Joe Bousquet, René Daumal and Carlo Suarés: DIALOGUES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL COMEDY (1955)
The roar of cannons in China is only the prelude to the storm. A conflict that will shake the world will put two universes in conflict. At the most serious hour in our history, why do we find time to meditate on the function of consciousness? Because consciousness is destructive of the self ...
Of the egocentric ego, its works and its idols. Because consciousness is always revolutionary.
Without going into details, I would ask that we accept with me that the ego is a consciousness that perceives itself as indivisible and simple unity. If the ego can be defined differently, I ask that one concede to me this: my definition is that on which the greatest number of philosophers can agree ... etc ... something approaching ...
One of the objects of this work will be to show that this self-awareness comes only from associations contracted by the human aggregate with elements which he imagines to be him ... The self is a contradiction in terms absolutely contradictory ... we enough to describe the "death" of the ego to dispel all doubts on this subject: this death must be the result of a dialectical bursting, from the inside, similar to the rupture of the egg shell at the birth of the chick. The main association contracted by consciousness is duration. In it merge and unite all the others. It is the most intimate "desire" of the self: a permanent crystallization which is made only of crystallizations: a "winding" around itself. Inside, there is nothing. A memory persistence without memories, mixed with persistent memories. I postulate that the self is only human: the animal I does not have this power of crystallization around nothingness. Human nothingness, I define it as extreme plasticity. The human aggregate (from birth or perhaps from intra-uterine life) is a soft wax where the impacts are imprinted. They remain there, opposing, by their duration, to "possible possibilities", to everything by which man seeks not to define himself (while animal species are conditioned by specific accumulations of automatisms). All this, badly said, calls for volumes of explanations. I want to remember this: the self is only its own memory. As a result, he is always reactionary. It is only duration, therefore the desire to make it last. The self and the present never meet. I don't understand your "self-individual", "self-egocentric", "objective-self" ..
The individual is the set of all the characters by which we can differentiate one man from another: the body, its appetites, its tendencies, the social situation, etc. Each individual perceives, at all times, part of these characters; everyone else remains in the shadows. The "me" is the individual who asserts himself as such, without doubting this assertion.
Self-awareness Definitely impossible word (theosophical hint).
Yes. No. But impossible translation of English self-consciousness. I resume, you will see: the me, you say, it is the individual who asserts himself as such, without doubting this assertion ... therefore he acts, he is in the shoes of a role; suddenly a provocation, the character takes off, the distraught individual finds himself self-conscious (perceiving himself playing).
It is the occasionally conscious part of the self. The "unconscious" is the non-conscious part.
Memory without memories (which psychoanalysis knows well).
I am writing you a note, which you will do what you want, and which will have fulfilled its purpose if, to you and to DAUMAL it reveals what I feel in the circle of my poetic experience and which seems to me to verify on the map , almost sensation, your ideological position. Accepted once and for all the corrections that must be implied each time that one passes from the intellectual plane to the material plane, or, if you prefer, whenever the idea is lived in another moment of his future. Here are my thoughts:
A man, me, who tirelessly seeks something like substance, that is to say that which, in my own experience constitutes both the objective and absolute element of my thought and of the things that this thought gives himself. (This is badly posed, but is only a routing, therefore: whatever)
A glimpse of truth: The ego is in the domain of the objective. There is no "subjective" self. Otherwise as returned by a sum of collections. (We only have subjective self about me born of perceptions of things in the real world).
The ego is like a summit that things come together to discover, a summit that they discover by rarefying their material in the invention of their most exceptional quality, by rarefying the material of this quality up to the to accomplish in another quality peculiar to what is external to them, a point of ice which has its transparency in the spirit which it thus changes into a spirit.
(This could not be more badly said. But experience, more or less from without, the mechanism of the ego, before it awakens "me").
I resume now, in emotional terms
The self isgiven to me from without. There is in me only the light which makes it appear.
We are the scene of convulsions that have caught on in the most remote abysses and on the summits most inaccessible to our reality.
I am a light that only enjoys itself by mixing with what it illuminates. My body is not mine: it is everything that I aspire to leave, everything that I aspire to rise from.
Half becoming the scent you breathe again, spelling through the love of colors the hope of a primitive light Example: I leaf through Cahiers d'Art, and I take a slight pleasure in it, it's me who reads a review, that the sight of a beautiful Ernst or a Braque absorbs entirely, it is my self that it has absorbed and dissolved, founding my joy (aesthetic, say the fools) on the dissolution of my me ... (which I will resuscitate veiled with totality, integration, in the desire to own the painting ... but we are again on the surface).
I add for DAUMAL and for you the bottom of my thought: this objective me which grows on the line of conjunctions and circumstances which are given to him in the form of a life, we can suppose that it would be reduced to a geometric point, to the negation of the being which manifests it, without preventing the life of this absent being from being what it is.
This is excessively important. Because I find there the explanation of these coincidences which often struck me and which multiply more I live. Because I, accidentally separated from my real life, a corpse man, I see my life continuing without me, looking for myself, sometimes fishing myself at the bottom of my physical ruins. The ego is a continuous image that life in the moving mirror of a conscious man gives to himself; image in which every living man interferes, without knowing it, interferes in the unconscious operation which makes him a self. This self, in which we have interfered, it is up to us to digest it ...
The I is the telescoping of the inner world and the outer world. It must be consumed.
By who ? By the self itself, self-generated thing (I use this term on purpose), fertile cell but sterilizing in the calcifying perception that it has of itself. This perception of being that, was itself, against that. Dialectical movement which exists only in its self-perception which destroys it. See, see. The resistances of duration at the moment that strikes, acting invisible, magically, Consciousness. Instant awareness. It is the dizzying death of renewals where the uncreated offers itself to the infinite possible. It is the dialectic of the self
THE DIALECTIC OF ME
The dialectic of the self seems to me a title chosen with a singular sense of all the possibilities brought into play by our order of movement. There is something there, not as a challenge, but as sending a sort of cartel to Hegel; we shake the ground below his building, we open the ground on which he built; to show that his foundations are different and stronger than he thought. Hegel brushed aside the notion of the Absolute. Never forget that Marx was his pupil. To believe that Marx's objective did not consider the subjective as a moment of his own becoming is to imply, or that Marx did not understand Hegel, which is absurd, or that having understood it, he neglected to take into account a position which could either only be his own, or compromise his own. In fact, we consider Hegel's system to be perfectly coherent, capable of accounting for all the points which he neglected to develop. But, basing ourselves on the uncertainty which reigns as for the adhesion or not implicit adhesion to the ideas of Hegel which one can see or not to see in the philosophy of Karl Marx, basing us on the fact that excellent Marxists can to call idealists other Marxists whose fault is to have been educated like Marx himself in the school of Hegel, basing us therefore on the certainty that from Hegel's system there can be born a philosophy which brings back or does not bring back to him, according to the nature of the men who follow her
Well. But I would replace nature with something else ... "lucidity"?
We set out to choose a particular point in Hegel's philosophy which, guiding us through the psychological allows us to cross the entire Hegelian system, without ever leaving the circle of human experience. Let our exploration bring us back quite naturally, to its last term, to a whole adhesion to the doctrine of Karl Marx, and I will have proved enough, I hope, that Marxism integrated idealism, and that it could not not to order without violence the destiny of men foreign to the conscience created or discovered by Hegelianism. The transformation which, at the end of its evolution, the materialist dialectic must have achieved in the individual (taken in the historical becoming) cannot we, starting from the human, go, each on his own account, in search of conjunctions which will favor or determine it?
Everyone on their own, yes, that's how I see it.
You see, Joe, this is very important, that. DAUMAL probably knows this. A terrible confusion is taking shape. You know that, for Hegel, it is impossible to make a report: the candle is white p. ex. without this report in turn posing the thought that affirms it. The great difficulty of its dialectic, precisely, is this: Since the laws of the mind are the laws of nature, that the mind is enveloped with its laws in the existence of things, it is a matter of discovering the order according to which things come out of things, that is to say according to which categories come out of categories: this order is the dialectical order based on the negation of the principle of contradiction. Well. But Marx, who knew that, took it for granted and built his materialist philosophy, which is often misunderstood. Most communists want the fact of positing the object to destroy the being of the one who poses it: the world is as we see it, and the being who perceives it is what this world invents at its last term in order to to perceive oneself: not even to perceive oneself, which would not be bad: in order to be perceived ... Do you know where we are? ...
Dear Joe, I no longer know where I am, because it seems obvious to me that to pose an object generates on the contrary the being who poses it and that we are as we see the world. This unfortunate dialectic, from Hegel to Marx, from Marx to us, no longer knows where his feet and his head are.
I heard a real, a great Marxist philosopher strive to create a material universe where man would be as a guest. At the beginning, it was enough: he put an object: the glass, and then another object, the bottle: but how to think, without intervention of the subject, the idea of ??relationship: the glass is near the bottle? In his ardor to create a material universe, but of extinct matter, of matter as I told him, without entrails, he arrived at this: this relationship exists because included in the unity of all material relationships, and through this hypothesis he entered a kind of monism, but from which, at least, he, individual, was absent. He gave to the material world what he dispossessed himself.
It seems to me both meaningless and common sense.
Do not shrug. The philosopher I'm talking about is stronger than me. He is nonetheless wrong. I asked him a question which I awaited the answer: what do you think of Voltaire? He admires Voltaire. There is a smuggling Marxism which, to collect the French revolutionary forces all imbued with the spirit of 48, is ready to leave Hegel on the way. Now, I claim that at the last term of materialism, the idea of ??God remains possible. God of whom I don't care more than anyone but who becomes the name that X or Y can give to this becoming. Materialism is materialism + idealism or it is not.
The subjective is not opposed to the objective but is a moment of the objective.
My dear Joe, your business is tantamount to lighting up in the depths of being thinking the very light of its becoming, and, in the imminence of this revolution, where each individual will have to turn on itself, to give it under form of foreboding the thought of this light beam where the prospect of the new road to be opened will open ... We cannot take Hegel for an idealist. He is the inventor of materialism. He is, right down to the depths of the idea, a prisoner of the matter he traps. I challenge anyone to build a purely objective materialism (neglecting the mystery of the perceiving being) without the incompleteness of the system saving the setting for a transcendent God.
... The mystery of the perceiving being and the simple mystery of: there is something ...
We have arrived at a human crisis, both material and psychological, so deep that it must burst, not only the frameworks of our civilizations, but our judgments on what is called "human nature".
This is not worth saying: we will see. Why this tone of journalist when we are going to speak like a philosopher and a great philosopher?
I am not entirely of this opinion: but now, in fact, this will be advantageously replaced by our introduction.
