A Curious Crucible of Pain and Pleasure
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Walter Pater's "The School of Giorgione" appealed to me because it addressed a concern I had with previous aesthetic texts. Most texts largely ignore the sensory training it requires to behold an aesthetic experience. I refuse to believe that art can attack just the senses alone. This theory would necessarily mean that each person is as capable of experiencing extraordinary aesthetics as the next. While this idea- utilitarian in concept- is appealing, I believe it takes some previous ability to apprehend notions of Beauty. I was struck by this realization while walking away from class a few days ago. It came after we had discussed Pater's essay, specifically the notion that all art aspires towards musical qualities. While walking and listening to Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1, I began to view objects as if music were emanating from them. Not only did I view plants and buildings this way, but human interaction as well. It was this synesthesia, this mixing of the aural and visual that prompted goose bumps in me. What could possibly be wrong with such unexpected, tingling joy? Upon writing my third paper, I argued that the world would be a better place if humanity could simply view the musicality of its surroundings. It is similar to Basil Hallward's definition of living in the sound of music in A Picture of Dorian Gray, "I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream- I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy" (13). Nothing seems more ideal than the electrifying joy Hallward identifies. While I had believed that this total immersion into the musical quality of life fostered more morality in humankind, I have since come to question this notion.