You can tell that I'm writing a novel. It's having lamentable affects. I'm (mostly) doing my 2000 words a day, but it seems to be sparking off a concomitant logorrhea in this blog. Just be thankful that you're not my family.
Anyway...for reasons that will become clear, I am reading about Noh theatre at the moment. And in my wanderings, I found this quote from the great Noh playwright Zeami (or Seami), translated here by Arthur Waley from Zeami's Kwadensho or Book of the Handing on of the Flower (c1430). What struck me was how utterly modern it sounds, and how deeply this idea is embedded in contemporary theatre practice. Here, of course, it derives from Zen:
Gestures and intonations which yesterday appeared to be admirable may today be insufferable, even if the same actors are playing in the same play... If you look deeply into the ultimate essentials of this art, you will find that what is called 'the flower' has no separate existence. Were it not for the spectator, who reads into the performance a thousand excellences, there would be no 'flower' at all. The Sutra says 'Good and ill are one; villainy and honesty are of like kind'. Indeed, what standard have we whereby to discern good from bad? We can only take what suits the need of the moment and call it 'good'.