What does it mean when we experience wonder and awe?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

     Despite the fact that our lives sometimes seem boring, mundane and perhaps anxiety ridden, it does have its finer moments. We might experience these moments when we hear a particularly beautiful piece of music, witness the glory of a sunset or contemplate the vastness of the cosmos. Perhaps a chill or tingling stretches from head to toe or a tear falls unbidden down our cheek, not of sadness, but of wonder and awe.

     The esteemed philosophers attending the session on November 7 examined the occurrence and dynamics of this human phenomenon. Why the sensation various from one individual to the next depends, in part, on the richness and variety of their experiences. It seems that the more experiences one has, the fewer opportunities one has for experiencing the sensation. This is why we experienced it more as a child than we do as an adult, since everything was new to us in the beginning. Gender differences have an influence on what triggers wonder and awe, but males and females are equally open to having the experience.

     One's fundamental outlook on life will have a decided influence on the experience. If I wake up in the morning full of vim, vigor and vitality, I am more likely to experience a thrill at seeing the sunrise than if I hate getting out of bed. Also, setting aside one's preconceived notions and prejudices contribute toward being open to the experience of wonder and awe.

     The moments of wonder and awe may be rare, and fleeting when they do occur, but they always add to the richness and quality of our lives.

This entry was posted on November 7, 2010 at Sunday, November 07, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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