Wondering

Two alien-related posts in a row? Wow. (I’d make it three, if I weren’t rendered utterly speechless by Arizona’s dumbfoolery. Who do they think they are? Virginia?)

Anyway. Newsweek.com has an interesting piece on why the search for alien life matters. In the article, Julia Baird contends that there’s been an uptick in public belief in alien life—especially among the educated. In discussing the merits of space exploration, she writes, “The span of the universe, and the music it spins to, is more than we can imagine, more than we can calculate, more than we can dare to wonder.”

Wonder is such a powerful thing. But these days, we probably don’t wonder nearly as much as we should as individuals, as societies, and as a species.

I kick myself every time I catch myself getting bogged down by the minutiae of my routine. I get so distracted that I forget to appreciate the sheer miracle of being alive: my heart pumping blood throughout my arteries and veins, sans a visible energy source; the rhythmic uptake of oxygen by the tiny alveoli in my lungs every time I breathe; the warm, familiar feeling of the keys on my keyboard as I type this post. But it’s hard to appreciate those things when you’ve got meetings and deadlines and inconsequential things filling up your calendar.

Wonder—and frankly, a healthy sense of dissatisfaction—are what got explorers to get on a ship, risk falling off the planet, and see what’s beyond the horizon. It’s what got us to the moon. And it’s what’s going to get us to create and innovate beyond what we think are our limits.

Whether we look up at the sky, underneath the ocean, or inside our bodies, let’s wonder some more. A little perspective might do all of us a collective good.

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