Remember to Stay Surprised

Two and a half years ago, I started a blog called StaySurprised. Not for a particular reason or on a particular subject. Just because I felt the urge to ‘write off’ things I saw around me and which triggered a reaction or a thought on my side. Without looking for a major crowd, I decided to make it a public blog as ‘life is for sharing’.

It has always been great fun writing the blogs. It made me think more thoroughly on subjects that interested me and gave them meaning. I still regularly think back and share stories like Joshua Bell’s Subway Show, the collector of White Albums and Jane Elliott’s Blue/Brown Eyes Experiment. To this day the insights I received from this blog shape the way I want to look at the world around me. But also blogs like ‘Things You’d Better Not Mix Up’ gave me a lot of laughs.

The most heartwarming experience I have gotten from the blog was one I actually never shared before. I was looking to buy a domain for StaySurprised, when I found a website with a URL I wanted to use. Thinking it was a little odd, I mailed the owner of the domain if he was willing the sell or transfer the domain. He wrote me back: “After my mother passed away, I bought the domain for my dad. We then build the site together, so he could have his own place online. He loves it and spends time there daily. I would never sell the domain, not for 1 million dollar!”

You could say the blog made me look at the world in a different way, a different perspective, a more open view. That’s why (thinking about a name for the blog) I decided to call it StaySurprised, my way to share an open view to the world and not just accepting things as they cross by. That way, I would always remember to do the same thing.

Nevertheless, time went by. As my studies proceeded, things got busier. I started working more and more and got other interests. I noticed I wrote less and less. Which was just fine, this happens.

Lately it feels like life moves faster than I can handle. A lot of responsibilities (for things I love to do), endless task lists and less time to overview life makes me feel stuck. Like I’m losing grip, forgetting why I do things. It feels weird, not being able letting go of one of the things I am passionate about, but realizing that living this way would bring me down more and more which is making me feel lost. That is why I decided to read more into philosophy, as I knew the foundation of philosophy is based on the questions ‘Who are we?’ and ‘What is our purpose?’

After some research I decided my starting point would be two books. Two stories that got into the essence of philosophy. Two children books (which is not a coincidence) called The Little Prince and Sophie’s World. I ended up downloading the first one and listening to it on a long roadtrip as I (ironically) could not find the time to read it. I promised myself to free time to read the second one.

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Yesterday I started reading ‘Sofie’s World’. I found a nice place in the sun close-by and left all distractions at home. It got me from the first page as it is so basically and yet requires you to ask yourself the two questions mentioned before. Already in the first chapter there is a certain sentence which is coming back, which (roughly translated) is:

“The only thing we need to become good philosophers is our ability to stay surprised.”

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The Dutch translation for “The only thing we need to become good philosophers is our ability to stay surprised”

Stay Surprised? Suddenly it felt like I could connect the dots. I had to get back the open, surprised and amazed view I had while writing. So here we are. Let’s get back the old feeling and start being amazed again. This is a promise to myself:

Remember to Stay Surprised!

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