Nine Basic Arts

Nine Basic Arts

Nine Basic Arts

Nine Basic Arts

Excerpt

Every experience has an aesthetic, qualitative side. The leaf I hold in my hand is smooth and green. These features were first encountered (though not actually known) without the mediation of words or ideas. I then kept apace with them, or suffered them. What I first faced and still continue to face is a purely present, entirely immediate, intuited content. The leaf is of course more than this. It has latent powers and energy, and a career which began in the past and continues into the future. I grasp something of this side of it too, but not in the same way in which I grasp its qualitative, sensuous features. Part of the leaf is not yet manifested, not yet open to an aesthetic experience.

There are men who deny that there is anything more to the leaf (or any other object) than what it is immediately, i.e. aesthetically, experienced; some say that what is immediately confronted is merely a sensation or a floating sense datum rather than qualities resident in things. Still others think that what is experienced is wholly our product or creature, something not at all real, in no sense objective or intelligible. But all of them, with the rest of us, acknowledge that part of what is experienced has different lilts and colors at different moments, that it is encountered apart from all mediation by ideas, and independently of any determination as to whether or not it is real or objective, or whether or not anything else exists. The most heroic attempt at scepticism must begin by accepting the aesthetically experienced; otherwise there would be nothing for it to question, deny, or subjectivize.

When we attend to the purely aesthetic, to the merely qualitative, we have an aesthetic experience. The qualities we then encounter are seen to differ from one another in tonality, vividness, stress, and . . .

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