I am here to wonder… Revisited

On 12th August 2018, NASA sent the Parker Solar Probe on a mission into space to be the first to ‘touch’ the Sun. Like many other people around the globe, I follow their work with great anticipation. I am not joking when I insist that I cannot die before any discovery of previous life on Mars would be confirmed. When some time ago there was news of the discovery of possible traces of water on the Red Planet, I exclaimed spontaneously: ‘Motherland!’, which I have to admit sounds ridiculous. And yet, the miracle of life on our planet has fascinated humans for thousands of years. Our eyes were drawn intuitively to the sky at night even before the ancient Egyptians made the stars and their constellations an integral part of their life and afterlife. On every part of the globe, early inhabitants worshipped the Sun, the life-giver.

The development of science and technology over the last hundred years has presented a few theories on how life started. Meteors brought chemical ingredients as precursors for life in addition to those already present on Earth. We know that by a lucky coincidence the forces of gravity placed Earth’s matter in a precise position to the Sun to create later life. Not too close and not too far but just right for carbon atoms (the most important element of life) to bind with other atoms into chains and create complex chemical reactions, even DNA. The other essential element was silicon, which is the main element in rocks building. Today’s silicon intelligence is the only rival to our carbon-built brain.  Only energy was needed in that mix, and creation of life in the fertile soup that our planet was then, could begin over millions of years. When later on, the Earth developed a crusted surface, the gases around it and the presence of water provided the ingredients for life creation. Volcanic eruptions and gravity created the Earth’s atmosphere enabling the process.


Now the Blue Planet is amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful – forests, mountains, rivers, meadows and oceans. Our own achievements – cities with their magnificent cathedrals, other places of worship and culture, parks and gardens, sculptures and fountains, should make us aware and proud of our shared heritage. One life is not enough to see it and admire all.

The photo below shows Sarez Lake in Tajikistan.

Below is shown The Wave sandstone rock formation in Coyote Buttes, Arizona.

Below are shown the Hoodoo rock formations in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

Below is Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire.

My first point is this: knowledge of the amazing chain of coincidences that created our planet should make everyone aware of what a gift and privilege it is to be alive. Primary and secondary school children should be taught over and over again that life is precious and not to be wasted. As Longfellow wrote in his famous verse:

“We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time.”

When I wrote this post originally, the creation of the first in the world Minister for Suicide Prevention had just been announced. Self-harm, sense of isolation, and lack of purpose lead to a continuing increase in the number of suicides, especially among young people. Yet the message is there all the time – from the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”(that every life matters) to the Roman maxim, and lately the same final advice from Professor Hawking, – ‘Look to the stars and not at your feet.’ Why are we not teaching our children this from a very young age in Life Skills lessons? And the other wisdom that should be repeated continuously until it becomes a mantra; we are survivors and there is a solution to every problem. Of course, those people who have a chemical imbalance and need medical treatment are not going to be helped just by discussions.

I am updating this post because on Saturday 15 February 2020, Caroline Flack took her own life. She was only 40 years old. An immensely talented dancer, an actress, a TV presenter, vivacious, a pleasure to watch, kind and likable, she had everything to live for, but could not deal with crippling depression.  I believe that she could have been saved if the people around her hadn’t left her alone. With medical progress advancing all the time, who knows what could be achieved in the mental health section. Such a dreadful waste of a young life. Her death has deeply affected many, including myself, and reminded me of John Donne’s sermon to King Charles I: “… and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”


In one of her last messages, Caroline wrote: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

My second point is that we are here alone, and only a human can help another human being. And while we cannot help everybody, everybody can help someone. One columnist of a national newspaper wrote mockingly: “Everyone is helpful and keeps their promises, and if you believe this, the moon is made of cheese.” I would rather adopt Cary Grant’s remark in one of his films: ‘If only we could be more like humans, we would create Heaven right here on Earth.’ I am writing this because we have let down a whole generation by pretending that ethics don’t matter and we can all do whatever we like. Unfortunately, in reality, this theory leads to chaos and often tragedy. A young man of my acquaintance said to me a few days ago: “Every day when I wake up, I ask myself – why am I here?”

My answer would be Goethe’s – I am here to wonder.

I would also add – I am here to help another, even if it isn’t convenient for me. And I do.

William Blake perfectly described the wonder of our unique world:

“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wildflower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

We all should strive that our children understand their luck in being here because a failure to do so is a crime against humanity. If we won’t protect our children, who will?

