Jason Silva on the Experience of Blissed-out Perception of Beauty

.@JasonSilva on the #Experience of #Blissed-out #Perception of #Beauty
“The aesthetic experience is a simple beholding of the object…you experience a radiance. You are held in aesthetic arrest.”
— Joseph Campbell
They say that an “aesthetic experience” is an altered state of consciousness… This perceptual experience in which you are shaken… in which you are perhaps decentered, actually transforms the neural chemistry of the brain.

So if aesthetic experience as an altered state of consciousness, what are the chief characteristics of this altered state of bliss? What does it take perceptually to experience a work or an object of beauty? What is going on? What is that neurology of that blissed-out perception of an object of beauty?

I particularly love aesthetic experiences because they seem to archetypalize the world. They seem to turn any object into something that stands for all of its “class.” A landscape looks like a landscape painting. A work of art hanging on the walls of the museum is simultaneously separated from all context and can thus come into the light and be seen for the first time.

It forces contemplation. It forces a response.
Perhaps it is this response that is the aesthetic experience that we’re after. So in a sense we are asking ‘what are the triggers? What are the precursors that can stage these cognitive transformations?’ People pay money for art and what they’re paying money for is a particular state of consciousness. You could say that the consumption of art is part of the “altered states” economy… It’s a wonderful subject of inquiry for any of us who enjoy the experience that has been described by some as “opiated adjacency”; where you’re outside yourself and beside yourself and essentially becoming one with the aesthetic work.

It’s almost like the normal boundaries between self and other dissipate and there is this cosmic union with the beloved object and… man, does that feel good, right?

That is artistic consummation. It’s what the Greeks called “ecstasēs.” For this reason, we should seek out to have more aesthetic experiences in our lives and continue to demystify this wonderous state of consciousness known as aesthetic arrest.
— Jason Silva

Video via Shots of Awe


The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren, Founder of MindFullyAlive.