Human history does not always prove the efficacy of human striving. We sail in strong currents, and sometimes our vessels (large and small) are swamped by rogue waves. One thinks of the Plague, the Holocaust, or 9-11. But we are not without ballast and rudders. We struggle to right ourselves, and we move forward. This month the Core Virtues program celebrates men and women who were bold enough to brave monster waves and high winds, take the hits, and pilot us to better ports. These are lives to learn from.
“To wonder is to marvel at mystery, to stand in awe before the unexplained.”
“Wonder is the first step on the path to knowledge."
Bas-relief on the ocean floor. The sculpted medallion lay eighty feet below sea level and was more than six feet in diameter. Mathematically precise ridges and grooves formed a sandy floral masterpiece in concentric circles, an underwater dahlia festooned with shells. When deep-sea diver and photographer Yoji Ookata first spied this work of art on the ocean floor in the 2012, he was awe-struck. Some suspected aliens. How else could it have been made? And then of course, with ocean currents and swells, the glory was eventually unmade – vanishing like a Buddhist sand mandala and apparently without purpose.
Wow. “I wonder….” Who? What? How? To what end?
Seventy-year-old Yoji Ookata, a Japanese photographer who has spent the last fifty years scuba diving and documenting his discoveries in the East China Sea, wasn’t prepared to cede the ground to extra-terrestrials. He rallied colleagues and a camera crew to better understand what he dubbed “the mystery circle.” His diligence and discovery only increase our awe and wonder at the world in which we live, the glorious complexity of nature, and our appreciation for the wonders we have yet to understand. Scientists say only 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped – yet this marvel has been unearthed. What will we find next, if we are sufficiently open to wonder?
Watch this You Tube link, featuring a BBC Planet Earth clip. Prepare to marvel at a five-inch critter, who is one of nature’s greatest artists and most dedicated suitors.
Wonder is to stop and say “Wow.”