The Awe of Wonder

How things have changed.

When I was a teenager to make a telephone call, you would pick up the phone and in a second or two an operator would say, “number please.” You’d give the number usually three or four digits, and sometimes say, “ring two” if it were a party line.

Now, sixty years after my early teens, I’m sitting in a comfortable chair in my home in the Hudson Valley of New York State. My smart cell phone rings. It indicates a face-time call from my son who is traveling on business to Japan.

He’s walking on a street in Tokyo, heading for a train station to go to Kyoto. I see him walking and talk to him with no delay in transmission. What marvels humankind has accomplished? What wonderful science the mind has created in a short sixty years. What wonderment will there be in another sixty years? I could only imagine what it will be like if I had the creative minds of writers like Heinlein and Asimov.

When I read them as a teenager is was science fiction. Little did I realize, that in my lifetime, I would see most of what they envisioned and then some.

Some things in daily life still bring me to the cusp of wonder. Fireflies and their flashing beacons on a summer night. As a pilot, I understand the Bernoulli principle, but I’m still amazed at how a jumbo airliner gets into the air. The Hubble telescope, peering into seeming nothingness and images come back that become astounding photos of a universe so vast we cannot fathom it without awe and an atavistic gasp.

If we lose our sense of wonder, we lose our creativity and without creativity we are pliable automatons willing to be ruled by fear, prejudice and a dispassionate view of the future. It seems to me we are closer to that than most of us would like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *