Artistic Attitude



CANONICAL CONTENT? (yes);  PHENOMENOLOGICAL FINDINGS (yes); EXPLORING the connections within and between DISCIPLINES and how they ARE CONNECTED to each other? (yes)

Or how they may be put into each other’s service? or how they may even even merge with each other? (yes, yes)

OR is it the CULTIVATION of a NEW ATTITUDE? (maybe especially).

Great attitudes I have known and loved:



World views

As a matter of everyday routine, most of us maintain a ‘natural attitude’, grounded in our subjective experiences of an objective world and even of ourselves [1]. We act to navigate our world based on these experiences and the expectations they engender. Experiences that fail to meet any part of the test of expectation create a stressful dissonance that we avoid with all the cognitive resources available—both nonconscious as well as elaborately calculated. 


The artistic attitude, most simply put, involves our best effort at mindful aesthetics and a desire to experience and represent our state of mind about which we are motivated to progressively enhance our understand (a process enhanced by externalizing and assessing feedback from one’s self or others (the artist’s audience).

  • (EXPERIENCE is not limited to information from outside our selves that are detected by one’s senses … we also experience our selves! we savor our states of mind, scrutinize our thoughts, our feelings, and imagined as well as remembered worlds.)
  • (Error Detection is a fundamental principle in neurophysiology as well as in life (e.g., Gehring et al., 1993; & nice review in Völker et al. 2018 ).)   




ART is distinctive because it EMPHASIZES and AMPLIFIES specific cognitive competencies from amongst the many that overlap and interpenetrate in poth process (our nervous systems) and product, most significantly an urge to deeper self-knowledge which (in seeming paradox) most often involves communicating with others.   “TO KNOW” and “TO BE KNOWN” obeying some fundamental “law of connectedness”[1], define each other.   (A&O notes on ART as COMMUNICATION)

“For imagination is not just a mirror, nor are images merely the reflections to be seen in it.  The imagination is also active, the means by which the poet explores reality; and the image, as I have said, is also the poet’s way of reducing the real world to manageable proportions, and of revealing its patterns.  This is equally true whether the poet is exploring the external world or, as so often now, that inward world of man’s mind which Wordsworth called “the haunt and the main region of my song”.  Our world, our minds may be in a state of chaos.  But it is the business of the poetic reason to create order out of chaos: and, even if its business were merely to give an imaginative reproduction of chaos, it must still employ formal pattern to do so.” (CD Lewis)[i]


[i]. C. Day Lewis (1947) The Poetic Image. London, Jonathan Cape. p. 117.

[1] One of the godfathers of phenomenology, believed that a naturalizing attitude conceals a profound naïveté about reality.  “In the first decade of the 20th century, Husserl considerably refined and modified his method into what he called “transcendental phenomenology”. This method has us focus on the essential structures that allow the objects naively taken for granted in the “natural attitude” (which is characteristic of both our everyday life and ordinary science) to “constitute themselves” in consciousness. (Among those who influenced him in this regard are Descartes, Hume and Kant.) As Husserl explains in detail in his second major work, Ideas (1913), the resulting perspective on the realm of intentional consciousness is supposed to enable the phenomenologist to develop a radically unprejudiced justification of his (or her) basic views on the world and himself and explore their rational interconnections.” (stanford.encyclopedia of philosophy on husserl)

[2] if I dared to venture a “LAW OF CONNECTEDNESS” it would be that “ALL MEANING DERIVES FROM CONNECTIONS”: nothing has meaning in itself.  True, I believe, at every level of organization, but each level in its own way.  The ways things might be connected is a topic of exciting discussion and debate:  You could start with philosopher David Hume’s views (then how Katherin A. Rogers (1991) tempers them for an idea of the deep waters into which philosophy can lead us) & then Sigmund Freud’s views that established the connections between conscious and nonconscious mind.  As a researcher, I grew up with the neural connectionism of Donald Hebb.