When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things – Chronicle 11

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”
“Regarder, c’est oublier les noms des choses que l’on voit”
― Paul Valéry

A few days ago I was in Paris at a book marathon for professionals. Imagine rooms full of booksellers, and a parade of book companies representatives (with Powerpoint slides) lecturing them about all the “GREAT” books (about food, art, science, nature, history, whatever) which will be available before the end of the year. This for hours.

This is exhausting, but it’s also very interesting, of course. We were sometimes amazed by some splendid front covers, or by good ideas (there’s a Art coffee table book about “the last painting before they die”). It’s a bit like you, hungry book lover, when you come in a store to lurk what is “on the tables”.

Most of the representatives had only 10 minutes to talk about their stuff, before leaving the place for the next one. In the afternoon, as a part of us were in a smaller room to talk about, well, “more specialized books”, a guy came, began his lecture and we all immediately realized that… we’ve seen the same slides in the morning, presented by someone else.

I doubt it was made on purpose (but who knows?) but it was interesting and we watched it differently for many reasons :

Nobody had the heart to say him. We breathed differently like in a release of tension, like “Oh, OK, I’ve seen these”, defocusing and refocusing with casualness, along the presentation. I was playing this game which is to notice the different ways this other man was talking about the books, focusing on details the other person forgot to tell, and vice versa. When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things.

Isn’t there a tool, here, for lectures, advertising, marketing, entertainment? I’m sure there is…

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Charles Juliet writes in his diary that it’s sometimes when you are at your lowest ebb that other people come to see you for help. Is it because you’re dismantled inside? Well, it’s not written on your forehead, right? Then… I don’t know. But it’s true.

 

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English words I’m struggling with :

  • Roster is a list, but for a team only? People? Can we imagine a feelings roster?
  • Unmoored are for boats, but can I use it for me? I unmoored “from” something?
  • Uphill is upward, so why there’s another word? Is it colored “difficult”?
  • Frayed is for fabric, but also stressed (for a man). Is it stressed but weak?
  • Fester, for a situation, is getting dangerous? Slow? Awkward? Rotten?
  • Uncanny is like supernatural? Weird, or great?
  • Unflinching means also “moving” or it can be “stand your ground”?
  • Gallivanting is colored by laziness or not? Pleasure? Love? Melancholy?

 

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“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”, says Paul Valéry. It’s a very strong sentence, able to stop everything in me. It works for things, concepts, people, etc. Words are really dangerous. Because we eventually think they “are” the truth. Notice he said “the names”, plural.

Dance, poetry, painting and music are able to show things “between” words, when the language is not subtle enough to tell what is happening. Philosophy tells us about haecceity, which says we are constantly different, moving, trying to grip the many changes and the possibilities of life.

Beware when you think about someone with a couple of words. Dreams of reason produce monsters. We are not monsters.

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One day someone said to me :

“You live in the past & I live in the future”

Woahhhh perfect nastiness, right? Give the dog a bone! Some assertions are so absurd than you begin to take them to pieces – without saying a word, right?

We all live in the present, and that’s all. Every human being uses his memory and the past as a map to make better choices. And everyone is constantly watching the possibilities of the future. This is brain functioning…

If you’re not made of cardboard, you change, you use everything you know, you want, you propose, you desire, you are not steady, because you are… alive :

  • you watch behind
  • you watch now
  • you watch in front of you

Well, I suppose this phrase was destined to say “I’m better than you”, right?

 

By the way, what is the difference between nastiness and meanness? I suppose meanness is more calculated, nastiness more cruel and crazy? I don’t know; really…

 

Hey! Have a nice day!

 

 

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”

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One thought on “When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things – Chronicle 11

  1. Alison June 22, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    This was great. You’ve got me thinking. Boy oh boy I love a good debate about words! Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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