What are pulsations?

Well, we are all condemne’s, as Victor Hugo says: les hommes sont tous condamne’s a morte aves des sursis inde’finis: we have an an interval, and then our places knows us no more. Some spend this interval in listlessness, some in high passions, and the wisest in art and song. For our chance is in expanding that interval, in getting as many pulsations as possible into that given time. High passions give one this quickened sense of life, ecstacy and sorrow of love, political or religious enthusiasm, or the “enthusiasm of humanity.” Only, be sure it is a passion, that it does yield this fruit of a quickened, multiplied consciousness. Of this wisdom, this poetic passion, the desire of beauty, the love of art for art’s sake has most; for art comes to you professing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for these moments’ sake.

— Walter Pater, “Studies in the History of the Renaissance”

Walter Pater influenced the Aesthetic Movement with his assertion that life has to be lived intensely, with no regard to morality or utility but with an ideal of beauty. In this context, a pulsation represents “some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement [that] is irresistibly real and attractive for us” (via).

… I think I like that interpretation of pulsations.

Thanks to K.P. for the quote.


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