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lundi, 01 avril 2013

Musulmano o costruito dai robot: il Papa di fantascienza finisce così

Musulmano o costruito dai robot: il Papa di fantascienza finisce così

di Gianfranco de Turris

Fonte: il giornale [scheda fonte]

Le religioni (e la teologia) sono argomenti che hanno sempre attirato gli scrittori fantastici e fantascientifici. In particolare la Chiesa cattolica, sotto il profilo temporale e spirituale, ha ottenuto attenzione speciale sia in positivo che negativo. Molti autori ne hanno preso spunto per le loro ipotesi proiettate nel futuro. È soprattutto la fine della Chiesa che ha sollecitato la loro immaginazione. Il concetto di «fine» può infatti intendersi in molti modi: una religione che ha anche un potere temporale può concludere la propria missione in forme diverse. Ovviamente le cosiddette Profezie di Malachia sono spesso lo spunto di base, specie negli ultimi anni dato che ci si avvia alla conclusione dell’elenco dei papi contenuto in quello scritto, pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1595 in appendice a «Legnum Vitae» di Arnold de Wyon. Molti sostengono invece che sia un testo realizzato intorno al 1590 da un famoso falsario, Alfonso Ceccarelli, una specie di Simonides umbro.

 

roma-senza-papaSia come sia, in base a quella elencazione, che parte da Celestino II nel 1143, l’attuale Benedetto XVI sarebbe il 111esimo e penultimo della serie con il moto «De Gloria olivae». Subito dopo c’è una citazione che alcuni interpreti riferiscono a questi, mentre la maggioranza intende come riferita al 112° e conclusivo pontefice: «Durante l’ultima persecuzione di Santa Romana Chiesa siederà (sul trono) Pietro Romano che pascerà il gregge in mezzo a molte tribolazioni; terminate queste la città dei sette colli sarà distrutta, e il terribile Giudice giudicherà la gente».

 

Questa conclusione apocalittica, in linea con molte altre profezie cristiane, non poteva non colpire certi scrittori che l’hanno intesa in modi diversi. Una Chiesa e un Papato possono estinguersi e crollare non solo e non tanto materialmente, quanto spiritualmente, concludendo, fallendo o distorcendo la loro missione. E così per primo si deve ricordare il grande rimosso della letteratura italiana, Guido Morselli l’antimoderno, che come suo primo romanzo dopo il periodo realista scrisse nel 1966-7 Roma senza papa, anche il primo pubblicato da Adelphi nel 1974 dopo il suo suicidio l’anno precedente. Morselli rifiutava l’oggi e quindi la religione del suo oggi, che già manifestava sintomi di decadenza negli anni Sessanta del Novecento (il Concilio Vaticano II si era concluso nel 1965 con tutte le sue novità), e quindi la fine della Chiesa di Roma e del Papato viene descritta nel suo romanzo come una decadenza abissale dei valori tradizionali del Cristianesimo. La sua è una critica della Chiesa «al passo coi tempi» con papi fidanzati, favorevoli alla liberalizzazione di droga, contraccettivi, eutanasia, che utilizza più la psicanalisi freudiana che la teologia, dove il turismo di massa è una benedizione sicché ogni cosa nello Stato del Vaticano viene finalizzata a fare denaro. La Chiesa è finita perché non è più la vera Chiesa.

 

la-moschea-di-san-marcoE di una mercificazione totale, ad uso appunto dei turisti, parla anche, ma in una prospettiva più laica, Roberto Vacca, nel racconto L’ultimo papa (1965), dove il pontefice si esibisce nelle sue funzioni ad uso dei curiosi di tutto il mondo che pagano per vederlo all’insegna dello slogan «Peep-a-Pope-Show» (i «peepshow» sono spettacoli erotici). E, se ci si consente un’autocitazione, mi permetterò di ricordare che in un racconto che scrissi insieme a Piero Prosperi quando eravamo ventenni (Petrus Romanus, 1965) si immaginava una fine “politica” del Papato sotto un regime comunista instauratosi in Italia. Ma il tempo passa e i pericoli per la Chiesa cattolica cambiano: ad esempio, il relativismo dei valori, la crisi delle vocazioni, l’aggressività dell’Islam hanno indotto due autori a descriverne una fine traumatica, una resa senza condizioni: cinquant’anni dopo Prosperi, nel suo romanzo La moschea di San Marco (Bietti, 2007) prevede che nel 2015 Benedetto XVII, successore di Ratzinger, dopo aver creato una commissione di consulenti musulmani per allargare il dialogo, in un discorso Urbi et Orbi dichiari conclusa l’«eresia cristiana» e chieda ad Allah di riammettere i cattolici nella Umma dei credenti.

 

apocalissi-2012Di recente Antonio Bellomi torna sul tema e nel suo Finis mundi (antologia Apocalissi 2012, Bietti) prende spunto dalla profezia Maya sulla fine del mondo per immaginarsi la morte di Bendetto XVI e il suo successore uscito dal Conclave, il cardinale indonesiano Giovanni Ali Sudarto, che sceglie per sé il nome di Hussein I e che, senza portare alcun simbolo della croce, inizia la sua prima allocuzione alla folla dicendo: «In nome di Allah, misericordioso e compassionevole…». E uno dei personaggi del racconto dice: «Non è la fine del mondo. È la fine dell’era della Chiesa di Roma come l’abbiano conosciuta…».

 

Anche gli autori anglosassoni si sono avvicinati all’argomento con atteggiamento fantascientifico e futuribile. La storia più interessante non è il racconto Il dilemma di Benedetto XVI di J.H.Brennan (uscito nel 1977 con un titolo diverso e tradotto da Urania nel 1978), citato in questi giorni solo per la coincidenza del nome: vi si racconta delle visioni del Pontefice per dichiarar guerra ad un dittatore e di uno psicanalista chiamato per capire se esse siano vere o false. L’opera più curiosa è Il papa definitivo di un grande nome come Clifford D. Simak. Scritto nel 1981, racconta del pianeta Vaticano 17, dove si è rifugiata una stirpe di robot che, non potendo accedere sulla Terra alla religione cattolica in quanto privi d’anima, hanno creato una civiltà ed una religione simil-cattoliche con identiche strutture e riti, costruendo il «papa definitivo», cioè un immenso computer in cui immettere tutta la conoscenza dell’universo. Due temi, religione e robot, tipici di Simak che li usa per decretare la fine della Chiesa come l’abbiamo conosciuta sinora. In tema di automi Robert Silverberg con Buone notizie dal Vaticano del 1971 immagina che da un futuribile Conclave esca un pontefice robot che invece di rivolgersi alla gente in Piazza San Pietro accenda i propri razzi e sparisca in alto, nel cielo. Ma non occorre essere di metallo per fare e decidere cose inaspettate: il papa Roberto I descritto da Norman Spinrad nel suo Deus X emana una enciclica in cui proclama la possibilità di trapiantare l’anima tra esseri umani, come fosse il cuore, il fegato o i polmoni.


Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

dimanche, 31 mars 2013

Roger Nimier: passions baroques

Roger Nimier

Passions baroques...

Ex: http://fierteseuropeennes.hautetfort.com/

Nimier-09bf6(1).pngTout le monde connaît ces avions de papier que les lycéens jettent dans la rangée centrale de la classe quand ils s’ennuient. Le fuselage de l’avion était constitué par l’Esplanade des Invalides. Les ailes faisaient un triangle, dont les pointes étaient le pont de la Concorde, le pont des Invalides et l’extrême avancée, sur la rive droite, de l’avenue Nicolas II.

Qui sait ? Malgré la pierre tendre, le contre-plaqué, les guinguettes du pont Alexandre, l’Exposition des Arts Décoratifs n’était pas forcément un avion pour rire. Les hommes avaient appris à s’envoler. En 1925, rien ne leur paraissait plus merveilleux. L’Exposition n’était peut-être que l’ombre d’un avion qui survolait Paris, avion idéal, bourré d’idées platoniciennes (comme de riches Américaines au visage éthéré), d’archétypes, de catégories, d’équations, de tout cet arsenal qui dominait la Terre.

Voilà pourquoi les animaux du siècle présentaient ces formes géométriques et cet aspect glacial. Longtemps les hommes avaient tout adouci. Ils avaient vécu entre des commodes Louis XV, ventrues comme des pourceaux, et des jeunes femmes de Fragonard au sourire facile. A force de se frotter à leurs tableaux, à leurs vêtements, à force d’ingurgiter des conversations sucrées, ils étaient devenus sages et civilisés.

C’était fini. Le démon de la géométrie l’avait emporté. Les austères lignes droites, en rangs serrés, venaient de conquérir la planète. Ainsi, dans le village de français, régnait la pensée de Leibnitz. Rien ne s’y abandonnait au hasard, puisque tout y était symbole, maille d’un univers bien tissé. On n’avait oublié ni la ferme parfaite, ni l’église idéale, ni le lavoir perfectionné. Seul le tas de fumier était un peu vétuste.

Cependant, le passé subsistait. Il était là sous deux aspects. D’abord celui des vieilles coutumes. Chaque nation avait son pavillon, comme si les hommes de 25 n’avaient pas appartenu à l’acier ou à la T.S.F., avant d’être de Bloomsbury ou de Flandres. Ensuite, par l’assimilation des styles les plus anciens : de Byzance à la Grèce, de l’Afrique aux pays esquimaux, toutes les formes avaient été convoquées, pesées d’un œil sûr, rejetées ou conservées, suivant leur degré de fidélité à la logique. Mais la logique avait toléré certains détails coupables ; ainsi garde-t-on un tableau de famille, une vieille domestique.

Le syncrétisme plaçait cette exposition à la rencontre de l’avenir et du passé. Une péniche-restaurant présentait l’avant d’un navire saxon – et son oriflamme sauvage disait qu’on y mangeait des poissons bizarres, des essences inconnues, whisky, gin, martini-patinette. Un déshabillé en velours portait les soleils de la Chine et rappelait les bleus profonds qu’on inventa jadis à Cathay. L’Espagne montrait des poutres sombres sur ses toits, exagérait la hauteur de ses portes.

Les sculptures, les bas-reliefs se tenaient à mi-chemin de la Grèce et des jeunes Parisiennes. Les femmes de pierres avaient les seins ronds, comme le demandaient les Antiques, la taille peu marquée, comme le voulaient les couturiers, les jambes fortes, le visage rectangulaire, sensuel, incliné, avec de grands yeux, dont l’un était pensif et l’autre endormi.

Mélange ! Quand les Romains eurent conquis la Gaule, on vit une chose impossible : l’impatient et le laborieux, Bacchus et Apollon, les moustachus et les chauves, fabriquèrent un monde qui s’appela la France et donna naissance à tous ces petits fonctionnaires, dont la main droite porte le sceau impérial depuis deux mille ans, tandis que la gauche soulève les pots d’hydromel de la maison Pernod.

De même, quand la géométrie et les puissances utiles qui lui servaient d’alliées prirent possession de l’univers, elles le trouvèrent dans un grand désordre, rempli d’hommes velus, de femmes serrées dans des corsets et dans des préjugés, d’ornements encombrants, de passions baroques (délivrer la Pologne, dormir la fenêtre fermée, se tuer d’amour). Les machines étaient inventées depuis longtemps, mais les hommes dignes de les servir n’existaient pas encore. Il fallut les fabriquer.

Quatre années d’industrie lourde et de meurtre facilitèrent les choses.    

 

Roger NIMIER / Histoire d’un amour. 

samedi, 30 mars 2013

Céline: Viaggio al termine dell'Apocalisse

vendredi, 29 mars 2013

Jünger und Frankreich

heiligkreuztal-kloster.jpg

07.04.2013
11:00
Kloster Heiligkreuztal

Jünger und Frankreich – eine gefährliche Begegnung?

Symposium des Freundeskreises der Brüder Ernst und Friedrich Georg Jünger
 
Julien Hervier und Alexander Pschera diskutieren anläßlich ihres gleichnamigen Buches auf dem Symposium des Freundeskreises der Brüder Ernst und Friedrich Georg Jünger über »Jünger und Frankreich – eine gefährliche Begegnung?«
 
Veranstaltungsort:
Kloster Heiligkreuztal
Am Münster 7
88499 Altheim-Heiligkreuztal
Alexander Pschera
Alexander Pschera: Jünger und Frankreich - eine gefährliche Begegnung?

G. d'Annunzio: Mostra fotografica

jeudi, 28 mars 2013

Olivier Maulin contre le monde moderne

Olivier Maulin contre le monde moderne

 

Une nouvelle d'André WAROCH

 

Ex: http://fierteseuropeennes.hautetfort.com/

 

Le ciel était bas ce jour-là quand je sortis de la bouche de métro pour me rendre, comme souvent après le travail, dans une bibliothèque universitaire près de Montparnasse. Je me dépêchai de gravir les quelques dizaines de mètres qui séparaient le métro de l’entrée, jetant des coups d’œil inquiets aux nuages noirs qui s’amoncelaient au-dessus de Paris. L’orage se mit à tonner dès que j’eus franchis le seuil de la porte cochère, où je croisai un groupe de frêles naïades à queue de cheval qui partaient précipitamment, un dossier sous le bras, en gloussant comme seules savent glousser les filles de dix-neuf ans. Je me retournai comme si de rien n’était et j’eu la vision fugitive de leurs petites fesses déjà hors d’atteinte, ondulant dans des pantalons serrés. Le vigile africain de l’accueil m’adressa un clin d’œil complice et j’entrai dans les locaux.

 

maulin.jpgDélaissant les bandes dessinées, j’allai directement à l’étage. Je pris le Simenon que j’avais commencé la veille et partis m’installer dans le fond, à une petite table, calant ma chaise contre le mur, me pelotonnant confortablement. La pluie frappait à présent de toutes ses forces la baie vitrée qui me faisait face. C’était une tempête, une vraie. Les six ou sept jeunes assis à côté de moi sur une des deux grandes tables de l’étage, qu’ils avaient abondamment garnis de piles de feuilles, de cahiers et de livres de toutes sortes et de tous formats, regardèrent un instant les éléments déchaînés se fracasser contre le mur de la civilisation occidentale, et replongèrent le nez dans leurs études. Moi j’étais bien comme ça, calfeutré, me distrayant avec un polar, alors qu’en tendant le bras à quelques centimètres sur ma gauche, j’aurais presque pu palper cette angoisse des examens imminents qui étreint, chaque année aux mêmes périodes, le cœur des boursiers comme des enfants de bourgeois. J’aimais ressentir cette tranquillité du vieux con de trente-cinq ans qui regrette, parfois un peu vite, ses vertes années. Assis, détendu, je me dis qu’il ne me manquait plus qu’une petite clope, ou une pipe même, puisque j’étais dans Simenon.

 

La tempête ne semblant pas devoir faiblir, je m’absorbai dans ma lecture. Un quart d’heure peut-être s’écoula. Mon attention fut alors distraite, imperceptiblement, par une cacophonie de chuchotements. Un débat semblait agiter le groupe d’étudiants. Je les observai un peu plus attentivement. Ils avaient la vingtaine, trois garçons et trois filles. C’est l’une de ces dernières, blonde, un peu boulotte, mal coiffée, qui semblait être l’initiatrice et la principale animatrice du débat. Visiblement elle défendait son point de vue contre la désapprobation générale, mais je ne distinguais réellement rien de ce qui se disait, jusqu’à ce qu’elle se lève et élève subitement la voix, au comble de l’agacement, voire au bord des larmes. Je fus saisi par ce qui ressemblait bien à une manifestation d’hystérie, phénomène propre aux femmes, qui dans le meilleur des cas arrivent à le faire passer pour la manifestation d’un quelconque mysticisme :

 

– Mais vous ne comprenez vraiment rien ! Olivier Maulin, c’est un prophète !

– Arrête, maintenant, fit une de ses copines. Calme-toi et rassieds-toi.

La boulotte s’exécuta et me regarda fugitivement, gênée de la scène. Ils se remirent à travailler, pendant que la fille qui lui avait dit de se rasseoir lui dit quelques mots à l’oreille, tentant probablement de dédramatiser la situation.

 

Olivier Maulin ? Jamais entendu parler. Etait-ce un de leurs profs à la fac dont elle se serait entichée, se donnant conséquemment pour mission de le défendre bec et ongles contre n’importe lequel de ses camarades qui se serait permis d’ébaucher, même adroitement, même sans avoir l’air d’y toucher, le moindre début de critique? Ou un acteur en vogue envers qui elle aurait développé le même complexe ? Ou un chanteur ? Mais peut-être n’était-ce pas dans le registre des amours post-adolescentes qu’il fallait chercher les raisons de cet éclat, songeai-je en essayant de me concentrer de nouveau sur mon livre. Après tout, même une femme peut être touchée par une révélation spirituelle sincère qui serait autre chose que le désir d’être pénétrée, fut-ce intellectuellement, par un homme possédant une énorme, une gigantesque personnalité.

 

Environ une heure plus tard, j’avais rangé le Simenon, et je déambulais un peu dans les allées, au hasard, avant de rentrer chez moi. Soudain, je vis la fille de tout à l’heure, debout au rayon histoire, en train de feuilleter furieusement un bouquin sur les indo-européens.

 

– Excusez-moi, mademoiselle…

Elle releva brusquement la tête, et me lança de ses yeux bleus un regard qui, j’en suis sûr, aurait pu percer le métal si on le lui avait demandé gentiment. Sa poitrine généreuse se soulevait rapidement sous son chandail généreusement décolleté.

– Non, commençai-je en souriant, je m’excuse de vous importuner, mais tout à l’heure, vous avez cité le nom d’Olivier Maulin, en disant que c’était un prophète. Qui est ce monsieur, exactement ?

– C’est un écrivain.

– Ah bon ? Ravi de l’apprendre. Ça me fait plaisir de voir quelqu’un d’aussi passionné par de la littérature. Aujourd’hui on a tellement l’impression que les gens ne sont intéressés que par leur écran plat…

– Olivier Maulin, ouais, c’est un écrivain, mais c’est plus qu’un écrivain.

– Ah bon ?

– Est-ce que vous pensez qu’il y a d’autres mondes ?

– D’autres mondes, comment ça ?

– Bon, qu’est-ce que vous voulez, vous voulez me sauter, c’est ça ?

– Mais pas du tout ! Je suis réellement intrigué par ce que vous avez dit. Bon écoutez c’est pas grave, moi de toute façon j’allais partir. Au revoir.

 

Arrivé au milieu de l’escalier, alors que j’en étais à cinq au compte à rebours, je l’entendis qui me rappelait. Je ne lui avais qu’à moitié menti, j’étais réellement intrigué. Disons que mon approche était motivée à environ 28% par la curiosité intellectuelle. Il y avait donc au moins une part de vérité dans mes protestations. Et puis merde ! On avait quand même encore le droit d’avoir juste envie de baiser, non ?

 

– Excusez-moi fit-elle, l’œil humide une nouvelle fois, je n’aurais pas dû vous parler comme ça…

– Ce n’est pas grave, répétai-je, grand seigneur, il y a eu un malentendu, et voilà tout.

Nous discutâmes deux minutes. Elle finit par me dire tout à trac :

– J’ai ma voiture garée à côté, si ça vous dit, on peut aller faire un tour dans Paris et prendre un verre quelque part…

Cette fille était vraiment spéciale. J’acquiesçais, elle alla prendre son sac et nous sortîmes. Un soleil éclatant avait chassé l’orage. Je m’étonnai qu’elle ait quitté si facilement son groupe d’amis, elle me répondit que c’était une bande de connards. Bon.

En fait de voiture, c’était une vieille 2CV. Dans les années quatre-vingt, on en voyait encore beaucoup, aujourd’hui c’est une rareté. Je remarquai que celle-là était immatriculée en Bulgarie. Etait-ce dans ce pays que ses sœurs étaient parties pour mourir, au début des années quatre-vingt-dix, pressentant peut-être confusément qu’avec la chute du Mur un cycle historique venait de s’achever ?

– Vous êtes bulgare ? Demandai-je alors que le véhicule s’ébranlait avec force craquements. Je n’avais pas entendu un bruit aussi inquiétant dans une voiture depuis mes quinze ans, quand j’avais été pris en stop, sur une autoroute du sud, par un mec bizarre qui écoutait du Jean-Louis Murat.

– Oui, pourquoi, vous connaissez ?

– Oui, enfin je n’y suis jamais allé, mais bon, je connais un peu, Ceausescu…

– Ceausescu c’était en Roumanie.

– Ah bon, vous êtes sure ?

– Qu’est-ce que vous connaissez d’autre ?

Je me mis à fouiller à toute vitesse dans la banque de données de mes souvenirs. Qu’est-ce que j’avais à « Bulgarie » ? J’ouvrai le sous-dossier, on était vraiment dans les fonds de tiroir. Voilà ce que je connaissais de ce pays : en 1993, cette raclure d’Emil Kostadinov, en marquant à la dernière minute au Parc des Princes, éliminait l’équipe de France de la coupe du monde. En 1994, Hristo Stoichkov, le capitaine et le meilleur footballeur bulgare de tous les temps, emmenait son équipe jusqu’en demi-finale du Mondial aux USA ; victoires sur l’Argentine, l’Allemagne, il était sacré ballon d’or à la fin de l’année.

 

– En tout cas vous n’avez pas d’accent, fis-je.

– En fait, j’ai toujours fais la navette entre la France et la Bulgarie, dit-elle avec un sourire, depuis que je suis toute gosse. Mon père est français, ma mère bulgare.

– C’est bien d’avoir une double culture, dis-je distraitement, ça permet une plus grande ouverture d’esprit.

– Ah bon, vous trouvez ?

– Enfin il parait.

 

Je ne savais pas du tout où elle comptait aller, mais pour l’instant je m’en moquais. Il faisait vraiment un temps splendide. Nous arrivions place de la concorde, elle mit une cassette audio

Une cassette audio, me répétai-je stupéfait. Une musique orientale à base d’accordéon commença à emplir l’habitacle.

