(I 2) Postmodernist Vitality 1Hisamatsu: As I have been thinking hard these days, there ought to be a Postmodernist art. In music, painting, drama, in any field of art there ought to be such a thing in a natural manner, for Postmodernism is one big stream of history. I think it is quite natural that an art that matches the big stream will come into being. Just as a medieval art was formed in the Middle Ages, in Modern Age modern art has come into being. In the Postmodernist age there ought to be a Postmodernist art.
There ought to be Postmodernist philosophy, religion, politics, economy, and science -- unlike the modern science --, as well. In that way, there ought to be springing something like Postmodernist vitality. Once such vitality springs, there must be expressions philosophical and religious, and artistic ones as well. The stronger the vitality, the more natural the manner by which expressions come out.
Then, when whoever catches the spirit -- when an artist catches it, an art will come out; when a philosopher catches it, a philosophy will come out; and when a religionist catches it, a religion will come out. In this way, in every field of culture there ought to be a new movement.
H: A song, music, and a performance -- unless these three become one and inseparable, there would not be a Postmodernist expression.
First comes verse-making. The contents of verse ought to have something of Postmodernist nature, and I think such will come out inevitably. For example, in the "Vow of Humankind" there is nothing of what is commonly considered religious, like God or Buddha. Instead, it is filled with concrete contents of what is Postmodernist. In my intention, that is a Postmodernistic song.
When I suggested to you to compose music for the "Vow of Humankind," I meant that you would be free from the song to musically express its contents. It is necessary to express rhythmically the contents independently of the verbal expression.
Ishii: I wonder what will be more difficult than that kind of thing! (Laughter)
H: Difficult as it is, speaking from its spirit, I believe it is possible. The reason is, religion, for example, if it is alive, will come out as fine music. Not just any worldly, ordinary music of religion, but expressions of genuinely true human heart, true human nature. Rather than our giving expression to the true heart or true nature, the true heart or true nature comes into expression, and that moves us deeply. No matter what the contents are, the spirit moves us.
(I 5) Art as the Expression of Religious Nature
[Dr. Hisamatsu cites three cases of moving choruses by religious people though he does not accept contents of their faiths: (1) On Mt. Osore, 879m. above sea level, Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture, Japan, behind a Soto-zen temple, in the period between July 20 and 24, people who recently lost their relatives gather in groups, and try engaging in communicating with their dead. Their intense manner of calling to the dead moved him. (2) At the Kongo-bu Temple, centre of the Japanese Shingon school, founded in 816 A.D. by Kukai on Mt. Koya, 900 m. above sea level, Wakayama Pref., Dr. Hisamatsu saw a sick woman sitting behind the inner shrine, surrounded by some men and women believers, all reciting the Heart sutra and walking around her. There was a stormy atmosphere in the manner of sutra-chanting by them, intent on healing the woman. Their frantic manner moved him. (3) On his tour abroad Dr. Hisamatsu saw an Islamic prayer. Observing the manner of group prayer with the rhythm and atmosphere of bowing gestures and the way of reading the Qur-an, all producing a music, he comments that that is important for religion. He goes on to say:]In the case of Postmodernism as well, when the Postmodernist spirit surges up, it inevitably will express itself in art. Medieval religions were all theistic, and their art was also theistic. In Modern Age the art is atheistic. The Postmodernist age, atheistic as it is, is not just atheistic; for, as its root-source, it has the Formless self that comes to awake to itself by breaking through the ultimate antinomy, the root of modern beings, as its structural moment for transcendence. When this Awakening surges up, I think there will be its expression in art. Art comes into being from the Formless self; forms that are formless come into being. What matters is its coming to express itself.
In a way it depends on a painting technique such as devices in the colour of sumi-ink and in various contents; here a sleeve is seen painted here. Had it not been painted here, the effect would be a little different. Trifle as it is, a sleeve painted is important.
About the fingertips, all the five tips express what is infinite, which is a wonderful thing.
Besides massiveness and infinitude, this has calmness; an excellent calmness. Not moving, it looks infinitely moving at the fingertips, doesn't it? Yes, as a hand. Containing various contents as an inseparable unit, as a single hand, it is expressing itself. A rare work it is. Very rough, and different from a detailed one.
