Anthony horton

Places:  Placed of Awe, Life and Health

On the cusp of releasing my novel Unpaved, a narrative with threads of nature’s awe and the raw connections it fosters, I am compelled to reflect on a recent study that resonates with the core of my storytelling. Dacher Keltner’s research into the ‘8 Wonders of Life,’ a profound exploration into the facets of awe that bind us across continents and cultures.

Drawing stories from 26 diverse nations, Keltner’s work illuminates the universal quest for awe – a quest that transcends boundaries, languages, and traditions. From the moral beauty encapsulated in acts of kindness and courage to the collective euphoria of movement in dance, sports, or music events, these wonders are the very essence that Unpaved seeks to capture. The novel is an ode to the awe found in nature’s majesty and the profound reflections it beckons, mirroring Keltner’s assertion that nature stands as one of the most potent sources of awe.

Keltner’s study delves into music, visual design, spirituality, big ideas that challenge our intellect, and the life cycle’s awe-inspiring continuum. These elements, particularly moral beauty and nature, resonate deeply with the thematic undercurrents of Unpaved. The novel not only ventures into the awe of the natural world but also celebrates the human spirit’s capacity for kindness, courage, and resilience – aspects that Keltner finds universally awe-inspiring.

Keltner’s research posits that experiencing awe – whether through a sunset’s splendor, a melody that stirs the soul, or the altruistic acts we witness in others – can significantly enhance our well-being. It’s a testament to the power of awe to heal, connect, and elevate our spirits, a theme that is central to both his study and the narrative journey of Unpaved.


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