About the Book:
From a foremost expert on the science of emotions and consultant to Pixar’s Inside Out, a groundbreaking and essential exploration into the history, science, and greater understanding of awe
Awe is mysterious. How do we begin to quantify the goose bumps we feel when we see the Grand Canyon, or the utter amazement when we watch a child walk for the first time? How do you put into words the collective effervescence of standing in a crowd and singing in unison, or the wonder you feel while gazing at centuries-old works of art? Up until fifteen years ago, there was no science of awe, the feeling we experience when we encounter vast mysteries that transcend our understanding of the world. Scientists were studying emotions like fear and disgust, emotions that seemed essential to human survival. Revolutionary thinking, though, has brought into focus how, through the span of evolution, we’ve met our most basic needs socially. We’ve survived thanks to our capacities to cooperate, form communities, and create culture that strengthens our sense of shared identity—actions that are sparked and spurred by awe.
In Awe, Dacher Keltner presents a radical investigation and deeply personal inquiry into this elusive emotion. Revealing new research into how awe transforms our brains and bodies, alongside an examination of awe across history, culture, and within his own life during a period of grief, Keltner shows us how cultivating awe in our everyday life leads us to appreciate what is most humane in our human nature. And during a moment in which our world feels more divided than ever before, and more imperiled by crises of different kinds, we are greatly in need of awe. If we open our minds, it is awe that sharpens our reasoning and orients us toward big ideas and new insights, that cools our immune system’s inflammation response and strengthens our bodies. It is awe that activates our inclination to share and create strong networks, to take actions that are good for the natural and social world around us. It is awe that transforms who we are, that inspires the creation of art, music, and religion. At turns radical and profound, brimming with enlightening and practical insights, Awe is our field guide, from not only one of the leading voices on the subject but a fellow seeker of awe in his own right, for how to place awe as a vital force within our lives.
About Peter Mayfield:
Peter Mayfield, Mountain Guide and Social Entrepreneur.
Peter is the founder and Executive Director of Gateway Mountain Center, a youth development organization headquartered in Truckee, innovating how youth learn, heal and thrive. He has enjoyed a 40-year career guiding people into mountain experiences and being an entrepreneur in embodied peak experience. He has traversed a trajectory from world-class climber, to Chief Guide of the Yosemite Mountaineering School, to founder of CityRock, the world's first full service climbing gym. Today, Peter is passionate about changing the system of care for youth in treatment for serious emotional disturbance and in recovery from complex trauma. Gateway's program, "Whole Hearts, Minds & Bodies" is the first Nature-Based, therapeutic program to achieve full service partner contracts with County Behavioral Health Departments and Certification as a Medi-Cal provider.
Why Peter Chose This Book:
A perfect reason to wander and explore is to come upon landscapes, art works, or the inspiring goodness that humans are capable of (moral beauty). All of this to say that to travel is to experience something bigger than and beyond “ourselves”. This is the emotional experience of AWE. In this book psychologist Dacher Keltner goes from the geeky, how our bio-markers of stress respond to this experience, to the profoundly personal, how attending his brother's death was a transformative awe experience. In our work with high-need youth we have been fans of Keltner's work for years, often helping kids get into the space where AWE can happen for them.