A poem by the 19th-century American poet, Emily Dickinson encapsulates my own philosophy of life:

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

Two books published recently both reflecting my belief that life is precious. ‘The House of Glass’ by Hadley Freeman is a memoir of one of the greatest survival stories. The last line of this memoir – Life is worth the trouble of fighting death – stands as a moving testament to that creed.

The second book ‘Things I Learned From Falling’ by Claire Nelson gives a message that life is to be appreciated. The author had a serious injury while falling in Joshua Park. Here is her reflection on the close encounter with death:

“I wish I could say I left the desert a new and improved version of myself. I’m still flawed. I still feel irritated by terribly trivial things. But now when I feel like I’m slipping, I have something to kick my boots against. Gratitude. A mountain of it, so large that at any moment I can stretch out a hand and touch the rock. The life we lead is an unmarked trail, one of ascent and descent. Mistakes will be made. We will get lost. We will fall , and it will hurt like hell. Through falling we find out not only how strong we are, but how glorious it is to be on the trail at all”

14 thoughts on “I am here to wonder… Revisited

  1. I Love it,it sure does entail the reason for our very existence and outlines the good and bad side of things as we go on wondering why we are here and why we should live on


  2. I am so glad that you like this post and its meaning, as I seldom write about my personal view in such strong terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot argue against beauty. In this post you use science, pictures and anecdotes to prove this world’s beauty. I thank you for directing me here. And do not fear that I might fail to enjoy natural scenes and elements. Just to experience them is all what I want; but this life and economy of men want me to toil, stress, lie, do what the men upstairs want. If this life was only beautiful and humourous then I would not fall so deeply into my own disparity. And stress over my economic displacement and what others expect of me and judge of me would not ruin my pleasant disposition. I was born (without being called consulted on the matter) and all I want is a good laugh. Everything else is matterless to me. At least as I navigate disparaging waters and idiocies of men, I can see what beauty you speak-of.


  4. Thank you, Jerrod, I do appreciate your comment, but if I may humbly advise you, to live for a’ good laugh’ isn’t conducive to happiness. You need some goal in your life that will give your purpose, and a chance to leave “your footprints in the sands of time”.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Actually you speak true. Without some goal I have become worse than aimless. I have concocted this plan to leave everything. I think how I might do this everyday. But ultimately this “leave” will be homelessness and death. It is just suicide though I donot call it this. I say “I will go rest myself in nature”. I think my entire quarterlife has been my attempt at escaping. Escape parents. Escape religion Escape bosses. Escape society. Escape life.

    However I sometimes think I want marriage and family but my antisocial behavior blocks me from this goal. And my disposition of “leaving” makes most sense and is most true to me. I naturally always return to this disposition of “leaving”. But what you say is true: people need goals to live.


  6. Jerrod, please READ the post again, even twice because you have not understood its message. It isn’t the goal in life but LIFE itself. If you are a wanderer, you can live in a jungle without any goal but LIVE; the greatest gift is to be born, and you cannot waist this by wanting to ‘leave’, there are thousands if not millions of children, and adults who desperately want to live but are dying of various illnesses, why you, young and healthy talk glibly of ‘leaving’. If I were you, I would be ashamed of such a total lack of compassion for others, just being absorbed in yourself.



  7. Woe. You have seen my Egotism. And you try to give me a good kick in the pants. Good try. But you cannot arbitrate my disposition. Be careful not to be so presumptuous about others.


  8. Also. Just saying being born is a gift does not make it so. I can simply say the opposite.


  9. I have tried logic, but if you are not an analytical person it would be like heating my head on the brick wall, to continue. I was talking about the facts if you think that if I said water is wet, you could simply say the opposite to make it so,, then we are both wasting our time.
    Thank you for your time.



  10. I do lack logic and other capabilities. But water definitely is wet. No argument. But birth is a gift does not follow. Subject and predicate do not match. Birth is not given to me like a gift. It is forced on me for better or worse without my want.


  11. I loved this Joanna, I loved this one. Thank you very much for sharing it with me. You are a wonderful person.


  12. I read your email before I saw your entry here, since my question. Thank you for being such a nice person, 9. yourself. I like this post because
    I wrote it with my heart and I feel strongly, even passionately about the issues I raised there.



    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you again, and be patient.



    Liked by 1 person

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