Just a little more reverence, please, and not so much astonishment.Attributed, admonishing a choir singing Handel's'For Unto Us a Child is Born'.
The point is the seeingthe grace beyond recognition, the ways of the bird rising, unnamed, unknown, beyond the range of language, beyond its noun. Eyes open on growing, flying, happening, and go on opening. Manifold, the world dawns on unrecognizing, realizing eyes. Amazement is the thing. Not love, but the astonishment of loving.1978 Weathering,'Growing, Flying, Happening'.
We are survival machinesrobot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.Richard Dawkins: 1976 The Selfish Gene, ch.2.
Dear Sir, your astonishment's odd: I am always about in the Quad. And that's why the tree Will continue to be Since observed by Yours faithfully,God. See Knox 476:22.c.1924 Reply to Ronald Knox's limerick. The limericks summarize Bishop George Berkeley's philosophy that everything is dependent at all times on the will of God.
We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.shana alexander: The Feminine Eye (1970), p. 169
A man is whole only when he takes into account his shadow as well as himself — and what is a man's shadow but his upright astonishment?Djuna Barnes: Ch. 6 : Where the Tree Falls
Magic is not about having a puzzle to solve. It's about creating a moment of awe and astonishment. And that can be a beautiful thingdavid blaine: Interview with Brett Martin for Time Out New York (April 1-8, 1999, on-line).
It is nearly impossible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings which are excited; wonder astonishment, and sublime devotion fill and elevate the mind .Charles Darwin, in A "pure Excess of Complexity": Tropical Surfeit, the Observing Subject, and ..., p.231
...such a one is agitated with a salutary astonishment; is affected with the highest and truest love ; derides vehement affections and inferior loves, and despises the beauty which he once approved.Plotinus, in The Platonist, Volume 1, p.166
. . . I in my astonishment said: What do you mean Dionysodorus? I have often heard, and have been amazed to hear, this thesis of yours, which is maintained and employed by the disciples of Protagoras and others before them, and which to me appears to be quite wonderful , and suicidal as well as destructive , and I think that I am most likely to hear the truth about it from you. The dictum is that there is no such thing as a falsehood ; a man must either say what is true or say nothing. Is not that your position?Plato, in The Dialogues of Plato: Charmides. Lysis. Laches. Protagoras. Euthydemus. Cratylus. Phaedrus. Ion. Symposium (Google eBook), Macmillan, 1875, p.211
To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it.Alan Watts, 
It was too late to take risks now. I asked Tenzing to belay me strongly, and I started cutting a cautious line of steps up the ridge. Peering from side to side and thrusting with my ice axe, I tried to discover a possible cornice, but everything seemed solid and firm. I waved Tenzing up to me. A few more whacks of the ice–ax, a few very weary steps, and we were on the summit of Everest.It was 11:30 AM. My first sensation was one of relief — relief that the long grind was over, that the summit had been reached before our oxygen supplies had dropped to a critical level; and relief that in the end the mountain had been kind to us in having a pleasantly rounded cone for its summit instead of a fearsome and unapproachable cornice. But mixed with the relief was a vague sense of astonishment that I should have been the lucky one to attain the ambition of so many brave and determined climbers. I seemed difficult to grasp that we'd got there. I was too tired and too conscious of the long way down to safety really to feel any great elation. But as the fact of our success thrust itself more clearly into my mind, I felt a quiet glow of satisfaction spread through my body — a satisfaction less vociferous but more powerful than I had ever felt on a mountain top before. I turned and looked at Tenzing. Even beneath his oxygen mask and the icicles hanging form his hair, I could see his infectious grin of sheer delight. I held out my hand, and in silence we shook in good Anglo-Saxon fashion. But this was not enough for Tenzing, and impulsively he threw his arm around my shoulders and we thumped each other on the back in mutual congratulations.edmund hillary: "Adventure's End" in The Norton Book of Sports (1992) edited by George Plimpton, p. 85
If I behold a statue of some excellent master, I say with my self: "When wilt thou know how to chizzle away the refuse of a piece of Marble, and discover so lovely a figure as lyeth hid therein? When wilt thou mix and spread so many colors upon a Cloth, or Wall, and represent therewith all visible objects, like a Michael Angelo, a Raphaello, or a Tizvano? If I behold what invention men have had in comparting Musical intervals, in establishing Precepts and Rules for the management thereof with admirable delight to the ear, when shall I cease my astonishment? What shall I say of such and so various instruments of that Art? The reading of excellent Poets, with what admiration doth it swell anyone who attentively considereth the invention of concepts and their explanation? What shall we say of Architecture? What of Navigation? But, above all other stupendous inventions, what sublimity of mind was that in him, that imagined to himself to find out a way to communicate his most secret thoughts to any other person, though very far distant from him either in time or place, speaking with those that are in the Indies, speaking to those who are not yet born, nor shall be this thousand, or ten thousand years? And with how much facility? but by the various collection of twenty-four little letters upon a paper?Galileo Galilei, The Systeme of the World: in Four Dialogues (1661) translation of Dialogo sopra i Due Massi Sistemi del Mondo (1632)
