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What's Become of Wonder?

Updated on June 16, 2012

Garden of your mind

There's a wonderful, quirky video recently out on PBS YouTube, setting Mr. Rogers' voice to a synthesized singing of the song, "Garden of Your Mind", which I've posted below. As I was watching it - three times - I realized not only was it cool, but it synthesizes much of my thinking these days. The very first post of the very first online blog I created back in 2005 dealt with wonder, and whether ours will ever cease. I think our current culture is trending toward short, cynical answers, predicated on a very limited sense of options.

It's been said that the only constant is change. That has become a bit cliche, but it doesn't make it any less relevant. We need to use history as backdrop to our decision-making, and to make sure we don't make the exact same errors again and again in a whirlpool of redundancy. But we also have to stop thinking we're doomed. I wrote a hub called Pushing the Outer Edge that talked about people who explore the outer reaches of human physical potential. I'm even more drawn by people who explore the furthest reaches of intellectual, emotional and spiritual potential.

And that requires a sense of wonder. Of possibilities. Of seeing whether the limits we've created for ourselves are real or imaginary.

Most people will read that as a collective statement - as if I'm talking about society, politics, the human condition, etc. I'm talking about me. I'm talking about you. As an individual. As in, "Look Mom, no hands..."


"Discontent is the first necessity of progress." ~ Thomas Edison

Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Multnomah Falls, Colombia Gorge, Oregon
Multnomah Falls, Colombia Gorge, Oregon

Curiosity killed the ...

Curiosity has an interesting stigma. Curiosity killed the cat. Curious George - always getting into trouble. So what's the message - to stop being curious? To just go with the flow? I can understand the need to protect someone from harm - like a child, but is there something wrong with wondering about something, and thus creating, inventing, postulating?


"A man who leaves home to mend himself and others is a philosopher; but he who goes from country to country, guided by the blind impulse of curiosity, is a vagabond." ~ Oliver Goldsmith


See what I mean? There's a connotative attachment to the aspect of curiosity that seems to unnerve us. We sense the curious person asks ceaseless questions of useless value, and conclude he's a little thick in the head. That's possible. But why does the thought of being unintelligent automatically follow mention of following one's sense of wonder?

So much comes from the universe to reinforce the message to stay put, watch yourself, know your limits, be careful. We know all of this. And if you're reckless, own it. Get some boundaries, see a therapist, read a self-help book, learn what you need to know. But this hub isn't about those people. It's about those of us who sometimes feel constrained by false barriers. It's for those who go back to Disneyland and remember how awesome it felt to feel the magic of creation and possibility.

I love watching movies created for children - so full of possibility. Several years back, I watched "Meet the Robinsons" and afterward, found myself feeling strangely inspired. As a grown-up, we have to play it cool, of course, lest we appear as though we've lost our composure. Of course, that movie is made for children. But can't we remember what that was like, as adults, and using our mature sense of boundaries, stop smirking and realize that Casey Kasem's silly byline of "Keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars" was perhaps not so silly after all?


"Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision." ~ Aldous Huxley

“Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won't do that.” ~ Walt Disney

Pacific Ocean, from Point Reyes, California
Pacific Ocean, from Point Reyes, California
Marin Headlands, California
Marin Headlands, California

The question of limits

I'm with Walt, Fred, and Casey. We know we have limits. I choose to push myself toward the possible. No one has to be perfect, or worry about having a momentary rant. This place where we live is flawed; we're flawed; I'm flawed. Who cares?

It was in this spirit that I asked recently the question of hubpages authors: "what would you do if you had no limits?" I love the responses I received. I feel that people don't have enough opportunities to explore their outer reaches of potential. The responses included those who said they would like to be able to fly, to explore and discover our world, to further the joy and satisfaction in giving, to cure cancer and other diseases, to travel, to harness clean power, to teach resilience, to exercise personal discipline, to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, to shake your groove thing, to acknowledge the value of reasonable limits. I respect and value the incredible responses received from random strangers who responded to this question.

I want to celebrate our awareness, as well as the strength of conviction we possess, collectively and individually, to make our world a better place. There are myriad advocates out there espousing views and perspective on how they feel the world should work more effectively, if people were to follow their prescriptive model of human behavior. Kudos to each of them for giving a shit about the human condition, regardless of whether you and I agree.

