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Bridging science and spirituality, Fuller makes the convincing case that a sense of wonder is a principal source of humanity's belief in the existence of an unseen order of life. Like no other emotion, he argues, wonder prompts us to pause, admire, and open our hearts and minds. Chapters examining emotions in evolutionary biology and the importance of wonder in human cognitive development alternate with chapters on John Muir, William James, and Rachel Carson, whom Fuller identifies as "exemplars of wonder." The writings and lives of these individuals express a functional side of emotion: that the very survival of life on earth today may depend on the empathy, compassion, and care that are aroused by a sense of wonder.
"Fuller places his own book within the larger project to understand 'spirituality in the flesh'. He has earned the reader's esteem by the care with which he establishes his categories."
— Journal of Religion
"Fascinating—a must read for anyone who is curious about the human instinct to believe in the unknown."
Dean Hamer, author of The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes
"This exciting, groundbreaking inquiry. . . . invites us to think about religion in a new way."
John Corrigan, Florida State University
"The thesis of Wonder is a tight and telling one—it throws new light on a number of intellectual topics."
Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University
1 Introduction 1
2 Emotion and Evolution 16
3 A Life Shaped by Wonder: John Muir 42
4 Adaptation and Humanity's Appetite for Wonder 54
5 A Life Shaped by Wonder: William James 69
6 Wonder and Psychological Development 80
7 A Life Shaped by Wonder: Rachel Carson 101
8 Experience and Personal Transformation 110
9 Wonder, Emotion, and the Religious Sensibility 135
Suggestions for Further Reading 183