I am not a philosopher. The materialist dialectic, the only one which has explained human societies according to the environments which gave them birth, is still only halfway through its investigation, stopped before the individual psychological problem. His answers to this problem have yet revealed nothing about the nature of the human being or how to get in touch with their own essence,
I would have tried to pose that the materialist dialectic, seeming to me to account for all the problems at the particular moment of their becoming, sure to see it at its last term also enveloping the singular positions (lyrical, poetic) I had determined to develop a thought completely broken in dialectics starting from any end of the system insufficiently, in my opinion, re-magnetized by Hegel. In other words: this transformation which, at the end of its evolution, the materialist dialectic must have accomplished in the individual taken in the historical becoming, cannot we, starting from the human and the psychological ego, detect the means of to meet him for himself?
I note the word "essence". The misuse of this word in philosophical language has unfortunately obscured its meaning. Let us refer to the etymology: "esse", to be. What is always being an act in motion, the essence of a particular thing is the very antinomy which makes it exist. The essence of a thinking being differs from the essence of an inert thing only by a tendency to perpetually resolve constantly reborn antinomies. If we understand by matter, according to Engels, what the mode of existence is movement, we understand that the essence of any thing is the particular mode of existence of the matter that this thing expresses.
Man perceives himself absurd, his thought being made only of duration (unthinkable, whether it started or not, whether it goes to its end or not) and space (unthinkable finished or infinite). These two unthinkable foundations of thought generate reason, but thought rejects as inadmissible and yes and no, and perceives itself to be incoherent: it has admitted that causes generate effects
But it will not go further without understanding that it was thus submitting to the most imperious of its laws, the law of causation, that it was only wrapping itself more and more closely in its own determinations. Time, space, law of causation are the backbone of our thinking.
As well as the law of identity (A = A) destroyed by the notion of relativity.
Thus, through thought, unthinkable space and time, immerse the being, united with its thought, in the illusion that it thinks itself.
My dear Joe, you have a bit of the genius of these musicians who draw a masterpiece from a false note. Unity of thought and being: it is the unity of thought. Thought and Being quality which opposes non-Being and not living being. Being, the most positive and the most negative at the same time, because Being is everything, and Being, if it is only being without attribute, is nothing. Being, in Hegel's dialectic, opposes non-being to form becoming.
Operation by which a concept suddenly materializes into a thing that stirs ... I know of no philosophical system which is not the expression of positions assumed by the unconscious.
This puts you in radical opposition to surrealism, for which the unconscious is the nature of man in all his unity and in all his honesty. The unconscious ignores religion. You should replace that unconscious word. There is terminology to change there. "Unconscious" in the old philosophy had a negative meaning: it represented a residue. Thanks to Freud, we discovered an immense content; the Unconscious has been assigned an increasingly high positive coefficient. It is he who is responsible for all our dynamism. It seems to me that your subconscious is not something organic. I can say that your own unconscious will only become clear through the revealing effect of the unconscious. So ?
Let us say that the unconscious is what through which the most solid of the goods which hold us manifest themselves in disguise.
Let us say that the unconscious is what through which the most solid of the goods which hold us manifest themselves in disguise.
I don't mind if we admit with me that the most solid goods that hold us are our thoughts, which are only the disguise of the unconscious motive that makes us hold them back or adopt them. Popular language shows us the man immersed in his thoughts, oblivious to the world around him. Whatever our representations: moral, religious, philosophical, social, economic, political, is not our consciousness immersed in it? The unconscious in my opinion is this world of symbols and myths, which embodies the conscious and gives it its faces and its words. The individual unconscious bathes in the collective unconscious which distributes to individuals their roles in the (religious) Comedies of which they are the actors. The unconscious is therefore neither the residue of ancient philosophies nor this sort of sum of the surrealists, but the dreamlike state of delirium in which humanity is found with rare exceptions as we observe it. The conscious state in the sense that I give to this word is that of a consciousness noticing the impenetrable at all times ...
I am arresting you. Take the philosophical problem of outside reality, posing as an ignorant who would integrate one by one the known philosophical systems. There is the content of my perception which is presented in the form of phenomena to which I must in fact incarnate in thought an impenetrable, unknowable support. Let us call it the impenetrable: for Kant it is the noumene, which will then appear as thought in the categories of the mind. For Fichte, the impenetrable is the self, which creates the world through an unconscious process, to become aware of it through one's life. In Schelling's philosophy the subject and the object identify with each other in this impenetrable which is God. All this roughly said, Hegel completes integrating this impenetrable by stating that the laws of thought are also the laws of nature. All the impenetrable of the previous systems passes through the movement with which this universe is endowed, where the categories of understanding are the categories of nature. The truth of the world is wrapped in the fact that the world is. There is no getting out of there. It is the truth of the world that creates it and to understand its truth is to feel created through it. All this is very clear. But each man has the right to wonder how, the object of this magnificent expression - truth - he will manage to "think what is agitating him", to be even in his own thought, in his loves, in his habits, in his food spiritual and material, to be down to the depth of his consciousness an embodiment of his own destiny. Understand a system until it sees itself, by all the forces of its will, understood in it.
I am no longer with you. This system (whatever it is) is a representation, this will an organization of the desire that one has to satisfy the intellect by granting it at least that the ways of the thinkable lead to the integration of the impenetrable. Let's go back to what you said a little earlier: the truth of the world is wrapped in the fact that the world is. Let's start from there to discover the most indestructible affirmation that we can pronounce (because the words truth, world, envelopment, being, are still too wide). You see ? And by projecting doubt on each of these words, I arrive at the only possible affirmation, the only possible clean slate: "there is something". Let this something everyone strip him in his own way. That there is be deprived of the notion of being: Total doubt collides with something. I don't even know if it's a universe. I know nothing. There is something and something presents itself to you as a finding: there is something. (This finding is built into the something). The total doubt arrived at this nudity tested the desire to withdraw in the only observation which is irrefutable. And here is what is important: this observation is a thought but not a concept. Any concept that arises from this thought-finding will be symbolic, mythical, unconscious (in the sense that I give to this word). Why ? Because there is something is unthinkable. Let the mind accept in the face of this unthinkable, to put itself in a state of stupor: this stupor is the state that I call conscious. Because in this state, he perceives the puerility of theologies and philosophies. (God created the universe = the unthinkable has engendered the unthinkable, etc ... the spirit, dreading the unthinkable, becomes dumb with false explanations). Concept-thought = observation + desire for representation. This abstract or pictorial is mythical. There is the impenetrable. But the consciousness of the impenetrable penetrates.
I would like to put it this way: To what extent will we manage to penetrate the impenetrable?
Hence the need for a dialectical psychology, based on self-perception, from moment to moment, of the relationships between consciousness and the environment.
From a methodological point of view, it is striking once again to note that a revolutionary psychology is necessarily a dialectical psychology. Old psychology studied the ego as a static object, an immediate datum, without questioning its origin or its end. Some thinkers, like Bergson, have tried to grasp the self in its evolution; but always the finalist, dualist, etc. conceptions have crept into their theories. Today, the work of the revolutionary psychologist must be:
1 0 to describe, from the living aggregate, the births and successive resolutions of internal conflicts which constitute the different modalities of psychic life; (it is this first part which is treated here);
2 0 to show that this dialectic is the same as that which develops in all the concepts of history: in the history of human societies, it is called historical materialism.
It is obvious that the condensation of the I in me was the result of human activity (relationships of men between them and relationships between man and his environment) grafted on to the biological evolution of species. This extends into the human kingdom: conflicts between the state of psychic stasis tending to limit man in his mythical relationships with the impenetrable (religions), that is to say to stop evolution in a Species; and the conscious state where these conditionings are revolutionized: the human is not a Species.
Here are some comments on the words "evolution" and "human".
a) Evolution: the meaning we give it is precise; it clearly excludes all others likely to correspond to it, and that is why we want to express it immediately.
By evolution we do not mean to include, under a general idea, a group of biological or physical facts whose immediate causal link escapes current experience. To proceed in this way would have been to use a hypothesis as an existing fact and free from doubt.
Etymologically evolution means: unfolding. This meaning is clear. It leaves no room for arbitrariness. An idea, an organ, an animal species, any phenomenon evolves in the history of the world when the posterior state is potentially implicit in the previous state, of which it is only the unfolding. Evolution is therefore a transformation over time, conditioned by the proper nature of the thing which is transformed and which varies within the limits imposed by external conditions. In no case the idealist conception (Schelling: "there is a principle of elevation, a tendency and a push towards a higher life ...") taken up with a slight variation by Bergson: ("there is a push towards the higher forms of lif e), finalist or Darwinian of evolution does not agree with what we mean. The first two assume the existence of an ideal type of being which attracts to it, like a kind of magnet, the imperfect forms of life in continuous progress. The last is based on groping observation, looking in the external analogy for a causal link and deducing from this comparison a set of hypotheses on the legality of evolution of which man would be the perfect product. We do not accept these theories. They condition the real by the transcendental, the concrete by the abstract, the existing by the non-existent. A standard form cannot model concrete beings, on the contrary, the standard form is shaped by speculation. These very brief remarks seemed essential to avoid any misunderstanding. We do not want to know whether or not man is at the top of a hierarchical scale of values: we do not believe in the existence of these values. Darwin's man is worth as much as the idea of ??Good in morals.
b) Human: All that has so far given the name of "humanism", "humanitarianism", was only the glorification of a monstrous and provisional state of humanity. Any conception of humanism based on the existence of individual selves leads (thus the positivist school) more or less clearly to a deification of man, to an ideology. The social reality of the French sociological school (Durkheim) is, exactly, like the ancient gods, a projection of the individual self which wants to go on forever by finding itself in a substance supposed to be less perishable. There is no humanity transcendent to man. Man is human or refuses to be human and that's it.
See in relation to society, how human entities at the same time are created by it and react on them; by what means they can liberate the social by liberating themselves; to consider, in relation to nature, the ego as a crisis which occurs when the subjective, having increased in intensity across species, has become acute to the point of assuming in its own perception the value of isolated entities (condensation) ; thus extend, in the psychological, the materialist dialectic which will see its own frameworks blown up.
Well. All of this is fine. Perfect, perfect.
Specify: the identification of consciousness with the sense of isolation of the psychic cell that is the self is opposed to the dialectical (creative) burst of the self; our civilizations based on the ego as Being, are therefore pre-human;
the ego: reaction to the environment, creation of the environment + desire-will to last; the identification of the ego and this desire which is none other than the ego struggles against its internal dialectic, which, if it does not explode vitally (creative genius) will explode catastrophically (will to power, war, etc.) or will be committed suicide (amorphous masses, shaped by propaganda). Being, by definition, cannot destroy itself, say philosophers ...
