Why bother being disturbed by disturbing art!

Iyer, Prakash (2019) Why bother being disturbed by disturbing art! Teacher Plus. ISSN 0973-778

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“It seems as unaccountable pleasure which the spectators of a well-written tragedy receive from sorrow, terror, anxiety and other passions that are in themselves disagreeable and uneasy.” – David Hume We are all familiar with this unaccountable pleasure Hume is referring to. He was speaking of plays, but it is true of a lot of popular music, paintings, photographs, movies, and other art forms. Not all good works of art evoke positive feelings like calmness, happiness, ecstasy or a sense of beauty. Some of them evoke non-positive emotions; they disturb us, make us sad, evoke horror or sometimes even create morbid feelings or a sense of the futility of our own existence. Many of us actively seek good art and the criterion for us to decide if we will enjoy it or not is irrespective of the kind of emotion it evokes. Why are humans drawn to art that generates negative emotions like sadness, melancholy, horror, fear, and disgust? Shouldn’t we avoid art that depicts behaviors and attitudes we find reprehensible, or abhorrent?

Item Type: Article
Authors: Iyer, Prakash
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education, Aesthetics, Art
Subjects: Social sciences > Education
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Education
Full Text Status: Public
URI: http://publications.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/id/eprint/3700
Publisher URL:

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