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WHAT IS AWE?

How is it universal across cultures?

You might experience awe when you see a baby being born.   Or you might notice a sense of awe when viewing a Natural Wonder.   AWE is defined as a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder.  It may surprise you to know that research indicates that AWE provides positive health benefits, improves cognitive abilities and encourages us to be our better, more generous selves. 

 

“Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world. Early in human history, awe was reserved for feelings toward divine beings, like the spirits that Greek families believed were guarding over their fates.

In 1757, a revolution in our understanding of awe began thanks to Irish philosopher Edmund Burke. In A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, Burke detailed how we feel the sublime (awe) not just during religious ritual or in communion with God, but in everyday perceptual experiences: hearing thunder, being moved by music, seeing repetitive patterns of light and dark. Awe was to be found in daily life.”   Dacher Keltner

For more on why we feel awe, explore the following link:

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_do_we_feel_awe

There are words for AWE in many cultures and in the following video, Dr. Jennifer Stellar discusses how AWE transcends culture.

(If you cannot see the video below on your device, click here).

 

To explore the level of AWE in your life, take this quiz administered by the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, then use the comments section below to let us know what instills AWE in your life.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/16

 
 

 
 
 
 
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