The Wonder Factor.

The French call it l’émerveillement, which is a wonder in itself. 

Real world provides only a limited wonder factor in specific situations/locations. Also, as time passes, the human species becomes more and more unobservant, insensitive, impassive. Anchored to reality, we have forgotten how to lift off and float freely. It is sad, but true: in real life, the wonder factor tends to 0 for the average person. 

New proxies had to be created to reintroduce the necessary wonder factor into the lives of hardened individuals. Traditional proxies in history have been alcohol or drug-induced stupor. Occasional parallel wonder factors might involve paradoxically altered states of consciousness or reality, induced by various physical or emotional vectors: the build-up, the rush or the exhaustion from fast and reckless driving, high-altitude skydiving, physical burnout, mental breakdowns, extreme pain and/or terror, as well as passionate loving. Bird-watching. Mountain climbing. Flower picking. Self meditating. 

Modern proxies pertain to the virtual realm. The wonder factor computes in the mind; it can be triggered by physical actions or phenomena, but these are not entirely necessary. As long as the mind fathoms a given situation and elicits response from the intricate functions of the body, the power vector might as well be real or virtual. 

Wonder doesn’t require acceptance/involvement either. One can attain a state of wonder while in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican without being a catholic, a Christian or even a believer. Or an architect or painter. Drug-users can be, and most often are, in denial, while enjoying the oomph of getting high on a regular basis. One can wander and wonder on the immaterial alleys of computer-generated fantasy worlds (encountering dragons, pixies, talking trees and flying mounts) knowing rationally that these are pure figments of pixelized imagination. 

Not only fun begins with wonder. Wisdom too, says Socrates. Because every time we wonder, we become richer and wiser. And more human. We should never forget to be human and wonder.  

Have a Wonderful Easter!

~ de ubiquus pe aprilie 23, 2011.

4 răspunsuri to “The Wonder Factor.”

  1. Nice one, man, never been to the Vatican, but I kinda attained a state of wonder reading this 🙂 And seriously, you should write more in English, a lot of the sweet juice gets squeezed out in translation, from the other stuff I mean.
    Aso, did you do the drawings yourself? If not, could you mention the refrence? The hand reminds me of a thing but I can’t put my finger on it 🙂

  2. Thanks. Well, I did write a lot in English for professional reasons, so in my mind I keep associating this language with duties and obligations, and less with fun. It’s just a temporary thing, and I’m sure it will change in time, since more than everything I like to explore, deconstruct and divert language. Domesticating a foreign language and bending it to one’s own imagination and particular means of expression is indeed highly pleasurable, and I wouldn’t want to keep away from that for the world. For now, though (just to use your sweet metaphor), I’m having a great time squeezing the fresh, musky juices from the generous flesh of my lovely latin lover of a language. I’m not sure where and when it will end, but I’m measurelessly enjoying it so far.

    Regarding the drawings, they are self-made and they decorate the wall opposite me as I write this. You are right, the hand is based on an iconic reference: the (in)famous Hand from the Addams Family, the actual model that inspired the handsfree concept that is omnipresent in our everyday lives. Mm-hmm.

    Having answered your question, I also have a slight curiosity if I may and it’s not too personal. You mentioned in another comment that you lived in Romania, and then moved to the States at the age of 7, yet your name is not very common around here, unless it’s a virtual sobriquet (in which case just ignore this paragraph).

    PS. You might also want to check a painting by the norwegian symbolist Edvard Munch, entitled ‘The Shout’.

  3. Oh, I see. Don’t worry too much about my bragging about. All I wanted to say was that writing in English could bring you a wider audience. You deserve more than a niche group of readers, to be honest. Your last post, the dialogue in the park, is awesome. It’s one of the themes that fascinate me: people living together in worlds apart.

    Great job about the drawings, too. I’m a Fine Arts student, mainly focused on hyperrealism for my BFA at the moment, but I dig symbolism quite a lot. It has to do with perception and levity, with the fact that it’s essential to shift around to alternative points of view. Alternative is my thing:) I’m ashamed about Munch, though, should have recognized his classic. Duh. I love your art bluff, it’s not really a pastiche but an original contribution. I might take it to class next time and show it around.

    To answer your question: yes, Khaled is my real name, and believe me it’s not a very light thing to live with, here. My father is Lebanese and my mother is Romanian. I lived in Ploest, Romania, until I was 6 or 7, then moved with my dad to Seattle, WA. I’d really like to visit Ploest and maybe learn some Romanian. Bine? Salute! 🙂

  4. Bine, bine! Salut, Khaled, and best of luck, there.

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