Can Art Destroy Us? An Explanation of Stendhal Syndrome

Have you ever been so moved by a work of art that you were brought to tears, or even unconsciousness? People with Stendhal Syndrome have been known to literally pass out from the aesthetic impact of art.

It’s natural for people to seek a climax of happiness and grace and want to stay in it forever, causing unconsciousness. “A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life… There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me,'” wrote philosopher Alain de Botton in The Architect of Happiness.

But how far will we go to reach this state of ecstasy? Can art, like any drug, destroy us?

Stendhal Syndrome

beauty climax

Can Art Destroy Us

As an artist, what price are you willing to pay with your time?

Video by Shots of Awe

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