In the course of aesthetic experience, the perceiver may be overwhelmed by this ‘mere object’, overcome with emotion, altered to the very roots of his being.[…] The experience of beauty involves an exchange of power, and as such, it is often disorienting, a mix of humility and exaltation, subjugation and liberation, awe and mystified pleasure.[…] Many people, fearing a pleasure they cannot control, have vilified beauty as a siren or a whore. Since at one time or another though, everyone answers to ‘her’ call, it would be well if we could recognize the meaning of our succumbing as a valuable response, an opportunity for self-revelation rather than defeat.[…] It entails a flexibility and empathy toward ‘Others’ in general and the capacity to see ourselves as both active and passive without fearing that we will be diminished in the process.

Wendy Steiner

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