• What does ‘wonder’ mean to you?

    By Abigail Christenson -

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The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes believed that wonder is the first, most basic, of people’s passions (today we might call the passions ‘emotions’). Descartes also believed wonder is the base from which all learning starts. Many scientists and mathematicians still believe this. Wonder leads to new knowledge; wonder leads to searches for discoveries.

Wonder might be the start of something new.

What do you think?

What about wonder and art? I wonder, what would happen if artists stopped wondering?

What would happen to you – and to the world – if scientists and artists no longer wondered?

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Discussion Area

  1. If people didn’t wonder the world would go black and your brain would’t work as well as it does now.

    Eve - November 18, 2011

  2. Wonder means testing your brain using your imagination and thinking about things you don’t know the answer to.

    Eve - November 18, 2011

  3. I believe that wonder is thinking about a subject that you don’t know much about and imagining what the possible answers could be.

    Anonymous - November 19, 2011

  4. Wonder is what drives each of us to pursue the unknown. By pursing the unknown we will make our dreams come true; in the adventure of pursuing them, we will also create new dreams.

    Anonymous - November 20, 2011

  5. I like the idea that wonder is the start of something new, like in Alice in wonderland everything was completely new to Alice.

    Junior - November 20, 2011

  6. If scientists stopped wondering, we would all be in trouble!

    S.H. - December 9, 2011

  7. wonder means to help

    miss westie lover - December 21, 2011

  8. i mean 2 think

    miss westie lover - December 21, 2011

  9. I think wonder is a little bit like magic.

    R.S. - January 9, 2012

  10. What is wonder? I’m not sure, but I think fear prevents us from wondering.
    Alice was fearless most of the time.

    Tate Member - January 20, 2012

  11. Having the joy of looking at everyday things as if they are new and seeing the magic in them

    Alix Edwards - January 30, 2012

  12. If people didn’t wonder then so many things wouldn’t be discovered. Very important things.

    Saskia Lewis - March 10, 2012

  13. And also invented.

    Saskia Lewis - March 10, 2012

  14. Wonder is a passion and is somewhat of an emotion. We use wonder to explore the mysteries of the world and to be intrigued by the treasures and things we find.

    Nikki Perreault - March 23, 2012

  15. To wonder is to contemplate about the infinite possibilities your imagination can create.

    Maggie Winn - May 7, 2012

  16. Wonder is really akin to starting all over again, somthing to that effect. Starting from the beginning, again.

    Friend of Tate - May 31, 2012

  17. Another answer is – wonder, to me, is what we all might start with (artists, musicians, thinkers, writers, scientists) but then might try to move beyond. Innocence.

    Friend of Tate - May 31, 2012

  18. it is the force behind all new thoughts

    Wife of 'F of T' - May 31, 2012

  19. Wonder is what leads us to the creation of beauty

    Part time artist - June 20, 2012

  20. I think wonder brings science and religion together – it’s where the two join

    anonymous - July 25, 2012

  21. it is passion and beauty, it is the force through which our minds expand to new things and ideas

    weader wabbit - July 26, 2012

  22. it is also why we are writing and what makes us write, without it we would not write the things we have today

    weader wabbit - July 26, 2012

  23. If nobody wondered we would never discover, invent or use 100% of our brain. I have never thought I would come across this question although it is important

    Helen - August 25, 2012

  24. I agree with above!

    Helen's friend - October 7, 2012

  25. I think wonder keeps us alive! Our spirits continue on their journey, as we learn, seek, wonder.

    I think - October 18, 2012

  26. Wonder is an attempt to consider anything that surpasses our understanding or imagination!

    M. R. - November 2, 2012

  27. It’s in the mind, it’s contemplative – not active, really. It might lead somewhere (wonderland?) but wonder is in the mind.
    As with Alice — her wonderland was in her mind/dreams.

    Miste R. - November 2, 2012

  28. I agree with the ‘Wife of F of T’ — it is the force behind all new thoughts.

    Miste R. - November 2, 2012

  29. I like this discussion, it’s caused me to have an ‘eureka moment’:

    wonder is the purpose of life!

    Miste R. - November 2, 2012