Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Wonder

"A modern commentator made the observation that there re those who seek knowledge about everything and understand nothing. It is wonder - not mere curiosity - a sense of enchantment, of respect for the mysteries of love for the other, that is essential to the difference between a knowing that is simply a gathering of information and techniques and a knowing that seeks insight and understanding. It is wonder that reveals how intimate is the relationship between knowledge of the other and knowledge of the self, between inwardness and outwardness." - Seymour Cohen, fully Seymour Jay Cohen

"No wonder we are all more or less pleased with mediocrity, since it leaves us at rest, and gives the same comfortable feeling as when one associates with his equals." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"What a person praises is perhaps a surer standard, even than what he condemns, of his own character, information and abilities. No wonder then, that in this prudent country most people are so shy of praising anything." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Wonder, connected with principle of rational curiosity, is the source of all knowledge and discovery, and it is a principle even of piety; but wonder which ends in wonder, and is satisfied with wonder, is the quality of an idiot." - Samuel Horsley

"There is an organic affinity between joyousness and tenderness. Religious rapture, moral enthusiasm, ontological wonder, cosmic emotion, are all unifying states of mind, in which the sand and grit of selfhood incline to disappear, and tenderness to rule." - William James

"The childlike faith that asks not sight, waits not for wonder or for sign, believes, because it loves, aright, shall see things greater, things divine." - John Keble

"Everything was possessed of personality, only different from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty... Observation was certain to have its rewards. Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation; it was expressed in a multitude of forms. This appreciation enriched Lakota existence. Life was vivid and pulsating; nothing was casual and commonplace. The Indian lived - lived in every sense of the word - from his first to his last breath." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"We must not, therefore, wonder whether we really perceive a world, we must instead say: the world is what we perceive... To seek the essence of perception is to declare that perception is, not presumed true, but defined as access to truth." - Maurice Merleau-Ponty

"Anyone who wants to be cured of ignorance must confess it... Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, inquiry its progress, ignorance its end." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Here is a wonder: we have many more poets than judges and interpreters of poetry. It is easier to create it than to understand it. On a certain low level it can be judged by precepts and by art. But the good, supreme, divine poetry is above the rules and reason." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Life is not always wonderful, but it is an experience filled with wonder." - Noah benShea

"The significance which is in unity is an eternal wonder." -

"Men of splendid talents are generally too quick, too volatile, too adventurous, and too unstable to be much relied on; whereas men of common abilities, in a regular, plodding routine of business, act with more regularity and greater certainty. Men of the best intellectual abilities are apt to strike off suddenly, like the tangent of a circle, and cannot be brought into their orbits by attraction or gravity - they often act with such eccentricity as to be lost in the vortex of their own reveries. Brilliant talents in general are like the ignes fatui; they excite wonder, but often mislead. They are not, however, without their use; like the fire from the flint, once produced, it may be converted, by solid, thinking men, to very salutary and noble purposes." - John Trusler

"The experience of beauty is pure, self-manifested, compounded equally of joy and consciousness, free from admixture of any other perception, the very twin brother of mystical experience, and the very life of it is supersensous wonder... It is enjoyed by those who are competent thereto, in identity, just as the form of God is itself the joy with which it is recognized." - Visvanatha Chakravarti, fully Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura

"Wonder is involuntary praise." -

"Religion is a hunger for beauty and love and glory. It is wonder and the mystery and majesty, passion and ecstasy. It is emotion as well as mind, feeling as well as knowing, the subjective as well as the objective. It is the heart soaring to heights the head alone will never know; the apprehension of meanings science alone will never find; the awareness of values ethics alone will never reveal. It is the human spirit yearning for, and finding, something infinitely greater than itself which it calls God." - Waldemar Argow, fully Wendelin Waldemar Wieland Argow

"The ignorant man marvels at the exceptional; the wise man marvels at the common; the greatest wonder of all is the regularity of nature." - George Dana Boardman "The Younger"

"The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"The artist (in literature) appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition - and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"Nutrition is a young subject; it has been kicked around like a puppy that cannot take care of itself. food faddists and crackpots have kicked it pretty cruelly... They seem to believe that unless food tastes like Socratic hemlock, it cannot build health. Frankly, I often wonder what such persons plan to do with good health in case they acquire it." - Daisie Adelle Davis

"He to whom this emotion is a stranger; who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. " - Albert Einstein

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed... To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men." - Albert Einstein

"The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder." - Albert Einstein

"Whenever I contemplate man in the actual world or the ideal, I am lost amidst the infinite multiformity of his life, but always end in wonder at this essential unity of his nature." - Henry Giles

"Surely no man can reflect, without wonder, upon the vicissitudes of human life arising from causes in the highest degree accidental and trifling. If you trace the necessary concatenation of human events a very little way back, you may perhaps discover that a person’s very going in or out of a door has been the means of coloring with misery or happiness the remaining current of his life." -

