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.
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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/

Vivid Dreams

So my question is, “How do I want to feel?”
I’ve become really interested in the idea of mediating experience of directly engaging the technical material of subjectivity itself; of employing technologies of rhetoric like language, song, storytelling and cinema.
To capture and control attention and thrust one’s subjectivity into a state of deep immersion and absorption is a necessary precursor for any kind of inter-personal persuasion, transformation or education to take place within one’s psyche. Janet Murray in her book ‘Hamlet on the Holodeck’ talks about the fact that as narrative beings we long to be immersed.We long merge with the narrative to obliterate all sense of separation and to be enveloped in the mediated environment-the ‘story world’.We want disappear and come out on the other side. And she says that so powerful is our desire to be immersed that it’s not just that we suspend or disbelieve but we actively create belief using our sophisticated intelligence to reinforce our belief in the ‘story world’ rather than to question it. We actively metabolize belief in the story. Knowing this, it’s a challenge for the artist as he constructs the cultural technologies of  the 21st century.With our technological desire to virtualize reality we should keep in mind that we have this immense opportunity to artfully and creatively construct these subjective ‘story worlds’.Thus, the narratives of the future have the potential to literally transform what it means to be human, to employ landscapes of mind and turn subjective experience in to a living, breathing painting; a dream that transcends into reality.
This is our opportunity.