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Everyday aesthetic experiences and concerns occupy a large part of our aesthetic life. However, because of their prevalence and mundane nature, we tend not to pay much attention to them, let alone examine their significance. Western aesthetic theories of the past few centuries also neglect everyday aesthetics because of their almost exclusive emphasis on art. In a ground-breaking new study, Yuriko Saito provides a detailed investigation into our everyday aesthetic experiences, and reveals how our everyday aesthetic tastes and judgments can exert a powerful influence on the state of the world and our quality of life.
By analysing a wide range of examples from our aesthetic interactions with nature, the environment, everyday objects, and Japanese culture, Saito illustrates the complex nature of seemingly simple and innocuous aesthetic responses. She discusses the inadequacy of art-centered aesthetics, the aesthetic appreciation of the distinctive characters of objects or phenomena, responses to various manifestations of transience, and the aesthetic expression of moral values; and she examines the moral, political, existential, and environmental implications of these and other issues.
painted walls, the trafﬁc volume which doubled during the past decade, and abandoned stone walls found in the woods. There is no speciﬁc point at which this townscape was born; nor is there a speciﬁc author or a group of authors whose intention may shed light on its current appearance. This does not mean, however, that the townscape is without aesthetic interest. On the contrary, we often derive a rewarding aesthetic experience deciphering from its sensuous surface a number of things, such as the
experiences by their infrequency. The following description of a distanced experience by Bullough implies that these experiences are few and far between: This distanced view of things is not, and cannot be, our normal outlook. As a rule, experiences constantly turn the same side towards us, namely, that which has the strongest practical force of appeal. We are not ordinarily aware of those aspects of things which do not touch us immediately and practically ... The sudden view of things from their
together with ‘‘living.’’⁷⁶ Our ordinary living is humdrum, just as Dewey describes it: ‘‘Nothing happens while you live. The scenery changes, people come in and go out, that’s all. There are no beginnings. Days are tacked on to days without rhyme or reason, an interminable, monotonous addition.’’⁷⁷ An adventure, on the other hand, is organized with a distinct and necessary order, without requiring an extraordinary event. A perfect moment, which Roquentin and his former girlfriend try to create
signiﬁcance of the snail darter case in the history of environmental consciousness: ‘‘The snail darter case may one day be viewed as a profound turning point in the evolution of a new consciousness toward the preservation of all life. It forced many to confront for perhaps the ﬁrst time the scope of the problem of species loss, and it elevates the plight of an obscure species to unprecedented heights in questioning powerful economic and political interests.’’ (p. 166) ²¹ Eaton, p. 182.
‘‘dyed with aquatic colorant, turning them a deep turquoise.’’³⁹ Many homeowners in the United States try their best to emulate a similar look for their property by investing inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources. The environmental cost of this toxin- and energy-intensive, resource-guzzling endeavor is by now well-documented, raising a growing concern among environmentalists as well as landscape designers. Furthermore, people’s aesthetic aspirations and expectations often dictate the