 

Une certaine pudeur, due à une éducation catholique sans faille, m’interdit d’aller plus avant dans l’évocation de la soirée que nous passâmes ensemble. Pour faire court, disons que je vengeai, ce soir-là, l’honneur perdu de David Ginola. Cela se passa à Gennevilliers, dans le petit appartement de sa mère, où elle créchait le temps de ses études, après quoi elle devait retourner travailler en Bulgarie, ou à Lyon, je ne sais plus.

 

Je la quittai au petit matin. Je lui dis au revoir poliment, mais sans effusions inutiles, sans même proposer d’aller chercher de quelconques croissants. Elle parût quelque peu désappointée que je m’en aille de cette façon. Elle me proposa de rester, et ses yeux se firent suppliants, mais j’en avais vu d’autres, je sais exactement le degré de rouerie qui se cache derrière les manières affectées des femmes. Je prétextai, sans prendre la peine d’y mettre beaucoup de conviction, un rendez-vous professionnel, et partis sans gloire et sans me retourner. Je repris le métro qui me ramena jusqu’à chez moi, en proche banlieue.

 

Ma vie reprit son cours, longue et monotone. Je suis employé de bureau. Le goût de l’aventure m’a quitté depuis tellement longtemps que je ne me souviens même pas en avoir été un jour habité. Très vite, la concentration qu’exigent les travaux administratifs, s’ajoutant aux mille soucis quotidiens qui accablent tous les provinciaux de trente-cinq ans venus s’installer seuls à Paris pour exercer un travail alimentaire, chassèrent la donzelle de mon esprit. Environ une semaine plus tard, en fin d’après-midi, alors que je m’apprêtais à sortir du bureau, ou pour être plus précis : alors que je commençais à songer au moment où je m’apprêterais à partir, et que je rangeais vaguement quelques vieilles piles de documents, mon téléphone portable se mit à sonner.

 

J’ai oublié de vous dire, la fille s’appelle Catherine. Catherine, donc, puisque c’était bien elle au bout du fil, me convia à une soirée pour le lendemain avec des amis, dans un restaurant chinois du 13ème. Je me méfiais, est-ce que je n’étais pas tombé sur une psychopathe qui, après une soirée, serait tombée maladivement amoureuse de moi, comme Glenn Close dans Liaison fatale ? Néanmoins j’acceptai, et je suis incapable encore aujourd’hui d’expliquer pourquoi.

 

J’eu un sommeil agité, proche de la transe chamanique. Je me métamorphosais en oiseau de proie, planant au-dessus de Paris. Je me réveillai au milieu de la nuit, me redressant d’un coup sur le lit, en sueur.

 

La journée fut interminable, je commençais à en avoir plein les bottes de ce boulot. Quand sonna l’heure, j’avais l’impression d’être au bord de l’épuisement, pourtant dès que je me retrouvai dans la rue, toute ma fatigue se dissipa comme par enchantement.

 

Je repassai chez moi pour me changer rapidement et récupérer ma vieille Volkswagen. J’avais récemment réussi à économiser assez d’argent pour l’emmener au garage. Je m’habillai à peu près comme d’habitude, avec un costume-cravate sans cravate. Je savais que j’allais me retrouver au milieu de jeunes de quinze ans de moins que moi. Il s’agissait de ne pas avoir l’air trop con, et pour commencer essayer de ressembler à quelqu’un de mon âge. Le pire aurait été d’essayer de les singer.

 

Arrivé dans le quartier chinois, je trouvai une place à quelques dizaines de mètres du restaurant. Je n’avais pas envie d’arriver en avance, alors je me fumai deux ou trois cigarettes, tapi dans l’obscurité de l’habitacle.

 

Au bout d’un quart d’heure, je sortis de la voiture. Un serveur vint m’accaparer à l’instant même où je poussai la porte vitrée. C’était un Chinois de soixante ans, l’air las, aux traits fripés, courbé comme si sur ses épaules reposait le destin de l’Empire du Milieu. Catherine m’avait dit de demander sa table. J’indiquai donc ses nom et prénom, et le serveur se dirigea vers l’arrière-salle en me faisant signe de le suivre. Il traînait tellement les pieds que je ne sais même pas si l’on peut vraiment dire qu’il marchait. Je distinguais le chuintement de ses mocassins sur le parquet en bois. Son mode de déplacement tenait en fait de la reptation. C’était absolument fascinant.

 

maulin9782353150564.jpgLe restaurant était typique du quartier, c’est-à-dire qu’il ne fallait pas y aller pour l’hygiène. Heureusement, mon organisme s’était déjà depuis longtemps habitué aux saloperies d’origine exotique, résultat d’une vie ponctuée par de fréquentes visites au kebab. Parfois, en pensant à Maupassant, je me disais que le staphylocoque doré serait ma syphilis.

 

A la table, ils étaient quatre. On fit les présentations. Outre Catherine, il y avait une grande bringue au teint blême, vêtu à la garçonne, veston et chapeau à l’ancienne, qu’on appelait Palombe. Non non, pas Palomba, Palombe. Il y avait Edgar, qui était habillé, sans grande façon, d’un jean et d’un sweat-shirt. Il était châtain et portait un petit bouc qui, ajouté à ses sourcils en accent circonflexe, lui donnait l’air d’un diable sorti de sa boite. Il avait l’air de quelqu’un de nerveux, et d’assez bavard. Et puis, il y avait un rasta blanc. Je me méfie des rastas blancs. Non, se méfier n’est pas le mot exact. Dans les premiers temps de ma vie active, alors que j’avais quitté mes parents il y a peu et que j’habitais dans mon premier appartement, un minuscule meublé, je voyais de temps à autre des blattes. Un jour, il y en avait une qui grimpait péniblement sur un mur, puis, le surlendemain, je surprenais sa cousine en train de s’extraire de sous la cuisinière, puis rebrousser chemin en catastrophe en me voyant saisir sournoisement un chausson. Je ne m’étais pas alarmé plus que ça. Je ne laissais pas traîner de nourriture et je faisais le ménage régulièrement. Je m’imaginais qu’elles venaient d’un autre appartement, et que par le jeu des conduits d’aération elles tombaient chez moi de temps à autre, par accident. Mais plus le temps passait, plus augmentait la fréquence de leurs apparitions : une fois par semaine, puis deux, puis une fois par jour, et toujours vers la cuisinière. Un soir, je décidai d’en avoir le cœur net. Je déplaçai le meuble pour regarder ce qui pouvait bien se passer en dessous.

 

C’était une boite de chocolats de Noël bon marché. Les locataires précédents, un couple de jeunes, avaient probablement organisés, un 25 ou un 31, une beuverie d’amis au cours de laquelle cette boite avait glissé, je ne sais comment, sous la cuisinière. Je compris que c’était une boite de chocolats grâce à l’étiquette. Quelqu’un avait enlevé le couvercle. Mais là où on aurait dû voir les chocolats en question, il n’y avait plus qu’une masse grouillante et grise, celle de ces insectes immondes qui, depuis des semaines, se repaissaient dans mon dos de ces guimauves de cacao industrielles. Je dormais tous les soirs à trois mètres de cette infection vivante.

 

Dans ma vie, par la suite, je ne ressentis ce même sentiment d’horreur et de dégoût, bien que légèrement affaibli, que dans les très rares occasions où j’eu à côtoyer des rastas blancs. En présence d’une forme de vie étrangère, manifestement hostile, aux déplacements erratiques, et dont l’unique fonction biologique dans la chaîne alimentaire semble être le parasitage, l’honnête homme, obéissant à un réflexe ancestral, mu par d’étranges impulsions envoyées par le cerveau reptilien, sentant remonter en lui des souvenirs collectifs transmis génétiquement à l’humanité depuis le tréfonds des âges, à l’époque peut-être où les hommes de la tribu, criant et agitant leurs torches, passaient la nuit à repousser les hyènes qui tentaient de mordre les femmes et d’emporter les bébés, l’honnête homme, disions-nous, se sent soudain envahi d’un désir fort et primitif, celui de se saisir d’un gros caillou tranchant et de massacrer la Bête.

 

Le rasta blanc s’appelait Sébastien. Je lui serrai tout de même la main et m’assis. La conversation s’engagea. Edgar me demanda, en faisant un point d’interrogation avec un de ses sourcils circonflexes :

– Qu’est-ce que vous faites dans la vie ?

– Oh, fis-je d’un air embarrassé, je fais un travail de bureau…

– Vous êtes dans l’administration ? reprit-il en faisant deux points d’interrogation, comme si être fonctionnaire en France était quelque chose de proprement extraordinaire.

– Non non, dans le privé…

– Ah ok, répondit-il, l’air soulagé, remettant ses sourcils au repos.

– Nous on est tous étudiants, on est dans la même classe, dit Palombe.

– Ah bon, et vous étudiez quoi ?

– Licence d’anglais, répondit Sébastien, le rasta, les yeux baissés. Même qu’on se fait chier.

– Parle pour toi, répliqua Palombe, l’air agacé.

J’observais Catherine du coin de l’œil ; après m’avoir accueilli, elle n’avait quasiment plus ouvert la bouche. Mais elle n’avait pas l’air vraiment inquiet. Elle semblait réfléchir à quelque chose.

– Alors, repris Edgar, qu’est-ce qui vous branche dans la vie ?

– Moi ? Oh, pas grand-chose.

– Vous lisez ?

– Si je lis ? Oui, ça m’arrive…

– Quoi par exemple ?

– En ce moment, je suis sur Simenon.

– Ah bon, fit le rasta avec un sourire narquois, vous préférez les hommes ?

Et cet abruti s’esclaffa à sa propre saillie. Les autres sourirent d’un air indulgent. Je me forçai à arborer un rictus. Dans la foulée, Edgar me posa subitement cette question qui me désarçonna :

– Vous connaissez Olivier Maulin ?

Un silence se fit.

– Oui, répondis-je après un moment d’hésitation, j’ai entendu ce nom dans la bouche de Catherine la première fois que je l’ai vue, mais…

– Nous quatre, on lui voue un culte. On pense que c’est une sorte de prophète.

– Ou de messie, dit Palombe.

– Si tu veux. En tout cas, on est fans absolus, reprit-il en s’adressant de nouveau à moi. C’est un génie. Il nous a ouvert les yeux sur le monde moderne. C’est Catherine qui nous a initiés. On essaie de le faire découvrir autour de nous.

– On le suit dans tous ses déplacements, dit Palombe.

– La dernière fois, c’était au salon du livre de Marseille, dit Catherine, soudain réveillée.

– Ah bon, dis-je, vous êtes allés jusqu’à Marseille?

– On le suit partout, répondit Palombe. Dès qu’on sait qu’il se rend à un festival ou un truc comme ça.

– Fais lui voir l’album, intima Catherine à Sébastien.

 

mauXXX9782266234092FS.gifAprès avoir regardé autour de lui comme s’il s’apprêtait à étaler sur la table une substance prohibée – probablement un vieux réflexe – celui-ci fouilla dans son sac et en sortit un album photo blanchâtre, aux angles racornis.

 

Il l’ouvrit un peu au hasard et le posa face à moi. Des photos diverses, en couleur, en noir et blanc, plus ou moins nettes, comme prises à la dérobée, montraient toutes le même type, un rouquin qui devait avoir environ le même âge que moi, qui comme moi avait adopté le costume-cravate sans cravate ; plus ou moins barbu, plus ou moins grassouillet, selon les photos et l’époque où elles avaient été prises. On ne peut pas dire qu’il était vraiment beau, ni vraiment moche. Il était d’un abord plutôt sympathique, mais dans l’ensemble c’était le genre de mec qui pouvait passer à peu près inaperçu partout. En fait, il ressemblait plus ou moins à un contrôleur de la SNCF. D’ailleurs, il y avait une photo où il descendait d’un train, et plusieurs autres où on le voyait discuter avec d’autres personnes sur le quai d’une gare.

 

– Ça c’est quand il revenait de la foire au livre de Lorient, dit Palombe.

– C’est bizarre, je ne vois aucun d’entre vous sur les photos.

– C’est normal, mec, répliqua Sébastien. Il ne nous a jamais vus. Depuis trois ans, on l’observe en secret.

– Hein ? Mais Pourquoi ???

– Tu ne peux pas comprendre, dit Catherine en soupirant. On a décidé ça entre nous. On s’est dit qu’on devait être ses anges gardiens.

– Ouais, dit Sébastien, ça c’est TA version.

– Il faut avoir lu l’œuvre d’Olivier Maulin pour saisir le sens de notre démarche, dit Edgar en me fixant avec ses grands yeux fous, et surtout Les évangiles du lac. C’est dans ce livre qu’il a vraiment ouvert une brèche.

– Ouvert une brèche dans quoi ?

– Dans le monde moderne, répondit-il, énigmatique.

 

Trois heures plus tard, je ramenais Catherine à Gennevilliers. Je n’avais pas envie de rentrer tout de suite, ni d’aller boire un dernier verre ailleurs. Je lui proposai un petit tour en voiture dans Paris avant de rentrer.

 

Après ces mots étranges sortis de la bouche d’Edgar, le serveur était enfin venu avec les menus, et nous avions ensuite commandé assez vite. L’alcool et la nourriture, d’ailleurs excellente, avaient achevés de délier les langues. J’avais eu droit à une formation accélérée sur Olivier Maulin. J’étais quand même tombé sur de sacrés tarés.

 

Je me méfiais de Sébastien. C’était un fourbe qui n’attendait qu’une occasion pour trahir, j’en étais persuadé. Avez-vous remarqué que les rastas blancs ne traînent jamais ensemble, contrairement par exemple aux punks à chiens ? Ils préfèrent coller aux basques des gens normaux, pour les parasiter. Jamais plus d’un rasta blanc par groupe de jeunes, c’est une règle invariable. Et ils restent jusqu’à ce que l’on découvre leur véritable nature. Néanmoins, une chose me paraissait sincère chez Sébastien, c’est l’amour qu’il portait aux écrits d’Olivier Maulin, un amour visiblement aussi fanatique que celui de ses amis.

 

Palombe trimbalait une sorte de mal-être adolescent, qui la poussait à exprimer, comme Sébastien d’ailleurs, une certaine agressivité à mon égard ; ou peut-être croyait-elle que le personnage qu’elle cherchait à incarner aux yeux des autres se devait de faire preuve d’agressivité à mon égard. Et en même temps, une certaine sophistication me la faisait paraître plus intéressante et plus profonde – peut-être à tort – que son camarade. C’était une littéraire : elle admirait Oscar Wilde, George Sand, Verlaine et Rimbaud. Enfin, elle les admirait, jusqu’à ce que Catherine, un soir, lui prête Les évangiles du lac.

 

Edgar m’avait paru des quatre le plus intéressant. Il n’existait pas uniquement à travers l’œuvre d’Olivier Maulin, ce que je ne n’aurais pas pu jurer à propos de ses collègues. Il travaillait à un roman de science-fiction. Il m’avait expliqué qu’avant de commencer l’écriture de l’intrigue proprement dite, il s’attelait à mettre en place les personnages et leurs interconnexions, il imaginait l’historique des planètes et des peuples qu’il allait mettre en scène ainsi que celles des grands ancêtres des protagonistes, bref, il cherchait à créer de toutes pièces un univers entier, cohérent, à la manière des grands maîtres comme Frank Herbert. L’histoire commençait sur une planète appelée Eimera, où deux races extra-terrestres, les Zaloptères et les Archoutanes, au mode de vie relativement primitif, coexistaient sans le savoir, vivant de chaque côté d’une forêt gigantesque qui, enserrant Eimera tout au long de son équateur comme une sorte d’anneau, formait entre les deux hémisphères une barrière colossale, infranchissable pour ces créatures dont le niveau de civilisation était comparable à notre néolithique. Selon les légendes locales, si ces deux races se rencontraient et se mélangeaient, la nouvelle race hybride qui en serait issue aurait le pouvoir de conquérir toute la galaxie.

 

La planète voisine, Perla, avait été fondée, il y a des millénaires de cela, par des commissaires européens en exil. Au milieu du XXIème siècle, l’Europe ruinée, dévastée, en proie à la guerre civile, aux épidémies, le troc ayant remplacé l’usage de l’Euro sur la plus grande partie du territoire, une insurrection populaire, soutenue par l’armée, prit le contrôle de Bruxelles. On mit la main sur les commissaires européens. Un tribunal populaire décida, en quelques heures, de leur culpabilité dans la catastrophe générale, et de leur exécution publique par strangulation. Mais quelques survivants avaient réussi, en soudoyant des passeurs, à gagner Kourou, et à utiliser les dernières parcelles de leur autorité légale pour s’échapper, avec leurs familles et leurs employés, à bord d’un engin spatial expérimental. Au bout d’un périple de sept ans qui appartenait aux mythes fondateurs de la planète Perla, les commissaires débarquèrent sur la terre promise, une planète hostile, désertique, peuplée de lézards géants, sur laquelle ils réussirent néanmoins à faire souche. Dès qu’ils furent à peu près installés, leur premier geste fut la création de l’embryon d’une nouvelle construction européenne. Des référendums eurent lieu pour savoir si les lézards faisaient partie des espèces nuisibles, ou s’ils constituaient un patrimoine naturel à protéger. Des groupes de réflexion inter-départements furent formés pour éclairer le débat et remettre leur rapport à la sous-commission chargée du statut des lézards de Perla. Parallèlement, le commissaire préposé à la protection du patrimoine naturel créa une autre sous-commission pour établir la classification des cailloux du nord du lac Tschaï, selon leur diamètre et leur forme.

 

Quelques années plus tard, les commissaires européens s’aperçurent de la présence, sur Eimera, des deux peuplades primitives susnommées. Après être rentrés en contact avec les indigènes (et avoir créé des sous-commissions pour les classer en plusieurs groupes selon leur forme), ils voulaient maintenant en faire des citoyens européens. La seule chose qui pouvait empêcher ce désastre était l’accomplissement de la prophétie : un mâle zaloptère devait s’accoupler avec la plus belle des femelles archoutanes, ce qui serait le premier pas vers la fusion complète des deux races. Elles se verraient alors dotées de pouvoirs leur permettant de balayer n’importe quel ennemi, et de régner sur l’univers.

 

Tout cela m’apparaissait bel et bon. Rien à dire, c’était du cousu main. En le quittant, j’avais prodigué à Edgar quelques encouragements. A présent, nous roulions en silence, sur les bords de Seine. Catherine, décidément, était étonnamment muette ce soir. Je ralentis jusqu’à rouler quasiment au pas, les yeux fixés sur l’eau scintillante. Il faisait doux ce soir-là. Je baissai ma vitre et allumais une cigarette. Catherine me demanda, en faisant beaucoup d’efforts pour me faire croire que sa question était anodine :

– Alors, qu’as-tu pensé de cette soirée ?

Machinalement, je jetai un coup d’œil au livre posé sur les genoux de Catherine : Les évangiles du lac, bien sûr. Elle l’avait amené pour moi. Je la regardai. Elle semblait immensément fragile, à présent, comme si elle était sur le point d’éclater en sanglots. Qu’est-ce que je savais de cette fille, finalement ?

– C’était bien, comme soirée. Tes potes sont des gens intéressants.

– Je savais qu’ils te plairaient, dit-elle en souriant.

Je tournai à gauche et pris le pont de Courbevoie.

– J’avais peur que tu nous trouves ridicules, rajouta-t-elle, l’air d’avouer un péché mortel.

– Ridicules ?

Je réfléchis un peu, et repris :

– Non, pas ridicules. Bizarres, oui, ça c’est sûr. Mais tout est bizarre, pour moi.

– Est-ce que tu as un peu compris de quoi il retournait ?

– Tu veux dire, avec les nains, les trolls et les elfes ?

– Oui.

– Je crois. C’est comme me l’a dit Edgar : vous êtes en révolte contre le monde moderne. Vous voulez le retour des temps héroïques. Tu voudrais être une princesse enfermée dans son donjon, et que je sois le chevalier qui vient te délivrer. Vous êtes d’anciens fans de jeux de rôle, non ?

– Oui.

J'en étais sûr.  

– Tu veux nous rejoindre ?

Je jetai ma cigarette et remontai ma vitre. En souriant légèrement, je lui dis :

– Non, je ne crois pas. J’ai déjà fréquenté ce milieu, dans le temps. Je n’ai rien contre ; mais c’est pas mon truc.

Catherine était désappointée, soudain. Elle regarda droit devant elle.

– Alors c’est quoi, ton truc ? Finit-elle par dire.

– Moi, tu sais, répondis-je en posant une main délicatement sur son genou, je suis italien ; ce dont tu me parles, là, tous ces machins, les trolls, les elfes, les Hobbits, ce n’est pas ma culture, ce n’est pas la culture d’ici non plus, d’ailleurs. Tout ça, ça vient des anglo-saxons.

On arrivait à Gennevilliers. Je la déposai devant chez elle, elle ne me proposa pas de monter. Je lui dis au revoir poliment, et je repartis. Décidément, avec Catherine, ça devenait une manie de se quitter fâchés. Mais ce soir, c’était peut-être la dernière fois qu’on se voyait. Je lui avais dit la vérité, mais pas toute la vérité. Je savais très bien ce qu’elle attendait de moi, et je n’avais pas l’intention de lui donner de faux espoirs. Je voulais bien qu’une femme ne soit pas seulement source de jouissance érotique, mais aussi une amie, une confidente. Très bien. Mais rien de plus que ça. J’avais appris à aimer la solitude et la liberté. Cela valait-il la peine de tout chambouler, tout ça pour avoir le plaisir d’entendre les flatulences de Madame au réveil ? Préciosité de vieux garçon, probablement. Mais c’était comme ça.

           

Quant à ses amis mystiques, ils auraient sûrement pu, en d’autres circonstances, se révéler dans toute la magnificence de leur gloire exaltée, et se tailler de véritables royaumes. Ils servaient des causes que je croyais perdues à jamais dans les eaux troubles qui s’agitent au confluent des mondes, là ou se confondent les rêves et la réalité. Leur folie n’était pas de notre époque. Mais peut-être que notre époque allait finir un jour, comme toutes les autres avant elle.

