Carlo Suarès : Critique of Reason Impure : The psychological comedy
(Extract from Critique of Reason Impure by Carlo Suarés. 1955 Stock Edition)
We have just seen that any modification of a constant (individual or collective) is still a constant; that a transformed character is always a character; that to pass from one condition to another condition is to be in condition. If the grain must die, from its good death, this is what we can define grain. If man must die from such a death that he lives, that is all that defines him and encloses him in architectures (clean, called idiosyncratic, or collective, called class, national or ideological). These constructions are never more than simple and childish imagery. One would say, again, that among other characteristics, such a watch of greed or misanthropy; that such-and-such reacted by identifying with what he believes to be France or Indo-China; or that such a person, imagining himself to think, has only repeated opinions prefabricated by a social group in the defense of its interests; that would indicate that this multiple individual, or rather multiform, or rather cacophonic, manifests, among other things, also that. It is that on occasion; it is under one of its faces; tomorrow it may no longer be: that face will have changed. But what? Where do we end up? And how fallacious, how dangerous, cruel, deadly is this cut.
From individual characters we have thus passed to collective characters. Here, the unpleasant becomes bloody, childishness savagery. I see no more the bourgeois than I have ever seen the bourgeois gentleman, no more the proletarian than the proletariat exists. In truth, the woman does not exist any more than one can meet the hundred percent man. Except, perhaps, in monsters, I don't know. Likewise, the revolutionary, I mean, not who is only that (no revolutionary who claims to be revolutionary, pretends to be only that) but who is it all the time, who is it permanently, who adheres to all the time, in the depths of the movement which drives it to the permanent revolution, which can with the authority of the truth proclaim, like Jesus of his Father and him, we are one, this man, if he exists, I want say all the same, in the end whoever it is, can it be linked in any way to a political party? "If this man existed, say politicians, he would have to be killed; for its permanent whirlwind of revolution would erode, undermine, destroy everything that the very revolution would build, minute by minute". "He should be killed." they say; in truth, they kill him and never stop killing him, every minute, to protect the building they are building, and this death is a protection, one more stone, placed every minute, on the tomb of the Revolution.
That, I would like to say it, because the distance which separates what I write today from these strategists, measures the way traversed by them (in reverse), since the time when one published "The Psychological Coomedy" What I am writing today being a new version, a refurbishment, and in a way a rejuvenation of this work, I have several reasons to speak about it and to clearly explain the reasons why I think that we we were only deceived at that time (twenty years ago already) only in the confidence we placed in those who deceived her.
We, it was Joe Bousquet especially, to whom, the first, I had entrusted the germinating notion, of a moving self, of a concrete, contingent, relative self, projected against his own life, by the momentum, by the exasperation of this contradiction which is none other than itself. This vision (because it was a vision, no more, and especially not less) came from far away. It came from a shock to which I had understood nothing at the time, and which had properly crushed me from my first meetings with Krishnamurti, in 1924. It had taken three years for this upheaval to push me to write a first work [ 2 ] which was only a kind of wail, and three more years to awaken in my mind a somewhat coherent perception of the adventure where I do not know what in me was projected. Bousquet, this living dead ... oh! no, this prodigy of life, in an annihilated body, Bousquet was, from 1928, one of the great coincidences of the common clarity which dispossessed us of our looks. It came to me through I don't know which of my writings. I believe that Bousquet was proof, for me, of the existence of black, thanks to the fact that we found each other beyond what came to strike us. We both crossed the space from one death to another death: hers from black to white, mine from white to black. I believe that I did not cease, for a long time, to die with him (until 1939, with my distance from France ). It was as if each of us was traveling in the opposite direction for the other to take. What this collaboration was, only Cassou today can still know, Cassou that with so much warmth, Bousquet wanted me to meet right away.
Bousquet entered, jumped into "the dialectic of the ego" with ease, wealth, erudition, the gifts that I lacked. He reassured me about the validity of my business and that's how with pain and diligence (the book is affected) I started to put this " Psychological Comedy " on its feet.
