is predictable, stable, and achievable with methodical commitment and constant dedication.

It is in this dialectic, in the incessant tension between the two opposite poles, between wondering and knowing, that the human experience of knowledge lives. The point of contact is the question. Wonder raises a question. Knowing is the continuous human desire to get to the ultimate causes, to the why of things.

We live in an age where everything works very fast. We are always connected and we can obtain any information instantly, living under the banner of everything and immediately. We have become bulimic on information, on images, and on immediate results, and this compromises the possibility of lingering in wonder, of feeling amazement, passion, and ecstasy in front of the small joys of life.

Whoever is no longer able to be amazed or surprised is as if had died.

~Albert Einstein

There was a time in our life when every experience was a source of wonder. We were going to discover a completely new world, full of magic, of scary but also extraordinary things. Growing up we faced the universe of human relationships, with its load of joys and sorrows. We have grown into adults. As we took control of our life, as we decided what we wanted to do or be, the wonder drowsed. The day we were more afraid of a tax assessment than of getting lost in a cave, we exchanged the sense of wonder with that of reality.

But we can win back the former without losing the latter. We can restore original freshness to our lives, not by mimicking a return to the infantile state, but by learning from the experience of those who have managed to keep the flame of wonder burning throughout their lives. We can be functional and aware adults and at the same time marvel at the blue sky above us.

Amazement goes hand in hand with curiosity to live, so we often associate it with vitality, because it makes us wake up from a sleeping world. It is precisely when man begins to think that he begins life, before, we just limit ourselves only to exist.

Therefore, those who are unable to be surprised, nor to be surprised, live a flat life, an infinite sequence of habits and repeated actions. Almost a life not worth living.

We should live every day as if we had to tell someone about it. It is a small and harmless little game that however helps a lot to live to the maximum of our potential, making all possible experiences, seizing all the opportunities, and above all trying to overcome their fears.

In fact, it is precisely fear that blocks us in that emotionless stalemate. It is often said that the goal of life is to be happy, but we will never be able to be happy without facing our weaknesses. It is important to improve yourself day after day to get closer and closer to utopian ‘happiness’.

In any case, in life, there cannot be only positive emotions, because even in that case it would not be fully lived. The bitterness of a defeat and sadness can teach us much more than a victory.

We cannot win without failing first. Rather, we must always try to remain positive, transforming failures into experiences and not letting ourselves be disheartened by disappointments, never giving up. But, above all, to give meaning to life, banality and superficiality must be banished, living in research, amazement, and wonder.

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Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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6 CONVERSATIONS

  1. What a beautiful post, Aldo. I think your suggestion of living like we should tell somebody about it rests on the same awareness training as writing a gratitude journal. To notice strengthens our “noticing muscle”.

    The word that comes up for me is the opposite, jaded, as if the world really can’t surprise me in a good way any longer. Like wonder and awe is for children. And yes, we do see them take in the world with big eyes and open mouth and get the gift of seeing things anew when we spend time with them. So why not hold on to that?

    Leon Uris wrote in Trinity whether Hell and Paradise is right here in our lives already. Wonder seems to fall on the side where I would rather be.

    • Thank you Charlotte for reading, but above all for your comment which, as always, adds value to every topic brought up for discussion.
      I really like the serenity and competence with which you express your thoughts.

  2. Aldo, your post is great

    I recall the WPD factor that I coined in collaboration with @Fatima Williams and @Sara Gabovici. It stands for Wonderment, Passion and Drive.

    This brings me to your very correct question about “It is in this dialectic, in the incessant tension between the two opposite poles, between wondering and knowing,”
    It is a tension between wonderment and knowledge indeed. But I hope the energy of this tension would transform with passion and drive to knowledge and the reorganization of our thinking.

    That everyday counts is a great idea. I recall a post that I wrote for BIZCATALYST in which I said that days are like a row of perfumed sticks. Make each stick reinforce the next and by the time we reach the last stick our lives shall be full of the perfumes of what we wondered about and turned into knowledge..

    • Thanks Ali for your support. You are always the first (and sometimes the only one) to dedicate time to my posts and it is always an encouragement.
      I appreciate it.

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