... In summary your preliminary criticism of philosophical positions is worth nothing. For the good reason that you are not a philosopher by profession. And everything else is great. Get yourself " The Peasant of Paris " from Aragon. Reread the first 20 pages. See how he maintains that it is absurd to suspend all philosophical development from a critique of all previous systems. The truth, he says, only reaches me where I made the mistake ...
... And yet the self continues to destroy itself; his actions oppose their motives; for the ego is not being but a resistance placed in the stream of universal life, whose creative function would be to let itself be destroyed.
What do you think about suicide? The supreme act of the ego, which should eternize this ego well, that is to say eternize the dissatisfaction of the ego, eternize the misfortune of human destiny.
Every symbolic gesture is from the world of the unconscious. And there is no supreme act in dialectics. But we could indeed consider the suicide of the ego as the only natural approach. Of the self, not of the man identifying with the self. Note that in the finding there is something the mind is forced and forced to admit something and remain suspended in the naked stupor of admitting at the same time as this most basic affirmation reveals to him that it can never understand things without understanding that they are there. Because the spirit kneaded in the long term, says to itself that even if the something was created from nothing, it follows that this nothing, containing something that creates something is still something, unthinkable. And, taking the opposite view of this unthinkable, the mind tells itself that it could only understand nothingness, an eminently inconsistent and absurd notion. This kind of intimate affinity that the ego discovers with nothingness, reveals to it its essence which is (in movement) annihilation. One could envisage suicide starting from the aspiration to nothingness.
Thought meets its opposite. To be born and to die are the same thing.
Yes Yes. But you're going too fast. One might think that I have just posed the problem of the unknowable, while I would, on the contrary, have posited the knowable as the opposite of thought as representation.
This would be the place to make the trial of such systems, given as materialists and which begin to pose the real as unknowable, and give the material universe foundations in an impenetrable that they defend themselves from ever penetrating, circumscribing thus their materialism within the limits that they impose on knowledge. These materialists can only come to one day or another agree with theists, the difference being that they are more reserved than the latter. No materialism which envelops and resolves in its totality this substance which, under one name or another, is just waiting to reappear.
This substance had to be crossed, perceived until it was no longer distinguishable from what perceived it.
I would say here that we all fully agree with the following principles:
Reason is not a human faculty, a set of principles, rules according to which we think things. It is the code according to which being is produced, is constituted, flourishes. It is both subjective faculty and objective reality.
It is in us as essence and norm of thought. It is in things as essence and law of their evolution. Thinking can only be thinking things, and thinking is acting.
The Absolute is not transcendent in relation to things, it is the process which makes them appear. It is therefore not the Absolute. And also: Nothing is not wrapped in our thinking. For our thought, too, is material; and weighs with all its might in our will to objectify the ego, prior to the bias of disintegration of the ego.
Dear Joe, this Absolute which is not the Absolute, could we not call it the Uncreated? This name that theists would find it difficult to reject could have the advantage of helping us to sweep away notions such as: The Absolute being absolute is immutable and other nonsense. Our process of systems which give themselves as materialist or idealist is, in fact, that of thought-ideation; the trial of the Idea world. Thought is action, you say. It is therefore, simultaneously observation and creation. I mean direct perception, therefore irruption of. the unbeliever in the event whose presence would erode me, me, who am only my past. Reversal of the notion of Knowledge. The Idea will never penetrate it; but Knowledge will violate the idea, assassinate it. Note that the ideation is the self.
Eternity: yes, this word can and must be stripped of any metaphysical or mystical character. Eternity, or adherence to the present, consists in thinking simply, but with the whole being, and not only with the abstract logic of the understanding: the past is no more! the future is not yet.
Poetry, freed from individualism, can give a taste of the eternal present. Such, often, the desensitization poetry of the universe of Paul Eluard. BOUSQUET also reminded us of these lines by Rimbaud:
"She is found
It's the sea gone
With the sun. "
But it is until now Hindu music, absolutely purged of individualism, objective music that gave me the flavor closest to that of the eternal present. The self which continues to live receives intolerable anguish; he immediately seeks to explain by his own resources, for fear of perishing, this adherence to the present. In a flash, it is always this explanation that is formed: I agree with this moment because I am used to it I have already experienced it, I recognize it I remember being in exactly the same situation, doing the same thing, I remember every little detail and even that I also had the feeling of anguish, and the same memory of the same moment ... and so on and on. This phenomenon is well known to psychologists under the name of paramnesia or false recognition. I have rarely met men who do not remember having experienced it. Adherence to the present acquired by the conscious dissolution of the self leads to the same feeling of presence, of intimacy with the world at all times, but then this consciousness is lasting and is no longer subject to anxiety. Eternity is voluntary paramnesia.
Analogous phenomena, when the explanation is transposed into the universal order and in metaphysical terms, can be the source of myths such as: reminiscence of a previous life, eternal return, etc.
Along with this sudden contraction of the self threatened by the present, I would like to recall an anxiety that many people experienced in their childhood, in the form of terrorizing questions such as: How is it that I am "precisely" me? And let the world be "justly" this one? And by what chance am I not another? And why are my parents my parents? Fears very easy to observe in the child identified with his first name, if, as a joke, he is told: you are not Peter, you are Paul; etc ... The German romantic Jean-Paul writes: "One morning, as a child, I stood on the threshold of the house and I looked to the left, towards the stake, when suddenly came to me like a lightning bolt from the sky, this idea: I am a self, which therefore never leaves me; my self had seen itself for the first time and forever."
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
"These Shakespeare lines" he writes in his journal, "have spouted entire books out of me."
If one can perceive, experience these two experiences, one enters directly into the dialectic of the ego:
1 re-evoking, re-animating, bringing out from the kingdom of the dead the childish anguish of the condensation of the self. (It is this frantic interrogation which, pushed to the extreme, collides, on the borders of doubt, with the observation there is something; and it is in this interrogation, ultimately deprived of ideas, images and words that the spirit suspended in itself, in this sacred silence, is no more than the breach through which the eternal uncreated, creating erupts in the world of relationships).
2. To notice that the social which is only accumulation and the self which is only accumulation are always opposed to this eventuality of the mind. (Nothing that is me is me: the self is the social in a state of self-negation.)
3 See in Jean-Paul's experience a typical case of vampirization of eternity by the ego, which is only his own dream. (The ego saw itself in the act of condensing consciousness within a psychic cell, and remained so in a state of isolation, therefore of dream; this awareness, made once and for all , has generated and maintained the capacity to bring out of its identification with the substance of the dream, whole books; it suffices in time to know that it is dream to capture and exploit the uncreated, in what is called the work of art, etc.)
4 The dialectic of the self must necessarily lead to a new reign on the planet, to an integrated human, and such as one cannot imagine: to a birth ..
Birth = awakening. (Perhaps?)
A reproach: the use of a word like birth, although it is completely relevant makes the reader suspicious. It is a vocabulary used too often for impure purposes. We must be on our guard against the psychoanalytic vigilance of our contemporaries ... who, acting as literary critics, detect through the use of an image word the emotional content of a mind. (At least that is what they think they are doing; and it is not said to be rigorously valid.) Birth is the word of a spirit poisoned by religious mysticism. It still carries images that are no longer of you. Think about it well. Idealism (in the wrong sense of the word) can take refuge in the use of a word.
I use it in its most strictly biological sense. He is the one most feared by mystics and psychoanalysts. The superego of these tends more and more to call to its rescue a cosmic self, atman and the rest of the metaphysical range. But the dialectic of the ego considers the ego as one of the phases of the evolution of consciousness (evolution in the sense defined by DAUMAL), and notes that it is a psychic cell whose vital process is comparable to that of an egg who would have the power either to petrify the shell by suffocating his life, or to allow his inner life to develop until breaking the shell. And it is enough to enter this process (it is not difficult) to see that this Psychological Comedy is a tragedy. Because if consciousness does not make a solid and hard shell, the inner germ cannot develop and if, at maturity, the reversal does not occur, the germ dies suffocated. However, this reversal is unthinkable because the ego is only a shell, that is to say associations in the inexorable feeling of being only dissociations. This is the I am I, which can only take the universal within its isolation, which is absurd, or feel trapped in the universal. The self that bumps into the extreme limit of the absurd cannot bear the shock. Decisive moment. In a fragment of a second, the drama is played: if fear is mixed with dissociation, it is psychosis, dementia, etc; if joy prevails, the self closes on the instant torn from the timeless and Pascal having only his genius, reconstitutes Pascal around a miserable sheet of paper where the words joy, joy, tears of joy , God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc ..., etc ... consecrate the confession, the refusal, the regret, the myth, the memory, the pursuit of the memory, the bankruptcy.
It is difficult to admit that knowing yourself in Paradise is not being there, because all perception belongs to the self. But the consciousness which only perceives itself in that it abandons itself ...
Man finds in him only the void on which he opens his eyes ...
Man finds in himself the totality on which he closes his eyes: the I is only the telescoping of the inner world and the outer world; it expresses the intellectual and spiritual limits of man in internal investigation, limits whose eyes draw a model from the dimensions they impose on the created world.
The ego is the border post between what is in us and what is external to us.
Pascal hastily used his God as a club to knock out the inexpressible perception of this something that is there because it takes place. It is forbidden, therefore, to see the that which takes place, never recognizable because always new: that, that is to say I and the universe of my relationships, at the border post erected as you say, by me. The biological development of the ego shell is a simple observation fact: this shell is made up of everything that is called experience (sensations, perceptions, judgments, creations of automatisms, organization of desires, needs and their satisfaction, ordering of the elements which locate us in space and time and allow us to act there in conscious and responsible beings). An inadequate shell creates mental retardation, delinquents, madmen. To say that one is "against" the ego would be to say nonsense. The roots of the self are found in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems as well as in conceptual abstraction. Everything I can think of, inside and outside of me, is just me. If it were not so, if there could remain a single element of my thought which was not me, the problem of Knowledge would not arise: this element would be the threshold of wisdom, we would know it and the hundred thousand systems religious and philosophical would all agree. This static pseudo-knowledge will always be opposed by the overwhelming, revolutionary and spontaneous creative act which will transform the human state, tearing it away from the definitions of itself with which the social puts it to sleep.
BOUSQUET To what I said above of the border post I add: in the light of your text: you must warn the reader that the removal of the I is not a mutilation. Language betrays us: it is to digest the self that one should say, like all strong sensations, basically, digest it, as it is digested in the operation of a creative mind. Where's Shakespeare's ego? Where is Rimbaud's ego?
Very well. The digestion of the ego in the creative act foreshadows its total dissolution (without, however, in general, really realizing it).
No no. I fear this will open the door to confusion. The creative, upsetting and spontaneous act is human communion in a present that no reasoning reaches.
