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dimanche, 24 mai 2015

The Law of Civilisation and Decay


The Law of Civilisation and Decay

K R Bolton considers culture pathogens

Ex: http://www.quarterly-review.org

There are many causes given for the death of Civilisations, including environmental, moral, racial, economic, and dysgenic. However, those who reject political economy whether of the English Free Trade School or its Marxian and other socialist derivatives, give too little attention to the central role of materialism in the decline and fall of civilisations. Indeed, it can be contended that the latter is a primary cause of cultural etiolation, with other factors being symptoms of a prior culture-pathogen. For it is the way money is regarded as a culture-symbol that reflects the state of a Civilisation.

The towering genius of Western historical-philosophy, Oswald Spengler, detailed this culture-problem in his epochal Decline of the West nearly a century ago.[1] Even prior to Spengler however, the American Brooks Adams wrote a masterful study on the role of money in the decline of cultures in a no less remarkable book, The Law of Civilisation and Decay.[2] For here, as with Spengler, we have the diagnostic method of culture-pathology and the possibilities of a cure once the cause is known.

It was for this reason that Ezra Pound, who was committed to overthrowing the money-power, enthusiastically recommended Brooks Adams’ book as essential reading.[3]

The Law of Civilization and Decay was published in 1896; that is, several decades prior to Spengler’s Decline of the West. Like Spengler, Adams traces through the analogous epochs of Civilizations the impact these epochs have upon the Culture in its entirety, from architecture to politics, focusing on the economic influences. He shows, like Spengler, that Civilizations proceed through organic cycles. Spengler used the names of seasons to illustrate the organic character of culture-life, going through the stages of birth (Spring; Culture), youthful vigor (Summer, High Culture), maturity (Autumn, Civilization), old age and senility (Winter), with an intervening era of revival – a dramatic final bow on the world stage – ending in death due to the primacy of money over spirit.

Adams first noted the ‘law of civilization and decay’ in the differences in architecture between the city-states in Civilizations that had maintained their cultural ethos, or what Spengler referred to as the culture-cities, and those that had been founded as centers of commerce. In the commercial cities such as Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Florence, of the early Western Medieval epoch, ‘the religious idea,’ expressed elsewhere in the Gothic style (which Spengler identified as one of the purest Western – Faustian – culture forms, epitomized by the Gothic Cathedral)[4] was not defined. Adams wrote of this, like Spengler several decades later:

Furthermore, commerce from the outset seemed antagonistic to the imagination, for a universal decay of architecture set in throughout Europe after the great commercial expansion of the thirteenth century; and the inference I drew from these facts was that the economic instinct must have chosen some other medium by which to express itself.[5]

Adams concluded that a ‘mercantile community’ would instead express itself through its type of coinage. Another primary factor, Adams concluded, was that men act through impulse and instinct, and only rationalise their actions once they have attained their aims. Characteristics, states Adams, are inherited through familial generations, but as changes occur, and the inherited characteristics become redundant in new circumstances, families fall from fame to obscurity. ‘Particularly has this been true in revolutionary epochs such as the Reformation; and families so situated have very generally become extinct.’[6]

There is a dichotomy that utilises a stored collective energy, either impelling great achievements or dissipating that energy. This is based on two drives: fear that prompts feelings of religion, imagination, the metaphysical and priesthood; and greed that ‘dissipates energy in war and trade.’[7] These two primary drives as we might call them today, fear and greed, equate, I believe, with the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter epochs of Spengler’s morphology of cultures respectively.

‘Fear’ equates with a religious instinct. This should not be seen as having negative connotations, as Marx and other materialists, rationalists and atheists would insist. Rather, it is that primal quality of feeling of cosmic awe that Spengler saw in the Spring of a High Culture, where great art and great adventures are played out to a Culture’s ‘glory to God’ or Gods. That this religious instinct is transformed into a new pseudo-religious form in the Autumn and Winter epochs of a Civilisation can be seen from the use emerging economic classes – the bourgeois – made of Puritanism and Calvinism.[8] Such forces were at the foundation of the USA.

Adams’ theory of energy seems akin to C. G. Jung on the ‘canalisation’ of psychical energy (libido);[9] with the two primary drives, fear and greed, in Adams’ theory, being the means by which what Jung called ‘canalisation’ manifests. In both Adams’ and Jung’s theories, instinct is at the base of this energy activation. Likewise with Spengler, instinct is at the base of the flowering of a High Culture in its Spring epoch, before ossifying into ‘reason’ in the Late or Winter epoch.

Like Spengler, Adams states that the formative stages of a High Culture, still based on ‘fear’, that is to say, the imaginative qualities, produce a culture that is ‘religious, military, artistic.’[10] Adams states that, ‘as consolidation advances, fear yields to greed, and the economic organism tends to supersede the emotional and martial.’[11] Hence we arrive with Adams at the same place as Spengler, where money dominates at the late cultural epoch; and energy is expended on material gain at the expense of the founding spiritual ethos. Energy that is not expended is stored. Again we come to the theory similar to the libido of psychology. This surplus energy might be stored as wealth. Eventually conquest for booty or empire, still undertaken under the impress of the founding spiritual ethos, is displaced by the ‘greed’ impulse manifested as economics. Adams writes of this process:

“However large may be the store of energy accumulated by conquest, a race must, sooner or later, reach the limit of its martial energy, when it must enter on the phase of economic competition. But, as the economic organism radically differs from the emotional and martial, the effect of economic competition has been, perhaps invariably, to dissipate the energy amassed by war.”[12]

The next passage by Adams is remarkably suggestive of Spengler in describing the cycles of decay:

“When surplus energy has accumulated in such bulk as to preponderate over productive energy, it becomes the controlling social force. Thenceforward, capital is autocratic, and energy vents itself through those organisms best fitted to give expression to the power of capital. In this last stage of consolidation, the economic, and, perhaps, the scientific intellect is propagated, while the imagination fades, and the emotional, the martial, and the artistic types of manhood decay. When a social velocity has been attained at which the waste of energetic material is so great that the martial and imaginative stocks fail to reproduce themselves, intensifying competition appears to generate two extreme economic types, – the usurer in his most formidable aspect, and the peasant whose nervous system is best adapted to thrive on scanty nutriment. At length a point must be reached when pressure can go no further, and then, perhaps, one of two results may follow: A stationary period may supervene, which may last until ended by war, by exhaustion, or by both combined, as seems to have been the case with the Eastern Empire; or, as in the Western, disintegration may set in, the civilized population may perish, and a reversion may take place to a primitive form of organism.”[13]


Here the primary elements of Spengler can be identified in Adams in terms of materialism giving rise to scientism or the ‘Age of Reason’ as it is called in the Western epoch, on the ruins of faith and an intuition of one’s place in the cosmos. The latter is replaced by a rootless struggle for economic existence or power, as approvingly observed by Marx in The Communist Manifesto. The intellectual replaces the priest, the banker replaces the aristocrat, and the proletarian replaces the craftsman and peasant. After the death of the Civilisation, the peasant reverts to his former existence outside of history, fellaheen as Spengler terms him in a post-civilisation, as in Egypt and India. Very close to the passage from Adams above, is the following from Spengler:

“At this level, all Civilisations enter upon a stage, which lasts for centuries, of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms, and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile, at the last. Only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its strongest and most promising elements. This residue is the Fellah type.”[14]

According to Adams, the law of civilisation and decay shows that energy is expended on economic competition to the point of culture exhaustion. The prolonged inertia that Adams refers to where the survivors of the dissipated old Civilisation exist devoid of vigour is analogous to the Fellah type described by Spengler. Both refer to the exhaustion of vigour expended for economic motives.

The evidence, however, seems to point to the conclusion that, when a highly centralized society disintegrates, under the pressure of economic competition, it is because the energy of the race has been exhausted. Consequently, the survivors of such a community lack the power necessary for renewed concentration, and must probably remain inert until supplied with fresh energetic material by the infusion of barbarian blood.[15]

Where that fresh blood is to be found to reinvigorate a decaying West is problematic, given that culture-pathology has spread to every corner of the globe through international commerce, and is perhaps even exported as a world control mechanism to break down traditional barriers.[16] Spengler suggested, even in 1919, regardless of Bolshevism, that the fresh blood and new ethos might come eventually from Russia.[17]

As both Spengler and Adams state, the Late (Winter) epoch, i.e. the epoch in which we are now living, is based on Money and commerce, with the usurer, as Adams states, being the highest incarnation of Late Civilisation. The Late epoch makes literature, theatre, art and music, commodities like any automobile or refrigerator, as a quick turnover for profitability, and designed for quick obsolescence. Power is exercised through money, loans, international finance, and the power centres of the world are the money centres: New York and The City of London.

Money rules during the closing epoch of a Civilisation, until overthrown by an internal resurgence of authority and faith, or by invasion. Adams points out that decay soon set into Rome because the land-tiller-soldier was not equipped to deal with the rise of a mercantile elite, and the whole edifice became debt-ridden. The patrician class became money-lenders and shaped policy according to their interests. Debtors or their children often became slaves of the money-lenders. ‘The stronghold of usury lay in the fiscal system, which down to the fall of the Empire was an engine for working bankruptcy’. Although one thinks of Rome primarily as ruled by a stern martial ethos, Adams shows that at an early period ‘Romans had been bred destitute of the martial instinct’.

The Roman spiritual ethos was reasserted when the oligarchic families were overthrown by Pyrrhus, who saw Rome’s strength in her farmers. However, with Roman greatness and her imperial expansion came the conquest of populations that had already succumbed to decay, ‘and their cheap labour exterminated the husbandmen of Italy’, writes Adams. This passage from Adams cogently expresses the problem:

By conquest the countries inhabited by races of a low vitality and great tenacity of life were opened both for trade and slaving, and their cheap labour exterminated the husbandmen of Italy. Particularly after the annexation of Asia Minor this labour overran Sicily, and the cultivation of the cereals by the natives became impossible when the island had been parcelled out into great estates stocked by capitalists with eastern slaves who, at Rome, undersold all competitors. During the second century the precious metals poured into Latium in a flood, great fortunes were amassed and invested in land, and the Asiatic provinces of the Empire were swept of their men in order to make these investments pay. No data remain by which to estimate, even approximately, the size of this involuntary migration, but it must have reached enormous numbers, for sixty thousand captives were the common booty of a campaign, and after provinces were annexed they were depopulated by the publicans.[18]

Where there were slaves imported from the subject peoples, long since etiolated, filling an Italy whose population was being denuded, there is today an analogous process in an analogous epoch: that of immigration from the ‘third world’ into the Western states whose populations are ageing. Oligarchy constituted the core of the Empire. Nobility became defined by wealth.

Just as Spengler notes how the cities suck the country and form a proletarianised mass, Adams relates that the same process took place in Italy. Free trade with Egypt caused the destitution and proletarianisation of the Italian farmers. Does this not seem very ‘modern’, very present-day?

By 22 AD Tiberius was trying to address the matter of how to return the Romans, who had become obsessed with opulence, to a simpler life. A trade imbalance in the pursuit of luxury items from the East brought Italy to ruin, with a financial crisis culminating in 33AD. Rome to maintain any military vigour, was obliged to recruit or press gang from its Germanic subject tribes. ‘This military metamorphosis indicated the extinction of the martial type, and it extended throughout society. Rome not only failed to breed the common soldier, she also failed to produce generals’. In a passage particularly reminiscent of Spengler, Brooks Adams provides what might be regarded as a summary of the condition of Roman Civilisation:

This supremacy of the economic instinct transformed all the relations of life, the domestic as well as the military. The family ceased to be a unit, the members of which cohered from the necessity of self-defence, and became a business association. Marriage took the form of a contract, dissoluble at the will of either party, and, as it was somewhat costly, it grew rare. As with the drain of their bullion to the East, which crushed their farmers, the Romans were conscious, as Augustus said, that sterility must finally deliver their city into the hand of the barbarians. They knew this and they strove to avert their fate, and there is little in history more impressive than the impotence of the ancient civilization in its conflict with nature. About the opening of the Christian era the State addressed itself to the task. Probably in the year 4 AD, the emperor succeeded in obtaining the first legislation favouring marriage, and this enactment not proving effective, it was supplemented by the famous Leges Julia and Papia Poppsea of the year 9. In the spring, at the games, the knights demanded the repeal of these laws, and then Augustus, having called them to the Forum, made them the well-known speech, whose violence now seems incredible. Those who were single were the worst of criminals, they were murderers, they were impious, they were destroyers of their race, they resembled brigands or wild beasts. He asked the equites if they expected men to start from the ground to replace them, as in the fable; and declared in bitterness that while the government liberated slaves for the sole purpose of keeping up the number of citizens, the children of the Marcii, of the Fabii, of the Valerii, and the Julii, let their names perish from the earth.[19]

We come now to the present, when the pre-eminent world-city is New York as a symbol of the much-heralded ‘leader of the Western world,’ the USA. Here we see in the USA not the beginning of something new and vigorous, but the outgrowth of the most decayed elements of Western Civilisation: a dichotomy of Europe’s late Enlightenment Deism, and of English Puritanism. The latter sanctioned money-making as a divine commandment, and culture as a devilish waste of time.[20] It is an ethic that worked against the development either of an American High Culture or America as the custodian of Western High Culture. For example, at the founding Puritan American Colonies, music was excluded as a profession[21], while Puritan functionalism worked against the development of a significant Puritan visual art.[22] While, as Adams states, the Reformation of Henry VIII paved the way for the dictatorship of money,[23] the impetus was given by the English Puritan Revolution of 1642-1648. Adams stated of this that but for the hostility of The City, Charles the First would never have been vanquished, and that without the help of The City, Charles the Second could scarcely have been restored.[24] The establishment of the Bank of England in 1688, facilitated with the usurpation of the Throne by William III of Orange signified the subordination of the Throne to the money-lender.


Hence, the dictature of money in the West was formalized in 1688 after several centuries of conflict between tradition and money. The world money centre shifted from London to New York in recent times in the same way that it had shifted from Amsterdam to London during the 17th Century. The reasons and consequences of these historical dynamics are perhaps no better explained to the Anglophone world than by Brooks Adams’ Law of Civilization and Decay.

[1] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (London: Allen and Unwin, 1971)
[2] Brooks Adams, The Law of Civilisation and Decay (London: Macmillan Company, 1896), https://archive.org/stream/lawofcivilizatio00adam#page/n6/mode/1up
[3] Ezra Pound, (1942) A Visiting Card (London: Peter Russell, 1952), 8-9
Pound (1944) America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War (London: Peter Russell 1951), 8, 13, 16
Pound (1944) Gold & Work (London: Peter Russell 1951), 6
[4] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West, op. cit., Vol. I, 396: ‘The character of the Faustian cathedral is that of the forest… the architectural actualising of a world-feeling…’
[5] Brooks Adams, vi
[6] Ibid., vii
[7] Ibid., ix
[8] Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1950)
[9] Calvin S. Hall and Vernon J. Nordby, A Primer of Jungian Psychology (New York: New American Library, 1973), ‘Canalization of Energy’, 76-80
[10] Brooks Adams, ix
[11] Ibid
[12] Ibid., x
[13] Ibid., x-xi
[14] Oswald Spengler, op. cit., Vol, II, p. 105
[15] Brooks Adams, xi
[16] Ralph Peters, ‘Constant Conflict’, Parameters, US Army War College, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14, http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/Articles/97summer/peters.htm
[17] Oswald Spengler, ‘The Two Faces of Russia and Germany’s Eastern Problems’, 14 February 1922, Politische Schriften, Munich, 1922
[18] Brooks Adams, 12-13
[19] Brooks Adams, 42
[20] F. J. Bremer, The Puritan Experiment: New England Society from Bradford to Edwards (New York: St. Martins Press, 1976)
[21] R. Crawford, (ed.), America’s Musical Life: A History (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005)
[22] F. J. Bremer
[23] Brooks Adams, 233
[24] Brooks Adams, 292-293

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mercredi, 26 mars 2014




By Tito Perdue

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

Delivered to the H. L. Mencken Club, November 1, 2013

About two years ago, when I was still very young, I bumped into a copy of the abridged version of Arnold Toynbee’s A Study of History [2]wherein he tried to establish a taxonomy of civilizations, a successful effort, it seemed to me, that allowed him to delineate the surprisingly few genuine civilizations — some 23 according to him — that have ever actually existed. Inspired by this effort, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been possible to construct a classification system for societies that have experienced decadence.

It’s clear I think that the decadence that accompanied the collapse of the western part of the Roman Empire was not at all like that of Weimar Germany, for instance. Rome had been overwhelmed by alien occupation, whereas Germany seems to have experienced a sort of moral breakdown in the wake of its defeat in the First World War. Both societies were experiencing economic problems, but there have been very many societies that have been through economic disruption without however falling into decadence. The decadence of Rome and of Weimar Germany therefore seem to have had very different causes. We know that viral meningitis is quite unlike the bacterial variety.

The story of Rome is the story of huge success eventuating in an empire that reduced the individual to a grain of sand, relieved him of responsibility, and created a heterogeneous world in which people no longer recognized each other and no longer felt themselves part of an organic society. Alexander was no doubt a remarkable personality, but his empire, like those of Rome, or of Persia, or of the Soviet Union, ended in decadence, as indeed all empires seem to do, provided they endure long enough. Moreover his project of folding Greece into a world-wide empire marked the end of Greece’s cultural importance.

On balance, it may be that poor countries are less available to decadence than rich ones. The United States, for example, are very rich, even today, but that hasn’t thwarted the onset of our own particular form of decadence which is mostly the result, I think, of too much prosperity, and too much good luck extended over too long a period.

Prosperity dissolves self-discipline and makes it possible for people to engage in antinomian behaviors that are not in their own, or their nation’s, best interests. There is nothing especially immoral about plumbers and electricians believing they have the right to live in $500,000 houses, even though that belief may involve great danger to the over-all economy. Today we see millionaire parents demanding tax-supported scholarships for their offspring, the same millionaire parents who don’t hesitate to lay out thousands of dollars for corrective dental surgery for their pet poodles. These are the symptoms of a society that has become “unrealistically” rich, and unrealistically secure, and that has lost any understanding of the real world that lies in wait just on the other side of the hill.

We have become a nation that has made it unnecessary for prosperous people ever to serve in the military and is willing to defend itself with women serving in front-line combat. Whenever you think our country has become as decadent as it is possible for any society to be, just wait till tomorrow. We’re a rich country, and if we don’t wish to perform military service, we can always hire someone else to do the job for us. We are reminded of the time when Romans lost interest in defending themselves, and chose to sub-contract the job out to illegal immigrants. Not that ever we would behave like that.

Prosperity encourages parents to turn decision making over to their children. The ethos and culture of modern America is essentially an adolescent construct. If my grandfather’s children had attempted to preempt his authority, those children would have had to go through life with some very serious physical disabilities.

Prolonged prosperity is an abnormal condition, and tends to produce abnormal people. For most of history, simple survival has been the first concern. Without that challenge, most people have trouble deciding how to make use of their advantages, especially after the pleasures of consumerism, drugs, and women begin to pall, which usually happens rather quickly. Today we have a government that requires health insurance plans to cover the cost of contraceptives while with the other hand providing for fertility treatments.

Fertility is therefore seen as a disease and as a desideratum at the same time. Moving right along, government may soon, or perhaps already has agreed to subsidize the cost of abortion, a generous provision that cancels the onerous need for women to take a little pill in the morning. Conclusion? Abortions must be a lot of fun.

Yet another result of advanced decadence is the emergence of a class of fantastically wealthy people who find themselves in urgent need of psychotropic drugs and weekly visits to the neighborhood psychiatrist. Today the divorce rate is as high as it has ever been, a reflection of the self-indulgence that renders people incapable of the give and take of marriage.

It may be that decadence is inevitable for people who are not in danger. “Live dangerously,” Nietzsche recommends. The Greek city-states were always in danger, both from each other and from barbarian invasion. Elizabethan England was never so culturally productive as when she found herself under imminent attack from Spain.

Small countries, always in danger, seldom fall into decadence. The tiny states of Greece or Renaissance Italy or Colonial America, places where people actually knew each other and actually depended upon each other, lived much more vivid lives, I believe, than the unfortunate subjects of multinational empires who are looked upon as fungible parts of a complicated machine. Life in Republican Rome must have been far more pleasant than under the Empire, and never mind that the Empire was far wealthier than the Republic.

Hellenistic Greece was much richer than Hellenic Greece, and much worse. And so I think that prolonged prosperity is not only the chief cause of our sort of decadence, but also its chief historic characteristic.

Societies that are not prosperous bestow authority on males, as males are more necessary for survival. The male is better equipped to build a log cabin, or kill Indians, or chop down trees. But when a society becomes prosperous, women can play a larger part, and are able to discharge the necessary functions of a settled community. And when a society becomes very rich and stays that way for a long time, those activities in which women are equal or superior come more and more into prominence. Clearly a good society must include the female spirit, and a world without proportionate female participation would be a hell on earth. But in decadence, the tastes and preferences of women may actually come to dominate and to set up quite another kind of hell, the kind we see today in this country, where empathy and niceness and maternalism trump society’s more essential requirements. Nothing can be easier than sitting in a darkened room with a cocktail in one hand while generating compassionate thoughts, a cost-free sort of activity that contrasts poorly with the more masculine virtues of courage, creativity, and intellection. You can read a thousand advice columns today and consult a hundred therapists and never hear any of those words mentioned.

It’s as if you were house hunting, and you’re mostly concerned about the building’s structure while your wife is mostly concerned about the wallpaper. A political candidate who “feels your pain,” and has a sweeter smile than his opponent will sweep the female vote and almost certainly win. This is a symptom of a society that is overly-feminized, overly tenderized, with a condescending view of life in which everyone stands in need of help. Those not in need of help are assumed by liberal women to be almost assuredly evil. They enjoy granting compassion to all living things, but would be humiliated to have it applied to themselves. They harbor tender feelings for certain American Indian tribes that, oddly enough, used women as baggage carriers and articles of trade. Our denatured urban elites have never forgiven the country for refusing affirmative action benefits for the Iroquois. Attitudes are very different among the urban poor, who actually know something about life’s unpleasant features, and who are less susceptible to decadence than to barbarism. It was George Bernard Shaw who is credited with saying that America might be the first society to go from barbarism to decadence without ever passing through civilization. It didn’t seem to occur to him that America could do both decadence and barbarism at the same time.

Without insisting that cultural decline is common to all decadent societies, there’s no doubt that it’s common to ours. A high culture demands an educational platform, and education in America today, with rare exceptions, has become simply a form of egalitarian indoctrination. In the minds of today’s educators, it is far more important for multiracial students to join hands and sing folk songs together than to learn math, or history, or anything else. It wasn’t so terribly long ago that a big city like New York would have a dozen FM radio stations offering classical music around the clock. I’ve been told that no such stations, or very few certainly, still exist. It wasn’t too terribly long ago that publishers were at least partly interested in serious fiction and would try to promote it. Today those publishers have become parts of conglomerates and are interested solely in being able to report good profits to their ownerships. The word “literary” makes a modern publisher groan with exasperation. It sounds so snobbish, that word. I once asked an editor if William Faulkner could be published today, if he weren’t already famous. “Of course not,” she replied. It’s far more profitable to publish mid-brow pulp aimed at well-dressed semi-educated feminist career women domiciled in the big coastal cities. As for the big newspapers, they have just about unanimously fallen into the hands of professional Left-wing agitators, hippies in amber, militating on behalf of political correctness.

Perhaps it’s in common discourse and social behavior that our decadence most readily displays itself. Adults speak like children, and have the same enthusiasms. We have seen fifty-year-old men in short pants and sandals with their shirttails hanging out. Sixty-year olds attending rock concerts. The normalization of gutter speech, the scatological imperative, the coarsening of everything, the replacement of romance by acrobatic sex, the fashion among the young for the most unattractive clothing, tattoos, grotesque haircuts, the demonization, especially among the young, of accomplishment and pride — these are the symptoms of a society in which the young are having a more and more difficult time finding something to rebel against, the crisis of a fissiparous population trying to move in twenty different directions at once.

But these ills fade into complete inconsequentiality when compared to radical egalitarianism, a disastrous philosophy that might very well bring about the collapse of a civilization that, starting from the Greeks, has enhanced human life more than all other civilizations added up together.

In a perfectly egalitarian world, there can be no values of any kind. How could anyone be inspired to achieve anything if his achievement is viewed, perhaps even by himself, as of no more consequence than a cup of tea? Why do cancer research when it’s so much more profitable to be a pornographic actor? How could anyone be so unfair as to imagine that some work of art is superior to any other? Everyone knows that all societies are equal, save possibly for the one that arose in Germany in 1933. Who would wish to attend a football game if the players were all absolutely equal? Because in that case, victory would simply be an accident, granting glory to no one. It infuriates egalitarians that some people have more money than others, but doesn’t seem to trouble them, yet, that some people are more intelligent than others or more personable or better-looking.