 

André WAROCH

 

Un texte également consultable sur Novopress.info 

> http://fr.novopress.info/132310/olivier-maulin-contre-le-... 

mercredi, 27 mars 2013

Y'en a que ça emmerde...?

mardi, 26 mars 2013

Thoughts on Samuel Beckett

sambeck176.jpg

Thoughts on Samuel Beckett

By Jonathan Bowden

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Edited by Alex Kurtagić 

Editor’s Note: 

The following is excerpted from Jonathan Bowden’s Skin, a book he wrote in the early 1990s. The text has been lightly edited, mainly for punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.

In Samuel Beckett’s work . . . , which has become emblematic of the modern condition, particularly in the arts, there is a struggle with inarticulacy, where inarticulacy stands for silence—the absence at the heart of existence. As a result, Beckett’s work was the outcome of a profound struggle between form and the absence of form. This was the attempt to incorporate the mess of chaos or existence into a work of art—something that orders experience. As a consequence, artistic expression has a strongly authoritarian bias, although postmodernism tends to refute this. Beckett’s work, in other words, was an attempt to shape fundamental sounds from the chaos of identity. It was an attempt to retrieve the semblance of form from the absence of form. His work was an attempt to capture the process, the nature of entropy, the transition between different states. Indeed, it is no surprise to use that one of the journals that published Beckett was called Transition (edited by individuals like Eugene Jolas, in Paris, on either side of the war). Once, when Becket was irritated by Pinter’s insistence on form in his work, he said ‘I was once in a hospital and in the next ward a man was dying from cancer of the throat. I could hear his screams constantly throughout the night. If you are looking for form in my work then that is the form it takes!’ All of which is illustrated by the fact that when  Beckett was asked to stage a play at the Gate Theatre in Dublin (the seat of Irish experimentation in the manner of the European  avant garde, he intervened in the script to ask a basic question: ‘what does the world resemble?’ And a character, propping up the bar, answered: ‘A large human head, distended in space, covered in pus, exuding scabs, horrible to behold—revolting, disgusting.’ The rest of the cast and the scriptwriting committee agreed, and refused to include Beckett’s anecdote.

Nevertheless, Beckett’s work (like the work of Francis Bacon, which it resembles), is an attempt at a realistic form of nihilism at the end of the 20th century. We can also see that there is a strongly materialistic element in Beckett’s theatre, hence his desire for total control of the actors on the stage. In summation, Beckett wants to reduce the actors to automata or robots. In a way, therefore, he is a cyberneticist as much as a playwright. He once confessed to Roger Blin that all he wanted on stage was a pair of ‘blubbering lips’, something which he attempted to achieve with Billie Whitelaw in a play like Not I, which was performed at the Royal Court during the 1970s. As a result, Beckett’s desire for total control, his artistic psychosis, if you will, has increasingly led towards minimalism in literature and in drama.

enattendantgodotcouv.jpgMinimalism has often been misunderstood: it is less a desire for purity of form than a need for control. There is something manic and peculiarly modern in minimalism, the attempt to gain complete control over a work and its audience. It can be said, therefore, that minimalism has to do with the absence of form, due to the desire to rid artistic processes of any clutter. In short, the spare, clean outlines of the minimalist are an attempt to gain control of the subject matter of a piece. Thus, minimalism is a strategy, a rear-guard action on behalf of the artist. It is, in essence, an attempt to impose new forms on the breakdown of all possible forms.

Beckett, for his part, was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer, Descartes, and Descartes’ pupil, the Belgian philosopher Geulincx. Descartes developed an extreme form of abstraction, where mind and body come to be separated, at least in the mind. Of course, this is a form of stupidity, since mind and matter are different versions of the same thing—something that does not privilege the emotions over the intellect, as Wyndham Lewis once supposed in The Art of Being Ruled. To suggest an integrative vision of body and psyche is to avoid the trap of seeing the two as separate entities. It is certainly not an attempt to level the intellect or champion the vulva, the uterus, and the spleen against it. Such things only become a cultural afflatus, a torrent of unreason, when they deny reason to instinct and emotion to rationality. The throbbing, insensate nature of ‘black culture’—ludicrously overrated by academics like Dick Hebdidge—is merely the downside of White indifference.

Nevertheless, Beckett always needed Descartes’ philosophy, his Cartesian romanticism, because it covered an essential weakness: a psychic imbalance. Beckett was a neurotic who only felt secure when he could control and compartmentalise his life, his friends, and acquaintances. It a sense he had never grown up; he had not reached beyond the adolescent stage of maturation, and as Jung remarked in a lecture at the Tavistock clinic, which had a remarkable effect on becket, ‘he had never been born entirely’.

Moreover, Beckett was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer’s idea—this thinker’s pessimistic speculation—that in a world dominated by will—what Nietzsche would call ‘the will to power’— the sole purpose of an intellectual man’s life was to safeguard the nature of his own will. In other words, in a world ruled by will, a man had to retreat from the world in order to achieve the nature of his own will. Such ideas involved a retreat from the world into the domain of private speculation—what we might call a ‘scholarly retreat’, while this ideology also involved a conscious apoliticism, a refusal to act politically, and the avoidance of social questions. In fact, it involved the attempt to cut oneself off from one’s own world. Hence, we see the introverted and solipsistic nature of this philosophy—what we might call its artificial attempt to erect barriers between similar things; its attempt to float out of the world in order to realise oneself in the world of one’s own mind.

Beckett was also strongly influenced by Geulincx’s idea that a man could control nothing but his own mind. As a result, he believed that men should retreat into their own minds in order to achieve their own will. He realised that the world showed an abundance of Will that had to be outfaced by retreating into the nature of one’s own will. Geulincx, for his part, believed that a man should want nothing he could not control, and he should be prepared to let the rest go. According to Geulincx, everything outside the mind was beyond the provenance of the mind, and, as such, it was unobtainable. Indeed, it was best left alone, primarily because it could not be contemplated in the fastness of the mind. In these circumstances, everything outside a man’s mind, including his own body, was of no account because he could not control it. For the intellectual or mental gymnast, there was no other option but to retreat from the world into the security of his own mind.

Hence, we see the increasing spareness of Beckett’s writing: the short passages that were farted out towards the end of his life. Beckett’s later writings resemble a farrago, a diminuendo, a restraint on reason. They grow shorter and shorter, and sparer and sparer. Indeed, towards the end they almost cease to exist. They come to resemble a body that is in the last stages of dissolution. Towards the end of his life Beckett’s editions were slight, flippery things, and they were often printed in extra large letters, eighteen or nineteen points, like print in books for octogenarians, with a large white margin around the text in order to illustrate its brevity.

Beckett’s strategy, however, is flawed and uncertain, and it is somewhat cruel and psychotic. In particular, his avoidance of political issues is a grave weakness that ultimately defeats the whole thing.

Source: http://www.wermodandwermod.com/newsitems/news130320131319.html [2]


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/03/thoughts-on-samuel-beckett/

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[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/beckett.jpg

[2] http://www.wermodandwermod.com/newsitems/news130320131319.html: http://www.wermodandwermod.com/newsitems/news130320131319.html

lundi, 25 mars 2013

Chesterton the prophet of menacing Americanisation

GK-Chesterton-Large-640x480.jpg

1920: Chesterton the prophet of menacing Americanisation

 

 By Nicolas Bonnal

Ex: http://english.pravda.ru/

But to-day personal liberties are the first liberties we lose.

In 1920 Chesterton visits America where he gives some lectures. The British (yet Catholic) genius is intimidated by this great country which horrifies and amazes then many European writers. Think of Kafka or Celine who describe a curious mega-machine.

 

Yet America happens -at least for Chesterton- to be a problem, because this is the country that will become the matrix of globalization (we all agree that being that matrix ruin the ancient Americans as a people). And when the author of father Brown gets to the control area, he is asked some very indiscreet questions such as: are you an anarchist? Then the questionnaire asks him naively if he is "ready to subvert by force the government of United States!" And what would answer our poet? ''I prefer to answer that question at the end of my tour and not the beginning'.

The questionnaire is not over. It asks then if the traveller is a polygamist! This time Chesterton is somewhat upset, like should have been the future travellers when asked if they are Nazis, anti-Semites or of course communists, Islamists or terrorists (what else, carnivores?). And he unleashes this terrible phrase:

Superficially this is rather a queer business. It would be easy enough to suggest that in this America has introduced a quite abnormal spirit of inquisition; an interference with liberty unknown among all the ancient despotisms and aristocracies.

So, let us think of inquisitive America as the land of the modern inquisitors (I think of course of Dostoyevsky). And, as if he had known we were doomed to an endless clash of civilizations between Muslims and Yankees, Chesterton evokes his visit to Jordan and compares with bonhomie Arab administration to the American one: 

These ministers of ancient Moslem despotism did not care about whether I was an anarchist; and naturally would not have minded if I had been a polygamist. The Arab chief was probably a polygamist himself.

Of course Chesterton, having quoted the Muslim world, had to speak of prohibition. That American prohibition too is hard to swallow for our drinker of beer (he deals with the subject -and with Islamism too- in the scaring novel the flying inn). And beyond the classical denunciations of hypocrisy and Puritanism, prohibition inspires him the following witty lines:

But to-day personal liberties are the first liberties we lose. It is not a question of drawing the line in the right place, but of beginning at the wrong end. What are the rights of man, if they do not include the normal right to regulate his own health, in relation to the normal risks of diet and daily life?

Chesterton knew he was entering in a no smoking area. The Americanization of the world would mean an exigent agenda of rules and orders to comply in all fields.  It is linked to the reign of the lawyers and congressmen, the cult of technique, a past but resilient Puritanism and of course the desire to homogenize all migrants. And he concludes on this matter with his sarcastic and efficient remark:

To say that a man has a right to a vote, but not a right to a voice about the choice of his dinner, is like saying that he has a right to his hat but not a right to his head.

Another subsequent menace is the Anglo-American friendship. Chesterton guesses that the anglo-American condominium means a general police of the planet and a future world order. The end of his strange and genial book is dedicated to the future new world order, whose prophet and agent is the famous sci-fi writer H.G. Welles. The motivation of this world state is mainly... fear, the artificial fear of the machines (think now of gun control).

He tells us that our national dignities and differences must be melted into the huge mould of a World State, or else (and I think these are almost his own words) we shall be destroyed by the instruments and machinery we have ourselves made.

But America has given to Chesterton enough reasons to fear its matrix, its efficiency and its blindness too. This is why America is too the magnet of heretic and modernist H.G. Wells. A country founded by Illuminati and masons has to become the mould and model of all.

Now it is not too much to say that Mr. Wells finds his model in America. The World State is to be the United States of the World... The pattern of the World State is to be found in the New World.

And although he speaks English and is an Anglo-Saxon, Chesterton, who is above all a Christian, a democrat and a humanist who mainly enjoys French and Russian peasants, then plundered by bolshevists, and he understands the American menace: the Americanisation of this planet, Americanisation that nothing will stop. The American menace consists in destroying any resisting nation in order to create the new united states of the world.

 The idea of making a new nation literally out of any old nation that comes along. In a word, what is unique is not America but what is called Americanisation. We understand nothing till we understand the amazing ambition to americanise the Kamshatkan and the hairy Ainu.

Let us be more humoristic, but not optimistic. For the new American order will be established on the models of a nursery. This is where the blatant American feminism interferes:

And as there can be no laws or liberties in a nursery, the extension of feminism means that there shall be no more laws or liberties in a state than there are in a nursery. The woman does not really regard men as citizens but as children. She may, if she is a humanitarian, love all mankind; but she does not respect it. Still less does she respect its votes.

Our European commission works like this nursery. And of course our genius thus seizes American paranoia and the perils of modern pseudo-sciences, say for instance the theory of the gender. As if he was predicting infamous patriot act, Chesterton writes:

Now a man must be very blind nowadays not to see that there is a danger of a sort of amateur science or pseudo-science being made the excuse for every trick of tyranny and interference. Anybody who is not an anarchist agrees with having a policeman at the corner of the street; but the danger at present is that of finding the policeman half-way down the chimney or even under the bed.

That's not all. Why this American matrix imposes her strength so easily? Chesterton has already remarked that American political order incites citizens - or pawns- to be repetitive, trivial and equal: I think they too tend too much to this cult of impersonal personality. Thanks to fast-foods and commercial centres, business cult and universities, television and movies' omnipresence, this model has been applied in fifty years everywhere, event in the resilient Muslim countries, making the globalization more a mind-programmed attitude than a free will. But this is where we are. 

But friendship, as between our heroes,

can't really be: for we've outgrown

old prejudice; all men are zeros,

the units are ourselves alone.

Eugene Onegin

 

Chesterton, what I saw in America, the project Gutenberg e-book.

 

Nicolas Bonnal

dimanche, 24 mars 2013

Rivoluzionario e inimitabile, ecco chi era mio nonno: Gabriele D'Annunzio

 

dannunzio-divisa.jpg

"Rivoluzionario e inimitabile, ecco chi era mio nonno: Gabriele D'Annunzio"

Federico D'Annunzio, imprenditore col physique dell'intellettuale, racconta vita e opere dell'avo, nato esattamente 150 anni fa: "Il fascismo? Lui lo vedeva come un fumetto. La sua scrittura? Potenza assoluta. Fu un genio: oggi avrebbe milioni di followers"


Ex: http://www.ilgiornale.it/
 

Federico d'Annunzio, physique dell'intellettuale e ambizioni dell'imprenditore, romano di nascita e milanese di rinascita, è nipote legittimo del poeta-soldato Gabriele D'Annunzio.
Figlio di Gabriele jr. (1942-96, sposato a Patrizia dei conti dell'Acqua), a sua volta figlio di Ugo Veniero (1887-1945, marito di Luigia Bertelli), terzogenito del Vate, Federico d'Annunzio, 48 anni, tre matrimoni, tre figlie e un'azienda, è, oltre che uomo d'affari, uomo di Lettere.

Che ben conosce vita e opere del celebre bisnonno: il Comandante, che nasceva proprio 150 anni fa, oggi.

Federico d'Annunzio, tanto di parla, ancora oggi, di fascismo, di Regime e di rapporti tra intellettuali e Potere. Ma quali furono le relazioni di Gabriele con il fascismo?
«In Gabriele è forte lo slancio patriottico, che appare già nei suoi scritti "abruzzesi" di inizio Novecento. Dopo la verità positiva, naturale, raccontata dai "fotografi" letterari dell'epoca, d'Annunzio intesse la trama necessaria per vestire la nobiltà d'Italia. In seguito gli scritti e i discorsi interventisti, e la conquista di Fiume, confermano questo percorso. Ed è "sopra" d'Annunzio che il Fascismo costruisce le proprie fondamenta. Egli tuttavia non partecipa, ma è costretto a seguire il sogno creato dalla sua stessa poesia. Come avviene spesso per la figura femminile amata e poi respinta con pari violenza, così d'Annunzio assiste al cambiamento dell'ideale in realtà: la volontà superiore trasformata in silenzio, le parole vane, così come le costruzioni e le conquiste fasciste. Il fascismo agli occhi di d'Annunzio è un fumetto, una sacca vuota che non lascia nulla di sé».

Perché un ragazzo dovrebbe leggere d'Annunzio, oggi?
«Per l'uso sconvolgente e sperimentale che d'Annunzio fa della parola. In ogni suo scritto, in ogni poesia, nel mezzo di una descrizione o di un passaggio apparentemente piano, appare, sempre, in modo improvviso e ineluttabile, un capolavoro totale: sequenze di immagini luminose, contrastate, definite, di ombre, di sensazioni, di scintille irraggiungibili descritte con assoluta esattezza, rese vive, strappate da momenti così intimi, da non sembrare neppure intuibili, neppure visibili. E ecco invece tutto davanti agli occhi...».

Esempi?
«L'incipit di Forse che sì, forse che no. Quanta enorme distanza dalle Novelle della Pescara. Siamo in pieno Futurismo, azione, energia, morte, ricerca pura della velocità che sposi il linguaggio, per menti che non temono la fatica, la costruzione che si miscela come un arcano, semplicissimo e terribilmente potente, e in cima alla salita, il segreto, custodito in tutti gli scritti successivi: il d'Annunzio notturno. Che cresce negli anni seguenti sino al "Libro dei libri" di Gabriele, quel Diario Segreto che è il fuoco della letteratura e dello scrivere inimitabile».

Non le pare di esagerare?
«Dopo d'Annunzio è quasi impossibile scrivere, ed è quasi impossibile leggere. Al confronto molta letteratura sembra vaga, diluita, amatoriale. Non vi è ricerca felice e dolorosa della purezza, della tecnica, della linea che demarca la verità dell'immagine dal compiacimento solitario e inutile. In d'Annunzio tutto è dono, la scrittura è un dono: che le luci del Poeta, le favolose faville, possano passare, per qualche imperscrutabile magia, nel cuore e negli occhi del lettore, perché il candore senza protesta, la forza idiota, e ogni accostamento sino ad allora impossibile, possano vivere nella luce vera della parola, che trasporta un dono inarrestabile e involontario. Per Gabriele tutto è poetico e involontario, la scrittura non è un gesto d'amore, è dono perché consapevole, ma la volontà in tutto ciò è inutile. La fatica, la lotta, è con se stessi, cercare la perfezione ad ogni costo, per rendere il momento assoluto, dandogli vita eterna».

Non capisco.
«Prima di Joyce, d'Annunzio crea metaforme, plasmi, melodie di pensieri ravvicinati e soprapposti, fino ad allora solo intuiti. Essi tra essi trovano nuovi splendori, crescono in bellezza e ricchezza e appaiono più onesti e più grandi. Si assiste alla espansione del pensiero alla potenza dei suoi moduli sovrapposti, le nuove concatenazioni sono piante e fiori d'altri mondi, eppure comprensibili, solo difficili da raggiungere. Ci vuole forza per raggiungere questi confini, ma il premio è una consapevolezza di sé (senza confini). Sembra una verità parallela, eppure è così: tanta la sperimentazione, l'intuizione favolosa, tanto grande il respiro del pensiero dentro di sé. Nasce un orgoglio e una intimità con se stessi che si credeva avere perduto, se non mai posseduto. La gioia si nasconde dietro una frase, e dopo questa si vorrebbe chiudere il libro ed aspettare che questa carezza si esaurisca.

Ma la lettura di d'Annunzio è sempre così entusiasmante?
«Tutto il contrario. Alcuni momenti sono insopportabili, uno spregio per lo spettatore trattato a orpello, a scafo imbrattato di catrame, utile solo a trasportare la propria gloria, ma vergognoso di bellezza e di sentimento. Nasce l'odio per tanta arroganza, tanta presunzione tremendamente onesta e supportata da una superiorità inavvicinabile, nella facondia, nella sensualità, nella esattezza della vista e delle rime. Odio, soltanto odio, e un desiderio di schianto, immediato, senza speranza né pietà, che si fotta l'Inclito! Leggere d'Annunzio è anche questo».

Quale percorso consiglia per conoscere d'Annunzio?
«Comincerei leggendo il Giovanni Episcopo, che esprime un d'Annunzio maturo, dopo il Piacere e un periodo di sospensione creativa. Il racconto, e la dedica a Matilde Serao, disvelano tutto d'Annunzio, e la poetica successiva: la volontà di "invenzione", la tecnica della parola, l'analisi cruda di se stesso attraverso il racconto, con un linguaggio insolitamente composto e misurato. Godibile, leggibile, l'Episcopo è un buon inizio per conoscere Gabriele».

Non si parte dal Piacere?
«No, il Piacere va giustificato, quasi perdonato, attraverso la lettura degli scritti successivi. È un libro che mostra la umana debolezza del giovane Gabriele alla ricerca del successo. Il libro si avviluppa intorno a un estetismo ancora formale e immaturo, stupefacente, che ritrova invece una forma lirica e autentica nel Fuoco. Il Piacere mostra una parte marginale, debole, della sensibilità poetica di d'Annunzio, che è invece soprattutto interessato all'Uomo, alla sua complessità e al suo dialogo interiore».

Poi?
«La prosa e la poesia di d'Annunzio sono l'opera di un infaticabile ed appassionato sperimentatore, sorretto da una vena poetica inesauribile. Il celebre vivere inimitabile fu l'immagine utile, lo strumento di Gabriele verso la scrittura, l'unico suo vero destino. Leggere d'Annunzio è una esperienza che concede piaceri e drammatiche esaltazioni (e fatiche), ed andrebbe alternata con letture di altri autori, per godere appieno per contrasto della scrittura inimitabile. Per continuare la lettura suggerisco il Trionfo della morte, che raccoglie tracce di tutta la scrittura precedente e successiva. Vi è l'Abruzzo crudele e giusto, la famiglia, la Femmina assoluta (infine, la Nemica), e la Morte, un argomento quasi sconosciuto ma dominante per comprendere la poesia di Gabriele».

Altri libri...
«L'Innocente, illuminato dal contrasto tra il titolo e il testo. Figlio non figlio, padre non padre, protagonista è la colpa e la hybris, ridiretta e esposta, un viaggio al fondo del dolore, nelle profondità del Male. Una confessione che lascia stupiti, per giorni, o per sempre. Siamo noi così? Un libro indimenticabile, un ferro rovente nel cuore. E poi il Fuoco, capolavoro sull'onestà inevitabile della lirica e della poesia, l'Alcyone, il manifesto dello scrivere inimitabile, ed il teatro, con La figlia di Iorio e Il ferro. Ma proprio Il ferro, il nuovo teatro sperimentale, annuncia il periodo più raffinato e dolce della scrittura di d'Annunzio. Fioriscono il Notturno ed il Libro Segreto, diari intimi che concedono ai lettori "a fior di pelle" emozioni non raccontabili, che stanno solo nello spazio tra il Poeta e il Sé. E nel Libro Segreto un d'Annunzio terribile, che falcia la propria scrittura, e inventa, appena prima di morire, una nuova letteratura. Quest'ultimo, senza dubbio, il mio preferito.

