Thursday, November 27, 2014
Patheos on approaching Rasa.
Heidegger insisted that we exist, individually, in “moods”, and he saw that “moods”—as opposed to feelings or emotions—do not have specific objects in the world. I might feel angry towards the dog that pooped on my lawn, but if I’m in an angry “mood”, my anger isn’t towards any thing in particular, but, rather, a kind of impersonal anger covers or infiltrates everything in the world around me.
Heidegger calls this condition Befindlichkeit. I don’t really speak German, but the experts tell me that the term denotes a quality of being in the world, and that quality or tone seems to operate largely on its own, pulling and pushing our sense of how we are in the world at a given moment.
I would suggest that Heidegger is approaching rasa, here. Rasa, says Bharata, the 4th-century, CE, theorist, is not a created thing. Unlike emotions and feelings, rasa isn’t caused or engendered by art, but is an essential quality of existence, surrounding performer and audience, together. An art work does not determine rasa, but is largely determined by it. Similarly, our feelings and emotions do not make rasa. Rather, rasa shapes feeling, and determines how we are in the world.
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