To make judgments, according to post-modern thinking, is to be biased, and if a person genuinely wishes to prove how fair-minded he is, then really he ought to select his spouse by lottery. Indeed, it seems clear that a great many people have already resorted to that expedient.

Equality incurs tolerance, and tolerance has become but another word for nihilism. It’s easy to be tolerant, if you don’t believe in anything. A civilization practicing high standards must perforce be highly intolerant, becoming more and more intolerant as it becomes better and better.

Equality is possible only at low levels. A society in which everyone is very bad is entirely feasible, but the opposite is not. To promote equality is to promote a form of mediocrity always falling lower.

Today, the pursuit of wall-to-wall equality has not only very largely succeeded but has actually surpassed itself inasmuch as the worst people are now viewed as the best. If you wish to become a talk show host, it’s highly advisable to have practiced sexual deviancy, or to have a criminal record. For famous people, it’s preferable to have your children outside of marriage. Anyone who believes our leaders ought to have at least some allegiance to principles that are the result of thousands of years of trial and error will be seen as a comic figure, hopelessly obsolete. Truly, we have seen that “transvaluation of all values” that might have seemed so attractive to some of us when we were young. Today, those who believe in the possibility of supernal values are viewed as atavists, credulous people who like to imagine there’s more to life than the pursuit of pleasure. (Such people, by the way, are usually those who don’t know what real pleasure really is.) For them, life is but a hailstorm of molecules, and the only restraint on behavior is whether a person can make a profit out of it, or at least get away with it.

Can a civilization like ours continue for very long? We have seen that the western half of Rome fell in the 5th century, but we also know that the eastern half continued on for another thousand years. My view of America is that it probably will subsist for a long time as a rich and powerful country, but that its civilizational and, if I may used the word, its spiritual quotient will remain in subfreezing territory for as long as it continues on.




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vendredi, 25 novembre 2011

Emil Cioran e o Culto à Morte

Emil Cioran e o Culto à Morte

por Tomislav Sunic
Ex: http://legio-victrix.blogspot.com/

Pessimismo histórico e senso trágico são motivos recorrentes na literatura Européia. De Heraclitus à Heidegger, de Sophocles à Schopenhauer, os representantes do ponto de vista trágico assinalam que a maneira mais curta de existência humana pode somente ser superada pela intensidade heróica de viver. A filosofia do trágico é incompatível com o dogma cristão de salvação e otimismo de algumas ideologias modernas. Muitas políticas ideológicas e teológicas modernas se estabelecem a partir do pressuposto de que “o futuro radiante” está em algum lugar depois de virar a esquina, e que o medo existencial pode ser melhor subjugado pela aceitação de um linear e progressivo conceito histórico. É interessante observar que indivíduos e massas, na nossa pós-modernidade, cada vez mais evitam alusões à morte e ao fato de morrer. Procissões e despertares, que há não muito honraram a comunhão pós-moderna entre a vida e a morte, estão rapidamente caindo no esquecimento. Em uma sociedade fria e super-racional de hoje, a morte de alguém causa constrangimento, como se a morte nunca tivesse existido, e como se a morte pudesse ser adiada por uma “procura da felicidade” deliberada. A crença de que a morte pode ser despistada com um elixir da juventude eterna e a “ideologia das boas aparências”, é generalizada na sociedade moderna orientada pela TV. Essa crença se tornou uma fórmula de conduta sócio-política.

O ensaísta franco-romeno, Emile Cioran, sugere que uma conscientização da futilidade existencial representa a única arma contra delírios teológicos e ideológicos que têm balançando a Europa por séculos. Nascido na Romênia em 1911, Cioran desde muito cedo se identificou com o velho provérbio Europeu de que geografia significa destino. Da sua região nativa, de onde uma vez vagou pelas hordas de Scythian e Sarmatian, e na qual mais recentemente, vampiros e Draculas políticos estão tomando o pedaço, ele herdou um típico talento “balkanesque” de sobrevivência. Dezenas de povos gregos antigos evitavam esta área, e quando as circunstâncias políticas os forçaram a fugir, escolheram uma nova pátria na Sicília ou na Itália – ou hoje, como Cioran, na França. “Nossa época” escreve Cioran, “vai ser marcada pelo romantismo de pessoas apátridas. Já a imagem do universo está no passo de que ninguém terá direitos civis.”[1] Similarmente a esses compatriotas exilados, Eugene Ionesco, Stephen Lupasco, Mircea Eliade, e muitos outros, Cioran vem para compreender muito cedo que o senso de futilidade existencial pode melhor ser curado pela crença em um conceito histórico cíclico, que exclui qualquer noção de chegada de um Messias ou a continuação do progresso tecno-econômico.

A atitude política, estética e existencial, de Cioran em relação a ser e tempo é um esforço para restaurar o pensamento pré-Socrático, o qual o Cristianismo, logo a herança do racionalismo e do positivismo, empurrou para a periferia da especulação filosófica. Nesse ensaio e aforisma, Cioran tenta lançar uma fundação de uma filosofia de vida que, paradoxalmente, consiste na refutação total de todo o viver. Em uma era de história acelerada lhe parece sem sentido especular sobre o aperfeiçoamento humano ou sobre o “fim da história”. “O futuro”, escreve Cioran, “vão e vejam por si mesmos se realmente desejam. Eu prefiro me agarrar ao inacreditável presente e ao inacreditável passado. Eu os deixo a oportunidade de encarar o inacreditável.”[2] Antes dos empreendimentos humanos em devaneios sobre a sociedade futurista, ele devia primeiro imergir a si mesmo na insignificância da sua vida, e finalmente restaurar a vida para o que ela é de fato: uma hipótese trabalhosa. Em uma de suas litografias, o pintor francês J. Valverde, do século XVI, esboçou um homem que tinha tirado sua própria pele. Esse incrível homem, segurando uma faca em uma das mãos e sua pele recém tirada na outra, assemelha-se a Cioran, que agora ensina aos seus leitores como melhor tirar a máscara das ilusões políticas. Homens sentem medo somente na sua pele, não no esqueleto. Como seria para uma mudança, pergunta Cioran, se o homem poderia ter pensado em algo não relacionado ao ser? Nem tudo que transparece teimoso tem causado dores de cabeça? “E eu tenho pensado em todos que eu conheço”, escreve Cioran, “em todos que não estão mais vivos, há muito chafurdando em seus caixões, para sempre isentos da sua carne – e medo.”[3]

A interessante característica de Cioran é a tentativa de lutar contra o niilismo existencial por significados niilistas. Diferente de seus contemporâneos, Cioran é averso ao pessimismo chic dos intelectuais modernos que lamentam paraísos perdidos, e que continuam pontificando sobre o fim do progresso econômico. Inquestionavelmente, o discurso literário da modernidade tem contribuído para essa disposição do falso pessimismo, embora esse pessimismo pareça ser mais induzido por apetites econômicos frustrados, e menos, pelo que Cioran fala, “alienação metafísica”. Contrário ao existencialismo de J.P. Sartre, que foca na ruptura entre ser e não-ser, Cioran lamenta a divisão entre a linguagem e a realidade e, portanto, a dificuldade de transmitir inteiramente a visão da insignificância existencial. Em um tipo de alienação popularizada por escritores modernos, Cioran detecta o ramo da moda do “parnasianismo” que elegantemente mascara uma versão aquecida de uma crença frustrada em andamento. Como uma atitude crítica em relação aos seus contemporâneos, talvez seja a razão do por quê Cioran nunca teve elogios caindo aos montes sobre ele, e por quê seus inimigos gostam de apelida-lo de “reacionário”. Para rotular Cioran de filósofo do niilismo pode ser melhor apropriado em vista do fato de quê ele é um blasfemador teimoso que nunca se cansa de chamar Cristo, São Paulo, e todo o clérigo cristão, tão bem quanto seus seculares marxistas freudianos, de sucessores totais da mentira e mestres da ilusão. Ao atenuar Cioran para uma categoria ideológica e intelectual preconcebida não se pode fazer justiça ao seu temperamento complexo, nem refletir objetivamente sua filosofia política complicada. Cada sociedade, democrática ou despótica, tenta silenciar aqueles que encarnam a negativa da sacrossanta teologia política. Para Cioran, todo os sistemas devem ser rejeitados pela simples razão de que eles glorificam o homem como criatura final. Somente no louvor do não-ser, e na total negação da vida, argumenta Cioran, a existência do homem se torna suportável. A grande vantagem de Cioran é, como ele diz, “eu vivo somente porque é meu poder morrer quando eu quiser; sem a idéia de suicídio, eu tenho me matado já há muito tempo atrás.”[4] Essas palavras testemunham a alienação de Cioran da filosofia de Sisyphus, bem como sua desaprovação do pathos moral do trabalho infestado de esterco. Dificilmente um caráter bíblico ou moderno democrata poderia querer contemplar de maneira similar a possibilidade de quebrar o ciclo do tempo. Como Cioran diz, o supremo senso de beatitude é alcançável somente quando o homem compreende que ele pode, em qualquer momento, terminar com sua vida; somente nesse momento isso significará uma nova “tentação de existir”. Em outras palavras, poderia ser dito que Cioran desenha sua força vital do constante fluxo de imagens de morte saudada, assim interpretando irrelevante todas as tentativas de qualquer compromisso ético ou político. O homem deveria, por uma mudança, argumenta Cioran, tentar funcionar como uma bactéria saprófita; ou melhor, como uma ameba da era Paleozóica. Como forma primordial de existência pode suportar o terror do ser e do tempo mais facilmente. Em um protoplasma, ou em espécies mais arcaicas, há mais beleza que em todos os filósofos da vida. E para reiterar este ponto, Cioran acrescenta: “Oh, como eu gostaria de ser uma planta, mesmo que eu teria que ser um excremento de alguém!”[5]

Talvez Cioran poderia ser retratado como arruaceiro, ou como os franceses diriam, “trouble fete”, do qual os aforismas suicidas ofendem a sociedade burguesa, mas de quem as palavras também chocam os socialistas modernos sonhadores. Em vista da sua aceitação da idéia da morte, assim como sua rejeição de todas as doutrinas políticas, não é de admirar que Cioran não mais se sente imposto ao egoísta amor da vida. Por isso, não há razão para ele no refletir sobre a estratégia de vida; alguém deveria, primeiro, começar a pensar sobre a metodologia da morte ou, melhor ainda, como nunca ter nascido. “A humanidade tem regredido muito”, escreve Cioran, e “nada prova isso melhor que a impossibilidade de encontrar uma única nação ou tribo na qual o nascimento de uma criança causa luto e lamentação”[6] Onde estão aqueles tempos sacros, pergunta Cioran, quando os bogumils balcânicos e os cátaros franceses viram no nascimento de uma criança um castigo divino? As gerações atuais, ao invés de alegrarem-se quando seus queridos morrem, estão aturdidos com terror e descrença na visão da morte. Ao invés de lamentar e lutar quando sua prole nasce, organizam festividades em massa:

“Se embargá-los é um mal, a causa desse mal deve ser vista no escândalo do nascimento – porque para nascer significa ser embargado. O propósito da separação deveria ser a supressão de todos os vestígios desse escândalo – o sinistro e o menos tolerável dos escândalos.”[7]

A filosofia de Cioran carrega uma forte marca de Friedrich Nietzsche e das Upanishads indianas. Embora seu incorrigível pessimismo muitas vezes chama a “Weltschmerz” de Nietzsche, sua linguagem clássica e sua rígida sintaxe raramente tolera narrativas românticas ou líricas, nem as explosões sentimentais que pode-se encontrar na prosa de Nietzsche. Ao invés de recorrer à melancolia trovejante, o humor paradoxal de Cioran expressa algo o qual, em primeiro lugar, nunca deveria ter sido construído verbalmente. A fraqueza da prosa de Cioran reside, provavelmente, na sua falta de organização temática. Quando seus aforismos são lidos como notas destruídas de uma boa construção musical, e também sua linguagem é bastante hermética, em que o leitor tem de tatear o significado.

Quando alguém lê a prosa de Cioran é confrontado por um autor que impõe um clima de gélido apocalipse, que contradiz completamente a herança do progresso. A verdadeira alegria está em não-ser, diz Cioran, que é, na convicção de que cada ato de criação intencional perpetua o caos cósmico. Não há propósito nas deliberações intermináveis sobre um melhor sentido da vida. A história inteira, seja a história lembrada ou a história mítica, é repleta de cacofonia de tautologias teológicas e ideológicas. Tudo é “éternel retour”, um carrossel histórico, com aqueles que estão hoje no topo, terminando amanhã no fundo do poço.

“Eu não posso desculpar a mim mesmo por ter nascido. É como se, ao insinuar a mim mesmo nesse mundo, eu profanasse algum mistério, traísse algum importante noivado, executasse um erro de gravidade indescritível.”[8]

Não significa que Cioran seja completamente isolado dos tormentos físicos e mentais. Ciente da possibilidade de um desastre cósmico, e persuadido neurologicamente de que algum outro predador pode em qualquer momento privar-se do seu privilégio para assim morrer, ele implacavelmente evoca um conjunto de imagens de morte em camas. Não é um verdadeiro método aristocrático de aliviar a impossibilidade d ser?

“A fim de vencer a ansiedade ou temor tenaz, não há nada melhor do que imaginar seu próprio funeral: método eficiente e acessível a todos. A fim de evitar recorrer a isso durante o dia, o melhor é entrar nessas virtudes logo após se levantar. Ou talvez fazer uso disso em ocasiões especiais, semelhante ao Papa Inocêncio IX que mandou pintarem ele morto em sua cama. Ele lançaria um olhar para aquela pintura toda vez que tivesse uma decisão importante a fazer...”[9]

Primeiramente, já se deve ter sido tentado a dizer que Cioran é afeiçoado em mergulhar nas suas neuroses e idéias mórbidas, como se pudessem ser usadas para inspirar sua criatividade literária. Tão emocionante que ele encontra seu desgosto pela vida que ele próprio sugere que “aquele que consegue adquiri-lo tem um futuro o qual fará tudo prosperar; sucesso assim como derrota.”[10] Tal franca descrição de seus espasmos emocionais o faz confessar que sucesso, para ele, é tão difícil adquirir quanto a falha. Tanto um como o outro lhe causam dor-de-cabeça.

O sentimento da futilidade sublime com relação a tudo que engloba a vida vai de mão à mão com a atitude pessimista de Cioran com respeito ao surgimento e à decadência dos impérios e dos Estados. Sua visão da circulação do tempo histórico lembra Vico's corsi e ricorsi, e seu cinismo sobre a natureza humana desenha na “biologia” histórica de Spengler. Tudo é um carrossel, e todo sistema está condenado a perecer no momento em que toma entrada na cena histórica. Pode-se detectar nas profecias sombrias de Cioran os pressentimentos do estóico imperador romano Marcus Aurelius, quem ouviu na distância do Noricum o galope dos cavalos bárbaros, e quem discerniu através da neblina de Panonia as pendentes ruínas do império romano. Embora hoje os atores sejam diferentes, a configuração permanece similar; milhões de novos bárbaros começaram a bater nos portões da Europa, e em breve tomarão posse daquilo que está dentro dela:

“Independentemente do quê o mundo se tornará no futuro, os ocidentais assumirão o papel do Graeculi do império romano. Necessitados de e desprezados por novos conquistadores, não terão nada para oferecer a não ser a imposturice da sua inteligência ou o brilho de seu passado.”[11]

Este é o momento da rica Europa arrumar-se e ir embora, e ceder a cena histórica para outros povos mais viris. A civilização se torna decadente quando toma a liberdade como certa; seu desastre é iminente quando se torna tolerante a todo tosco de lá de fora. No entanto, apesar de que os furacões políticos estão à espreita no horizonte, Cioran, como Marcus Aurelius, está determinado a morrer com estilo. Seu senso do trágico ensinou-o a estratégia do ars moriendi, o tornando preparado para qualquer surpresa, independente da sua magnitude. Vitoriosos e vítimas, heróis e capangas, eles todos não se revezam nesse carnaval da história, lamentando e lamentando seu destino enquanto no fundo do poço, e tomando vingança enquanto no topo? Dois mil anos de história greco-cristã é uma mera ninharia em comparação à eternidade. Uma civilização caricatural está agora tomando forma, escreve Cioran, na qual os que estão criando estão ajudando aqueles que a querem destruir. A história não tem sentido e, portanto, na tentativa de torna-la significativa, ou esperar disso uma explosão final de teofania, é uma quimera auto-destrutiva. Para Cioran, há mais verdade nas ciências ocultas do que em todas as filosofias que tentam dar sentido de vida. O homem se tornará finalmente livre quando ele tirar sua camisa de força do finalismo e do determinismo, e quando ele compreender que a vida é um erro acidental que saltou de uma circunstância astral desconcertante. Provas? Uma pequena torção da cabeça claramente mostra que a história, de fato, se resume a uma classificação do policiamento: “afinal de contas, a barganha histórica não é a imagem da qual as pessoas têm do policiamento das épocas?”[12] Suceder na mobilização das massas em nome de algumas idéias obscuras, para as permitir farejar sangue, é um caminho certeiro para o sucesso político. As mesmas massas, as quais carregaram nos ombros a revolução francesa em nome da igualdade e da fraternidade, não têm muitos anos atrás também carregado nos ombros um imperador de roupas novas – um imperador em cujo nome corriam descalços de Paris a Moscou, de Jena para Dubrovnik? Para Cioran, quando uma sociedade cai fora das utopias políticas, não há mais esperanças, e consequentemente não se pode mais haver vida. Sem utopia, escreve Cioran, as pessoas são forçadas a cometer suicídio; graças à utopia, elas cometem homicídio.

Hoje em dia não há mais utopia. A democracia de massa tomou seu lugar. Sem a democracia a vida possui algum sentido; agora, a democracia não possui vida em si mesmo. Afinal, Cioran argumenta, se não fosse por um lunático da Galiléia, o mundo seria um lugar muito chato. Ai, ai, quantos lunáticos hoje estão incubando hoje suas auto-denominadas derivativas teológicas e ideológicas. “A sociedade está mal organizada”, escreve Cioran, “ela não faz nada contra os lunáticos que morrem tão cedo.”[13] “Provavelmente todos os profetas e adivinhos políticos deveriam imediatamente ser condenados à morte, porque quando a ralé aceita um mito – prepare-se para massacres ou, melhor, para uma nova religião.”[14]

Inequivocamente, como os ressentimentos de Cioran contra a utopia poderiam aparecer, ele está longe de ridicularizar sua importância criativa. Nada poderia ser mais repugnante para ele do que o vago clichê da modernidade que associa a busca pela felicidade com uma sociedade da busca pelo prazer da paz. Desmistificada, desencantada, castrada, e incapaz de prever a tempestade que virá, a sociedade moderna está condenada à exaustão espiritual e à morte lenta. Ela é incapaz de acreditar em qualquer coisa, exceto na pseudo-humanidade dos seus chupa-cabras futuros. Se uma sociedade realmente desejasse preservar seu bem biológico, argumenta Cioran, sua tarefa primordial é aproveitar e alimentar sua “calamidade substancial”; isso deve manter um cálculo da sua capacidade de auto-destruição. Afinal, seus nativos Balkans, nos quais seus vampiros seculares hoje novamente dançam ao tom da carnificina, não têm também gerado uma piscina de espécimes vigorosas prontas para o cataclisma de amanhã? Nessa área da Europa, na qual interminavelmente se estraga pelos tremores políticos e terremotos reais, uma nova história está hoje sendo feita – uma história da qual provavelmente recompensará sua população pelo sofrimento passado.

“Qualquer que fosse seu passado, e independente de sua civilização, esses países possuem um estoque biológico do qual não se pode encontrar no Ocidente. Maltradados, deserdados, precipitados no martírio anônimo, tornados a parte entre miséria e insubordinação, eles irão, talvez, no futuro, ter uma recompensa por tantas provações, tanto por humilhação como por covardia.”[15]

Não é o melhor retrato da anônima Europa “Oriental” da qual, segundo Cioran, está pronta hoje para acelerar a história do mundo? A morte do comunismo na Europa Oriental pode provavelmente inaugurar o retorno da história para toda a Europa. Por causa da “melhor metade” da Europa, a única que nada em ar condicionado e salões assépticos, que a Europa está esgotada de idéias robustas. Ela é incapaz de odiar e sofrer, logo de liderar. Para Cioran, a sociedade se torna consolidada no perigo e atrofia: “Nesses lugares onde há paz, higiene e saque do lazer, psicoses também se multiplicam...eu venho de um país no qual nunca se ensinou a conhecer o sentido da felicidade, mas também nunca se tem produzido um único psicoanalista.”[16] A maneira cru dos canibais do novo Leste, sem “paz e amor”, determinará a direção da história de amanhã. Aqueles que passaram pelo inferno sobrevivem mais facilmente do que aqueles que somente conheceram o clima acolhedor de um paraíso secular.

Essas palavras de Cioran são objetivas na decadente França ‘la Doulce’ na qual as conversas da tarde sobre a obesidade ou a impotência sexual de alguém se tornaram maiores bafafás nas preocupações diárias. Incapazes de montar resistência contra os conquistadores de amanhã, essa Europa Ocidental, de acordo com Cioran, merece ser punida da mesma maneira da nobreza do regime antigo, o qual na véspera da Revolução Francesa, ria de si mesmo, enquanto louva a imagem do ‘bon sauvage’. Quantos dentre aqueles bons aristocratas franceses estavam cientes de que os mesmos bon sauvage estavam prestes ter suas cabeças roladas nas ruas de Paris? “No futuro”, escreve Cioran, “se a humanidade é para nascer novamente, serão os parias, com mongóis por todas os lados, com a escora dos continentes.”[17] A Europa está se escondendo na sua própria imbecilidade em frente a um fim catastrófico. Europa? “A podridão que cheira agradável, um corpo perfumado.”[18]

Apesar das tempestades que virão, Cioran está seguro com a noção de que pelo menos ele é o último herdeiro do “fim da história”. Amanhã, quando o real apocalipse começar, e como o perigo das proporções titânicas tomam forma final no horizonte, então, até o mundo “arrependido” desaparecerá de seu vocabulário. “Minha visão do futuro”, continua Cioran, “ é tão clara que se eu tivesse crianças eu iria estrangula-las imdediatamente”.[19]

Depois de uma boa lida do opus de Cioran pode-se concluir que ele é essencialmente um satírico que ridiculariza o estúpido arrepio existencial das massas modernas. Pode-se ser tentado a argumentar que Cioran oferece um elegante manual de suicídio designado para aqueles que, assim como ele, tem deslegitimado o valor da vida. Mas assim como Cioran diz, o suicídio é cometido por aqueles que não são mais capazes de agir no otimismo, e.g., para aqueles em que o fio da alegria e da felicidade rasga em pedaços. Aqueles assim como ele, os pessimistas cautelosos, “dado que eles não têm nenhuma razão para viver, porque eles teriam para morrer?”[20] A impressionante ambivalência do trabalho literário de Cioran consiste nos pressentimentos apocalípticos em uma mão, umas evocações entusiastas de horror na outra. Ele acredita que a violência e a destruição são os principais ingredientes da história, porque o mundo sem violência é condenado ao colapso. Ainda se admira do por quê Cioran é assim oposto ao mundo da paz, se, pela sua lógica, esse mundo de paz poderia ajudar a acelerar sua própria morte cravada, e assim facilitar sua imersão na insignificância? Claro que sim, Cioran nunca moraliza sobre a necessidade da violência; antes, de acordo com os cânones dos seus queridos antecessores reacionários Joseph de Maistre e Nichollo Machiavelli, ele afirma que “a autoridade, não a verdade, faz a lei”, e que, consequentemente, a credibilidade de uma mentira política também determinará a magnitude da justiça política. Admitido que isso seja correto, como ele explica o fato de que a autoridade, pelo menos do modo como ele a vê, somente perpetua o ser odioso do qual ele tão fortemente deseja para absolver a si mesmo? Esse mistério nunca será conhecido a não ser por ele mesmo. Cioran admite, entretanto, que apesar da aversão à violência, todo o homen, incluindo a ele, tem, pelo menos uma vez na sua vida, contemplado como se assa uma pessoa viva, ou como se corta a cabeça de uma pessoa:

“Convencido de que os problemas da sociedade vêm das pessoas mais velhas, eu tenho concebido o plano de liquidar todos os cidadãos que passarem dos quarenta – o início da esclerose e da mumificação. Eu cheguei a acreditar que isso foi um ponto de virada quando cada humano se tornou um insulto à sua nação e um fardo à sua comunidade...Aqueles que ouviram isto não apreciaram esse discurso e me consideraram um canibal...Esta minha intenção deve ser condenada? Ela somente expressa algo que cada homem, que está ligado ao seu país, deseja do fundo do seu coração: a liquidação de metade de seus compatriotas.”[21]

O elitismo literário de Cioran é sem comparação na literatura moderna, e por causa disso ele muitas vezes aparece como um incômodo para orelhas sentimentais e modernas domadas com canções de ninar da eternidade terrestre ou êxtase espiritual. O ódio de Cioran em relação ao presente e ao futuro, seu desrespeito à vida, continuará certamente contrariando os apóstolos da modernidade que nunca descansam de cantarolar vagas promessas sobre o “melhor-aqui-e-agora”. Seu humor paradoxal é tão devastador que não se pode toma-lo pelo valor literal, especialmente quando Cioran descreve a si mesmo.

