A Sense Of Wonder

A shift of emphasis from the material to the spiritual
helps to restore it

One of the articles in Rediscovering The North American Vision (IC#3)
Originally published in Summer 1983 on page 29
Copyright (c)1983, 1996 by Context Institute


IN THE MIDST of the busy world around us we can too easily forget that our nation was founded on a dream – a vision of a better life for all people that would come to her shores. A key part of this vision was a sense of wonder with the immensity of the new world that offered an escape from the past and a new beginning for all. In the growth and prosperity that followed the founding of our country many of us have allowed ourselves to become complacent, taking our privileges and responsibilities for granted. We have lost our sense of wonder because we have placed too much emphasis on the material rather than on the higher spiritual values upon which this nation was founded. Now with difficult times upon us we are being forced to reevaluate our priorities. This makes it an absolute necessity for us to return to a clear understanding of the spiritual principles upon which we base our existence as a nation.

It is easy to rationalize this question by looking at the historical record. However this may be part of the problem rather than a means of arriving at an answer. History is merely the personality of civilization. It is only the veneer on the surface, consisting for the most part of a very subjective account on the part of individuals who were themselves part of the historical process at the time. To really get to the soul of a culture we have to look at myth, for if anything is the soul of culture it is myth. The mythology of a people expresses their inner being and conveys a sense of wonder that motivates and finds its way into every part of the society.

Today we are seeing a redefinition of this myth. No longer do the westward frontiers beckon to us. No longer are there uncharted, undiscovered lands across the seas. Now we must turn in two different directions to find new frontiers – outer and inner space. This new direction has been aptly demonstrated in the profusion of science fiction and fantasy in recent years – both in print and in the media of the film. The "Star Wars" and "E.T." phenomena are prime examples of this new sense of wonder. Another healthy sign of the development of a new awareness is the increasingly growing interest in various forms of meditation and attunement. Even the overtly science fiction films such as "Star Wars" and fantasy films like "Dark Crystal" have a distinctive mystical flair that looks within as well as without.

Thus we should all take heart in seeing these positive signs of changes in our consciousness as a nation. It is making us more and more aware of our relation to the whole, and the extreme importance of putting that fact into practice by learning to flow with nature rather than struggling against it. It is also a reaffirmation of the principles that this nation was founded on, as a place where people from all backgrounds, all religions, all races could come to make a fresh start.

On an even grander scale America can be seen as a test model of a world society, a microcosm of cooperation, to demonstrate that all sentient beings can learn to live and work together in relative harmony. We have a choice of destroying the model or reaffirming it through a change of consciousness and the realization of our responsibility to be an example to our fellow man. Only with a vision, a new sense of wonder, can this be accomplished. Only when we place within our sights a clear goal can we succeed in moving to attain it.

Humans love a challenge, and what greater challenge can there be than to learn to cooperate with each other to bring about the highest level of good for all the world around us.

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