I never expect a scholar to be a good writer but Paul R. Fleischman is not only good but creative and at times witty. But, more important, he is an inspiring writer, sound and independent thinker.
Fleischman, author of several books and articles in scholarly journals, has recently published “Wonder: When and Why the World Appears Radiant.” Relying on biology, chemistry, physics and math, Dr. Fleischman explains why we should view the universe and ourselves with wonder and tells why each one of us – if we truly want to – can experience a sense of wonder each day of our life.
We learn from Dr. Fleischman that wonder combines the science, poetry and spirituality that are contained within the big questions we all ask about what life really means. Every individual possesses thoughts, emotions, and feelings of wonder that can be tapped by beautiful language and wise thoughts. What the author wants us to come to realize is that our sense of wonder emerges from the world that creates us.
This scholarly book is not an easy one to read but is very much worth making an effort because it contains unique insights and information about ourselves and our world that we have never thought about before. And it is good to ponder new concepts. I avoided rushing through “Wonder” as I might a piece of fiction but instead took my time, read it over a period of four weeks, and focused on what the author wanted me to know. I was rewarded for finishing the book.
Examples of the creativity, wit and insights Dr. Fleischman offers includes these samples:
- · * The human mind – even Einstein’s mind – has limits of understanding. We will always remain children in a research library, indirect knowers.
- · * Our new world, like a wool shirt, is sometimes irritating.
- · * Wonder is the word we preserve to refer to events that provoke a deep echo, that make us tremble. Wonder is a signpost at a crossroads. Due to the experience of wonder, we change directions.
- · * It is as if we speak but do not echo. We all are saying something partly known and partly new. In the beginning was the word but we are all new phrases … We are quotes in the latest edition of a newly edited text.
- · * Moby Dick is important to us because it has guts. Wonder is not for weaklings.
“Wonder” is a journey through our world in which the author not only provides a roadmap but provides turn-by-turn, step-by-step directions and explanations of how individual components function so that by journey’s end we know far more than we did when taking that first step into our wonder-filled world.