The Aesthetic Event: On Awareness and Awakening Faith

Why is the aesthetic event so dangerous? Because the experience of the aesthetic event threatens to change our awareness of reality and value... to transform our very identity. What begins as an unexpected experience of wonder becomes a journey of the spirit. To do so, the aesthetic event offers us our two great teachers of spiritual and doubt.


The aesthetic event and it's spiritual exposure provides us with the faith to see and question our doubt, to uncover and learn our doubt in order to arrive at a place of faith. Through the aesthetic event, our limited awareness is exposed to us and a new experience illuminates awareness. Perception and feeling join to create awareness and engage us to belong in and play with the world. When we listen and feel, play becomes a celebratory act of faith.


The aesthetic event is an unexpected experience of an other beyond the self. In a moment of empty and open listening, the artist is enraptured by the awe of experiencing an other. The wonder of the aesthetic event causes a joining of perception and feeling to occur. The joining of perception and feeling is an experience of awareness. This functioning partnership of perception and feeling is an experiential awareness of perceptual feeling.


An experiential awareness of perceptual feeling is the result of a coming together of the primary pair of self and other. The unexpected aesthetic experience shows the self, if but momentarily, the existence of an expelled other beyond the self. To see and feel with an other is to also see into our self, and feel within. When we face an other in front of us, we face the other within, our feeling and suffering uniqueness.


Our feeling and suffering uniqueness is hidden away and guarded by our "created me."      

We built the “created me” as a fortress of personality to defend from all that is other beyond the self.


Our “created me” is a creation of an absolute and separate self-determining sovereign cosmic hero that requires limitless expanse. The self-other relationship, once experienced as a small child, is forbidden; the other is banished into the wilderness. Living within this fortress me, we keep the wilderness, or experience of an other, beyond the self and out-there.


The coming together of the primary pair of self and other (via the aesthetic event) creates an opportunity to move the “created me” from the center, or throne, of self. We learn that our creation of reality and value used to support the “created me” is as transparent as the air we breathe and is based in doubt. The unexpected aesthetic event is our opportunity to face the other beyond our idea of uncover and learn both an other in front of us and an other within (our unique-feeling self). This discovery allows us to see our struggle for freedom as an exercise in doubt, a defense from the wilderness to keep the created me safe. In this way, limited awareness is doubt or we can say the problem of limited awareness is one of doubt. In a state of doubt we are not aware of our created me. 


Our “created me” is a defense designed to keep us from the seemingly unsafe wilderness of the other. Our wilderness within is our uniqueness. The aesthetic event provides the faith to accept our monstrous uniqueness. Our struggle for the freedom of faith begins with the understanding that to overcome our doubt, we are to arrive at an authentic and honest faith. An authentic and honest faith is a safe belonging in the world. A safe belonging in the world is a safe belonging in the wilderness.


The wilderness we fear originates in our guilt over our uniqueness, our animality, and our mortality. To face our guilt over our uniqueness, animality, and mortality requires balance. Once we begin to accept our uniqueness, we begin to grasp the living realities of, and connective relationships between, our animality, mortality, and spirituality as our balance. A healthy relationship between them is an awareness for our personal emotive response to the experience of living with awareness.


When the forbidden self-other relationship - once experienced as a small child - is repaired, and we belong to the wilderness within and to the wilderness around us, we then have a safe belonging in the world again and we can arrive at a place of faith. A functioning self-other relationship is a celebration of faith because it is paradoxical. A functioning self-other relationship is paradoxical because self and other are uncovered to be both identical and different. We find our identity with the other to be a universal identity only by uncovering the different uniqueness of the other. We arrive at a faith based in the paradoxical relationship between self and other as a shared universal identity and our own unique difference.


If a celebratory act of faith becomes our new goal, then a reality and value change based upon a new identity can become our new basis for self-esteem. Our challenge is to uncover and learn a reality and value change for an honest, authentic, faith as a new basis for self-esteem. Lose the cosmic hero and gain the cosmos.


Play is a celebratory act of faith between self and other. Play is a transformation of our very identity.


Play allows us to understand reality and let ourselves be transformed by it. Play is art.


The aesthetic event begins by listening and feeling, but if we follow faith and doubt through the religious journey thereafter in order that we learn to play.


-Paul Rude, ©2007

Paul Rude ©2012, All Rights Reserved

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Paul Rude ©2012, All Rights Reserved