Chi sarebbe oggi d'Annunzio?
«Uno scrittore, ancor più inimitabile. Avrebbe milioni di follower, scriverebbe in lingue diverse, cambierebbe le identità dei social networks, costringendoli a una nuova radicale modalità broadcast. Ed il mondo non potrebbe stancarsi di lui: saprebbe inventare, stupire e cogliere ancora di ciascuno la natura profonda».

samedi, 23 mars 2013

Quel Vate per tutti e per nessuno

Quel Vate per tutti e per nessuno

Creò la liturgia fascista senza essere fascista e disegnò una nuova estetica politica. Ma in fondo fu fedele solo a se stesso

dannunz.jpgGabriele D'Annunzio fu il più grandioso nocchiero che traghettò l'Italia dall'Ottocento al Novecento, dalla piccola borghesia di provincia alla nazionalizzazione delle masse, dalla Belle Époque alla guerra, dalla galanteria all'eros, dalla morale all'estetica, dal cavallo al velivolo e al sommergibile, dal culto romantico del genio e dell'eroe al culto moderno del superuomo, ardito trascinatore delle folle.

Restano in lui vivi i tratti del secolo in cui nacque, quel 12 marzo di 150 anni fa, e restano le tracce di quell'Italia provinciale che sognava il passaggio dalla piccola borghesia alla nobiltà imperiale di Roma o di Parigi, dal decoro alla gloria. D'Annunzio trasfigura quelle origini borghesi e ottocentesche nella modernità impetuosa e guerriera.
«In Italia ci sono soltanto tre uomini che possono fare la rivoluzione: Mussolini, D'Annunzio e Marinetti», disse il massimo intenditore di rivoluzioni, Vladimir Illich Ulianov, detto Lenin. Era finita da poco la prima guerra mondiale e il leader del comunismo mondiale aveva ricevuto a Mosca una delegazione socialista italiana. Ma nessuno dei tre indicati da Lenin era socialista e tutti e tre potevano definirsi, in varia misura, figli di Nietzsche più che di Marx. Ma gli altri due erano poeti e artisti... Questo spiega perché fu Mussolini a fare quella (mezza) rivoluzione. D'Annunzio fu il più famoso anticipatore del fascismo, il suo «san Giovanni Battista». Ma ne fu anche il più grande dissidente. Non si comprende il fascismo, l'estetizzazione della politica, il rituale fascista, il saluto romano, il culto della bella morte e la retorica militare e cameratesca, senza D'Annunzio. Non si può capire la sintesi tra radicalismo di destra e radicalismo di sinistra, tra sindacalismo rivoluzionario e nazionalismo eroico, senza passare per l'opera, i discorsi e la vita di D'Annunzio (che fu parlamentare di destra, poi passò a sinistra - vado verso la vita - e non fu rieletto).
La fusione tra paganesimo e cristianesimo della liturgia fascista è di stampo dannunziano; l'eja eja alalà, il discorso dal balcone, il superuomo affacciato sulle folle, gli arditi, il mito del duce (che D'Annunzio rilanciò nel 1912 in un saggio su Cola di Rienzo). D'Annunzio crea l'habitat in cui prende corpo la mitologia fascista e da cui attinge la sua maggiore fascinazione rispetto alla rivoluzione socialista. Il mito della guerra attraversa tutta l'epoca e permea le intelligenze più vive del tempo; ma D'Annunzio, tra le varie anime letterarie e militari che alimentano il fascismo, è quello che le incarna di più. Stretto è pure il nesso tra fiumanesimo dannunziano e sansepolcrismo fascista; e tracce di D'Annunzio si ritrovano nell'estremo fascismo di Salò, che risente non solo geograficamente della suggestione estetico-eroico-mortuaria del Vittoriale, ormai disabitato del suo capriccioso signore, morto nel '38. Certo, il fascismo fu anche molto altro, e D'Annunzio fu sicuramente molte altre cose, oltre che precursore del fascismo. Di estetica politica in D'Annunzio parlò Thomas Mann, poi Hofmannsthal che ne rimase incantato; ma sarà Walter Benjamin a cogliere l'estetizzazione della politica poi ereditata dal fascismo. Il suo conterraneo abruzzese Gioacchino Volpe, in un saggio sul D'Annunzio politico e combattente, lo considerò creatore di poesia totale, intesa come «arte eroica al servizio della nazione».

Il rapporto fra D'Annunzio e il fascismo-regime fu controverso, fatto di slanci e prove di amicizia ma anche di netto dissenso, a volte taciuto, a volte filtrato, fino alla tentazione antifascista. Che in alcuni dannunziani prese corpo con l'esperienza breve di Alleanza Nazionale (corsi e ricorsi onomastici). Il rapporto fra D'Annunzio e il regime non fu diverso da quello di un altro esteta e combattente famoso, Ernst Jünger, rispetto al nazismo. Jünger, più di D'Annunzio, non amò gli aspetti volgari e torbidi del nazismo, detestò Hitler e partecipò perfino alla congiura anti-hitleriana; ma la sua fama di precursore e scrittore di guerra, il suo prestigio come eroe di guerra (aveva avuto l'onorificenza militare massima) fermarono Hitler dal proposito di punirlo. O, se vogliamo cambiar tempo, luogo e versante ideologico, lo stesso rapporto di amore e timore tra il Vate e il Duce ci fu tra Castro e Che Guevara, anch'egli come D'Annunzio appellato «il Comandante»: la sua morte prematura fu una salvezza per Castro che diventò amministratore delegato del Mito e si liberò di un ingombrante Compagno scontento. Così accadde con D'Annunzio.

Ma l'ultimo D'Annunzio sostenne il fascismo dopo l'impresa africana e le sanzioni: i copiosi doni alla patria, la retorica della guerra che riaffiorava sulle sue labbra, la missione civilizzatrice italiana in Africa, la polemica con la «perfida Albione», il dono alla Patria della croce militare avuta dalla corona britannica. Nel '37 accettò di presiedere l'Accademia d'Italia. Non fu solo ipocrita il carteggio cameratesco e a tratti pomposamente cordiale con Mussolini. L'ultimo D'Annunzio non condivise l'alleanza con la Germania, non solo perché estraneo al razzismo e al fanatismo hitleriano, ma anche perché vedeva in Parigi la grande sorella latina e nei teutonici i grandi nemici dell'Italia irredenta. E in questo era perfettamente in sintonia con Mussolini, anch'egli di formazione filofrancese e antitedesco fino alle Sanzioni.

D'Annunzio non fu mai fascista e tantomeno antifascista, ma restò sempre dannunziano, egli amava se stesso e la propria opera sopra ogni cosa, non si può irregimentare in nessun regime ma solo farsi adorare, e non si sente intellettuale organico a nessun partito. La sua vera aspirazione fu elevare la vita al rango di opera d'arte. Il suo dissenso dal regime, notò Volpe, nasceva dalla sua riduzione da protagonista a testimone della Nuova Italia. Nutriva il polemico rimpianto che la rivoluzione italiana avrebbe dovuto farla lui. La sua impresa fiumana fu l'antefatto del Sessantotto: vitalismo, trasgressione e immaginazione al potere furono celebrati là, nella prima rivoluzione estetica. Quei ragazzi dai capelli lunghi di mezzo secolo dopo erano gli inconsapevoli nipoti di quelle teste pelate: D'Annunzio, Marinetti, Mussolini (e Lenin). D'Annunzio visse più vite in una sola e più epoche in una vita. Servì nella religione della parola e della vita, della patria e della bellezza, un solo dio: Imago sui, l'immagine di sé.

mercredi, 20 mars 2013

Bulletin célinien n°350

Le Bulletin célinien n°350

mars 2013

Vient de paraître : Le Bulletin célinien, n° 350.

Au sommaire :

Marc Laudelout : Bloc-notes
Christine Sautermeister : Céline mémorialiste
Bernard Morlino : Jean Luchaire, l'enfant perdu des années sombres
Cédric Meletta : Jean Luchaire à Sigmaringen
Jean-Paul et François Senac : Le choix de Sigmaringen
Eugène Saccomano nous écrit

Abonnement : 55 euros à :

Le Bulletin célinien, Bureau St Lambert, B P 77, BE 1200 Bruxelles.
Courriel : celinebc@skynet.be.

> Consulter le sommaire des anciens numéros ici.

lundi, 18 mars 2013

Notizen über ein krankes Land

Notizen über ein krankes Land

von Tobias Witt

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de/

 

abgesang_cover.jpgAbgesang — Notizen über ein krankes Land“ ist eine Sammlung von Texten, in der der bekannte Science Fiction-​Autor Frank W. Haubold ein politisches Bekenntnis ablegt.

Frank W. Haubold zeichnet in dem kleinen Buch ein erschreckendes Bild Deutschlands. Immer wieder wird deutlich, dass wir uns mit großen Schritten auf eine scheinbar nicht abwendbare nationale Katastrophe zu bewegen. Haubolds angenehmer Schreibstil macht das Buch trotz seiner Themenschwere lesbar. Die Gliederung des Buches, die statt Kapiteln Tagebucheintragungen für die einzelnen Kommentare nutzt, hilft, das aufgelistete Sammelsurium politisch korrekter Absurditäten zeitlich einzuordnen.

Seite für Seite den Irrsinn entlarven

Haubold selbst schreibt im Nachwort des Buches: „Dem aufmerksamen Leser wird möglicherweise nicht entgangen sein, dass diese Sammlung kaum noch Beiträge aus dem Jahr 2012 enthält. Das bedeutet jedoch nicht, dass sich die Dinge zum Besseren gewendet hätten, sondern das genaue Gegenteil.“

In einem Eintrag vom Dezember 2009 berichtet Haubold über den Fall einer Abiturientin, die in Dresden von einem Pakistani ermordet wird. Die deutschen Mainstreammedien verschweigen die Herkunft des Täters. Erschreckende Parallelen zum jüngst in Holland ermordeten Schiedsrichter oder dem von Türken totgeprügelten Daniel S. lassen sich nicht vermeiden. So geht es Seite für Seite quer durch den bundesrepublikanischen Irrsinn.

Das Bild, das Haubold von Deutschland zeichnet, erinnert stark an die Lebensrealität der Menschen in der DDR, wo unbequeme Fakten solange geleugnet oder überarbeitet wurden, bis sie zur aktuellen Lage passten. Der Autor legt dabei einen scharfen Ton an den Tag, der aber nie ins Überzogene abgleitet. Das Buch eignet sich auch um Freunden und Bekannten, die sich noch nicht mit einer medialen Gegenöffentlichkeit auseinandergesetzt haben, einen Einstieg zu bieten.

Und immer wieder der Waldgang

Man kann die einzelnen, zum Teil sehr subjektiven Kommentare als Denkanstoß auffassen und sich dann mit dem entsprechenden Thema weiter auseinandersetzen. Wer also einen gut zu lesenden und durch den sehr gelungenen Schreibstil auch kurzweiligen Einstieg in die konservativen Themen der letzten Jahre sucht, der wird hier fündig.

Haubold, der sonst auf einem ganz anderen Gebiet zu Hause ist, offenbart sich dem Leser nun als Waldgänger und reiht sich ein in die wachsende Schar derer, die nicht mehr mitspielen: „Das bedeutet keineswegs die Aufgabe der eigenen Positionen, sondern im Gegenteil deren Bewahrung. Der Waldgänger gibt nichts auf, er gewinnt etwas: Die Freiheit, nicht mehr dazu gehören zu müssen.“

Frank W. Haubold: Abgesang – Notizen über ein krankes Land. 138 Seiten, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2012. 6,55 Euro.

Anmerkung der Redaktion: Neben dieser Rezension hat Tobias Witt ein Interview mit Frank W. Haubold geführt.

Gespräch: Frank W. Haubold
 
von Tobias Witt

haubold6773803-M.jpgParallel zu seiner Rezension hat sich unser Autor Tobias Witt mit Frank W. Haubold über sein Buch Abgesang – Notizen über ein krankes Land unterhalten.

Blaue​Narzisse​.de: In Ihrem Blog haben Sie in einem Eintrag vom 16. Dezember 2011 bereits ein ähnlich pessimistisches Fazit beschrieben, wie am Ende Ihres Buches. Auch haben Sie in den Kommentaren dazu festgehalten, daß dies der letzte Eintrag in Ihrem Blog sein wird, was dann bis zum Erscheinen von Abgesang – Notizen über ein krankes Land auch eingehalten wurde. Was hat sie dazu bewogen, dieses Buch zu veröffentlichen?

Frank W. Haubold: Das hat in erster Linie damit zu tun, daß im Lauf der Jahre einige Texte entstanden sind, die möglicherweise auch über den Tag hinaus ihre Wirkung entfalten könnten. Im Internet sind die Lesegewohnheiten anders als bei „normaler“ Lektüre, die doch etwas mehr in die Tiefe geht. Außerdem bot die Zusammenstellung der Texte in der Reihenfolge ihres Entstehens die Möglichkeit, eine Art „Gesellschafts-​Porträt“ zu zeichnen, das ganz anders wirkt als ein einzelner Blogbeitrag.

Im Nachwort „Der Waldgang“ schreiben Sie sehr treffend, daß sich in den letzten Jahren an den von Ihnen angeprangerten Mißständen in Deutschland leider überhaupt nichts geändert hat. Wo sehen sie dennoch Chancen und Möglichkeiten für freiheitliche Positionen?

Die Chance zu positiver Veränderung besteht immer, selbst in einer Gesellschaft, die nach meinem Eindruck immer mehr totalitäre Züge annimmt. Wie in der „Endphase“ der DDR liegt es jedoch an jedem einzelnen selbst, ob er sich dem Anpassungsdruck beugt und mit den Wölfen (die doch wohl eher Schafe sind) heult oder ob er seine Selbstachtung bewahrt und opponiert. Auf das Verständnis einer Mehrheit kann er dabei nicht unbedingt hoffen, dafür funktionieren die Ausgrenzungsinstrumente der politisch-​medialen Kaste (noch) zu gut.

Es scheint, als ob Sie das Vertrauen in die deutsche Politik völlig verloren hätten. Gibt es Ihrer Meinung nach Strömungen, die vielleicht eine Chance hätten, den Mißständen entgegenzutreten?

Das hängt in erster Linie davon ab, ob es gelingt, die zahlreichen Strömungen des konservativen und freiheitlichen Lagers zusammenzuführen, die heute fast im Dutzend völlig unkoordiniert agieren und deshalb politisch bedeutungslos sind. Ansätze wie die „Wahlalternative 2013“ gibt es durchaus, aber die Hürden bis zum Entstehen einer funktionsfähigen Partei sind hoch, zumal der mediale Gegenwind erheblich ist, der vom Totschweigen bis zur persönlichen Diffamierung reicht.

In Ihrem Blog und auch im erwähnten Buch beschreiben Sie eine nicht abwendbare Katastrophe, auf die wir zusteuern. Wo sehen sie Deutschland in 10 Jahren?

Zehn Jahre sind möglicherweise ein zu enger Zeitrahmen, um grundlegende gesellschaftliche Veränderungen zu prognostizieren. Die demographische Katastrophe, die Herr Sarrazin fundiert beschrieben hat, dürfte zu diesem Zeitpunkt allerdings schon so weit fortgeschritten sein, daß die Folgen offenbar werden. SPD und „Grüne“ setzen ja bereits heute auf Mehrheiten jenseits der autochthonen Bevölkerung. Wollte man hier ernsthaft gegensteuern, müßte das heute geschehen, wofür gegenwärtig so gut wie nichts spricht. Wann es konkret zum vorprogrammierten Zusammenbruch des Sozialstaates und den damit verbundenen Verwerfungen kommt, hängt auch von den ökonomischen Rahmenbedingungen ab; das war in der „Endzeit“ der DDR nicht anders.

 

 

dimanche, 17 mars 2013

Youth Without Youth

youth-without-youth_poster.jpg

Youth Without Youth

By Trevor Lynch

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Youth Without Youth [2] (2007) is Francis Ford Coppola’s stunning film adaptation of a novella of the same name [3] by Mircea Eliade [4] (1907–1986), the Romanian scholar of comparative religion and Iron Guard sympathizer. I highly recommend this beautiful, mysterious, endlessly captivating movie. In style, it is classic; in substance, it is eternal.

Filmed on location in Romania, Switzerland, India, and Malta, Youth Without Youth looks, feels, and sounds like a European movie from the 1950s. The color is sumptuous and the cinematography astonishingly detailed, almost tactile. The pacing and editing are generally languid and sinuous, although they are often intercut with annoying, herky-jerky interludes, to farcical effect. The special effects date from the silent age and are entirely effective. The score [5] by Osvaldo Golijov (who describes himself as an East European Jew born in Argentina) is in the lush, late Romantic idiom, although it avails itself of Oriental and “modernist” styles when the film requires it.

Since this movie is long gone from the theaters, I have no compunction about summarizing the whole story. Youth Without Youth strikes me as a retelling of the Faust myth, particularly Goethe’s Faust. As in Faust, the main character is a scholar who late in life despairs that his life’s work is a failure but who is given miraculous gifts, including restored youth, by which he might continue his quest for knowledge.

Youth Without Youth begins in Piatra Neamț, Romania in 1938. Dominic Matei (played by Tim Roth), a former teacher in a provincial college or lycée, has just turned 70. He is experiencing the onset of senility and despairs of finishing his life’s work, an investigation into the origins of language and consciousness that has stalled before the dark abysses of prehistory. He decides to kill himself and chooses a particularly horrible death: strychnine.

He travels to Bucharest on Easter weekend to take the poison far from home, where nobody will know him. But as he approaches his final destination, he is caught in a sudden downpour and struck by lightning, which incinerates his clothes and burns every inch of his body.

Astonishingly, he is not killed. He is taken to a hospital, where he is bandaged from head to toe and watched over by doctors who fully expect him to die. But to everyone’s surprise, he slowly recovers, and when the bandages are removed, they find a man in his 30s. Dominic Matei has been miraculously regenerated. He also discovers that his memory and other mental faculties have not just been regenerated but enormously enhanced, eventually developing into powers of telepathy and telekinesis. He can learn other languages telepathically and “read” books simply by holding them for a few seconds and concentrating on them.

Furthermore, he encounters a “double”: an entity that looks exactly like him but who is wiser and more powerful and who can thus offer him guidance and protection. (The double first appears in mirrors and dreams before being seen in the real world. We learn that he is not an illusion when another character sees him as well.) The double functions as a guardian angel, a daimon, a spiritual guide. Perhaps he can do this because he is Dominic, but a Dominic whose powers are fully actualized. As an interlocutor, however, the double has a Mephistophelean quality, for he clearly rejects Dominic’s Western ethical humanism in favor of a Hindu-like non-dualism and transhumanism, and the double urges Dominic to do and accept things he finds abhorrent.

As with Faust, Dominic’s new form of existence can, apparently, be prolonged indefinitely under the right conditions. But as with Faust, it can also end. When Faust feels satisfaction, he dies, and his soul if forfeit. Dominic’s double tells him he is free to accept or reject his gift and free to use it for good or for evil.

Word of Dominic’s astonishing transformation spreads around the world. He is placed under constant surveillance by the Romanian Secret Police, who are in a heightened state of alert because they are doing battle with the Iron Guard. (Corneliu Codreanu had been arrested in April, 1938 and was murdered that November.) They even suspect that Dominic may be an Iron Guard leader hiding in the hospital under a false identity. (There is, of course, something autobiographical about the character of Dominic Matei, for Eliade too was a scholar of language and myth who was suspected, rightly, of Iron Guard connections. Eliade also wrote the novella in old age, when time is short and the mind is given to nostalgia and fantasies of regeneration.)

The Gestapo also take an interest in Dominic because he seems to confirm the theories of a German scientist, Dr. Joseph Rudolf, who hypothesizes that high voltage electrocution might spark the evolution of a higher form of humanity. Matei’s doctor and host, Professor Stanciulescu (Bruno Ganz), realizes Dominic’s powers when he sees two roses from his garden materialize in Dominic’s room with the help of the double. Thus the Professor refuses to allow the Germans to take Matei, citing medical grounds. They threaten to return with a German doctor who will do their bidding. Thus Stanciulescu arranges false papers so that Matei can leave Romania for Switzerland.

Coppola’s treatment of the Germans is one of the few places the movie rings false and silly. He seems to think that Romania was under German occupation in 1938 or ’39, which never happened. The Germans, of course, are portrayed as fanatics and martinets, and their leader even gives the Hitler salute to Professor Stanciulescu. I have not read the novella, but it is impossible to believe that such farcical inaccuracies are found in the original.

Dominic Matei spends the Second World War in neutral Switzerland, where he leads a life that is part Mircea Eliade, part James Bond. He continues his research into the origins of language and consciousness. He also develops new powers, including abilities to create false identities and beat the house in casinos, which is how he supports himself.

One night, Dominic is confronted in an alleyway by the Nazi scientist Dr. Rudolf. Rudolf explains to Dominic that he must return with him to Germany, because only with his help can Rudolf construct a bridge from man to superman, which is the only way that mankind can survive the coming nuclear apocalypse. Rudolf wishes to preserve the high culture of the West: music, art, philosophy, and science. He claims that Dominic was sent by some sort of providence to help save mankind. He promises to admit him to the godlike presence of Adolf Hitler. But Dominic refuses to cooperate with the Nazis. Rudolf pulls a gun and tries to abduct Dominic. When a female Romanian agent of the Gestapo tries to defend Dominic, Rudolf shoots her. The double, who evidently wants Dominic to go with Rudolf, tells him that he has no choice in the matter. But Dominic does have a choice: he telekinetically forces Rudolf to shoot himself, then he escapes.

 

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Dominic is also convinced that the Second World War will not be the last. He anticipates that mankind will be almost annihilated by nuclear warfare, and he fears that “post-historical man” will succumb to despair. Thus be begins to tape a record of his transformation, depositing the tapes in a bank vault. He hopes that they will somehow survive the end of history and be deciphered by men in the future, giving them hope that humanity might evolve. Of course he has no assurance that the tapes will survive, but believes it anyway, because without this belief, his life would have no meaning.

The second half of the movie begins in 1955, when Dominic encounters a young German woman on vacation in Switzerland (Alexandra Maria Lara). Her name is Veronica, but she is the very image of Laura, Dominic’s former fiancée, who a lifetime ago had broken off their engagement because he was too involved in his work. She then married another man and died in childbirth a year later. The double confirms that Veronica is the reincarnation of Laura. (She is roughly analogous to Gretchen in Goethe’s Faust.)