I don't know what God is, or what God had in mind when the universe was set in motion. In fact, I don't know if God even exists, although I confess that I sometimes find myself praying in times of great fear, or despair, or astonishment at a display of unexpected beauty. There are some ten thousand religious sects — each with its own cosmology, each with its own answer for the meaning of life and death. Most assert that the other 9,999 not only have it completely wrong but are instruments of evil, besides. None of the ten thousand has yet persuaded me to make the requisite leap of faith. In the absence of conviction, I've come to terms with the fact that uncertainty is an inescapable corollary of life. An abundance of mystery is simply part of the bargain — which doesn't strike me as something to lament. Accepting the essential inscrutability of existence, in any case, is surely preferable to its opposite: capitulating to the tyranny of intransigent belief. And if I remain in the dark about our purpose here, and the meaning of eternity, I have nevertheless arrived at an understanding of a few modest truths: Most of us fear death. Most of us yearn to comprehend how we got here, and why — which is to say, most of us ache to know the love of our creator. And we will no doubt feel that ache, most of us, for as long as we happen to be alive.jon krakauer: Author's Remarks
The history of a man's soul, even the pettiest soul, is hardly less interesting and useful than the history of a whole people; especially when the former is the result of the observations of a mature mind upon itself, and has been written without any egotistical desire of arousing sympathy or astonishment. Rousseau's Confessions has precisely this defect – he read it to his friends.mikhail lermontov: A Hero of Our Time
A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time, and still more so as a mental development - a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production of the human mind indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind."Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, pp. 526-527.
I have written almost all my life. My writing has drawn, out of a reluctant soul, a measure of astonishment at the nature of life. And the more I wrote well, the better I felt I had to write.In writing I had to say what had happened to me, yet present it as though it had been magically revealed. I began to write seriously when I had taught myself the discipline necessary to achieve what I wanted. When I touched that time, my words announced themselves to me. I have given my life to writing without regret, except when I consider what in my work I might have done better. I wanted my writing to be as good as it must be, and on the whole I think it is. I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times — once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say.Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one's fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to re-form it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing: The men and things of today are wont to lie fairer and truer in tomorrow's meadow, Henry Thoreau said.I don't regret the years I put into my work. Perhaps I regret the fact that I was not two men, one who could live a full life apart from writing; and one who lived in art, exploring all he had to experience and know how to make his work right; yet not regretting that he had put his life into the art of perfecting the work.Bernard Malamud: Address at Bennington College (30 October 1984) as published in "Reflections of a Writer: Long Work, Short Life" in The New York Times (20 March 1988)
The time comes in the life of each of us when we realize that death awaits us as it awaits others, that we will receive at the end neither preference nor exemption. It is then, in that disturbed moment, that we know life is an adventure with an ending, not a succession of bright days that go on forever. Sometimes the knowledge come with the repudiation and quick revolt that such injustice awaits us, sometimes with fear that dries the mouth and closes the eyes for an instant, sometimes with servile weariness, an acquiescence more dreadful than fear. The knowledge that my own end was near came with pain, and afterwards astonishment, with the conventional heart attack, from which, I've been told, I've made an excellent recovery.william march: Entitled "Poor Pilgrim, Poor Stranger", Found in the typewriter the morning of his death.
