Antonin Artaud is a UFO in French literature. In a time where censorship was outlandish, he still managed to get his recording of "To be done with God's judgement" censored by the French radio. Artaud, the inventor of the "Theater of cruelty", got locked in mental institutions several times. But a practice of his points us to Wu-Wei ("Not trying" in Chinese) in Art.
An admirer of Van Gogh, he used drawing as therapy and wrote of his experience: "I'm also like the poor Van Gogh, I'm not thinking anymore, but each day, I direct more closely my formidable internal outbursts". This probably echoes how Jackson Pollock used to paint without "trying". And that brings us back to Slingerland's Wu-Wei:
"Wu-wei literally translates as “no trying” or “no doing,” but it’s not at all about dull inaction. In fact, it refers to the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art, (or) smoothly negotiating a complex social situation (...)"
And Slingerland goes on to identify Wu-Wei with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's "Flow" !
"This state of harmony is both complex and holistic, involving as it does the integration of the body, the emotions, and the mind. If we have to translate it, wu-wei is probably best rendered as something like “effortless action” or “spontaneous action.” Being in wu-wei is relaxing and enjoyable, but in a deeply rewarding way that distinguishes it from cruder or more mundane pleasures."
Next Episode - How to become a Wu-Wei master !!