Jan. 9, 2022, Program

Platform Chair Gena Gardiner


Music: Caroline Hixson, piano


Open Words by Liz Zelman


Music: Caroline Hixson, piano


Awe, Wonder, Personal Transformation and Hope for the Future

Many of us feel despair right now. Despair at climate change and ecological collapse, and all its ill effects ranging from pandemics to loss of natural habitat and destructive wildfires. But despair is not an option. We want to live in a world that is safe and nurturing for everyone to fully experience awe and wonder. We want to preserve such a world for future generations.

Helen De Cruz will argue that we can cultivate the sense of awe and wonder at nature as an antidote against despair. Not as a form of self-soothing or individualized “self-help” but as a genuine catalyst for collective change.

Helen De Cruz holds the Danforth Chair in the Humanities and is Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, US. She is currently working on the book “Wonderstruk: How wonder and awe shape the way we think” (under contract with Princeton University Press, and she has recently edited and illustrated Philosophy IIlustrated: 42 thought experiments to broaden your mind with Oxford University Press (2022).


Music: Caroline Hixson, piano


Closing Remarks