Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“This soliciting of emptiness, this evacuation…”

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Jean-François Lyotard

[A] sort of emptiness…has to be obtained from mind and body by a Japanese warrior-artist when doing calligraphy, by an actor when acting: the kind of suspension of ordinary intentions of mind associated with habitus, or arrangements of the body. It’s at this cost…that a brush encounters the “right” shapes, that a voice and a theatrical gesture are endowed with the “right” tone and look. This soliciting of emptiness, this evacuation—very much the opposite of overweening, selective, identificatory activity—doesn’t take place without some suffering…The body and mind have to be free of burdens for grace to touch us. This doesn’t happen without suffering. An enjoyment of what we possessed is now lost…

In what we call thinking the mind isn’t “directed” but suspended. You don’t give it rules. You teach it to receive. You don’t clear the ground to build unobstructed: you make a little clearing where the penumbra of an almost-given will be able to enter and modify its contour.

Jean-François Lyotard

Written by nevalalee

September 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

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