In search of exaltation man is ready to burn Rome, even to destroy himself. It is difficult for a human being to live on the same level, shallow, placid, repetitious, uniform, ordinary, unchanged. The classical form of exaltation is worship. Prayer lifts a person above himself. Life without genuine prayer is a wasteland.
But exaltation is gone from the synagogue, from the church, and also from many a classroom and university. The cardinal sin is boredom, and the major failure the denial to our young of moments of exaltation. We have shaped our lives around the practical, the utilitarian, devoid of dreams and vision, higher concerns and enthusiasms. And our religious leadership suffers from a me-too attitude toward fad and fashion, accommodation and progressive surrender.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 228