In the meantime, the resounding exile of Trotsky posed, as an unsolved problem, the line of a social movement resulting from an internal contradiction. The overthrow, in Russia of the system which had engendered the proletariat and the seizure of power, in a single country, of this term of contradiction, had provoked in reaction, a war of intervention waged by the Allied and associated Powers, which, for four years, in the shadow of a censorship that hid everything, from 1918 to 1922, had stifled the revolution everywhere except Russia, fabricated a cordon of buffer states , and maintained the blockade ten years after the October revolution . This obstinacy which caused the second world war and prepares the third, had, in 1928, exhausted Russia to the point that Trotsky, faithful to the international revolution, was swept away by a background wave of resistance to the influence of the Revolution. The country was "mass" (in the sense of resistance) by excess of fatigue, by excess of injuries, by the simple need to escape destruction. The "non possumus" of Trotsky, and of some apostles of the international revolution was, for some minds, the act of faith in the virtue of radiation against the mass (in the sense of resistance) in the manner of the apostles Peter and John . The "heads of the people" (Acts IV, 5) have their reasons. "Not possumus", answer the madmen of the expansion.
But how can we believe that this madman was, who, for six years (until Lenin's death) had, alone with Lenin, carried on his shoulders the movement which was now turning against him? We did not say "Lenin" we did not say "Trotsky", we said Lenin-and-Trotsky in one name. The technician of the seizure of power, the head of the Red Army, deprived of his guide, Lenin, had perhaps lost the sense of reality. Socialism in Russia became national under the pressure of historical necessities. A few years earlier, Marshal Pilsudsky, as a soldier, under the protection of the great powers, transformed Polish socialism into National Socialism. Certainly there was, between national socialism and national socialism, the irreducible opposition which embraces with mortal hatred the two terms of a virulent duality. This only proved this: that the October Revolution was only the end of a duality. That, consequently, in demonstration of the theory which had generated it, it would henceforth act against itself, constantly producing its opposite. This is what Trotsky shouted, who, at the same breath, also noted, recognized, the inevitable and necessary character of this tragedy.
For us who were neither strategists nor even tacticians, neither statesmen , nor even politicians and had for tool only our thirst for understanding, the choice was painful and long. We finally opted for what had been done. We were urged to do so, we were given credit and we wanted our credit. Each of us had our reasons for choosing. Mine always seems justified to me: of all the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Plekhanov, what do I know, that I had read, I only wanted to remember the sentence from the Manifesto of Communism where the Communism is defined "a Community where the free development of each is the Communism is defined "a Community where the free development of each is the condition of the free development of all". It had dazzled me and still amazes me with the essential emphasis placed on individuality, while those whom we would like today to make us accept as apostolic successors of Marx (Engels is deleted) and Lenin (Trotsky is annihilated), are cruelly limited (I mean limited) in the idea that they have individual freedom tied up in a mental system and frolicking in jargon. I was soon the object of an attempt at shaping. At that time, some friends, in particular Paul Vaillant-Couturier and Lion Moussinac, proposed to found an Association of revolutionary writers and artists. I kept harassing them in carrying out this design. In my mind, the Revolution only needed to update itself in the psychological field. Materialism in movement, which, drawing on Hegel, had adopted the word "dialectic" to designate the inseparability of two contradictory elements as the source of its movement, and the search for this contradiction as the basis of thought, had not yet illuminated as the economic causes of the non-free development of each and everyone. He had never yet absorbed his own projection in the psyche, for the good reason that Psyche, at that time, was still sleeping and dreaming. Engels, who calmly located the seat of consciousness in the brain, without asking what a "seat" for a consciousness is, or whether a "seat" can exist without its occupant or its besieger (as the case may be), had hardly been surpassed by the craftsmen of the Revolution. They had something else to do. My "dialectic of the self" was, in my opinion, to germinate a revolutionary psychology, of which twenty years later, I see, today, more and more, the extreme urgency, especially since the metaphysical sinking of our Schools of psychology. This idea (of fertilization of the individual by the radiation of an internal dialectic) had excited Joe Bousquet. It was both the container and the "Psychological Comedy". But it was not long before I saw that the members of the Communist Party held this idea for a rambling of individual-bourgeois intellectuals. When the Association was founded (the AEAR) we were summoned to the offices of "Humanity" and we attended "Marxist" discussion sessions where authorized and competent people launched quotes to the head, until at the time when the devil's lawyer declared himself overwhelmed by arguments having received the imprimatur. One day I heard myself saying that I had to be "injected with Marxism". The word is correct and could I not have kept it? We nodded around, I fled and never returned. At some time from there, the EARA periodical published, about a case which I did not know then and which I do not remember today, a manifesto at the bottom of which, among other signatures, I read mine . I resigned and tossed into the basket a manuscript of some two hundred pages in which I had carefully written "for the masses" an elementary dialectic summary ("Who are you writing for?" Was the question we asked everyone It would have been dishonoring not to write "for the masses." I write only in the hope that someone would agree to read me).
