wonder

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

wonder

For Baader, wonder is linked to admiration (Werke 1, 27); St. Martin wrote a treatise on admiration; it is a primitive law of our being. Wonder is the need for our soul to go out of time (Zeit 28).

The spirit of man proceeds or moves out of wonder. That is why it does not rest until that which is worthy of wonder has been penetrated [durchgedrungen] (Philosophische Schriften I, 83). Wonder is distinguished from blind and stupid ‘Angassen” (Philosophische Schriften I, 107; Werke 1, 51, s.4).

I believe that a mere ‘Angassen‘ is our state in naive experience, before it is deepened. Our wonder and love can be directed either upwards towards God or downwards to temporal reality. But even when it is directed downwards, we see the immanence of God, and the supratemporal principles within time. And the completion of theory demands a return to the supratemporal self. In both cases, there is, at least in the final result, a going out of time. And wonder is the need of our soul to go out of time (Zeit 28). The Spirit of humans is restless, and proceeds, goes out of itself only by wonder (Begründung 10).

Admiration comes from love; astonishment is not true knowledge; represents not love but fear. (Werke I, 54 s.19; Susini 60) this is perhabitation without inhabitation (external knowledge) astonishment is servility. admiration is adoration (Fermenta VIII, 23 note).

Baader says that wonder is a free giving of oneself (‘devouement’); the animal cannot wonder, being unfree. And the devil will not wonder (Elementarbegriffe 536). Animals cannot believe nor admire (Werke 4, 27-28)

I also believe that we can relate Baader’s view of wonder to Dooyeweerd’s idea that there is an inherent tendency towards the Origin. I believe that it is also related to Dooyeweerd’s references to movement form our enstasis into the temporal.

It is interesting to compare this idea of wonder to that of ‘awe’ in the Katha Upanishad 6

“Its root is above, its branches below –
this eternal fig tree.
That is the bright one. That is God.
That is called immortal.
On it all the worlds rest,
and no one ever goes beyond it.
This truly is that.

The whole world, whatever here exists,
was created from and moves in life.
The great awe, the upraised thunderbolt –
they who know that become immortal.

From awe of it fire burns;
from awe the sun gives heat;
from awe both Indra and wind and death, the fifth,
speed on their way.

If one is able to perceive here on earth
before the body falls away,
according to that
one becomes fit for embodiment in the world-creations.
As in a mirror, so is it seen in the soul;
as in a dream, so in the world of the parents;
as is seen in water, so in the world of the spirits;
as light and shade in the world of God.”

Revised Dec 27/04; Dec 24/16