Veronica’s car is struck by lightning, and her companion is killed. When Dominic finds Veronica, she is speaking in an ancient Indian dialect and claims that her name is Rupini, a woman of the Kshatriya caste, a descendant of one of the first families to convert to Buddhism, who had left the world behind to meditate in a cave.

Veronica/Rupini becomes an international sensation, because she seemingly provides proof of reincarnation. (Veronica herself later suggests spirit possession as an alternative hypothesis.) Veronica/Rupini demonstrates knowledge that Veronica did not and could not have learned during her lifetime. Dominic becomes her caretaker. He summons leading orientalists to study her case, and eventually she is flown to India, where she finds Rupini’s cave, complete with her mortal remains. Then Rupini’s peronality disappears and Veronica’s re-emerges. She and Dominic fall in love. Veronica tires quickly of being a world celebrity, so she and Dominic flee India to a private villa on Malta.

On Malta, Dominic discovers he has to power to induce trances in which Veronica regresses to past lives, speaking Ancient Egyptian, then Akkadian and Sumerian, then unknown protolanguages which Dominic eagerly records and transcribes. He recognizes that Veronica might be the vehicle he needs to pierce the veil of prehistory and reach the origins of language and consciousness. The double confirms this.

But with each trance, Veronica becomes increasingly drained and begins to age rapidly. Dominic realizes that if he continues to induce regressions, she will wither and die, so he has to choose between Veronica and the completion of his life’s work. He tells Veronica that they must part. If they stay together, she will die. If they part, her youth and beauty will be restored.

In 1969, when he is 101 years old, Dominic sees Veronica and her two children get down from a train. Heartbroken, he surreptitiously photographs her. He returns to his home town in Romania. In the mirror of his hotel room, he has a conversation with his double. The double reveals that he is indeed the harbinger of a new race, which will arise from the electromagnetic pulse released by an approaching nuclear holocaust. Most of mankind will perish in the process, but a superhumanity will emerge. Disgusted at the sacrifice of man to create the superman, Dominic smashes the mirror, rejecting his gift. The double, gibbering some unknown language, disappears.

Dominic then goes to his old haunt, the Café Select, where he hallucinates an encounter with friends from the 1930s. During the conversation, he rapidly ages, then stumbles out into the night. The next morning, he is found frozen to death in the snow.

But the end is ambiguous, for at the very end of the film, we hear Veronica’s voice ask Dominic, “Where do you want me to put the third rose?” which then appears in his hand. So is Dominic Matei really dead? He has been all but dead before, remember. So is this just another start? Will he keep coming back until he learns his lesson and his mission is fulfilled? Or is he really dead, but under the protection of Veronica, like Faust whose soul is saved in the end by the intercession of the Eternal Feminine?

Youth Without Youth is a movie about transcending the human condition: backwards, toward the pre-human origins of language and consciousness, and forwards, toward the advent of the superhuman. Dominic Matei is given the power to do both.

He could have arrived at the origin of human language and consciousness through Veronica’s trances, but he was unwilling to sacrifice her to his quest for knowledge.

He is already superhuman, but he could choose to help prepare the way for superhumanity. He had a chance to assist Dr. Rudolf, but he rejected it because he thought that Hitler was the devil himself. In the end, he rejected his own superhumanity simply because he was repelled by the idea that superhumanity would emerge from the destruction of humanity.

In both cases, the path to transcendence of the human realm was blocked by Dominic’s humanistic ethics, the idea that every human being has a dignity or worth that forbids its sacrifice for higher values. Thus Youth Without Youth explores the same fundamental conflict that animates Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy [6]: the ethic of egalitarian humanism versus the ethic of superhumanism, of the individuals who raise themselves above humanity either through a Nietzschean rejection of slave morality and a Heideggerian encounter with mortality and contingency (the Joker) or through the initiatory knowledge of the League of Shadows. (As I argue in my review [7] of The Dark Knight Rises, the two forms of superhumanism are compatible, but Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Joker only grasp a small part of a much greater truth.)

Youth Without Youth is, in short, a deeply serious film: a feast for the intellect as well as the senses. A commercial and critical flop when it was released in 2007, Youth Without Youth is in truth one of Francis Ford Coppola’s finest films.

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/03/youth-without-youth/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/youth-without-youth.jpg

[2] Youth Without Youth: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014I4TR2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0014I4TR2&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[3] novella of the same name: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226204154/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0226204154&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[4] Mircea Eliade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliade

[5] score: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WVPXD6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000WVPXD6&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[6] The Dark Knight Trilogy: http://www.counter-currents.com/tag/lynch-dark-knight/

[7] review: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/07/the-dark-knight-rises/

Le sentiment de culpabilité et son usage collectif

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Le sentiment de culpabilité et son usage collectif

par Martin Mosebach

Ex: http://www.catholica.presse.fr/

Le thème de la culpabilité revêt une dimension particulière en Allemagne, du fait de l’histoire de ce pays et de l’exploitation qui en a été faite pendant de nombreuses années, rendant pour longtemps difficile la mise en place d’un discours dépassionné. On se souvient sans doute de la « querelle des historiens » lancée en 1986 par Ernst Nolte autour de l’interprétation comparatiste des totalitarismes nazi et communiste, ou encore de la polémique autour de l’écrivain allemand Martin Walser qui s’était élevé, à l’occasion de la remise d’un important prix littéraire, contre l’instrumentalisation de la culpabilité allemande et son rappel permanent dans les médias.
Ecrivain renommé, auteur de nombreux romans et nouvelles, honoré à plusieurs reprises de prix littéraires d’envergure, Martin Mosebach est un observateur avisé de la société allemande et des tendances idéologiques qui la parcourent. Il est également un analyste de l’influence exercée par ces tendances sur le monde catholique1 [1] . C’est à ce double titre que nous lui avons posé quelques questions sur le sentiment de culpabilité qui affecte la culture occidentale et sur la manière dont il frappe le catholicisme.

Catholica – La culpabilité est très présente dans l’idéologie qui est actuellement dominante en Europe occidentale et qui trouve de nombreux échos dans le reste du monde. Nous sommes en présence d’une sorte de lamentation contrôlée qui a généralement pour objet tout ce qui relève de la culture traditionnelle, chrétienne en particulier, voire plus précisément catholique. Jusqu’à quel point cela se vérifie-t-il en Allemagne dans ce que Habermas appelle l’« espace public » ?


Martin Mosebach – Le sentiment de culpabilité est un concept issu de la psychanalyse, qui signifie la souffrance névrosée due à une faute qui n’existe pas. Si l’on s’en tient à la vérité, il nous faut constater que la  « faute » de la chrétienté dont on entend si souvent parler n’a rien à voir avec cette question de l’imagination névrosée. Il est tout à fait certain que la transformation complète et soudaine du monde occidental par la révolution industrielle – avec l’immense destruction de civilisation qui l’a accompagnée – est en quelque sorte l’un des « fruits » du christianisme.
C’est le christianisme qui a « désenchanté » le monde, qui a chassé les nymphes et les druides des forêts et qui a livré la terre à l’emprise de l’homme. Les grands mouvements politiques qui ont ravagé le monde depuis la Révolution française peuvent tous être analysés comme des hérésies chrétiennes. Liberté, égalité et fraternité sont une version sécularisée de la Trinité, le communisme est un millénarisme hérétique, le libéralisme, avec sa main invisible du marché est une théologie sécularisée du Saint-Esprit, le calvinisme est le père du capitalisme, le national-socialisme a conçu l’image hérétique d’un peuple choisi. La force explosive du christianisme s’exprime aussi dans la violence destructrice extrêmement dangereuse de ses hérésies – cette analyse permet d’avoir un jugement beaucoup plus nuancé sur l’Inquisition des siècles passés.
Mais cette fatalité de la religion chrétienne, qui n’exprime pas autre chose que l’inquiétude constante dans laquelle la doctrine chrétienne place l’homme, n’est pas ce que les critiques modernes de l’Eglise ont à l’esprit lorsqu’ils voient en elle la source de tous les maux.
Nous nous trouvons – comme toujours – dans une situation contradictoire. D’un côté, les psychanalystes à l’ancienne mode et les neurobiologistes dénient à l’homme toute possibilité d’une culpabilité effective. De l’autre, on veut attribuer tous les torts à l’Eglise. Le péché originel n’existe pas mais l’Eglise est accusée d’avoir commis un péché originel, celui de l’avoir « inventé ». Je vois dans cette tendance la répugnance de principe qu’a le démocrate moderne à l’idée de devoir accepter une institution qui ne doit pas son existence à une décision prise suivant le principe majoritaire démocratique moderne, qui ne reçoit pas ses critères de légitimité du temps présent et qui ne considère pas la volonté majoritaire comme la source ultime du droit. Pour l’idéologie radicale-démocratique, une institution dont la tradition n’est aucunement soumise au consentement d’une majorité est fondamentalement inacceptable. Elle est le mal par excellence, une sorte d’ennemi mortel à caractère religieux. [...]

  1. . Martin Mosebach est notamment l’auteur d’un livre traduit en français, La liturgie et son ennemie. L’hérésie de l’informe, Hora decima, 2005 ; voir également le texte de son intervention au colloque organisé par le cardinal Ranjith à Colombo (Sri Lanka) en septembre 2010, « Le missel traditionnel, perdu et retrouvé », in Revue Una Voce, n. 277, mars-avril 2011. [ [2]]

Article printed from Revue Catholica: http://www.catholica.presse.fr

URL to article: http://www.catholica.presse.fr/2012/05/06/le-sentiment-de-culpabilite-et-son-usage-collectif/

URLs in this post:

[1] 1: http://www.catholica.presse.fr/2012/05/06/le-sentiment-de-culpabilite-et-son-usage-collectif/#footnote_0_3311

[2] ↩: http://www.catholica.presse.fr/2012/05/06/le-sentiment-de-culpabilite-et-son-usage-collectif/#identifier_0_3311

samedi, 09 mars 2013

Bulgakow lesen!

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Bulgakow lesen!

von Benjamin Jahn Zschocke

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de/

Vor neunzig Jahren – 1923 also – begann der russische Schriftsteller Michail Bulgakow (18911940) mit der Niederschrift seines ersten Romans „Die weiße Garde“, der ihn berühmt machte.

Kiew im Winter 1918. Im Hause der Geschwister Alexej, Jelena und Nikolka Turbin versammeln sich übriggebliebene Anhänger der alten russischen Monarchie, die letzten Aufrechten, die weiße Garde. Wie in der gesamten Stadt logieren Militärs in der geräumigen Bürgerwohnung am Alexejewski-​Hang Nr. 13, aber auch Intellektuelle und Künstler. Kiew, im Roman durchweg erhaben die STADT genannt, spiegelt im großen wieder, was im Haus der Turbins im kleinen vonstatten geht: Moskau, das pulsierende Herz Rußlands liegt nach der Oktoberrevolution darnieder. Was Beine hat und Geld zum Reisen, flüchtet vor dem Chaos des roten Terrors und findet sich in der ukrainischen Hauptstadt ein, die zwischen Ende 1918 und Anfang 1919 selbst zum Schauplatz mehrerer Umstürze wird. Hinter den Fenstern der STADT bewegt sich eine unüberschaubar illustre Masse, drückt ihre weitgefächerten, grellbunten Blüten von innen gegen die Scheiben, verloren – trotzig – zornig – nicht selten todessehnsüchtig.

Der Einbruch der Geschichte

Das Geschehen in Kiew wiederrum steht stellvertretend für das sprichwörtliche Höllenchaos im russischen Riesenreich mit Beginn der Revolution. Alte Ordnungen brechen auseinander, zerbersten, werden zerschlagen. Bulgakow nennt diesen Zustand den „Einbruch der Geschichte“: Im hinterlassenen Trümmerfeld streiten darauf verschiedene revolutionäre Ideen um ihre weltgeschichtliche Geltung – monatelang, jahrelang, während das Volk in Hunger und Elend dahinvegetiert oder als Kanonenfutter verheizt wird. In Kiew ringen die Kräfte der alten Ordnung mit ukrainischen Nationalisten und den roten Horden der Oktoberrevolution. Im Roman heißt es: „Wer auf wen schoß, wußte niemand.“Die Weiße Garde

Nacht um Nacht fällt bedrohlich blutiger Schnee auf die STADT, auch die Brüder Turbin sind Teil des Geschehens. Alexej – der ältere – ist als Arzt in die Kämpfe eingebunden, Nikolka als junger Unteroffizier. Beide sind Anhänger der alten Ordnung: „Ich bin leider nicht Sozialist, sondern … Monarchist“, faßt Alexej seinen politischen Standpunkt zusammen. Darin spiegelt sich die Auffassung Bulgakows wider, der die Geschehnisse in der Heimat seinerzeit wie folgt kommentierte: „Vor uns liegt die schwere Aufgabe, unser eigenes Land zu erobern, ihnen [also den Roten, Anm. BJZ] wegzunehmen.“

Die Komposition des Romans mit seinen belebten Massenszenen einerseits und den Szenen großer statischer Innerlichkeit andererseits erinnert nicht zufällig an die von Tolstois Roman Krieg und Frieden. Michail Bulgakow, der sich selbst als „konservativ bis auf die Knochen“ verstand (nachzulesen in: Tatjana Lappa: Zeugnisse vom äußeren Leben. Bulgakows erste Frau im Gespräch mit Leonid Parschin. Berlin 1991) nannte als seine ästhetischen Vorbilder das Dreigestirn Tolstoi – Puschkin – Dostojewski. Bis zu seinem frühen Tode 1940 beschäftigte er sich intensiv mit ihnen, schrieb Bühnenfassungen und Analogien – auch sein erzählerisches Werk ist voll von Anspielungen und Parallelen.

Gefangen im sowjetischen Höllenschlund

Nun ist jedoch bekannt, wie die Sache mit der Oktoberrevolution ausging und welche revolutionäre Kraft in Rußland für die nächsten Jahrzehnte die Oberhand gewann. Die Bühnenfassung der weißen Garde, das Stück „Die Tage der Turbins“ wurde noch 1926 am Moskauer Künstler-​Theater uraufgeführt. Doch die Verhältnisse für einen Konservativen, der sich auf das zu Sowjetzeiten wenig gelittene Dreigestirn alter russischer Größe berief, wurden zunehmend ungemütlicher.

Obwohl „Die Tage der Turbins“ ein großer Erfolg wurde, driftete der aufrechte Bulgakow, der nach dem Ende des Zarenreiches keineswegs von seinen Überzeugungen abrückte, Tag für Tag mehr ins gesellschaftliche Abseits. Elsbeth Wolffheim schreibt: „Der Versuchung, die Verantwortlichen durch Konzessionen gnädig zu stimmen, hat er jedesmal hartnäckig widerstanden. Darin vor allem besteht seine Größe.“ (Elsbeth Wolffheim: Michail Bulgakow. Reinbek 1996). Doch diese Größe nützte herzlich wenig, wenn späterhin jedwede Möglichkeit der Publikation seiner Werke, sei es in gedruckter Form, sei es die Aufführung seiner zahlreichen Bühnenstücke, schlichtweg gen Null tendierte. Bulgakow beschreibt die Starre dieser Zeit mit einem an Kubin erinnernden Bild: „Nichts rührt sich vom Fleck. Die Sowjetische Bürokratie, dieser Höllenschlund, hat alles aufgefressen. Jeder Schritt, jede Bewegung eines Sowjetbürgers ist eine Folter, die Stunden, Tage, mitunter Monate verschlingt.“

Ein Repräsentant der russischen Intelligenz des Ancien Régime

Es verwundert nicht, daß Bulgakows Werk zu großen Teilen erst nach dem Ende der Sowjetunion erscheinen konnte und somit in Deutschland erst Anfang der Neunziger Geltung erlangte. Bulgakow, der das letzte Drittel seines Lebens nach jahrelangen medialen Hetzkampagnen in zunehmender nervlicher Zerrüttung verbrachte, ahnte, daß zu seinen Lebzeiten keine Satisfaktion in Form von schriftstellerischem Ruhm zu erwarten war. Um so erstaunlicher ist es, daß er dennoch seine letzten Lebenskräfte versammelte und buchstäblich bis zum letzten Atemzug an seinem letzten überragenden Roman Der Meister und Margarita arbeitete, einem schillernden Kunstwerk von ebenso monumentaler Größe wie Die weiße Garde.

Boris Gasparov,Professor an der Columbia University,beschreibt Bulgakows literarische Bedeutung so: „In seinem Leben wie in der Literatur verkörpert Bulgakow offenkundig den Repräsentanten der russischen Intelligenz des Ancien Régime, der die Welt, in der er lebte, akzeptierte, ohne sich der geringsten Einflußnahme zu beugen. Diese Position ist ebensowohl charakteristisch für zahlreiche Helden Bulgakows.“ In den letzten zwanzig Jahren ist die Bulgakow-​Forschung weit voran geschritten, sodaß der Luchterhand Literaturverlag nun das Gesamtwerk Bulgakows in einem sehr ansprechenden künstlerischen Gesamtkonzept neu herausgegeben hat. Über Umwege tauchte aus den Tiefen der russischen Archive ein alternativer Schluß des Romans Die weiße Garde auf, der nun – zwanzig Jahre nach der Erstveröffentlichung auf Deutsch – eine Gesamtschau über dieses außergewöhnliche und durch seinen künstlerischen Anspruch bis heute höchst wertvolle Werk erlaubt.

Michail Bulgakow: Die weiße Garde. Mit literaturgeschichtlichen Anmerkungen von Ralf Schröder. 432 Seiten, Sammlung Luchterhand 2011. 10 Euro.

Das gesamte in der Sammlung Luchterhand erschienene Werk findet sich hier.

lundi, 04 mars 2013

Lovecraft as Heideggerian Event

hp-lovecraft.gif

A General Outline of the Whole”
Lovecraft as Heideggerian Event

By James J. O'Meara

weird-realism Graham Harman

Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy [2]
Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2012

A winter storm in NYC is less the Currier and Ives experience of upstate and more like several days of cold slush, more suggestive—and we’ll see that suggestiveness will be a very key term—of Dostoyevsky than Dickens.

On a purely personal level, such weather conditions I privately associate[1] with my time—as in “doing time”—at the small Canadian college (fictionalized by fellow inmate Joyce Carol Oates as “Hilberry College”[2]) where a succession of more or less self-pitying exiles from the mainstream—from Wyndham Lewis and Marshall McLuhan to the aforementioned Oates—suffered the academic purgatory of trying to teach, or even interest, the least-achieving students in Canada in such matters as Neoplatonism and archetypal psychology.[3]

One trudged to ancient, wooden classrooms and consumed endless packs of powerful Canadian cigarettes, washed down with endless cups of rancid vending machine coffee. No Starbucks for us, and no whining about second-hand smoke. We were real he-men back then! There was one student, a co-ed of course, who did complain, and the solution imposed was to exile her—exile within exile!—to a chair in the hallway, like a Spanish nun allowed to listen in from behind a grill.

Speaking of Spain, one of the damned souls making his rounds was a little, goateed Marrano from New York, via Toronto’s Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, no less, who was now attempting to explain Husserl and Heidegger, to “unpack” with his tiny hands what he once called, with an incredulous shake of the head, “that incredible language of his,” to his sullen and ungrateful students.[4]

I thought of this academic Homunculus, who played Naphta to another’s Schleppfuss[5] in my intellectual upbringing, when this book made its appearance in my e-mail box one recent, snowing—or slushy—weekend. For Harman wants to explain Husserl and Heidegger as well, or rather, his own take on them, which I gather he and a bunch of colleagues have expanded into their own field of Object Oriented Ontology (OOO) or Speculative Realism. And to do so, he has appropriated the work of H. P. Lovecraft, suggesting that Lovecraft play the same role of philosophical exemplar in his philosophy, as Hölderlin does in Heidegger’s [3].

“That incredible language of his” indeed!

Part One tries to explain this Object Oriented business, but only after he tries to justify or excuse dealing with someone still often regarded as a glorified pulp hack on the same level with the great Hölderlin. He tries to short-circuit the attacks of highbrow critics, still exemplified by Edmund Wilson’s, by denouncing their rhetorical strategy of paraphrase.

Paraphrase? What’s wrong with that? Perfectly innocent, what? Well, no. Drawing on Slavoj Žižek’s notion of the “stupidity of content”—the equal plausibility of any proverb, say, and its opposite—Harman insists that nothing can be paraphrased into something else—reality is not itself a sentence, and so it is “is too real to be translated without remainder into sentences” (p. 16, my italics). Language can only allude to reality.

What remains left over, resistant to paraphrase, is the background or context that gave the statement its meaning.[6] Paraphrase, far from harmless or obvious, is packed with metaphysical baggage—such as the assumption that reality itself is just like a sentence—that enables the skilled dialectician to reduce anything to nonsensical drivel.

Harman gives many, mostly hilarious, examples of “great” literature reduced to mere “pulp” through getting the Wilson treatment. (Perhaps too many—the book does tend to bog down from time to time as Harman indulges in his real talent for giving a half dozen or so increasing “stupid” paraphrases of passages of “great” literature.)[7]

Genre or “pulp” writing is itself the epitome of taking the background for granted and just fiddling with the content, and deserves Edmund Wilson’s famous condemnation of both its horror and mystery genres. But Lovecraft, contra Wilson, is quite conscious, and bitingly critical, of the background conditions of pulp—both in his famous essays on horror and, unmentioned by Harman, his voluminous correspondence and ghost-writing—and thus ideally equipped to manipulate it for higher, or at least more interesting, purposes.

The pulp writer takes the context for granted (the genre “conventions”) and concentrates on content—sending someone to a new planet, putting a woman in charge of a space ship, etc.[8] If Lovecraft did this, or only this, he would indeed be worthy of Wilson’s periphrastic contempt. But Lovecraft is interested in doing something else: “No other writer is so perplexed by the gap between objects and the power of language to describe them, or between objects and the qualities they possess” (p.3, my italics).

