The Future of Tea Ceremony Redux
“Tradition is not the worship of ashes but the preservation of fire”
- Gustav Mahler
Chinese Tea Ceremony is a living and dying art.
Either the practitioners of today will expand the cultural capital of the praxis, recruit new practitioners with experiences that imbue them with the intrinsic motivations to learn, and foster the progression of the praxis through the development of their techne – or Gongfu cha will fade into a historical artifact.
Is there time now for slow arts, contemplative arts, arts of duration? Who has time to listen to an opera, to focus on a treatise, to explore the variety of sensations offered by an ethereal tea? Our attention is so valuable we do not own it ourselves, as it has been rented with our willing consent and sold in exchange for entertainment. So afraid are we of being alone with ourselves, alone with our thoughts, that we reach for our nearest distraction to avoid a moment of silence, reflection, or stillness – our thigh is buzzing, someone liked the photo, somewhere there is a war fought by others in need of an emoji. Society enforces its norms and it has normalized distraction. What are the higher arts in the age of distraction?
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