We will see, however, that the present can be invested by reasoning which, finding its initial term at the end of its development, was accomplished without awakening time and caused this initial term to marry all the virtues of this wrapped Present , taken as hostage (all this moreover, in the Myth of Sleeping Beauty; the living man who approaches the sleeping woman, who will recreate the recommencement of Time in the present).
Very important: to check in poetry. I say: in poetry. Not to say "in poetic expression" which would be absurd given my thought. We would see the living and fruitful element of poetry higher than in expression, elsewhere than in this activity of the mind. We would see how poetry is made by all and not must be made by all, misinterpretation which has given rise to ridiculous demonstrations.
Let me explain: there are evocations, forms of evocations more precisely, magic that is poetic. (It was Nelli who told me that and who added with a laugh: we could list them, a sort of corpus, in any case disintegrate poetry by revealing what unconscious myths it comes from.)
Oh. Well done. It is important.
Nelli cited the example of the Centaur in Faust: Please moderate your race. If you can't stop, take me. This movement, translate it into French, Russian, English words, poetry will remain intact; put it, suitably transposed, to the stage, to the cinema, or perhaps even imagine an object with symbolic functioning (to speak like the surrealists) where it would appear, I believe it represents the framework where the present can appear under a figure of duration. Perhaps comparable to this (to see) the identity of opposites - and, always - from a poetic point of view an image like this of Rilke ( Une Cascade ).
O nymph who clothes you
What stripped you
Image which sows the rational ego on the way, the ego that creates time to keep its attention intact in the appearance of a beauty enveloped in a contradiction.
I throw this at a gallop, we will talk about it again. I am only telling you this to indicate to you what rigorous investigation must be carried out in poetry in the light of your own ideas.
THE "SOMETHING", THE OBJECTS, THE HUMAN
SUARES Metaphysicians, not content with finding that there are objects, claim to find that the objects are. This common starting point immediately transforms the verb to be into a noun and the system is already there. The intellect cannot resolve the self any more than the rules of the game of chess can explain to us why we play chess. BOUSQUET
To give in this harassing exercise during which we speak in the name of the ego, we lose it, we find it so that the completed system supposes intact this ego which we have three or four times opened the belly in addition. We will argue that Kant's philosophy, more than any other, has revealed to us that it, in the material world, had all the paths of its system; it enlightened us in the center of a universe of categories, where it had its place as a point of light, which is a sun in the sidereal system. Hence the impossibility of giving a philosophical development a starting point which is only intellectual. The eye is trapped in the object it sees, as glasses are part of the material world which they give as content to our subjective vision. This is Kant's philosophy. (As a negator of all systems founded on a verbal telescoping of thought and matter, and in particular of the one who wants that the possibility for man to imagine being compromises in this notion all that is rebels against it in our impossibility of limiting it). (We should say that the notion of being escapes us because we only conceive of the beginning and that it is impossible for us to give it limits. We can only perceive it). The philosophy of Kant, we retain here that it restored the circulation between the ego and the universe where it is understood, that it removed the temptation to disappear behind the reasoning which it builds. It gave him as limits the limits of what he perceived, led him to discover himself only in the form of a thought of the world - which should not be done for want of playing the homunculus in philosophies subsequent, anxious to modernize at all costs the idealism of all times.
(Dear Joe, maybe you wanted to emphasize the right that you gave yourself to build a panoramic equivalent of a systematic philosophy. I neglected it because you can add it by a word to the note above.)
My "panoramic equivalent" as you call it, I would like to sketch it while not neglecting at any moment to project the light, or rather the flame of "there is something", flame intended to burn, to destroy all consideration of transcendence. Observing this "there is", I see only movements which, in turn, give shape to objects and destroy them. (A theologian - Thomist, I believe - was working the other day to show me that this table is; which, for him was obvious, but I suggested that he saw successively one foot after another until to leave only a tray and tell me exactly when the table was abandoned by the Being ...) Thus, the panorama of "there is" is entirely composed of provisional states of movement (under the appearance of objects) susceptible to sudden ruptures. The set of these appearances and disappearances, these births and these deaths, is a permanence (that of "there is"): the permanent result of all that is not permanent. The truth of "there is" is a result, marked with the sign + (since "there is"): the positive result of the movements of what is in "there is". In short, everything in the "there is" tends to the sign "less" (destruction, death) and all of these "less" is a "more". There is therefore to find a relationship, a variable relationship between these two opposite signs, within each object. This relationship is the essence of each object (mineral, plant, animal or human). And I take it for certain that man has an instrument of perception (his intelligence) which allows him to discern in himself the moving relation (variable) of "less" (his life) and "more" (his dead) that he carries within him throughout his existence. This variable relationship is none other than him. It is its essence. However, the human mind, seeking to identify itself with permanence (with the + sign) is rushed throughout its existence towards what it calls death, whose act made final and triumphant by this fact, becomes the culmination of the little-known dialectical movement, which was still there. The whole human drama lies in the struggle of men against their own essence.
The whole human drama lies in the struggle of men against their own essence ... I will show how deep this aspiration springs up, by revealing that it was expressed in a passage from Saint-Augustin "Utnam, homo, Romaniane, sibi aptus sit". And the development of one of the ideas implied by the negation enveloped in the wish above is precisely this kind of panoramic view. I intend to repeat here a note that came to my mind on happiness and the pursuit of happiness.
I remember that in a first version of your writing, you said: all men suffer and would not want to suffer any more, an assertion to which I could not resign myself to subscribe until after having, twenty pages later, become aware of this glimpse of the human drama: the whole human drama lies in the struggle ... etc ...
To hear the word suffering in the ordinary sense which brings into play the totality of objective happiness in a negative form, to hear the word suffering in the general sense which supposes that it is the thought of happiness, it can be argued that the worst state for the man is the state of non-suffering, the state where Time develops in the image of a stability greater than Time, state where "being is like the cancer of duration"; state of decline which has been beautifully described by Rainer Maria Rilke in a poem from "Orchards" which I cannot resist the desire to transcribe in its entirety:
Tonight something in the air has passed
Who tilts his head
We would like to pray for the prisoners
Whose life stops
And we think of life stopped.
To the life that no longer moves towards death
And where the future is absent
Where you have to be unnecessarily strong
And sad, unnecessarily.
Where everyday trample on the spot
Where all the nights fall into the abyss
And where the consciousness of childhood so intimate fades
That your heart is too old to think of a child
It's not that life is hostile
But we lie to him
Locked in the block of a motionless spell. "
This state where life does not make us suffer, where it does not use our infirmities to make us imagine its fullness is the state with which man can hardly be satisfied. He is the one in which the Western religions pretend to make us find our ease, and in which certain physical disgraces, those which age brings, to name only these, would begin to make a nest for our salvation I little to say after having copied the admirable poem of Rilke which marks well the extreme front of the Presence in Poetry, which suddenly supposes an enemy immobility developed against Time, in place of this one where time has reached its limits. Desperate struggle for gasoline, suffocation of gasoline in a happiness which is not appropriate for it; because it is opposed to all living images of happiness, because happiness is like the tranquility of a misfortune which has exhausted all its possibilities.
Dear Joe, reading your note awakens in me such a swarm of certainties that I would have trouble telling you by what associations the expression first cause suddenly appears silly in its implications. Because if this cause was not constantly its own renewal ... if this so-called primary cause was not here, at this time ... And then, no. There are no causes. A cause is something. I burn, I burn cause in the there is. And - listen carefully - duration is opposed to time. My mind doesn't see a duration. My mind perceives itself intermittently. He goes from one thought to another. Between the one and the other, because I do not know where it is, it is not. Is that clear ? And I add this which is perhaps too simple for philosophers: these successions of intermittences fall in syncope every night. Why, on waking, would the mind not practice, like healthy gymnastics, the voluntary paramnesia of DAUMAL? Why would he not recognize what he does not yet know, what would sharpen his faculties and especially his faculty to realize what he wants? To realize what he wants would be to realize what he is at that time. And what its (moving) essence is at that time. And if it does not empty out of its duration, how can it adhere to time? Is it not enough for him to know that each of us contains, is, the totality of the indefinite succession of what has never been able to begin? Each object, each grain of sand, because it is there, does it not indicate that it contains, that it is, the totality of all times, the indefinite succession of the permanence of there is ? And is this result not its own integration? But one aspires to imaginary happiness.
Sensitivity, child of Time, devouring Time in the exercise of its highest power: this is what you will find when you explore the idea of ??happiness. And that would lead you by other paths to the dissolution of the self.
Men aspire to happiness, it will be said. A very unphilosophical affirmation, happiness being only the most vague of vague words, and being able to be defined only as the state to which all men aspire. Here is another set of these utopias whose content we can only describe, to the best of our ability. Our happiness, most often, appears in the operation that dispossesses us of ourselves on the threshold of the activity that we have chosen. When we act on things until we endow them with the power that was given to us over them, until we feel, in them act and as created for a fate separated from us by all the thickness of matter, when we obtain an object long desired and whose possession could not be thought in the idea that we made of ourselves, it is our happiness to refer our existence in the existence of these things or in the possession of this object, to plunge through them into the forgetfulness of the being that we were until we felt the ego burst out on its affective content, and see itself, so to speak, by this affective content, created from without And created only for the needs of the cause, created in its imminent dissolution.
I can only pass very quickly on these indications, and regret not being able to analyze here the particular happiness of which love is the principle. We would see how in the particular light of love happiness is to create the self, but to create it only in order to better destroy it, as we expose the victim before raising him on the altar where she will be sacrificed. (The happiness of being loved is to feel that it was not the first comer that this love needed, that it was not the first comer it wanted to dissolve.) And precisely, in love the ego within this happiness of being more than ever a ego, anticipates the process of dissolution by digesting time, by saying: always, by compromising a future which does not belong to it, to better represent the intensity of what fills it with the threat of disintegrating it, even pretending to annex and digest the past, as it appears in retrospective jealousy.
I can only pass very quickly on these indications, and regret not being able to analyze here the particular happiness of which love is the principle. We would see how in the particular light of love happiness is to create the self, but to create it only in order to better destroy it, as we expose the victim before raising him on the altar where she will be sacrificed. (The happiness of being loved is to feel that it was not the first comer that this love needed, that it was not the first comer it wanted to dissolve.) And precisely, in love the ego within this happiness of being more than ever a ego, anticipates the process of dissolution by digesting time, by saying: always, by compromising a future which does not belong to it, to better represent the intensity of what fills it with the threat of disintegrating it, even pretending to annex and digest the past, as it appears in retrospective jealousy.
