Awe makes people nicer and more charitable toward each other.
Awe makes us feel smaller in relation to the big picture – and that's not a bad thing.
Awe makes us feel like we have more time available.
Awe makes us more patient.
Awe makes us happier.
Experiencing awe can lead to major personal change.
Many astronauts experience profound awe when they see Earth from space.
You don't have to be an astronaut to experience awe.
Calvin: Look at all the stars! The universe just goes out forever and ever!
Hobbes: It kind of makes you wonder why man considers himself such a big screaming deal.
Awe is a fascinating area of psychological research. And it’s a big part of what I’m calling GeoSensibility.
How do you experience awe?
Have you ever had a strong sense of wonder, connection, or mystery when seeing a waterfall, or an eclipse, or a large flock of birds flying over you?
Or in thinking about evolution or the development of languages or any number of other processes that have occurred over eons?
Or in stepping outside your home and seeing the first flower of spring or noticing an unusual cloud pattern in the sky?
Society needs more of this! We are too busy, too preoccupied with getting things done, to cultivate these awe-inspiring experiences. But we need them, and they can be cultivated.
Awe-inspiring experiences don’t have to be magnificent, or far from home, or even natural. I’ve felt awe on the Brooklyn Bridge, in my backyard, and in a concert hall. What about you?
And I’d bet money that a sense of awe increases our desire to protect the planet and its inhabitants and resources. In fact, I think this is generally missing from the science-driven environmental movement and the fight against climate change, and I think that’s a shame. (I’ll talk more about that in the blog).
Want to learn more?
These resources talk about awe and the related research:
- Scientists Are Trying to Solve the Mystery of Awe
- Awesomeness Is Everything: Why encountering vastness makes us more spiritual, generous, and content
- Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time and Enhances Well-Being
And keep reading the GeoSensibility blog for more resources on this topic and to engage in the conversation.