Why Do We Experience Awe?

“What the science of awe suggests is that opportunities for awe surround us, and their benefits are profound.”

“Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world.”

“My colleague Jonathan Haidt and I have argued that awe is elicited especially by nature, art, and impressive individuals or feats, including acts of great skill or virtue… Biographers routinely discover this in their studies of innovators. Awe drives people to paradigm-shifting discoveries and new technologies. Such was the case of Darwin, Muir, and Einstein.”

~ Dacher Keltner

Photo of a living bristlecone pine tree
The term bristlecone pine covers three species. One of the three species, Pinus longaeva, is among the longest-lived life forms on Earth. The oldest known Pinus longaeva is more than 4,800 years old, making it the oldest individual of any species.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jade Wood says:

    For me, awe is a reminder of a buried part of us that has something to say.

    As human, I think, we first experience awe with our parents. But the first time we experience awe knowing it, is stronger, especially because you can’t really talk about it, you just look at it with big, interested eyes.

    For me it was someone that I admired a lot for her cleverness, and her look on her face that said « I know what I want, I know who I am, I know what I’ve got ». She seemed to just know everything. That was the source of my awe. My will to be someone who know things, just like her. I think we see awe in someone or something, or anything else, when it is something that we want deeply.
    Then awe makes us want to do something about it.

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