However " La Comidie Psychologique " (preceded by " @ Present" where, with a group of friends and especially Job Bousquet and René Daumal - whose help was precious - we had defined the immediate bases of revolutionary thought [ 3 ] ) unbeknownst to me, a path that was not justified by its somewhat cumbersome form, its terminology, its restricted distribution, nor, even less, the outdated membership of a system.
We wanted our unconditional membership in a revolutionary party to be public and to precede the presentation of "the dialectic of the ego", so that we would know that this interior movement of being is nothing if it is not not a dedication. We didn't want anyone to think they were authorized to praise or criticize our demonstration, to be entertained, in short . Too many philosophers - we have seen so far - are finally nothing more than public entertainers, juggling with words in Ism. We wanted to persuade and were convinced that we were playing a dangerous game, that we were not afraid of illegality, persecution, death. ("The Great Game": this is what the group gathered around Daumal was called). We didn't risk anything and didn't know it. We risked everything in our mind, we refused our bet, it did not change anything to our fact. The vulnerability that is exposed is virtue. In her is the power of the elusive. The fatal blow that one can receive then has no more significance than a car accident.
It is from here that I leave, and perhaps we will be only two or three to pronounce this non possumus: we cannot defend ourselves, because we are nothing; we cannot attack because we are nothing. Friends, among my dearest, tell me that if they had not been in the Resistance, that if they had not fought the Nazis, I would not be there to say that we should not defend ourselves , in short that one should not kill. They are wrong about what I say: I say no possum. If I said: it is not necessary, I would be something, the figure of a judge, legislator, or schoolmaster, certainly a talkative. I am nothing. And the abyss of misunderstandings is already opening: that of invisible weapons. Because we are in the process of hating the atomic bomb in favor of armored tanks; or these, pardoning the machine guns; or these, invoking passive resistance. Even the conscientious objector has an ideal; this one is a (psychological) refuge, this refuge a protection, this protection a defense, this defense a defensive weapon, this defensive weapon an attack. This is so true that we never know, never in our time, who the aggressor is. A defense, even a passive one, is an attack: it attacks, brandishing the idea of ??what I am, against the idea that the other has it. Without the affirmation: we are this or that, there is nothing to protect. Protection comes second. First is an affirmation: the very one that the other fights. The invisible weapon is I am, mobilization we are. Would there be a we-are without I-am? By what reversal of logic do we settle our problems in a social made of anonymous?
But let's leave the I am, the we are. Practically, concretely, should we let a population kill, and devastate a country? I'm not saying: you have to. I say: we do it. We call the killer, we invite him home, we feed him, it costs a lot, we ruin him so that he eats, we install him on pedestals, on pedestals, and we gather with zeal the incendiary material which he used.
"I am a soldier, so I kill," said J.-P. Sartre to one of his characters [ 4 ] . This evidence skips the ramp and bounces on the spectators who are amazed. Because we are no longer maintaining professional killers, serving them obligatorily, giving them honors: we have put them above the citizens, so that at last they rule us. The countries which do not have as supreme chief the supreme chief of a strong army, are, by some political bias, the vassals of a foreign general, invited, requested to occupy them. These assess countries in killer currency. "We could withdraw our troops as far as the Brittany peninsula," they say [ 5 ] . There would be nothing left of France, it is obvious, but of little importance. This idea, even today is of little importance for the majority of French people, since the majority of French people want to be governed in this way.
No possum. I cannot help but say what I see and what I hear. I see and hear that the majority of French people invite to France the same war that they made Indo-China suffer. She wants this war at home as she wanted this war in Indo-China. I am neither militarist nor anti-militarist. I am neither for nor against. I say: we want this war, the majority want it. Since she wants it, she will have it. She had it in Indo-China, she will also have it in France. She prepares it, it is very expensive. Already we are no longer eating enough. But it is worth being hungry to prepare for a war you want. Let us however stop being dishonest, pretending that we want this war over there and not here, thus and not otherwise, with such weapons and not such others. Useless hypocrisy: that one be silent, since it is the generals who lead. They have the arguments-club of their trade. We will call their know-how fatality, determinism or disaster.