Like all words in symbolic language, happiness has a static meaning and a dynamic meaning, a sense of state and a sense of action. In the first sense, happiness is a state in which man hopes to be able to rest finally: he expresses an aspiration for sleep, for death. The dynamic meaning appears in the expressions: "act, dance, walk, write with happiness", "make a happy gesture", etc. This active happiness, that of poetic creation, is not known as a state: it is the dynamic meaning of any selfless act, in the very strong sense of this word.
Perhaps therefore I introduced with happiness the word happiness, since having made you specify that happiness, in the sense that we give to this word, is not known like state, but I realize that it is high time to say that the dialectic of the ego can in no case lead to its confessional annihilation: The ego, to which I once related, must be annihilated forever (Fenelon). Christian piety destroys the human self (Pascal citing Cousin) ... These annihilations are defined as states (of grace, bliss, holiness, etc.) in the perception of a duration annihilated by one's own fixity within an immutable perfection . It is useful to note in passing that these words have no content and therefore faithfully express the self emptied of its content that religions offer for the final appeasement that they often manage to obtain.
But I come back to my panorama.
After having seen objects in balance between the + and the - I wonder: a) what are the relationships between this piece of iron and the universal +, this tree, this man, and this +? and: b) what are the relationships between the objects and each other?
(I am looking for the evolution of the subjective in nature: for this purpose I will present my objects in the manner of a cartoon; have I not started a Comedy?)
Here is a piece of clean, hard, well-balanced iron. But rust attacks it. The hardness of the iron can do nothing. Rust is eating away at it.
Now here is H2 and here is O, each one in good balance. I make them meet, they are precipitated into each other and lost to themselves as hydrogen and oxygen: here is water.
Summary: a static balance is defenseless.
Now here is a living cell. Amoeba absorbs, assimilates and rejects waste. Birth of dynamic balance. The living organism is a place of exchange. Examine its fundamental properties: reaction to external agents; digestion and nutrition; mass increase; internal dissociation by division; role of the nucleus. Birth of three characters: displacements, adaptability, adaptation.
This is the dialectic installed in the positive solution of the there is, an insoluble solution for the living-dying being which is its place.
The panorama widens. Here are functions, allowing more and more intense exchanges, as we examine organisms which are more and more evolved thanks to their more and more specialized cells. In other words, we see more and more adaptable organizations, thanks to an increasingly adapted organization. And, right away, so that we understand this life-and-death drama as participating spectators, let the antinomy appear, the essential contradiction between adaptation and adaptability!
Here, within the organizations, to continue without ceasing the war of the two balances, war that a chance, perhaps, stops in this kind or that other, in favor of a compromise. The judgment defines the species in its specification, in the magic circle of its possibilities, which in no case can it cross ...
On the subject of balance, it might be useful to recall that dialectical determinism is already beginning, in modern science, to supplant the pure and simple mechanism. The notion of statistical law is already a route to dialectical law; it is not yet in the sense that it must appeal to an indeterminacy of elementary phenomena, the basis of all global phenomenon. Thus, let two bodies A and B combine to give a third; the reaction between A and B does not happen all at once, all of a sudden. Each atom of A can behave, vis-`-vis the atoms of B it meets, in a multitude of different ways; and nothing can predict how it will behave; but here plays the law of large numbers (as in games of chance); precisely because of this apparent indeterminacy there will be no more atoms which will have behaved in such a way than atoms which will have behaved in another, and the total reaction will lead to a constant equilibrium (I schematize a lot the 'example).
The global reaction, defined by a plant or animal species, leads to a balance which varies between two limits: the degree of adaptation of the species and its degree of adaptability. It is certain that we are still far from being able to locate these limit points for species: Eberfeld horses only acquired their fame because they were one of the first known cases of school intelligence in animals (1953) . I know a dog that can spell six-letter words and subtract two-digit numbers. Tests carried out on mice, fish, monkeys, elephants, even ants and bees, show us today that if by reason we understand the faculty of judging and acting by reasoning and not by simple associations or by instinct, it is false that it is based on principles. The word instinct is only invented to give a falsely intelligible appearance to an unexplained phenomenon.
We find here a Hegelian thought that I long to make known to you. For Hegel the absolute is Reason which is personified in man through all the successive stages of the inorganic and the living. Reason is no longer a human faculty, a set of principles, rules, according to which we think things. It is the code according to which being is produced, is constituted, flourishes. It is both subjective faculty and objective reality. It is in us as essence and norm of thought. It is in things as essence and law of their evolution. The Absolute which is this reason thus understood is no longer transcendent in relation to things. It is the very process which makes them appear, intelligible process, entirely intelligible I say, insofar as reason follows in us the same path that things have followed to translate through it: that is dialectic, and something more, of course.
The dialectical process is intelligible because we can observe it inside and outside of us. Reason allows us to relate our observations according to the common dialectic to the facts observed and to reason itself. Reason is therefore neither deductive nor inductive, but movement perceived as such through its stages in nature.
I took hold of the notions of adaptation and adaptability as being able to illustrate the theme of the dialectical drama through species. One could, as a playwright, choose other symbols, or as a poet, break the symbols by means of their content ... find the inexpressible expression very acute, which annihilates the words in their passage ...
BOUSQUET This is indeed where you can only venture by the means of a mystical, therefore poetic experience.
Esteve came yesterday. We only talked about you. It turns out that he instructs me to tell you that what you write should lead you to a sometimes lyrical expression (see Nietzsche, he says). It says, in short, what I happened to tell you myself.
It is beautiful to find the unity of an event through several minds. I cannot tell you enough how passionate you are about your current activity. You will be forty, then fifty, then sixty and you will write again. You should restore to your philosophical activity its true quality of dialogue. Your mistake (and your greatness) is to believe that an experience like yours can be communicated through a single book. It would be necessary to start again the useless experience of Voie Libre, with a manifesto of you and to beat the recall of poets.
You must: either make a note with what I pointed out to you at the beginning of these papers by quoting Nelli who really enlightened me this debate on poetry, or, wherever I mentioned poetry, mention it as direct activity where the whole of our ideas on the Presence expresses itself and makes invention of a language, reserving us a possibility of total implementation in the political field to do it in a note would be still premature, and like a waste . I will speak to you about it throughout, so as to make your ideas all yours. DAUMAL, moreover, must already see where I am coming from.
You see the broad meaning of the word Poetry. Poetry activity of the mind. Direct language when the presentations are, meanwhile, only panoramic views to which correspond - inevitably - a new state of your mind. To be compared to what I said: time explodes as in any extra-passionate activity, scene of rupture between lovers or love at first sight: everything that seems to pick up in an instant the whole of a duration. We can sing ... breathe in the night, in all the whispers of the universe, speak in the sound of the sea, in the gusts of the wind ... create. Poetry.
The intuition of this appears in the will to know. To know is to give the universe as a whole a body of truth which would have drawn its transparency from the illusion that we are an individual. The ego, often diverted from its mission, being only the direction imposed on research.
SUARES I could say, on the contrary, in order to confirm these definitions, that the will of all this reveals the intuition of knowledge; that giving the universe a body of truth for the whole is to draw from the transparency of knowledge the opacity which demonstrates what an illusion it is to believe oneself an individual. No one knows better than you, dear Joê, that our writings have no other origin than a kind of internal disintegration by virtue of which a je ne sais quoi of timeless pressure. I revealed it to you, and the day and the place where it started to happen. Perhaps it is about this verb to be of which, as you say, we can know the beginning but never the end. And that which Pascal betrayed with his God and the enjoyment that he felt, that which built Proust's work on the meticulous search for elements of a concealed duration, that will make me start again until my death from the experiences useless and that no manifesto, no recall would save disaster. Because I reveal to you that genius is the betrayal of that: how can we without blushing propose genius as a step towards that? Genius (not the one who has long patience: the real one) can indeed be a stage, during the disintegration of the ego, but from which - Nietzsche, Van Gogh - also lengthens the path of dementia.
Now this experience (it is not one: if we stick to the experience, its transcendence would no longer be there), which makes it talkative through a process of internal proliferation (which Proust has well known ), it turns out that, in its novelty, in its character of creation - the only one that we can attribute to the timeless - it has no talent. There is a not knowing, which, if it is kept alive, must necessarily sacrifice the individual who does something. All this you know by virtue of an experience opposite to mine (because death-life struck us in opposite directions). So you are trying to rescue my floating thoughts by collecting them in havens built by philosophers, Kant, Hegel, what do I know. I will always be grateful to you, because did I not myself call for help?
And then, patiently, as a schoolboy, I go back to the making of my panorama, which constitutes a sort of accumulation of Reason. And when this one, under its own pressure, bursts into lyrical aspiration, you hold out my hand and we pick up the thread.
So I said that animal species are located on a double scale, the branches of which move away indefinitely: the increasing non-specialization of the germ, the increasing specialization of cells, tissues, everything that the organism organizes. This being the innumerable battlefields of the war of the two balances. War maintained by the relationships between species: they need each other because they devour each other. Hence a perpetual tendency towards adaptation and a perpetual opposite tendency, towards adaptability.
Man stands in imbalance on the two ends of the divergent double scale, which keep moving away from each other. If the human fetus goes through all animal stages it is because it does not stop there. This germ assumes (let's admit it for the needs of my drama: I simplify) successively the characters of a fish, then a horse, then a monkey, then born human. Everything happens as if the living germ is unique and does not remain fish, horse, monkey, until born before term. Species are germs that have remained: caught up in the static equilibrium which sacrifices the possible possibilities, for the realized possibilities. In this sense, we can say that the human is the struggle against time. And we see how societies do violence to us to give birth to us in the past, by injecting us with a Brahmanic, Hebrew or Christian consciousness, which dates back several centuries (this by way of example). The war of the two equilibria, according to which I classify the species, continues between society and the individual that I am, society defining me in a species that it invents, French or Turkish, Buddhist or Christian, seeking to amputate myself of all that I want to ignore in me of possible, and to define myself in the magic circle of a perception of myself which would forbid me to exceed it because it exceeds me by encompassing me in a category. By designating me, society strips me of what I am, because I am only what I could be just now.
If a species is the germ remained, on the other hand the human is nothing if it is not the delayed germ: delayed until the present instant that I live or rather that I burst by a birth that, as soon as happened , I deny in favor of this new birth of the moment which is offered to my new negation. I recognize that this game is difficult and that it consists rather in realizing at all times that it was played badly. And perhaps it is in the very exact notion of the quasi-impossibility in which one finds oneself to find in oneself the elements of the duration that resides, in fact, creation? And if I don't define myself, what am I if not my constant questioning suspended silent in itself and begging myself not to answer?
