Edgar Wind has observed that the reason why Plato’s statement is so surprising to us is that art does not exert the same influence on us as it did on him. Only because art has left the sphere of interest to become merely interesting do we welcome it so warmly. In a draft of The Man Without Qualities that Robert Musil wrote at a time when the definitive design of his novel was not yet clear in his mind, Ulrich (who still appears with his earlier name, Anders) enters the room where Agathe is playing the piano and feels an obscure and irresistible impulse that drives him to fire some gun shots at the instrument that is diffusing through the house such a “desolatingly” beautiful harmony. […] Plato, and Greek classical antiquity in general, had a very different experience of art, an experience having little to do with disinterest and aesthetic enjoyment. The power of art over the soul seemed to him so great that he thought it could by itself destroy the very foundations of his city. […] The term he uses when he wants to define the effects of inspired imagination is “divine terror,” a term that we, benevolent spectators, no doubt find inappropriate to define our reactions, but that nevertheless is found with increasing frequency, after a certain time, in the notes in which modern artists attempt to capture their experiences of art.
—Agamben, Man Without Content