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I was running this morning, a long run, a long time for thoughts to wander and stimulus to seep in. By a leafy path and a twisting stream, there was a kid, no more than 12 months old, in a pram, watching ducks, pointing, shrieking, excited, thrilled. A duck disappeared below the waterline and the kid screamed and cried.

I thought to myself as I ran further: I wonder if that kid even knew it was a duck? To him, what is a duck? It could be anything, a bounding dog scaring a child, exciting them to pant-wetting thrills. A koala sleeping, as innocuous as anything, curiously cuddly. A fish, under the water or on a pristine beach, perplexingly beautiful, colorful, enthralling.

All these things have the power to enthral or upset children, to fascinate deeply. But their wonder and power, their simplicity is lost on us adults — why?

We obsess over things to make us feel. We search constantly for “meaning,” something “real,” some inspiration. We trawl websites, magazines, “newsfeeds,” blogs and TV shows. We look to our peers, to “friends” online, to those we believe are “successful” or “high achievers.” Clicking, swiping, tapping, uploading, downloading, sharing, liking — it’s all 2D, synthetic, diluted, controlled, agenda-laden, artificial, synthetic , and it doesn’t seem to be working.

Why did we forget? How did we forget? The things that once made us feel the most, think the most, be the most — the things that filled us with the most wonder and awe and excitement and new emotion, unfelt and wild, were once those ducks on the stream?

— Carlos Hurworth