Home » (Essays) » From My Journal. A Theory of Art and Thought.

From My Journal. A Theory of Art and Thought.

Reviewing journals and notes from my undergraduate years, I found something relating to the contents of this blog and their presentation. I had forgotten about my “indwellings” project until recently. The following, with some alterations in style (not without irony), are the opening paragraphs of an old theory that might have served as an introduction to the book I never finished, and never will, though now instead the theory seems to complement this blog’s about page nicely:


Indwellings

Il arrive souvent que des choses se présentent plus achevées à notre esprit qu’il ne les pourrait faire avec beaucoup d’art. *

—François de La Rochefoucauld

This blog contains multifarious contents, none of which are indwellings as such while they are on the page. The contents were once indwellings, but indwellings cannot be written, cannot be read. What you see instead are the expressions of indwellings.

Now, expression is violence, which is called “art” when mixed with memory and smatterings of knowledge. Expression transforms indwellings as air changes the color of blood. Everything you read has been violently wrenched from the depths. I have taken the raw, unseen indwellings and thrust them out, changing their form, so that you may be enticed enough to take them as your own.

Each one of us does this violence to our indwellings. Some of us know that we do it, and others are ignorant of it. Of the knowers, some try to make the expressions beautiful, and others, who abhor the corruption inherent in cleverness, seek to preserve the raw qualities of the indwelling as much as possible, as if the truth of them might be saved by degrees. These two classes are extremes, of course; most of us find uniformity obnoxious, so we go back and forth between the smooth and the rough. But in all cases the indwellings have been more or less processed and contaminated in the activity of expression.

When you take one of these spoken or written expressions, some deep part of you renders them again into a raw indwelling that resembles the primitive. What indwelled me I make nice on the page. After you find it nice on the page, it may indwell you. If my art has been too strong, if my expression has done too much violence to the primitive, then what indwells you may not actually resemble the primitive. Art, after all, can deform.

. . .


* Translation: “It often happens that things introduce themselves to our mind more complete than we could ever make them with much art.”

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