I was having dinner at Dewick one day, and the vivid colors of my particular choice of food that day drove me to take a photo of it before eating.
Food in plate,
A picture taken.
This week the focus of our discussion seems to be nothingness, but I personally find the idea of “the order of here and now” to be even more important. Following last week’s start on the Japanese form, we now arrive at a formal theorization of why the Japanese resort to form: “the formal structuring of present space… provides the possibility of propriety, which is a fundamental form of the sacred and of meaningfulness” (Inouye, 57.) This practice of “[moving] through space properly,” practiced largely without consciousness of its religious origins, continues to establish meaning in the ever changing world for the Japanese, and this really comes to me as a key solution with which an important part of the Japanese form gets explained. There is, of course, also the Buddhist “transcendental order” that coexists with the former, yet as Professor Inouye has stressed over time, even Buddhism is treated non-textually under the influence of the order of here and now, as we can see on Pages 57-60. Now let us look at Noh theater and nothingness. Reading the script of Atsumori is hardly sufficient for envisioning the full pulse of the play, yet I find that consigning the other components of the play to our imagination is in its own right a good experience with nothingness: as Atsumori exclaims “No, Rensei is not my enemy. Pray for me again, oh pray for me again,” we can be freed from the already minimal acting, and clear room for the former enemies’ reconciliation (Zeami, 73.) One perceptual difficulty that I have lies in understanding how the two topics, the here-and-now order and nothingness, relate to each other. It seems reasonable to say, though, that the former generates form that culminates in arts like Noh, which exemplifies the latter.
- Zesheng Xiong (George)