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Publication Details

A Rasa Sensibility for Ecological Aesthetics as a Challenge to the Anthropocene

(Original title: A Rasa Sensibility for Ecological Aesthetics as a Challenge to the Anthropocene)
Filozofia, 78 (2023), Supplement, 149 - 163.
Type of work: Original Articles
Publication language: English
Based on the premise that an aesthetic experience is inevitably a human one, this paper considers a non-anthropocentric ecological aesthetic experience through the lens of Indian aesthetics. It does so by problematizing the beautiful in the aesthetic. Rasa in Indian aesthetics refers to the essence of emotion felt in an aesthetic experience. The adbhuta rasa refers to the experience of wonder through astonishment. I argue that what we might find amazing in nature is not only the picturesque, but rather the ecological interconnectedness of nature. Through Indian aesthetics, we recognize in this paper, the criterion for a sensitive, receptive and responsive subject presenting themselves to an engulfment, as important for a nonothered ecological aesthetic experience. It is recognized that there might be an aesthetic allowance in ecological design, realized by placing importance on a sensory immersion in the natural world that allows an engulfment in it. While not neglecting a cognitive reflexive analysis of such a relishing of the adbhuta, we conceive of an experience that finds aesthetic value and appreciation beyond the instrumental and commodified value placed on natural environments. The paper concludes with key questions that a rasa anubhuti raises for emerging ecoaesthetic theories and a summary of the unique hermeneutical and epistemological contributions this approach could make to the field.

Rasa, Rasika, Adbhuta, Indian aesthetics, Ecological aesthetics, Anthropocene

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