Gilles Deleuze quote : “Lodge yourself on a stratum…

“This is how it should be done: lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.”

Gilles Deleuze

 

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“Duty of Apology” against Dégringolade

In all languages of the world, you know that pattern : when you watch a word too closely, you find it very weird suddenly. Blop.

For “Tumble down”, we have a verb. The fact that we in France don’t use the “up”, “down”, “back” and so on, forces us to invent words. This verb is :

Dégringoler

Your bag of oranges crashes and opens at the top or your stairs : oranges dégringolent, they tumble down, right?

It happens for all men and women on the planet. A big betrayal, realizing something bitter, a failure, and you tumble down. You crash. You want to cryscream, you want to be hiddendead, you wanna kill the sky!

The common name for dégringoler is dégringolade, and it’s a word so funny (though everybody knows it here) that it becomes strange. Unlike your “fall” or “tumbling”, I reckon. You have your own strange words, right? “Betrayal” is strange…

Dégringolade

Some day, you see your spouse in full dégringolade. It’s messy. Your love or your partner is desperate, has lost it. Total failure.

And of course, it’s NEVER a total failure. You have to stand now, OK?

There’s a “Duty of Apology” here. You have to move your ass and pull your partner up, right? It can be a spouse, a collaborator, an associate. When someone’s down : ACT.

Apology : FIND WHAT’S GOOD here, and say it! Beat the drum! She needs it!

It’s your duty.

Thanks for reading!

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Like watching a tree in the wind for a long time, it becomes…

“What’s bitten him?”

ONE

If you like to explore knowledge and history of men, you probably, like me, from time to time choose a field and dig it completely with excitement – you draw maps, you read, you try to find your own gold nuggets.

What’s bitten him?

John Ford’s cinema, or Kurozawa, or Brian de Palma. Or a painter : Hopper or Da Vinci, or Monet. Music ? Ravel or Shostakovich? Churchill, Lincoln, a French king? An architect, a poet? Faulkner?

Exploring is a joy. Books, conversations, documentaries, Internet. It’s like a map or a puzzle you complete little by little.

At one moment, “vous avez fait le tour”, as we say in French, you finished to turn around it : all angles. You have your little trunk, full of treasures. From time to time you like to complete it, to add a book…

TWO

But some fields, some characters are continents, it’s too much, too complex to examine all angles… Why?

  • Because the subject is too big. Choose Puccini or Orson Welles, you’ll be OK. But study the US Revolution, Napoléon, or the Italian Renaissance, and you’re dead.
  • ..
  • Because the subject has too many links. It happened to me with the US Civil War. I read about Lincoln, slavery, battles, Indian natives, daily life at this time, consequences in Europa, “just after the war”, black problems in the XXth century…
  • ..
  • Because a personality or his art is too complex to understand completely. Manet in painting (a constant flow of paradoxes and possibilities), Mahler in classical music (not that “hard” to listen, but with so many facets and complexities), probably Proust in literature…
  • ..

THREE

All this is a bit fractal, too : you can pick up a very tiny subject and explore it very well and so precisely that it becomes… infinite.

  • A tiny subject can be an “dot”. One movie director from Norway. The diary of your grandmother. An unknown painter from Provence.
  • It also could be a slight slice of a big event. One day in Germany during the WWII. A single battle of the Revolutionary War.
  • Something besides. You like Stravinsky? Then you could study his influence.
  • A much less known artist, or political man, or geographic place. Try Koechlin in French music. Or the guy who helped Lincoln with trains during the war. Study the city of Baku, in Azerbaijan.
  • Choose another angle. Instead of exploring Tolstoï, read about his wife. Don’t study Communism, but the Mccarthysm againts movie makers, the life of John Reed, or daily life in USSR’s during collectivization.
  • Move a cursor : don’t read about the Russian Revolution but how was the daily life there twenty years before.

There’s a danger of being stuck for your whole life : the subject your chose is so enthralling that you’ll never quit it.

FOUR

What subject(s) did you choose? Why? Did it end quickly or did you stay for years? Do you wait to have more time to attack a big one?

Thanks for reading!