Since philosophy is the science of the background, Lovecraft himself is to this extent himself a philosopher, and useful to Harman as more than just a source of fancy illustrations: “Lovecraft, when viewed as a writer of gaps between objects and their qualities, is of great relevance for my model of object oriented ontology” (p. 4).

Back, then to Harman’s philosophy or his “ontography” as he calls it. I call it Kantianism, but I’m a simple man. The world presents us with objects, both real (Harman is no idealist) and sensuous (objects of thought, say), which bear various properties, both real (weight, for example) and sensuous (color, for example). Thus, we have real and sensuous objects, as well as the real and sensuous qualities that belong to them . . . usually.

All philosophers, Harman suggests, have been concerned with one or another of the gaps that occur when the ordinary relations between these four items fail. Some philosophers promote or delight in some gap or other, while others work to deny or explain it away. Plato introduced a gap between ordinary objects and their more real essences, while Hume delighted in denying such a gap and reducing them to agglomerations of sensual qualities.

Harman, in explicitly Kantian fashion this time, derives four possible failures (Kant would call them antinomies). Gaps can occur between a real object and its sensuous qualities, a real object and its real qualities, a sensuous object and its sensuous qualities, and a sensuous object and its real qualities. Or, for simplicity, RO/SQ, RO/RQ, SQ/SO, and SO/RQ.

Take SQ/SO. This gap, where the object’s sensuous qualities, though listed, Cubist-like, ad nauseam, fail, contra Hume, to suggest any kind of objective unity, even of a phenomenal kind—the object is withdrawn from us, as Heidegger would say. It occurs in a passage such as the description of the Antarctic city of the Elder Race:

The effect was that of a Cyclopean city of no architecture known to man or to human imagination, with vast aggregations of night-black masonry embodying monstrous perversions of geometrical laws. There were truncated cones, sometimes terraced or fluted, surmounted by tall cylindrical shafts here and there bulbously enlarged and often capped with tiers of thinnish scalloped disks; and strange beetling, table-like constructions suggesting piles of multitudinous rectangular slabs or circular plates or five-pointed stars with each one overlapping the one beneath. There were composite cones and pyramids either alone or surmounting cylinders or cubes or flatter truncated cones and pyramids, and occasional needle-like spires in curious clusters of five. All of these febrile structures seemed knit together by tubular bridges crossing from one to the other at various dizzy heights, and the implied scale of the whole was terrifying and oppressive in its sheer gigantism. (At the Mountains of Madness, my italics)

SQ/RO? This Kantian split between an object’s sensuous properties and what its essence is implied to be, occurs in the classic description of the idol of Cthulhu:

If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. (“The Call of Cthulhu,” my italics)

SO/RQ? Harman admits it’s rare in Lovecraft, (and elsewhere, though he finds hints of it in Leibniz) but he finds a few examples where scientific investigation reveals new, unheard of properties in some eldritch or trans-Plutonian object.

In every quarter, however, interest was intense; for the utter alienage of the thing was a tremendous challenge to scientific curiosity. One of the small radiating arms was broken off and subjected to chemical analysis. Professor Ellery found platinum, iron and tellurium in the strange alloy; but mixed with these were at least three other apparent elements of high atomic weight which chemistry was absolutely powerless to classify. Not only did they fail to correspond with any known element, but they did not even fit the vacant places reserved for probable elements in the periodic system. (“Dreams in the Witch House”)

And RO/RQ? You don’t want to know, as Lovecraft’s protagonists usually discover too late. It’s the inconceivable object whose surface properties only hint at yet further levels of inconceivable monstrosity within. Usually, Lovecraft relies on just slapping a weird name on something and hinting at the rest, as in:

[O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes. (Dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath)

You can see, in each case, how the horrific effect, and the usability for Harman’s ontography, would entirely disappear if given a Wilsonian “paraphrase”: It was a squid with wings! The object, when analyzed, revealed new, hitherto unknown elements!

Confused yet? Bored? Don’t worry. The whole point of Harman’s book, to which he devotes the vast portion of the text, is analyzing passages from Lovecraft that provide vivid illustrations of one or more of these gaps. In this way Harman’s ontography acquires its Hölderlin, and Lovecraft is rescued from pulp purgatory.

While there is considerable interest in Heidegger on alt-Right sites such as this one,[9] I’m sure there is considerably more general interest in Lovecraft. But Harman’s whole book is clearly and engagingly written, avoiding both oracular obscurity and overly-chummy vulgarity; since Harman is admirably clear even when discussing himself or Husserl, no one should feel unqualified to take on this unique—Lovecraftian?—conglomeration of philosophy and literary criticism.

The central Part Two is almost 200 pages of close readings of exactly 100 passages from Lovecraft. As such, it exhibits a good deal of diminishing returns through repetition, and the reader may be forgiven for skipping around, perhaps to their own favorite parts. And there’s certainly no point in offering my own paraphrases!

Nevertheless, over and above the discussion of individual passages as illustrations of Speculative Realism, Harman has a number of interesting insights into Lovecraft’s work generally. It’s also here that Harman starts to reveal some of his assumptions, or biases, or shall we say, context.

“Racism”

Harman, who, word on the blogs seems to be, is a run-of-the-mill liberal rather than a po-mo freak like his fellow “European philosophers,”[10] tips his hand early by referring dismissively to criticism of Lovecraft as pulp being “merely a social judgment, no different in kind from not wanting one’s daughter to marry the chimney sweep” (“Preliminary Note”). And we know how silly that would be! So needless to say, Lovecraft’s forthright, unmitigated, non-evolutionary (as in Obama’s “My position on gay marriage has evolved”) views on race need to be disinfected if Harman is to be comfortable marrying his philosophy to Lovecraft’s writing.

His solution is clever, but too clever. Discussing the passage from “Call of Cthulhu” where the narrator—foolishly as it happens—dismisses a warning as coming from “an excitable Spaniard” Harman suggests that the racism of Lovecraft’s protagonists[11] adds an interesting layer of—of course!—irony to them. As so often, we the reader are “smarter” than the smug protagonist, who will soon be taken down a few pegs.

But this really won’t do. Lovecraft’s protagonists are not stupid or uninformed, but rather too well-informed, hence prone to self-satisfaction that leads them where more credulous laymen might balk. “They’s ghosts in there, Mister Benny!”

Unfortunately for Harman, Lovecraft was above all else a Scientist, or simply a well-educated man, and the Science of his day was firmly on the side of what today would be called Human Biodiversity or HBD.[12] Harman may, like most “liberals” find that distasteful, something not to be mentioned, like Victorians and sex—a kind of “liberal creationism” as it’s been called—but that’s his problem.

It would be more interesting to adopt a truly Lovecraftian theme and take his view, or settled belief, that Science, or too much Science, was bad for us; just as Copernicus etc. had dethroned man for the privileged center of the God’s universe, the “truth” about Cthulhu and the other Elder Gods—first, there very existence, then the implication that they are the reality behind everyday religions—has a deflationary, perhaps madness inducing, effect.

Consider this famous quotation from the opening of “The Call of Cthulhu” as quoted by Harman himself in Part Two:

The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but someday the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age. 

Thus Harman could argue that HBD may be true but bad for us to know—something very like the actual position of such liberal Comstocks as Richard Lewontin.

Consider, to switch genres, Dr. No. Quarrel [4], the ignorant, superstitious but loyal native retainer, is afraid to land on Crab Key, due to the presence of a dragon. Bond and his American buddy Leiter mock his fear. (Leiter: “Hey Quarrel, if you see a dragon, you get in first and breathe on him. With all that rum in you, he’ll die happy.”) But of course the dragon—which turns out to be a flame-throwing armored tractor—incinerates Quarrel whilst Bond and the equally superstitious but much more toothsome Honey Ryder are taken prisoner. While in this genre we know that Bond is the heroic knight who will ultimately slay the dragon, for now he does seem to be what Dr. No calls him, “just another stupid policeman” who would have done well to listen to the native—not unlike any number of Lovecraft’s educated protagonists.[13]

This smug assumption that knowledge leaves us safe, and indeed safer, is what Lovecraft is satirizing when the narrator of “Call of Cthulhu” dismisses the warnings of the “excitable Spaniard,” not, as Harman would have it, lampooning “racism” on some meta-level.[14]

Also, Michel Houllebeq, an author Harman otherwise praises, has emphasized that Lovecraft is anything but self-assured, either as a White man, or for the White race itself.[15] If “racism” is able to play the self-debunking role Harman wants it to, this is only because of Lovecraft’s self-doubts, based on his horrific experiences in the already multi-culti New York City of the 1920s, that the White race would be able to survive the onslaught of the inferior but strong and numerous under-men. As Houellebecq says, Lovecraft learned to take “racism back to its essential and most profound core: fear.”

“Fascistic Socialism”

On a related point, Harman puts this phrase, from Lovecraft’s last major work, The Shadow out of Time (which he generally dislikes, for reasons we’ll dispute later), in italics with a question mark, and leaves it at that, as if just throwing his hands up and saying “well, I just don’t know!” Alas, this is one of Lovecraft’s most interesting ideas. Like several American men of letters, such as Ralph Adams Cram, Lovecraft concluded that Roosevelt’s New Deal was an American version of Fascism, but, unlike the Chamber of Commerce types who made the same identification, he approved of it for precisely that reason! [16]

More generally, “fascistic socialism” was essentially what Spengler and others of the Conservative Revolution movement in German advocated; for example [5]:

Hans Freyer studied the problem of the failure of radical Leftist socialist movements to overcome bourgeois society in the West, most notably in his Revolution von Rechts (“Revolution from the Right”). He observed that because of compromises on the part of capitalist governments, which introduced welfare policies to appease the workers, many revolutionary socialists had come to merely accommodate the system; that is, they no longer aimed to overcome it by revolution because it provided more or less satisfactory welfare policies. Furthermore, these same policies were basically defusing revolutionary charges among the workers. Freyer concluded that capitalist bourgeois society could only be overcome by a revolution from the Right, by Right-wing socialists whose guiding purpose would not be class warfare but the restoration of collective meaning in a strong Völkisch (“Folkish” or “ethnic”) state.

But then, Harman would have to discuss, or even acknowledge, ideas that give liberals nose-bleeds.

Weird Porn

Harman makes the important distinction that Lovecraft is a writer of gaps, who chooses to apply his talents of literary allusion to the content of horror; but gaps do not exclusively involve horror, and we can imagine writers applying the same skills to other genres, such as detective stories, mysteries, and westerns.[17] In fact,

A literary “weird porn” might be conceivable, in which the naked bodies of the characters would display bizarre anomalies subverting all human descriptive capacity, but without being so strange that the erotic dimension would collapse into a grotesque sort of eros-killing horror. (p. 4)

Harman just throws this out, but if it seem implausible, I would offer Michael Manning’s graphic novels as example of weird porn: geishas, hermaphrodites, lizards and horses—or rather, vaguely humanoid species that suggest snakes and horses, rather like Harman’s discussion of Max Black’s puzzle over the gap produced by the proposition “Men are wolves”—create a kind of steam punk/pre-Raphaelist sexual utopia.[18]

Prolixity

Speaking of Lovecraftian allusiveness not being anchored to horror or any particular genre or content, brings us to my chief interest, and chief disagreement, with Harman’s discussion of Lovecraft’s literary technique.

I knew we would have a problem when right from the start Harman adduces The Shadow out of Time as one of Lovecraft’s worst, since this is actually one of my favorites, and the one that first convinced me of his ability to create cosmic horror through the invocation of hideous eons of cosmic vistas. Harman first notes, in dealing with the preceding novella, At the Mountains of Madness, that while the first half would rank as Lovecraft’s greatest work if he had only stopped there, the second half is a huge letdown: Lovecraft seems to descend to the level of pulp content, as he has his scientists go on a long, tedious journey through the long abandoned subterranean home of the Elder Race, reading endless hieroglyphs and giving all kinds of tedious details of their “everyday” life.[19]

For Harman, “Lovecraft’s decline as a stylist becomes almost alarming here” (p. 225) and will continue—with a brief return to form with “Dreams in the Witch House,” where Harman makes the interesting observation that Lovecraft seems to be weaving in every kind of Lovecraftian technique and content into one grand synthesis— until it ruins the second half as well of Shadow.

In a series of articles here on Counter Currents—soon to be reprinted as part of my next book, The Eldritch Evola . . . & Others—I suggested that not only should Lovecraft’s infamous verbosity no more be a barrier to elite appreciation than the equally deplored but critically lauded “Late Style” of Henry James, but also, and more interestingly, that conversely, we could see James developing that same style as part of an attempt to produce the same effect as Lovecraft’s, which fans call “cosmicism [6]” but which I would rather call cosmic horror (akin to the “sublime” of Burke or Kant).[20] Or perhaps: Weird Realism.

While Harman has greatly contributed to a certain micro-analysis of Lovecraft’s style, he seems, like the critics of the Late James, to miss the big picture. Although useful for rescuing Lovecraft from pulp oblivion, he still limits Lovecraft’s significance to either mere literature, or illustrations of Harman’s ontography. I suggest this still diminishes Lovecraft’s achievement.

The work of Lovecraft, like James, has the not inconsiderable extra value, over and above any “literary” pleasure, of stilling the mind by its very longeurs, leaving us open and available to the arising of some other, deeper level of consciousness when the gaps arise.[21]

But this is not on the table here, because Harman, like all good empiricists (and we are all empiricists today, are we not?) rejects, or misconstrues, the very idea of our having access to a super-sensible grasp of reality that would leap beyond, or between, the gaps; what in the East, and the West until the rise of secularism, would be called intellectual intuition.[22]

Reality itself is weird because reality itself is incommensurable with any attempt to represent or measure it. Lovecraft is aware of this difficulty to an exemplary degree, and through his assistance we may be able to learn about how to say something without saying it—or in philosophical terms, how to love wisdom without having it. When it comes to grasping reality, illusion and innuendo are the best we can do. (p. 51, my italics)

As usual in the modern West, we are to shoulder on as best we can, in an empty, meaningless world, comforted only by patting ourselves on the back for being too grown up, too “smart,” to believe we can not only pursue wisdom, but reach it. As René Guénon put it, it is one of the peculiarities of the modern Westerner to substitute a theory of knowledge for the acquisition of knowledge.[23]

Notes

1. On such “private associations” see Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, (New York: Holt, 1969), pp. 70–71.

2. Whose biographer, Greg Johnson, is not to be confused with our own Greg Johnson here at Counter Currents—I think. For the fictionalized Hilberry see The Hungry Ghosts: Seven Allusive Comedies (Boston: Black Sparrow Press, 1974). Allusive—there’s that idea again!

3. Did they succeed? Judge for yourself: Thomas Moore: Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1992).

4. Eventually he would sink so low as to teach “everyday reasoning” to freshman lunkheads.

5. See Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and Doktor Faustus, respectively.

6. The hero of this vindication of Rhetoric over Dialectic turns out to be . . . McLuhan! The medium is the message—don’t be hypnotized by the content, take a look at the all-important effects of the context. I’ve suggested before that my own work be seen, like McLuhan’s, less as dogmatic theses to be defended or refuted (dogmatism is for Harman the great sin of worshipping mere content) but rather as a series of probes for revealing new contexts for old ideas. See my Counter-Currents Interview in The Homo and the Negro as well as my earlier “You Mean My Whole Fallacy Is Wrong!” here [7]. Once more, we find that education at a Catholic college in the Canadian boondocks is the best preparation for grasping post-modernism, no doubt because it reproduces the background of Brentano and Heidegger. It was Canadian before it was cool!

7. The Wilson treatment is on display whenever some Judeo-con or Evangelical quotes passages from some alien religious work—usually the Koran these days—to show how stupid or bloodthirsty the natives are, while ignoring similar or identical passages in his own Holy Book. So-called “scholars” play the same game, questioning the authenticity of some newly discovered Gnostic work like the Gospel of Judas for containing, “absurdities” and “silliness” while finding nothing odd about the reanimated corpses—reminiscent of Lovecraft’s genuinely pulp hackwork Herbert West, Reaminator—of the “orthodox” writings. Indeed, some have suggested that Lovecraft’s Necronomicon is itself a parody of The Bible, its supposed Arab authorship a mere screen. This typically Semitic strategy of deliberately ignoring the allusive context of your opponent’s words while retaining your own was diagnosed by the Aryan Christ, in such well-known fulminations against the Pharisees as Matthew 23:24 : “You strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” or Matthew 7:3: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

8. Bad sci/fi hits rock bottom in the content-oriented department with the ubiquitous employment of the “space” prefix: space-food, space-pirates, space-justice, etc., frequently mocked on MST3K. David Bowie’s space-rock ode “Moonage Daydream” contains the cringe-worthy “Press your space face close to mine” but this is arguably a deliberate parody, while the rest of the song brilliantly exploits the Lovecraftian allusive/contextual mode of horror, moving from its straight-faced opening—“I’m an alligator”—through a series of Cthulhuian composites—“Squawking like a pink monkey bird”—ultimately veering into Harman’s weird porn mode—“I’m a momma-poppa coming for you.” Deviant sex and cut-up lyrics—another context-shredding technique—clearly points to the influence of William Burroughs, who created subversive texts based on various genres of boys’ books ranging from sci/fi (Nova Express) to detective (Cities of Red Night: “The name is Clyde Williamson Snide. I am a private asshole.”) to his alt-Western masterpiece The Western Lands trilogy.

9. Harman does a better job explaining Husserl and Heidegger than my little Marrano, but then he has had another three decades to work on it. He does, however, focus mainly on Heidegger’s tool analysis, and his own, somewhat broader formulation. For a wider focused, more objective, if you will, presentation of Heidegger, see Collin Cleary’s series of articles on this site, starting here [8].

10. Needless to say, he never notices that his liberalism is rooted in the ultimate dogma-affirming, context-ignoring movement, Luther’s “sola scriptura.” His liberalism is such as to allow him to tell a pretty amusing one-liner about Richard Rorty, but only by attributing it to “a colleague.” On the one hand, he cringes for Heidegger for daring to refer to a “Senegal Negro” (p. 59) but dismisses Emmanuel Faye’s “Heidegger is a Nazi” screed as a “work of propaganda” (p. 259). See Michael O’Meara’s review of Faye here [9].

11. “Not even Poe [another embarrassing “racist”, well what do you know?] has such indistinguishable protagonists” (p. 10).

12. Indeed, “racism” is one of those principles Baron Evola evoked in his Autodefesa [10], as being “those that before the French Revolution every well-born person considered sane and normal.”

13. Kingsley Amis has cogently argued that the key to Bond’s appeal is that he’s just like us, only a little better trained, able to read up on poker or chemin de fer, has excellent shooting instructors, etc. But if we had the chance . . . See Amis, Kingsley The James Bond Dossier (London: Jonathan Cape, 1965).

14. It might be interesting to apply Harman’s OOO to a film like Carpenter’s They Live. In my review of Lethem’s book on the movie [11], reprinted in The Homo and the Negro, I mentioned liking another point, also from Slavoj Žižek: contrary to the smug assumptions of the Left, knowledge is not necessarily something people want, or which is pleasant—hence the protagonist has to literally beat his friend into putting on the reality-revealing sunglasses. Here we have both Lovecraft’s gaps and notion that knowledge is more likely something you’ll regret: Lovecraft and Žižek, together again!

15. Michel Houellebecq [12], H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life [13] (London: Gollancz, 2008). See more generally, and from the same period, Lothrop Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under Man, ed. Alex Kurtagic, introduction by Kevin MacDonald (Shamley Green: The Palingenesis Project, 2011).

16. See my “Ralph Adams Cram: Wild Boy of American Architecture” here [14].

17. Again, just as Burroughs applied his cut-up technique to various pulp genres.

18. See my discussion of Manning in “The Hermetic Environment and Hermetic Incest: The True Androgyne and the ‘Ambiguous Wisdom of the Female’” here [15].

19. Everyday life of pre-Cambrian radiata with wings, of course.

20. My suggestion was based on some remarks of John Auchard in Penguin’s new edition of the Portable Henry James, that James’s work could be seen as part of the attempt to substitute art for religion, by using the endless accumulation of detail—James’s “prolixity” as Lovecraft himself chides him for—to “saturate” everyday experience with meaning.

21. Colin Wilson’s second Lovecraftian novel, The Philosopher’s Stone (Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1971)—originally published in 1969, republished in a mass market edition in 1971 at the request of, and with a Foreword by, Joyce Carol Oates, bringing us back to Hilberry—introduced me to the idea of length, and even boredom, as spiritual disciplines. One of the main characters “seemed to enjoy very long works for their own sake. I think he simply enjoyed the intellectual discipline of concentrating for hours at a time. If a work was long, it automatically recommended itself to him. So we have spent whole evenings listening to the complete Contest Between Harmony and Invention of Vivaldi, the complete Well Tempered Clavier, whole operas of Wagner, the last five quartets of Beethoven, symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler, the first fourteen Haydn symphonies. . . . He even had a strange preference for a sprawling, meandering symphony by Furtwängler [presumably the Second], simply because it ran on for two hours or so.” The book is available online here [16].

22. With the inconsistency typical of a Modern trying to conduct thought after cutting off the roots of thought, Harman advises us that “It takes a careful historical judge to weigh which [contextual] aspects of a given thing are assimilated by it, and which can be excluded” (p. 245). What makes a “careful” judge is, of course, intuition. Cf. my remarks on Spengler’s “physiognomic tact” and Guénon’s intellectual intuition in “The Lesson of the Monster; or, The Great, Good Thing on the Doorstep,” to appear in my forthcoming book The Eldritch Evola but also available here [17].

23. How one can transcend the limits of secular science and philosophy, without abandoning empirical experience as the Christian does with his blind “faith,” is the teaching found in Evola’s Introduction to Magic, especially the essay “The Nature of Initiatic Knowledge.” “Having long been trapped in a kind of magic circle, modern man knows nothing of such horizons. . . . Those who are called “scientists” today [as well as, even more so, “philosophers”] have hatched a real conspiracy; they have made science their monopoly, and absolutely do not want anyone to know more than they do, or in a different manner than they do.” The whole text is available online here [18].