Yes, it is naive; still it expresses what a real hand ought to be. It may mean that this is not a hand limited by ordinary space, but that it is the hand which expresses what is infinite.
This is characteristic of Hakuin, I think. Since he was a person who could devise a koan, "the Sound of a Single Hand," being equipped with the koan, that has come out straight. I think this ought to be the case with painting a picture, too.
There come into being such works of art as what is formless that expresses itself into forms, or those forms which express what is formless. Among works of art of the past ages, those which I chose and cited in my Zen and the Fine Arts (in Japanese, Bokubisha, Kyoto 1958; in English, Kodansha International, Tokyo 1971) are, or are very close to, those of such sort. But instead of such past works, works of art living here and now as well as artists who express such works ought to come out.
I suppose such works of art will be produced in music composition and in formative arts -- something different from and deeper than, say, the new expressions of Piccaso (Pablo, 1881-1973) --, those internally equipped with the fight to create history. There ought to be music, paintings, and dramas of that sort. In the days when the Postmodernist age vividly makes its appearance, there will naturally come into being those new forms of art.
As for the Postmodernist art, too, it will not abruptly come into being apart from anything as a continuation from the Middle Ages or as what succeeds artistic movements that newly came into being in Modern times. It is only in some tradition that something new breaks through to its own awareness, isn't it?
H: Yes, it is thinkable; but that kind of thinking can also be preventing something like a leap or sudden negation of what precedes. The manner of following what is reasonable or methodical won't lead to genuine creation. Following what is reasonable is the direction from one reality into a future; it is approaching from this side to the other side.
There does exist a contrary direction. Ordinarily this may appear illogical and too direct, which I feel is very much lacking today. Instead of approaching the other side from this side, suddenly what abruptly has taken place makes its appearance towards this side. What is on the other side suddenly comes up to express itself to this side this way. This is an opposite direction, isn't it?
Lack of this opposite direction has caused the present philosophy, religion, and art to think of the future as the one that is aimed at from here, and not to think of the kind of future that has come from the other side. The reason seems to be that they have forgotten the kind of Methode to leap beyond the actuality or the present. No such thing is present today, is it?
I think induction is of the modern nature; induction is the method of modern philosophy, religion, and art.
The medieval method is direct and not good since it does not even reach Modern Age. But I think there is the kind of deduction which comes out from the other side that negates Modern Age, the important Postmodernist Methode which goes beyond modern induction, for this Methode cannot be reached from Modern Age.
Let me think of what is rational as something basic to Modern Age. Then the kind of deduction seems to be very important in which something that goes beyond reason, comes out from its own side to us, instead of along the lines of reason.
In that sense, with the present-day academic, no more than inductive Methode, nothing but what is on the extension of the realities, comes into being. But there seems to be a Methode according to which something that suddenly negates Modern Age comes out and creates what is new, i.e., what is not on the lines of Modern Age.
The latter is the case with Greek philosophy; with Kant as well, Form is not very creative; he does not insist that Form creates Materie. But in my case Form, once created, goes on creating new Materie, or goes on remolding the past Materie into what accords with the new Form. That kind of creative Form is what I mean.
In this way, there comes to be new Form because the Postmodernist subjectivity is completely different from the modern subjectivity. Form is creative rather than being something like a model supplied from outside. I believe this creativity of Form is very important in terms of the transformation of history. It is not just a method of interpretation, for what matters is the kind of Form that creates things.
In that respect, philosophy also ought not to be an interpretation. In terms of interpretation, hermeneutics, excellent and detailed as it is, is not a genuine philosophy. Originally philosophy is what discovers and creates new Form, that which has the created Form creates Materie. And that is the kind of philosophy we are to have hereafter, I think.
When art becomes thoroughgoing, it comes to express the root-source of human beings; in other words, one penetrates into the root-source of humans through art. Unless such is the case, art would never be anything true and living.
