Sensuous Genius

The most abstract idea conceivable is sensuous genius.  But in what medium is this idea expressible?  Solely in music.  It cannot be expressed in sculpture, for it is a sort of inner qualification of inwardness; nor in painting, for it cannot be apprehended in precise outlines; it is an energy, a storm, impatience, passion, and so on, in all their lyrical quality, yet so that it does not exist in one moment but in a succession of moments, for if it existed in a single moment, it could be modeled or painted….The only medium which can express it is music.  Music has, namely, an element of time in itself, but it does not take place in time except in an unessential sense.  The historical process in time it cannot express.

From Soren Kierkegaard’s “The Immediate Stages of the Erotic or The Musical Erotic” in Either/Or


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