Sure you will

It’s bad again, isn’t it, I ask X, really bad. Don’t be stupid, he says. It’s bad though, isn’t it, I say, this time it’s bad. A bit, he says. A bit, I say, it’s humiliating, it’s a fucking disgrace how we were treated in there, can’t you see that, can’t they see that? Why can’t anyone see it? Why do we always run up against people like that, against psychopaths? What is it about us? Is it you? It’s you, isn’t it? Always hanging around me, giving me that look? Don’t be hysterical, he says. You feel it too, though, don’t you? I say. A bit, he says, I suppose a bit. A bit, I say. You’re fuming, you’re chomping at the bit to get at their throats. We both know that’s you, he says, you’re having a tantrum because you can’t get your way. But he disgraced us in there, I say, that one guy with the lazy eye, he disgraced us for no good reason, didn’t he? Objectively he did, didn’t he? A bit, I guess, says X, but he was just following the rules. Rules he made up, I say, because he could, because of me, because of you, because he saw I was with you, because he saw how much you’ve weakened me, all my life, so he knew he could get away with it, because that’s how those people are, isn’t it, they’ll do it if they get a chance, the minute they sense weakness, and they know I can’t get back at them, know I can’t resist them. But this time I’ll get them, I say, this time they’ve really gone too far, they brought up things they shouldn’t have brought up, they got personal, they went way beyond the pale. This time I’ll figure out my rights, I say, I’ll google the proper authorities, send letters and make appointments. We both know you won’t, says X. They’ve seen a million people like you. Fuck you, I say, we’re both in this together. Get a grip, he says. This time I’ll do it, I say, that guy with the lazy eye, I’m gonna knock it right, I’m telling you. At least I know the difference between right and wrong, I say, I’ll knock sense into his face. You’ll punch him in the eye and teach him all about what’s right, that’s a good one, says X. You need perspective, says X, you don’t have a clue how the system works. Fuck you, I say, and fuck the system. Ah yes, that’s what I was waiting for, says X, fuck the system, go say that to them. I will, I say. Sure you will, he says.

One of these days

One of these days I’m really gonna blow up, I tell X. One of these days when I come across a psychopath, when I come across one of those scumbags who can’t tell right from wrong, I’m gonna do something bad, really bad. You realise what you’re doing, writing these things down, says X. You think you’re anonymous? I don’t care, I say. Sure you don’t, he says, you don’t know very much. And you don’t understand what you’ve done to me, I say, you don’t know and you don’t seem to care, you’re one of them. That’s nice, he says. No it’s not, I say.

Then you should know

Do you have any empathy? I ask X. Do you? Why do you always side with them over me? Why? Listen to yourself, X says. I am, I say. Then you should know, he says.

A speech of the infinite

‘How can we live without the unknown before us?’ [Rene Char] The pressing form of this questioning, then, comes from the following: (1) to live is necessarily to live ahead of oneself; (2) to live ‘authentically’, ‘poetically’, is to have a relation with the unknown as such, and thus to put at the centre of one’s life this-the-unknown that does not allow one to live ahead of oneself and, moreover, withdraws every centre from life […] Here let us recall René Char’s now long-standing affirmation, which will bring forth everything we have just tried to say: ‘A being of which one is ignorant is a being that is infinite – capable, in intervening, of changing our anguish and our burden into arterial dawn.’ The unknown as unknown is this infinite, and the speech that that speaks it is a speech of the infinite.

– Blanchot, ‘René Char and the Thought of the Neutral’ (in The Infinite Conversation, tr. S. Hanson)

The unknown is at stake

The unknown is neutral, a neuter. The unknown is neither object nor subject. This means that to think the unknown is in no way to propose it as ‘the not yet known’, the object of a knowledge still to come, any more than it would be to go beyond it as ‘the absolutely unknowable’, a subject of pure transcendence, refusing itself to all manner of knowledge and expression. On the contrary, let us (perhaps arbitrarily) propose that in research – where poetry and thought affirm themselves in a space that is proper to them, separate, inseparable – the unknown is at stake; on condition, however, that it be explicitly stated that this research relates to the unknown as unknown. A phrase all the same disconcerting, since it proposes to ‘relate’ the unknown inasmuch as it is unknown. In other words, we are supposing a relation in which the unknown world would be affirmed, made manifest, even exhibited: disclosed – and under what aspect? – precisely in that which keeps it unknown. In this relation, then, the unknown would be disclosed in that which leaves it under cover. Is this a contradiction? In effect.

– Blanchot, ‘René Char and the Thought of the Neutral’ (in The Infinite Conversation, tr. S. Hanson)

Dialogue with a Carmelite

Our purpose here is to relate an experience honestly lived and honestly transcended. Unless we are willing to limit our role as purveyors of information, we cannot refuse to relate one kind of experience because we would rather talk about another. There is no special audience for this kind of truth. Truth is not aristocratic or exclusive but belongs to everyone, and the most homely item of local news is as unfathomable as anything that happens anywhere in the province of heart and mind. Heart and mind, we believe, are the world’s most widely shared possessions, and even though we expect to be attacked in any number of contradictory ways for printing this story, we think it our duty to do so.

Q. Do you think that the ‘truth’ about the Carmelite convent in which you lived for fifteen months is of such a special kind that not everyone will be able to understand it?

A. I don’t think so. Anyone who is open to an honest account of a sincere experience will agree, I think, and will not claim to understand more than can be understood. Continue reading

Longing to think

Long periods of unthinking impotence. Or of thinking that is only the longing to think. Too busy feeling dispersed by everything and nothing to be of any use, especially to yourself. In such moods concentration is a dream, a cell deep under ground.

– Frenet