"Contemplation is Han’s strategy for resistance to the violence of positivity that consumes the burnout society. Han takes up the late, contemplative Heidegger’s interest in Gelassenheit (“releasement”), a term he borrows from the Christian mystical tradition that means “letting things be as they are.” Han also draws upon Zen, and sometimes echoes the therapeutic language of the “mindfulness” movement, but also points to resources that are specifically (if not uniquely) Christian. Most notably, he discusses the Sabbath and the narrative time of the medieval calendar. These are not simply days of rest or relaxation. They mark time by bringing us into close proximity to something Other (in this case God) that cannot be reduced to some consumable difference and used for our own projects. Feast days are days of Gelassenheit, an occasion for contemplation that lets God’s world be God’s. Only when we “linger” in contemplation can we find something outside of ourselves to commit ourselves to. Han argues this is an expression of love, as opposed to pornification, that is, to let Others be as they are."
(image: Chase William Merritt, Portrait of Miss Dora Wheeler, 1883; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)