Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility

By Ashon T. Crawley | Go to book overview

3
NOISE

That vibration can be thought, cognized, practiced through its being gathered and organized along the line of, and against being relegated to, joy is a radical disruption of western theology-philosophy. And not because Christian theology, which is always and everywhere Christian philosophy, implores believers to make joyful noise. Rather, it is a disruption because theology-philosophy that emerges from within the western epistemology of categorical, absolute difference as its operating ground considers noise as always in need of abatement. Noise is that ephemeral movement that cannot be pinpointed, separated, individuated. Noise is, only insofar as it is irreducibly social, irreducibly formed by vibration off other surfaces, through and against air such that vibration, movement, begs its being heard, its being listened to. Noise has been a problem for technological innovation at least since the 1920s,1 but the idea of noise as a problem for theological-philosophical thought takes us back further still to Enlightenment discourse.

The audiovisual encounter of problems—whether of the inanimate kind, or of sounds, or of negroes—has been a concern of the western theological-philosophical tradition at least since the writing of Edmund Burke, though no doubt, previous to him as well. In A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, Burke wrote about color’s ability to induce one’s experience of the sublime, how color can be all-consuming in its magnitude and force, how color can be irresistible power that inspires awe and reverence. The sublime—in terms of color—is produced, not by white or light color, “but of sad and fuscous colours, as black, or brown, or deep purple, and the like.”2 Immediately after describing dark color’s relation to the sublime, Burke describes how ound also allows entry into a zone where time and space are indistinct, the

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Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Breath 32
  • 2 - Shouting 86
  • 3 - Noise 139
  • 4 - Tongues 197
  • Coda - Otherwise, Nothing 251
  • Acknowledgments 271
  • Notes 275
  • Index 305
  • Commonalities 312
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