Cultivate Awe

Hubble Telescope "Cat's Eye" Nebula

Hubble Telescope “Cat’s Eye” Nebula

Are we becoming harder to impress? Harder to fall into states of awe?

I guess technology has the potential to do this to us. As we advance, the ‘awe’someness that once was becomes mundane. We carry computers/TV’s/cameras in our pockets, we’ve been to the moon, we’ve looked into the far reaches of space.

But should we be any less moved by life today than we have in the past? At its core, life is still a complete mystery and amazingly ‘awe’some.

As the great Walt Whitman once said:

“As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love,
Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon…
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown,
Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring…
What stranger miracles are there?”

Life is awesome and we need to treat each and every second as the miracle that it is. We live at an amazing point in history when the advancements seem exponential. Growth is speeding along, but we should not let this numb us to the awe.

In fact, it is in the best interest of our minds, our spirit, and our health to cultivate awe as much as we possibly can.

The title of a new Stanford study tells us all we need to know: Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being.

Apparently, watching awe-inspiring vidoes makes you

  • less impatient,
  • more willing to volunteer time to help others,
  • more likely to prefer experiences over material products,
  • more present in the here and now, and
  • happier overall.

We all need to cultivate awe, and to get us started, here’s a great video about “The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck” from Jason Silva.

I mentioned Jason in a post earlier this year. This dude is RAD. He is out there in such a great way. Will all of his ideas come true? Who cares? He’s making us think with his “shots of philosophic esspresso,” and the Dude digs. Keep on preaching Jason.


Indeed, A Small Group Can Change the World!

Small Group = Change

Small Group = Change

The other day I posted a video of a 12 year old dropping some serious knowledge about how The Man is hosing us with an economic/banking/big-business system that is clearly broken. The video is well worth the 6 minutes it takes for Ms. Grant to break it down to terms even a 12 year old can understand.

The end of the video closed with a vote by Margaret Mead…

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

And now there seems to be evidence that Ms. Mead is right on. A recent study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrates that the tipping point for spread of ideas is 10%.

10%! That’s amazing. We can change the world with a 10% consensus. Think about that.

Now, the Dude’s padre is a statistics professor who continually reminds anyone who will listen that many studies are not performed well, and the results are questionable. So, we should take this study with a grain of salt, but it’s interesting none-the-less. And if it is even remotely accurate, there are far-reaching implications for the ability to make significant changes to the world we live in. By the way, RPI is a pretty reputable school.

Here are a couple impressive quotes from the researchers/studies:

  • “When just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.”
  • One of the researchers observed, “When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority. Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

Thanks to Tom Woods for sharing.