The key is that we need to continue to stay awake to the potential that exists for us, in each and every moment. We share a world that asks nothing of us, but also hopes for our enlightened input for improvement. And we exist individually as citizens in that community. So there is both an individual and a collective perspective, as well as responsibility. All I'm asking is that we continue to stay awake. Stay vigilant to what is truly important. And stay true to ourselves, such that we don't lose sight of the sanctity of life - our own, our neighbors, and the collective of mankind. Using Maslow's Hierarchy, once we've ensured we have satisfied the need for food and shelter for ourselves and our families, I just hope we can exercise good judgment, predicated on the hope that we can all move forward with the potential to become astonishingly fulfilled and happy.

My hope, and prayer, is that you feel that energy through my words. And understand that each of us has a series of choices, in every moment, that can improve the sanctity of life, and help our neighbors navigate more successfully through the life each of us has been given. Wonder, and curiosity are an essential ingredient to progress. I hope that each of us learns how to exercise it in respectful, purposeful and meaningful ways.

In peace,



“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” - Paulo Coelho

"Somehow I can't believe there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C's. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably." - Walt Disney



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    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Wasn't that great? That's what inspired me on this mental hub trip. I love how Mr. Rogers has taken on such an incredible posthumous legacy.

      Thanks for your comment, sligobay!


    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

      Great Hub Gerg. Wonder is wonderful. The Mr Rogers video remix garden of your mind was a real treat. Thank you.

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      That's exactly it - this beast called "responsibility!" Of course, you're right, JG. Thank you for your kind words, as always!


    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I lost my sense of wonder as an adult with the responsibilities of raise a family...meaning "being an adult"...and didn't get it back until a few years ago after the chicks had flown the nest and I didn't HAVE to be THE grown up any more. I applaud you and any parent who manages to retain their childhood sense of wonder.

      Great hub! Voted up and most everything else! ;D

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      "Not fair! You did it!" Yeah, you're right - childish not quite as attractive to listen to... ;-)

      Thanks epigramman for your kind words. Walt left quite the legacy, didn't he?

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Hi Greg - big fan of Walt Disney and his 'philosophy' and now a big fan of your world class writing style - and yes even as adults we still need to retain the innocence of wonder although we do lose a lot of it along the way - as I say and often you see it in my 'writing' it's good as a creative person to be childlike but in one's own personal life not childish - lol - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 12:04pm

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 5 years ago from California

      Awesome - you've given me some more gifts of curiosity and wonderment to check out! I appreciate your support, BL...

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, Awesome, and shared.

      For circa half a century, since college, I have associated "wonder" with the poem "I Am Waiting" by California poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, with the refrain, "And I am waiting for the rebirth of wonder." There are lots of readings of it on YouTube.

      Songs by Peter Mayer, such as "Blue Boat Home" and "Everything Is Holy Now", also express a sense of wonder. They, too, are on YouTube.

      I agree with all you said.

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      I completely agree, carter. Thank you for sharing in my enthusiasm for the subject!


    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Love this really made me think... and I hope we never loose that fresh, open sense of wonder for life and love...thanks for reminding us... voted up & shared...cheers

    • BeyondMax profile image

      BeyondMax 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      @Gerg - well, if it isn't the proof that great minds think alike! =)

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      Chris - you've captured my feelings well. In my world, there's much more emphasis placed on establishing and following patterns, hence my inspiration to take Mr.Roger's video and turn it into a dissection of wonderment and curiosity. My metaphor for the need to maintain cohesion is traffic lights. In a world without traffic lights, there's chaos. In that world, I'd be writing a hub titled, "What's become of order?" ;-)

      Max - it's funny, but after I wrote this I sent a note to a friend to read my "I'm high" hub! Unleash thyself!

      Thanks to both of you for your support.


    • BeyondMax profile image

      BeyondMax 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Yeah, there are so many aspects to it. Sometimes I feel like I'm on a leash. As long as the soul can fly (lol and not in a 'high' way) the body will be alright =)

    • Chris Neal profile image

      Chris Neal 6 years ago from Fishers, IN

      Very interesting hub. There are so many restrictions put on people, and so many people to put restrictions on. It's difficult to balance the need to push boundaries and the need to maintain cohesion, both internal and external.

