Art of Wondering

One man's attempt to lead an enriched life in a mundane world.

Seek, Discover, Soar!

The world can easily beat you into dull submission if you let it. The constant exposure and focus on stupidities and senseless distractions doesn’t advance life in any meaningful way. It deters us from growth, improvement and happiness. In the blink of an eye years have passed, nothing has changed, joy evades us.

Discover an alternate road to living. Make a conscious decision to seek another avenue. Put down the social media distractions; curtail the numbness of television; operate outside the soulless day-to-day grind. 

Find your passion, your purpose, your joy.     Embrace the Art of Wondering.

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Don’t Believe Everything You Think

I saw this on a car’s bumper sticker today: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think” It definitely struck me and resonated with what I continually try to focus upon.  Always question your basic beliefs and assumptions.  Objectively (truly objectively) look at all points of an argument or belief.  Use the Clinical Attitude whenever possible. Embrace intellectual integrity and be willing to admit that beliefs you’ve held for many years may be wrong when you’re presented with …

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Sleepthief – Sublunar (Sweet Angel)

Sleepthief – Sublunar (Sweet Angel) Probably my favorite female vocalist for ethereal/dream-pop/angelic/trance-type music, Kristy Thirsk. Hauntingly beautiful (as is all of her music with Sleepthief, Delerium, Balligomingo, and Conjure One). (Featured image by James L. Patterson)

Samson and the Lion by Gleb W. Derujinsky (sculpture)

Samson and the Lion – by Gleb Derujinsky

Samson and the Lion Gleb Derujinsky Limestone, 1949 Brookgreen Gardens – Murrells Inlet, SC Mr. Derujinsky must have been one of Anna Hyatt Huntington’s favorites, as there are numerous scultpures by him on the grounds of Brookgreen Gardens.  And . . . they all seem to resonate with me.   🙂 (All images by the Author: James L. Patterson)

Man Carving His Own Destiny by Albin Polasek (sculpture)

Man Carving His Own Destiny – by Albin Polášek

Man Carving His Own Destiny Albin Polášek Indiana Limestone, 1961 Brookgreen Gardens – Murrells Inlet, SC I very much like the description on the placard sign about the artist’s vision of “man chiseling himself, struggling to hack out his own character, carving his future by the effort of his will.”   This aligns in my mind with an individual’s effort to create the best person they can be during their short sojourn on this Earth – …

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What is Science?

I originally wanted to start the “Science” category with a short series of posts discussing some very basic introductory concepts to serve as a baseline/reference for future discussion.  However, I happened to be in the middle of some great research involving the helical motion of the solar system, so I chose to grab the fire while it was burning and go ahead with that article first. So, stepping back a bit to address the basics …

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Galactic plane at about 60-degrees to the ecliptic - Photo by Hristo Fidanov from Pexels

Helical Solar System Motion Through the Galaxy: Heretical Revelation or Well-known Fact? – Part 2

Part 1 can be found here Summary of Part 1 So . . . . in a similar manner to my experience, we have someone (DjSadhu) discover a fact that: was never before shared with him in any form (school, documentaries, books, web sites, etc.), and was a revolutionary idea totally different from what he did learn, so he had to share his “aha” moment with others. Unlike me (no video animation expertise) DjSadhu produces …

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Galactic plane at about 60-degrees to the ecliptic - Photo by Frank Cone from Pexels

Helical Solar System Motion Through the Galaxy: Heretical Revelation or Well-known Fact? – Part 1

An instinctive visualization? Based on science classes in school, books we’ve seen, images online, and even TV  documentaries, most of us (laypersons) visualize the Solar System something like this or this. We are taught the planets circle the sun in elliptical orbits at various distances and speeds, and for the most part the orbits are very nearly in the same flat, geometric plane (Pluto being the obvious exception) .  Through life we end up carrying …

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Heretic, Part 1 – The path of Casual Catholic, to Born Again Christian, to Atheist, to (maybe) Agnostic

her·e·tic ˈherəˌtik/ noun  – a person believing in or practicing religious heresy 1.1  – a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted. (source: Oxford dictionary) I’ve spent years as a seeker – looking for answers to questions; keys to life; secrets of success; hidden/esoteric knowledge; ultimately the truth.  I think it started sometime in the mid- to late-90s when I was in my late 30s. However, when I really think back …

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“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. . .

I love this quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  – Buckminster Fuller (Featured image by Steve Yelvington on Wikimedia Commons, licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

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Knowing is not enough . . .

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”  – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Featured image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay)

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All truth passes through three stages . . .

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”  – Arthur Schopenhauer (Featured image by Robert on flickr, licensed by CC BY-NC 2.0)

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If you would not be forgotten . . .

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.”  – Benjamin Franklin (Featured image by Chad Cooper on flickr, licensed by CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Paul Cardall – Life and Death

Such a moving and melancholy song.  So wonderfully written and performed. The piano and strings are incredible!  It’s a piece I’d like to have played at my funeral. (Featured image by Debbie D. Patterson)

Carpe Diem, pop-open cards

Carpe Diem!