Seu formalismo na linguagem, sua impecável escolha das palavras, apesar de algumas similaridades com autores modernos do mesmo calibre elitista, o torna difícil de seguir. Pode-se admirar o arsenal de palavras de Cioran como “abulia”, “esquizofrenia”, “apatia”, etc, que realmente mostram um ‘nevrosé’ que ele diz ser.

Se alguém pudesse atenuar a descrição de Cioran em um curto parágrafo, então deveria descreve-lo como um autor que parece na veneração moderna do intelecto, um diagrama de moralismos espirituais e da transformação feia do mundo. De fato, para Cioran, a tarefa do homem é lavar-se a si mesmo na escola da futilidade existencial, por futilidade não é desespero; a futilidade não é uma recompensa para aqueles que desejam livrar-se a si mesmos da vida epidêmica e do vírus da esperança. Provavelmente, esta pintura melhor convém o homem que descreve a si mesmo como um fanático, sem nenhuma convicção – um acidente encalhado no cosmos que projeta olhares nostálgicos em direção de seu rápido desaparecimento.

Ser livre é livrar-se a si mesmo para sempre da noção de recompensa; esperar nada das pessoas e deuses; renunciar não só esse e outros mundos, mas salvar-se a si mesmo; destruir até mesmo essa idéia de correntes entre correntes. (Le mauvais demiurge, p. 88.)
 1. Emile Cioran, Syllogismes de l'amertume (Paris: Gallimard, 1952), p. 72 (my translation)
2. De l'inconvénient d'etre né (Paris: Gallimard, 1973), p. 161-162. (my translation) (The Trouble with Being Born, translated by Richard Howard: Seaver Bks., 1981)
3. Cioran, Le mauvais démiurge ( Paris: Gallimard, 1969), p. 63. (my translation)
4. Syllogismes de l'amertume, p. 87. (my trans.)
5. Ibid., p. 176.
6. De l'inconvénient d'etre né, p. 11. (my trans.)
7. Ibid., p. 29.
8. Ibid., p. 23.
9. Ibid., p. 141.
10. Syllogismes de l'amertume, p. 61. (my trans.)
11. La tentation d'exister, (Paris: Gallimard, 1956), p. 37-38. (my trans.) (The temptation to exist, translated by Richard Howard; Seaver Bks., 1986)
12. Syllogismes de l'amertume, p. 151. (my trans.)
13. Ibid., p. 156.
14. Ibid., p. 158.
15. Histoire et utopie (Paris: Gallimard, 1960), p. 59. (my trans.) ( History and Utopia, trans. by Richard Howard, Seaver Bks., 1987).
16. Syllogismes de l'amertume, p. 154. (my trans.)
17. Ibid., p. 86.
18. De l'inconvénient d'etre né, p. 154. (my trans.)
19. Ibid. p. 155.
20. Syllogismes de l'amertume, p. 109.
21. Histoire et utopie (Paris: Gallimard, 1960), p. 14. (my trans.)

mercredi, 05 octobre 2011

Emil Cioran - Un siècle d'écrivains (1999)

Emil Cioran - Un siècle d'écrivains (1999)

lundi, 03 octobre 2011

A Prophecy for the Future of Europe

A Prophecy for the Future of Europe

By John Morgan

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


The 2009 French film A Prophet, directed by Jacques Audiard, is one of the best prison/crime films (it contains elements of both) I have seen in a long time. In its gritty realism, it is a throwback to the greatest prison films of bygone eras. I’m thinking of classics like A Man Escaped, Escape from Alcatraz, Papillon, or even the 1985 Runaway Train.

These disappeared after the Tarantino age was ushered in with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and after that, prison and crime films, with their slick, fast-paced cinematography, jumbled morality and glamorous characters, came to resemble long music videos more than dramas. (The 2004 British film Layer Cake is a prime example of this type of film.)

A Prophet, however, shows criminals and prison life as I imagine they are really like: dirty, ugly and unpleasant, inhabited by people who have to be both brutal and cunning just to survive from one day to the next. In this sense, the film is a great success, and that alone would make it worth viewing. Many other people have sung its praises as well, and it won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.

There is another layer to A Prophet, however, and that is primarily what I would like to discuss here. It is also the story of the rise of a criminal mastermind from nothingness to absolute power, similar to the paradigm we’ve seen before in The Godfather films and Scarface. Mixed with this is a none-too-subtle parable about the position of immigrants in France, and, by extension, Europe, in both the present and the future.

Alarm bells should immediately ring when Wikipedia quotes a French interview with director Audiard about the film in which he said that he was “creating icons, images for people who don’t have images in movies, like the Arabs in France,” even though he added to this that it “has nothing to do with [his] vision of society.” I’m sorry, Monsieur Audiard, but I don’t believe that you simply wanted to make a movie about Parisian criminals.

My discussion requires that I give a quick summary of the film’s plot, so if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know the story before doing so, turn back now. The film begins as 19-year-old Arab Malik El Djebena is being thrown into a prison in Paris. The prison is run by two gangs of inmates: one consisting of the Muslims; and the other, which is much more successful and wealthy, run by Cesar Luciani, a Corsican crime boss who is still running his empire from inside the prison, along with his Corsican cohorts.

Malik, weak and defenseless, is at first easy prey, and he is attacked and robbed by fellow Muslims shortly after his arrival. Typically, the Corsicans will have nothing to do with the Arabs, but an Arab prisoner arrives who they know intends to testify against them. Not having any allies in the Muslim section of the prison, they recruit Malik by offering to give him protection in exchange for murdering the witness.

Malik carries out the assassination, and thereafter becomes a servant to the Corsicans, who protect him but treat him with contempt and hold him at a distance. At the same time, the other Muslims regard Malik as a traitor for working with them, and as a result he is kept safe but isolated.

This situation continues for some time until most of the Corsicans are freed, leaving Cesar with only a handful of followers. After this he is forced to rely to a much greater extent on Malik, but gives him occasional, brutal reminders not to think that he can live without Cesar’s continued protection. Still, Malik’s life begins to improve considerably, and he is able to have many goods brought to his cell from the outside, including White prostitutes. Eventually, because of his good behavior in the eyes of the prison authorities, he is allowed to begin taking day-long leaves out of the prison, and Cesar uses him as a messenger to negotiate deals with his own bosses in Paris, becoming even more indispensable to him.

Meanwhile, Malik finally befriends one of the Muslim prisoners, Ryad, who finishes his sentence and helps Malik, in spite of Cesar’s threats, to set up a hashish smuggling operation which begins to win Malik contacts among the Muslim inmates. We later learn that Ryad is dying of cancer, but he continues to help Malik to build his network in return for Malik’s promise that he will care for Ryad’s wife and family after he dies.

Malik continues to become more and more important to Cesar’s operations, and simultaneously begins to win the respect of the Muslim gang leaders both inside and outside the prison, as they recognize that Malik occupies a unique position, being the only person to straddle both sides of the underworld. Things come to a climax when Cesar, suspecting that his Italian boss is plotting against him, asks Malik to arrange for the Don’s assassination during one of his leaves outside the prison.

Malik agrees, and initially the Arabs and the Corsicans plan to carry out the attack together, but the two groups despise each other and cannot cooperate. On the day of the attack, Malik deserts the Corsicans, and he and Ryad successfully carry out the hit on their own. Knowing that the remaining Corsicans in the prison will now turn on each other, Malik deliberately returns from his leave late and is thrown into solitary confinement – for forty days and forty nights. By the time he emerges, all of the Corsicans apart from Cesar himself have either been killed or sent to other prisons.

In the last part of the film, Malik is returned to the prison population, and we see him come out into the yard, which has traditionally been split between the Corsicans and the Muslims, only now, Cesar sits by himself. Malik is welcomed by the Muslims as their new leader, and he takes his place at the center of their group.

Cesar signals for Malik to come and speak with him, but Malik ignores him. Getting desperate, Cesar finally attempts to cross over to the Muslim side, but some of them stop him and beat him up before he can reach Malik. Realizing he has lost, Cesar staggers back to his side of the yard.

Shortly thereafter, Malik completes his sentence, and on the day he is released, he is met by Ryad’s wife and children. As he walks home with them, we see several vehicles pull up behind them, discreetly keeping their distance, and we realize that it is Malik’s new security detail. The film ends, the transfer of power now complete.

The subtext of this story should be easy to read without much analysis. If we view the prison as a microcosm of Europe, Cesar and the Corsicans represent the White European establishment, while Malik and the other Muslims represent the disenfranchised immigrants. Malik suffers repeated humiliation at the hands of the Whites, and even does their dirty work, but he is really just biding his time. He slowly builds his power base, and after he gains their trust, he uses it against them, and manages to displace them in the prison that formerly belonged to them.

There is even a giveaway line in the middle of the film, when Cesar remarks to Malik that at one time the Whites were in the majority in the prison, but that they are rapidly becoming outnumbered by the Muslims. Indeed, if present trends continue, the story of A Prophet is very likely going to be the story of Europe in the twenty-first century. Muslim immigrants will tolerate the system as long as they have to, but as soon as they have the strength and are in a position to do so, they will surely shove their hosts aside and suck whatever remains of Europe dry, leaving the descendants of the original inhabitants of Europe to simply watch and mourn while it happens – those who don’t switch sides, that is.

As Greg Johnson has expressed it, the new masters of Islamic Europe will be like teenagers who steal a car: they’ll take it for a joy ride, drive it until it crashes, and then move on to the next car. Why? Because, fundamentally, it’s not theirs. Why should they be concerned with what happens to the culture of Homer, Goethe, and Baudelaire?

While it is very possible that this tale was born from the imaginations of ethnomasochistic French liberals, I don’t find much in this parable with which to disagree. Whatever their motivations, the filmmakers have caught the essential truth of what is happening in Europe today.

It is worth noting that one of the measures of Malik’s success is his screwing of White whores, and there is also a quick shot of a White woman embracing a Black man on a Paris street during one of Malik’s leaves. The ability of non-Whites to dominate White women through sex, thus robbing us of future progeny which we can call our own, is among the trophies of their success, as we’ve been seeing for a long time in our own country.

And, interestingly, it is not any of the Muslims who deliver the death blow to the White power base in the prison. Rather, the Whites do themselves in, rather as we have seen continuously among the European nations over the past century. Non-Whites will just need to step in once the Whites have finished killing themselves off.

Similarly, in the film, the process begins when Cesar admits an outsider to serve his own purposes, believing that he can keep him under control, just as the elites of the United States and Europe began to admit non-White immigrants in large numbers out of economic expediency and with little thought that the future might bring something altogether different from what they imagined. So, again, I challenge Audiard’s claim that his film has nothing to say about European society. Furthermore, this film could easily be remade in America with a Latino in the main role, and the message would remain the same.

One criticism the film has received from some quarters is in its treatment of Islam, and in particular the references to Malik as a prophet. I myself, given the film’s title, had assumed that eventually, Malik was going to undergo some sort of religious awakening, but it never happens. At no point in the film does he evince any interest whatsoever in his Muslim heritage.

We get occasional glimpses of more devout Muslim inmates in the background, and at one point Malik brings some of his hashish profits to a mosque (only because he didn’t think it was worth the risk to keep it himself, we learn). On another occasion, high on heroin, he sees another inmate spinning in the style of the whirling dervishes and chanting the names of Allah, and imitates him, working himself into ecstasy. But it never goes beyond this, and Malik’s actions could hardly be described as those of a good Muslim.

Still, the film draws a number of deliberate parallels between Malik and the lives of the Prophets of Islam. Malik, we learn, is illiterate, just as Muhammad was. Malik is kept in solitary confinement for forty days and nights, just as Moses and Jesus had fasted and prayed for the same length of time in isolation before being granted divine revelations. Muhammad also received many revelations through dreams, and Malik himself has a dream of deer running across a road. When he is in a car driving through a forest with a Muslim gang leader, he recognizes the area from his dream and warns the driver seconds before he hits a deer, henceforth becoming known as “a prophet.”

But if he’s not a religious leader, in what way is Malik a prophet? Is it really just a tasteless joke, as some critics have claimed?

I would say no, and the reasons for this have to do with my own views on Muslim immigration into Europe, and not Muslim immigration into the United States, I hasten to add, which I do not view as a threat of the same order. Many Rightists conflate Muslim immigration into Europe and America as if they are the same thing, but the fact is, they are not. The truth is that Muslims in the United States comprise less than 1% of the population, while Hispanics account for over 16%, and they are coming into the country at a much faster rate, both legally and illegally, than Muslim immigrants are. This is beside the fact that the majority of Muslims in Europe are poor and uneducated, while Muslims generally come to the United States to receive education and enter the middle class. The situations are simply not comparable. So, personally, I think those who believe that we have to protect ourselves from shariah law before it overtakes America, and who are trying to pass legislation to this effect, are wasting their time. The threat of immigration to America is real, but comes from different sources.

As a traditionalist, I respect Islam in its genuine forms, primarily Sufism, as a manifestation of the supreme, metaphysical truth. Unlike many of my political colleagues, my own problem with Muslim immigration has little to do with the religion itself, and I think A Prophet successfully illustrates my own thoughts on the matter.

There are some traditionalists, particularly followers of the teachings of René Guénon or Frithjof Schuon who have converted to Islam themselves, who view Muslim immigration into Europe as a positive thing, since they believe that Europe, having lost its own sacred traditions, will be resacralized by being reintegrated into a spiritual culture, regardless of the fact that it is a foreign tradition.

Even Ahmed Huber, the Swiss German banker who, rather like Malik, occupied a unique place where the worlds of Islamic fundamentalism and the European Right met, contended that, eventually, Muslim immigration into Europe would give rise to a unique form of “European Islam.” Muslim scholars, including the Scots convert Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi and the Swiss Egyptian Tariq Ramadan, have likewise predicted the rise of such a thing.

On the surface, this might seem like a good idea, since it is undeniable that Europe is in desperate need of a return to spirituality. Unlike Guénon or Schuon, however, I believe that a religion has to be connected to one’s racial and cultural makeup, and the mere fact of a system of beliefs being associated with the Primordial Tradition is insufficient by itself. A “European” Islam would remain as inherently anti-European, no matter how many concessions it makes, as Christianity has always been, and surely its impact would be just as destructive as the last attempt to alter the spiritual foundations of our people was.

However, even this is not the main issue for me. The fact is, as we see in A Prophet, the culture of the majority of Muslims in Europe is not the high-minded Sufi Islam of Martin Lings or Seyyed Hossein Nasr (two prominent contemporary traditionalists). Mostly, it does not even rise to the purely exoteric, black-and-white level of political Islamism.

The culture of Muslims in Europe is a ghetto culture, a culture of the lowest form of materialism, which is the only thing that can emerge from generation after generation of poverty, ignorance, resentment, and petty violence, all the while being encouraged in this by their cheerleaders among the ethnomasochistic liberal elites. It is no more “Islamic” in the true sense than the culture of urban Blacks in America is reflective of African culture.

There will be no restoration of spirituality or traditional values, European or Muslim. What I imagine would emerge from their triumph would be something like the city of Detroit over the past half-century, in which the underclass came to power only to set about stripping down and selling off anything of value with no thought for the future, quickly reducing the entire area into a depressing wasteland that is beyond recovery, and bearing only the faintest traces of having once been something better.

This is the true prophecy that Malik offers us: a vision of the brutal rise of a criminal-minded underclass which is interested in nothing but its own survival and material enrichment, and one which will have little regard for the welfare of its former overlords. I do not blame immigrant populations for being this way. They come to the West to seek a better life, which is only natural, and it cannot be denied that their lives here have been rough and humiliating.

However, we cannot let understanding of their plight to any degree lessen our resolve to protect what is rightfully ours. As John Michell once wrote, every people is given a space in which to realize itself. Europe, at least for the time being, still has its space, and the Muslims have theirs (apart from Palestine). There should be no shame in asserting ourselves, even though many of us, under the influence of negative and culture-destroying ideologies, have come to feel shame about it.

Therefore it remains to be seen if Europe will actually resign itself to having reached the end of its natural life cycle, or if it still retains enough vitality to bring about a restoration of some sort. But the hour is getting late, and there is much to be done. And Malik and his cohorts are already dreaming of their prophecy with their eyes wide open.

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

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/09/a-prophecy-for-the-future-of-europe/

dimanche, 18 septembre 2011

Oswald Spengler et l’âge des “Césars”


Oswald Spengler et l’âge des “Césars”


Fonctionnaires globaux, négociants libre-échangistes, milliardaires: les questions essentielles posées par Spengler et ses sombres prophéties sont d’une étonnante actualité!


spenglerosw.jpgIl y a 75 ans, le 8 mai 1936, Oswald Spengler, philosophe des cultures et esprit universel, est mort. Si l’on lit aujourd’hui les pronostics qu’il a formulés en 1918 pour la fin du 20ème siècle, on est frappé de découvrir ce que ce penseur isolé a entrevu, seul, dans son cabinet d’études, alors que le siècle venait à peine de commencer et que l’Allemagne était encore un sujet souverain sur l’échiquier mondial et dans l’histoire vivante, qui était en train de se faire.


L’épopée monumentale de Spengler, son “Déclin de l’Occident”, dont le premier volume était paru en 1918, a fait d’edmblée de ce savant isolé et sans chaire une célébrité internationale. Malgré le titre du livre, qui est clair mais peut aisément induire en erreur, Spengler ne se préoccupait pas seulement du déclin de l’Occident. Plus précisément, il analysait les dernières étapes de la civilisation occidentale et réfléchissait à son “accomplissement”; selon lui, cet “accomplissement” aurait lieu dans le futur. C’est pourquoi il a développé une théorie grandiose sur le devenir de la culture, de l’histoire, de l’art et des sciences.


Pour élaborer cette théorie, il rompt avec le schéma classique qui divise le temps historique entre une antiquité, un moyen âge et des temps modernes et veut inaugurer rien moins qu’une “révolution copernicienne” dans les sciences historiques. Les cultures, pour Spengler, sont des organismes supra-personnels, nés d’idées matricielles et primordiales (“Urideen”) auxquelles ils demeurent fidèles dans toutes leurs formes et expressions, que ce soit en art, en diplomatie, en politique ou en économie. Mais lorsque le temps de ces organismes est révolu, ceux-ci se figent, se rigidifient et tombent en déliquescence.


Sur le plan de sa conception de la science, Spengler se réclame de Goethe: “Une forme forgée/façonnée (“geprägt”), qui se développe en vivant” (“Geprägte Form, die lebend sich entwickelt”). Dans le germe d’une plante se trouve déjà tout le devenir ultérieur de cette plante: selon la même analogie, l’ “Uridee” (l’idée matricielle et primordiale) de la culture occidentale a émergé il y a mille ans en Europe; celle de la culture antique, il y a environ trois mille ans dans l’espace méditerranéen. Toutes les cultures ont un passé ancien, primordial, qui est villageois et religieux, puis elle développent l’équivalent de notre gothique, de notre renaissance, de notre baroque et de nos époques tardives et (hyper)-urbanisées; ces dernières époques, Spengler les qualifie de “civilisation”. Le symbole originel (“Ursymbol”) de la culture occidentale est pour Spengler la dynamique illimitée des forces, des puissances et de l’espace, comme on le perçoit dans les cathédrales gothiques, dans le calcul différentiel, dans l’imprimerie, dans les symphonies de Beethoven, dans les armes capables de frapper loin et dans les explorations et conquêtes des Vikings. La culture chinoise a, elle aussi, construit des navires capables d’affronter la haute mer ainsi que la poudre à canon, mais elle avait une autre “âme”. L’idée matricielle et primordiale de la Chine, c’est pour Spengler, le “sentier” (“der Pfad”). Jamais la culture chinoise n’a imaginé de conquérir la planète.


Dans toutes les cultures, on trouve la juxtaposition d’une volonté de puissance et d’un espace spirituel et religieux, qui se repère d’abord dans l’opposition entre aristocratie et hiérocratie (entre la classe aristocratique et les prêtres), ensuite dans l’opposition politique/économie ou celle qu’il y a entre philosophie et sciences. Et, en fin de compte, au moment où elles atteignent leur point d’accomplissement, les civilisations sombrent dans ce que Spengler appelle la “Spätzeit”, l’ “ère tardive”, où règne une “seconde religiosité” (“eine zweite Religiosität”). Les masses sortent alors du flux de l’histoire et se vautrent dans le cycle répétitif et éternel de la nature: elles ne mènent plus qu’une existence simple.


La “Spätzeit” des masses scelle aussi la fin de la démocratie, elle-même phase tardive dans toutes les cultures. C’est à ce moment-là que commence l’ère du césarisme. Il n’y a alors “plus de problèmes politiques. On se débrouille avec les situations et les pouvoirs qui sont en place (...). Déjà au temps de César les strates convenables et honnêtes de la population ne se préoccupaient plus des élections. (...) A la place des armées permanentes, on a vu apparaître progressivement des armées de métier (...). A la place des millions, on a à nouveau eu affaire aux “centaines de milliers” (...)”. Pourtant, Spengler est très éloigné de toute position déterministe: “A la surface des événements mondiaux règne toutefois l’imprévu (...). Personne n’avait pu envisager l’émergence de Mohammed et le déferlement de l’islam et personne n’avait prévu, à la chute de Robespierre, l’avènement de Napoléon”.


La guerre dans la phase finale de la civilisation occidentale


La vie d’Oswald Spengler peut se raconter en peu de mots: né en 1880 à Blankenburg dans le Harz, il a eu une enfance malheureuse; le mariage de ses parents n’avait pas été un mariage heureux: il n’a généré que problèmes; trop de femmes difficiles dans une famille où il était le seul garçon; il a fréquenté les “Fondations Francke” à Halle; il n’avait pas d’amis: il lisait, il méditait, il élaborait ses visions. Il était loin du monde. Ses études couvrent un vaste champs d’investigation: il voulait devenir professeur et a abordé la physique, les sciences de la nature, la philosophie, l’histoire... Et était aussi un autodidacte accompli. “Il n’y avait aucune personnalité à laquelle je pouvais me référer”. Il ne fréquentait que rarement les salles de conférence ou de cours. Il a abandonné la carrière d’enseignant dès qu’un héritage lui a permis de mener une existence indépendante et modeste. Il n’eut que de très rares amis et levait de temps à autre une fille dans la rue. On ne s’étonnera dès lors pas que Spengler ait choisi comme deuxième mentor, après Goethe, ce célibataire ultra-sensible que fut Friedrich Nietzsche. Celui-ci exercera une profonde influence sur l’auteur du “déclin de l’Occident”: “De Goethe , j’ai repris la méthode; de Nietzsche, les questions”.


L’influence politique de Spengler ne s’est déployée que sur peu d’années. Dans “Preussentum und Sozialismus” (“Prussianité et socialisme”), un livre paru en 1919, il esquisse la différence qui existe entre l’esprit allemand et l’esprit anglais, une différence qui s’avère fondamentale pour comprendre la “phase tardive” du monde occidental. Pour Spengler, il faut le rappeler, les cultures n’ont rien d’homogène: partout, en leur sein, on repère une dialectique entre forces et contre-forces, lequelles sont toujours suscitées par la volonté de puissance que manifeste toute forme de vie. Pour Spengler, ce qui est spécifiquement allemand, ou prussien, ce sont les idées de communauté, de devoir et de solidarité, assorties du primat du politique; ces idées ont été façonnées, au fil du temps, par les Chevaliers de l’Ordre Teutonique, qui colonisèrent l’espace prussien au moyen âge. Ce qui est spécifiquement anglais, c’est le primat de la richesse matérielle, c’est la liberté de rafler du butin et c’est l’idéal du Non-Etat, inspiré par les Vikings et les pirates de la Manche.


