Wonder July 12, 2014

“What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.” ― Alice Walker

The facile subtext of this is “Except for me, of course. I’m an integrated adult personality, not a superstitious rube.”

The truth is not that simple. Typically, what the mind doesn’t understand it either ignores or wonders about. If the latter, then exploration, not fear and worship, occurs. Moses at the Burning Bush was not afraid or worshipful, but curious. Worship (and fear) only began when he learned Who was there, not when he didn’t know Who was there.

Wonder is the common root of all art, philosophy, science–and religious experience.

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  • Paraphrasing something I read from B16 (at least I think it was him; I read so much good stuff):

    Whatever we wonder about, we should take heart that wonder leads us to “seek”, opens our hearts and makes an answer possible for us; wonder leads to knowledge. Since the mind is made for infinite truth, it tends to move in that direction if there is nothing to stop it.

    • Catholic & loving it

      I believe I read something similar to that (about “seekers” & wonder & wisdom) on B16’s book “Jesus of Nazareth: Infancy Narratives”, on the chapters where B16 discusses who the Magi are & what Magi’s direction is (& that of human history also).

  • I’m still superstitious. I don’t buy high ticket items from men wearing suits and ties, usually (I make an exception for Knights of Columbus Insurance). I will not click on web adds that refer to a food or supplement as “one weird”. And I have many other autistic based superstitions that are so strong they become phobias.

    • Catholic & loving it

      Theodore, are you an introvert too? Or do you have Asperger’s? I wish there were Catholic blogs out there by Catholics that have introvert personalities &/or fall under the Autism spectrum.

      • Both. I have Asperger’s and I am an introvert. My blog, for those purposes, is http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com

        My latest post is an idea for priests in the confessional, though I don’t say so, for communicating with people like me- as part of their penance, give them a prayer card from a saint that fits their problem, with a QR code on the back for where to go for more help (my example in the post is a card of St. Augustine of Hippo with a QR code to Alcoholics Anonymous on the back).

        • a prayer card from a saint that fits their problem, with a QR code on the back for where to go for more help

          That’s an amazing idea, no matter whether you’re on the autistic spectrum or not.

          • You don’t want to know what my first idea was, just say that it is incredibly politically incorrect, just as needed, and related to the problem of victims of abuse in the confessional.

  • Hematite

    If Ms Walker’s quote were anything but a simple minded sound bite, then most of us would be fearfully worshiping quantum mechanics.

  • Mark R

    She is right in regard to mere paganism, or to treating revealed faith in an idolatrous manner. Moses underwent a real encounter, just as St. Paul did on the road, with the Almighty. Wonder, yes, but not in the same sense as, “I wonder why people don’t use their turn signals”. Very few have such encounters, but if we were to understand a mystery, it wouldn’t be God.