Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility

By Ashon T. Crawley | Go to book overview

4
TONGUES

Having been said to be nothing, this is a love letter written to we who have been, and are today still, said to have nothing. This is a love letter written to a tradition of such nothingness. In having nothing, we putatively speak nothing. Such speaking echoes, such speaking reverberates, but such speaking is considered—in normative theological-philosophical thought—nothing. Nothing of consequence. Nothing of weight. Nothing of materiality. This is a love letter to a love tradition, a tradition that emerges from within, carries and promises nothingness as the centrifugal, centripetal, centrifugitive force released against, and thus is a critical intervention into, the known world, the perniciously fictive worlds of our making. Some might call this fictive world “real.” Some might call this fictive world reality. Some might call this fictive world the project of western civilization, complete with its brutally violent capacity for rapacious captivity. This is a love letter to a tradition of the ever overflowing, excessive nothingness that protects itself, that—with the breaking of families, of flesh—makes known and felt, the refusal of being destroyed. There is something in such nothingness that is not, but still ever excessively was, is and is yet to come. This is a love letter written against notions of ascendancy, written in favor of the social rather than modern liberal subject’s development. What emerges from the zone of nothingness, from the calculus of the discarded? If something makes itself felt, known, from the zone of those of us said to be and have nothing, then the interrogation of what nothingness means is our urgent task. The nothingness of possibilities otherwise, of living the alternative.

In Chapter 2, I began a discussion of Sapelo Island dweller, Bilali, talking about what came to be called Ben Ali’s Diary. In that chapter, I discussed 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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