“C’est ainsi que s’opposent aujourd’hui deux grands principes économiques: le Viking a donné à terme le libre-échangiste; le Chevalier teutonique a donné le fonctionnaire administratif. Il n’y a pas de réconciliation possible entre ces deux attitudes et toutes deux ne reconnaissent aucune limite à leur volonté, elles ne croiront avoir atteint leur but que lorsque le monde entier sera soumis à leur idée; il y aura donc la guerre jusqu’à ce que l’une de ces deux idées aura totalement vaincu”. Cette opposition irréconciliable implique de poser la question décisive: laquelle de ces deux idées dominera la phase finale de la civilisation occidentale? “L’économie planétaire prendra-t-elle la forme d’une exploitation générale et totale de la planète ou impliquera-t-elle l’organisation totale du monde? Les Césars de cet imperium futur seront-ils des milliardaires ou des fonctionnaires globaux? (...) la population du monde sera-t-elle l’objet de la politique de trusts ou l’objet de la politique d’hommes, tels qu’ils sont évoqués à la fin du second Faust de Goethe?”.


Lorsque, armés du savoir dont nous disposons aujourd’hui, nous jetons un regard rétrospectif sur ces questions soulevées jadis par Spengler, lorsque nous constatons que les lobbies imposent des lois, pour qu’elles servent leurs propres intérêts économiques, lorsque nous voyons les hommes politiques entrer au service de consortiums, lorsque des fonds quelconques, de pension ou de logement, avides comme des sauterelles affamées, ruinent des pans entiers de l’industrie, lorsque nous constatons que le patrimoine génétique se voit désormais privatisé et, enfin, lorsque toutes les initiatives publiques se réduisent comme peau de chagrin, les questions posées par Spengler regagnent une formidable pertinence et accusent une cruelle actualité. En effet, les nouveaux dominateurs du monde sont des milliardaires et les hommes politiques ne sont plus que des pions ou des figures marginalisées.


Spengler a rejeté les propositions de Goebbels


Spengler espérait que le Reich allemand allait retrouver sa vigueur et sa fonction, comme l’atteste son écrit de 1924, “Neubau des Deutschen Reiches” (= “Pour une reconstruction du Reich allemand”). Dans cet écrit, il exprimait son désir de voir “la partie la plus valable du monde allemand des travailleurs s’unir aux meilleurs porteurs du sentiment d’Etat vieux-prussien (...) pour réaliser ensemble une démocratisation au sens prussien du terme, en soudant leurs efforts communs par une adhésion déterminée au sentiment du devoir”. Spengler utilise souvent le terme “Rasse” (= “race”) dans cet écrit. Mais ce terme, chez lui, signifie “mode de comportement avéré, qui va de soi sans remise en question aucune”; en fait, c’est ce que nous appelerions aujourd’hui une “culture d’organisation” (“Organisationskultur”). Spengler rejetait nettement la théorie folciste (= “völkisch”) de la race. Lorsqu’il parlait de “race”, il entendait “la race que l’on possédait, et non pas la race à laquelle on appartient. La première relève de l’éthique, la seconde de la zoologie”.


A la fin des années 20, Spengler se retire du monde et adopte la vie du savant sans chaire. Il ne reprendra la parole qu’en 1933, en publiant “Jahre der Entscheidung” (= “Années décisives”). En quelques mois, le livre atteint les ventes exceptionnelles de 160.000 exemplaires. On le considère à juste titre comme le manifeste de la résistance conservatrice.


Spengler lance un avertissement: “Nous ne vivons pas une époque où il y a lieu de s’enthousiasmer ou de triompher (...). Des fanatiques exagèrent des idées justes au point de procéder à la propre annulation de celles-ci. Ce qui promettait grandeur au départ, se termine en tragédie ou en comédie”. Goebbels a demandé à Spengler de collaborer à ses publications: il refuse. Il s’enfonce dans la solitude. Il avait déjà conçu un second volume aux “Années décisives” mais il ne le couche pas sur le papier car, dit-il, “je n’écris pas pour me faire interdire”.


Au début du 21ème siècle, l’esprit viking semble avoir définitivement triompher de l’esprit d’ordre. Le monde entier et ses patrimoines culturels sont de plus en plus considérés comme des propriétés privées. La conscience du devoir, la conscience d’appartenir à une histoire, les multiples formes de loyauté, le sens de la communauté, le sentiment d’appartenir à un Etat sont houspillés hors des coeurs et des esprits au bénéfice d’une liberté que l’on pose comme sans limites, comme dépourvue d’histoire et uniquement vouée à la jouissance. La politique est devenue une marchandise que l’on achète. Le savoir de l’humanité est entreposé sur le site “Google”, qui s’en est généralement emparé de manière illégitime; la conquête de l’espace n’est plus qu’un amusement privé.


Mais: “Le temps n’autorise pas qu’on le retourne; il n’y aurait d’ailleurs aucune sagesse dans un quelconque retournement du temps comme il n’y a pas de renoncement qui serait indice d’intelligence. Nous sommes nés à cette époque-ci et nous devons courageusement emprunter le chemin qui nous a été tracé (...). Il faut se maintenir, tenir bon, comme ce soldat romain, dont on a retrouvé les ossements devant une porte de Pompéi; cet homme est mort, parce qu’au moment de l’éruption du Vésuve, on n’a pas pensé à le relever. Ça, c’est de la grandeur. Cette fin honnête est la seule chose qu’on ne peut pas retirer à un homme”.


Et nous? Nous qui croyons à l’Etat et au sens de la communauté, nous qui sentons au-dessus de nous la présence d’un ciel étoilé et au-dedans de nous la présence de la loi morale, nous qui aimons les symphonies de Beethoven et les paysages de Caspar David Friedrich, va-t-on nous octroyer une fin digne? On peut le supposer. S’il doit en être ainsi, qu’il en soit ainsi.



(article paru dans “Junge Freiheit”, Berlin, n°19/2011 – http://www.jungefreiheit.de/ ).


Max Otte est professeur d’économie (économie de l’entreprise) à Worms en Allemagne. Dans son ouvrage “Der Crash kommt” (= “Le crash arrive”), il a annoncé très exactement, dès 2006, l’éclatement de la crise financière qui nous a frappés en 2008 et dont les conséquences sont loin d’avoir été éliminées.

samedi, 16 juillet 2011

Cioran: scrivere per non morire


Emil Cioran:

scrivere per non morire


Ex: http://rinascita.eu/

Solitario. Schifato dalla realtà e da molti aspetti incerti e fallaci della vita. Unico. Spietato nell’analisi, tagliente come un coltello che squarcia le credenze di tutti i giorni. Dimenticato. La descrizione corrisponde ad uno dei più grandi filosofi del 1900, un “maestro” saggista e nichilista, che ha avuto una sola colpa: ritrovare quel vitalismo, scomparso in molti momenti della sua vita, in un’ideologia che non può avere intellettuali compiacenti, perché rappresenta “il male assoluto”. Emil Cioran, lasciato chiuso nell’armadio ingombrante degli artisti maledetti, da cancellare dalle scuole, da non far conoscere. È retorica, ma, come si sa, sono i vincitori che decidono ciò che è degno di memoria. Decidono “loro”.

Cioran nacque nel 1911 in Transilvania, Romania. Tessuto sociale difficile e molto chiuso. Figlio di un prete ortodosso, visse un’ infanzia, ma verrebbe da dire un’intera vita, solitaria. Durante la prima guerra mondiale i genitori di Emil, come una parte degli intellettuali di origine rumena, erano stati confinati; il padre a Sopron, la madre a Cluj, lasciando i figli alle cure della nonna a Rasina. Durante il periodo universitario riuscì a legare con Samuel Beckett che ricorderà sempre con profonda amicizia. Conoscendo egregiamente il tedesco, i suoi primi studi si incentrarono su Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer e specialmente Friedrich Nietzsche, suo filosofo di riferimento. Ma prima di pubblicare la sua prima opera, avendo vinto una borsa di studio, nel 1933, si trasferì a Berlino, poi a Dresda e a Monaco. Assistette all’insediamento di Hitler e rimase profondamente ammaliato dall’ideologia nazional-socialista che, in vecchiaia, criticò. Al suo rientro in Romania venne a contatto con il locale movimento fascista delle “guardie di ferro” che abbandonò solo alla vigilia della seconda guerra mondiale. Il fascismo, nella sua vita, fu l’unica ideologia che lo entusiasmò realmente, lui che odiava i pensieri realizzati perché “inseguitore di utopie”. All’utopia dedicò un famoso saggio del 1960 ,“Storia e utopia”, in cui sottolinea come da qualsiasi sogno utopico basato su un presunto ritorno o sua una futura realizzazione dell’età dell’oro, si scatenino sempre forze liberticide. Intanto si era laureato all’Università di filosofia di Bucarest e, successivamente, iniziò ad insegnare presso i licei di Brasov e Sibiu. La cattedra non faceva per lui, si sentiva come un lupo in gabbia. Gli mancava il respiro. E così iniziò a scrivere non solo come valvola di sfogo filosofico poetica, ma anche per rimanere in vita. Cioran, infatti, soffriva di insonnia e, più di una volta, scrisse che se non ci fosse stata la scrittura a tenergli compagnia durante la notte, si sarebbe ucciso. Molto incline al suicidio, l’intellettuale rumeno sopravvisse solo grazie alla sua penna. Pessimista cronico, schiacciato dall’incompiutezza dell’essere e fortemente critico perfino della “venuta al mondo”, dedicò tutta la sua vita, anche quando si trasferì in Francia, alla stesura di saggi profondissimi: nel 1952 uscì “Sillogismi dell’amarezza” raccolta di aforismi corrosivi e nel 1956 “La tentazione di esistere”. Nel 1964 elaborò “La caduta nel tempo”; in “Il funesto demiurgo” del 1969, fece un viaggio nel mondo dello gnosticismo; nell’“L’inconveniente di essere nati” del 1973 cercò, attraverso la positività e la negatività delle emozioni, di raggiungere i panorami più alti. Dalla sua grande mente presero vita svariatissimi libri, tantissimi altri rispetto a quelli citati in breve. Ma le opere che fotografano nel migliore dei modi Cioran sono l’ultima, “Confessioni e anatemi”, testamento pessimista che condanna la felicità fondata sul nulla; e la prima “Al Culmine della disperazione” del 1933 ove per la prima volta, lo scrittore rumeno capì che senza scrittura non avrebbe potuto vivere.

“L’insonnia è una vertiginosa lucidità che riuscirebbe a trasformare il Paradiso stesso in un luogo di tortura. Qualsiasi cosa è preferibile a questo allerta permanente, a questa criminale assenza di oblio. È durante quelle notti infernali che ho capito la futilità della filosofia. Le ore di veglia sono, in sostanza, un’interminabile ripulsa del pensiero attraverso il pensiero, è la coscienza esasperata da se stessa, una dichiarazione di guerra, un infernale ultimatum della mente a se medesima. Camminare vi impedisce di lambiccarvi con interrogativi senza risposta, mentre a letto si rimugina l’insolubile fino alla vertigine. Se non lo avessi scritto (“Al culmine della disperazione”, ndr) certamente avrei messo fine alle mie notti”. Questa l’introduzione al libro, quest’altro, invece, uno dei ragionamenti più celebri dell’opera: “Se non c’è salvezza attraverso la follia, è perché non c’è nessuno che non ne tema gli sprazzi di lucidità. Si desidererebbe il caos, ma si ha paura delle sue luci”.

Emil Cioran morì a Parigi il 20 giugno 1995. Finalmente riuscì ad addormentarsi, ma per sempre. E così venne dimenticato dai più. Già, perché decidono “loro” ciò che è degno di memoria oppure no. Ma non per tutti. Perché Cioran nelle librerie e, soprattutto, nella mente di qualche “bastardo”, è ancora vivo e da lì, rincrescerà all’“intellighenzia” del 2000, non si può esiliare.

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mardi, 26 avril 2011

Algo sobre la distopia



Algo sobre la distopía


Alberto Buela (*)


El concepto de distopía se puede definir como antónimo de utopía, como lo opuesto al de utopía, pero ésta sería una versión negativa y limitada del mismo. Sería algo así como una utopía negativa o como definir el disenso por oposición al consenso.

Lo que sucede es que desde la ciencia filológica y etimológica se le viene otorgando ab ovo una carga negativa al prefijo “dis”. Pero esto no es cierto, es un error extendido del que muy pocos filólogos se han dado cuenta. En nuestro medio la gran Ofelia Kovacci, nuestra antigua profesora de filología, lo ha remarcado,  y nosotros mismos, cuando hablamos acerca de la teoría del disenso. Y allí afirmamos: “El prefijo dis, que proviene del adverbio griego diV y que en latín se tradujo por bis=(otra vez), significa oposición, enfrentamiento, contrario, otra cosa. Así tenemos por ejemplo los vocablos disputar que originalmente significa pensar distinto, o displacer que equivale a desagrado, o disyuntivo a estar separado.

Disenso significa, antes que nada, otro sentido, divergencia, contrario parecer, desacuerdo”.[1]

Así el prefijo “dis” significa antes que nada “otra significación o una significación distinta a la habitual”, más allá de la carga negativa a que nos tienen acostumbrados los intérpretes políticamente correctos que trabajan de policías del pensamiento único. Por eso el significado profundo de “dis” no hay que buscarlo en términos como “des-honesto”, donde el prefijo “dis” tiene una carga peyorativa, sino en términos como “dis-putar”, que muestran que se puede pensar de otra manera.

Los pocos que han escrito sobre la distopía [2] sostienen que “es un tipo de narración que enfatiza la desesperanza y la interpretación negativa de lo social”. Sin embargo los distopistas que más se han destacado tanto en la literatura: Eugenio Zamaitin, Philip K. Dick, Anthony Burgess, Bradbury, Huxley, Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, como en el cine: Metrópolis (de F. Lang), La Vida del Futuro (de W. Menzies), Blade Runner (de R. Scott), Brazil (de T. Gilliam), Gattaca (A. Niccol), Matrix (de los hermanos Wachowski), La carretera (John Hillcoat) lo que realizan, en el fondo, es una crítica a nuestra sociedad y a su relato mayestático: la utopía de la ciudad ideal, como la zanahoria inalcanzable delante de la liebre que nos plantea la mentalidad progresista.  

La distopía, en nuestra opinión, viene a pintar las consecuencias directas de la realidad inminente que vivimos o mejor padecemos todos los días. La distopía no tiene por objetivo negar la utopía sino que le viene a pinchar el globo a la mismísima realidad que nos apabulla con sus contradicciones diarias. Así por ejemplo, en Argentina nos vinieron a prometer la construcción de un tren bala de alta velocidad y el pueblo viaja todos los días hacinado como ganado en trenes destruidos, a 40km por hora. Vemos como el relato utópico nos llena la cabeza de humo con el tren bala y  el distópico nos sumerge en la dura realidad, en esa realidad inminente que se nos viene encima a diario.

Es un error garrafal entender la distopía como “la creación de una sociedad catastrófica y sombría”,  o peor aún, como “una sociedad de pesadilla en donde prima la desesperanza”. Esto es lo que nos quieren hacer creer, pero la finalidad última del pensamiento distópico es, como se puede ver claramente en los ensayos de Kurt Vonnegut, mostrar las contradicciones flagrantes de la sociedad opulenta, de consumo, bajo el reinado del dios monoteísta del libre mercado.

Es en definitiva, una crítica a las ambiciones infinitas, sin límites, desatadas por el hombre moderno. Una crítica demoledora a la subjetividad como principio de valoración del hombre, el mundo y sus problemas.

El discurso distopista viene a caracterizar como lo hace Charles Champetier al homo consumans para recuperarlo como uomo libero.

El prototipo del hombre distopista es el rebelde, el que se rebela contra el statu quo reinante, que se ve envuelto en la aventura de la insurrección que parece condenada de antemano al fracaso. Pues como afirma Jünger: “Los rebeldes de reclutarán de entre los que están decididos a luchar por la libertad, incluso en una situación sin esperanzas”. [3]

Pero no importa, su lema es: nos pueden haber vencido pero no convencido.


(*) alberto.buela@gmail.com

[1] Buela, Alberto: Teoría del disenso, Bs.As., Ed. Teoría, 2005, p. 8.

[2]Castro Orellana, Rodrigo:Ciudades Ideales, Ciudades sin Futuro.

El Porvenir de la Utopía,Murcia, Daimon, Suplemento 3, 2010, 135-144

[3] Jünger, Ernst: Tratado del rebelde, Bs.As., Sur, 1963, p.95

jeudi, 10 mars 2011

La rivincita dell'anti-Sartre: Emil Cioran

La rivincita dell’anti-Sartre: Emil Cioran

di Andrea Rigoni

Fonte: Corriere della Sera [scheda fonte]


Riscoperta trasversale dello scrittore a cento anni dalla nascita

Da quando, verso la metà degli anni Settanta, ho incominciato a frequentare Cioran, dedicandomi anche alla diffusione della sua conoscenza in Italia, mi sono spesso chiesto in che cosa consistesse la sua singolarità e quale fosse il rapporto fra lo scrittore e l’uomo.
La voce di Cioran si era manifestata in Francia, a partire dal 1949 quando apparve il suo Sommario di decomposizione, come una nota del tutto isolata, diversa e dissonante dal concerto intellettuale e culturale dell’epoca, che era universalmente segnato dal dominio delle ideologie e delle utopie: l’opera e l’attività di Sartre ne rappresentavano allora in Francia, e non solo in Francia, una sorta di emblema. Cioran era l’anti-Sartre. Nel celebre filosofo esistenzialista, nell’eroe dell’engagement, egli non vedeva che un «impresario di idee» , secondo l’innominato ma riconoscibile ritratto che ne ha lasciato nel Sommario: un «pensatore senza destino» , nel quale «tutto è notevole, salvo l’autenticità» , «infinitamente vacuo e meravigliosamente ampio» , ma proprio per questo capace, con un’opera che degrada il nulla al rango di una merce intellettuale, di conquistare e soddisfare «il nichilismo da boulevard e l’amarezza degli sfaccendati» . Era dunque naturale che l’opera di Cioran, con la sua lucidità bruciante e solitaria, vissuta come esperienza e forma di un destino, restasse quasi senza eco: il riconoscimento doveva limitarsi al fulgore inusitato dello stile, che balzava agli occhi, se non di tutti, almeno di alcuni, tra i quali i primi lettori del manoscritto del Sommario, che si chiamavano Jules Romains, André Gide, André Maurois, Jean Paulhan, Jules Supervielle, ma certo anche Paul Celan, che poco dopo ne avrebbe fatto la traduzione in tedesco. Tuttavia sappiamo bene che lo stile, la forma, il tono di un’opera non sono l’abito o l’ornamento estrinseco del pensiero, ma il suo corpo, la sua vita, la sua essenza e che dunque essi rappresentano assai più di un indizio... Cioran affrontava i temi capitali dell’esistenza e del mondo col linguaggio più diretto e più chiaro, ripristinando la superba tradizione che si era perduta dopo Schopenhauer e Nietzsche. È ovvio, nello stesso tempo, che egli rimanesse estraneo alle mode culturali che negli anni Settanta e Ottanta furoreggiavano in Francia e in Europa: la linguistica, lo strutturalismo, la semiologia, la psicanalisi, il decostruzionismo, i cui esponenti o seguaci apparivano ai suoi occhi quanto meno segnati dalla superstizione della scienza e dalla maledizione dell’accademia. Ma qual è dunque il tratto fondamentale che distingue lo stile e il pensiero di Cioran, lo scrittore non meno che l’uomo? La ragione di una presa e di un fascino che oggi hanno conquistato una gamma indefinibile e trasversale di lettori, fino al E. M. Cioran nacque a Rasinari (Romania) l’ 8 aprile 1911 e morì a Parigi il 20 giugno 1995. La sua opera è stata tradotta da Adelphi sotto la direzione di Mario Andrea Rigoni che gli fu amico e che, tra il 1983 e il 1991, ne presentò alcuni scritti sul «Corriere» (raccolti in Fascinazione della cenere, Il Notes magico, 2005). Rigoni ha pubblicato in Francia Cioran dans mes souvenirs (P. U. F., 2009). punto di suscitare in molti un’identificazione spontanea e una devozione fanatica? È difficile non trovare ai singoli temi del pensiero di Cioran, come di chiunque altro, un precedente o un analogo nella letteratura antica o moderna; ma è la quintessenza di lucidità di cui si sostanzia costantemente la sua riflessione che non cessa di impressionare e di affascinare. Essa si fonda, a mio parere, sul carattere diretto e personale dell’esperienza, offerta come testimonianza intima e viva di un essere, anziché di una teoria astratta o di un esercizio professionale. Un aforisma dei Sillogismi dell’amarezza asserisce che «tutto ciò che non è diretto è insignificante» . Mi sembra che questo principio o questo imperativo, che Cioran non ha mai smesso di seguire, definisca molti tratti della sua fisionomia intellettuale e letteraria: la ricerca, anzi l’ossessione, di ciò che è l’essenziale, nella metafisica come nella politica o nella letteratura; l’interesse verso i grandi moralisti e i grandi saggi; l’orrore dell’ufficialità e del professionismo; il culto della chiarezza e il rifiuto del gergo; l’amore della brevità e la pratica dell’aforisma; l’attrazione per i generi letterari che recano l’impronta immediata dell’io, come i diari, le confessioni, le memorie, le lettere, le autobiografie. Cioran era interessato assai più alla vita che alla filosofia; più alle cose che alle idee; più agli istinti e alle emozioni che ai concetti. In un’opera cercava soprattutto l’elemento personale: «Guai al libro che si può leggere senza doversi interrogare a ogni momento sull’autore!» . D’altronde la letteratura, nella sua visione, nasce da una ferita esistenziale e da una tara metafisica: «La scrittura è la rivincita della creatura e la sua risposta a una Creazione abborracciata» . È significativo che nell’opera di Tolstoj egli abbia isolato e commentato La morte di Ivan Il’ic; come pure che, nel saggio su Fitzgerald, abbia trascurato i romanzi e i racconti dello scrittore americano per concentrarsi sulla notte dell’anima, sull’ «esperienza pascaliana» del crollo evocato nelle pagine impietose del Crack-Up. Analogamente Cioran amava più i santi e i mistici che i teologi: donde il rapporto contrastato, se non il dissenso, col suo vecchio amico e maestro Eliade, al quale rimproverava di essere non tanto uno spirito religioso quanto un semplice storico delle religioni, un indifferente cronista e archivista della varietà delle fedi. Si capisce che oggi, al culmine del disincanto al quale siamo giunti, molti di noi abbiano trovato in Cioran ciò che raramente si trova in un autore: non solo uno scrittore e un pensatore eccellente, ma uno spirito fraterno, un sodale, un amico, capace di parlare alla carne e all’anima non meno che all’intelletto. Tale egli era nella vita privata: semplice e immediato, partecipe e arguto, sempre sfiorato dall’ala nera della malinconia ma pronto a mitigarne il colpo con le risorse dell’ironia e dell’autoironia, qualche volta con un divertito esercizio di autodemolizione, anch’esso segno di uno spirito superiore.










Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

lundi, 05 juillet 2010

Se Cioran il nichilista scopre l'amore assoluto

Se Cioran il nichilista scopre l'amore assoluto

di Mario Bernardi Guardi

Fonte: secolo d'italia


Se c'è uno scrittore che, per la sua vocazione apocalittica e il suo moralismo bruciante, cupo e derisorio, si presta a definizioni "tranchant", questo è Emil Michel Cioran. Di volta in volta battezzato "barbaro dei Carpazi", "eremita antimoderno", "esteta della catastrofe", "apolide metafisico", "cavaliere del malumore cosmico". Ma anche lui, da buon Narciso, ci ricamava sopra e sulla sua "carta di identità" scriveva cose come "idolatra del dubbio", "dubitatore in ebollizione", "dubitatore in trance", "fanatico senza culto", "eroe dell'ondeggiamento". Ora, raccontare Cioran significa fare i conti con tutti questi appellativi e prendere atto che la loro indubbia suggestione trova punti di forza in una vita per tanti versi scandalosa...
 Visto che prima del Cioran "parigino"- è nel 1937 che il Nostro approda in Francia -, capace di confezionare le sue aureee sentenze nihilistico-gnostiche in un brillantissimo francese, c'è un Cioran duro e puro, di fiera stirpe rumena, che fa propri i miti del radicamento e dell'identità, simpatizzando per il fascismo di Codreanu e delle sue Guardie di Ferro, e scrivendo un bel po' di cose "compromettenti". Di questo, Antonio Castronuovo in un agile profilo pubblicato da Liguori, Emil Michel Cioran (pp.100, euro 11,90), dà solo rapidi cenni, ricordando che, comunque, Emil Michel dedica un intero capitolo del suo "Sommario di decomposizione", alla "Genealogia del fanatismo", collocandosi così "all'opposto delle fascinazioni giovanili". E cioè delle, chiamiamole così, "fascio-fascinazioni".
Ora, Castronuovo fa bene a ricordarci, con la consueta eleganza, il grande "stilista" e il grande "moralista", lo scrittore impertinente e beffardo che si interroga sul senso della vita e della morte, il chierico extravagante che cerca di stanare Dio dai suoi misteri e dai suoi abissali silenzi. E tuttavia siamo convinti che Cioran e altri "dannati" dello scorso secolo - Pound e Céline, Drieu e Heidegger, Eliade e Jünger, tanto per fare i primi nomi che ci vengono in mente - non debbano essere alleggeriti dalle loro "responsabilità" con la vecchia storia dei "peccati di gioventù", una specie di rituale giustificativo-assolutorio che li "disinfetta" e li rende "presentabili", ma toglie loro qualcosa, e cioè la "ragioni" di una scelta. Per scandalose che possano apparire alle "animule vagule blandule" del "politicamente corretto". Ed è per questo che, a suo tempo, non ci è dispiaciuto il saggio di Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine Il fascismo rimosso: Cioran, Eliade, Ionesco nella bufera del secolo che, sia pure con una "vis" polemica non aliena da faziosità, si sforza di illuminare/documentare le stazioni di una milizia intellettuale che sarebbe sbagliato ignorare o sottovalutare. Non si può esaurire la forza testimoniale di Cioran nell'ambito delle acuminate provocazioni, immaginandone la vita come una fiammeggiante costellazione di (coltissime) invettive. Sia dunque reso merito a Friedgard Thoma che ci racconta un Cioran innamorato (Per nulla al mondo. Un amore di Cioran, a cura e con un saggio di Massimo Carloni, (L'orecchio di Van Gogh, pp.160, € 14,00), addirittura un Cioran "maniaco sentimentale": un genio dell'aforisma, ma anche un umanissimo, fragile, tenero settantenne, tutto preso da lei, giovane insegnante tedesca di filosofia e letteratura, che, folgorata dalla lettura del libro L'inconveniente di essere nati, nel febbraio del 1981 gli ha scritto una calda lettera di ammirazione. C'è da stupirsi del fatto che Cioran non fosse "corazzato" di fronte ai complimenti di una donna intelligente e affascinante? Come, lui, l'apocalittico, così inerme, così indifeso! Eppure, in Sillogismi dell'amarezza è proprio il "barbaro dei Carpazi" a invitarci a tenere la guardia alta di fronte al vorticoso nichilismo degli "apocalittici" e magari a scavarvi dentro. «Diffidate - scrive - di quelli che voltano le spalle all'amore, all'ambizione, alla società. Si vendicheranno di avervi "rinunciato". La storia delle idee è la storia del rancore dei solitari». Dunque, Cioran, uomo di idee ma anche di emozioni, compiaciuto per quella lettera affettuosa, risponde immediatamente alla sua "fan", con un mezzo invito ad andarlo a trovare a Parigi.
Lei, che ci tiene ad essere una interlocutrice culturale e cita Walser, Hölderlin e Gombrowicz, non manca di allegare alla risposta una sua foto. E siccome si tratta di una donna giovane - capelli sciolti, bocca carnosa, sguardo intenso -, le coeur en hiver di Cioran comincia a battere furiosamente. Lui stesso le confesserà un paio di mesi dopo: «Tutto in fondo è cominciato dalla foto, con i suoi occhi direi». E' una tempesta dei sensi, un'"eruzione emotiva". Ancor più incontrollabile, allorché lei decide di trascorrere qualche giorno a Parigi. Lui va a prenderla all'hotel e arriva dieci minuti prima: è «un uomo di costituzione fragile, con un ciuffo di capelli grigi, arruffati, e gli occhi dello stesso colore». Lei «cerca di apparire attraente, indossando un abito nero non troppo corto, sotto un lungo cappotto chiaro». Seguono conversazioni, passeggiate, cene, visite a musei, telefonate… Cioran vive una sorta di voluttuoso invasamento, al punto che, quando lei torna a Colonia, le scrive con spudorata audacia: «Ho compreso in maniera chiara di sentirmi legato sensualmente a lei solo dopo averle confessato al telefono che avrei voluto sprofondare per sempre la mia testa sotto la sua gonna». Poi, è lui ad andarla a trovare in Germania. «Vestita di rosso e nero», Friedgard lo accoglie alla stazione. Lui è innamorato pèrso, lei, sedotta intellettualmente, continua a sedurlo fisicamente, senza nulla concedere. Lui soffre, la chiama «mia cara zingara», le scrive: «Non capisco cosa sto cercando ancora in questo mondo, dove la felicità mi rende ancora più infelice dell'infelicità». Friedgard vuol tenere intatte "venerazione e amicizia", parlando di autori e di libri, entrando nella sua intimità, portando alla luce le sue contraddizioni. Ma confessando anche, con franchezza: «Dunque, caro: lei mi ha trascinato nell'immediatezza inequivocabile d'una relazione fisica, mentre io cercavo l'erotica ambiguità della relazione "intellettuale"». Proprio quella che a Cioran non basta. È innamorato, desidera la giovane prof. con una sensualità "vorace", le fa scenate di gelosia perché lei, ovviamente, ha un "compagno" cui è legata.
«Sono vulnerabile - le scrive - e nessuno quanto Lei può ferirmi tanto facilmente». E consolarlo, anche. Così, la immagina nelle vesti di una suora, "dalla voce sensuale però". E come uno studentello inebriato d'amore, che non rinuncia alle battute, confessa che vorrebbe morire insieme a lei: «A una condizione, però, che ci mettessero nella stessa bara». Così potrebbe raccontarle tante cose, «tante, ancora non dette».
Non manca nemmeno la proposta di matrimonio. Friedgard annota: «Al telefono, Cioran si dilettava volentieri con la proposta di sposarmi, contro tutti i suoi principi, addirittura secondo il rito ortodosso ("su questo devo insistere"), il che per lui significava essere cinti entrambi da corone. Quante risate, su un sogno triste». Un sogno che, così, non poteva continuare. La non appagata, sofferta, estrema accensione dei sensi di Emil «s'incanalerà negli anni lungo i binari d'una tenera, affettuosa amicizia». Nella cui calma piatta si spengerà fatalmente la "tentazione di esistere", carne e spirito almeno una volta insieme.

Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

vendredi, 23 avril 2010

Cioran: une pensée contre soi héroïquement positive

Liliana Nicorescu

Cioran : une pensée contre soi héroïquement positive

Ex: http://www.revue-analyses.org/

Être le « héros négatif » de son temps, c’est, selon Cioran, trahir celui-ci : participer ou non aux tourments de son époque, c’est toujours faire le mauvais choix, se leurrer. Comme Cioran lui-même fut le « héros négatif » d’un « Âge trop mûr », l’étude que lui consacre Sylvain David se veut une « approche “sociale” » d’une œuvre qui fait l’apologie de la marginalité et du désistement. L’enjeu est d’explorer les ressources esthétiques et sociales de l’écriture d’un misanthrope plus ou moins sociable, qui s’est déclaré « métaphysiquement étranger » et dont l’ambition fut de s’adresser à « la communauté des exclus, des unhappy few » (p.  11) — les faibles, les ratés, son segment favori de lecteurs — vivant, tout en en étant conscients, dans une modernité aux accents spengleriens ou nietzschéens, nommée tantôt « décadence », tantôt « déclin », tantôt « crépuscule », tantôt « monde finissant ». Vivre et écrire en marginal participe d’un « héroïsme négatif », c’est-à-dire « de la chute », « de la décomposition », de la pensée « contre soi » (« le seul geste héroïque possible encore à l’homme moderne »), au fondement duquel l’auteur place la quête d’« une posture digne à opposer à l’inconvénient ou à l’inconvenance de la condition de l’homme moderne  » (p. 17), d’une réponse lucide, parfois fataliste, aux questions incontournables de la modernité. C’est, selon Sylvain David, la source même de l’écriture cioranienne et de la posture négativement héroïque d’une œuvre qui s’articule autour de la dualité entre le sujet et la collectivité, d’une identité sapée par le doute, et d’un « penser contre soi-même » assidûment professé par l’auteur des Cimes du désespoir.

L’analyse de l’œuvre cioranienne passe — plus que jamais, après la mort de l’essayiste — par l’étape roumaine de sa création littéraire. Depuis onze ans, la question fondamentale est, selon certains critiques, de concilier « l’aristocrate du doute » et l’« antisémite de conviction ». Le « dévoilement du voile » annoncé par Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine en 2002 ne tente pas Sylvain David, qui, tout en reconnaissant une « historicisation » de la pensée cioranienne dans la deuxième étape de création de l’auteur de La Transfiguration de la Roumanie, refuse de l’historiciser in corpore ou à rebours et, par conséquent, de juger l’œuvre française en fonction de l’œuvre roumaine. La « seconde naissance » de Cioran passe, certes, par l’historicisation de sa pensée : celui qui prônait dans son premier livre roumain l’« héroïsme de la résistance et non de la conquête » allait admirer quelques années plus tard Corneliu Zelea-Codreanu et Hitler, pour s’attaquer ensuite à toute forme de fanatisme, d’engagement politique. Par conséquent, la tension fondamentale de l’œuvre cioranienne sera « la relation conflictuelle d’un homme avec son époque, son milieu, si ce n’est avec lui-même » (p.  23).

Les rapports entre l’écriture et le désengagement constituent la première partie du livre, intitulée Un discours (a)social. Les trois premiers livres français de Cioran (Précis de décomposition, 1949; Syllogismes de l’amertume, 1952; La Tentation d’exister, 1956) sont empreints de la certitude du déclin, de la décadence, de l’éternelle erreur. Si l’esprit moderne est marqué par « la négativité et le relativisme » (p. 24), l’œuvre de Cioran se distinguera non seulement en tant que « dénonciation du caractère insidieux de l’esprit moderne », mais aussi en tant que « discours (a)social » (p. 29). Dans cette période de passage, le segment français de l’œuvre cioranienne dénonce, juge et accuse systématiquement l’aspect politique, engagé, des écrits roumains. À cette époque, Cioran essaie de « se distancier d’une certaine incarnation de lui-même, de ce qu’il a déjà été » (p. 30). L’affirmation ne laissera aucun cioranien (ou cioranomane!) indifférent et place l’auteur de cet essai dans le camp modéré des lecteurs/exégètes de celui qui est accusé de « fuite lâche », de mémoire sélective, de mensonge et, surtout, de conservation du credo antisémite. Lire l’œuvre française de Cioran n’est pas, pour Sylvain David, « tenter de déterminer ce qu’a pu dire, ou faire, exactement l’essayiste, au cours des années 1930, mais plutôt de voir ce qu’il en pense, avec le recul, au moment où il entame sa nouvelle carrière » (p. 30). À l’encontre de ceux qui parlent de l’« insincérité permanente » de Cioran ou de son antisémitisme foncier et permanent, Sylvain David croit que « [p]lutôt que de commodément vouer son égarement de jeunesse à l’oubli », il convient de considérer que Cioran « revient inlassablement sur son expérience afin de comprendre et, éventuellement, dépasser les motivations qui ont pu le pousser à agir de la sorte » (p. 30).

En s’attaquant à la racine du Mal, de l’Intolérance, du Fanatisme, Cioran poursuit et accomplit un besoin d’expiation, de purification de ses jeunes égarements. La « rage tournée contre soi », la « négativité » se trouvent au cœur de cette écriture centrée sur la condition de l’homme moderne et qui réfléchit sur celle de l’écrivain dans une société de plus en plus politisée, de plus en plus divisée, de plus en plus radicalisée. La « poétique du détachement » qui illustre cette première étape de création française prend déjà contour dans le Précis de décomposition (Exercices négatifs à l’origine) que Cioran publiera en 1947 et s’articule non seulement autour de la « dénonciation de toute forme de dogmatisme ou d’intransigeance » (p. 36), mais aussi autour de l’écriture éclatée, fragmentaire, opposée, dira Cioran, à « la tentation de conclure ». Cette écriture fragmentée, fracturée est une expression de la modernité dans la mesure où la philosophie, le premier amour de l’essayiste, est, estime-t-il, incapable d’expliquer le monde ou le temps, qui mesure plutôt l’irrationalité contemporaine, le volet culturel de la durée, la fracture de la connaissance, du moi, la décomposition de la pensée et la décadence du Verbe.   

Cette étape créatrice du métèque correspond à un métissage esthétique, autrement dit à l’éclatement de la forme littéraire, dont le principal matériau, la langue, se dissout et s’incarne sous diverses formes : le doute se radicalise et se détache du discours philosophique impersonnel et systémique. Aux idées abstraites, Cioran, devenu « penseur d’occasion », préfère la connaissance empirique; l’écrivain est un sceptique déçu par la philosophie (universitaire ou non), un moraliste qui, avant d’observer les gens, doit « dépoétiser sa prose ». L’idée que « toute démiurgie verbale se développe aux dépens de la lucidité » conduit à l’esthétisation de la négation, à la « négativité esthétique » (p. 95), à travers laquelle l’écriture mesure et dénonce le déclin inéluctable d’un monde, d’un système de valeurs partagées.

La deuxième partie de l’étude de Sylvain David — intitulée De l’histoire de la fin à la fin de l’histoire — a pour fondement « le grand récit de la Chute ». Le corpus (Histoire et utopie, 1960; La Chute dans le temps, 1964 ; Le mauvais démiurge, 1969) propose une relecture de la Genèse, dont le centre nerveux est le panorama de la vanité que déplore l’Ecclésiaste. Au centre de la deuxième étape de l’œuvre française de Cioran, on trouve le « Cioran de la maturité ». Placé également sous le signe de la négation, ce deuxième segment français de l’œuvre cioranienne met en scène un moi lui-même fragmenté, décomposé, qui ne met plus en question ses égarements de jeunesse, mais ses accès de pessimisme, de scepticisme. Sur le plan de l’écriture, l’aphorisme est supplanté par l’essai, dont les thèmes centraux sont l’homme, le péché originel, la chute, le temps historique et l’Occident moribond. Dans l’herméneutique cioranienne, le péché originel s’appelle la « douleur originelle » et la Chute vient couronner « l’inaptitude au bonheur » des descendants d’Adam et Ève; leur « don d’ignorance » est le seul à les rendre heureux. Lucifer, quant à lui, n’eut qu’à saper « l’inconscience originelle » du couple primordial et de sa progéniture — dont l’« inconvénient » d’exister fut la seule fortune —, ce qui laissa cet univers à la discrétion d’un « mauvais démiurge ». Conséquence directe du péché originel, la chute dans le temps est en même temps une chute vers la mort : « avancer » et « progresser » sont des concepts distincts chez Cioran, car aller vers la mort est un progrès vers l’involution, vers la disparition non seulement des hommes (ou des peuples), mais aussi des cultures, des civilisations sujettes au temps historique. Fatalement, l’« abominable Clio » enchaîne l’homme et le laisse « en proie au temps, portant les stigmates qui définissent à la fois le temps et l’homme ». Séduite par l’élan vers le pire, l’humanité court vers sa perte, autrement dit, vers l’avenir : c’est plus fort qu’elle, car, écrit Cioran dans ses Écartèlements, « [l]a fin de l’histoire est inscrite dans ses commencements ».

La troisième partie — Une autobiographie sans événements (incluant De l’inconvénient d’être né, 1973; Aveux et anathèmes, 1987; Écartèlement, 1979 : Exercices d’admiration, 1986) — correspond à un réinvestissement du temps présent complètement dépolitisé. La réflexion qui accompagne cet héroïsme négatif se fait en trois volets : le malheur (plus ou moins inventé) de l’homme moderne, l’écriture fragmentaire en tant que miroir d’un univers atomisé, désagrégé, inachevé, et le défi stoïque, positivement connoté, de l’héroïsme négatif de Cioran, autrement dit, « le courage de continuer à vivre et à écrire à l’encontre de ses propres conclusions, de son propre savoir » (p. 26). Les piliers de cette « autobiographie sans événements » sont le suicide et la « (re)naissance ». La biographie de Cioran fut marquée par un suicide jamais commis, puisqu’on ne peut pas tuer une idée. Ce que Cioran retient du suicide, c’est l’idée de se donner la mort, pas l’acte en soi : « sans l’idée du suicide — estimait-il — on se tuerait sur-le-champ! » D’ailleurs, si celui qui se vantait d’avoir « tout sacrifié à l’idée du suicide, même la mort », ne s’est pas suicidé, c’est parce que, disait-il plus ou moins amèrement, de toute façon, « on se tue toujours trop tard ». La même biographie fut également marquée par « l’inconvénient d’être né », voire d’être né Roumain, par les « affres de la lucidité », par les tortures du paradoxe, par l’effort de reconstruction intérieure et de mise en scène d’un moi aliéné. Dans le Paris aggloméré et automatisé, le regard du métèque s’arrête sur des gens que personne ne voit, venus, eux aussi, d’ailleurs, ou bien sur des clochards-philosophes. Sa lucidité — autrement dit, son « inaptitude à l’illusion » — fut celle d’une tribu sceptique, fataliste, anhistorique, celle de ces analphabètes brillants qui savent depuis toujours que l’homme est perdu et qui lui ont inculqué cette lucidité en même temps que « l’envergure pour gâcher sa vie ».

Étant lui-même un paradoxe vivant, Cioran ne put mettre en scène qu’une paradoxale série de représentations de soi : le moraliste qui, avant d’observer les hommes, se donne comme devoir primordial de « dépoétiser sa prose » tend la main à un être lucide pris pour un sceptique; le « parvenu de la névrose » est le frère du « Job à la recherche d’une lèpre » ; le « Bouddha de pacotille » cherche la compagnie tourmentée d’un « Scythe flemmard et fourvoyé », « idolâtre et victime du pour et du contre », d’un « emballé divisé d’avec ses emballements », d’un « délirant soucieux d’objectivité », d’un « douteur en transe » ou d’un « fanatique sans credo ». Cette rhétorique du paradoxe et de l’opposition projette, selon Sylvain David, non seulement l’image d’un marginal, d’un étranger, d’un exclu, d’un apatride métaphysique, mais également et surtout un jeu de contraires qui trouve son plaisir esthétique dans les contorsions, dans les volutes élégamment orchestrées par une pensée organiquement écartelée « entre scepticisme et besoin de croire, entre lucidité et illusion vitale » (p. 273). Cette mise en scène du moi artistique participe d’un « métacommentaire » qui prolonge non seulement « une détestation de soi primaire » (en tout cas, moins importante, semble-t-il), mais surtout d’« une forme d’amour trahi ou d’orgueil blessé » (p. 275). La visée de celui qui se voulait « le secrétaire de [s]es sensations » n’est pourtant aucunement narcissique, mais plutôt viscérale, car, disait-il, ce ne sont pas nos idées, mais nos sensations et nos visions — parce qu’elles « n’émanent pas de nos entrailles » et sont « véritablement nôtres » — qui peuvent, qui doivent nous définir. Cet attachement au sensoriel est, observe Sylvain David, l’apogée de l’héroïsme négatif de Cioran : en parlant de sensations et de visions qui sont les siennes, pas les nôtres — c’est-à-dire « non partagées avec le commun » —, le dernier Cioran défend son héroïsme négatif en explorant ce que son passé, son identité, ses souvenirs ont de négatif. Cet effort expiatoire est plus qu’une catégorie esthétique : il s’impose en tant que garantie morale de l’œuvre de maturité d’un homme « désintégré ».

Sur les ruines d’un univers déserté par les dieux, un penseur inclassable vint installer son Verbe ahurissant, héritier de la sobriété et de l’élégance des moralistes dont il se réclamait comme descendant légitime, aussi bien que de la saveur amère et de la souplesse de sa langue maternelle. Seuls l’aphorisme ou le fragment pouvaient représenter cet univers morcelé, éclaté. À l’encontre de Ionesco ou de Beckett, qui ont exploré l’absurde du langage, Cioran resta plutôt un classique, car, bien que conscient des mots, il a cherché, au-delà de la fonction poétique de la langue, à faire passer ses négations au niveau de la rhétorique; son univers n’est pas l’absurde, mais le paradoxe qui repose sur toute une série de malgré : poursuivre sa réflexion, malgré la déception que provoque chez lui la philosophie, malgré le mal que provoque sa propre conscience (ou sa propre lucidité); écrire, malgré les doutes quant à la capacité de son écriture à définir sa conception du monde; publier, malgré un nombre restreint de lecteurs et le dégoût que provoque en lui le flux éditorial parisien.

Certes, Cioran a écrit parce que, disait-il, chaque livre est « un suicide différé ». Paradoxalement ou non, son héroïsme négatif n’est ni agressif ni virulent, mais plutôt la représentation concrète de son aptitude — qui l’aurait cru? — « au compromis stoïque », de sa « capacité de se mouler aux circonstances de la modernité sans jamais pour autant s’y diluer ou s’y travestir » (p. 326). Il ne lui restait qu’à devenir « le sceptique de service » d’un monde en agonie ou « le secrétaire de [s]es sensations », puisque « être le secrétaire d’une sainte » n’a pas été la chance de sa vie.

Le Cioran français est, selon certains exégètes du moraliste, le masque du Cioran roumain séduit, dans les années 1930, par le mouvement nationaliste roumain et qui, une fois établi en France, n’a fait que réécrire ses livres roumains, afin de cacher ses jeunes égarements tout en restant fidèle à ses anciens credo. À l’encontre de certains de ses prédécesseurs, Sylvain David met au cœur de sa lecture de l’œuvre française de Cioran le fondement esthétique et social de l’art du fragment, dont l’auteur du Mauvais démiurge fut le maître incontesté. Complètement dépolitisés, les paradoxes cioraniens retrouvent toute leur beauté et leur profondeur et construisent, par le biais d’une analyse aussi subtile qu’objective, le parcours sinueux, mais combien passionnant, d’un « héroïsme à rebours ».


Compte rendu par : Liliana Nicorescu

Référence : Sylvain David, Cioran. Un héroïsme à rebours, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, coll. « Espace littéraire », 2006, 338 p.

Pour citer cet article : Liliana Nicorescu, «Cioran : une pensée contre soi héroïquement positive», @nalyses [En ligne], Comptes rendus, XXe siècle, mis à jour le : 27/01/2010, URL : http://www.revue-analyses.org/index.php?id=623.

vendredi, 18 décembre 2009

L'insolente Cioran

e_m_cioran.jpgL'insolente Cioran

Dal mensile Area, giugno 2001

«La mia missione è di uccidere il tempo e la sua di uccidermi a sua volta. Ci si trova perfettamente a proprio agio tra assassini». Con questa dichiarata volontà e nella convinzione che «chiunque non sia morto giovane merita di morire» Emile Michel Cioran, poeta, filosofo, saggista ha condotto il suo personalissimo duello con la vita, «il più grande dei vizi», sino al 20 giugno del 1995, giorno in cui è morto a Parigi.

A sei anni dalla scomparsa di questo affascinante esponente della cultura europea del Novecento, arrivano nelle librerie italiane i Quaderni 1957 - 1972. L’opera raccoglie il prezioso contenuto di trentaquattro taccuini, ritrovati dopo la sua morte, ora pubblicati da Adelphi in un ponderoso tomo di oltre mille pagine, per la delizia di noi lettori. Si tratta degli appunti più intimi di uno sferzante fustigatore della modernità, «scettico di servizio in un mondo alla fine», scritti nel lungo arco di tempo che va dal giugno 1957 al novembre 1972. Vi si trovano, tenuti insieme da una scrittura iperbolica e densa di suggestioni incantatrici, riflessioni, sentenze fulminanti, ritratti strabilianti, descrizioni minuziose di significativi episodi vissuti, aneddoti e paradossi. Soprattutto emerge, tra le righe, l’animo inquieto di un artista affamato d’assoluto, di uno spirito religioso senza religione, di uno scrittore lucido e delirante al tempo stesso, che per la sua natura contraddittoria sfugge ad ogni classificazione, tanto da definirsi egli stesso un «idolatra del dubbio, un dubitatore in ebollizione, un dubitatore in trance, un fanatico senza culto, un eroe dell’ondeggiamento».

