On the loss of vitality in writing

When the ancients wrote books they were trying to get at reality and transmit spirit. But all they could convey was a general idea, in order to help lead people to the truth. Much of their spirit, their energy, their words and laughter and actions, could not be captured.

When modern generations write books they ape the form of the ancients. To show how clever they are they add false analyses and additions. And so they get farther and father from the truth.

–Wang Yangming, 1471-1529

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1 Comment

  1. Vitality and truth aren’t the only things gone missing in some of today’s (20th and 21st century) art and writing. You could also add honesty and a vision that is not linked to marketing the art/writing as simply merchandise. You might as well be trading in pork belly futures. I just finished a post on Jeff Koons and knew that Wang Yangming would have had some sharp words for that poseur.