I believe it was the great Catholic theologian of the 20th century Hans Urs von Balthasar who said, “People like awesome.” More recently, Thomas Dubay echoed the sentiments of Balthasar in his book The Evidential Power of Beauty. In fact, the great minds in every epoch of human history seem to agree: People like awesome. But awesome is not something only the philosophers, artists and poets can revel in. Science, too, attests to the universal appeal of awesome things. Numerous studies conducted at prestigious universities have proven to the highest standards of scientific scrutiny a fact romantics have known for centuries: people like awesome. But awesome comes in many forms, some less obvious than others. Certain incarnations of awesome are easily discernible by anyone: a beautiful sunset, a Mozart concerto, kittens, ninjas, chocolate sprinkles. Nobody needs to be told ninjas are awesome. They just know. I think Balthasar said that as well. It is not, therefore, my goal to tell you what you already know. Rather, it is my hope to draw attention to the awesome you might have overlooked. And in doing so, I hope to make the world a better place. For the children.[i]
[i] A long while ago, on my personal blog, I began what was intended to be an ongoing series in tribute to awesome things. I intended to highlight three or four awesome things and write a post honouring them every week or two. Sadly, as is often the case in life, I lost my way. In the end, I only wrote three posts on the topic. Part of the problem was the fact that these posts dedicated to awesome things were intermingled with typical blog posts lamenting the cruelty of Life, the fickleness of Fate, and the worthlessness of Celery. My personal blog simply wasn’t a fitting paean to awesome things. So, I started A Compendium of Awesome Things, and things have worked out much better. Of course, in the transition some changes have been made that the two-ish people who read these entries on my old blog will notice. Some things have been changed around. Posts have been broken up into multiple entries. At times, some things got deleted. Occasionally the result is funnier. At times, it is not. To those people, I extend a heartfelt apology.