Einstein famously quipped: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead — his eyes are closed.” If we agree with the Physicist, then two questions present themselves. The first: Why is the emotion of wonder the most beautiful and important thing we can experience? The second: how may we cultivate a sense of wonder, particularly among the young, where it is most needed…


During high school, I worked as a busboy at a fairly posh restaurant. Our manager was an effective but uptight fellow who had little appreciation for jokes. One day, bored during setup, a friend and I decided to get under the manager’s skin a bit. We took the tray of sugar packets — there were four varieties — and stacked them neatly at the door to the dining hall in four piles, sorted by type. The crew assembled for our pre-shift meeting, and our manager charged down the hall and through the main dining room door. …


Perhaps nothing defines the modern era more than the quest to eliminate essential opposites. This began with the successful search for the laws of nature. As it became more and more apparent that physical phenomena were governed, not by divine fiat, but by quantifiable limitations, it occurred to us that we might alter the world to our benefit. Knowing the law is equivalent to grasping the eidos or form of a thing, by which one becomes capable of reconstructing or redirecting that same object or system. We moderns tend to view ourselves as disconnected observers, hovering above a system of…


Image by Zezya from Pixabay

If you want to silence a crowd, you should ask them earnestly for what cause they would sacrifice their lives — and not just in the abstract, but today if necessary. Faces will darken, a bit of nervous laughter will break out, but you will receive few ready answers. Some might reply that they would be willing to die for their family (this is the socially acceptable response). Perhaps a few would state that they would give their lives in service of their country. By and large, however, expect nothing more than pained silence or canned responses.

I think that…


I was chatting with my family one day and we touched on the subject of sci-fi author Robert Heinlein. I had just begun reading his quintessential work, Stranger in a Strange Land. My dad is a longstanding sci-fi buff and was a great fan of Heinlein in his younger days. While he enjoyed Stranger, he mentioned Heinlein’s earlier work Have Spacesuit, Will Travel as a personal favorite. He told us that if we wanted to understand his personal moral compass, we would find a foundational element in one of the climactic scenes within Spacesuit.

At one point, the protagonist, Kip…


You may have heard of the “Flynn effect”. Named for intelligence researcher James Flynn, this refers to the sustained rise in worldwide IQ scores over the course of the 20th century. IQ tests are standardized by administering the test to a sample group and setting their average score to 100, with a standard deviation of 15. When updated versions of the test are standardized, a new, usually younger sample group takes the updated test and their averaged results are set to 100. Researchers noticed that when these younger subjects take the older tests, they routinely score well above average, indicating…


When a traveler returns from a far-off land, we expect to hear fantastic tales. “What was it like?” we eagerly inquire. When we receive a recounting, we may be skeptical of any exotic elements — after all, embellishment is a traveler’s best friend. As more sojourners report back, however, we begin to trust their accounts if they share common details. Although we may have never spied these foreign shores ourselves, we come to trust these accounts and believe that such a place exists as described.

We do much the same for the physical world, as reported by the sense-extensions i.e…

David Trull

David Trull has worked as a fireworks salesman, forensic tax researcher, railroad logistician, teacher, songwriter, and musician.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store