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“Have you ever started crying at a live show? Not because it’s sad or even all that emotional, but because the spectacle is so overwhelming that it feels like all your synapses are firing at full capacity and the feeling has to leak out of your body as tears, or yelling, or dancing?
For me, it happens regardless of whether or not I like what I’m watching. I cried at Hamilton during “Satisfied” when time rewound and the stage started turning backward, and that was partially because it was a perfect theatrical moment. But I have also cried at the circus when acrobats did something so impressive that I was pretty sure they might be about to die, which is not something that I think should be that emotional; at superhero movies when the music crescendoes during the final battle, which is really just manipulative on the movie’s part; and during A Star Is Born when Lady Gaga takes the stage and does that “HA-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhhhhh,” which I will allow she is very good at but which is a disconcerting thing to cry at because I truly did not care for A Star Is Born.
My reactions have almost nothing to do with the aesthetics of what I’m watching or my own critical judgment; it’s a physiological reaction that seems to override my brain.
You might call that feeling awe, the awe created by spectacle. It’s been studied by scientists across disciplines, but now Cirque du Soleil — the circus company whose entire brand revolves around creating spectacle and being awe-inspiring — is studying it in the wild. And in a scientific report that will be submitted for peer review and publication, they’ve come to the conclusion that understanding awe can help us understand how to become less anxious and more open.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"We don’t know how many people have died since Cyclone Idai made landfall last Thursday on the coast of Mozambique... The United Nations estimated that more than 2.6 million people are in need of immediate assistance."
"Some of your favorite presidents have tried to pack the Supreme Court. So why does it sound like such an extreme tactic? And how did some of the top Democrats running for president come to embrace it?
"I decided to move from my home in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv to the settlement of Tekoa in the West Bank for a summer. I wanted to make a film about my experiences as I got to know the settlers I’d formed so many conclusions about."
"20 years ago, if you saw something on TV that offended you and you wanted to let someone know, you would’ve had to get a pen and paper and write, “Dear BBC, I’m bothered.” But you didn’t do it because it was too much trouble."
"America’s now trendy socialists mistake accretion for creation when it comes to wealth. This error of convenience serves as self-justification for the left’s policies, by simply assuming wealth will inevitably result...
"Anxious, I asked the Google gods for advice. I expected I’d find something from a lifestyle blogger, or a life coach, or a Reddit thread — the corners of the web that have always been there for me during pivotal life moments..."
"The air is getting more dangerous to breathe all over the world — and a suite of companies are hoping to capitalize with a new fashion item."
"Was the British Empire boring? As Jeffrey Auerbach notes in his irreverent new book, it’s an unexpected question, largely because imperial culture was so conspicuously saturated with a sense of adventure."
"Let’s face it: Few of us marry and then begin planning for divorce or widowhood. But based on the statistics, that is precisely what we should do. I know this viscerally because I recently lost my husband."
"The foodie—as a word, a concept, a person—began life in the early 1980s. New York writer Gael Greene first used the term in a restaurant review, but it was Ann Barr and Paul Levy of England’s Harper’s and Queen who popularized it."
"As Beresheet nears the moon, where it will spend eternity as a 160 kg tin can, experts warn of a growing pile of man-made debris on the lunar surface and more junk in orbit."
" Ilhan Omar in particular has garnered attention for tweets widely viewed by the Jewish community as trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The result has been the most media coverage of anti-Semitism in a decade..."