Mu Xin is the pen name for author, painter and poet, Sun Pu (孙璞). He came from a wealthy family in Zhejiang and was the nephew of the famous Chinese author Mao Dun (茅盾). After graduating from art school he became a teacher and later a professor. During the cultural revolution he was arrested and imprisoned. After being released from prison, he continued to work in fine art. In 1982 he migrated to the United States, where he continued to write and paint. He was the first 20th Century Chinese artist to be housed in the British Museum. In 2006 he returned to his hometown in China. He died in December of 2011 after having been admitted to hospital for a lung infection in October.
About to Awaken
Man just awoken from his dreams, is man at his most basic.
In that instant, man’s nature is neither good nor evil, it’s empty, weak, vaguely disconnected .
A hero’s failure, the deflowering of a beauty, all occur at such a moment. An instant on the blurry line between the conscious and the subconscious, an involuntary moment.
Man’s effusiveness, his distance, his magnanimity, his miserliness, are all deliberately acquired behaviour. Rudely awakened from one’s dreams, the pious or the villainous, the gentleman or the pleb, the loyal lover or the cad, they’re all more or less the same, after a little time passes, the differences become clear as day.
However, why is it that the masterful battle strategies, that strangely beautiful inspiration, often comes out of these instants at which one is neither awake nor asleep?
It’s the persisting presence of the dream, when the routine logic of the mind has yet to kick in; instinct, intuition take advantage of the opportunity, and man is able to exceed the limits imposed by habit – instinct, intuition, are the fundamental intelligence formed by tens of thousands of years of experience, lying dormant in the deepest recesses of our intellect, they surface only occasionally, making up for lost time with their brilliance.
That which is brilliant and majestic can be found to have been achieved by way of man’s instinct.
As if the gods had intervened to help, man actually helps himself – this without doubt is something to rejoice in. However, one mustn’t be too happy.
(Translation by Conor Stuart/翻譯：蕭辰宇)