Then they go on to make their confrontation directly, stating “these three findings from the science of the mind are inconsistent with central parts of Western philosophy” (3).
In Neal’s article on the Black Arts movement, he quotes part of a poem called “Black Art” by Leroi Jones (later Amiri Baraka), which underscores the visceral embodiment of the Black Arts movement and the Black aesthetic: Poems are bullshit unless they are teeth or trees or lemons piled on a step.
It is masterful that in a short novel Morrison is able to disassemble the western-centric worldview based on abstractions, and demonstrate the effective alternative of the Mac Teers’ embodied blues-oriented worldview. Blues Aesthetic, Jazz Structure, and Embodiment Larry Neal, a central black cultural theorist of the Black Arts movement, writes in a landmark essay: “The Black artist takes…that his primary duty is speak to the spiritual and cultural needs of Black people…these writers are re-evaluating western aesthetics, the traditional role of the writer, and the social function of art.
Implicit in this re-evaluation is the need to develop a ‘black aesthetic’…the western aesthetic has run its course: it is impossible to construct anything meaningful within its decaying structure” (29).
These insights will accumulate to not only reveal the improvisational inventiveness with which Morrison crafts the narrative world in, but will furthermore illustrate how embodiment intertwines with what she expresses thematically: the nature of absolute beauty being equated with the physical characteristic of blue eyes (or more “whiteness” more generally, which the blue eyes symbolically represent) is obviously damaging to Black Americans who cannot escape the pursuit of this “ideal” through their own sense of beauty and truth as constructed from the locus of a blues aesthetic or attitude, which is an understanding of the world rooted in the bodies, experiences, and culture of Black Americans.
Ultimately, is about the violence done to the psychic and spiritual lives of Black Americans who are forced to operate in the world with a faulty worldview—one focused on the Western-centric, whiteness driven, abstract ideals of beauty and truth and reality itself—rather than a more universally accurate worldview of embodiment, being rooted in one’s embodied experiences, sensations, and understandings.
Right from the beginning of this text, Lakoff and Johnson confront these traditions, submitting three fundamental concepts of cognitive science: “The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious, abstract concepts are largely metaphorical” (3).
Or black ladies dying of men leaving nickel hearts beating them down.
Fuck poems and they are useful, would they shoot come at you, love what you are, breathe like wrestlers, or shudder strangely after peeing.