Awe in our contemporary struggle is not without corporatism and digression from solitude. As we digress we feel closer to a social order and that feeling brings a sense of reward because we are social beings, intended to be together here in this space. However, awe and its lure has long been corrupted. It can be a great social adhesion or a magnified interpersonal diffidence. Romantic empathy consciously integrates the magnified approach of awe from the centered point in the self that shares this presence with the other. It is here that we must make our stand. Recall that we are not forgetful of our past or current disheveled alienation from combined mindfulness, but we do not need to suffer for it to relent from its hold over us.
I have a relative who was in a house fire as a young child. They are elderly now, but are still completely mindful of every outlet in the house – constantly fearful that any plugged in appliance or item is likely to start a fire if not watched. This has made that person’s children conditioned to watch over every plugged in item so as not burn the house down. It is inherited fear caused by childhood trauma. Awe is equally relentless as this impressed upon fear. We inherit bad awe just like some inherit bad religion or bad sociopolitical determinations. Awe can grow just like any other trait. We must only identify it first.
It lives within several sectors of society and the self. Awe lives independently in society in the social conscious. It lives in the individual in the interpersonal consciousness. And additionally awe lives in the crossover reference with the individual and societal overlap. Awe, however, is not a trait that disguises itself. It is easily identifiable. We find awe in social movements, in TV, in protests, in food trends, in the mercies of childhood, and the labor of our younger working years when we are generous with our services. What is key to identifying awe and transforming it is the release of self into a grown, collective appraisal. Think of releasing yourself into another as a literal key that slips through the lock of inter-spread between the social conscious and the interpersonal consciousness.
With the transformation of awe we are able to withstand so many more pressures of social elapse as well as personal struggle, but, more importantly, we can find greater strength in how we related to each other – and by that I do mean to indicate greater strength of cohesion with all of partnered selves: romantically, familial, industrially, and politically. Through a transformation of awe we find a slight rebirth of the efforts of youth in how we pour ourselves into our interests and our passions with a certain blindness to outside criticism as well as an endearment towards the discipline of that specific love.
A romantic empathy approach seizes the strengths of awe and recalibrates it to be our strength. The truth of the matter is that what we find as an individual strength is always shared. What benefits the individual always also benefits the group. Otherwise, it is a selfish and greedy element that is not a true benefit at all. What prioritizes the self is a detriment to the collective. The point you should be taking from this is that every element of self is shared. How we contain ourselves and express ourselves will either benefit or harm others. There are benefits to the self that are truly self-contained. Others will feel it and experience our gifts in one manner or another. It is how we dictate those gifts within ourselves that we have the most immediate control of and easier access to. Start with those elements and watch awe manifest a togetherness inside you.
Painting: Ali Banisadr, Contact, 2013