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Making Sense

Beauty, Creativity, and Healing

Edited By Bandy Lee, Nancy Olson and Thomas Duffy

Regardless of field, from the art world to healthcare delivery, there is a growing need for practically useful theory and theoretically informed practice. The time is ripe for a collaborative, creative conversation among thinkers and doers who are concerned about the larger world and our role in it. Making Sense: Beauty, Creativity, and Healing is a collection of essays and creative expressions written and produced in relation to a colloquium that tried to address these matters at the Whitney Humanities Center of Yale University. Beginning with a powerful essay on the individually and globally therapeutic qualities of art and beauty by Elaine Scarry of Harvard University, this volume brings together a diversity of theoretically minded scholars, scientists, artists, and healers. In the form of critical and reflective essays, alongside images, poetry, and fiction, this book allows the reader to experience the bursts of ideas and sensory triggers that respond to and extend the artistic installations and performances of the colloquium – and welcomes the reader into the conversation.
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Beauty and the Experience of Creation


by Florian Forestier[Translation from the French by Bandy Lee]

“She now lived in a song, a very sad song. A song without figures and which followed only footsteps, followed only the ground, and wept over faces barely seen because the melancholy of an era was upon them. She loved them in the notes of the song, the song that understood them so well, that knew so well all that they did not know; the song where everything is explained. She would have wanted to sing a song where everyone could let oneself go, where everyone would have been guided, where everyone would have been light. A song where everyone would say, but without sadness: I am old, I am history, I’m not going anywhere, but it’s a song; it’s the song that justifies everything.” Florian Forestier, Paysages [Landscapes]

Beauty manifests what is beyond us. It binds us and reveals our singularity—in this, as Elaine Scarry correctly underscored in her lecture, phenomenalizes more than ever an ethical need. Beauty calls above all to take care of beauty—to afford the possibility to find things beautiful, to give a future to the experience that we have from these because this experience is constitutive of our humanity. Beauty is another name for the experience of freedom, that is to say the possibility of creation. We would like to say a few words about the conditions that this experience makes possible, how it is tied to...

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