Lesley Hazleton on Doubt and Awe

This TED talk is the best I’ve seen for addressing issues of mystery and awe. In it, Lesley Hazleton discusses the core mystical moment of Islam in which Mohammed experiences the Divine. Rather than experiencing certainty of conviction, she discusses how Mohammed was “overwhelmed by doubt” and felt a great “primordial fear,” best described as a kind of “terrible awe.” She raises questions more generally about how we increasingly seem to prefer certainty in order to feel comfortable and, all too often, avoid the genuinely human realization that not everything can be well-explained. Pride and arrogance unfortunately have come to replace the experience of “real awe” for many people.


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