VIDEO: Dr. Kirk Schneider on Enlivening Our Society with Awe Based Wisdom

Watch an excerpt from PsychAlive’s interview with Dr. Kirk Schneider.

Dr. Kirk Schneider – Enlivening Our Society with Awe Based Wisdom

Kirk Schneider:      I also point to some concrete ways that we could potentially address this, you know, in our culture, through child rearing, have some suggestions.  I touched on some of those.  But child rearing being key.

Bringing a sort of an awe based reflection period to the work setting for those who are bold and willing enough to provide that, let’s say, even an hour, an hour and a half a week, gathering workers in an intimate setting to reflect more deeply on what it is they’re doing, the meaning of their work for themselves, for their communities, for those they serve, having a depth facilitator  — it doesn’t have to be a psychologist – but somebody who’s very adept at supporting people to be more present with each other and engage in presence-centered conversation, to hold the container of the group.

I realize some of these things are subversive to a lot of folks.  That’s why they’d all have to be pilot projects.  Let’s see what happens.  But we do have some research that indicates that if workers feel more connected to their work, if they feel more engaged at work, the productivity goes up, the communal feeling increases, the company often profits from it as well as a by-product.

Bringing it into the educational system through the kind of things that Jim was doing with his culture class.  You know, having kids enact stories through history, maybe not just talk about them but enact critical moments, you know, when Socrates was questioning the businessman in Athens and that kind of dialogue that took place and how does it relate to their own lives, what does this mean for you and Johnny or Mary?  What does this mean for, you know, what you’re learning in school.  I mean, a lot of possibilities with it.

Or having kids learn about how cultures throughout history have developed a sense of awe as well as how they’ve become awe depleted and de-vitalized.  Learning about cultures in that very direct way, what have others done to really become more alive?  And what have they done to smash that?  And it also exposes kids more to history and cross-cultural wisdom.

You know, more field trips, I’d say, more critical dialogue about contemporary problems that they’re experiencing in their families, in their communities.  It could be more, much more alive it seems to me, in that way and more awe based in that way.

About the Author

Kirk Schneider, Ph.D. Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D. is a leading spokesperson for existential-humanistic psychology and the recent past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.  Dr. Schneider is an adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University, a founding member of the Existential-Humanistic Institute, and the author/editor of 10 books including The Polarized Mind and Awakening to Awe.

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