Plans, Terms, Ideas of Deportment
Susan Sontag begins her remarkable essay “The Aesthetics of Silence” by defining spirituality as “plans, terminologies, ideas of deportment aimed at the resolution of painful structural contradictions inherent in the human situation, at the completion of human consciousness, at transcendence.” Sontag posits this description in order to draw an analogy to the function of art as a category of work and category of experience in the modern era (or at least the mythology of that function). “Spirituality” is a gooey word, often gooey enough to be useless. Sontag’s elaboration of it alleviates the gooeyness only a little. And yet, it’s not as though we’re uninterested or uninvolved, one way or another, in the project her definition traces. Moreover, for those likely to be reading this, art plays some role evolving our plans, terms, or “ideas of deportment.” Practice Catalogue is about the myriad ways this is or might be done.
[P.S. My own slow-gestating consideration of “poetry” as a kind of inquiry, as an idea of deportment, “Thought-Work in the Glowing Field,” is now up at AGNI]