Can I Get a Witness

Can I Get a Witness

Matt Freeman keeps needing to rephrase his question in his comment section. Allow me:

As long as the arrow hits its target, does the archer even matter?

In Butoh the performer follows an internal narrative unconcerned with the external expression of such. In the rigorous pursuit of that narrative often an undeniable transformation of reality occurs. Arbitrary, yet endowed with purpose, this “creative accident” is a somewhat miraculous event.

Although the alchemist is attempting a psychic/spiritual transformation, it is not enough to believe that the transformation has occurred. To authenticate the experience, the lead needs to actually transform to gold on the physical plane. The internal change needs an external proof to be valid. So we invite the witness.

The witness is different than the audience. The audience will see this, that, or whatever, depending upon the rigor, experience, and specific talents of their attention. So the witnesses may observe the transubstantiation that the audience misses.

This is an old-school approach to craft where artistic and warrior disciplines were employed in the unfolding of higher qualities in the human being. For instance, the Zen of flower arrangement, or of archery, would have physical achievement synchronized with interior progression.

The scene from the 1939 film The Adventures of Robin Hood has the hero split his competitor’s arrow sitting in the center of the target. Strictly speaking, Robin, Earl of Locksley only really ties Owen the Welshman in this contest, as both archers have achieved the bull’s-eye. And yet the audience effectively awards Robin the prize of the golden arrow.

Sometimes the witness and the audience are the same.

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