Let me suggest a mechanism which explains Keat’s (and my own—and every adult’s [?]) “loss of wonder.”
Part of what we do in using language is pointing to things and making noises so that other people who are experiencing the same thing (presumably) associate the noise to the thing. Now we have a nice way to refer to the “same thing.”
The word “rainbow” then corresponds to more than just the visual input—it is all things associated with the rainbow. It is many things not explicitly associated with. It is a -loose- association. It feels free. It allows room for imagination. It is not serious. The point is that the word “rainbow” is like an arrow pointing straight into our emotional centers at THAT THING which is important (whatever it is) and that we love.
“Reducing” the rainbow to knowledge of light interacting with water droplets has a lot of effects:
1.) Some part of you always thinks of the science, the actuality, the existent when you think “rainbow” from now on. You can’t help it. You can’t just shut it off.
2.) Everything that you -didn’t- know (the wonder, etc.) dissipates since you have reduced the phenomenon to an explanation with a bumper sticker (the qualia associated with the explanation).
3.) Your focus shifts from the experience of the colors, the relation of the colors, etc. to the words associated with the colors.
Words are boring.
Experience is great.
Get these words
Off my plate!