Francese d’adozione, Cioran rimane uno scrittore di stirpe rumena e sentimenti balcanici. Nasce a Rasinari (Sibiu) in Transilvania l’8 aprile del 1911 e i Carpazi sono i compagni della sua adolescenza. Rimane sempre legato alla «madre patria immersa nella bruma» anche quando nel 1937 decide di lasciare l’insegnamento nei licei e accettare una borsa di studio a Parigi, «piccola Bucarest […] la sola città del mondo dove si poteva essere poveri senza vergogna, senza complicazioni, senza drammi, la città ideale per essere un fallito». Ed infatti la sua vita parigina è caratterizzata da quel modus vivendi studentesco che Robert Brasillach definiva «l’eminente dignità del provvisorio», ben descritto da Mario Bernardi Guardi nella monografia che il mensile Diorama Letterario ha dedicato nel maggio 1991 (n.148) a Cioran, profeta della decadenza: «Provinciale d’ingegno e studente ribaldo, legge e scrive, ma va anche in giro in bicicletta per i Pirenei e la Bretagna. E vive, fino a quarant’anni, da avventuroso adolescente: ha in tasca pochi soldi, dorme negli ostelli, abita nelle soffitte, alloggia negli albergucci, mangia alla mensa universitaria».

Con sofferenza matura la decisione di rinunciare alla sua lingua d’origine per scrivere in francese. «Ho scritto in rumeno fino al ’47. Quell’anno mi trovavo in una casetta a Dieppe, e traducevo Mallarmé in rumeno. Di colpo, mi son detto: Che assurdità! Che senso ha tradurre Mallarmé in una lingua che nessuno conosce? Allora ho rinunciato alla mia lingua. Mi sono messo a scrivere in francese, ed è stato difficilissimo, perché, per temperamento, la lingua francese non mi si addice. Io ho bisogno di una lingua selvaggia, di una lingua da ubriaco. Il francese è stato per me una camicia di forza».

Sono invece in rumeno, questa «mistura di slavo e latino, idioma privo di eleganza ma poetico», le sue opere giovanili. A soli ventitre anni scrive un saggio di «sfida al mondo», Al culmine della disperazione (Adelphi 1998), che riscuote un certo successo e viene premiato.

Nel 1937 pubblica Ascesa della Romania. Vi si scorge un Cioran ancora attento all’attualità politico culturale, persino interventista nel dibattito del suo paese: «Nessuno può dirsi nazionalista se non soffre infinitamente del fatto che la Romania non possiede la missione storica di una grande cultura e che un imperialismo culturale e politico come quello delle grandi nazioni non possa appartenerle; non è nazionalista chi non può credere con fanatismo alla repentina sublimazione della nostra storia». Nello stesso periodo scrive: «La cultura rumena vive attualmente il suo momento decisivo: abbandonare dietro di sé la tragedia di una cultura su piccola scala e, attraverso le sue imprese in materia di teorie, d’arte, di politica e di spiritualità, compiere un destino specificamente aggressivo da grande cultura. Lo sforzo dei rumeni deve dunque mirare a strappare il loro paese dalla periferia della storia per condurlo sul proscenio…».

Insieme a numerose personalità della cultura, come lo storico delle religioni Mircea Eliade, si schiera a fianco della Legione dell’Arcangelo Michele. E’ una stagione brevissima, prevale presto lo scetticismo e la sfiducia in ogni rivoluzione. Anni dopo scriverà: «Ogni progetto è una forma di schiavitù». E anche: «Mi basta sentire qualcuno parlare sinceramente di ideale, di avvenire, di filosofia, sentirlo dire noi con tono risoluto, invocare gli altri e ritenersene l’interprete, perché io lo consideri mio nemico».

Prima di partire per la Francia pubblica a sue spese Lacrime e Santi (Adelphi 1990) e qualche anno dopo il suo ultimo libro in lingua rumena, Il tramonto dei pensieri. Si appassiona a Shakespeare e Baudelaire, a Dostoevskij, agli antichi gnostici, a Buddha e Pascal.

Lo influenzano soprattutto Spengler e Schopenhauer, suo «grande Patrono, boicottato dalla tromba degli utopisti, senza parlare di quella dei filosofi» e Nietzsche. Sono in molti a paragonarlo al grande tedesco, dal filosofo spagnolo Fernando Savater, allievo ed amico di Cioran nonché traduttore delle sue opere e autore della biografia Cioran, un angelo sterminatore (Frassinetti 1998), a Jean François Revel che lo definisce «il solo rappresentante letterariamente riuscito dell’arte dell’aforisma dopo Nietzsche».

Termina presto l’idillio con la filosofia, («ha vinto l’incantesimo della filosofia», scrisse Alain De Benoist), che abbandona per abbracciare «l’esperienza, le cose vissute, la follia quotidiana». Preferisce finire «prima in una fogna che su un piedistallo». Detesta la pedanteria dei filosofi, piuttosto che sposare dogmi vuole demolirne. Ritiene l’erudizione un pericolo mortale per l’umanità. «Il sapere […] ci condurrà inesorabilmente alla rovina», avverte.

Soprattutto Cioran non vuole rinunciare al suo «dilettantismo»: «Se fossi costretto a rinunciarvi è nell’urlo che vorrei specializzarmi». Le sue opere, in effetti, gridano, nell’intento di svegliare le coscienze dal torpore morale: «scuotendole, le preservo dallo snervamento in cui le sommerge il conformismo». In esse vibra un’energia baldanzosa e vitale che stride, solo apparentemente, con la sfiducia di Cioran.

La sua critica pungente si rivolge all’uomo contemporaneo, capace solo di «secernere disastro», alla ragione, «la ruggine della nostra civiltà», alla storia, «indecente miscela di banalità e apocalisse», al progresso, «l’ingiustizia che ogni generazione commette nei confronti di quella che l’ha preceduta» e al colonialismo occidentale nel Terzo Mondo, «l’interesse degli uomini civili per i popoli che vengono chiamati arretrati è molto sospetto, incapace di sopportarsi ancora, l’uomo civilizzato scarica su questi popoli l’eccedenza dei mali che lo opprimono, li incita a condividere le proprie miserie, li scongiura di affrontare un destino che ormai non può più affrontare da solo».

Eppure, pur esprimendo un inconfutabile pessimismo, Cioran non può essere ritenuto semplicisticamente un nichilista. Non si limita ad annunciare la catastrofica fine dell’occidente, ma invita tutti ad una vera e propria rivolta morale. Come ha scritto Bernardi Guardi il suo è comunque un messaggio positivo: «C’è da indietreggiare davanti a tanta copia d’angoscia. Eppure l’umor nero di Cioran, mettendoci in guardia contro tutto, paradossalmente ci insegna a riscoprire tutto, a fare carne e sangue di ogni esperienza, prima fra tutte quella del dolore, della religione, della morte».

C’è in lui, infatti, una robusta vena di sensibilità sociale, scevra di ogni forma di retorica, scarna e proprio per questo più sincera. E’ singolare come tale sentimento conviva con l’aristocratico distacco rispetto alle sorti del mondo che caratterizza questo autore solitario e metafisico.

La sua insofferente misantropia lo porta a scrivere feroci battute come queste: «appena si esce nella strada, alla vista della gente, sterminio è la prima parola che viene in mente […] quando passo giorni e giorni in mezzo a testi in cui si tratta unicamente di serenità, di contemplazione, di spoliazione, mi viene voglia di uscire per la strada e spaccare il muso al primo che incontro». La tolleranza diventa «una civetteria da agonizzanti». Malgrado affermazioni così temerarie Cioran non ha dubbi: «Ci si deve schierare con gli oppressi in ogni circostanza, anche quando hanno torto, senza tuttavia dimenticare che sono impastati con lo stesso fango dei loro oppressori». L’auspicio è quello di un mondo liberato dal lavoro, dove la gente possa «uscire in strada e non fare più nulla. Tutta questa gente abbrutita, che sgobba senza sapere perché, o si illude di contribuire al bene dell’umanità, che fatica per le generazioni future sotto l’impulso della più sinistra delle illusioni, si vendicherebbe allora di tutta la mediocrità di una vita vana e sterile, di tutto questo spreco di energia privo dell’eccellenza delle grandi trasfigurazione».

Per Cioran la scrittura non è un mestiere, ma un atto liberatorio. Si domanda: «Cosa sarei diventato senza la facoltà di riempire delle pagine. Scrivere significa distrarsi dei propri rimorsi e dei propri rancori, vomitare i propri segreti. Lo scrittore è uno squilibrato che si serve di quelle finzioni che sono le parole per guarirsi». Chiamato in numerose università a tenere dei corsi, rifiuta asserendo che ne è incapace, perché «ogni idea mi ripugna nel giro di un quarto d’ora».

In Italia, negli anni del più ortodosso fondamentalismo marxista, i suoi libri sono stati a lungo ignorati, in quanto ritenuti politicamente scorretti. Solo le edizioni del Borghese dettero alla luce due sue opere, Storia e Utopia (1969) e I nuovi Dei (1971), libro, quest’ultimo, ristampato successivamente anche dall’editore Ciarrapico nella bella collana de I classici della controinformazione, diretta da Marcello Veneziani.

Solo diverso tempo dopo ed in Italia soprattutto grazie ad Adelphi, che ne ha tradotto, nel corso degli ultimi quindici anni, quasi tutta l’opera, il grande pubblico ha potuto godere di buona parte dei suoi scritti, tra i quali la stessa Storia e Utopia (ovviamente trascurando di fare riferimenti alle precedenti edizioni), Il funesto demiurgo, L’inconveniente di essere nati, La caduta nel tempo, La tentazione di esistere, Sommario di decomposizione, Sillogismi dell’amarezza, Squartamento e Esercizi di ammirazione.

In questo libro, in particolare, conosciamo un Cioran anomalo, non più sarcastico ma, al contrario, persino generoso nel giudicare alcuni personaggi della cultura suoi contemporanei, tra i quali gli amati Eliade, Borges e De Maistre.

Sul futuro delle sue opere Cioran ha dichiarato: «Il destino dei miei libri mi lascia indifferente. Credo però che qualcuna delle mie insolenze resterà». Noi invece siamo convinti che la sua opera rimarrà di assoluta attualità, così come la sua figura di provocatore “insolente”.

A tal proposito la definizione che Cioran ha dato del grande pensatore reazionario Joseph de Maistre, è per noi, lettori devoti, la più adatta a descrivere proprio il grande rumeno: «Senza le sue contraddizioni, senza i malintesi che, per istinto o calcolo, alimentò sul proprio conto, il suo caso sarebbe stato liquidato da tempo, ed oggi soffrirebbe la disgrazia di essere capito, la peggiore che possa abbattersi su un autore».

lundi, 07 décembre 2009

Oswald Spengler - Der optimistische Pessimist

Oswald Spengler – Der optimistische Pessimist

Geschrieben von: Daniel Bigalke   

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


Oswald SpenglerDie Auseinandersetzung mit Oswald Spengler (1880–1936), dem begeisterten und zugleich leidenden Philosophen des Schicksals und dem Vertreter der „Konservativen Revolution“, hat wieder Hochkonjunktur. Was vor über 80 Jahren eindrucksvoll im „Untergang des Abendlandes“ (1918) begann, in „Preußentum und Sozialismus“ (1919) die Abrechnung mit dem Marxismus praktizierte und ihm einen deutschen ethischen Sozialismus entgegensetzte, endete mit Spenglers letztem Werk „Jahre der Entscheidung“ (1933). Dieses prophezeite die heutigen politischen und ökologischen Krisen der globalisierten Welt und ihrer Wirtschaft.

Spengler war mehr als der pessimistische Prophet des Untergangs: Er war Dichterphilosoph, Visionär, Tatsachenmensch und Außenseiter. Als dieser ergriff er Partei gegen die Nationalsozialisten, um nach Hitlers Vorgehen z.B. gegen Edgar J. Jung und gegen die konservative Opposition am 30. Juni 1934 Ekel gegenüber der Geistlosigkeit des „braunen Haufens“ zu empfinden. Spenglers Werk ordnet sich charakteristisch in die deutsche Geistesgeschichte überhaupt ein. Man erkennt dies an den darin vorkommenden Dualitäten: Ambivalenz zwischen Politischem und Unpolitischem, Kultur und Zivilisation, Pessimismus und Aktivismus, dogmatischer Religiosität und tieferer Spiritualität.

Spengler, geboren im anhaltinischen Blankenburg, verstand sich als Überwinder des eurozentrischen Weltbildes. Die abendländische Kultur habe ihren Höhepunkt erreicht. Als Zivilisation, der Ära des entgrenzten und mit mächtigen exekutiven Befugnissen ausgestatteten Cäsarismus, gerate ihr Demokratismus zur Farce bloßer Parolen, die vom Pfad freiheitlicher Ansprüchen abgekommen ist. Damit personifiziert Spengler eine geistige und politische Zeitenwende, wie wir sie heute nach dem 11. September 2001 ähnlich erleben. Der Parteienstaat erhält sich durch trockene Parolen, die Staatsexekutive überwacht wesentliche Lebensbereiche. Ihre demokratistische Ideologie gerät zum zivilreligiösen Dogma und ruft zugleich die politische Fundamentalopposition auf den Plan.Spengler selbst ging es um einen oppositionellen Genius, der urteilsfähig und mit ganzheitlichem Bewußtsein ausgestattet den profanen Parteihader überwindet.

Ob Spengler damit heute Parteigänger eines politischen „Extremismus“ wäre, muß dahingestellt bleiben. Allein formale Begriffe und diskriminierende Kategorien können das Wesen der Welt nicht umfassend erschließen. Spengler stand an der Wegegabelung von ideellem Überbau und kreativem Ekel an der Realität. Womöglich war es jener Zwiespalt, der seine reifen Urteile ermöglichte, die in seinem Hauptwerk „Der Untergang des Abendlandes“ artikuliert werden.

Konservative Revolution und aktive Metapolitik

Edgar Julius Jung (1894-1934), Verfasser der am 17. Juni 1934 von Franz von Papen gehaltenen Marburger Rede vor Studenten, welche für Jung zum tödlichen Verhängnis werden sollte, schrieb noch kurz vor seiner Ermordung über den zurückgezogenen Spengler: „Persönlich Stolzeres und menschlich doch Weheres, aber auch sachlich Gerechteres und geschichtlich Gültigeres dürfte in den letzten 15 Jahren kaum von einem zweiten Zeitgenossen deutscher Zunge geschrieben worden sein.“ Der „Untergang des Abendlandes“ ist mehr als nur eine Kulturphilosophie, er ist in hohem Maße Träger einer politischen Botschaft, im Kern ein geschichtsspekulatives System, welches deutsche Denker nach Hegel wohl kaum wieder derartig in Angriff nahmen. Spengler war ein unpolitischer Intellektueller, der sich abseits der Politik hielt und sein Heil in höheren Sphären suchte.


Lisson, Frank 2005. Oswald Spengler. Philosoph des Schicksals. 150 Seiten. Schnellroda

Sonderheft Mai 2005 der Sezession zu Oswald Spengler

Spengler, Oswald zuletzt 2007. Der Untergang des Abendlandes. Umrisse der Morphologie der Weltgeschichte. 740 Seiten. Marixverlag. Wiesbaden

In intellektueller und sozialer Hinsicht kann man ihn vor 1918, vor Erscheinen dieses Buches, als einen „declassé“ betrachten, bis er schließlich nach Erscheinen desselben in ein verzweigtes Netzwerk industrieller, politischer und paramilitärischer Kreise aufgenommen wurde, das sich in drei Machtzentren des Deutschen Reiches konzentrierte: Berlin, Ruhrgebiet, München. In ihm weitete Spengler seine „konservativ-revolutionäre“ Geisteshaltung aus und praktizierte gleichsam aktive Metapolitik. Metapolitik möchte mit dem Schaffen eines geistig-kulturellen Überbaus auf das politische Geschehen einwirken, ohne sich in tagesaktuellen Debatten zu verlieren. So gilt die Einkehr ins eigene Innere als Notwendigkeit für ein Wirken in der Welt. Wissen und gar Weisheit ist nicht von denen zu erwarten, die nicht auch ernsthaft an sich selbst gearbeitet, eigene Motivationen und Leidenschaften erkannt und in ihren Konsequenzen reflektiert und optimiert haben. Metapolitik artikuliert neue politische Methoden und Inhalte. Sie reflektiert, was hinter der Politik steht.

Wenn Metapolitik auf existentielle Erfahrungen und Beobachtungen, wie die Furcht vor einem neuerlichen Zusammenbruch einer haltgebenden Ordnung, zurückgreift, dann kann dies ganz neue, tiefgründige Zusammenhänge erschließen und kann das Krisenbewußtsein schärfen.

Der Schlüssel zum Verständnis des „Untergangs des Abendlandes“

Spengler war sensibel für soziale und kulturelle Entwicklungen in Deutschland. Sein Kulturpessimismus umschließt die Dekadenz und das Spätzeitbewußtsein, die gespannte Beziehung zwischen Geist, Macht und Modernitätskrise. Seine persönlichen Enttäuschungen und Ressentiments kehrten sich gegen die Kultur und deren offizielle Repräsentanten. Spenglers eigene Tragödie als Mensch trug alle Farben seiner Zeit: “...den Kult des einsamen, des Fremdlings (...), die Begierde zu leiden, den Narzismus der Schwarzen Romantik. (...) Er versteht: es gibt keine Erkenntnis, kein Glück (...), es gibt nur Werden und Wollen.” So schrieb Koktanek in seiner Biographie von 1968.

Spengler entzog sich aber auch im „Untergang“ nicht den direkt politischen Inhalten. Er kompensierte seine innere Zerrissenheit und sein Unvermögen tatsächlicher Teilhabe am Leben durch seine Mystik, durch sein allumfassendes Lebensprinzip, schlichtweg durch seine Lebensphilosophie. Er bezweckte damit die Verschiebung deutscher Mentalitäten nach seinen Ambitionen, um der Gefährdung der tradierten Kultur durch Massenhaftigkeit, Mechanisierung und durch Ökonomismus entgegenzuwirken. Wissenschaft konnte Gesetze erweisen, aber nicht die ersehnte Gewißheit erzeugen. Der „Untergang“ ist ein Werk, welches diese Gewißheit zu schaffen in Angriff nahm.

Die Zeitenwende

Spengler spürte darin die Polaritäten des Lebens: Ich und Welt, Mikrokosmos und Makrokosmos, das Eigene und das Fremde, Geburt und Weltangst. So betrachtet er das Leben aus der Perspektive des Geworfenseins: „Ein Denker ist ein Mensch, dem es bestimmt war, durch das eigene Schauen und Verstehen die Zeit symbolisch darzustellen. Er hat keine Wahl. Er denkt, wie er denken muß, und wahr ist für ihn, was als Bild seiner Welt mit ihm geboren wurde.“ Seine konservative Weltanschauung trug die Konturen einer politischen Haltung, die weniger durch einen streng wissenschaftlichen sondern vielmehr durch einen poetisch-intuitiven Zugriff gegen die verhaßte Entseelung seiner Zeit ankämpfte. Die Konzentration auf mythische Phänomene, die Wahrnehmung des künftig Notwendigen und der Drang, all jenes politisch mitzuteilen, führten zu einer spezifischen Motivation und zu einer einmaligen Ausdrucksweise, wie sie sich nur bei Spengler findet.

Konservative Weltanschauung durch einen poetisch-intuitiven Zugriff

Die „Konservativen Revolutionäre“, darunter Spengler, können als die geistige Vorhut auf der Suche nach neuen Sicherheiten verstanden werden. Spengler entwickelte darunter eine antiintellektuelle und vitalistische Lebensphilosophie. Er wurde konfrontiert mit der Entstehung eines neuen Mittelstandes, der sich zusehends über Massenpolitik und Interessenverbände zu artikulieren wußte. Dadurch entstand der Druck auf die konservative Elite, die – zu recht – einstige Kulturideale wie Harmonie zwischen Innerlichkeit und Welt, Formkraft und Beseelung sowie Metaphysik verloren gehen sah oder, um mit Spengler zu reden, diese zur „Zivilisation“ erstarren sah. Daraus resultiert kompensatorisch eine überspannt subjektive Weltdeutung, die der eigenen Intuition mehr vertraut als wissenschaftlichen Methoden.

Die Denker der „Konservativen Revolution“ hatten ein solches Bewußtsein, welches in Anlehnung an Kants transzendentale Wende und Fichtes Subjektphilosophie als jenes Bewußtsein gekennzeichnet werden kann, das mehr denn je das „Spezifisch Deutsche“ im Denken war und ist. Eine fortschreitende Entzweiung des Lebens wurde befürchtet. Dabei ging es den Deutschen, wie aus heutiger Sicht leichtfertig behauptet, nicht um eine konservative Verlängerung der linken Gesellschaftskritik, sondern vielmehr um die praktische Handhabung gesellschaftlicher und sozialer Umbrüche in Deutschland, welchen man eine deutsche Geistes- und Politikalternative entgegenstellte. In Deutschland eben leisteten sich damals wie heute die Gebildeten fern der politischen Praxis die Radikalität des reinen Gedankens. Das macht die deutsche Besonderheit aus. Georg Quabbe, auch „Konservativer Revolutionär“, hätte dazu gesagt: So sind wir! Und deshalb handeln wir danach!

Wir können Spengler einen optimistischen Pessimisten nennen, der wenig von der „demokratischen“ Litanei oberflächlicher Unverbindlichkeit hielt, sondern seine Hände unter emotionaler Wahrnehmung des existenziellen Fundamentalcharakters des Lebens strapazierte und beschmutzte, um eine demgemäße politische Ordnung zu schaffen. Es bleibt zu hoffen, daß innovative Menschengruppen zu dieser Kategorie Mensch aufsteigen.


samedi, 28 mars 2009

Hommage à Emil Cioran






Hommage à Emile Cioran


Au beau milieu de notre société de consommation et de plaisir, il était le héraut du déclin et du doute. L'écrivain roumain Emile Cioran est mort à Paris, à l'âge de 84 ans, le 20 juin 1995. Rien que les titres de ses livres, Précis de décomposition, Syllogismes de l'amertume ou De l'inconvénient d'être né,  pourraient déclencher une dépression. Face à un homme comme Cioran, qui, selon sa propre confession, considère que toute rencontre avec un autre homme est une sorte de “crucifixion”, on est en droit de se poser la question que Nietzsche lui-même nous a suggérée: comment est-il devenu ce qu'il était?


Déjà à l'âge de dix ans, Cioran a vécu une sorte d'exclusion du Paradis. Il a dû quitter le monde de son en­fance pour s'en aller fréquenter le lycée de Sibiu. Cioran décrit ce grand tournant de sa vie d'enfant: «Quand j'ai dû quitter ce monde j'avais le net pressentiment que quelque chose d'irréparable venait de se produire». Cet “irréparable” était très étroitement lié au monde simple des paysans et des bergers de son village natal. Plus tard, Cioran s'est exprimé sans ambigüité sur le monde de son enfance: «Au fond, seul le monde primitif est un monde vrai, un monde où tout est possible et où rien n'est actualisable».


Autre expérience décisive dans la vie de Cioran: la perte de la faculté de sommeil à l'âge de 20 ans. Cette perte a été pour lui “la plus grande des tragédies” qui “puisse jamais arriver à un homme”. Cet état est mille fois pire que purger une interminable peine de prison. Voilà pourquoi son livre Sur les cîmes du désespoir  a été conçu dans une telle phase de veille. Cioran considérait que ce livre était le “testament d'un jeune homme de vingt ans” qui ne peut plus songer qu'à une chose: le suicide. Mais il ne s'est pas suicidé, écrit-il, parce qu'il ne pouvait exercer aucune profession, vu que toutes ses nuits étaient blanches. Elles ont été à l'origine de sa vision pessimiste du monde. Et jamais, dans sa vie, Cioran n'a été contraint de travail­ler. Il a accepté toute cette “peine”, cette “précarité”, cette “humiliation” et cette “pauvreté” pour ne pas devoir renoncer à sa “liberté”. «Toute forme d'humiliation» est préférable «à la perte de la liberté». Tel a été le programme de sa vie, aimait-il à proclamer.


Avant d'émigrer en France en 1937, Cioran écrivait Larmes et Saints, un livre qu'il considérait être le résul­tat de sept années d'insomnie. Ce que signifie l'impossibilité de dormir, Cioran l'a exprimé: la vie ne peut “être supportable” que si elle est interompue quotidiennement par le sommeil. Car le sommeil crée cet oubli nécessaire pour pouvoir commencer autre chose. Ceux qui doivent passer toutes leurs nuits éveillés fi­nissent par segmenter le temps d'une manière entièrement nouvelle, justement parce que le temps semble ne pas vouloir passer. Une telle expérience vous modifie complètement la vie. Tous ceux qui veulent pénétrer dans l'œuvre de Cioran, doivent savoir qu'il a été un grand insomniaque, qu'il en a pro­fondément souffert.


