George Bailey only discovers what a wonderful life he’s lived when he’s offered a unique perspective of the town he can’t escape without him.
‘Wonder is a beautiful style of perception; when you wonder at something, your mind voyages deep into its possibility and nature. You linger among its presences.*
George had thought it those who’d escaped Bedford Falls who lived the wonderful life, but his was the life of wonder.
It may be a movie, but the wonderful life is the reality we each possess. When we allow for the wonder we are able to move deeper into the truth of this.
Warren Berger identifies how we’re more ignorant than ever because there’s so much more information and data today relative to what we know. I’d add information about ourselves in this, so whilst we there’s so much more we can identify and measure in our lives, we hold back.
To live in this more complex world we’ll need to leave behind the notion of early-years learning and embrace life-long learning. Here’s where wonder comes into its own, with Berger encouraging, ‘we must try to maintain or rekindle the curiosity, sense of wonder, inclination to try new things, and ability to adapt and absorb that served us so well in childhood.’** Neoteny is the ability to retain childlike attributes in adulthood.
These childlike qualities promise to help us grow up to be more Human. From simply reacting to the world, beyond positively responding to what we’re discovering, to be people initiating new possibilities.
George didn’t know it at the time, but all the hard energy and sheer slog he put in produced something astonishing.
Real life is even more impressive.
(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(**From Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.)
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