“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.
Is going to war human nature? Is this our natural state? There is no REAL human nature. Just a figure of speech to examine our current state. It’s kind of self-evident. Think about it. If all of this stuff, if all of the effort that is put in daily through the media, through everything we see in the news, everything we see through sports, constantly in advertising and everything that is pushed into our faces over and over again. If all of that wasn’t there would we be operating in the same way? Would be be stricken with fear? Would we constantly be seeing separation between everybody, judging people based on what they’re doing, wearing and how they’re acting?
All of this stuff is constantly needing to be there because if it wasn’t, we would go back into our natural state. We naturally would fall back to who we truly are. That’s why we see this happen so much. That’s why there is a huge level of effort to put in to keep all of this stuff sustained. If you look at the economy, if you look at the way the world functions, you will realize that it needs so much to stay sustained because it is completely against how we are and how we would function as ‘natural’ human beings.That’s why we’re seeing :
If it was gone, the world would be a completely different place. And that’s why there is so much fear ‘created’ around : “If the system drops what’s going to happen? They know that when it drops, the moment people aren’t affected by the system anymore is the moment that they will go back to their natural state and begin operating in a way that is cooperative, in a way that is community-based, where everybody is helping each-other out in moving forward.
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.