Beauty is transcendental

“Beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.” -Imaginary Foundation

The philosopher Joseph Campbell used to say that when we are transfixed by beauty, we are beheld in an aesthetic arrest. We are so transfixed that we stop breathing. We well up inside and experience life lived to the point of tears. Why do we love these experiences so much? We love them because they arrest time and force us to marvel. They allow us to become contemplative beings and enter those head-spaces outside of euclidean space and time. They provide a kind of respite for the human condition.

We temporarily step off the ‘people mover’ that’s carrying everyone else towards death and we become Gods outside of time. We are reveling in an ecstatic illumination, staring into the Sun and being moved by its magnificent opulence. The Universe is singing in rapture and we are just drowning in it! It’s like the last scene in the movie ‘The Fountain’, where Thomas becomes a bubble that explodes in space. There is a kind of mythic death, rebirth and resurrection happening. We smash our sense of separateness in these moments. I think we do it because it is therapy. Awe is therapy.

Freeman Dyson talks about a new age of wonder in which literally a new generation of artists will be writing genomes with the fluency that Blake and Byron wrote verses. We try to dissolve our sense of separateness in temples that morph into electronic Buddhism, with throbbing beats temporarily allowing us to merge with the other. It mirrors Richard Holmes’s book ‘The Age of Wonder’, where he talks about the 17th century artists and the scientists being friends and the astronomers being poets.
The relationship-dynamics that Richard refers to can be though of as the right-brained approach. A more creative side of the same coin. This paradoxical attitude is the key to perceiving a higher sense sense of beauty and hence transcending into an expanded consciousness. I urge you to shift your vision slightly out of focus and see the world for what it really is.

The Neurotic Artist

We might say that both the artist and the neurotic bite off more than they can chew, but the artist spews it back out again and chews it over in an objectified way, as an external, active, work project.” — Ernest Becker

I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between creativity and madness. Timothy Leary famously said,” In order to use your head you’ve got to go out of your mind.” Now this of course implies a willingness to go to unknown places, to visit mental landscapes that are alien. A willingness to sort of leave one’s comfort zone, to recondition one’s thinking, one’s reflexive responses to stimuli and to got to other realms of the mind.

Catalyzing the imagination is like diving head first into the unknown. There’s always a potential of getting hurt.I feel that the mystic and the madman are swimming in the same waters. But the mystic, like an artist –surfing up and down– is bringing back visions and souvenirs from these ecstatic spaces and places.

But at the end of the day the artist does become depleted. The artist is sacrificing a part of himself to bring back those visions that create a phase change in the consciousness of society. He leaves the consensus trance. He leaves our cultural operating systems. He shows us different reality tunnels that gives us a sense of perspective.

We, as consumers of art, pay money for them to take us to spaces that we cannot go by ourselves. They are heroes. They are cultural luminaries! They are madmen that have somehow been able to coax and domesticate their madness towards useful ends! They bring forth ideas that have only functional output and go to awes. They see through the looking glass, tumble down the rabbit hole and somehow return to tell the tale.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/daily-prompt-sixteen/