Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Awe, Altruism, Guilt, and Tragedy

There is more evidence for the connection between the feeling of awe and the development of altruism. I already discussed this here and here.

The new article points out that we feel awe in the presence of religion, art, and music. I discussed the role of tragedy (which was religious musical art) in creating awe, and Nietzsche discussed the role of music in tragedy. Tragedy was no doubt part of the reason Athens was such a unified society. Athens was also likely one of the first authoritative societies, something we would see in the Roman Empire and most fully in Medieval Christian Europe (also in places like Confucian China). Awe was created in different ways in each society -- the Emperor in Imperial Rome and Confucian China, God in Medieval Europe, and perhaps with the tragedies in Athens -- but its centrality was an important aspect of each.

This also implies that guilt is an important aspect of the awe-altruism connection. I have already discussed the role of tragedy in the emergence of guilt
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