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Captivating, Not Captive

ANAMNESIA: Captivating Not Captive

To see beauty is to know love but, while the apprehension of beauty is through the eye, it is through the lens’ marriage of light and beauty that the psyche is truly captivated. Light mediates the relationship between physical and intellectual reason, an elegant analogy between enlightenment and illumination, between physical and intellectual vision.

We’ve always delivered fire. We’ve always deified light. Plotinus saw a world awash in divine light, infusing matter with spiritual forms. Heraclitus exalted fire as the first principle. Denise Prince sees beauty beyond the veil of ego, violently revealing the παρατυπωσις — paratuposis, an illusory representation.

Prince is indifferent to the rote muscle memory of pop culture’s canned aesthetic intuitions. Beauty radiates fully formed from Prince’s subject’s, infused with divine light as aesthetic objects. It is eyesight on fire, threatening to seer [sic] into one’s soul if one looks directly, scarred by the light of reason and the light of the sun. Even though Prince appears to blind us with The Real, she in fact burns away our bias and banal blindness. The dilemma, ought we see, is anamnesis or amnesia.

If we perceive beauty it induces anamnesis, a memory of a terrific encounter with the Real, a meaningless traumatic hole. Then one must choose: either captive to trauma or captivated by beauty. If one is captive then one remembers only the anxiety of that esoteric encounter with the Real; but, if one is captivated then one is driven by the desire to know and love, to recollect, to recover Prince’s revelation.

Charles Merward, ψa      clinical philosopher and psychoanalyst