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Secular Sources on Our Need For Awe

The March/April 2016 issue of Psychology Today attempted to give readers several reasons to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder with their article "It's Not All About You!" The article mentioned the following secular sources about our need for awe and wonder:

  • University of Pennsylvania researchers defined awe as the "emotion of self-transcendence, a feeling of admiration and elevation in the face of something greater than the self."
  • A popular theoretical physicist wrote: "Awe gives you an existential shock. You realize that you are hardwired to be a little selfish, but you are also dependent on something bigger than yourself." Being enraptured is a way "to remove the tyranny of the ego."
  • Therapist Robert Leahy, PhD writes: "Awe is the opposite of rumination. It clears away inner turmoil with a wave of outer immensity."
  • Social scientists have found that when people experience a sense of awe, they feel more empathetic and more connected with others. One scientist concluded, "Wonder pulls us together—a counterforce to all that seems to be tearing us apart."
  • The Wharton School of Business evaluated the New York Times' most emailed articles and found that the ones that evoked awe were the most shared.

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