At first I had a hard time thinking of a specific aesthetic experience. I mean, it was Christmas Holidays you would think there would be tons to choose from. But when I searched the definition of an ae-experience I got: An aesthetic experience is defined as an experience qualitatively different from everyday experience and similar to other exceptional states of mind. Three crucial characteristics of aesthetic experience are discussed: fascination with an aesthetic object (high attention), appraisal of the symbolic reality of an object (high cognitive engagement), and a strong feeling of unity with the object of aesthetic fascination and aesthetic appraisal.
From a philosopher’s point of view, Kant, says to experience the aesthetic is essentially to experience freedom, since aesthetic experience is the free play of imagination and understanding—in which we are freed (enjoyably) from the tasks of cognitive grasp and the demands of practical life.
So sifting through all the things I did on our Phil’s Break Off, I came to the simplest but most pleasing of them all. The few days we got the heavy snow and Coquitlam was covered in a sheet of white, it came with the most serene and Christmas-y feelings. Something about watching snow is just so peaceful, so I went up to Mundy Park and went into the trail. To those who haven’t been here yet, there’s a lake in the middle of the forest that the trails eventually lead you to. The forest is so dense that by that point you hear absolutely nothing. Dead silence. The lake was covered by a thin sheet of ice and everything was pure white. Despite the freezing temperature, I stood there for almost an hour, completely in awe and let my mind just think about everything. For some reason the only time I can go into deep thinking is when I am outside. Sure, I am thinking all day but if I really want to have deep thoughts or figure things out the serenity of the outdoors is what gets it going. It was aesthetic to me because the colors were beauitful and calming, I still have the image bright in my mind, it got me thinking and making decisions about my life that changed it’s course since that very day and it’s completely natural–unchangeable. It’s almost as if the mind must travel far from the body in order to feel a true aesthetic experience. The brain takes over, almost making you forget where you are, just focusing on then, there and the feeling. The only thing we can do is recognize and savour those feelings.