Dacher Keltner is a scientist who has been studying happiness and well-being for decades. He writes that he’s taught happiness to hundreds of thousands of people around the world and that twenty years into teaching happiness, he’s actually found an answer to how to live the good life: find awe.
To that end, he’s written a new book called Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life.
The book was not only moving, fascinating and thoroughly researched, it also raised lots of really important questions for us. Among the most important was what implications his research on awe has for religious people. It seems like what Latter-day Saints call “feeling the Spirit” has a strong connection to what Dacher refers to as awe, and we were able to ask Dacher about that. While he’s not a traditionally religious person himself, his exploration of awe has led him to believe that there is a realm of understanding and human experience that is beyond scientific explanation.
On a really practical level, Dacher’s book, and the conversation with him, helped us understand how we can integrate awe into our everyday lives, and illustrated the astounding benefits that an “awe” practice can have for each of us.
Dacher received his PhD from Stanford University in 1989 before joining Berkeley’s psychology department in 1996, where he’s been ever since. Over 500,000 people have enrolled in Dacher’s EdX course, The Science of Happiness, and he’s the host of the podcast also called The Science of Happiness.