Wonder (What Is a Box?)

Find a small object, an insect, a part of a machine, or a toy, and try to imagine the possibilities of that object. Try to imagine its “hidden life.”

Object of choice: A cardboard box

1. What is wonder, in your experience?

Often we try to find all the answers in order to gain a wider perspective on objects and ideas. The less we know about something, the more vulnerable we feel about all the possible answers. However I think wonder is the beauty in not knowing the exact answers. It’s about admiring all the possibilities. Wonder is when people don’t need everything to fit in a category of black and white because we can enjoy all the colors and shades in between.  Wonder is the joy of innocence like when Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world before they ate from the tree of knowledge. Using imagination, being mystified by the unknown, and feeling an experience rather than looking for details allows us to see a bigger picture rather than picking at small little details.

2.Think about yourself at 6 years old. How would you have approached this assignment then?

At 6 years old a cardboard box was the best kind of toy. Unlike a barbie or a jump rope, a giant hollow block of cardboard could be made into anything you wanted. As an only child (at the time), I had a wild imagination instead of a younger sibling to play with. Thus to me a cardboard box could become a giant bubblegum pink castle and I could be a princess. Or it could be a table for me to have a tea party with all of my stuffed animals. It could be a thirteen foot tall fort protecting me from snow cover projectiles from my neighbors after a blizzard. Or it could be the world’s best hiding spot in a game of hide and seek. I could color the inside of the walls with crayons or use the tops for school projects. A cardboard box meant endless possibilities.

3. Why are we less capable of imagination and wonder as we get older?

Now to me a box is where we store useless junk in our basement. What happened to the magic? As we grow and develop, imagination becomes useless to us. Hardships shape who we are and as we discover the harshness of the real world make playing pretend seem frivolous. We all have limitless desires. However as a child we are naive enough to try to reach for them. When we are adults this desire clashes with reality and we realize that we need to aim lower.


4. St. Gregory of Nyssa once said “Concepts create idols, only wonder knows.”. What do you think this means? Do you find this to be true in your experience? (answer all the questions with complete sentences and be sure to give REASONS for your answer.  

I think this is true. I think that thinking logically is too highly valued in our community and sometimes we can miss the big picture. For example, artists often create masterpieces and display them in art shows. Here they receive recognition from bystanders and to ensure they get the most attention and sometimes profit, they have to create the biggest most elaborate pieces. However a small child scribbles on a piece of paper with crayons. It’s not perfect, they don’t stay in the lines, and they don’t even need to show it to anyone. For a child, they don’t need it too look like the Mona Lisa or be framed in a museum. They just draw because it makes them happy. They can scribble the most random shape in the world and still see an amazing self portrait because they allow themselves to see so. At our age it’s a distorted reality, but at their age it’s just wishful thinking.


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