THE AESTHETIC OBJECT does not confront us like other objects in the world. When I am dull or inattentive, I am no longer aware of it; when eager or curious, I savor it anew. This feature alone should suffice to make us recognize the singularity of its nature. In both cases, however, my eyes are seeing the object. It remains there, whether it is apparent to me or not. There is something like a fatigue phenomenon in the perception of Beauty, a factor in aesthetic contemplation which has always been described as subjective. It either restores the spectacle to its proper domain or rejects it. If we confine ourselves to that radical experience, the reality of the aesthetic object, qua aesthetic, will be compromised. The subjectivity of Beauty becomes irreducible.
That is not all. Something essential to the work shows itself in a further trait. Again the aesthetic object shows a peculiar nature. If, as we have just seen, it depends upon the Self whether that object is to be revealed or obscured, then in turn it depends upon the object, whether the Self shall be captivated or shall withdraw. In this sense, the more precise a technique is, the more it exists: that is, if it seizes consciousness as in a very close net, and will not let it escape without an inner transformation. Consider any work of