"All the wonderful things in life are so simple that one is not aware of their wonder until they are beyond touch. Never have I felt the wonder and beauty and joy of life so keenly as now in my grief that Johnny is not here to enjoy them." - John Gunther

"Every affection of the mind that is attended with either pain or pleasure, hope or fear, is the cause of an agitation whose influence extends to the heart, and there induces change from the natural constitution, in the temperature, the pulse and the rest, which impairing all nutrition in its source and abating the powers at large, it is no wonder that various forms of incurable disease in the extremities and in the trunk are the consequence, inasmuch as in such circumstances the whole body labors under the effects of vitiated nutrition and want of native heat." - William Harvey

"There is one type of feeling which is above all important to foster in childhood. Children have naturally an abundant faculty for wonder and reverence. There are so many books, so many radio and television hours, so many encyclopedias and, alas, so many teachers whose aim is to import knowledge quickly and easily without any element of that faculty which the Greeks said was the beginning of philosophy – Wonder. It is strange that an age which has discovered so many marvels in the universe should be so conspicuously lacking in the sense of wonder." - A. C. Harwood

"We teach children how to measure, how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. The sense of the sublime, the sign of the inward greatness of the human soul and something which is potentially given to all men, is now a rare gift." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Some wonder that children should be given to young mothers. But what instruction does the babe bring to the mother! She learns patience, self-control, endurance; her very arm grows strong so that she holds the dear burden longer than the father can." - Thomas Wentworth Higginson

"We teach children how to measure, how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. The sense of the sublime, the sign of the inward greatness of the human soul and something which is potentially given to all men, is now a rare gift." - Hitopadesa or The Hitopadesa or Hitopadesha NULL

"We often wonder that certain men and women are left by God to the commission of sins that shock us. We wonder how, under the temptation of a single hour, they fall from the very heights of virtue and of honor into sin and shame. The fact is that there are no such falls as these, or there are next to none. These men and women are those who have dallied with temptation - have exposed themselves to the influence of it, and have been weakened and corrupted by it." -

"The common people are but ill judges of a man’s merits; they are slaves to fame, and their eyes are dazzled with the pomp of titles and large retinue. No wonder, then, that they bestow their honors on those who least deserve them." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"No wonder is greater than any other wonder, and if once explained ceases to be a wonder." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"All wonder is the effect of novelty upon ignorance." -

"Every age and every nation has certain characteristic vices, which prevail almost universally, which scarcely any person scruples to avow, and which even rigid moralist but faintly change the fashion of their morals with the fashion of their hats and their coaches; take some other kind of wickedness under their patronage, and wonder at the depravity of their ancestors." -

"How full of error is the judgment of mankind! They wonder at results when they are ignorant of the reasons." - Metastasio, aka Pietro Petastasio, pseudonymn for Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi NULL

"O, how full of error is the judgment of mankind. They wonder at results when they are ignorant of the reasons. They call it fortune when they know not the cause, and thus worship their own ignorance changed into a deity." - Metastasio, aka Pietro Petastasio, pseudonymn for Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi NULL

"Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, inquiry the progress, ignorance the end... It's a sign of contraction of the mind when it is content or of weariness." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Men talk of "finding God," but no wonder it is difficult; He is hidden in the darkest hiding-place, your own heart. You yourself are a part of Him." - Christopher Morley, fully Christopher Darlington Morley

"I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad heart, considering what the Lord is preparing for him." - Samuel Rutherford

"A writer lives, at best, in a state of astonishment. Beneath any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. To transmit that feeling, he writes." - William Sansom

"The current of the world has its boundaries, otherwise it could have no existence, but its purpose is not shown in the boundaries which restrain it, but in its movement, which is toward perfection. The wonder is not that there should be obstacles and sufferings in this world, but that there should be law and order, beauty and joy, goodness and love." -

"Youngsters and adults cannot learn if information is pressed into their brains. You can teach only by creating interest, by creating an urge to know. Knowledge has to be sucked into the brain, not pushed into it. First, one must create a state of mind that craves knowledge, interest and wonder." - Victor Weisskopf, fully Victor "Viki" Frederick Weisskopf

"Science is an important part of the humanities because it is based on an essential human trait: curiosity about the how and why of our environment. We must foster wonder, joy of insight." - Victor Weisskopf, fully Victor "Viki" Frederick Weisskopf

"We seek “perpetual novelty” to punctuate the dreariness of a life that so easily can be devoid of expectation, excitement, and wonder." - Joe Boot

"Whenever beauty overwhelms us, whenever wonder silences our chattering hopes and worries, we are close to worship." - Richard Clarke Cabot