The best stories and novels lead the reader not to an explanation, but to a place of wonder.*
Understanding is not inherited, nor can it be laboriously acquired. It is something which, when circumstances are favourable, comes to us, so to say, of its own accord. All of us are knowers, all the time; it is only occasionally and in spite of ourselves that we understand the mystery of given reality.**
To have knowledge is not the same as understanding.
Understanding comes when we allow that knowledge into ourselves so that it becomes a part of who we are, one way or another.
But we can never fully know, so there also seems to be part of knowing and understanding that means we dwell within this larger world we don’t, and perhaps can never, full know, though must continue to explore.
Here are three wonderful things that need more exploration.
Richard Sennett writes about the callouses obtained by craftspeople increasing their sensitivity:
By protecting the nerve ending in the hand, the callous makes the act of probing less hesitant. … the callous both sensitises the hand to minute, physical spaces and stimulates the sensation at the fingertips.^
The more we probe, the more sensitive we become.
I wonder at the sensitivity scientific researchers In Malawi have shown in digging into the land surrounding and beneath Lake Malawi, uncovering how humans were using fire to shape their world over 85,000 years ago.^^
And Mary Reckmeyer identifies four indicators of budding talent in children calling us to look more closely: yearnings, rapid learning satisfaction and timelessness. These also work for identifying the wonder within.
It’s a wonderful life in a wonderful world inviting us to greater sensitivity.
*From Peter Turchi’s A Muse and a Maze;
*Aldous Huxley, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Love Is the Last Word: Aldous Huxley on Knowledge vs. Understanding and the Antidote to Our Existential Helplessness;
^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman;
^^From Futurity’s article: Team Finds Earliest Signs of Humans Changing Ecosystem With Fire;
*^From Mary Reckmeyer’s Strengths Based Parenting.