Les nuits de veille de Cioran sont aussi à l'origine de son rapport particulier à la philosophie. Celle-ci ne doit pas aider Cioran à rendre la vie “plus supportable”. Au contraire, il considère que les philosophes sont des “constructeurs”, des “hommes positifs au pire sens du terme”. C'est la raison pour laquelle Cioran s'est surtout tourné vers la littérature, surtout vers Dostoïevski, le seul qui aurait pénétré jusqu'à l'origine des actions humaines. La plupart des écrivains de langues romanes ne sont pas parvenu à une telle pro­fondeur, écrivait Cioran. Ils sont toujours resté à la surface des choses, jamais ils n'ont osé s'aventurer jusqu'aux tréfonds de l'âme, où l'on saisit à bras le corps le “démon en l'homme”.


1937 a aussi été l'année où Cioran a dû reconnaître que la voie religieuse et mystique lui était inacces­sible. Comme il le constatait rétrospectivement, il n'était tout simplement “pas fait pour la foi”. Car avoir la foi était au fond un don, écrivait Cioran, et on ne peut pas vouloir  croire, ce serait ridicule.


Quand on prend connaissance de cet arrière-plan, on ne s'étonnera pas que Cioran revient sans cesse sur son expérience du “néant”, du “néant” qui ne devient tangible que par l'ennui. Du point de vue de Cioran, on ne peut supporter la vie que si l'on cultive des illusions. Et si l'on atteint la “conscience abso­lue”, une “lucidité absolue”, alors on acquiert la “conscience du néant” qui s'exprime comme “ennui”. Ce­pendant, l'expérience de l'ennui découle d'un doute, d'un doute qui porte sur le temps. C'est à ce sen­ti­ment fondamental que pensait Cioran quand il disait qu'il s'était “ennuyé” pendant toute sa vie.


On ne s'étonne pas que Cioran avait un faible pour les cimetières. Mais ce faible n'a rien à voir avec les attitudes prises aujourd'hui par les Grufties.  Pour notre auteur, il s'agissait surtout d'un changement de perspective. C'est justement dans une situation de douleur de l'âme, d'une douleur qui semble immense, démesurée, que le changement de perspective constitue la seule possibilité de supporter la vie. Quand on adopte la perspective du “néant”, tout peut arriver. Dans une certaine mesure, on en arrive à considé­rer comme parfaitement “normal” la plus grande des douleurs, à exclure toutes les “déformations par la douleur” qui conduisent au “doute absolu”.


Au cours des dernières années de sa vie, Cioran n'a plus rien écrit. Il ne ressentait plus l'“impérativité de la souffrance” qui fut toujours le moteur de sa production littéraire. Peut-être a-t-il tiré les conséquences de ses propres visions: nous vivons effectivement dans une époque de surproduction littéraire, surpro­duction absurde, totalement inutile.



(trad. franç.: Robert Steuckers).


mercredi, 04 février 2009

Negras perspectivas para el hombre europeo

Negras perspectivas para el hombre europeo




Por Juan Pablo Vitali

Oswald Spengler, ya sabía lo que iba a pasar. Lo decía con un tono, que a pesar suyo, era profético. Y digo a pesar suyo porque "Años decisivos”es un libro que ha sido escrito con descarnada objetividad. No nos impone nada, no nos quiere convencer de lo que dice, lo sabe cierto, no necesita un esfuerzo retórico para convencernos de lo que el autor sabe que será real, sino sólo decirlo bellamente. Los que lo pueden entender lo entenderán, los otros, no lo entenderán nunca. Todo está escrito allí, en 1933. Así son los sabios, los magos, los profetas.

Me resistí a la tentación de citar algunos pasajes del libro. Hubiera sido una falta de respeto, porque todo el libro es una sola cita. Confieso que me corrió un frío por la espalda al releer algunos párrafos. Una cosa es aventurar que algo va a ocurrir, y otra cosa es verlo frente a nuestras narices, exactamente como alguien lo anticipó, hace ya setenta y cinco años.

Todo lo que se gesta en la historia es algo que los adelantados a su época dicen que va a pasar, y casi nadie los escucha. Luego, los hechos aparecen en la realidad, y todos se miran entre sí sin saber qué hacer.

Vemos que la mayoría de la descendencia europea son personas por lo general más preocupadas por el modelo de sus automóviles que por sus propios hijos, si es que los tienen, ya que tener hijos afecta su nivel de vida y a su hedonismoSon unos soberbios desagradables, convencidos que su tarjeta de crédito es el pasaporte al paraíso.

Las clases medias son todavía, en Europa o en América del Sur, en su mayoría de origen europeo, y ésa es la trampa, el vaciamiento y la traición, porque se han convertido en gente sin voluntad de nada que no sea consumir y girar en la rueda de la economía capitalista, porque piensan que ellos van a girar siempre con ella.

Abandonaron toda la historia de sus antepasados, por la tarjeta de crédito y un automóvil, y por otras cosas peores; pero hay algo que ellos no saben, y es que aún para conservar ciertos beneficios materiales, se necesita la capacidad de defenderlos, y esa capacidad, ya casi ningún descendiente de europeo la conserva. Tienen el dinero vacío que el sistema les da, pero lo perderán como perdieron todo lo demás. Sólo les funciona la cabeza para hacer unos numerillos que en el fondo los angustian, porque están llenos de incertidumbre, y para alejarla, se despiertan un día, enamorados de Obama, repitiendo que un mundo mejor ha llegado, y que a ellos nunca les va a pasar nada.

Ellos están siempre prontos a convertirse en cualquier cosa, para mantenerse a flote, pero para eso, uno tiene que ser admitido, por esa otra cosa en que se ha convertido.

Sudamericanos más blancos que muchos europeos actuales se convierten en indios, se arrastran, se disfrazan, pero quizá los indios no los quieran como amigos, sino como esclavos.

Los españoles pueden disfrazarse de “subsaharianos”, como se les dice ahora culposamente a los negros, pero puede ser que los negros no quieran, sino vengarse de los blancos, aunque los esclavistas fueran empresas mixtas de cazadores negros y corsarios blancos, que operaban en común, con la misma mafia comercial que luego explotaría a los obreros blancos.

Los franceses pueden ser todos progresistas, pero los descendientes de argelinos musulmanes no quieren progresistas, sino mandar ellos según sus propios principios.

Todos los europeos y su descendencia tendrán que pagar caro ser lo que sonNo importa que un grupo de financieros y capitalistas de diversas razas —y no ellos— hayan sido siempre el real motivo de la explotación del hombre por el hombre.

Cuando los mercaderes vivían en Europa, eran llamados opresores, cuando trasladaron sus bases a otros continentes, y no tienen nada que ver con la verdadera Europa, todo parece estar bien. La injusticia de otros, puede considerarse parte de la revancha de las razas oprimidas, porque el racismo ha establecido que la raza blanca es deleznable en su conjunto.

No es el caso analizar ahora si los mercaderes y banqueros de la historia fueron negros, semitas o asiáticos, además de blancos, el caso es que el nuevo racismo está instalado, y es el más viejo del mundo,es el racismo de los revanchistas y de los resentidos, al servicio del poder global.

Pero recuerden los descendientes de los antiguos europeos que si bien pueden usufructuar todavía las bondades del capitalismo, no es eso lo que los diferencia de otros hombres; claro que viviendo bajo el igualitarismo de la ideología dominante lo habrán olvidado.

En el futuro, seguramente otros disfrutarán en su lugar del capitalismo, por ser más ordenados y eficientes, más astutos, o mejores esclavos, o simplemente por mantener una voluntad de lucha, incluso mediante la violencia desnuda, como la vemos hoy en las calles de cualquier ciudad del mundo.

En el futuro, los vacíos, los blandos, los consumistas progresistas, los blancos defensores de la ideología del automóvil último modelo, de la tarjeta de crédito, de los racismos ajenos, y de la revancha de los pueblos oprimidos, tendrán por fin su merecido por haber abandonado su destino trascendente, pero ya será tarde para reaccionar:perecerán del mismo modo materialista, vacío y miserable en que han elegido vivir.

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dimanche, 04 janvier 2009

Emile Cioran and the Culture of Death



Emile Cioran and the Culture of Death

by Tomislav Sunic

Speech held by the author at the European Synergies' Summer Conference in 2002 (Low Saxony, Germany)

Historical pessimism and the sense of the tragic are recurrent motives in European literature. From Heraclitus to Heidegger, from Sophocles to Schopenhauer, the exponents of the tragic view of life point out that the shortness of human existence can only be overcome by the heroic intensity of living. The philosophy of the tragic is incompatible with the Christian dogma of salvation or the optimism of some modern ideologies. Many modern political theologies and ideologies set out from the assumption that "the radiant future" is always somewhere around the corner, and that existential fear can best be subdued by the acceptance of a linear and progressive concept of history. It is interesting to observe that individuals and masses in our post-modernity increasingly avoid allusions to death and dying. Processions and wakes, which not long ago honored the postmortem communion between the dead and the living, are rapidly falling into oblivion. In a cold and super-rational society of today, someone's death causes embarrassment, as if death should have never occurred, and as if death could be postponed by a deliberate "pursuit of happiness." The belief that death can be outwitted through the search for the elixir of eternal youth and the "ideology of good looks", is widespread in modern TV-oriented society. This belief has become a formula for social and political conduct.

The French-Rumanian essayist, Emile Cioran, suggests that the awareness of existential futility represents the sole weapon against theological and ideological deliriums that have been rocking Europe for centuries. Born in Rumania in 1911, Cioran very early came to terms with the old European proverb that geography means destiny. From his native region which was once roamed by Scythian and Sarmatian hordes, and in which more recently, secular vampires and political Draculas are taking turns, he inherited a typically "balkanesque" talent for survival. Scores of ancient Greeks shunned this area of Europe, and when political circumstances forced them to flee, they preferred to search for a new homeland in Sicily or Italy--or today, like Cioran, in France. "Our epoch, writes Cioran, "will be marked by the romanticism of stateless persons. Already the picture of the universe is in the making in which nobody will have civic rights."[1] Similar to his exiled compatriots Eugène Ionesco, Stephen Lupasco, Mircea Eliade, and many others, Cioran came to realize very early that the sense of existential futility can best by cured by the belief in a cyclical concept of history, which excludes any notion of the arrival of a new messiah or the continuation of techno-economic progress.

Cioran's political, esthetic and existential attitude towards being and time is an effort to restore the pre-Socratic thought, which Christianity, and then the heritage of rationalism and positivism, pushed into the periphery of philosophical speculation. In his essays and aphorisms, Cioran attempts to cast the foundation of a philosophy of life that, paradoxically, consists of total refutation of all living. In an age of accelerated history it appears to him senseless to speculate about human betterment or the "end of history." "Future," writes Cioran, "go and see it for yourselves if you really wish to. I prefer to cling to the unbelievable present and the unbelievable past. I leave to you the opportunity to face the very Unbelievable."[2] Before man ventures into daydreams about his futuristic society, he should first immerse himself in the nothingness of his being, and finally restore life to what it is all about: a working hypothesis. On one of his lithographs, the 16th century French painter, J. Valverde, sketched a man who had skinned himself off his own anatomic skin. This awesome man, holding a knife in one hand and his freshly peeled off skin in the other, resembles Cioran, who now teaches his readers how best to shed their hide of political illusions. Man feels fear only on his skin, not on his skeleton. How would it be for a change, asks Cioran, if man could have thought of something unrelated to being? Has not everything that transpires caused stubborn headaches? "And I think about all those whom I have known," writes Cioran, "all those who are no longer alive, long since wallowing in their coffins, for ever exempt of their flesh--and fear."[3]

The interesting feature about Cioran is his attempt to fight existential nihilism by means of nihilism. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Cioran is averse to the voguish pessimism of modern intellectuals who bemoan lost paradises, and who continue pontificating about endless economic progress. Unquestionably, the literary discourse of modernity has contributed to this mood of false pessimism, although such pessimism seems to be more induced by frustrated economic appetites, and less by what Cioran calls, "metaphysical alienation." Contrary to J.P. Sartre's existentialism that focuses on the rupture between being and non-being, Cioran regrets the split between the language and reality, and therefore the difficulty to fully convey the vision of existential nothingness. In a kind of alienation popularized by modern writers, Cioran detects the fashionable offshoot of "Parisianism" that elegantly masks a warmed-up version of a thwarted belief in progress. Such a critical attitude towards his contemporaries is maybe the reason why Cioran has never had eulogies heaped upon him, and why his enemies like to dub him "reactionary." To label Cioran a philopsher of nihilism may be more appropriate in view of the fact that Cioran is a stubborn blasphemer who never tires from calling Christ, St. Paul, and all Christian clergymen, as well as their secular Freudo-Marxian successors outright liars and masters of illusion. To reduce Cioran to some preconceived intellectual and ideological category cannot do justice to his complex temperament, nor can it objectively reflect his complicated political philosophy. Each society, be it democratic or despotic, as a rule, tries to silence those who incarnate the denial of its sacrosanct political theology. For Cioran all systems must be rejected for the simple reason that they all glorify man as an ultimate creature. Only in the praise of non-being, and in the thorough denial of life, argues Ciroan, man's existence becomes bearable. The great advantage of Cioran is, as he says, is that "I live only because it is in my power to die whenever I want; without the idea of suicide I would have killed myself long time ago."[4] These words testify to Cioran's alienation from the philosophy of Sisyphus, as well as his disapproval of the moral pathos of the dung-infested Job. Hardly any biblical or modern democratic character would be willing to contemplate in a similar manner the possibility of breaking away from the cycle of time. As Cioran says, the paramount sense of beatitude is achievable only when man realizes that he can at any time terminate his life; only at that moment will this mean a new "temptation to exist." In other words, it could be said that Cioran draws his life force from the constant flow of the images of salutary death, thereby rendering irrelevant all attempts of any ethical or political commitment. Man should, for a change, argues Cioran, attempt to function as some form of saprophytic bacteria; or better yet as some amoebae from Paleozoic era. Such primeval forms of existence can endure the terror of being and time more easily. In a protoplasm, or lower species, there is more beauty then in all philosophies of life. And to reiterate this point, Cioran adds: "Oh, how I would like to be a plant, even if I would have to attend to someone's excrement!"[5]

Perhaps Cioran could be depicted as a trouble maker, or as the French call it a "trouble fête", whose suicidal aphorisms offend bourgeois society, but whose words also shock modern socialist day-dreamers. In view of his acceptance of the idea of death, as well as his rejection of all political doctrines, it is no wonder that Cioran no longer feels bound to egoistical love of life. Hence, there is no reason for him to ponder over the strategy of living; one should rather start thinking about the methodology of dying, or better yet how never to be born. "Mankind has regressed so much," writes Cioran, and "nothing proves it better than the impossibility to encounter a single nation or a tribe in which a birth of a child causes mourning and lamentation."[6]  Where are those sacred times, inquires Cioran, when Balkan Bogumils and France's Cathares saw in child's birth a divine punishment? Today's generations, instead of rejoicing when their loved ones are about to die, are stunned with horror and disbelief at the vision of death. Instead of wailing and grieving when their offsprings are about to be born, they organize mass festivities:

If attachment is an evil, the cause of this evil must be sought in the scandal of birth--because to be born means to be attached. The purpose of someone's detachment should be the effacement of all traces of this scandal--the ominous and the least tolerable of all scandals.[7]

Cioran's philosophy bears a strong imprint of Friedrich Nietzsche and Indian Upanishads. Although his inveterate pessimism often recalls Nietzsche's "Weltschmerz," his classical language and rigid syntax rarely tolerates romantic or lyrical narrative, nor the sentimental outbursts that one often finds in Nietzsche's prose. Instead of resorting to thundering gloom, Cioran's paradoxical humor expresses something which in the first place should have never been verbally construed. The weakness of Cioran prose lies probably in his lack of thematic organization. At time his aphorisms read as broken-off scores of a well-designed musical master piece, and sometimes his language is so hermetic that the reader is left to grope for meaning.

When one reads Cioran's prose the reader is confronted by an author who imposes a climate of cold apocalypse that thoroughly contradicts the heritage of progress. Real joy lies in non-being, says Cioran, that is, in the conviction that each willful act of creation perpetuates cosmic chaos. There is no purpose in endless deliberations about higher meaning of life. The entire history, be it the recorded history or mythical history, is replete with the cacophony of theological and ideological tautologies. Everything is "éternel retour," a historical carousel, with those who are today on top, ending tomorrow at the bottom.

I cannot excuse myself for being born. It is as if, when insinuating myself in this world, I profaned some mystery, betrayed some very important engagement, made a mistake of indescribable gravity.[8]

This does not mean that Cioran is completely insulated from physical and mental torments. Aware of the possible cosmic disaster, and neurotically persuaded that some other predator may at any time deprive him of his well-planned privilege to die, he relentlessly evokes the set of death bed pictures. Is this not a truly aristocratic method to alleviate the impossibility of being?:

In order to vanquish dread or tenacious anxiety, there is nothing better than to imagine one's own funeral: efficient method, accessible to all. In order to avoid resorting to it during the day, the best is to indulge in its virtues right after getting up. Or perhaps make use of it on special occasions, similar to Pope Innocent IX who ordered the picture of himself painted on his death-bed. He would cast a glance at his picture every time he had to reach an important decision... [9]

At first, one may be tempted to say that Cioran is fond of wallowing in his neuroses and morbid ideas, as if they could be used to inspire his literary creativity. So exhilarating does he find his distaste for life that he suggests that, "he who succeeds in acquiring them has a future which makes everything prosper; success as well as defeat."[10] Such frank description of his emotional spasms makes him confess that success for him is as difficult to bear as much as a failure. One and the other cause him headache.

The feeling of sublime futility with regard to everything that life entails goes hand in hand with Cioran's pessimistic attitude towards the rise and fall of states and empires. His vision of the circulation of historical time recalls Vico's corsi e ricorsi, and his cynicism about human nature draws on Spengler's "biology" of history. Everything is a merry-go-round, and each system is doomed to perish the moment it makes its entrance onto the historical scene. One can detect in Cioran's gloomy prophecies the forebodings of the Roman stoic and emperor Marcus Aurelius, who heard in the distance of the Noricum the gallop of the barbarian horses, and who discerned through the haze of Panonia the pending ruin of the Roman empire. Although today the actors are different, the setting remains similar; millions of new barbarians have begun to pound at the gates of Europe, and will soon take possession of what lies inside:

Regardless of what the world will look like in the future, Westerners will assume the role of the Graeculi of the Roman empire. Needed and despised by new conquerors, they will not have anything to offer except the jugglery of their intelligence, or the glitter of their past. [11]

Now is the time for the opulent Europe to pack up and leave, and cede the historical scene to other more virile peoples. Civilization becomes decadent when it takes freedom for granted; its disaster is imminent when it becomes too tolerant of every uncouth outsider. Yet, despite the fact that political tornados are lurking on the horizon, Cioran, like Marcus Aurelius, is determined to die with style. His sense of the tragic has taught him the strategy of ars moriendi, making him well prepared for all surprises, irrespective of their magnitude. Victors and victims, heroes and henchmen, do they not all take turns in this carnival of history, bemoaning and bewailing their fate while at the bottom, while taking revenge when on top? Two thousand years of Greco-Christian history is a mere trifle in comparison to eternity. One caricatural civilization is now taking shape, writes Cioran, in which those who are creating it are helping those wishing to destroy it. History has no meaning, and therefore, attempting to render it meaningful, or expecting from it a final burst of theophany, is a self-defeating chimera. For Cioran, there is more truth in occult sciences than in all philosophies that attempt to give meaning to life. Man will finally become free when he takes off the straitjacket of finalism and determinism, and when he realizes that life is an accidental mistake that sprang up from one bewildering astral circumstance. Proof? A little twist of the head clearly shows that "history, in fact, boils down to the classification of the police: "After all, does not the historian deal with the image which people have about the policeman throughout epochs ?"[12] To succeed in mobilizing masses in the name of some obscure ideas, to enable them to sniff blood, is a certain avenue to political success. Had not the same masses which carried on their shouldered the French revolution in the name of equality and fraternity, several years later also brought on their shoulders an emperor with new clothes--an emperor on whose behalf they ran barefoot from Paris to Moscow, from Jena to Dubrovnik? For Cioran, when a society runs out of political utopia there is no more hope, and consequently there cannot be any more life. Without utopia, writes Cioran, people would be forced to commit suicide; thanks to utopia they commit homicides.

Today there are no more utopias in stock. Mass democracy has taken their place. Without democracy life makes little sense; yet democracy has no life of its own. After all, argues Cioran, had it not been for a young lunatic from the Galilee, the world would be today a very boring place. Alas, how many such lunatics are hatching today their self-styled theological and ideological derivatives! "Society is badly organized, writes Cioran, "it does nothing against lunatics who die so young."[13] Probably all prophets and political soothsayers should immediately be put to death, "because when the mob accepts a myth--get ready for massacres or better yet for a new religion."[14]

Unmistakable as Cioran's resentments against utopia may appear, he is far from deriding its creative importance. Nothing could be more loathsome to him than the vague cliche of modernity that associates the quest for happiness with a peaceful pleasure-seeking society. Demystified, disenchanted, castrated, and unable to weather the upcoming storm, modern society is doomed to spiritual exhaustion and slow death. It is incapable of believing in anything except in the purported humanity of its future blood-suckers. If a society truly wishes to preserve its biological well-being, argues Cioran, its paramount task is to harness and nurture its "substantial calamity;" it must keep a tally of its own capacity for destruction. After all, have not his native Balkans, in which secular vampires are today again dancing to the tune of butchery, also generated a pool of sturdy specimen ready for tomorrow's cataclysms? In this area of Europe, which is endlessly marred by political tremors and real earthquakes, a new history is today in the making--a history which will probably reward its populace for the past suffering.

Whatever their past was, and irrespective of their civilization, these countries possess a biological stock which one cannot find in the West. Maltreated, disinherited, precipitated in the anonymous martyrdom, torn apart between wretchedness and sedition, they will perhaps know in the future a reward for so many ordeals, so much humiliation and for so much cowardice.[15]

Is this not the best portrayal of that anonymous "eastern" Europe which according to Cioran is ready today to speed up the world history? The death of communism in Eastern Europe might probably inaugurate the return of history for all of Europe. Conversely, the "better half" of Europe, the one that wallows in air-conditioned and aseptic salons, that Europe is depleted of robust ideas. It is incapable of hating and suffering, and therefore of leading. For Cioran, society becomes consolidated in danger and it atrophies in peace: "In those places where peace, hygiene and leisure ravage, psychoses also multiply... I come from a country which, while never learning to know the meaning of happiness, has also never produced a single psychoanalyst."[16] The raw manners of new east European cannibals, not "peace and love" will determine the course of tomorrow's history. Those who have passed through hell are more likely to outlive those who have only known the cozy climate of a secular paradise.

