Aesthetic Practice: Looking at the Overlooked

Michael SchwartzAesthetic, Art That Transforms, Integral Life Practice, Integral Life Practice, Mind, Perspectives, Practice, Short Practices Leave a Comment

This Integral Life Practice module was lovingly produced for Integral Life members.

Become a member now for just $1 for the first 30 days, get access to hundreds of perspectives, practices, videos, and audio recordings, and support the global Integral Movement.

Start Your Integral Life

Amongst the twenty-four works on display in Philip Rubinov Jacobson’s Light of the Muse art gallery, the one many people might well overlook is this small — exquisite — automatic drawing:


With Philip’s consent and support, we are going to focus on this drawing, exercising our skills at approaching a work of art in an authentically integral manner. By doing so, first we activate the various perspectives on art (including becoming aware where we are stuck in the fluidity of our perspective taking); thusly setting the stage for integrating those perspectives into higher-order aesthetic perceiving. Working with a drawing is especially germane, as drawings, in their delicacy and intimacy, demand nuanced attentiveness and discernment.

Integral semiotics is an internal approach to the work of art (see Ken’s essay “Integral Art and Integral Theory”, although this online version does not include the integral semiotic discussion in footnote 12).

Integral pragmatics is an external approach to the work of art – the tetra-arising of a human being making or engaging an artwork.

Deploying both sets of perspectives moves us in the direction of integrating the widespread dissociation of external from internal approaches to art – no small gift of the integral vision.

Because external- pragmatic approaches have predominated so far in integral circles, we shall be spending more time on this occasion with the internal- semiotic perspectives.

Let’s get going with your training in Integral Aesthetic Experience. Feel free to use the Notes app in the lower-left corner of your screen to jot down any reflections you may have along the way. And note that, while we will be focusing on this particular painting from Philip Rubinov Jacobson, this practice can be performed using any work of art you choose.

Click on each step below to begin.