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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 Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"