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/02/lovecraft-as-heideggerian-event/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/weird-realism.jpg

[2] Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1780992521/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1780992521&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[3] Hölderlin does in Heidegger’s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6lderlin%27s_Hymn_%22The_Ister%22#Part_three:_H.C3.B6lderlin.27s_poetising_of_the_essence_of_the_poet_as_demigod

[4] Quarrel: http://www.007james.com/characters/quarrel.php

[5] for example: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/02/hans-freyer-the-quest-for-collective-meaning/#more-36698

[6] fans call “cosmicism: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/cosmicism

[7] here: http://jamesjomeara.blogspot.com/2011/03/youve-misunderstood-my-whole-fallacy-i.html

[8] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/06/heidegger-an-introduction-for-anti-modernists-part-1/

[9] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/07/heidegger-the-nazi/

[10] Autodefesa: http://www.alternativeright.com/main/the-magazine/julius-evola-radical-traditionalism/

[11] my review of Lethem’s book on the movie: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/09/they-live/

[12] Michel Houellebecq: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/32878.Michel_Houellebecq

[13] H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3196799

[14] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/09/ralph-adams-cram-wild-boy-of-american-architecture/

[15] here: http://jamesjomeara.blogspot.com/2010/12/hermetic-environment-and-hermetic.html

[16] here: http://lucite.org/lucite/archive/fiction_-_lovecraft/14047169-the-philosophers-stone-by-colin-wilson.pdf

[17] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/02/the-lesson-of-the-monster-or-the-great-good-thing-on-the-doorstep/

[18] here: http://www.cakravartin.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/Julius-Evola-Introduction-to-Magic.pdf

jeudi, 28 février 2013

Jean Cau, amigo de España

Erik Norling:

Jean Cau, amigo de España

jean-cau1.jpgCuando falleció Jean Cau (18-VI-93), Robert Schener escribió en la revista «Le Choc du Mois» que fue «una ironía del destino: el cáncer ha vencido al que tanto combatió, con por arma principal un singular talento, contra el cáncer ideológico, cultural, social y político, que se ha abatido sobre Occidente, le mina y desvitaliza». No se equivocaba el columnista galo, Cau ha sido quizás el último de los intelectuales que se atrevieron a levantar la pluma para combatir como anticonformista en medio del pensamiento único que azota Europa.

 
Nacido en Bram, en el mediodía de Francia, el 8 de julio de 1925, autor de más de cuarenta volúmenes (novelas, ensayos, poesía, discursos políticos, etc.) y centenares de artículos periodísticos, Jean Cau ocupa un papel central en las letras europeas. Su itinerario cultural e ideológico es el del prototipo anticonformista, quizá el último del círculo de los intelectuales que iniciaran su andadura con Drieu La Rochelle y «Nouvel Ordre» en el período de entreguerras.
 
Tras la Segunda Guerra mundial participa y se inicia en el joven grupo de intelectuales que se reunían en el despacho de «Les Temps Modernes» con André Malraux, Simone de Beauvoir, y Jean-Paul Sartre. Sus simpatías eran claramente filocomunistas por aquella época. En palabras de Herbert Lottman, que ha estudiado este grupo de intelectuales, «la reunión parecía entonces más imponente que la Academia francesa» por la gran valía intelectual de los asistentes que discutían de política, filosofía y literatura.. Allí se convertirá en el secretario privado de Sartre hasta el año 1956 en que rompe con su maestro y comienza un peregrinar solitario en las filas anticonformistas como articulista en «L’Express», «Figaro Littéraire», «France-Observateur» y, después, «París Match». Escribe en la flor y nata de la prensa respetable de la época, abandonando sus extremistas posturas anteriores.
 
La izquierda asimiló mal su conversión a lo que ellos llamaban la «extrema derecha» y mucho peor la defensa que hará, en un principio, de la figura del general De Gaulle. Jean Cau nunca fue de la extrema derecha, ni de izquierdas desde que comprendió la mentira del igualitarismo marxista. A mediados de los años sesenta asume una postura claramente anticomunista, cuatro años después de haber recibido en 1961 el premio Goncourt, el máximo galardón de las letras francesas, por su inmortal La piedad de Dios. Sin embargo, ya entraba en la marginalidad en que el sistema relega a los que no juegan con las cartas trucadas (ese mismo año se daba a conocer en España con Las orejas y el rabo editado por Plaza y Janés). Sustituirá su producción narrativa (editada principalmente por la prestigiosa editorial parisina Gallimard) por obras de ensayo y pensamiento: Un testament de Staline, Lettre ouverte á tout le monde, Les écuries de l’Occidente, La grande prostituee, etcétera.
 
Poco conocido en España a no ser por la labor de divulgación que de él hiciera Ramón Bau en febrero de 1982 en una crítica literaria del ensayo de Cau Reflexiones duras sobre una época decadente, y la publicación de un breve trabajo suyo (Ediciones Nuevo Arte Thor, Barcelona 1986) donde aparecerá una de las obras más comprometidas de este autor: El Caballero, la Muerte y el Diablo. En esta novela, escrita con tonos autobiográficos y en un estilo ensayístico, Cau introduce a los lectores, en fecha temprana pues recordemos que la edición francesa es de 1975, en el mundo de las ideas anticonformistas que abrirán paso, casi una década después, a la llamada «Nueva Derecha» liderada por Alain de Benoist. Se atreve a escribir que: «nadie hoy en día se atreve a esculpir a negros como porteadores, pues sería acusado de racista. Ningún Balzac osaría escribir su Avaro pues sería tratado de antisemita. Nunca hemos sido tan poco libres de ser inocentes. Frente a cada uno de nuestros pensamientos, de nuestros actos, infinitos jueces nos interrogan e investigan y, bajo pena de ser culpables, debemos parar nuestra marcha» (Reflexiones duras sobre una época decadente).
En su calidad de convencido europeista, superador de los nacionalismos, Jean Cau tampoco duda en creer que la salvación de Europa puede venir del Este y será de los pioneros de esta concepción, que propagase el también fallido Jean Thiriart. Dice Cau: «Rusia, única nación en el Occidente blanco que no siente la vergüenza de vivir el siglo… orgullosa de ser rusa, fuerte, mostrándonos, a plena luz y en primer plano, sus soldados de piel blanca y ojos claros. Rusia, cuya tierra endurecida por la tiranía habrá protegido la semilla de los héroes» (El Caballero, la Muerte y el Diablo).
 
Es antiliberal y aborrece el igualitarismo pseudodemocrático y, por ello, desenmascara a sus antiguos compañeros de viaje recordando que la desgracia de la democracia reside en haber «multiplicado las cobardías por millones… Los enanos gritan que es culpable (la raza blanca). Ella se calla. Los enanos han inventado una nueva lengua de la que han sido expulsadas las antiguas palabras hasta el punto que el pensamiento-enano es el único que describe el mundo a través de las rejas que sobre él aplica». (Ibid.).
 
 
Pero Jean Cau en el fondo es optimista, cree en los valores eternos de nuestros pueblos. Se considera a sí mismo como introductor de una literatura que busca el pasado de Europa y muchos de sus personajes son valerosos caballeros andantes y cruzados de Occidente. Sobre la infinita capacidad de superación de Europa, opinaba: «Sin embargo, siempre han quedado rescoldos de fuego bajo las cenizas y Occidente se ha fortalecido con una contradicción que ha producido el caballero, el cruzado, el constructor de catedrales, el conquistador y el colonizador». (Ibid.).
 
Otra faceta de este autor galo fue su pasión por España. Una profunda pasión que se enraiza en la antigua tradición hispanófila de los intelectuales franceses desde que Corneille escribiera su inmortal Cid. Así, mientras que la intelectualidad hispana era tradicionalmente antifrancesa, nuestros vecinos veían en España un mundo romántico y atrayente que correspondía al país de sus sueños. No es una casualidad que autores tan dispares como Albert Camus, André Malraux, Maurice Barrés (padre del nacionalismo político francés), Víctor Hugo, o Drieu La Rochelle buscasen inspiración en España. Otro enamorado de España, Robert Brasillach, igualmente reconocía que «era España el país que… hablaba mejor a sus corazones después de Francia… en la cuál nunca se sentirían desplazados». La obra maestra de Cau, La Pitié de Dieu, es precisamente un relato sobre el ambiente taurino como lo será Vida y muerte de un toro bravo (1963), Matador (1967) y Toros (1973). Este tema le apasionó aunque podamos tener nuestras discrepancias con él sobre la excesiva práctica reduccionista que identifica lo español con lo meridional. No le atrajo el mundo de los toros por su carácter festivo, sino porque representaba la España que era capaz de despertar sus más íntimas sensaciones.
 
También Jean Cau había percibido el cambio copernicano que la sociedad española había sufrido desde la entrada en la Europa de Bruselas, no porque prefiriese el régimen anterior, sino porque no podría aceptar que el progreso significase la destrucción de los valores tradicionales del pueblo español. Hace algunos años, Espasa Calpe publicó una de las últimas obras de Cau, Por sevillanas, (1988), en la que el autor confesaba, al igual que hiciera Brasillach poco antes de morir, que «Desde hace muchos años, me paso el tiempo haciendo declaraciones de amor a España, porque si Francia es la patria de mis ideas, España es la de mis pasiones». «Ser andaluz. Como ser español». Estimaba que Sevilla encarnaba el genuino espíritu de esa España que se resistía a morir a manos del progreso: «No quiero volver a verla, porque la he amado todavía para desearla todavía…. nos callaremos si no nos reconocemos».
 
Con su muerte, España ha perdido uno de los defensores intelectuales que tenía en Europa, y ésta perdió a uno de los últimos pensadores anticonformistas. Cau fue de los que supieron abrir camino a las nuevas generaciones de intelectuales que se niegan a formar parte del sistema impuesto; éste es su legado. Es triste comprobar que, aparte de una breve nota necrológica aparecida en el periódico «El País» y un digno artículo en «Diario 16» -edición de Andalucía- de la mano de Antonio Burgos su desaparición pasase inadvertida. Que esta nota sirva para atenuar el olvido de un verdadero amigo de España.
 
[Razón Española n°87]

mercredi, 27 février 2013

La politique de Tolkien

mercredi, 20 février 2013

Nostalgies dans l'oeuvre

LOUIS-~1.JPG

Le prochain colloque international des
« 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies »,
qui aura pour thème
« Trace(s), Fragment(s), reste(s) »,
se tiendra
du mercredi 27 au samedi 30 mars 2013 à Atlanta.
 
Une session sera consacrée à Céline le samedi 30 mars
sur le thème des
« Nostalgies dans l'oeuvre de L.‐F. Celine ».
Quatre interventions sont au programme :
 
Nostalgies dans l'oeuvre
de L.‐F. Celine
 
• Veronique Flambard‐Weisbart (Loyola Marymount University)
Le rendu émotif ou la trace du silence animal
 
• Sven Thorsten Kilian (Université de Potsdam)
La trace de l’événement dans la poétique de Louis‐Ferdinand Céline
 
• Anne‐Catherine Dutoit (Arizona State University)
Tracing the Tsarist past : Céline’s nostalgic féerie in Bagatelles pour un massacre
 
• Francois‐Xavier Lavenne (Université Catholique de Louvain)
                                                                                                        
Ruines du passé, traces de l’avenir
 
 
 

dimanche, 17 février 2013

Some Sort of Nietzschean

Some Sort of Nietzschean

By Alex Kurtagić

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Wyndham Lewis in 1917 

Wyndham Lewis in 1917

Review:

Paul O’Keefe
Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis [2]
London: Pimlico, 2000

In his acknowledgment pages Paul O’Keefe states that it took him a decade—not including the years of research already donated to him by another writer—to complete his biography of Wyndham Lewis, a project he began in 1990 while he was president of the Wyndham Lewis Society. And this is apparent, for this volume, holding 700 pages of tightly packed print, offers an indefatigably detailed and masochistically researched account of the British modernist artist and author’s life.

Biographies differ in emphasis, depending on the author’s biases, and the tone here is set early in the first chapter, which consists of a detailed description of Lewis’ bisected brain—now preserved in the Pathology Museum of the Imperial College School of Medicine—and the progressive destruction (through compression of the adjacent structures) caused by the growth of its pituitary tumor, medically known as a chromophone adenoma. O’Keefe’s narration is temperate and balanced in the extreme, abstaining from either celebration or condemnation, or indeed evaluation, of his subject. Instead, we are presented with unvarnished facts and restrained descriptions of circumstances, and, where records have not survived or never existed and witness memories were unavailable, with the most disciplined of inference.

Initially, the effect of this cold detective approach is a certain literary anhedonia: the narrative barely raises the pulse, despite Lewis’ turbulent social life, truculence, and extraordinarily difficult personality. One feels that another author would have been able to produce much more dramatic prose with the same information.

All the same, O’Keefe’s biography is impressive, and after a somewhat laborious account of Lewis’ Bohemian early life and career—which, ironically, includes his most significant artistic period, coinciding with Cubism and Futurism, and now referred to as Vorticist—the pace picks up once we get to 1930, the year Apes of God (London: Arthur Press, 1930), Lewis’ savage satire of London’s literary scene and the Bloomsbury Group, was published. We learn, as we race through the decade, that Lewis would routinely ridicule his friends and patrons in his novels, where they would appear thinly disguised under a pseudonym. Few were spared, which led to many a falling out, libel writs, and loss of patronage. This, plus Lewis’ quarrelsome, irascible, ultra-individualistic, cruel, secretive, litigious, and somewhat paranoid personality, kept him always on the verge of bankruptcy, despite his tremendous creative energy and productivity. Indeed, when a group of friends decided to contribute monthly to a fund so that Lewis could work without financial worries—for he was always in arrears and in debt—he very quickly and rudely alienated his benefactors. This was probably because he resented being beholden to anyone. Any well-meaning gesture was an affront.

The book is hard to put down as we pass through the 1940s. From the late 1930s, when Lewis travelled to North America, where he alternated between Canada and the United States and where he remained until after the end of the war. There we are taken to what was probably the most bitter and penurious period in his life. By this time he had difficulties finding a publisher, having become notorious for attracting libel suits, locking horns with his earlier publishers, and not delivering manuscripts for which he had been paid an advance. In the United States his books were deemed by some not the most marketable. Commissions for portraits and other art, which he desperately needed and assiduously sought, were scarce and not proof against upsetting his patrons. They were also not terribly popular—in 1938 his portrait of T. S. Eliot had been rejected by the Royal Academy [3]. And speaking engagements, greatly facilitated by the publicity efforts of friend and future media guru Marshall McLuhan, proved insufficient and disappointing financially—Lewis was no Jonathan Bowden, in any event. Thus, he and his wife survived in cheap hotels and grim rented accommodation only a dollar, sometimes a few cents, away from eviction until 1945.

Lewis’ situation improved marginally thereafter, though by this time his eyesight was in steep decline, owing to his as-yet-undiagnosed pituitary tumor compressing his optic nerve. His 1949 portrait of T. S. Eliot would be his last painting. All the same, Lewis marched on, continuing to author substantial and difficult books—including the last two volumes of his Human Age trilogy, the first of which had been published many years earlier—even after he went blind in 1951. In his final years, Lewis benefited from the radio dramatisation of his trilogy and from his Civil List Pension, which, though exiguous, provided him with a bare minimum of security.

O’Keefe’s narration continues through to a search of Lewis’ condemned flat soon after his death and to his final resting place inside a niche in a wall at Golder’s Green Crematorium.

Despite its comprehensiveness in all that pertains to Lewis, O’Keefe’s biography has two major deficiencies, which stem from the fact that all we learn is tightly circumscribed to the facts and events relating to Lewis and his immediate social periphery. Firstly, aside from a few clinical descriptions, we learn very little about Lewis’ art and writing, or their cultural significance. By the time he finally receives a modicum of institutional honors and recognition, it comes almost unexpectedly; it is as if there had been a sudden sea change and the invisible powers who had previously been critical, suspicious, or unimpressed suddenly decided to relent. Secondly, there is virtually no wider historical, cultural, or sociological context, leaving Lewis’ life and work somewhat abstracted; the points of reference appear shadowy, remote, and somewhat peremptory. One can go too far in the opposite direction, of course, which would detract from a work that aims to be objective, devoid of opinion and coloration, or about an individual as opposed to his times, but it seems O’Keefe was a little too careful to avoid this.

We do obtain some perspective through Lewis’ relations with (and on occasion anecdotes involving some of) the various and now illustrious members of Lewis’ circle—which included Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and W. B. Yeats—but this perspective remains somewhat shallow, and the individuals concerned remain somewhat distant. This may well be because Lewis was a study in detachment; we learn that for him friends were there to be used, and were friends only in so much as they were useful. Bowden described him [4] as “a bit of a rogue” and “a rascal,” and one can see why.

Having said that, in this biography Lewis does not come across as the iron-hard Right-winger that Bowden made him out to be. It is admitted that Lewis wrote a book called Hitler (London: Chatto and Windus, 1931), but he wrote it hastily and it seems he later regretted it, writing The Hitler Cult and How It Will End (London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1939) and The Jews: Are They Human? (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1939), the latter of which is an attack against anti-Semitism. (O’Keefe also documents the frustration with Lewis of German National Socialists visiting the United Kingdom in the early 1930s in the face of the British author’s refusal to identify Communists as Jews—although this may have been recalcitrant individualism on the part of Lewis, for an anecdote a few hundred pages later on in the biography suggests he was aware of the “Jewish question,” a state not necessarily incompatible with dismissing anti-Semitism as “a racial red-herring.”)

It is admitted that Lewis met William Joyce and Oswald Mosley (O’Keefe, p. 370), but any relations in this biography appear vague and non-committal, his article in the British Union Quarterly notwithstanding. It is admitted also that, he wrote two other books (Left Wings Over Europe [London: Jonathan Cape, 1936] and Count Your Dead: They Are Alive! [London: Lovat Dickson, 1937]) which have been interpreted as in support for Mussolini and Franco respectively, but they are anti-war tracts. Later, Lewis would write Anglo-Saxony: A League that Works (Toronto: Ryerson, 1941), which is pro-democracy, and America and Cosmic Man (New York: Doubleday Company, 1949), where he pledges allegiance to a cosmic or cosmopolitan utopianism (Cosmic Man, p. 238).

Lewis’ politics were complex. Not Red, certainly, but not pure Black either. Now, Bowden, who knew O’Keefe for a time, described the latter as a liberal, and told in his 2006 talk about Lewis how, while being a member of the Wyndham Lewis Society, he told those present at an AGM that the society was “based on a lie”—proceeding then to accuse its members of revisionism, timidity, and denial. It may be that Bowden saw in Lewis want he wanted to see, or that his interpretation of Lewis as a Nietzschean metapolitical fascist owed to Bowden’s approaching his subject as a Nietzschean and a Stirnerite. Or that he focused only on the parts of Lewis that interested him, obviously the inter-war and then the late period.

In O’Keefe’s biography, certainly, Nietzsche does not figure in relation to Lewis. This is not to say, however, that Lewis was not a Nietzschean force or cannot be seen as such: aside from what can be gleaned from his prose or the conceptual elitism of his 1917 manifesto (“The Code of a Herdsman”), Lewis was certainly always against, always difficult and “rebarbative,” and always—despite his navigating a fairly wide circle of leading modernist artists and literati, alone against all, unabated by poverty and refusing to throw in the towel even after he went blind.

The reason for the above remarks is that I read this book as background research for a biography of Jonathan Bowden. Bowden mentioned Lewis frequently in his early writing, and among his effects after his death several books by Lewis were found, including Childermass (London: Chatto and Windus, 1928), The Revenge of Love (London: Cassell and Co. 1937), Self Condemned (London: Methuen Press, 1954), Apes of God, Snooty Baronet (London: Cassell and Co., 1932), Tarr (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1918; London: Chatto and Windus, 1928), and The Demon of Progress in the Arts (London: Methuen Press, 1954).

From the present biography of Lewis one can easily see the reasons why Bowden could have conceivably either identified with or seen something of himself in Lewis. Both lost a parent in early life. Both were prolific painters and writers, both of an experimental sort, though Bowden more than Lewis. Both identified with the politics of the Right, while also being aggressively individualistic, though, again, Bowden more than Lewis. Both were unafraid of—and indeed enjoyed—including friends and acquaintances in their prose, where these victims of cruel and often libellous psychoanalysis appeared quasi-cartoonified and only thinly disguised under pseudonyms. Both moved frequently during early adulthood and later lived closed off, hidden away at a recondite and obscure address. Both were secretive in their personal lives, which they strictly compartmentalized—in Lewis’ case, many of his friends were unaware of the fact that he had a wife and several children (by previous lovers) until Lewis was in late middle age; initially, he never mentioned her, few ever saw her, and no one was ever given access to the flat hidden behind a door below his studio, where she lived with him, until many years later. Both found wealth elusive, and were mostly interested in recognition. And there are other parallels. On the whole, however, Bowden was more consistent philosophically, harder politically, and a more extreme artist and writer.

Irrespective of your thoughts on modernism in general, Wyndham Lewis is sufficiently interesting on his own for this major biography to be educational and entertaining, though I suspect it will be those familiar with Jonathan Bowden’s oratory who will get the greater profit.

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/02/some-sort-of-nietzschean/

samedi, 16 février 2013

The Conservative Kerouac

The Conservative Kerouac

Beat novelist, Catholic, Republican—do you know Jack?

Illustration by Michael Hogue
Illustration by Michael Hogue

 

Someone’s gonna give you wings
You’ll think it’s what you need
You’ll fly, man, you’ll be so high
But your history acts as your gravity

 

                                 —Joseph Arthur

 

For someone who documented just about every moment of his life in torrents of breathless, “spontaneous” prose, Jack Kerouac—the late author of On the Road, Big Sur, and other stream-of-consciousness, hyper-autobiographical novels—remains surprisingly up for grabs ideologically. The hippies claim him as an inspiration, as do many western Buddhists; a biography called Subterranean Kerouac attempts to out him as a homosexual; a new film adaptation of On The Road starring Kristen Stewart opens the door for the Twilight generation; and I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t more than a few Occupy Wall Street protestors hunkering down in their tents with battered copies of Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums stuffed in their jacket pockets.