...when the test results came back, everything went silent. I don't know if it was from pure astonishment or the overwhelming gratitude of finally having an answer, but a lifetime of words all disappeared except for one. Epilepsy.debarra mayo: Living with Epilepsy, Stayhealthy.com, Nov. 9, 1999
And as for the close connection between philosophy and poetry, we can refer to a little-known statement by Thomas Aquinas in his Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics [I, 3]: the Philosopher is akin to the Poet in this, that both are concerned with the mirandum, the "wondrous," the astonishing, or whatever calls for astonishment or wonder. This statement is not that easy to fathom, since Thomas, like Aristotle, was a very sober thinker, completely opposed to any Romantic confusion of properly distinct realms. But on the basis of their common orientation towards the "wonderful" (the mirandum — something not to be found in the world of work!) — on this basis, then, of this common transcending-power, the philosophical act is related to the "wonderful," is in fact more closely related to it than to the exact, special sciences; to this point we shall return.josef pieper: pp. 68–69
And in this, that philosophy begins in wonder [Plato, Theaetetus 155d], lies the, so to speak, non-bourgeois character of philosophy; for to feel astonishment and wonder is something non-bourgeois (if we can be allowed, for a moment, to use this all-too-easy terminology). For what does it mean to become bourgeois in the intellectual sense? More than anything else, it means that someone takes one's immediate surroundings (the world determined by the immediate purposes of life) so "tightly" and "densely," as if bearing an ultimate value, that the things of experience no longer become transparent. The greater, deeper, more real, and (at first) invisible world of essences is no longer even suspected to exist; the "wonder" is no longer there, it has no place to come from; the human being can no longer feel wonder. The commonplace mind, rendered deaf-mute, finds everything self-explanatory. But what really is self-explanatory? Is it self-explanatory, then, that we exist? Is it self-explanatory that there is such a thing as "seeing"? These are questions that someone who is locked into the daily world cannot ask; and that is so because such a person has not succeeded, as anyone whose senses (like a deaf person) are simply not functioning — has not managed even for once to forget the immediate needs of life, whereas the one who experiences wonder is one who, astounded by the deeper aspect of the world, cannot hear the immediate demands of life — if even for a moment, that moment when he gazes on the astounding vision of the world.josef pieper: pp. 101–102
The unphilosophical and philosophical attitudes can be very sharply distinguished (with scarcely any intermediate forms) by the fact that the first accepts everything that happens as regards its general form, and finds occasion for surprise only in that special content by which something that happens here today differs from what happened there yesterday; whereas for the second, it is precisely the common features of all experience, such as characterise everything we encounter, which are the primary and most profound occasion for astonishment.erwin schrödinger: p. 10 (My View of the World (1961))
Good science and good art are always about a condition of awe … I don’t think there is any other function for the poet or the scientist in the human tribe but the astonishment of the soul.derek walcott: Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born (Penguin, 1990), pp. 176
His strange appearance made the people turn round, and this led Alexander to look at him. In astonishment he gave orders to make way for him to draw near, and asked who he was. "Dinocrates," quoth he, "a Macedonian architect, who brings thee ideas and designs worthy of thy renown. I have made a design for the shaping of Mount Athos into the statue of a man, in whose left hand I have represented a very spacious fortified city, and in his right a bowl to receive the water of all the streams which are in that mountain, so that it may pour from the bowl into the sea."Introduction, Sec. 2
As soon as the sound of the Peace-cry of my departing Wife had died away, I began to approach the Stranger with the intention of taking a nearer view and of bidding him be seated: but his appearance struck me dumb and motionless with astonishment. Without the slightest symptoms of angularity he nevertheless varied every instant with gradations of size and brightness scarcely possible for any Figure within the scope of my experience. The thought flashed across me that I might have before me a burglar or cut-throat, some monstrous Irregular Isosceles, who, by feigning the voice of a Circle, had obtained admission somehow into the house, and was now preparing to stab me with his acute angle.edwin abbot: Chapter 16. How the Stranger Vainly Endeavoured to Reveal to Me in Words the Mysteries of Spaceland