Paul Valéry : “Our talents press us to employ themselves…

I always come back to Paul Valéry’s notebooks. This guy is the most generous French thinker EVER.

Those who know these work, when they meet, have a special smile. “Ah you love Valéry, OK”.

Sign of good sign…

I just read five pages of this guy, about Stendhal, the writer. Here are some seeds to plant in your own soil :

ONE

  • “Se connaître n’est que se prévoir; se prévoir aboutit à jouer un rôle”.
  • “To know yourself is only to predict yourself; to predict yourself leads to play a role”.

Really? Isn’t it true? How? Can we forecast ourselves? What do you think about this? Is there a problem? Should we resist? What should we keep?

 

TWO

Napoleo seen by Stendhal is Roman, Italian, it’s the Cesar type, the Condottiere (GIYF). Seen by Balzac, he’s the Emperor of the French, inventor of laws (Le Code Civil (GIYF)), the following of French Revolution, etc.

Valéry takes this as an double exercise : you could prolong these, reasonably, with interest…

Which is a great tool : what subject would you, for your pleasure, DOUBLE STUDY? Lincoln? French lovers? XXth Century music?

 

THREE

  • “La volonté d’être encore ce que l’on fut”.
  • “The willpower to be again what we have been”.

 

FOUR

  • “Nos talents nous pressent de s’employer; la formation vive et incessante des idées engendre une étrange impatience de les produire”.
  • “Our talents press us to employ themselves; the keen and unremitting formation of the ideas engenders a strange impatience to produce them”.

 

You have two hours.

Hmmm : jeanpascal@wanadoo.fr.

Thanks for reading!

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