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Miles & Pina : Enigmas and what their message addressees make of them

Wandering into a book about Miles Davis, I found one entry : Enigmas. As a director, he indeed oftenly told strange phrases to the musicians he was playing with.

He quickly told, during a concert, “Don’t play the butter notes” to Herbie Hancock, who had to guess what it was about. To forget the fat, the obvious notes, play dry?…

But also “Implicit in Davis’s advice is the counterintuitive idea that having fewer options actually expands the creative possibilities available to a musician, because you have to work extra hard to make up for the absent notes.”

Therefore : a more aerial game AND creativity triggering, from and after a five words injunction!

 

So I think about Pina Bausch telling “I chose you for your weaknesses” to a tough dancer, as an enigma, which totally unblocked the dancer.

 

There’s one tool here, for team managers, who need :

  1. The sense of timing (when to aim, and how)
  2. The sense of immediacy
  3. The will to disturb someone “in a good way”
  4. The Koan talent (find the good phrase to unblock a frustrated collaborator)
  5. The director skills (how to opportunely address a whole team or one of its elements)

Analysis or Vision? Logic or Instinct? It’s up to you…

 

This leads me to an end : Message Addressees.

 

To click on enigmatic messages, to understand a koan, to dismantle a manipulator‘s discourse, you have to think, you need to be trained.

If you’re a fast thinker like Herbie Hancock, you accept the good idea, you understand it and apply it with your possibilities and your will. As if someone showed you a window. Let’s jump through it!

Negatively? Toxic communicators and bad managers will often try to define you, to put you down, to trick you with paradoxes, injunctions or enigmatic assertions. If you’re aware of it, you’ll have fun dismantling all these processes at fast pace, clipping along the suite of sentences and putting the dead bones on your wooden desk : Ok this, then that, and oh this too…

Then you do what you have to do.

 

Now I think about strange movies like Fight Club (Fincher) or Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick), which have the capacity to bore the bored, and to activate some others…

 

Conclusion : Enigmas, good or bad, are good for thinkers!

 

Have a nice day!

 

 

“The very activity of seeking an answer”

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KOAN : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan

“A kōan is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen practice to provoke the “great doubt” and test a student’s progress in Zen practice”.

 

Writers & Bloggers : Pleasure of bad books?

(Sorry for my wobbly French today…)

Bad books (and blogs) can be useful for a writer – but I suppose it’s a low level thing.

  • It (possibly) can make your brain move, like this :
    • I would have written it better,
    • in another way,
    • I would have added this and that, etc…
  • It makes you angry, and you can try to use this strange gas-oil which is anger.
  • You can say that the author is a spirit-enemy (the useful thing of feeling or “inventing an enemy” is an old trick), it triggers your mobilization. Fight him… and write.
  • Any negative feeling (next to anger is bitterness, hate, sarcasms, etc) can be used too. Your clockworkbrain is activated. Some guys (in your head) will step into the breach. Geronimo!
  • After all, you could maybe find a good idea or a pleasant formulation in a bad book or a bad blog, it’s really the idea of a seed found within dust and rocks. Steal it and make it grow your own way, haha!

 

I suggest you prepare and foresee an antidote (a good book) – to clean your head, by Jove!

This, of course, is an exercise. You can not separate books and blogs between “good ones and bad ones”. It’s all relative, silly. It depends.

You have to consider that what YOU write can also be considered the same way by another reader. Your wordings as a bad place, as a bad example, inspiring better things? Awwweee! That’s a good (low level) thing, right? 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Use a baaad feeling as gasoline to write?

GRRRRRrrr !

Use anger to write? It’s an advice I got from a good friend, one day. Why not?

Let’s think about it…

Find a subject which makes you angry. Politics? An artist you dislike? An enemy? Oh, better : a bad moment of the past. And then you go girl!

Use bitterness to write? Use problems to write? Sorrow? Jealousy? Hopelessness? Disappointment? Frustration? Why not?

William Boyd (or maybe it’s David Lodge, I can’t remember) answers NO. He says one doesn’t need to be in despair, drunk or bored to write a novel. He says he strongly needs calm, coffee and his slippers, in a warm home, to write. Well… Good to him, right?

