Driving out of the underground we are welcomed by hues of yellow, orange, pink, and blue against the midnight blue mountains that stand tall in the background, illuminated by the light. Stopping for a second, I watch my first sunrise. As it peaks over the horizon, the colours mentioned previously are seen for what seems like miles and miles in the sky. I thought sunsets were spectacular but sunrises are even more remarkable. It was with me all the way to school and encompassed all the buildings and cars in a gold casing, making them glitter and shine out like stars. No one spoke in the car, and all for different reasons. I’m here to explain mine.
Now I know my description did not do this particular sunrise justice, but it’s vivid in my mind and that’s where it needs to be. I don’t regret not taking a picture, because then I’d always see it, always experience it. Now I’m forced to keep it in my memory, but memories fade and what’s left are the bits and pieces. I like the bits and pieces, it’s abstract and it’s usually the best parts. My bits and pieces will be the colours. It’s always the colours. Shades of pink, yellow, orange, and blue intermingling together creating a masterpiece in the sky giving off a gold aura. Giving off the feeling that yes, in fact all that glitters is gold, and can last forever. The colours will last forever, in my mind, maybe in other people’s minds. Or maybe they’ll last forever in the sense that those moments felt like forever. Time literally stopped as we watched the colours dance in the sky.
Either way the colours will always stay because they are what inspire me when I write, when I draw, when I do anything remotely creative. They are forever because they are here and people will read this and carry it on in their minds even if they don’t know it. They are preserved and will last, even if I only saw them for a few moments.
This was my aesthetic experience and it was different for me compared to the other people in the car. Why was it aesthetic for me though?
1) The colours were vibrant and stood out.
2) It was natural, something that wasn’t filtered, manipulated, or messed with.
3) It resonates with me-bits and pieces are still alive in my mind.
4) I’m sharing the experience so that others can experience a little bit of the beauty.
Four reasons, four points, four completely different reasons as to why what I experienced was aesthetic to me. Generalizing them, I can conclude that aesthetic experiences (for myself at least) need these four things:
1) Vibrant, vivid images, sounds, and/or touches.
2) Not to be manipulated.
3) It lives in my memory.
4) It is consciously or subconsciously shared with others. Why would we hide a thing of beauty?
My aesthetic experience was how I interacted with a piece of art, a thing of beauty. However, these are not the only things that qualify for me having an aesthetic experience. I full heartedly agree with many aestheticians that an aesthetic experience needs a certain level of concentration to be a quality experience. If we are not concentrating on the experience, we are not in the moment, and not fully appreciating the beauty of the experience. That is why I believe in not taking pictures while something beautiful is going on because I won’t be fully concentrating on the moment, I’d be concentrating on preserving the moment.
Distance is something that I believe is 50/50 when it comes to an aesthetic experience. With distance, one can either remember the memory with even more beauty, with the same, or even less beauty. The honesty of the experience can be manipulated and that kind of contradicts what I qualify to be a part of having an aesthetic experience. However, one can never fully describe one’s own aesthetic experience, I believe it is basically impossible because no matter how empathetic someone can be, the description given will never be enough. That is why distance is something that is necessary in the sense that if there is distance, it is still in your memory. However, it is also not necessary because then the rawness of the experience can be manipulated. So with it being not necessary and necessary at the same time, I am okay with leaving my aesthetic experience qualifications the way they are.
Finally, disinterestedness is not something I feel is necessary because for it to be an aesthetic experience for you and no one else, there has to be bias with the way you feel. Yes, we can all appreciate a thing of beauty (ex. Mona Lisa) without bias because it is a masterpiece. However, with a quality aesthetic experience, bias is necessary for an individual experience. Is that why we are doing these blog posts about what makes an aesthetic experience for us? Because, everyone experiences one differently? I do believe they do and that’s why disinterestedness is not something I qualify to be a part of an aesthetic experience.
Art and beauty is not all straight lines and colour within the lines. Art just is. Beauty just is. They are things that are personal yet general. Things that are forever and things that are instantaneous. They are the same, and they are opposites. They can be everything and nothing. Because they are so similar yet so contradictory, to fully experience a quality aesthetic experience, the qualifications of one need to be constantly changing. However, they do not always change for everyone and that’s what makes these experiences wonderful. They are completely individual and because of that no outside forces can ruin them. What you qualify as an aesthetic experience and what you experience, is up to you. The proverbial wheel is always in your hands and you are always in control. Maybe that’s the one thing about a quality aesthetic experience that doesn’t change for me: it’s for me, by me, with me. Just like yours is for you, by you, with you.