These words of Cioran are aimed at the decadent France la Doulce in which afternoon chats about someone's obesity or sexual impotence have become major preoccupations on the hit-parade of daily concerns. Unable to put up resistance against tomorrow's conquerors, this western Europe, according to Cioran, deserves to be punished in the same manner as the noblesse of theancien régime which, on the eve of the French Revolution, laughed at its own image, while praising the image of the bon sauvage. How many among those good-natured French aristocrats were aware that the same bon sauvage was about to roll their heads down the streets of Paris? "In the future, writes Cioran, "if mankind is to start all over again, it will be with the outcasts, with the mongols from all parts, with the dregs of the continents.."[17]  Europe is hiding in its own imbecility in front of an approaching catastrophe. Europe? "The rots that smell nice, a perfumed corpse." [18]

Despite gathering storms Cioran is comforted by the notion that he at least is the last heir to the vanishing "end of history." Tomorrow, when the real apocalypse begins, and as the dangers of titanic proportions take final shape on the horizon, then, even the word "regret" will disappear from our vocabulary. "My vision of the future," continues Cioran is so clear, "that if I had children I would strangle them immediately."[19]


After a good reading of Cioran's opus one must conclude that Cioran is essentially a satirist who ridicules the stupid existential shiver of modern masses. One may be tempted to argue that Cioran offers aan elegant vade-mecum for suicide designed for those, who like him, have thoroughly delegitimized the value of life. But as Cioran says, suicide is committed by those who are no longer capable of acting out optimism, e.g. those whose thread of joy and happiness breaks into pieces. Those like him, the cautious pessimists, "given that they have no reason to live, why would they have a reason to die?" [20] The striking ambivalence of Cioran's literary work consists of the apocalyptic forebodings on the one hand, and enthusiastic evocations of horrors on the other. He believes that violence and destruction are the main ingredients of history, because the world without violence is bound to collapse. Yet, one wonders why is Cioran so opposed to the world of peace if, according to his logic, this peaceful world could help accelerate his own much craved demise, and thus facilitate his immersion into nothingness? Of course, Cioran never moralizes about the necessity of violence; rather, in accordance with the canons of his beloved reactionary predecessors Josephe de Maistre and Nicolo Machiavelli, he asserts that "authority, not verity, makes the law," and that consequently, the credibility of a political lie will also determine the magnitude of political justice. Granted that this is correct, how does he explain the fact that authority, at least the way he sees it, only perpetuates this odious being from which he so dearly wishes to absolve himself? This mystery will never be known other than to him. Cioran admits however, that despite his abhorrence of violence, every man, including himself is an integral part of it, and that every man has at least once in his life contemplated how to roast somebody alive, or how to chop off someone's head:

Convinced that troubles in our society come from old people, I conceived the plan of liquidating all citizens past their forties--the beginning of sclerosis and mummification. I came to believe that this was the turning point when each human becomes an insult to his nation and a burden to his community... Those who listened to this did not appreciate this discourse and they considered me a cannibal... Must this intent of mine be condemned? It only expresses something which each man, who is attached to his country desires in the bottom of his heart: liquidation of one half of his compatriots.[21]

Cioran's literary elitism is unparalleled in modern literature, and for that reason he often appears as a nuisance for modern and sentimental ears poised for the lullaby words of eternal earthly or spiritual bliss. Cioran's hatred of the present and the future, his disrespect for life, will certainly continue to antagonize the apostles of modernity who never tire of chanting vague promises about the "better here-and-now." His paradoxical humor is so devastating that one cannot take it at face value, especially when Cioran describes his own self. His formalism in language, his impeccable choice of words, despite some similarities with modern authors of the same elitist caliber, make him sometimes difficult to follow. One wonders whether Cioran's arsenal of words such as "abulia," "schizophrenia," "apathy," etc., truly depict a nevrosé which he claims to be.

If one could reduce the portrayal of Cioran to one short paragraph, then one must depict him as an author who sees in the modern veneration of the intellect a blueprint for spiritual gulags and the uglification of the world. Indeed, for Cioran, man's task is to wash himself in the school of existential futility, for futility is not hopelessness; futility is a reward for those wishing to rid themselves of the epidemic of life and the virus of hope. Probably, this picture best befits the man who describes himself as a fanatic without any convictions--a stranded accident in the cosmos who casts nostalgic looks towards his quick disappearance.

To be free is to rid oneself forever from the notion of reward; to expect nothing from people or gods; to renounce not only this world and all worlds, but salvation itself; to break up even the idea of this chain among chains. (Le mauvais demiurge, p. 88.)


[1Emile Cioran, "Syllogismes de l'amertume" (Paris: Gallimard, 1952), p. 72 (my translation)     return to text

[2"De l'inconvénient d'être né" (Paris: Gallimard, 1973), p. 161-162. (my translation) (The Trouble with Being Born, translated by Richard Howard: Seaver Bks., 1981)     return to text

[3Cioran, "Le mauvais démiurge" ( Paris: Gallimard, 1969), p. 63. (my translation)     return to text

[4"Syllogismes de l'amertume", p. 87. (my trans.)     return to text

[5Ibid., p. 176.     return to text

[6"De l'inconvénient d'être né", p. 11. (my trans.)     return to text

[7Ibid., p. 29.     return to text

[8Ibid., p. 23.     return to text

[9Ibid., p. 141.     return to text

[10"Syllogismes de l'amertume", p. 61. (my trans.)     return to text

[11"La tentation d'exister", (Paris: Gallimard, 1956), p. 37-38. (my trans.) (The temptation to exist, translated by Richard Howard; Seaver Bks., 1986)     return to text

[12"Syllogismes de l'amertume", p. 151. (my trans.)     return to text

[13Ibid., p. 156.     return to text

[14Ibid., p. 158.     return to text

[15"Histoire et utopie" (Paris: Gallimard, 1960), p. 59. (my trans.) ( History and Utopia, trans. by Richard Howard, Seaver Bks., 1987).     return to text

[16Syllogismes de l'amertume, p. 154. (my trans.)     return to text

[17Ibid., p. 86.     return to text

[18"De l'inconvénient d'être né", p. 154. (my trans.)     return to text

[19Ibid. p. 155.     return to text

[20"Syllogismes de l'amertume", p. 109.     return to text

[21"Histoire et utopie" (Paris: Gallimard, 1960), p. 14. (my trans.)        return to text


jeudi, 30 octobre 2008

Otto Dix: un regard sur le siècle




Otto Dix, un regard sur le siècle


Guillaume HIEMET


Le centième anniversaire de la naissance d'Otto Dix a été l'occasion pour le public allemand de découvrir la richesse de la production d'un peintre largement méconnu. Plus de 350 œuvres ont en effet été exposées jusqu'au 3 novembre 1991, dans la galerie de la ville de Stuttgart, puis, à partir du 29 novembre, à la Nationalgalerie de Berlin. Peu connu en France, classé par les critiques d'art parmi les représentants de la Nouvelle Objectivité (Neue Sachlichkeit), catalogué comme il se doit, Otto Dix a toujours bénéficié de l'indulgence de la critique pour un peintre qui avait dénoncé les horreurs de la première guerre mondiale, figure de proue de l'art nouveau dans l'entre-deux guerres, et ce, en dépit de son incapacité à suivre la mode de l'abstraction à tout crin dans l'après-guerre. Quelques tableaux servent de support à des reproductions indéfiniment répétées et à des jugements qui ont pris valeur de dogmes pour la compréhension de l'œuvre. A l'encontre de ces parti-pris, les expositions de 1991 permettent aux spectateurs de se faire une idée infiniment plus large et plus juste des thèmes que développent la production de Dix.


Dix est né le décembre 1891 à Untermhaus, à proximité de Gera, d'un père, ouvrier de fonderie. Un milieu modeste, ouvert cependant aux préoccupations de l'art; sa mère rédigeait des poèmes et c'est auprès de son cousin peintre Fritz Amann que se dessina sa vocation artistique. De 1909 à 1914, il étudie à l'école des Arts Décoratifs de Dresde. Ses premiers autoportraits, à l'exemple de l'Autoportrait avec oeillet  de 1913, sont clairement inspirés de la peinture allemande du seizième siècle à laquelle il vouera toujours une sincère admiration. Ces tableaux de jeunesse témoignent déjà d'un pluralisme de styles, caractérisé par la volonté d'intégrer des approches diverses, par la curiosité de l'essai qui restera une constante dans son œuvre.


La guerre: un nouveau départ


En 1914, Dix s'engageait en tant que volontaire dans l'armée. L'expérience devait, comme toute sa génération, profondément le marquer. S'il est une habitude de dépeindre Dix comme un pacifiste, son journal de guerre et sa correspondance montrent un caractère sensiblement différent. La guerre fut perçue par Dix, comme par beaucoup d'autres jeunes gens en Allemagne, comme l'offre d'un nouveau départ, d'une coupure radicale avec ce qui était ressenti comme la pesanteur de l'époque wilhelminienne, sa mesquinerie, son étroitesse, sa provincialité qu'une certaine littérature a si bien décrites. Elle annonçait la fin inévitable d'une époque. Les premiers combats, l'ampleur des destructions devaient, bien sûr, limiter l'enthousiasme des départs, mais le gigantisme des cataclysmes que réservait la guerre, n'en présentait pas moins quelque chose de fascinant. Le pacifiste Dix se rapproche par bien des aspects du Jünger des journaux de guerre. L'épreuve de la guerre pour Ernst Jünger trempe de nouveaux types d'hommes dans le monde d'orages et d'acier qu'offrent les combats dans les tranchées.


Avec nietzsche: “oui” aux phénomènes


Une philosophie nietzschéenne se dégage, “la seule et véritable philosophie” selon Dix, qui, en 1912, avait notamment élaboré un buste en platre en l'honneur du philosophe de la volonté de puissance. Des écrits de Nietzsche, Dix retient l'idée d'une affirmation totale de la vie en vertu de laquelle l'homme aurait la possibilité de se forger des expériences à sa propre mesure. Ainsi, il note: «Il faut pouvoir dire “oui” aux phénomènes humains qui existeront toujours. C'est dans les situations exceptionnelles que l'homme se montre dans toute sa grandeur, mais aussi dans toute sa soumission, son animalité». C'est cette même réflexion qui l'incite à scruter le champ de bataille, qui le pousse à observer de ses propres yeux, si importants pour le peintre, les feux des explosions, les couleurs des abris, des tranchées, le visage de la mort, les corps déchiquetés.


De 1915 à 1918, il tient une chronique des événements: ce sont des croquis dessinés sur des cartes postales, visibles aujourd'hui à Stuttgart, qui ramassent de façon simple et particulièrement intense l'univers du front. Le regard du sous-officier Dix a choisi de tout enregistrer, de ne jamais détourner le regard puis de tout montrer dans sa violence, sa nudité. Les notes du journal de guerre montrent crûment sa volonté de considérer froidement, insatiablement le monde autour de lui. Ainsi, en marche vers les premières lignes: «Tout à fait devant, arrivé devant, on n'avait plus peur du tout. Tout ça, ce sont des phénomènes que je voulais vivre à tout prix. Je voulais voir aussi un type tomber tout à côté de moi, et fini, la balle le touche au milieu. C'est tout ça que je voulais vivre de près. C'est ça que je voulais». Dans cette perception de la réalite, Dix souligne le jeu des forces de destruction, les peintures ne semblent plus obéir à aucune règle de composition si ce n'est les repères que forment les puissances de feu, les balles traçantes, les grenades. Tout dans la technique du dessin sert, contribue vivement à cette impression d'éclatement, les traits lourds brusquement interrompus, hachures des couleurs, parfois plaquées. Le regard est obnubilé par la perception d'ensemble, la brutalité des attaques, vision cauchemardesque qui emporte tout.


La dissolution de toute référence stable


Le réalisme de ces années 1917-1918 qui caractérise ces dessins et gouaches est dominé par cette absence d'unité, l'artiste a jeté sur la toile tel un forcené la violence de l'époque, la dissolution de toute reférence stable. L'abstraction dit assez cette incapacité de se détourner des éclairs de feu et de se rapprocher du détail. Cette peinture permettra pareillement à Dix de conjurer peu à peu les souvenirs de tranchées. Ce rôle de catharsis, cette lente maturation s'est faite dans son esprit pendant les années qui suivent la guerre. L'évolution est sensible. Ce sont en premier, le cycles des gravures intitulé la Guerre qu'il réalise en 1924 puis les grandes compositions des années 1929-1936. Les gravures presentent un nouveau visage de la guerre, Dix s'attarde à représenter le corps des blessés, les détails de leurs souffrances. Ici, le terme d'objectivité est peut-être le plus approprié, il n'est pas sans évoquer toutefois les descriptions anatomiques du poète et médecin Gottfried Benn. Le soin ici de l'extrême précision, de la netteté du rendu prend chez ces guerriers mourants, mutilés ou dans la description de la décomposition des corps une force incroyable.


Les souvenirs de guerre ne se laissaient pas oublier aisément, il avouait lui-même: «pendant de longues années, j'ai rêvé sans cesse que j'étais obligé de ramper pour traverser des maisons détruites, et des couloirs où je pouvais à peine avancer». Dans les grandes toiles qu'il a peintes après 1929, il semble que Dix soit venu à bout des stigmates, entaillés dans sa mémoire, que lui avaient laissées la guerre, ou tout du moins que l'unité ait pu se faire dans son esprit. La manière dont l'art offre une issue aux troubles des passions, ce rôle pacificateur, il l'évoque à plusieurs moments dans des entretiens à la fin de sa vie. Dans ces toiles grands-formats qui exposent maintenant, l'univers de la guerre, se conjuguent une extrême précision et l'entrée dans le mythe que renforce encore la référence aux peintres allemands du Moyen-Age. Dix a choisi pour la plus importante de ces oeuvres, un tryptique, La Guerre, la forme du retable. Le renvoi au retable d'Isenheim de Mathias Grünewald, étrange et impressionnant polyptique qui dans la succession de ses volets propose une ascension vers la clarté, l'aura de la Nativité et de la Résurrection, est explicite. En comparaison, le triptyque de Dix semble une tragique redite du premier volet de Grünewald, La tentation de Saint Antoine. Ici, l'univers apocalyptique de la guerre, la mêlée de corps sanglants, les dévastations de villages minés par les obus, correspondent aux visions délirantes de monstres horribles et déchainés, aux corps repoussants, aux gueules immondes mues par la bestialité de la destruction chez Grünewald.


des tranchées aux marges de la société


L'impossibilité de s'élever vers la clarté, l'éternel recommencement du cycle de destructions est accentué par l'anéantissement du pont qui ferme toute axe de fuite et le dérisoire cadavre du soldat planté sur l'arche de ce pont qui forme une courbe dont l'index tendu pointe en direction du sol. Le cycle du jour est rythmé par la marche d'une colonne dans les brouillards de l'aube, le paroxysme des combats du jour, et le calme, la torpeur du sommeil, les corps allongés dans leur abris que montre la predelle (le socle du tableau). L'effet mythique est encore accentué par la technique qu'utilise Dix pour ces toiles: la superposition de plusieurs couches de glacis transparents, technique empruntée aux primitifs allemands, qui nécessite de nombreuses esquisses et qui confère une perfection, une exactitude extraordinaire aux scènes représentées. Ainsi dans le tableau de 1936, la mort semble être de tout temps, la destinée des terres dévastées de Flandre  —“en Flandre, la mort chevauche...”, selon les paroles d'un air de 1917—,  et le combat dans son immensité parvient à une dimension cosmique.


Sous la République de Weimar, Dix conserve en grande partie le style éclaté des peintures de guerre. Il demeure successivement à Dresde, Düsseldorf, Berlin puis à nouveau Dresde jusqu'en 1933. Les thèmes que traite Dix se laissent difficilement résumer: le regard froid des tranchées se tourne vers la société, une société caractérisée, disons-le, par ces marges. Dix est fasciné par le mauvais goût, la laideur, les situations macabres, grotesques. L'esprit du temps n'est pas étranger à cet envoûtement pour la sordidité, et souvent ses personnages tiennent la main aux héroïnes de l'opéra d'Alban Berg Lulu:  thèmes des bas-fonds de la littérature, aquarelles illustrants les amours vénales des marins, accumulation de crimes sadiques décrits avec la plus grande exactitude. Le cynisme hésite entre le sarcasme et l'ironie la moins voilée. L'atmosphère incite aux voluptés sommaires, comme disait un écrivain français. Une des figures qui apparaît le plus souvent et qui nous semble des plus caractéristiques, est celle du mutilé. La société weimarienne ne connaît pour Dix qu'estropiés, éclopés, que des bouts d'humanité, et tout donne à penser que ce qui est valable pour le physique l'est aussi pour le mental. Ainsi les cervelets découpés et asservis aux passions les plus vulgaires et les plus automatiques.



déshumanisation, désarticulation, pessimisme


Une des peintures les plus justement célèbres de Dix, la Rue de Prague  en 1920, fournit un parfait résumé des thèmes de l'époque. D'une manière particulièrement féroce, Dix place les corps désarticulés de deux infirmes à proximité des brillantes vitrines de cette rue commerçante de Dresde, dans lesquelles sont exposés les mannequins et autres bustes sans pattes. Le processus de déshumanisation est complet, les infirmes détraqués, derniers restes de l'humain trouvent leur exact répondant dans la vie des marionnettes. La composition du tableau  —huile et collage—  accentue d'autant plus la désarticulation des corps, la régression des mouvements et pensées humains à des processus mécaniques dont l'aboutissement symbolique est la prothèse. Nihilisme, pessimisme complet, dégoût et aversion affichée pour la société, il y a sans doute un peu de tout cela.


Bien des toiles de cette époque pourraient être interprétées comme une allégorie méchante et sarcastique de la phrase de Leibniz selon laquelle “nous sommes automates dans la plus grande partie de nos actions”. L'absence de plan fixe, de point d'appui suggère cette dégringolade vers l'inhumain. Le rapprochement de certains tableaux de cette époque  —Les invalides de guerre, 1920—  avec les caricatures de George Grosz est évident, mais celui-ci trouve bientôt ses limites, car très vite il apparaît que si la source de tout mal pour Grosz se situe dans la rivalité entre classes, pour Dix, le mal est beaucoup plus profond. La société tout entière se vend, tel est le thème du grand triptyque de 1927-1928, La grande ville, misère et concupiscence d'une part, apparence de richesse, faste et vénalité de l'autre. Rien ne rachète rien. On a souvent reproché à Dix son attirance pour la laideur, la déchéance physique et la violence avec laquelle il traite ses sujets. La volonté de provocation rentre directement en ligne de compte, mais plus profondément, ces thèmes se présentaient comme un renouvellement de la peinture. Il avouait d'ailleurs: “j'ai eu le sentiment, en voyant les tableaux peints jusque là, qu'un côté de la réalité n'était pas encore représenté, à savoir la laideur”.


Haut-le-cœur, immuables laideurs


Si l'impressionnisme a porté le réalisme jusqu'à son accomplissement ce qui n'était pas sans signifier l'épuisement de ces ressources, les tentatives des années vingt restent exemplaires. Le beau classique s'était mû en un affadissement de la réalité, la perte de la force inhérente à la peinture ne pouvait être contrecarrée d'une part, que par une abstraction de plus en plus poussée à laquelle tend toute la peinture moderne, de l'autre, par la confrontation avec un réel non encore édulcoré. Naturellement, de la façon dont Dix, animé d'une sourde révolte, tire sur les conformismes du temps, on comprend le haut-le-cœur des contemporains devant ces corps qui semblent jouir du seul privilège de leur immuable laideur. Aujourd'hui cependant, le spectateur n'est pas sans sourire à cette atmosphère encanaillée des pièces de Brecht, aux voix légèrement discordantes, le parler-peuple de l'Opéra de Quatre-sous. Il en est de même de la caricature de la société de Weimar, attaque frontale contre les vices et vertus de l'époque à laquelle procède méthodiquement Dix, époque de vieux, de nus grossiers, de mères maquerelles, de promenades dominicales pour employés de commerce.


La toile Les Amants inégaux  de 1925, dont il existe également une étude à l'aquarelle, condense particulièrement les obsessions chères à Dix. Un vieillard essaie péniblement d'étreindre une jeune femme aux formes imposantes qui se tient sur ses genoux. Le caractère vain du désir, l'intrusion de la mort dans les jeux de l'amour que symbolisent les longues mains décharnées du vieillard forment une danse étonnante de l'aplomb et de la lassitude, de la force charnelle et de sa disparition.


les révélations des autoportraits


Dix a tout au long de sa vie produit un grand nombre de portraits. L'exposition de Stuttgart en 1991 a montré le fabuleux coloriste qu'il fut. Il affectionne les rouges sang, le fard blanc qui donne aux visages quelque chose du masque, de tendu et de crispé, et les variations de noir et de marron que fournit la fourrure de Martha Dix dans le magnifique portrait de 1923. Selon l'aveu même du peintre, l'accentuation des traits jusqu'à la caricature ne peut que dévoiler l'âme du personnage et la résume d'une façon à peu près infaillible. Il n'est pas interdit de retourner cette remarque à Dix lui même, car il n'est pas sans se projetter dans sa peinture et tout d'abord, dans les nombreux autoportraits que nous disposons de lui. L'esprit qui anime les peintures de l'entre-deux guerres se retrouvent ici aisément: l'Autoportrait avec cigarettes de 1922, une gravure, partage la brutalité des personnages qu'il met en scène. Dix se présente les cheveux gominés, les sourcils froncés, le front décidément obtus, la machoire carrée, bref, une aimable silhouette de brute épaisse dont seul la finesse du nez trahit des instincts plus fins que viennent encore démentir la clope posée entre les lèvres serrées. Qui pourrait nier que ces autoportraits fournissent des équivalences assez exactes de la rudesse et de la brutalite de la peinture de Dix?


Art dégénéré ou retour du primitivisme allemand?


A partir de 1927, Dix fut nomme professeur à 1'Académie des Beaux-Arts de Dresde. En 1933, quelques temps après 1'arrivée au pouvoir du nouveau régime, il est licencié. Dix représentait pour le régime nazi le prototype de l'art au service de la décadence, et des œuvres tels que Tranchées, Invalides de guerre, eurent l'honneur de figurer dans l'exposition itinérante ”d'art dégenéré” organisée par la Propagande du Reich en 1937, plaçant Dix dans une situation délicate. Il est clair que Dix n'a jamais temoigné un grand intérêt pour la chose politique, refusant toute adhésion partisane avec force sarcasmes. Mais, rétrospectivement, ces jugements apparaissent d'autant plus absurdes que la manière de Dix depuis la fin des années vingt avait déjà considérablement évoluée et témoignait d'un très grand intérêt pour la technique des primitifs allemands que le régime vantait d'autre part. Situation ô combien absurde, mais qui devait grever toute la production des années trente.


En 1936, 1'insécurité présente en Saxe l'incite à s'installer avec sa famille sur les bords du lac de Constance dans la bourgade de Hemmenofen. A l'exil intérieur dans lequel il vit, correspond une production toute entière consacrée aux paysages et aux thèmes religieux. Tous ces tableaux montrent une maîtrise peu commune, l'utilisation des couches de glacis superposés, fidèle aux primitifs allemands du seizième, permet une extraordinaire précision et la description du moindre détail. Si Dix a pu dire qu'il avait été condamné au paysage qui, certes, ne correspondait pas au premier mouvement de son âme, on reste néanmoins émerveillé par certaines de ses compositions. Randegg sous la neige avec vol de corbeaux  de 1935: la nuit de 1'hiver enclot le village recouvert d'une épaisse couche de neige, les arbres qui se dressent dénudés évoquent les tableaux de Caspar David Friedrich, unité que seule perçoit le regard du peintre. Loin de se contenter d'un plat réalisme, cet ensemble n'a jamais rendu aussi finement la présence du peintre, léger recul et participation tout à la fois à l'univers qui l'entoure.


Devant les gribouilleurs et autres tâcherons copieurs de la manière ancienne aux ordres des nouveaux impératifs, et dans une période où l'humour est si absent des œuvres de Dix, celui-ci semble dire magistral: “Tas de boeufs, vous voulez du primitif, en voilà!”. Art de plus en plus contraint à mesure que passaient les années, mais au moyen duquel Dix exposait une facette majeure de sa personnalité. Dès 1944, il éprouvait le besoin d'en finir avec cette technique minutieuse, exigeante qui bridait son besoin de créativité. La dynamique formelle reprend vivement le dessus dans ses Arbres en Automne de 1945 où les couleurs explosent à nouveau triomphantes. Les peintures de la fin de sa vie renouent avec la grossièreté des traits des œuvres des années vingt.


Peu reconnu par la critique alors que le combat pour l'art abstrait battait son plein, Dix est resté, dans ces années, en marge des nouveaux courants artistiques auxquels il n'éprouvait aucunement le besoin d'adhérer. Les thèmes religieux, ou plutôt une imagerie de la bible qu'il essaie étrangement de concilier avec la philosophie de Nietzsche, tiennent dans cette période un rôle fondamental. Sa peinture semble parvenir à une économie de moyens qui rend très émouvantes certaines de ses toiles  —Enfant assis, Enfant de réfugiés, 1952—, la prédisposition de Dix pour les couleurs n'a jamais été aussi présente, l'Autoportrait en prisonnier de guerre  de 1947 est organisé autour des taches de couleur, plaquées sur un personnage muet, vieilli, dont les traits se sont encore creusés. Après plusieurs années de vaches maigres, les honneurs des deux Allemagnes se succédèrent  —il resta toujours attaché à Dresde où il se déplaçait régulièrement . Atteint d'une première attaque en 1967 qui le laissa amoindri, il devait néanmoins poursuivre son travail jusqu'à sa mort deux ans plus tard. Un des ces derniers autoportraits, l'Artiste en tête de mort, montre le crâne du peintre ricanant ceint de la couronne de laurier, image troublante qui rejette au loin les nullissimes querelles entre art figuratif et art abstrait.


Guillaume HIEMET.


Les citations sont tirées de : Eva KARCHNER, Otto Dix 1891-1969, Sa vie, son œuvre, Benedikt Taschen, 1989.