This post is inspired by this Medium article
Awe is a word that we use quite often, usually in the form of “awesome” or “awful.” These words have become so commonplace that their meaning has been diluted and applied to anything slightly out of the ordinary. Awe is defined as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.” As exciting as getting an A on a test is, I’m pretty sure that sticker is lying to me. I don’t think that my 97 gives me a feeling of respect mixed with fear or wonder. Awe in itself has seemed to change in the last few years with the advent of technology.
In the past, traveling meant seeing places that were beyond the scope of your understanding, a place that you may have heard described but you have no idea what it looks like. The availability of pictures make it that everyone knows Machu Picchu and grandeur without ever seeing it. When people actually go there, any level of awe is diminished by that prior knowledge.
The man who aims to bike across the world told the writer of Medium piece that awe is still attainable today, “but it never comes from the stuff the Lonely Planet informs me I should be awestruck by. It’s the stuff that arrives unannounced.” I think that this statement might be the most important line of the piece. The world has changed. Travel no longer will bring awe to most people by seeing the greatest landmarks, but the smallest things have the possibilities to bring us awe. Some avenues of awe may have closed, but others are opening up constantly. Yeats had the right idea when he said, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
Awe has changed. We no longer live in a world where we know so little that every day is a discovery. We live in a world that we hold all human knowledge in our pocket. Yet, this doesn’t mean we cannot feel awe. Anyone can feel awe, but they need to be like a child, marvel at everything. If we want to appreciate the incredible world that we live in, we have to take a few moments to notice everything. For example, most of us take our morning commute for granted, but have you ever just sat and paid attention to the awesomeness (real use not current use) of the fact that you travel to work with these magical marvels of engineering that let you fly across roads at speeds that the human body could never reach by itself? Have you ever considered that the shirt that you’re wearing has probably seen more countries than you have? Have you considered how awesome the world is?