This is the realm of the imagination, where all things
possible can occur. The boundaries of the world expand to include the deepest
mysteries of the mind and the farthest reaches of the universe. Science reveals
the parallel dimensions of a quantum multiverse and art transports us there.
An aesthetic approach to living involves working
creatively with others and other modes of being in the world. Art embodies
great technical and scientific information. It can be scientific but it is not
science. Artists draw inspiration from nature and the natural world, but
artists are not biologists. The truths and mysteries of philosophy and
metaphysics inform much great art, yet art is not religion or metaphysics. Art
reveals the workings of the mind and how humans interact with each other and create
culture in ways that are different from psychology, sociology, and politics.
These universes of discourses take part within the larger cultural context
where art and the aesthetic imagination set the tenor and tone of our
The aesthetic imagination is the ultimate information processor.
Art forges connections between the hemispheres of the brain by a multimedia
melding of verbal, visual, emotional, and cognitive modes of representation and
Metaphorical and associative correspondences connect the
myriad waveforms and particles of matter and energy with the trillions of
neural networks of billions of human minds. The Hubble Space Telescope, the World
Wide Web, and the Large Hadron Collider are instruments of vast reach and great
potential and they are also powerful metaphors. Culture expands to include
imaginative access to the formerly unknown territories revealed by our
ever-increasing methods of collecting and interpreting information and
From the cave walls of pre-history to the 3-D multiplex,
we come to understand ourselves by projecting our view of the world into the
world itself, thereby altering it in an endless feedback loop of creative visualization.
We act not so much in the world as we do within our representations of it.
Because these representations become part of our new environment, they change
us. Our lives take place, not simply in the
material of the world, but in a very real way, within our personal and
What we spend our time imagining matters. We can only
build things which we have first imagined. Things are the way they are because
this is how we have imagined them to be.
With this in mind, we might consider the best choices we can
make to be those which decrease suffering and which increase compassion. In
this way both aesthetics and ethics can be one thing. We can create an ethical
world by reimagining, in more ethical ways, the one in which we find ourselves.
Image: “imagination” by Tullio, altered ink drawing, 2012