      Thank you! Voted up, interesting and beautiful!

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      Klara - I just love the words to this particular song, which also has the distinction of being the one and only song I've ever sang publicly in karaoke - my voice though deep, couldn't come close to filling the deep resonance of Randy!

      Amy - What a wonderful, thoughtful perspective. I'm happy you've found that elusive sense of calm - I feel it most, though not all of the time - it's definitely an evolving process.

      joanwz - Thanks for the affirmation and support!

    • profile image

      joanwz 6 years ago

      I have also wondered about why society seems to shun such a natural process of the mind. Wonderment is such a wonderful thing to have in ones creative arsonal.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Before my divorce and then my layoff, my life was too frantic for the luxury of introspection. I commuted 90-miles round-trip everyday. The time in the car was when I thought. Without it, I would have lost my mind. I drove in complete silence, without the radio or a CD playing. Any noise felt like an assault on my senses. When I got home, the chores began to get ready for another day of the same.

      Now, I live without my income, but with the solitude I need and in the company of my loyal canine. Without the job I'd held for 13-years, which also determined the closer proximity of my new digs, I am subject to anxiety, but am finding new ways aimed at supporting me and my dog.

      At a time when I was looking forward to newfound independence, life kicked me in the ass. But, in the process, I've found myself. Poverty has enriched my soul.

      Your peace shines through, Greg, and is food for thought in finding the power of wonder and hope.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 6 years ago

      By the way, despite the disapproval of most of my friends, I happen to love country music - Randy Travis being one of my favs! I didn't know that song though, so thanks for that. :D

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      That's a reference from The Alchemist, for those of you who may follow this thread. As Klara knows, often my writings follow whichever book, movie or conversation that speaks to me at the moment. I do recommend that book.

      That said, thank you again for all of your enthusiasm and support, my friend! :-)


    • profile image

      klarawieck 6 years ago

      What can I say that you don't already know? I was hooked on you since I read about the sea, and you continue to amaze me with your wisdom, passion, and ability to convey a message that can speak to us all.

      You are not that far from that Andalusian shepherd in search for the truth. You'll find your treasure, I'm sure.

      Beautiful hub! I'm sharing it with the world!!!

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      Social opiates - I love that! You're spot on - it is getting harder to find moments of inner peace, and we do it to ourselves. Even writing on Hubpages can be a form of social opiate (I'm going to steal your expression, so don't be surprised if it shows up in a Hub somewhere). Happily spending my Father's Day with my two incredible children interacting, talking, laughing, being - and that's true wonder.

      Thanks for your support - our collaborative project is starting to come together!


    • arb profile image

      arb 6 years ago from oregon

      Great hub G! Perhaps our minds are being so entertained today, that why, has found substitute in a myriad of social opiates. Why, is the product of a spirit quiet enough to wonder. This may be the information age, but, it may be time to examine the usefulness of the information we are inclined to gather. I don't think the texting revolution is an exchange of ideas. To rest our weary minds we have to plug music into our ears or secure medication to slow us down. Once recharged we are back on the iphone securing our connection to the world we have created. Is anyone ever alone enough to wonder anymore?

    • Gerg profile image

      Gerg 6 years ago from California

      Topaz - that's interesting. I didn't even realize the curiosity quote had a back side! Like you said, it just goes to show you...

      Dmop - me too! Funny about this hub was that just before I hit publish I wondered if someone reading it would think I was high! I did have that thought when watching the Mr Rogers remix. Obviously, I decided I don't care what anyone thinks!

      Thank you both for your support.


    • dmop profile image

      dmop 6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Great Hub you have written here. I always loved curious George as a kid; the books were my favorite. I constantly wander beyond the normal realm of reason to possibilities unknown. Perhaps that's why I enjoy writing so much. Voted up and interesting.

    • profile image

      topaz blue 6 years ago


      Great hub! My daughter and I loved watching the remix. Interesting though that the quote 'curiosity killed the cat' ... is always quoted but the other side of the quote is not so, in that' satisfaction brought it back'. Any time I hear someone reiterating curiosity killed the cat , I always recite the ending as if I don't its another reinforcement as you said, for not continuing to explore and grow. It is also my intention to fully wake up too but I have some work to do on myself for that yet.

      Once again many thanks for a great read !

      Topaz Blue


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