Edward Bullough And Psychical Distance

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Edward Bullough discusses the notion of psychical distance as a key feature of aesthetic experience. He uses imagery and the metaphor of the “fog at sea” to justify “physical distance”: the separation “of the object and its appeal from one’s own self, by putting it out of gear with practical ends and needs” (II, 245). In simpler terms, a sea fog is more often than not frightening. On the other hand, while in the midst of this fog, your concerns of safety may start to fade and contemplation kicks in. You develop a perception that the fog’s danger becomes a part of the experience of its beauty. Another example of Edward Bullough’s notion of “physical distance” can be seen when discussing the topic of culture in a classroom filled with thought-provoking college students (such as our own). Students feel inspired to discuss the matter and are challenged to reflect on different points of view for its appreciation. “Temporal distance, remoteness from us in a point in time, though often a cause of misconceptions, has been declared to be a factor in our appreciation” (I, 243). This means that in order to fully appreciate the artwork in front of you, you must separate yourself from your current outlook on life. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change your opinion. It only means that you should open yourself up to new ideas and thoughts, so you can see and learn new perspectives, mold a new perspective of your own, and gain a new appreciation for the artwork you’re reflecting on. Once all biases are put to the side, you start to express yourself more creatively and see things you’ve never seen before. “Physical distance” is also exemplified in an excerpt from Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi. Twain revisits the high points of his youth and the river he sailed as he was educated and trained to be a riverboat pilot. He reminisces about the
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