Why We All Need Awe | KERA News

Why We All Need Awe

Aug 23, 2016

If you’ve ever been on a hike or stared up at the night sky in amazement then you know what it feels like to be awestruck. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with journalist Carlin Flora about why we need to seek out that kind of wonder in our everyday lives.  

 The KERA Interview

Carlin Flora on

… what awe feels like:

“When you feel overpowered say by a natural scene like a landscape of very tall mountains, you do feel so small, but it’s not small in like a humiliating or weak way. It’s small in a relieving way in the sense that, 'I am a part of something much bigger. My worries, therefore, are small.'”

… how you can take comfort in feeling small:

“It’s that kind of vulnerability that can actually make you feel better because if you’re lost in your own mind and your own worries, what is the premise there? The premise is I’m in control of everything and therefore I could mess things up so I have to worry about all these things. But when you’re in the middle of an awesome experience, you’re not in control and that’s actually really nice.”     

 … why feeling awe makes you feel free:

“It’s freeing to feel that you’re not just alone in this struggle to live and thrive. You’re a part of this huge universe that we can’t even really conceptualize and that we know very little about … but at the same time you might say, ‘Ok well I’m just a speck of dust so nothing matters anyway. Why bother?’ But conversely it can make you feel like I’m so lucky to be this speck of dust in this amazing universe.”  

… finding the awe that works for you:   

“Some people don’t get as much of a thrill out of outdoor spaces, but they really love learning about new theories or they like attending a music concert where there is just real synchrony and that’s sort of a transcendent thing for them when people come together and create music that transcends each individual. So it might be a matter of figuring out what really activates that awesome feeling for you.”