Epifanía, trance, arrebato y otras iluminaciones: manifestaciones extáticas en la cultura Ibero-Americana contemporánea.

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Epifanía, trance, arrebato y otras iluminaciones: manifestaciones extáticas en la cultura Ibero-Americana contemporánea.

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Title: Epifanía, trance, arrebato y otras iluminaciones: manifestaciones extáticas en la cultura Ibero-Americana contemporánea.
Author: Rivero-Navarro, Sergio
Citation: Rivero-Navarro, Sergio. 2015. Epifanía, trance, arrebato y otras iluminaciones: manifestaciones extáticas en la cultura Ibero-Americana contemporánea.. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: What do Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca, Val del Omar, Alejandro Jodorowski, Néstor Perlongher, Clarice Lispector, and Octavio Paz have in common? To the naked eye, they seem to feature more differences than similarities: besides the fact that all of them are Ibero-American artists, filmmakers and writers, their birthplaces, origins, generations, styles, and artistic disciplines are quite dissimilar. But there is at least one thing they share: their output was a perfect vehicle to reflect how they were all enthralled by ecstasy, epiphany, illumination, rapture, grace.
In Psychology, these events are categorized as “Modified States of Consciousness”, a melting pot that comprises heteroclite mental states like medium trances, ritual possessions, REM states, effects of hallucinogenic substances, orgasm, and so on. The common factor is that in all those cases subjects experience a new way to perceive the world and their self, far away from the one provided by the ordinary state of consciousness. Also, most of them seem to take place in a dimension where rationality is mostly an obstacle. Friedrich Nietzsche certainly believed so, as he associated these irrational events with Dionysus, the god of wine and ritual madness in the classic Greek civilization. The Dionysian cult involved rupturing the bounds of the participants’ self and the collective communion between them as well as with the cosmos. On the other hand, one criterion to distinguish between the experiences that are confusedly grouped in that psychological miscellany is to examine where does it drive us to. There are events that can potentially change our ordinary state of conscience into another that could be described as an illuminated state and could be associated to perceptions of happiness, harmony, and mindfulness. These positive sensations would help explain why, since the dawn of civilization, human beings have used various techniques (such as yoga, ritual dance, the use of narcotics, etc.) in an attempt to recreate the mystical manifestations they previously had lived solely as spontaneous experiences.
It must be recognized, though, that ecstatic experiences can be associated not only to a positive dimension, but also to a negative one. Following Nietzschean thesis, Néstor Perlongher (an Argentinean writer who is central to my dissertation) points out that Dionysian experiences can be self-destructive and dangerous, as well as illuminating and liberating. Nietzsche, and Perlongher, contemplate art as the necessary complement of ecstasy, a discipline which can help avoid the negative consequences of these experiences.
Salvador Dalí and Octavio Paz (another two authors studied in my dissertation) also link art to ecstasy. Dalí believes in the power of pictorial images to provoke the non-ordinary mental state associated with ecstasy. Nevertheless, Octavio Paz considers poetics one of the best artistic vehicles to express the “instant”, through which a poem breaks the linearity of time while it also creates an “eternal present”.
What I exposed above could be considered a sample of what I am doing in my dissertation. I aim to establish a dialogue between diverse “texts” (in the wide sense) and authors in order to delimitate the meaning of the ecstatic phenomenon, as well as their characteristics and particularities.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17467239
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