Music, if it is authentic, should be something that moves the root-source of humans. One moves it with sound; another moves it with sight. Art of the ear comes into being where through the ear there is direct communication with human lives; art of the eye comes into being where through the eye there reaches the root-source of humans. Such art becomes very close and intimate to human beings. Otherwise anything would remain superficial.
Nowadays realism won't do; realism, as an art as well, is very shallow. Unless art is much more penetrating to the human root-source, it won't truly move us. Unless expressed from the root, no art will move us but superficially. Ordinarily, however, such shallow one is esteemed as art. That is why I insist that realism won't do, that it is shallow, and that impressionism is close to it, while expressionism is deeper than realism or impressionism.
But, even in expressionism, according to what is expressed and what makes expression, there occurs great difference. I must insist, the Formless self expresses the Formless self. Or, since the Formless self has the structure of F.A.S., I must say, the F.A.S. expresses the F.A.S. It is the kind of expressionism I insist that what expresses and what is expressed is inseparably one.
It is the self-expression of eternity; the very eternity expresses eternity itself. That is the true expressionism, and art of this kind, I think, arouses our deep emotion.
In that sense, discussing the problem of systems is essential for thinking of the Postmodernist world in concrete terms. It is the problem not of individuals but of species. It has been my impression that you have scarcely referred to this point in your writings. To be sure, with the awakening of individuals there should be the "world-renovation" or "world-reformation." But for its concrete actualization communities and systems come to play an important part, don't they?
Awakening being common to everybody constitutes the true Gemeinde(community); no Gemeinde that is not like that can be true Gemeinde. In the kind of Gemeinde which has penetrated to that point, that is, that in which self is the same for everyone, in which everyone's self is one and the same, lies the ground of my so-called society or world. I mean society is far from being a gathering of individuals. It is far more basic; it can be called total unity.
Its ordinary meaning is just a gathering, a collection, a union, or a community in which the greatest happiness of the greatest number is an ideal. It is not the kind of unity that comes from the base. I wonder how, according to the ordinary way of thinking, one could base oneness of community-members on the total unity.
Ishii: Commonly it means an agreement of demands of each individual, the identity of demands.
H: You mean the greatest number of demands, don't you? It will come to mean "commonness." In that case there could be no room for a more concrete Oneness.
That is where my idea is different. Oneness is present at the base, at the way of being of every individual. There all is One. That is very different from the decision of the majority or ordinary commonness. It is not anything partially "shared" by everyone and the parts being brought to a whole.
That is what the "F" of "F.A.S." is provided with. From that feature of "F" All-humankind or "A" comes out. The latter has the characteristic as well that it is none of the sum total of all humankind but that it is qualitatively One. This may not be thought up in the ordinary social science. And that incapability reveals the limits of modern social science.
I would like to reinterpret the "U" of "UN" as One and Many, Many and One at the same time, and that is where something like the world government is to be located. Otherwise, it will be something local or a particular entity separated from the reality, and be far from being a world government.
H: That kind of question presented based on the actual problems, radical as it may sound, is not radical at all.
My idea comes from what has originally been One, so that there is no such questions. I mean, the Postmodernist world is not anything based on such a structure. Speaking from the Postmodernist system, such will cease to exist of itself, including the difference of classes and nation-states and races, as you see in the "Vow of Humankind "(Laughter)
Unless there is penetration into the basic problem, there will remain such points in question; when there is penetration into the basic problem, they will cease to exist of themselves. Such is my view.
Speaking from my viewpoint of the Postmodernist world, struggles resulting from the difference of classes and races will disappear of themselves. Instead of forcing them to disappear with struggles, I understand that they will disappear according to the basic principle.
Ishii: Between "communilization" and "communism" there must be clarification of the qualitative difference. In Marx's case, where opposition of classes takes place, he saw its utmost cause, the chief instigator of social misery, in privately appropriating the means of production. By the means of production he meant the labour power of the worker, machinery, factories, and land. He thought, since a particular group of people appropriated them as their private possessions, there occurred the social structure of governing and governed.
Marx intended to overcome this basic contradiction innate to capitalist societies through proletariat revolutions. He meant to have the appropriated means of production be brought with violence into public possession.