This is where I am condemned. It is an adaptation. And that's where he triumphs over his condemnation. Because if I was not fully adapted at this time, adhering to the subtle nuances offered to me by the expression of this face, the intonation of this voice, the gray of the sky, the daily problems to be solved, I would be, unconsciously dreaming of my ideas. But if, drawing conclusions, I explained all this, the next change would not be found again. He would only find ideas. Hence the need, not to destroy or digest or annihilate the self, but to restore it to its intermittences. And, intermittently to another, regaining its palpitation, it can finally die-live and, at the same time, be and not be. Adaptability breaks adaptation from moment to moment.
This bursting of the subjective in the immanence of the uncreated is the reason for human being. Explosion by perception: knowledge.
And if I have not yet spoken of freedom it is because, seen dialectically, it is extravagant. Here, my panorama brings me back to the amoeba. Comparing it to the piece of iron, I say that it has a certain freedom, that is to say a certain capacity to defend its particular equilibrium.
Here I am led to summarize in a paragraph the evolution of the subjective through nature. I cannot attribute any purpose to it; it is + something, and that's all I can say: the rest is descriptive. But, seeking to describe a living aggregate, I can say that it is animated towards a defense of its own balance. Hence the creation of organizations increasingly able to adapt to circumstances, so as to establish their balance. Two ways are possible and, in fact, exist: the final victory of static equilibrium is that of the termite mounds; the final victory of equilibrium in perpetual rupture of equilibrium is that of man - I am tempted to say: of the Son of Man, in symbolic language: perhaps I will one day explain why. Now it is obvious that the subjective is intimately kneaded with everything that makes up the particular balance of the aggregate; it is obvious that in the end it is the man who destroys the termite mounds and not the termites who win; it is obvious that the man, being the personification, in spite of himself, of the defeat of the automatisms accumulated by the duration, it is obvious that the man, subject, fights relentlessly to preserve this balance finally acquired, but at the price perpetual wrenching, at the cost of the defeat of the winner. Infinitely plastic and malleable, the subject, having lost during the combat, the weapons which would have protected him in the defeat of his possible possibilities, happens to be the place of his own reactions and becomes a species to himself, before knowing it , so that his freedom has become the very thing that binds him.
Well done. It was a dramatic blow that I thought I was alone in predicting. This walk to the star. End of freedom being a good. But I'm so happy to be in you. It seemed to me that my gaze opened the doors to a life foreign to all surprises. Any appearance of a creature or a new object prevented one of my wishes, inspired it all accomplished, it seemed to me ...
By playing the game of events I had become the flesh of the will that was fulfilled in them.
In all the places of the world, there was my gaze waiting for me naked like a God. It seemed like my life was burning in him to belong to me. Ah! the path I was leaving knew better than I the path I was going to take. I extract these lines from Waiting for the white lady . Is this the negation of freedom enough? So we agree.
Too much nonsense has been written about the need for specialization and the advantages that human societies would have in conforming to that of termites ... but a preamble is necessary. Here it is: the average equilibrium in which a species stumbles in males in the dynamic direction, in females in the static direction. The male is centrifuged, the female is centripetal. The role and influence of the male in this or that society expresses the degree of penetration of the dialectical movement in this society. The societies of bees, ants, termites are female societies. In the nuptial flight of the queen bee, the dialectic is assassinated in the person of the male. Purely functional societies.
(I have often thought: assassination of the Word ... reconciliation of the words Verb, Word, dialectic, which, moreover, relate to language ... is it not significant of a constant of symbols in the mind?)
A subject of study: how, in human societies, sex has been torn from the rhythm of the seasons, from the balance of nature.
I always forget to tell you about a curious book of occultism where, in mythical language there are lights of truths ... (Totemization is a rite of individualization, marking the beginning of the historical period of the self. If l evolution thus continues, man will become insect, specialized in the extreme). It is therefore in the conclusions the opposite of this. But there is a bit of the right Revelation there.
Sociologists will say: since the earliest historical times, men have specialized more and more: either by the formation of castes, or by adaptation to various techniques. Nowadays, although the machinery tends to transform the worker into a simple unskilled maneuver, a host of trades remain where specialists are only increasing in number. It is true that the forces of inertia, of retardation, both social and individual, express themselves in this way. Ultimately, this development would lead to the anthill. In our time when man begins to wake up, the tendency of the insect reacts strongly; it is expressed by the kind of rationalization which reigns in the USA. The machinery here is only a pretext: it has not yet been demonstrated that men who know how to do everything ... universally developed (Lenin) must be incapable of serve as machines. To tell the truth, our unhappy civilization can only serve machines. If she does not sacrifice the insect to man, too bad for her.
It would perhaps be good to show in passing how Darwinism erred by considering only what should only be consequences and all secondary consequences of a higher evolution. He looked at everything from the perspective of the naturalist and not of the thinker.
SUARES Entomologists consider a termite hill as an organism, whose mobile cells build the body of a material harder than cement. It seems so true to me that, to destroy a termite hill, it suffices to seize its queen. This one, apparently, does nothing but lay; however, as soon as it is removed, the termite hill goes mad, and that instantly. There is, we imagine, between the queen and her ... subject cells ... a network that escapes us, equivalent to our nervous system. There would be a tale to be made, at the Wells or at the Poe: men build their houses, their cities, their laws and institutions, their ideologies and their religions. All of this, visible and invisible, is harder than cement. The more the structure hardens and becomes more complicated, the more these men work - work becoming goal-in-themselves - and are intelligent, that is to say able to come and go in an extremely complex world. And now the intelligence becomes functional too (the termite hill is intelligent). Therefore it becomes aware of being and becomes philosophy. But, somewhere, hidden at the bottom of a secret sanctuary, a magician has created a nervous center connected to the bellies and the sexes of all individuals. It is a colossal living monster, like the termite queen, a belly-sex a thousand times on a natural scale. This monster having drained all consciousnesses gives each individual, relieved all the more, the feeling that he has of existing. This tale would highlight this: transcendence is that which, knowing itself, tends not to know itself and not knowing itself, tends to know it ... or something similar.
In a previous version, you talked about human outcome, and that was where we could hang you. According to the Hegelians duality must last, considered as being the driving force. Its resolution must always be possible and always deferred. But the resolution which you see of it supposes as an active explosion of the world of time, and envelops the present reality with a possible reality where all the conditions governing it will be invented. It suits me. But didn't Hegel's Idea, the last term in evolution, thereby reveal that it could be grasped as fixity, the golden pole without the existence of which movement would not be?
Dear Joe, there you are, hunting dog, continuing the shortage of my words in their last entrenchments. Your question is crucial, final. It forces me to search in the event which was, and still is, the unspeakable shock of ... how to say ... of time and duration, the continual, the gradual, the inexorable destruction of it by vision of what it contains - not in the Universe - in me, which, participating in something and being this something, can neither conceive me as a Principle nor as an End. In other words (if I manage to understand myself) it is indeed a question of declaring void this end, this finished coronate opus that Hegel proudly wanted to offer as a gift to the Universe. I see the end of the Idea as the maturation of man, these words end, outcome, having meaning only in relation to the content of the idea in its representation, which is the idea. Because if the idea is not representation and this its own content which it belongs to reason to reveal to itself the elements, it is only imaginative, unconscious, mythical projection of this content deprived of its substance. I will not budge from this. And how could this content suddenly become something other than its duration body? And this one, by virtue of what exorcisms could it suddenly rejuvenate itself to the point of no longer being, an essential condition for the unbeliever of time to revolutionize duration, its representations and its works? And by what subterfuges do we hope to be revolutionary if we do not allow ourselves to be revolutionized at first? At the end of the Permanent Idea and the discovery of the intermittency of the idea lies in faith the timeless and the temporal constantly broken, exhausted by his own creation not premeditated but certain, therefore, to be the real result of what there is, under its positive sign.
I believe to discern in philosophical experience a process similar to that of mystical experience. Philosophical experience being more mental than emotional, recomposes the self around a spatial pseudo-absolute; mysticism, being centered on the emotional pole, perpetuates duration. These two projections of the self, I am not qualified to judge them: essentially they fall short of what I have to say. You see ? This brings us back to poetry. In the sense that you taught me to consider it, the broadest, the least literary, the closest to love that there is. The one where we dream of reality, perhaps? ...
What a beautiful chapter on the dissolution of the ego in love: the presence of the beloved woman is the reality of the dream: not the reality opposing the dream but the negation of the reality that opposed the dream in the appearance of this dream. And the result: all of the surrounding reality denies itself, disappears.
We will see how a being through its entire subjective life tends to objectify its data in the impersonal; that to think of the world is to push it towards its truth, so that, at the limit, total knowledge continues through a dissolution of the self. So that to understand the world is to abolish in it, through the knowledge that we have drawn and that we have made it take from its truth, to abolish, I say, any difference between the subjective and the objective .
There are terrible confirmations in the field of sensuality. As if our entrails and our sex knew that the end of the self is the beginning of being. I can't wait for you to know how I reach the same point myself ... by teaching sensation. Everything would amount to creating a method of depersonalizing yourself in the exercise of the highest thought, as we depersonalize the most organic sensation: enjoying the vision of the particular feminine being which precipitates us into the simmering darkness of the non-self brings an addition to the Dionysian delirium of annihilation of the ego. The self denies itself until it recognizes existence only in an external, refused self; the ego is nothing more than what reigns over the non-ego that we become and excludes it. All sexual aberrations are only signs on this path. Back to childhood, to the womb.
The physiological ego? In the end and since the origin of all idea is sensory, the place where the ego can validly perceive itself, is it the body? Contrary to the traditional teaching of India, must- he say, not: I am not this, I am not that ... but: I am this, I am that? ... I am body, I am sensation? ... Does pleasure leave a residue or on the contrary is the ego a residue? ... Does it linger over a memory, or on the contrary does it go beyond experience? ... Does it seek to repeat itself or does desire seek to to be annihilated in an absolute of non-jouissance? Is pleasure only a favorable sensation instantly transformed into one's own memory? And to what extent is the ego only a non coincidence between sensation and perception? And why are we happy, at the first coincidence that we can invent, to feel invited by the event to share its evidence?
All of my books are a trans-objectification of the subjective - and this is how I have overcome coincidences which are only externalized thought. You remember the snake when you came to town. Madeleine wonders if it is a good or bad sign. This is the irruption of the subjective. It was only the life of a place, of which our thought could only constitute a reflection.
You will now understand why I insist on collective action, distributed according to what each one represents. However brilliant your demonstration may be, it will convince man but will not change it: Recognizing the tremendous power of inner desire for chastity has never forced a man to remain chaste: you remember the time when coincidences m obsessed: I recently understood that they returned to a very simple phenomenon which consisted in this: all of a sudden, my thought, the domination of my inner life, was lost in the coup d'etat of an object whose I became the whole thought: the presence in front of me of a green rock, full of the memory of a beloved coat, made all the forecasts fail, and against all probability, swore in my place, for example, that the person to who belonged to the green cloak was soon to come. The important thing was not the prognostic value applicable to the life of a man, me, and which could be turned to the benefit of his happiness: it was the phenomenon itself that mattered by the discovery he made in my name from the unknown universe where he could give himself as such. How long did it take me to fill myself with this certainty, until taking it as indisputable, I was able to progress in my turn.