Each of these groups is absolutely sincere in its self-identification with Kerouac. Each sees its concerns and agendas reflected in his roiling ocean of language. Yet this bopping, scatting, mystical jazz poet who almost singlehandedly willed the 1960s counterculture into being was himself a political conservative and a Catholic.

How can this be?

The key to understanding Kerouac lies in a close examination of his roots, for it was in the small French Canadian community of Lowell, Massachusetts that the future author was inculcated with the values that would carry him through his life. He did indeed go on to lead a wild existence filled with alcohol, drugs, and perpetual shiftlessness; he fled from monogamy as from leprosy. Yet one cannot grasp the soul of Kerouac unless one understands his fundamentally traditional core. He never wished to foment a revolution. He did not desire to change America; he intended to document, celebrate, and, in the end, eulogize it.

Jean-Louis (“Jack”) Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922, the son of French Canadian immigrants. His father Leo, like so many immigrants, fiercely loved his adopted country. This belief in the land of opportunity remained with him even after his Catholicism lapsed in the wake of devastating business failures. Jack’s conservatism, like his father’s, was the conservatism of the old ways: of hard work and even harder drink, of big blue-collar families passing down oral traditions. Above all, it was a conservatism of the natural world: of the large, solid, protective trees, of the perpetually roaring Merrimack and Concord Rivers—all combining to cast that crucial illusion of unchangingness that, in the best of circumstances, cradles and fortifies a soul for its journey beyond childhood. Late in life Kerouac would tell William F. Buckley Jr., “My father and my mother and my sister and I have always voted Republican, always.” This had nothing to do with party planks and everything to do with family identity, with holding onto something, no matter how arbitrary, in an otherwise disorienting world. We’re Kerouacs and this is what we do. 

Hand in hand with the politics was the pre-Vatican II Catholicism that saturated Lowell’s tight-knit French Canadian community. Gabrielle Kerouac—Jack’s mother—matched Leo’s civic pride with a fervent religious faith, which if anything intensified after the death of Jack’s older brother Gerard, whom Jack would later eulogize as an unheralded saint in the novel Visions of Gerard. This was that majestic, fearsome Catholicism that now exists purely in the realm of imagination for most modern practitioners: the Catholicism of the Latin mass, of all-powerful priests, of God as the unknowable, awe-inspiring other. To New England’s mostly impoverished French Canadians, the Catholic Church served as de facto government, educator, extended family, and cultural arbitrator. Perhaps as a result of this spiritual immersion, both Gabrielle and Jack saw signs of God and angels everywhere.

“The Catholic Church is a weird church,” Jack later wrote to his friend and muse Neal Cassady. “Much mysticism is sown broadspread from its ritual mysteries till it extends into the very lives of its constituents and parishoners.” It is impossible to overstate the influence of Catholicism on all of Kerouac’s work, save perhaps those books written during his Buddhist period in the mid-to-late 1950s. The influence is so obvious and so pervasive, in fact, that Kerouac became justifiably incensed when Ted Berrigan of the Paris Review asked during a 1968 interview, “How come you never write about Jesus?” Kerouac’s reply: “I’ve never written about Jesus? … You’re an insane phony … All I write about is Jesus.”

Berrigan ought to have known better. But casual readers can be forgiven for failing to grasp the religiosity in Kerouac’s writing. After all, his version of Christianity esteemed visions and personal experience over doctrine and dogma. He felt a special affinity for such offbeat souls as St. Francis of Assissi, St. Therese of Liseux (“The Little Flower”), and Thomas Merton, all of whom to some extent de-emphasized legalism in favor of a direct union with God. Beyond the confines of the Catholic Church, the influence of the painter and ecstatic poet William Blake loomed just as large and perhaps fueled Kerouac’s disregard for what he perceived to be restrictive sexual mores.

Of course, Kerouac is best known not for his lovely Lowell-centered books but for On the Road, a breathless jazz-inflected torrent of words initially typed out onto a “scroll”—actually hundreds of pages of tracing paper taped together and fed continuously through his typewriter—during one epic coffee-fuelled writing session in 1951 and ultimately published in 1957. The book, now considered an American classic, documents the author’s real-life adventures traipsing around the country in his mid-20s with friends Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady who, together with Kerouac, would comprise the core of “The Beat Generation,” the last great American literary movement. Much drinking, drugging, and fornicating ensues over the course of Road’s 320 pages. Not surprisingly, these prurient elements did not endear Kerouac to the mainstream right of his time, which irked the young author, as he felt no affinity for the left.

He never saw the impartial documenting of his own reckless youth as license for others to drop out of society. If anything, the downbeat ending of Road, in which Kerouac predicts the frantic, kicks-obsessed “Dean Moriarty’s” (Neal Cassady’s) eventual slide into oblivion, as well as his unflinching depiction of his own nervous breakdown from alcoholic excess in the follow-up novel Big Sur, make quite clear the inevitable outcome of a “life on the road.” But Kerouac should not have been surprised by the right’s reaction; this was, after all, not conservative writing. The books did not follow the established standards of the novel and, in reality, were not novels at all but something else entirely: “confessional picaresque memoirs” (a phrase coined by Beat scholar Ann Charters), with the names of the participants changed to avoid accusations of libel. The conservative critics, missing the deeper themes of loneliness and the yearning for God, lambasted Kerouac for encouraging delinquency, while critics of all stripes complained about his sloppiness and occasional incoherece.

These commentators had a point: as novels, the books could be frustratingly uneven. Readers often found themselves bewildered by the sheer number of characters drifting in and out of the pages, unable to keep track of all the “mad ones” that Kerouac strained to include in his storylines. Why, the critics wondered, couldn’t Kerouac simply create a few composite characters embodying his friends’ most noteworthy traits? By any standard such an authorial modification would have vastly improved the readability of the books.

But that was not Kerouac’s aim. He wished to capture the truth, his truth, as best and as purely as he could. And he wanted to do this spontaneously, like a jazz musician wailing on his horn during an onstage improvisation. Revision, in Kerouac’s eyes, would only dilute the purity of the original performance. Furthermore, since he viewed his writing vocation as rooted in the Sacrament of Reconciliation: revision was tantamount to lying in the confessional. It might have have resulted in better novels, but they would no longer have been “spontaneous” and “true” novels. And it is the spontaneity and the emotional truth of these books, more than anything else, that continue to speak to readers.

It’s easy to approach On the Road with cynicism: an almost rapturous naïveté, or idiocy, permeates throughout. Yet this wide-eyed quality is actually one of the book’s great strengths; it evokes the exhilaration of being young, of leaving home for the first time and venturing out into the wider world with an open heart and credulous mind. Kerouac had the beguiling ability to find the admirable and holy in every soul he encountered on his travels, just as he had seen angels and the Holy Mother emerging from every corner in Lowell. And who has not experienced the sweet rush of moral transgression or the anguish of having to accept the consequences of such behavior? On the Road captures those emotions expertly.

Kerouac’s self-destructive nature, which led to his premature death from alcohol-induced hemhorraging, is perhaps the most curious aspect of his life story. Why would a man who worked so relentlessly at his craft, who endured 15 years of obscurity and rejection before his triumphant breakthrough, and who seemed to derive blissed-out enjoyment from even the most mundane aspects of life methodically destroy everything he had worked so hard to attain?

The answer may lie in a combination of near-crippling shyness and the very emotional openness that gave his writing such warmth. A fundamentally quiet, sensitive soul, Kerouac was woefully ill-equipped for the spotlight and had very little tolerance for criticism. Alcohol bolstered his confidence to speak in public and partially anaesthetized the sting of the many bad reviews his books received. Yet it was not enough. His friends watched helplessly as he barrelled onward to his demise, spurred ever faster by the hostile media.

As the apolitical Beat Generation metastasized into the heavily politicized hippie movement, Kerouac’s despondency and sense of alienation deepened. “I made myself famous by writing ‘songs’ and lyrics about the beauty of the things I did and ugliness too,” he said in a heated exchange with polical activist Ed Sanders on Buckley’s “Firing Line. “You made yourself famous by saying, ‘Down with this, down with that, throw eggs at this, throw eggs at that!’ Take it with you. I cannot use your refuse; you may have it back.”

He allowed political differences to play a part in the demise of one of his greatest friendships. “I don’t even particularly wanta see [Allen Ginsberg],” he wrote his friend John Clellon Holmes in 1963, “what with his pro-Castro bullshit and his long white robe Messiah shot. … He and all those bohemian beatniks round him have nothing NEW to tell me.” This was a one-sided breakup. Ginsberg, by then a famous poet, remained intensely loyal to Kerouac even after Kerouac started publicly denouncing his old friend and hurling anti-Semitic insults in his direction. Ginsberg was wise enough, and big-hearted enough, to understand that Kerouac’s flailing out at him was a symptom of larger issues.

Kerouac’s sad final years were spent in an increasingly frantic quest to find a true home for himself and his mother. On an almost yearly basis he oscillated between Florida and New England, always following the same cycle: purchase a home, move in, grow restless, sell it; purchase another one, move in, sell it; and so on. Tragically, even when he returned to Lowell for a brief time, he found that the nurturing community he had written about so fondly for so many years now existed only in his books. He yearned, as the fictional Odysseus had during his wanderings, for the familiar, for something real and stable in his life. His mistake lay in looking for these things outside of him. Nevertheless, that desire is a good, true, worthy desire, and it permeates all of Jack Kerouac’s writing. It is the reason why the Beat movement could not last. Allen Ginsberg, the poet visionary, pined for utopia and spiritual revolution. William S. Burroughs, the outlaw libertarian, pined for anarchy and gay liberation. Neal Cassady, the exiled cowboy, pined for girls and cars. Jack Kerouac, the mystic, pined for God and home.

Robert Dean Lurie is the author of No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and The Church.

Limonov par Edouard Limonov

Limonov.jpg

Limonov par Edouard Limonov

Ex: http://ungraindesable.hautetfort.com/

limonjee15012z1_1.jpgPetit tour hebdomadaire, hier, chez Emaüs ou j’ai déniché ceci : Limonov Par Edouard Limonov Conversations avec Axel Gyldén
Etonnant … je ne l’avais pas remarqué à sa sortie, il faut dire que ne fréquente pas le site de l’Express.
 En ce moment le public français découvre Limonov grâce à Carrère  « Il est certain que le succès de Carrère m’a bien servi. Mais j’ai aussi servi Carrère. Notre couple est comparable à celui de Régis Debray et Che Guevara. Sans le Français, qui a présenté le révolutionnaire au public européen, Guevara n’aurait probablement pas eu la même aura. Et voyez Jésus-Christ : sans la trahison de Judas, il serait peut-être tombé aux oubliettes de l’histoire. Je comprends très bien comment fonctionnent les choses : à l’image de Sibylle qui guide Enée vers les flammes, dans l'Énéide de Virgile, il faut être deux pour pénétrer aux Enfers.

Tout cela est très positif : la France s’intéresse de nouveau à mon œuvre qui compte plus de cinquante livres. Or Le poète russe est depuis longtemps épuisé et non réédité. Sur Amazon, sa cote dépasse 300 euros. À vrai dire, j’estime que sa vraie valeur se situe plutôt autour de 3.000, voire de 30 000 euros, mais passons. Il sera bientôt réédité, j’imagine. Certains de mes livres, encore inédits en France, seront peut-être traduits. »

Continuons plus loin avec Limonov.

— Comment s’est déroulée la rencontre avec le leader du Front national ?

— Le Pen nous a offert un dîner mémorable dans sa propriété du parc de Montretout, à Saint-Cloud, d’où l’on voit tout Paris. Avec Le Pen, Jirinovski et moi-même, nous formions une belle brochette de « bad boys ». Sur les murs de la villa de Montretout, une chose m’a frappé : j’y ai reconnu des tableaux de l’artiste russe Ilya Glazounov. [Ilya Glazounov était lui aussi monarchiste.] Le Pen était étonné que je connaisse cet artiste. Il m’a expliqué qu’ils étaient amis depuis les années 1960.

— Cela ne vous dérange pas de fréquenter des gens qui flirtent avec l’antisémitisme ?

— Il n’existe aucune preuve de ce que vous avancez. Je préfère toujours forger mon opinion à partir d’observations personnelles plutôt que sur la base d’avis extérieurs ou d’articles de presse. Si je me fie à ma méthode de compréhension des hommes au premier regard exposée plus haut, il est clair que Jean-Marie Le Pen est beaucoup plus sympathique que, par exemple, Vladimir Poutine ou Dmitri Medvedev. Il est aussi plus honnête. En fait, Le Pen est sans doute l’homme politique français dont l’honnêteté intellectuelle est la plus incontestable.

J’ai apprécié, chez lui, un côté humain, affable. Il a une manière aimable de recevoir ses invités, sans façons, et en leur faisant sentir qu’ils sont des personnages plus importants que lui-même. Certes, il vit comme un bon bourgeois. Mais il est un peu baroudeur, et un peu voyou, ce qui en fait un type intéressant. Par son talent oratoire et son tempérament impétueux, il m’a fait penser à Danton.

— Le Pen, « sympathique » ? Vous allez encore vous faire des amis en France…

— De moi aussi la moitié des gens disent que je suis antipathique et infréquentable. Mais c’est faux. Voilà peu, mon nouvel agent littéraire François Samuelson buvait une vodka chez moi et l’a dit : « Mais pourquoi Emmanuel Carrère a-t-il écrit que tu étais distant ? Tu n’es pas distant. » Je suis certes un peu froid au premier contact. Mais ensuite, je m’ouvre, je me livre. Carrère a projeté sur moi ce qu’il est : il est beaucoup plus froid, distant, réservé que moi. Le vrai problème avec moi, c’est que j’ouvre ma grande gueule. Une attitude insupportable pour la France qui est le royaume du « political correctness ».

— La France est « politiquement correcte » ?

— Exactement. Il y a chez vous des régions entières de la pensée, des territoires intellectuels, des pans de la mémoire collective qu’il est interdit d’explorer. Je ne veux pas entrer dans les détails. Mais le résultat, c’est qu’en France, les idées se tarissent et la pensée est unique. Ce n’est pas un hasard s’il n’y a plus de grands maîtres à penser, ni de grands écrivains depuis trois bonnes décennies, en France.

— Dans certains cas, le « politiquement correct » n’est-il pas souhaitable, notamment pour empêcher l’expression du racisme assumé ? Certaines pensées sont, en effet, indicibles.

— Je ne suis pas d’accord. En France comme en Allemagne, il est interdit d’exprimer l’idée que l’immigration de masse en provenance des pays musulmans pose des problèmes. Le « politiquement correct » l’interdit. Pourtant, c’est la réalité. Comment traiter cette question si elle n’est pas énoncée ?

 Cet entretien se termine par cette question


— À 69 ans, il serait peut-être temps d’envisager de prendre des vacances ?

— Je n’en ai jamais pris. Je n’ai jamais voyagé avec l’idée de me reposer ou de visiter des endroits. Tous mes déplacements avaient un objectif professionnel : participer à un salon littéraire, tenir un meeting, faire la guerre. Voilà mon idée des vacances. Le tourisme est une occupation artificielle, inintéressante. Regarder une carte postale procure autant de plaisir.

Cependant, j’aurais aimé explorer l’Afrique au temps de Livingstone et Stanley. Ce n’était pas du tourisme, c’était une aventure trépidante, une lutte pour la vie. L’industrie du tourisme me dégoûte. J’étais ravi quand j’ai appris que des requins avaient dévoré des touristes allemands en Égypte !


Bien sûr dans ce livre beaucoup de thèmes sont abordés : son enfance, ses parents, sa vie de voyou, son départ d’URSS , ses rencontres avec des artistes, le mouvement punk, L’Idiot international, la prison, le milieu littéraire parisien, la prison, la guerre …

samedi, 09 février 2013

Bulletin célinien 349

Le Bulletin célinien n°349

février 2013

Vient de paraître : Le Bulletin célinien, n° 349.

Au sommaire :

Marc Laudelout : Bloc-notes
François Gibault : Le centenaire de Lucien Combelle
Pierre Assouline : Entretien avec Lucien Combelle (1988)
Philippe Alméras : Lucien Combelle relaps
Correspondance Combelle - Céline : "Révolution et révolutionnaires" (1942)
Lucien Combelle : L'heure est au pamphlet (1939)
Eric Mazet : D'un monument à l'autre
Frédéric Saenen : Albert Cossery, le sphinx


Abonnement : 55 euros à :

Le Bulletin célinien, Bureau St Lambert, B P 77, BE 1200 Bruxelles.

jeudi, 07 février 2013

Dostoevsky on Modern Conservatism

Dostoevsky on Modern Conservatism

Against the Spirit of the Age


Ex: http://www.alternativeright.com/

On the advice of a friend, I have revised and updated a short 2009 essay on Fyodor Dostoevsky and modern conservatism. Translation is mine.

At first glance the U.S. Presidential Inauguration might seem another empty media spectacle. After all, the Commander-in-Chief is anointed by the infallible People, but he attains power ultimately to carry out the interests of globalist oligarchs. Yet the inauguration ceremony also serves as an affirmation of America’s true religion, liberalism. In his 2013 inaugural address, Barack Obama articulated quite clearly that “We, the People” shall lead humanity’s progress toward ever greater liberty and equality.

“Conservative” opposition to leftist political programs and figures, no matter its seeming intensity, is simply a matter of partisanship and policy choices. Republicans, constitutionalists and libertarians all share the same vision of the United States that Obama outlined:

We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names.  What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

Not a nation in any traditional sense, America is a social experiment, a self-willed construct proclaimed to embody the destiny of all mankind. The United States is a triumphant herald of modernity, and modernity is the spiritual impoverishment of being. Blood, faith and heritage are to be abolished by liberty, i.e. the vicissitudes of market forces. The fanciful notion of “unalienable rights” simultaneously disintegrates society while strengthening elite control. In his own second inaugural speech of 2005, Republican George W. Bush saw the drive toward global democracy as “a fire in the minds of men” lighting a path toward a New Order of the Ages.

 

The man who first spoke of this fire burning through civilization was none other than the brilliant 19th-century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky in his work The Possessed. In typical fashion, Bush had warped Dostoevsky’s image, holding the noxious revolutionary flame aloft as a liberating force. Never would the man from St. Petersburg have supported this obvious contagion; the forces of subversion must be utterly routed at every level of national life.

Fyodor Dostoevsky has rightly been called a prophet of the modern age. With a depth of vision unrivalled, he saw that cultural, political, and economic disorder have their main source in a crisis of the spirit. Dostoevsky then foresaw how man’s rebellion against the Transcendent would progressively accelerate into full-blown anarchy. This idea became a central theme of The Possessed, his great counter-revolutionary novel. Within the book particular attention was drawn to the spiritual corruption of the ruling class, the so-called conservative elements of society.

Dostoevsky wrote about Russia, but he was also deeply sensitive to the West’s descent into secularism. By the 19th century “enlightened” European man had hurtled headlong into apostasy, abandoning Christ for the worship of self; his first act of regicide was the murder of God within his heart. Without sacral authority, power was said to derive from the perfect will of “We, The People,” guided by moneyed manipulators and their technocrats. Parties like the GOP and the Tories have done nothing to arrest the decline of our societies because they ultimately share the same radical, anti-traditional principles of the Left. For evidence, look no further than Britain’s rapid transformation into a crime-ridden, multicultural surveillance state, where the ruling Conservatives advance homosexual “marriage” as a matter of moral legitimacy.

The ideals of modernity, manifested in progress, equality, democracy, total individual autonomy, etc. form a counterfeit religion. So long as the self-proclaimed Right holds fast to any of these fantasies, opposition to liberalism is meaningless and purely cosmetic. Rhetorical nods to cultural consolidation, i.e. “family values,” are articulated within the corrosive framework of Enlightenment rights ideology, and only for the purpose of grabbing votes. Does anyone truly contemplate that Republicans will attempt anything meaningful against institutionalized infanticide? Lest we forget, over 50 million unborn children have been slaughtered in the United States since abortion was made legal by the Supreme Court in 1973. It is now a point of pride that American men and women fight for these storied liberties from the Hindu Kush to the Maghreb.

With the traditional West devastated and hierarchy inverted, there is precious little to conserve besides one’s faith and lineage, the necessities for survival and resurgence. But modern conservatives reject the divine-human and heartfelt essence of culture, thereby serving as the liberal order’s most ardent defenders. How easy it is to cheer the next war, demographic dissolution or crass popular amusements, all acts in the founding of a Garden of Earthly Delights, what Dostoevsky imagined as a glorified anthill. The conservative movement knows what’s really important: generous contributions from the financial and defense industries to maintain policies of corporate centralization and overseas empire.

The mainstream Right has led the West to systemic cultural collapse in full collusion with the slightly more radical Left. Dostoevsky's The Possessed reveals the spiritual and intellectual dimensions of this long process and the malevolent spirit behind it. A conversation between the story’s provincial governor, Von Lembke, and the nihilist revolutionary Peter Verkhovensky nicely encapsulates the mentality and path of conservatism in the modern era.

“We have responsibilities, and as a result we also serve the common cause as you do. We are only holding back what you loosen and what without us would scatter in various directions.

We’re not your enemies; hardly so. We’re saying to you: go forward, make progress, even shatter, that is, everything that is subject to alteration; but when needed, we will keep you within the necessary boundaries and save you from yourselves, because without us you would only send Russia into upheaval, depriving her of a proper appearance, and our duty is to look after proper appearances.

Understand that you and I are mutually necessary to each other. In England Tories and Whigs also need each other. Now then, we’re Tories, and you’re Whigs…”

“Well, however you like it,” murmured Peter Stepanovich. “Nevertheless you are paving the way for us and preparing our success.”

Strip away the concern for proper appearances, and it becomes clear that modern conservatism is the handmaiden of revolutionary nihilism.

 

Mark Hackard

Mark Hackard

Mark Hackard has a a BA in Russian from Georgetown University and an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University.