In the Postmodernist world, how should the private property in industrial society be treated? You mean in concrete terms the means of production should belong to humankind as common property, don't you?
H: Yes, it is a common property of humankind, so that private possession may mean its self-determination on the basis of humankind's communalization.
Ishii: I wonder if that isn't the most controversial point.
H: But, if that were not the case, those contradictions would never cease to exist. I mean, properties both spiritual and material are communal to humankind, instead of material property alone, as with Marx.
It is on the basis of this communalization by humankind hat individuals and organizations come to have properties. Their possessing properties will be inevitable. Anyone, either an individual or an organization, since their having properties being on the basis of communalization by humankind, it does not mean their exclusive possession of properties. As for property-appropriation, in this case, it is applied to the whole humankind.
Ishii: May I understand that in this way? This body of mine is something entrusted to me, as it were, -- Christians would say -- by God, or -- in your case -- by humankind. In that case, I will handle this body with utmost care, and want to use it for the benefit of humankind. My body belongs to me and to humankind. It is precious because it belongs to humankind. It would not be so precious if it were just mine.
In the same way, I won't cling to things such as this tape-recorder, or this fountain-pen, feeling proud of them as precious things; instead, I will try to make full use of them for the sake of humankind as something temporarily entrusted to me by them. May I understand your view of personal possession on the basis of communalization by humankind in this way?
H: You may well say so, but I don't think the expression, "temporarily being entrusted" is good. It would mean the relationship between master and subject. How about thinking, instead, that that is the true mode of being, and that that is what things originally are? What is important is that the relationship which you speak of as "being entrusted" is not anything like subordination or dependence.
Ishii: H'm; is that so? "No Hindrance among Particulars"....
H: "Particulars" by themselves would not bring about "No Hindrance" among themselves. The "Universal" is indispensable there. Besides, when "Particulars" and the "Universal" are separate, "No Hindrance" will result between "Particulars" and the "Universal," but "No Hindrance among Particulars" is possible only when the whole and individuals are inseparable.
This means that without harming the independent nature of individuals, i.e., "Particulars," there is established the "Universal," and that without preventing the independent nature of the "Universal" there are established "Particulars." This is the "No Hindrance among Particulars."
With this mode of being there is no hindrance of the independence of individuals. What matters most here is that in the utmost depths is the "Universal." The "Universal" is present, inseparably one with "Particulars." It is not that "Particulars" are independent of the "Universal."
The relationship between individuals and the whole is also like that. That individuals and the whole are inseparably one, and yet that nevertheless they are distinct from each other -- upon this principle the relations of possession and communalization are based.
Ishii: You mean in that kind of self-awareness there cannot be any attachment to wealth, don't you?
H: It may depend on the meaning of the term "attachment." If individuals are considered inseparably one with the whole, there cannot be any attachment. When individuals as such are considered as something separated from the whole, there takes place attachment. Where the whole is taken into consideration, there can be no attachment, no monopolization. The absence of monopolization on the part of individuals is based...
I: Based on humankind, you mean?
H: Yes, it is based on the whole humankind. This means that that is originally of that nature. It is not that particular individuals possess properties, but that what belongs to the whole belongs to individuals while what belongs to individuals belongs to the whole. This kind of recognition is there. Otherwise, there will be the kind of destiny that will cause communism or something like that to be inevitable.
Ishii: I see. There doesn't seem to be any other way than standing on that kind of self-awareness. Marxists, for example, have to be persuaded that unless one stands on that kind of self-awareness there will be no realization of a truly free and peaceful society....
H: I won't say standing on the self-awareness, for it is something original. Besides, it is no mere individual self-awareness, but the original self-awareness of all human beings. In that sense it includes systems; it is not anything apart from systems. Since it includes systems, they become the kind of systems in which there is "No Hindrance among Particulars."
Ishii: But when we think of the present-day world, we face the situation in which human beings' social mode of being is far from that kind of original way of being.
For example, it will be a long way to go for such capitalist countries as the United States and Japan as well as communist countries like the Soviet Union and those in the Eastern Europe to become societies that have such self-awareness.
