7. Does philosophy begin (and end) in wonder? or what is the nature of a philosophic act?
We dismiss wonder commonly with childhood. Much later we may return. Then the whole world becomes wonderful. But, greatest wonder, our wonder soon lapses. A rainbow every morning who would pause to look at? The wonderful which comes often is soon taken for granted. That is practical enough. It allows us to get on with life. But it may stultify if it cannot on occasion be thrown off. Sir Charles Sherrington (1953:100) Spirality is less conspicuous in animals than in plants… Nevertheless, there are numerous instances of spirality in animal bodies….The problem that is of interest here is why these structures [e.g. fibrils, wood cells, leaf attachments] should be arranged in a spiral at all. Edmund W. Sinnott (1963:156, 163; italics in original) [I]n his study of shells … [the mathematician] first noted that he could describe their general form…. Next, he saw that quite sudden — one might say unforeseen — changes occurred in the forms he was contemplating: the curves and surfaces that made it possible to represent their construction suddenly broke off or degenerated: whereas the cone, the helix, the spiral can well go on ‘indefinitely’, the shell suddenly wearies of following them. But why not one turn more? Paul Valéry (1964b:11; italics in original) Why are there essents [i.e. existent things] rather than nothing? Martin Heidegger (1961:1)