“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.