chapter  5
8 Pages


Francois Jullien in his book In Praise of Blandness offers us his reading on the Chinese concept of shi. Blandness characterises the real in a way that is complete, positive and natural Blandness-detachment means not being called by any extremity. Blandness involves a journey through ambivalence and complacency to a place where we can be self-absorbed. Like blandness, the notion of complacency is often seen as a negative. A dictionary definition states that the term means extreme self-satisfaction and smugness. This chapter suggests that the antimodern condition rests on Blandness-detachment and, far from being negatives; they are the very things upon which our normal lives depend. Like blandness, Chinese concepts ambivalence, complacency, self-absorption will most often be seen as negatives, and we might be told that we should avoid them. Indeed, ambivalence is a necessary part of complacency, in that it is the external appearance of our complacent self.