H: Yes. Since it is a long way to go, a Sollen("what one should do") comes into being, that there should be the kind of system we mean.
Ishii: Such Sollen seems to be at once social and religious, since it means that all human beings become their original way of being.
In our possessing some property and even our having our bodies to exist here, there already is the individual aspect connected with the whole aspect, so that what ultimately contradict each other are established, connected as one. Your so-called ultimate antinomy is....
Methodically speaking, it is the way of Zen practice with koan to drive oneself into a corner. That is why I advocate a "fundamental koan," in consideration of the basic way of being of koan practice. By "fundamental koan" I mean the ultimate antinomy of existence.
There are many kinds of koan, and all of them, in a way, can be reduced to the ultimate antinomy of existence. Their being reduced to the latter is what I call "fundamental koan."
Nowadays everyone seems to think that one must go through many cases of koan. After going through Master Zhaozhou's "Wu (No)" or Hakuin's "Sound of a Single Hand," practitioners are expected to accumulate koan practices one after another, and "the Great Matter is Finished" at the final stage which may come in some future. How can there be such a ludicrous thing? (Laughter) That should not be the case. If one has solved one basic "fundamental koan," one will be able to solve all the others. That ought to be the case.
Ishii: "Finishing the Great Matter" comes at the beginning, you mean?
H: Yes, it comes at the beginning, and that is the end, to tell the truth. "A Great Death" should naturally be followed by "Resuscitating after Exhaustion."
"The Sound of a Single Hand" cannot be one of various particulars. It has its value because listening to the sound of a single hand has come to be the "fundamental koan." If this were not the case, then a practitioner must go through Master Zhaozhou's "Wu" after Master Hakuin's "Sound of a Single Hand," and then must go through another case of koan. But this manner of practice is basically wrong. This is my criticism of the present-day koan-practice. (Laughter) It is no wonder that Soto-zen practitioners reasonably criticize the Rinzai-zen practice as an up-ladder zen.
But Soto-zen practice also should be criticized. They call their practice "Simply Just Sitting," but the sitting is where and when the ultimate antinomy is passed through. Usually this is not the case. Some insist, physical sitting is everything they need. Others insist, no mere physical sitting is all right; it must also be the mind sitting; in other words, a sitting in which mental and physical sittings are one should be the "Simply Just Sitting." But that kind of sitting also is of an individual nature.
Ishii: You want to emphasize that the ultimate antinomy constitutes the basic factor of religion, don't you?
H: That's right; that's right. In that sense I insist that Christianity also must penetrate to that point to become true religion. I wouldn't say that any religion can be true religion. If anyone insists that one should think of the essence of religion by collecting various religions and then by calculating their greatest common divisor from them, I would say it is absolutely a joke. (Laughter)
Speaking of societies and the world, the world that has Many alone but lacks One cannot help being driven into a corner. Societies and the world which are based on the way of being in which individuals or groups privately own properties and monopolize them cannot be maintained.
But the crisis of the modern world which lacks One cannot truly be solved with the oneness of communism, for the common sharing of what is material alone would leave the world with the kind of oneness which lacks manyness. That means lack of freedom.
Nowadays, I must say, humankind has been facing the ultimate antinomy of the world-existence.
The true world is at once One and Many, Many and One, that in which One and Many are inseparably one. In other words, it is the world in which there is "No Hindrance among Particulars," in which individuals are absolutely independent and work for the whole, and while working for the whole they are never bound by the whole but completely free. It is the world which is penetrated by the philosophical principle of existence I describe now. "The world which is true and happy," as is mentioned in the "Vow of Humankind," means that kind of the world. The world which is true and happy is possible because it is at once One and Many, Many and One.
Ishii: Yes, I can understand your point very well. You have finished talking about your view of the Postmodernist art and society, and I deeply appreciate your kindly talks.
H: I also heartily appreciate your coming to ask questions. (Laughter) I have enjoyed talking variously with you.
Ishii: Thank you for teaching me variously.
H: Oh, please don't say being taught. 2 [Prof. Ishii's note]