We are peculiar people. I say this with reference to the fact that whereas almost all other peoples have called their theory of art or expression a “rhetoric” and have thought of art as a kind of knowledge, we have invented an “aesthetic” and think of art as a kind of feeling. The Greek original of the word “aesthetic” means perception by the senses, especially by feeling. Aesthetic experience is a faculty that we share with animals and vegetables, and is irrational. The “aesthetic soul” is that part of our psychic makeup that “senses” things and reacts to them: in other words, the “sentimental” part of us. To identify our approach to art with the pursuit of these reactions is not to make art “fine” but to apply it only to the life of pleasure and to disconnect it from the active and contemplative lives.
                                                                                                                                                         Ananda K. Coomarswamy