Abstract

The article presents a phenomenological-hermeneutic account of everyday aesthetics based on the Playful Eye, an experiential method for encountering the “Other” through contemplative, somatic, and embodied practices informed by the concept of play. The experiences co-curated with participants—illustrated here by a Playful Eye event held in Osh, Kyrgyzstan—are grounded in an understanding of the relationship between the self and Other, cultivating a sense of inner truth that is unconcealed when the sensing agent experiences itself through being sensed. It is contended that everyday aesthetics provides a muted, fleeting experience of the Other, the seamless and ceaseless succession of the parts that constitute the totality of engagement with the world. This transformative understanding as “extended self,” also evident in many Indigenous traditions, can provide the common ground for dialogue, empathy, and compassion in contexts where conflicting values and beliefs might otherwise result in indifference or hostility.

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