Flabbergasted Astonishment

If you have ever found yourself sitting across the table in a pub from me after midnight – than you have probably heard my rant about the basis of philosophy being a state of wonder. Of bewildered, flabbergasted astonishment: that existence exists.

All philosophy is an attempt to reply to that question”Wtf is all this? Why is there something instead of nothing?!”

If you read DIY Magic you know it is basically a book on philosophy disguised as a book about magic. So, I was happy to stumble across a book today that seems to be mining the same territory. It’s called “Astonish Yourself” by Roger-Pol Droit, and it came out in 2001 – I’m surprised I hadn’t read it before.

It is simply a list of easy to do experiments designed to make you see everyday life with a fresh perspective. I haven’t read through Droit’s book yet, but I can tell by glancing at his experiments that he totally “gets it”. I am going to try several of these out tomorrow. All too often the boundaries that circumscribe life are simply the ruts of habit, rather than curiosity or playfulness. Below are some examples from Droit’s book that look interesting. ( And ask yourself when the last time was that you tried any of these.)

Empty a word of it’s meaning (by repeating it over and over for 3-4 minutes)

Recall where you were this morning.

Telephone at random

Dream of all the places in the world

watch dust in the sun

Hurt yourself briefly

Drink while urinating

walk in the dark

imagine your imminent death

count to a thousand

try not to think

be aware of yourself speaking

meet up with friends after several years

demonstrate on your own

watch someone sleeping

leave the cinema in the daytime

Get used to eating something you don’t like

Fast for awhile

Plunge into cold water

Listen to a recording of your voice

tell a stranger she is beautiful

beleive in the existence of a smell

walk in an imaginary forest

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