Now this mystical datum was communicable by poetry. Without premature generalization, without building a system: men won over to this elementary observation enveloped themselves in my becoming.
Because it is in this that all this has its coherence: it is, above all, to wrap men in your becoming. You know how difficult it is ... But for that all means are good. Poetic magic, cunning. See on the back of the next page a good idea that comes to me.
I will keep quiet about this idea which I have not followed. Twenty years later, I can see that I had no choice. Already I knew that I had neither means nor ends, nor becoming. And that "it" will never envelop anyone.
Letter from BOUSQUET to SUARÉS - June 1938
My dear Joe,
Let me first kiss you out of this hideous frenzy. There is everything in my outburst of affection: deliverance (the most important part of my work is finished); relief (I almost died); of recognition. My manuscript n 0 1 is finished; and I hope that " The shadow with pink hands " will see the light of day in October. We will think what we want, I have never been so madly laughed at the opinion of the indifferent. This book contains for me, in a consistent form, the truth - my truth. I can always come back to it. He will guide me. There will no longer be an hour lost in my life now that I can, with men like you, relate to this experience.
The first part of my second book " The smuggler fell asleep " is typed. I correct the last chapters while we type the second. Fragments of this book will appear in journals that have asked me for ink while I am serving the Pink-Handed Shadow . Finally, after these two days of respite that I give myself. I will finish Iris and Little-smoke which waited precisely that my certainties matured in the elaboration of the two writings which I quoted to you.
On July 12, I will resume my creative activity. I have to go quickly, because - between us - my reactions in the attacks of fever become soft, I must prepare to leave, I do not count on a longer duration - admitting that I am lucky at two or three: that's more than enough for my book of criticism and for the poetic volume that should crown my work. I firmly hope not to die before. If death surprises me, all previous work will be lost. Because just as the Shadow with pink hands lights up the appointment of a winter evening, my book of criticism will throw light on the writings that I finish.
It is this summer that I will lay the foundations for my essay book. It will trace the limits of the moral world where I will have lived: Portrait of Esthve, You, our meeting: a long essay on your work , the role of painters in my life. The poetry of Paul Eluard. Finally, our time: Paulhan, whose Tarbes flowers contain, after serious examination, hidden sources. Michaux: those who understood. I get it. And I know that to understand is, above all, to recognize what we must refrain from questioning; and, as far as I am concerned, enclose myself within the limits of this assertion. Man is only the shadow of his actions. Life is not in us: it hurts us to lead us and we know it with a pain which we only have years to cure us ... You are perhaps the only one in this world to fully understand me ; the only one with whom I would be happy to start a long and deep exchange of ideas: it will indeed be necessary, and because what brought us together used us, to start a long correspondence of questions and answers, carefully reread, discussed in an environment of true and pure friends; and that we will publish in volume, without author's name, with a preface by a very good man. Think about it. This could form the substance of our intellectual life throughout the year 1938-39; what do you say ? And you could, right now, think about the subjects that we have to discuss. From each letter, the recipient would ruthlessly strike out what would appear to be unclean or suspected of repetition.
It would be useless to delete the ego if the purpose of this operation was to find it in another form. We must devote all of our strength to dissolving the braided link between the facts through our opportunity to get closer. I understood that my life was the life of my wound before being mine and that the road to follow to move away from me was in a deep awareness of this catastrophe whose oblivion of self-preservation slowly edified oblivion. There is, you see, an immense advantage to be drawn from chance, a moral hygiene to be drawn up with it since it is when it appears that life keeps its character while avoiding to carry the traits with which it has been clothed in our way. h usual to know her.
I'm not writing to you any longer today. Before I fall asleep, I want to correct a few pages of my last notebook. I am not entirely liberated, and only wanted to push before you, and, in a great affectionate embrace, my first sigh of deliverance. I was going to forget to tell you that, since my last letter, with the mad desire to finish my books, I had two attacks of fever, including a terrible and a suppurative gn ngivitis which almost me take away, the infection having spread to the soft palate, which in all cases leads to a fatal prognosis . Tell yourself that I was kept under surveillance, with discretion, the woman who watched my feverish sleep having installed herself in the corridor. And, as my pendulum had stopped, no one having thought of winding it, do you know that it entered with a wolf's foot, opening the door which it had left ajar, because a noise had intrigued; and that she found me at four in the morning, a notebook in her fingers, trying to put together " The shadow with pink hands " because, feeling the end come, I wanted this book to appear.
See you soon, Joe, kiss Nadine for me. Think of me,
Your friend Joe.
Letter from C. SUARÉS - August 6, 1938
Excessive desire to answer you has prevented me from doing so. I was too sure to have no means of expression and to disappoint you . The idea of ??your possible death, your haste to throw on this planet as much as you can before leaving, put me in a kind of dry languor, because the exchange of views that you propose to me is, of all that I could write, what I would hold most, and I could not however be resolved without some appeasement about your health, which I morally need, and then the assurance of a certain regularity in our exchanges to which you have so little accustomed me so far that I do not yet believe in it. If your intention is serious, I would like your letter and this one to be already the beginning of this correspondence intended for "an exchange of ideas" (I use your words for the moment, but I hate "ideas" as do you). rained right now that I don't know if I can write. It will take me time and relaxation to regain a minimum of spontaneity. However, I always thought that we had something to do in collaboration and your unsigned notes which appear in my Psychological Comedy", in which your research and your vision come to join mine, testify to it. We were then overwhelmed and stunned by the death of Esthve who foolishly removed the backbone that was to support us. You You had to come to Paris, we had to undertake all together a work which would have carried what in jargon one calls "philosophical conscience" beyond the Hegelian or Marxist limits which one still wants to fix it. Left to our own devices, you and I have an unfortunate tendency to let believe that we are delirious. Erecting a philosophy in architecture is not our job, not being our desire. So all we have left is to exchange our thoughts, and I know well, by learning both that you almost died and that you would like to undertake this correspondence, that I am in no way prepared to suffer the pain. of your disappearance and to this emotional anguish is added the fear of a possible despair if Bousquet and Suarhs left each other forever leaving uncreated their common work.
am not of your opinion as to the impersonal trick which you propose to give to this correspondence. First of all, it is not certain that the result is good and publishable: therefore do not sacrifice the naturalness of this exchange for any intention whatsoever. Besides the intention to be impersonal would not remove the ego, it would be just if it would cover it with a fig leaf. Let this shameful part rather behave in its own way. Let us name those we have to appoint, including ourselves. Note that this would possibly spare us the obligatory preface, the embarrassment of the friend who would have to do it and the slightly ridiculous position of those who hide by saying it. As for finding subjects, questions, or answers to unanswered questions, your letter already provides me with this until I'm almost embarrassed. I cannot imagine a better starting point to what we have to say, and, in general, to the knowledge of self and of man, than the reality of the present. The main thing is said in your letter perhaps better than you would have done by wanting to put it there. In my turn, by noting what touches ME the most, I will get to the point, faster than I would put it in a series of questions.
What is the function of consciousness, of the heart, of the brain, of the hand, in this unbearable world of mad homicides? This is what I would ask you, in studied and ingenious terms. But, because of being asked, this question on the relationships between acting and thinking would rebound into an abstraction in which the illusion of thinking would have the effect, during this time, only of dispensing us from acting. The abstraction comes from the fact that asking a question is already to abstain from it. "I" ask the question and this even allows me to go no further in the reasons I have for asking myself and that I am supposed to seek. To make you concrete what I hear, I will tell you that Descartes (who is touching me the way I touched the first locomotive) certainly did not suspect the intense desire he had to prove his sustainability in as long as I neither of the conditioning of his thought by this desire. "I think, therefore thought is distinct from the body" is only the pretext of a self which, dreading not to be immortal, finds in this fundamental fear the faculty of taking for obvious and objective a purely subjective observation whose , until his death, he will never guess the content. This observation is the materialization of a dream made of fear and greed (fear of not being being, greed to last). The primordial terror of the self-consciousness, distraught, naked, isolated, has the faculty of enveloping itself in the appearance of a natural fact which it gives itself the illusion of seeing, the instrument of deception being the intellect. In this comedy that our secret desires are played out, I place en bloc, loose and without wanting to find nuances or attenuators, religions, metaphysics, ethics, philosophies, psychologies and ideologies. This begins by making everyone agree that we are talking about something else.
Let us raise our arms to heaven on the impossibility of such a clean slate! I know very well, when you write to me: "I understood that my life was the very life of my injury before being mine and that the road to follow to get away from me was a deep awareness of this catastrophe whose forgetfulness my edification slowly edified slowly ", I know that you are holding a language of truth and knowledge there, and that your thought, at that time, engendered by all that conditions a life but becoming self -revelation of this conditioning, is free to be limited, universal to be individual. I know that this self-perception, not of the ego (watch out for the trap), but of the vital process which, depending on the case, becomes the ego or its own knowledge, I know that it can never happen with help religions, metaphysics, ethics, philosophies, psychologies or ideologies, or with nothing. And this is what makes elucidation so difficult. In the eyes of most people, we can pass for dreamers as soon as we only open our eyes to the most objective reality that there is.
So let us not be tempted by the pleasure of methodically presenting this ... what will I call it? ... this knowledge, but let it emerge from our correspondence, just as dialectical materialism results from Marx's work rather that it is not defined there.
The extreme difficulty of making ourselves heard, I put it to the test all the time with those of our friends who love us the best and who show us this affection with the most consistency. I am thinking of Cassou at the moment and of the many long conversations I have had with him during the past eighteen months. I began by presenting to him, for "Europe", an essay which was entitled " The State is them", in which I tried to show the immodesty with which the powers of money, which are the Real but not apparent state, acting but occult, want to give us to understand that they are the Nation. This usurpation, fruit of their experience of Valmy where the emigrated State was beaten with the cries of Vive la Nation is indeed one of the most scandalous pranks of our time. Although Cassou seemed to taste my presentation enough, I withdrew it almost immediately, with a scruple that it was impossible for me to justify without placing myself in his eyes among those who refused to fight. But I realized that if this essay could, to my satisfaction, find its place in a set where I would have shown my starting point, isolated, it seemed to lend itself to fights that I find imaginary. This starting point consists in verifying my own intelligence: is it partisan or lucid, the simple pretext of unconscious desires or a vision of reality? This question seems fundamental to those who see how subjective are the thoughts that believed themselves to be the most objective (I gave you the example of Descartes). But can perception relate to the very material of which it is made?