Over the last several months my wonderful wife bought some really nice pop-open cards, all titled “CARPE DIEM.”  She hides them here-and-there for me to find and writes something sweet on the back of them. After popping open the perforated cover of the card, inside each is a quote that shares an inspiring thought for personal growth and self-actualization.  This is particularly nice because it fits right into the niche I’ve been passionately pursuing for …

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Walking Question Mark

Rosicrucians, because of their world view of questioning everything, are frequently known as Walking Question Marks.  Some applicable quotes from the monograms include: “A true Rosicrucian is a walking question mark.” “A lack of explanations or obscure statements never satisfy a Rosicrucian.” “This is the spirit of the Rosicrucian – a person who is not so quick to accept as truth that which they are told is truth.  Rather, a Rosicrucian is one who is …

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Two Steps From Hell – Heart of Courage

Powerful. Inspiring. Epic. Invincible! I was surprised to hear this being played in the opening video montage at recent University of Louisville football games.  I had heard it numerous times previously on my Pandora shuffle of Delerium, Blue Stone, Sleepthief & Conjure One.  It’s composed by Thomas J. Bergerson and has  been used in numerous film trailers, television shows and advertisements.  This song gives me chills; moves me; envelopes me.  It makes me feel like …

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Elysium's Knot Garden (five years)

Knot Garden

Elysium’s Knot Garden . . . . My wife and I always make a point of visiting gorgeous public gardens when traveling.  The beauty is breathtaking and inspiring!  Of particularly fascination for me are those places that include a “knot” garden.  “Knot,” meaning that two or more varieties of plants are arranged in an intricate pattern and trimmed such that they appear to be a ribbon passing over-and-under each other – giving a knot effect.  …

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Our gardens, 2008

The creation of our gardens – Elysium

My wife Debbie and I cut our teeth attempting our small landscape in our first tiny home.  At that time we couldn’t tell you the name of most plants and shrubs.  We moved into our current home in May 1989.  Although the house was only thirteen years old at the time, it needed work to achieve the potential that Deb and I saw in its structure and grounds. Here are a series of before-during-after photos …

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Cycle of Life by Paul Howard Manship (sculpture)

Cycle of Life – Paul Howard Manship

I share here two versions of the same beautiful sculpture – each with their own unique finish.  The Brookgreen Gardens version is a natural bronze whereas the Speed Art Museum example has a gold finish.  Both are gorgeous!  Paul Manship is one of my favorites.  The theme, particularly with the use of an armillary, is appealing to me!  My garden armillary pales by comparison.  🙂 Cycle of Life Paul Howard Manship Bronze, 1924 Brookgreen Gardens …

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The Lost Pleiade by Randolph Rogers (sculpture)

The Lost Pleiade – by Randolph Rogers

I was completely blown away and mesmerized by this gorgeous sculpture in the Art Institute of Chicago during a 2007 visit.  It evokes such ethereal beauty!  I found myself just sitting for a time gazing in awe. The Lost Pleiade Randolph Rogers Marble, 1875 Art Institute of Chicago (All images by the Author: James L. Patterson)

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Awe & Wonder

A key part of an enriched life is to allow yourself to regularly experience a sense of awe and wonder.  Life without wonder is stale and mundane – a formula for restlessness, anxiety and outright depression. “Wonder is the first of all the passions.”   – Rene Descartes What does “awe” and  “wonder” mean exactly?  Various definitions, Wikipedia entries and online articles define these concepts in a very sterile manner.  A lot of these like to …

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Bull & Bear Pub - Freedom of the Seas (Kunstkammer)

Bull & Bear Pub

This may seem rather trivial to most (I have to remind myself I’m not writing to “most“), but a large part of my appreciation and embellishment for an enriched life consists of surrounding myself with a rich sensory aesthetic that speaks to my inner core.  Therefore, based on my own personal tastes and passions, that aesthetic always involves elements of knowledge, discovery, learning, beauty, truth. On a recent Royal Caribbean cruise with my beautiful wife, …

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The Clinical Attitude Toward Arguments by Peter Suber (an Incredible Truth Tool!)

I first ran across this article in 2008 and was struck by it’s simple yet deeply accurate assessment of critical thinking.  With many things in life, as I grow older the discoveries I made years ago that struck me at the time as extremely important are many times now less inspiring.  However, THIS article is not one of them. 🙂 Peter Suber’s 1,065 words reflect the best representation of intellectual integrity as anything I’ve read …

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Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, Cabinet of Curiosities (old engraving)

Kunstkammer/Wunderkammer (Cabinet of Curiosities)

During the Renaissance period Kings, Princes and other aristocrats who had an intellectual and adventurous bent (and wanted to show off their sophistication and wealth), created what was known as a Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer – a Cabinet of Curiosities. What did those cabinets contain?  Well, first of all, the word “cabinet” most often referred to an actual room – not a traditional piece of furniture.  Nowadays we do have curiosity cabinets; small display units that …

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