Not possumus. We can only disengage. To disengage, first, as I said above, under the microscope, at home, in us, very small, humbly, but with clarity. Are we threatened with danger? Do we fear this danger? Yes ? Here we are. Are we in defense of Hellenic, Christian, white or black values? Here we are. For Human Rights, the American Constitution, Justice? Engaged. Engaged for an ism. Engaged for an anti. Clutched for the ground. Engaged for Heaven. Engaged for the joy, for the pain suffered, for the sacrifices made, for the meaning given to them. Engaged by all this dead life, rotten in the bad soil of memories. Engaged by all that we are, that is to say by what we have in our heads, in our brains which place us here, thus, and tell us "you are that".
For Piguy the two greatest Christians are the commander-in-chief Louis IX and the captain Jeanne d'Arc. It is not the poverello of Assisi, holy, very holy, for whom the highest happiness was, if one is hungry and cold and knocked on a door to be brutally dismissed and to get along shout "you're nothing". Of course, this death in good soil is difficult to understand. Let's play fair : difficult to admit. Let's go to the end: who among us admits it? Admit it. I only want to admit it and every minute see me clearly and, perhaps, perhaps through a few glimmers, even if they are fleeting, not be what I am.
And let the breath arise, if only for a second, from the mind, naked, purified, emptied of everything.
Do not try to save anything from what is destroyed, everywhere around us: could we be more optimistic, more confident, lighter, more free?
It is on this, which is nothing, that the new world is founded at this very moment. World without object or objects, therefore without exchanges with the other. World without measure or measure; no assessments ; nor comparisons: world inestimably without borders. In him I am the other whom I bruise and I bruise myself. And if I killed him - as I kill him every day - it is I who die. Any idea I had of this world, any idea, would kill. Because the idea would be parallel to the idea that I would make of myself, it would not be the one that the other would make of me, but probably the one that he would make of himself and, me against me, we would kill. So on the other I can't think of anything: no possum. Nor even that he is my brother; it is nothing like I am nothing: there is our unity, our cohesion, our community of new where the breath blows where it goes, picking up genius in passing, and the divine truth of men who does not have to be to prove. But this world is especially not made of words and those that I write so badly at the moment only reveal my joy of being immediately and suddenly so numerous, whereas I thought earlier at most be, perhaps, two or three. There is, in this world, the fresh emotion of the thing seen through what we have been, and the relief of having landed the frightful cargo of words without content, filled with explosives.
It is in this world that we can trace together the allegory that I am pursuing. But let us remember the three angels of Abraham: they presented themselves to him who pleaded for the cursed cities, and set out in their direction; and here in the process, one of them disappeared without anyone realizing it. So there were only two of them in the land of duality: its scent of corruption had blocked the great Trinitarian movement of the angels of the Lord. Lest we leave, pushed by their inner shudder and find ourselves, without knowing how - without even knowing it - in the mephitic contradiction of the old man, for having inadvertently carried away on a trip, even if it was nothing at all, a snacks, a small one needed.
1 " La Comidie Psychologique ", preceded by A Present (the immediate tasks of revolutionary thought), by Josi Corti (exhausted).
2 " On a barrel organ ", at the Librairie de France in 1928 (out of print).
3 René Daumal collaborated on the whole book, but at the last hour took umbrage following an incident which implicated Krishnamurti and revealed to him the depth of my attachment to him. I had no doubt that he had a false idea of "my friend" and my friendship, but did not have time to persuade him that I was not trying to annex anyone and had no ulterior motive. Generously, he did not withdraw the notes he had given me, but asked that they not be signed.
4 In " The Devil and the Good Lord ".
5 This word is from Mr. Eisenhower, American General. And let us remember Mr. Truman's insistent recommendations - which were disseminated everywhere - which can be summed up in this sentence: "Let us help Europe, so that war does not take place here".
Carlo Suares : Works in French : Carlo Suares Fondation + 3rd Millenaire
La comidie psychologique par Carlo Suarhs - 3e millinaire