Steven F. Freeman

Pursuit of Wonder 2.0

page created: 03/08/2013
page last modified: 03/09/2013

Pursuit of Wonder 2.0 emerges from my own wonder when I meet students in their capstone course who do not have topic ideas and often cannot even articulate areas of interest. Moreover, even some of those who do have topics don’t have any questions.

How is it possible to go through a graduate degree program at a university overflowing with intellectual stimulation – and living in a precipitous world overflowing with problems – without having anything one wants to know?

As I wondered about it, I thought that perhaps that’s just what’s needed – wonder! That perhaps many of us have forgotten how and that perhaps we need a program on how to revitalize the wonder, the questioning of life. I say “forgotten” because every four-year-old knows how to question, yet evidently most people seem to systematically lose this ability, including, alas, many in OD.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dinner-Lecture 5:15 p.m. Inn@Penn (3600 block of Walnut Street – 2nd Floor Hourglass Room)

Writing/Wonder Workshop 6:45 p.m. Organizational Dynamics (3440 Market Street, Classroom C)

Main Event Website

I consulted with dancer/writer Cheryl Pallant, and asked if she might be able to help us:

   Notice things anew     Identify interests

   Notice things askew    Ask questions

And, more generally, how to make the best of an Organizational Dynamics education, by helping each of us to identify:

   What do I want to know?   What do I want to do?

She said she could and called it Pursuit of Wonder 2.0

The concept is that childhood was a time of natural wonder (Wonder 1.0). Then as a teenager and continuing on into adulthood, natural interests and inquiry are squashed by pressures to conform and be “normal”.

But “normal” is no such thing, and a crushed sense of wonder leaves us unable to question, create, innovate, learn, and even know who we are and what we want….

Thus the need for Wonder 2.0.

In her talk, Cheryl will examine with us:

Wonder 1.0: Our innate sense of curiosity

Pressures to Conform: How, as a teenager and continuing on into adulthood and work, natural interests and inquiry are squashed by pressures to conform, be “normal” and keep your nose to the grindstone.

The Cost of Conformity: Loss of wonder leaves us unable to question, create, innovate, learn, even know who we are and what we want.

in the subsequent Wonder 2.0 workshop, she'll lead a series of activities to help us reinvigorate a sense of wonder.


OD student Sarah Chang has set up an event website with more information, and here’s the OD site for the event.

To registration for either dinner, workshop or (preferably) both write to dynamics@sas.upenn.edu (No charge for faculty, Organizational Dynamics students, their guests or members of the Organizational Dynamics Exchange Network.)

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