"In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly," such that the result is like a "materialized dream" or perhaps dreamland-localized.
But the main point is that it is clearly in between. Michelangelo's Pietà, for example, is not mere matter, a chunk of marble. But nor is it pure spirit, since spirit is by definition immaterial. Therefore, it occupies a mysterious third area between the two.
However, everything human occupies this third area. It is just that, in the case of art, it is as it were hyper-focused, like a lens that gathers the rays of the sun into an intense point of light and heat. Thus, some zones and sectors in this third area can be more intense and meaningful, others bland, diffuse, and oppressive.
To some extent, it is as if any artist in any medium uses the common "substance" of this third area -- which is why activities as disparate as poetry, painting, and music all share the word "art." As Corbin puts it, true art thus "attains a super-reality"; it is "a crystal of time in imaginal space" (Cheetham).
Of course, much so-called art falls short of this standard, which can be discerned by its default to mere reality, so to speak. (Or, it is perhaps subrealism as opposed to surrealism.) The term "pornography" could be a more general concept that encompasses everything from Miley Cyrus to scientism to MSM news to liberal academia.
Note that in each case the third area is collapsed into a simplistic and vulgar literalism devoid of any ascending or descending energies. When people speak of the "mainstreaming of pornography," this is but a symptom of a far more widespread cultural decay -- more of an end-stage of the illness, or final common pathway.
The "culture war" is not between two equal and opposite forces, but rather, between the human and sub-human. It is the source of that suffocating feeling you've been experiencing over the past six years, now too intense and pervasive to ignore.
First and foremost, the progressive left is and always has been at war with the higher human realms. It is what they do. If you want to know why Bruce Jenner is a hero while American soldiers are baby-killers, this is why. The left follows its own insane logic in a completely consistent and predictable way.
Culture as such takes place in the third area, as does science, politics, and interpersonal relations -- in other words, everything from the macro- down to the micro-human. Polanyi might be the first philosopher of science to have appreciated this on a deep level. And ultimately this space is a function of trinitarian metaphysics, which posits a dynamic space of love, truth, and beauty.
The problem is, man cannot actually exile himself from the human space -- the third area -- for we are "condemned to transcendence," in Schuon's ironic formulation. Therefore, the left actually insists on transcendence, but only their own insane version of it. This is exhaustively described from various angles in David Horowitz's Left Illusions.
In short, not everything in the third area is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. Rather, some stuff there is "deceptive and dangerous," e.g., "earthly allurements clothed in spiritual garb." I mean, right? Who could not know this? And yet...
With the wrong approach -- of which there are many, cf. various deadly sins -- "we will be ensnared by lies and delusions and the inflation of spiritual intoxication." Is there anyone as spiritually intoxicated as a professional leftist?
In contrast, the correct approach involves little things like, oh, humility, prudence, sobriety, purity, etc. In the absence of prudence, for example, we may not know that "some of the forests are simply better off not exploring. There be monsters" -- for example, like the literally monstrous Caitlyn Jenner, "monstrosity" being something at odds with all nature, both horizontal and vertical. No offense, but such crankensteins are to be pitied, not celebrated. They are entitled to our compassion, not our reverence.
But in the upside-down world of the left, this is precisely what happens: instead of crystalizing the higher energies, they distill the lower ones. Ultimately, opposition to statist sub-humanism can only occur one person at a time, which is why they always have the upper hand, at least from a terrestrial standpoint.
The left relies on forced unconsciousness before all else, which has become the function of their media, their school system, their art forms, and their universities. Through this unyielding and pervasive cultural hammering, "our inner depths become opaque and we are barred from the Kingdom," for we are "cut off from the celestial pole" (Cheetham).
The left is always about destruction (change) and utopia (hope); the latter is a pretext for the former, the only thing the left is really good at, i.e., the relentless pursuit of perdition:
"There are always (and inevitably) two sides to the revolutionary coin. The first is negative and destructive, since it is necessary first to undermine the beliefs, values, and institutions of the old order which must be destroyed before a new one can be established. The second is positive and utopian, a vision of the future that condemns the present" (Horowitz).
Obama's credo might well be Come for the hope, stay for the destruction, for "Using good intentions to justify evil deeds is the first requirement of a utopian bad faith." But unfortunately, it would appear that "a lie grounded in human desire is too powerful for reason to kill" (Horowitz). The left will always be with us, for the impossibility of utopia will always justify its destructive impulses.