The nature of all emotion is as a smooth progression of one emotion leading to another by increases or decreases in volume or intensity. More or less of one emotion leads you into the next nearby emotion above or below it.
In general, everyday experience carries us through an ebb and flow of emotions within a limited range. But under those rare circumstances, human emotion gets rattled by an intense personal experience that changes the smooth ebbing and flowing and turns it into a jagged, tumultuous mental environment.
This is what makes art, in all its forms, a focal point in all cultures because it expands the normal range of our emotional experiences through our perceptions. If the art possesses just the right formula it disturbs the landscape of consciousness and activates the mind’s scanners.
As these scanners detect the source of disturbance and focus on it, attention begins to pool and collect in that area and reverberates. Attention pours into that starting point and will rise into a stretched wave, suspended across time, as the mind continues receiving a constant stream of information. The wave rises and falls as the signal increases and decreases in intensity or volume.
Art expressed with a narrow range of dynamic components translates into emotions expressed within a narrow band of feeling. To expand feeling one has to expand the range of dynamic elements to approach the analogue quality of human emotions. Once the force of an artwork has captured the attention of the mind it is brought to the emotional time and space grid.
The time and space of an emotion is a precise convergence of factors that align in such a way so as to produce a series of perceptions similar in tone as the emotion in question. Art brings creative work to this point when the convergence of factors impacts the mind with sufficient force to call forth or evoke a particular emotion or emotional experience.
Try to imagine that the mind is a grid spread out as a single plane. It’s this plane that stands between the senses along with the outside world and our memories and subconscious. So what happens is that as the senses flow in perceptions they are sent through this grid and sorted by some kind of signal recognition relay switch into which sets of perceptions get put in the appropriate slots of emotion so as to access certain recent memories or memories from a long forgotten past.
All memories can be accessed by a unique blueprint of emotion. One might be able to describe such a blueprint by percentages such as 20% “anger,” 50% “disgust,” and 15% “fear.” Even groups of memories tend to cluster around emotional blueprints with specific characteristics in such a compact manner that they sometimes produce mass, which a person registers as a kind of heaviness in the mind. The more mass is built around such a cluster, the more we feel as if the emotional floodgates will weaken and break to overwhelm us in a tsunami of emotion.
The emotional time and space grid is similar to a coordinate system drawn on a globe or map, where art impacts the senses and targets the emotions in a particular way to cause a reaction unique to each individual. The action that produces this experience occurs automatically, but is programmed by the individual or with the individual’s consent by another. Each emotion has an exact “location” in our mental world.
The strength of the artist lies in their ability to master the techniques in their field and use them to produce emotional experiences in the minds of their audience. The power of art is in its ability to target one of these locations in the mind specifically to “turn on” the emotions in that area and to bring back the memories associated with that particular emotional blueprint. The emotions come first to affect a physiological response, then the memories cluster into a mass. Ineffective works of art typically produce a very mild but unregistered response. Successful works of art operate to either bring in more mass or sustain the existing mass. This is what elevates the perception of art into an emotional experience for the individual.
Science has yet to be able to establish the exact coordinates to any one of the emotion within the universe of our minds. So for now the only techniques that are available to evoke the emotions exist within those studies that range the field of aesthetics. All fields of creative work from architecture to cosmetology inherently possess the ability to impact the emotional time and space of an individual.
Smooth lines, slopes, and treacherous mountain ranges comprise the terrain of the mind when the emotions are activated, so one needs a map with accurate details to navigate its environment. Art is the stimuli, our memories are the map and the dynamic components of each art form are the instruments for navigating the emotional landscape in our minds.