Why we appreciate an original painting more than a fake

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

— John Milton (Paradise Lost)

Paul Bloom likes to talk about pleasure… and pain. As a psychologist, he’s had plenty of experience looking at both.

In this TED talk, Bloom argues that the pleasure we receive from seeing a painting or drinking a glass of wine will vary drastically based on what we know, or think we know. For instance, if we believe the painting is an original, we will enjoy seeing it, and appreciate it more, than if we’re told it is a fake. We will enjoy a glass of wine that comes out of an expensive bottle far more than a glass filled from a cardboard box with a spigot.

Conversely, he says we are likely to feel more pain if we believe the harm was inflicted on us intentionally as opposed to accidentally.

Bloom says to a certain extent we are creating our own reality, and that we will always place more value on the original creative act than on a finely detailed reproduction.

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