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Inspiring Video: The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck

How many times a week do we use the word “awesome” here on Universe Today? While we haven’t kept track, we admit it’s quite often. We feel privileged to be able to share with you the incredible — yes, awesome — images, videos and stories of our exploration of space. And it turns out, being awestruck could actually be good for us.

“Our ability to awe was biologically selected for us by evolution because it imbues our lives with a sense of cosmic significance that has resulted in a species that works harder not just to survive but to flourish and thrive,” writes filmmaker Jason Silva, who has produced this awesome new video about being awestruck.

Based on three different researcher’s work, Silva’s film highlights how having regular experiences of awe makes us feel good, provides a reason to live and love, spurs us to keep exploring and pushing onward, and provides an “unprecedented expansion of human vision.” The video shows many images from space, especially pictures produced by the Hubble Space Telescope, and Silva told Universe Today that this video is actually dedicated to the HST.

Sit back and enjoy the wonder of being awestruck!


Caption: A firestorm of star birth in the active galaxy Centaurus A. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck – by @Jason_Silva from Jason Silva on Vimeo.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Aqua4U July 31, 2012, 4:05 PM

    Shades of Carl Sagan? Tell you what… every time I take my telescope up the mountain to ‘count stars’, I am indeed, awestruck. It’s never boring and always inspirational. When I get home early in the morning after a night of stargazing I carry with me a ‘glow’ of appreciation and wonder. As I leave my mountainside star gazing spot, I always stand in the middle of the empty road, raise my arms up toward the heavens, breathing deeply to get centered, and I whisper silently, “Thank you Supreme Being for the glories above!” And so it is….

    • Torbjörn Larsson July 31, 2012, 7:58 PM

      See stars, therefore gods.

      That takes the sheer awe out of awestruck acceptance of that is and replaces it with what isn’t. That is the exact opposite of the truth and beauty Silva comments on.

      • Aqua4U July 31, 2012, 10:00 PM

        Gods? No.. I prefer the infinity within. If you’d ever take the time to silence the ‘monkey chatter’ of your brain and listen to your soul.. you might actually hear SPIRIT whispering “I AM.”

  • Richard Owen July 31, 2012, 6:29 PM

    I am as awestruck as I am pizzed off by all video and documentary makers who use “background” music and sound effects that drown the narration, I have tinnitus that melds all sounds into a cacophony of undecipherable noise, I enjoy very few doc’s & vid’s these days as I have to turn the sound off…

    • Aqua4U August 1, 2012, 4:32 PM

      @Richard Owen – What kind of audio card does your computer use? what speakers or earphones? It may be that your equalizer is not set correctly to compensate?

  • IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE July 31, 2012, 8:07 PM

    And it turns out, being awestruck could actually be good for us.

    “Our ability to awe was biologically selected for us by evolution because it imbues our lives with a sense of cosmic significance that has resulted in a species that works harder not just to survive but to flourish and thrive,” writes filmmaker Jason Silva, […].

    Then something must have gone wrong with human evolution when bloody Lady Gaga has over 27 million followers on Twitter!

    • Torbjörn Larsson July 31, 2012, 8:20 PM

      An old artist can have a large crowd. Go, Gaga!

  • Torbjörn Larsson July 31, 2012, 8:20 PM

    Jason Silva is a philosopher, with a philosophic just so story to tell.

    He relies on two philosophic works and a study that establish that awe exists and has some observable characteristics. The hypothesis that it has evolved, as opposed to be among the many epiphenomena of the mind suggested elsewhere, isn’t tested what I can see.

    He is engaging, I’ll give him that.

    • Doug Black August 1, 2012, 1:17 AM

      I found him rather annoying. He’s so freakin’ …earnest. I expected his speech to turn into an Amway presentation at any second.

      Great graphics though.

      • bugzzz August 1, 2012, 4:50 PM

        Given the general dearth of earnestness (as opposed to cynicism) I will choose earnestness and enthusiasm for life every time.

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