"You must," you write to me, "devote all your strength to dissolving the braided link between the facts by the opportunity we had for them to get closer." This is the starting point of which I speak. I will not baffle you, for the moment, the word dissolve although it opens the doors to all cheating. (Who sets himself the goal of dissolving this link, if it is not this link under a new mask and this new self, what does he want to save? This remark, you make it yourself at every moment and is not this is not where we find ourselves?) Now, without allowing me to interpret Cassou's thought, I believe that if, for him, we are, in fact, only the opportunity that facts have to come together, he would deny that this opportunity could be dissolved by a phenomenon of self-revelation. He would give us the choice between partisan conditional action and the ivory tower, and that is what happened following this withdrawn essay, when in his place I presented him I do not know which text I 'I entitled, I believe,' Introduction to an ethics', where I was naive enough to use the word 'objectivity'. This attempt gave rise to a two-hour discussion during a private lunch in Montparnasse, more than a year ago (and which gives me the opportunity today to curse my inability to note a serious conversation, lack of memory).
"You pretend to look at the world objectively," he told me roughly, as if you were something other than part of the conflict. "And you," I said, "in this fight that you wage every day, you give up at every turn of the road a little of the essential and you end in a civil war where nobody knows why he is fighting anymore. It was still at the time when the popular front gave the illusion of being able to reform the state. For my part, I no longer expected anything from a political struggle which was exhausted in daily skirmishes for want of betting on reality alone. The double-faced truth of ethical values ??and economic facts was constantly betrayed under the pretext of urgent barricades to be raised against the push of fascism. Any provisional ally for tactical success was good, even the enemy of yesterday and tomorrow. Struggling for discordant ends, the elements of this new army were no more, as I saw them, than the reactions of their own enemies. I no longer saw neither Communists nor Fascists but anti-Fascists and anti-Communists, these "anti" being only the opposites of the images that each made of the other, that is to say negatives of abstract ideas of clichis, motionless images awkwardly composed of slogans that no nonsense could manage to dismantle. We were wading to such an extent in the quagmire of "false patriotic" that, when I pointed out to Cassou the ingenuity of the unconsciousness which made choose as watchwords by fascism the three words most likely to knock out the suddenly human: Believe, Obey, Fight, he replied that everything depended on what we believed, who we obeyed and why we fought. I was extremely distressed and told him so. I remember using the words "dead values". He told me that these values ??were brandished by very alive men, armed with machine guns and bombs and that I could well declare them dead but that it was I who would be the day when the Nazis would torture me. I could not disagree. He said to me that it was therefore necessary, by any means, to prevent the material takeover of these people - and of those of theirs who are among us - on all that we care about, these means were they most risky compromises, and that there would be no risk in that because the historic goal reached would in turn transform those who would have helped us to achieve it, by bringing down those of their limitations which separated them from us. This point of view seemed to me too theoretical. Even the fear of physical torture is incapable of convincing me of the effectiveness of an action during which we abandon what we are fighting for in order to save it. I am quite certain that the only means to be used for an end is this end itself, and whatever gratitude I have for those who fight with other methods, I will never believe in their victory, should it apparently happen and spare me from torture. The life which results from the geometrical place called Suarhs has meaning only if it ceases to identify with its conditioning, not that the conditioning can cease, but the identification, because it is the identification, not the conditioning which creates duality, this battle of opposites, one of which generates the other and which I find sterile. It seemed to me, during this conversation, that Cassou and I, conditioned in much the same way, were only separated from the image he had of everything that was to unite us. So our camaraderie was torn apart by two different realities; me judging that his action, failing to rely on essential values ??but using day by day those offered to him by the vicissitudes of the fighting, could, in no case, finally establish what he was fighting for, but whose virtue seemed so ineffective that he never stopped helping her with compromises and daily betrayals; considering him my obstinacy as a matter of escape in an abstraction without contact with contingencies. "I want," said I, "to center all my faculties on a truth which I have not said enough. "You have already said it," he replied, "and that is enough; you are a Rabbi, that is what you are; when you have said what you wanted to say, you start again; to the parable of the palm tree you add that of the camel and then you will look for another. He was right about the Rabbi and wrong about abstraction. I am never more attached to the current than in the appearance of the abstract and it is this point that I want to show again and again, because it is only that that I find, in the end of account, useful, and this interests, my dear Joê, your position as much as mine. Too many metaphysicians and mystics have thrown deadly misunderstandings over the language of human realization to allow us to let go of our obstinacy in seeking justice for it.
Perhaps, today, historical conditions allow us to clarify our ideas. Several months elapsed over this conversation with Cassou, and we only resumed it this year during the Easter holidays which reunited us fortuitously in Saint-Raphakl. I don't want to give you a list of the disappointments and bitterness, the uncertainties and the hesitations that invaded him. They do not belong to me and moreover are made of nuances during an action which continues, day by day, to be associated with the "lesser evil" for want of frankly arming only "the greater good" " " But what to do ? " he told me. The Rabbi replied that just as Joseph at Pharaoh interpreted dreams and transformed the economy of the country, we must expose the psychological causes of human chaos and its economic causes. Lucidity double, and obstinate in its precision: the world changes but each one finds pretext not to be modified. Either one refuses to move or one accepts to move only in a particular direction, each one is a center of resistance in the moving flow of the life, each one is only one personification of ideas and interests, when in reality each, Joê, is nothing but the life of an injury and ignores it. And this psychological blindness as to the nature of what we are, absolutely blind as to the nature of what we see.
But I'm going to end my little story in order to show you the curious contradiction in which the fighters of the best causes fall. I was looking for the opportunity to illustrate my point of view, when it came in the form of a book called " The Fate of Capitalism " by Louis Marli o , which you have certainly heard named as one of the most representative of French capitalism. I have the pleasure of knowing and appreciating him personally. He is a good-natured man of good will, but who seems far from suspecting that his ideas are those of an injury (or a bandage or a painkiller), before being his. He takes the perception of which this personification is susceptible for an objective view of things, the dream of a wound that ignores itself for concrete reality, protection for the expression of reason. This approach of thought and emotion being that of each (exploiter or exploited, powerful or weak), I let myself go - in a column that I proposed to Cassou for "Europe" to use the "we" in the expression of my desire for lucidity. Cassou objected to this form, believing that he could see clearly, and us with him, making, in short, a profession of objectivity, and at the same time of faith in the absolute truth of his cause. Thus, on the one hand, he knows himself and says he is conditioned, on the other hand, he is certain that this conditioning, on this side of the barricade, results in the privilege of an objective lucidity ! This contradiction is so strong that by reading this you could believe, in a reversal of positions if you did not know that this crystallization of the Idea is, since man seeks to make contact with himself, the barrier that opposes the truth to the perception of the truth. In fact, it does not seem that thought has yet been proposed to merge with perception without representing it. Instead of being the very movement of perception, thought imagines itself to function when it manipulates ideas the way a mason manipulates bricks. But alas, as soon as the idea that I have of it appears, the perception stops by admitting even that it was authentic. Because each idea or each representation is grafted on to the wound-which-ignores itself, to this self which cannot help making this perception become "my" perception and the idea that I make it my disguise of his Terror or his greed. This spell is never at fault, it defines us and we are only the game, a game that only consists in cheating.
I redid my column for "Europe" avoiding anything that could distract the reader from the subject I was dealing with. And about this column, I will tell you that it is not difficult for me to realize that by putting my finger on the cause of our economic and social conflicts I move away from groups and parties. I recently attended a meeting for the defense of culture chaired by Thiodore Dreiser and during which I had to hear without flinching that the USSR is a democracy and Stalin a philosopher. Perhaps it is true, but perhaps also it is not. What I can say is that very worthy testimonies lead to contrary conclusions and that around the Moscow trials the voice which found the most accents of truth was, in my opinion, that of Trotsky. But are we diploma providers? Aragon who spoke said "we", this "us" being accepted or undergone by supporters who would not have accepted an "us" who doubted the clarity of their judgment and the excellence of their cause, or the means that 'they used to make it triumph. I felt the embarrassment of an involuntary impostor and applied to this assembly, the buffoon judgment which Julien Green carried the other day on someone whom he found "deeply frivolous". While I thought I clearly saw the secret cogs of capitalism operating under the masks of democracies, while I knew their most pacifist leaders responsible for wars and cruelties that everyone was there to stigmatize, everyone, eager to have, in the next war as many allies as possible, Mr. Roosevelt, the King of England or the Grand Turk, and having no other concern than battles to fight, avoided entering into an examination of the causes which would have obliged him to condemn those whose support they hoped for. It would not have been fashionable, in this assembly, to make "the three great democracies" esponsible for the crimes of the totalitarian States , by their policy of restriction of the production, and of profit. I would have rushed out of the room if Cassou were not to speak. His speech was very beautiful. Once again I admired the liveliness of his spirit and the radiance of his love. But the Rabbi came out grumbling: Cassou, like the others, had avoided the danger zone of the truth.
This is the end of my story, Joê, which I wanted to bring to you as faithfully as I could because it illuminates the very center of my concerns. As with Cassou, I persistently insistently insist on the need to develop every day, every hour, with meticulousness and constancy, the instrument of perception (us), without which the action of this instrument (which by its adhesion to an idea, to a faith, to a point of view, to any object which fixes its spirit imagines to have been developed enough to act usefully), is sterile and cruelly frivolous, likewise, and with the same obstinacy, I insisted with you, as I have always done on the need to project this vision on all that conditions it. These are not quarrels but exchanges, intended in my mind to help us to establish between us as fruitful cooperation as possible.
I kiss you affectionate
Weeks passed. Bousquet's response still did not come. "Have you given up on our project? Wrote Suares to him. "No, no, Joê (from Carcassonne, December 3, 38): A long answer has started which you will receive in a few days. Your letter made me happy because it precedes mine, and tells me how much I was expected: I am at the point that I promised to reach you: released after three written books, taken by the editor, distributed in magazines, after a new distribution of my critical work and a daily work rhythm finally imposed on my life - supported by the violent expulsion of 2/3 of the regulars from my room.
It was not without difficulty. I almost died in July. And this threat forced me to put order in my life: This year belongs to moral exploration, to the development of everything that interests us. If time does not exist for me, it is because it is my flesh. And you will see what I was able to raise. "
But Suares had to undertake a long journey. Then it was war and separation ... the work that was to be done is, in the end, made only of what had started it.
As for Cassou, his point of view is today deeply modified; this will be discussed in the "Critique of Impure Reason".
1 I no longer know if I will continue to write for my pleasure. So, at 46, I am wondering if I will be a writer!
Dialogues sur la comedie psychologique par Joê Bousquet, René Daumal & Carlo Suarés - 3e millinaire