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Abstract

The oceanic feeling is a frequent topic of discussion in both creativity research and aesthetics. Characterized by a sensation of self-boundary dissolution, the feeling has been reported to involve experiences of fusion with various objects, including works of art. In this article, I discuss the oceanic feeling in the specific context of painterly creativity. I begin by arguing that the oceanic feeling cannot be classified as an emotion, mood, or bodily feeling, in the established definitions of these terms. I then introduce philosopher Matthew Ratcliffe’s theory of existential feelings to help formulate a more accurate view of the oceanic feeling. Specifically, I suggest that oceanic feelings should be classified as shifts in existential feeling. In conclusion, I briefly discuss the implications of my account of the oceanic feeling for the more general pursuits of painterly creativity and artistic self-transformation

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