Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 7 June 2010

Nondual Free Harmony

Will be presenting this in a poster session at the Science and Nonduality conference in October

Kantian Free Harmony as a Nondual State Extensible through Creative Expression of the Aesthetic Idea

In Kantian Aesthetics, the concept of ‘Free Harmony’ of the faculties of imagination and understanding and the concept-less ‘Aesthetic Idea’ are intensely deliberated points of contention. I propose that this can be resolved if Free Harmony is re-interpreted as a Nondual state.

In the traditional Western paradigm that divides the world into irresolvable dichotomies, Kant is interpreted as describing a dualism of mutually exclusive worlds; that of Phenomena as the knowable objects of experience which are metaphysically constrained by space-time and Noumena as the unknowable reality outside of human understanding [which includes self and God]. However, what if a reasonable interpretation of Free Harmony is encapsulated as a nondual state of quasi-cognitive interplay? In a nondual interpretation, the aesthetic experience would be described as a moment [or glimpse] of lived experience where a previously fixed and phenomenologically determined manifold attempts to resolve against a perceptually or cognitively indeterminate object of experience.

Thus, the ‘Aesthetic Idea’ is concept-less because it is the experience of the re-categorization of the boundaries between the manifold [phenomenological understanding] of self and the unknown of an imagined noumenal self. Accordingly, it is this aesthetic idea that artists, specifically fine artists, express and make extensible through revisiting the experience in creative expression. The outcomes of adopting a nondual interpretation of Kantian aesthetics include a definitive conceptual grounding of the historical pervasiveness of the ‘ineffable’ link between art & spirituality and clearer delineations of the correlations between the processes involved in art practice to concepts in Philosophy of Mind and research in Cognitive Psychology.

This nondual aesthetic is best exemplified in the work of Anish Kapoor, which makes tangible for the viewer a co-existence of the supposed material and immaterial or the paintings of Robert Pepperell that expound on the expression and experience of visual indeterminacy.

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Let’s not forget Teresita Fernandez

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