Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 2018

Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art

Manjula Saxena
Pages 301-305

Psychical Distancing
Its Meaning and Role in Aesthetic Attitude

Aesthetic attitude like aesthetic delight or relish is ‘disinterested’ or free from all thoughts about worldly concerns. The Indian aesthetician Bharata Muni holds relish or ‘Rasa’ to be ‘nijsukhdukhadivivashibhava’, i.e., free from the thoughts of personal pleasures and pains, as also ‘vedyantarsparshshunyo’, which means free from all awareness of all that is knowable. Positively, such a state of mind is a self-composed, undisturbed by sensations, state which is yet experiencing delight. The seeming contradiction involved in a self-composed mind, appearing to be getting disturbed by an experience of delight, gets dissolved the moment we, following Bullough, realize that aesthetic attitude is necessarily characterized by a kind of ‘distancing’. This ‘distancing’ is not physical and not even spatial as during aesthetic experience we remain very much grounded in reality. It is a deliberate withdrawal of the whole psyche from the thoughts of mundane affairs. Without this disinterested contemplation would be impossible. Showing that this ‘psychical distancing’ can be attained either through the medium of a work of art as in poetry or drama or through forms as in musical melodies, that is the purpose of the paper and an attempt to realize that this has been made with the help of apt illustrations.