Copyright 2006 Ingela Berger
Everyone who has met a little child has seen it; the amazement of a little child. The child sees a bus, and gets all excited about it, it sees a dog, and cant sit still in its pram. It sees things that we grown-ups are all too blind to notice; it expresses its enthusiasm with the whole body and is deeply disappointed when we cannot share its experience. We have long ago got used to dogs and buses and we weed out all the irrelevant details we pass by every day. We have forgotten how thrilled and amazed we once were about these things. But when you think of it; a dog is something exceptional, a bus astonishing, and the sparkling eyes of a little child something totally divine. Can we still find the way back to the amazement of the little child within us? I am convinced we can, and we have a lot to win by trying to do so.
Open your window on a starry night and watch the sky. Just think most of these stars are so far from you that you cannot be sure whether they exist at all anymore. They could have died down millions of years ago, but you still see their light. What you see is an image of the sky as it was a very long time ago. See and be amazed! Look at your own body. Think of how well organized your blood circulation is; all the cells, white and red corpuscles, blood plates, all with their specific roles to keep you healthy. Everything works a thousand times cleverer than the most advanced computer, without us having to think about it. Be amazed!
Often it isnt until we find ourselves in a crisis and, like Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, are reminded of our mortality, that we learn how to enjoy what others take for granted; we suddenly appreciate a simple cup of tea, the safe and familiar sound of the spoon when stirring the sugar, a sunbeam through the window
Think of the small things in everyday life. Feel the pleasure of kneading dough, combing your hair, walking in the rain, making an angel in the snow! Be happy about how incredibly great the small things really are. Never do anything as a matter of routine, do it as if it were the first time. Learn from the child. Never stop being amazed! Maybe it is not just luck that brought us here. Perhaps there is a special reason for living. There could be a unique plan for each one of us. If we find that plan we may have found the truth inside us. Our deep yearning for satisfaction could in itself be an indication of the existence of something that could satisfy us, the goal for our searching and yearning. This is what Aristotle called the final cause. The reason for the rain to fall is that the earth needs it. But this is belief, not knowledge.
All true philosophers should keep their eyes open. Even if we have never seen a white crow, we should never stop looking for it. And one day, even a sceptic like me could be obliged to accept a phenomenon I did not believe in before. If I did not keep this possibility open I would be dogmatic, and not a true philosopher.” Jostein Gaarder puts these words in the mouth of the tutor Alberto in Sophies world.
Every answer that humans have found about this world and about the universe is belief and hypotheses. Even the discoveries of science are only theories. Schools today present a concept of the world as if it were knowledge. In reality we dont know much at all. Science provides us with theories that can be proved using scientific methods. That does not mean they are true. It only means there are methods with which we can study a theory or a phenomenon. Another method or survey may prove something else. Its important to remember that. We grown up people like to put things into forms and boxes, calculate and arrange them. It gives us a sense of security in a confused world. But reality is bigger than that. It wont be put in a form. The actual truth wont let us find it so easily. Maybe not until we learn how to view the world through the amazed eyes of a little child.