From knowledge to wonder

Socio-Analysis is rooted in wonder1, and like social dreaming it is subversive of the establishment order whether the mind, the group, or what is thought to  be known,  through  always remaining open to exploration and to asking “But what else is there?”2  To do this requires an unsaturated mind, a mind that Keats identifies as “without any irritable reaching after fact and reason” (Keats, 1952). An unsaturated mind is based in the now or present. With memory, desires, past and future, and knowledge it becomes saturated, and not open to the experience of “O”, Ultimate Reality.

This mind, I suggest, is the same mind as the “Beginners Mind” (Suzuki, 1970) in Zen Buddhism, and the mind of mystics generally.

Sir Francis Bacon is reputed to have said: "When Wonder ceases, Knowledge begins".  I would suggest that Knowledge these days more frequently tends to become property, usually owned by an individual, a University, a Drug Company, a Corporation, or the State. ”Knowledge is Power” as Sir Francis Bacon is also reputed to have said. And through intellectual property laws, trade marks, patents, copyright, and so on, it is also money; meaning money paid to you for ‘knowledge” or property that somebody else needs. The accent is on ownership, and for those that don’t own they pay.

I would also suggest that Knowledge in the forefront of the mind limits wonder. The application of “Knowledge” is perhaps at the heart of the conservative, bureaucratizing , and risk averse behaviour of universities, corporations and the state. 

Wonder, however,  cannot be owned and appropriated for personal, corporate, or public gain. Wonder opens Knowledge to other dimensions which give birth from “not knowing”. The Matrix in Social Dreaming is like a womb awaiting conception. Dreams, like semen, fertilize the Matrix and through associations, and connections shared meanings are grown. These meanings are not owned, in the sense that knowledge may be owned – they are an expression of wonder and become part of our being.

At Soapy Bore3 the elements – wind, heat and desert – beat out of us our supposed knowledge about things and left a space for wonder to arise and for heart and being to be constantly created.


1 Interestingly, Bion never refers to ‘wonder’, although it is at the heart of what he is doing.

2 Besides what is stated to be known. 

3 At Soapy Bore, one notes, there is no individual ownership of land, rather people belong to the “country”.


Keats, J. 'Letter to George and Thomas Keats, 23 December, 1817'. In John Keats, Letters, edited by M.B. Forman, 4th edition, London, Oxford University Press, 1952.

Suzuki, S.  Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, edited by Trudy Dixon, Weatherhill, New York and Tokyo, 1970.