Adam Smith Comics: Wonder, Surprise, and Admiration

art astronomy surprise, wonder, and admiration comics

Douglas Curtis and Jeremy Lott

Where does inquiry begin? Before Adam Smith becomes the "father of economics" he looks at the stars, reads Isaac Newton, and wonders about the nature of the world and the discovery of truth. Get a glimpse here. 
Artist Douglas Curtis and script author and editor Jeremy Lott end with the beginning. In their last comic (for now...) in their series, they show us the ideas of a younger Adam Smith, before An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations and even before The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Smith begins a series of essays on the principles which lead and direct philosophical inquiry but, as far as we know, he only completed one. It was not published in his lifetime but it was also not destroyed along with so many of his other incomplete works. The work talks about why new theories are created, why old theories are abandoned and how truth is discovered. It begins with "wonder, surprise, and admiration."  

Wonder, surprise, and admiration, are words which, though often confounded, denote, in our language, sentiments that are indeed allied, but that are in some respects different also, and distinct from one another. What is new and singular, excites that sentiment which, in strict propriety, is called Wonder; what is unexpected, Surprise; and what is great or beautiful, Admiration.

We wonder at all extraordinary and uncommon objects, at all the rarer phenomena of nature, at meteors, comets, eclipses, at singular plants and animals, and at every thing, in short, with which we have before been either little or not at all acquainted; and we still wonder, though forewarned of what we are to see.

We are surprised at those things which we have seen often, but which we least of all expected to meet with in the place where we find them; we are surprised at the sudden appearance of a friend, whom we have seen a thousand times, but whom we did not at all imagine we were to see then.

We admire the beauty of a plain or the greatness of a mountain, though we have seen both often before, and though nothing appears to us in either, but what we had expected with certainty to see.