We all know that we write to be loved, it’s the undercurrent. Then, you have the things we say (see this article about bloggers motivations) : “I write” – to share, to explain, to express myself, to make money, to meet people…

Many of us write to stay busy, to stand up, to do something else than overthinking. Our brain needs a bone to gnaw on, oui? Therefore I consider OK to use bad feelings to write.

The reader will know, probably. He’ll read the unsaid. He’ll feel your tone. He’ll try to guess what happened “in broad strokes”. Let’s hope he’ll smile. “Hey, he’s been offended or what?”, or “Woah, this person has been betrayed!”.

The reader… he’ll forgive you.

Ok, you go.

Thanks for reading!

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JS Bach’s Cantata is confusing about Joy & Ordeal

This article is about the meaning of a sentence in Bach’s Cantata, and the different ways it is translated (from German to French or English), and what it can bring us about how the ways we deal with life.

I woke up a little disoriented by an obsessive, dense nightmare telling me in details that my life was really losing its cohesion. A mess like “having books but not knowing why any more”, “fearing the loss of purpose”, “falling sick but this time it won’t end well”, or “I’ll have to work a lot, without being sure it’s useful, to understand the fragments, the scales of my life” : terrible!

I sat on my bed, in need of a big coffee, happy to realize it was only a nightmare, watching a grey quiet queasy luminous sky, thinking about this little irony of life we all know :

When you work, it’s sunny, when you’re off, it rains.

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We all have this feeling of the irony of life, with all the shades. Murphy’s Laws (“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”) are often hilarious to read. If France we sometime call it “LEM”, La Loi de l’Emmerdement Maximum, or “The Law of the Maximum Merdation”, which will make sense to everyone, oui?

But eventually it begins to hit harder. It deals with failure, love break-ups, losing job, or even death. I’ll tell you this true story.

Before WWII, a young upper class lady fell in love in France with a simple employee. Her family prevented her to marry the young man and arranged a more “proper” marriage. She had to accept it, I suppose. But decades later, in the 80s, her husband died, and then the unwealthy guy’s wife too. They were old, but happy : they fell back in love, lived this love, got married… and he died very soon.

I remembered this story because every member of her family kept telling her “Stop crying, you had a great life!”. So she stopped crying. And a week later was in hospital in emergency : her legs had tripled volume. Diagnostic : “Water Retention”.

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For the next part of this article I have to say that I’m don’t believe in any “God”. Nevertheless, faith inspired humans some great Art, right?

 

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a Cantata “for the Feast of Visitation of Mary” (BWV 147) which is well known for the end : “Jesus bleibet meine Freude“.

This last part is very well known by the title “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”  – I just added the YouTube link under this paragraph – but it’s been translated to “sound better” : “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” is more like :Jesus shall remain my gladness“.

(I found also : Jesus remains my joy, Jesus stays my source of gladness, Jesus shall remain my joy).

Here’s the paragraph :

Jesus remains my joy,
the comfort and life’s blood of my heart,
Jesus defends me against all sorrows,
he is my life’s strength,

Why?

Bach, the year he composed the music, suffered the loss of two of his children. Johann August Abraham died the day after he was born, and a bit later Regina Johanne, who was 4 years old, died too.

I suppose that in the XVIIIth Century even more than now, you really can write things like “Jesus remains my joy”. The use of “remains” tells something about “I have to stay strong, I decide to be”.

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The French translation is wrong too. We say here : “Jésus, que ma joie demeure”, which means something a bit different : “Jesus, may my joy remains”.

  • The English and German are a statement : “Jesus remains my joy”
  • The French is a prayer, a supplication : “Jesus, may my joy remains”

 

You’ll notice that it is not either “Jesus, give me joy”, or even “help me”, but more “Allow my joy to keep existing”… 

 

This difference between a statement and a plea in the form of “Please allow” is fascinating enough to keep some of us thinking for a day. It’s different, but also so similar. Both tell us about the will to stay strong…

I’d summerize this all with this question :

What do we do against ordeal?

 

This is the longest article I ever wrote! Thanks for reading my Frenchy English!

Jean-Pascal

PS : You can maybe, also, read this : Amor Fati (and Sequere Deum).

 

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