Jeff asks: "I'm curious to see the direction your group will take."

Actually, I'm curious about that too. Starting this group was something like an accident. I have to give credit to Fred Werther for instigating this whole thing.

I decided to finally start this group after Fred and I had some email discussions regarding a blog post made by jrfrog titled Aweism, regarding Phil Zuckerman's recent essay in the April/May 2009 issue of Free Inquiry, also titled 'Aweism' (text available from jrfrog's blog).

In response to that blog, I posted a comment titled Taking a Step Beyond Awe (re-posted to this group), in which I laid out my most basic case for wonderism. You can read the comments to that blog to see the kinds of things Fred was tenacious enough and curious enough to drag out of me.

I adopted the idea of 'wonder' as the root concept in my own personal philosophy sometime in 2005. But I've been rather slow to come out in public about my ideas. It took about a year before I made my first public post discussing some of my early ideas about the concept of wonder on the Infidel Guy's atheist forums, as A case for wonder.

Since that time, I've been slowly but continuously working out the ideas and concepts of my own personal philosophy, which I eventually called 'wonderism'. You can find some various posts where I mention these ideas on the Rational Response Squad forums via a search for 'wonderism'. I also made a few videos touching on some of the themes of wonderism on YouTube under the username wonderist.

But, in my discussions with Fred, I've realized that I am now confident enough with my ideas that it's time to open up and start putting them into action. And so, I started this group with the intention of making the idea of wonderism public, and 'open source', so to speak.

After all, I do not claim wonderism as 'mine'. I have worked on my own version of it, but I consider the name 'wonderism' to be a generic name for a particular kind of philosophy, in much the same way that 'pragmatism' has historically been the name given to a variety of different philosophies by a variety of different philosophers, but which -- through their shared basis on a single core idea -- are all fundamentally pragmatism.

The core idea of wonderism is obviously the concept of 'wonder'. So, I would consider as wonderism any philosophy which uses wonder as the foundational stance toward experiences of awe. When the choice comes down to wonder or terror, in the face of the unknown, wonderists choose wonder. Everything else flows from that basic decision. But different people will have different ways of discovering and expressing wonder, and so I expect that there will be many different philosophies of wonder to explore.

In the mean time, I intend to use this group to share my experiences and understanding of my own variation of wonderism, and I hope many other people will join in and lend their own voices to the chorus. There is strength in unity as a group, but there is also strength in diversity as individuals.

And so, I guess I can feed your curiosity in two ways. 1) The group will take the direction that the contributing members take it, but 2) I'm confident it will be in the direction of greater wonder, and less terror.

Some basic ideas to give you a flavour of what you can expect from my variation of wonderism: I'm an unapologetic atheist, naturalist, pragmatist, physicalist, rationalist. I'm inspired by evolution, science fiction, imagination, intuition, all forms of culture, heroes like Carl Sagan. I strive for non-violent resolution of conflict, rights and freedoms, secularization of government, environmental sustainability, cultural and technological advancement, a vision for the future.

Tags: Carl Sagan, awe, aweism, naturalism, open source, philosophy, pragmatism, unapologetic, wonder, wonderism

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