To consider the world like something to decipher

“To consider the world like something to decipher”, says Gilles Deleuze, “to be mindful to signs is a gift”.

Decipher is a splendid word, right? What’s the engine?

  • We are structuralists (we find some knowledge on systematic structures)
  • We are phenomenologists (we find some knowledge on pure experience)

Hey, maybe we’re post-structuralists (doesn’t that sound good?)!

Here’s Wikipedia :

A post-structuralist approach argues that to understand an object (e.g., a text), it is necessary to study both the object itself and the systems of knowledge that produced the object.

 

So when we watch a person, an object, a text, as we globally function with analogies, we seek structures, skeletons inside. And then we watch something else…

Therefore if a new teacher enters the room, we quickly seek, we try to decipher if he’s a Type (an Archetype?) – is he a Boss, a Preacher, a Guide? Are his ways chaotic, structured? What’s his pace?

We seek structures, but also we notice. What do we notice? Signs.

What do we expect? What is disappointment, here? How do we offset against disappointment?

Proust says he has a burden : for him, things (persons, events, anything) HAVE TO recall him something else – or have to make him imagine something else.

Let’s call it the addiction of links.

All this, because we seek. We need to decipher.

Effort of the will is not enough – Deleuze mentions “Those truths of the intelligence that lack the claw of necessity”.

What do you think?

 

 

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The Persian Letters Tool

Nestor Almendros is a great cinematographer, and in a documentary I just watch about this “craft” (men who take care of light in movies), he says mischievously that most of great cinematographers in cinema come from other countries – which is true!

The need to have a fresh eye…

Which made me think about one book : Persian Letters, by Montesquieu, recounting the experiences of two Persian noblemen, Usbek and Rica, who are traveling through France.

Like when one says that one good part of the philosopher’s job is to not understand.

The capacity to see things “as they are” (and not for granted) is a strange funny power, all society can become a carnival, and what is human becomes singular, crazy, mechanical, dumb, and all conventions become hilarious and sinister, unbearable, unbelievable!

So this book, France seen by two Persians, is disconcerting, on purpose. You surprise people with what they are, what they do. You show them that all the fabric of their lives is relative…

To conclude, let’s think about this : The Persian Letters was written by… a French, of course, who must have “this” state of mind :

“Taken for granted” questioning

If you have that, you have a great tool, but it’ll put you on an island. So what?

Have a nice day!

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Paul Valéry : Enjoy your hypotheses

Enjoy your hypotheses…

Valéry writes that one good part of the philosopher’s job is to not understand.

That makes sense and we like it, right?

Being able of being amazed by what is granted and ordinary for most people…

That’s what some photographers also do, I beg. Having new eyes.

But there’s more. What I like in this extract is this attitude, which is to voluntarily go and watch things we don’t understand at all, just to…

Enjoy your hypotheses…

We could go further : studying what we think we don’t like, for example, or too complex, or too far in the past (for literature), or… what else?

What’s that sect, made of people who like that, enjoying hypotheses?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Montaigne, skepticism & casual forms (does it work for bloggers?)

Skepticism questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge.

Montaigne was a French philosopher (1533-1592), his “Essays” (the word “Essai” in French means “attempts” or “tests”).

I know you won’t read Montaigne (988 pages in translated English, paperback, $27) – I once read an interview of Orson Welles who said it was the book of his life, and he had one copy next to his bed all along.

This guy was a mess, and he wrote his essays for years, in French (in this time, you had to use Latin if you were a serious scholar), like… thinking all along.

 

With the goal of describing man with complete frankness and using himself as his most frequent example, Michel de Montaigne first published his “Essays” in 1580. This collection of 107 chapters encompasses a wide variety of subjects – he saw the most basic elements of man as variety and unpredictability. “What do I know?” This embodies the spirit of the entire volume, for it reflects both the inquisitory search for intellectual knowledge as well as the more personal anecdotal quality of a work that has had an enduring impact on both French and English literature for hundreds of years.

 

He flits around, from a thought to another. No rigor, no plan. Really!

  • “I love the poetic gait, by leaps and gambols”
  • “I lose myself, more by permit than by inattention”
  • “My ideas follow each other, but sometimes from far away”
  • “Wisdom has its excesses, and has no less need of moderation than folly”

 

So : breathe! Life is short! Your blog is not perfect, it’s bricolage and brain odd jobs. Who cares? Share! If Montaigne can do it, you can do it!

Is this casualness French? Nope : wisdom & folly, there are everywhere, little soul, right?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Assemblage & consequences

There’s a “Deleuze and Guattari” Twitter account that I love.

Those two (a philosopher and a psychotherapist) wrote books like Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980) – which is the biggest seeds tank I’ve ever seen.

I love the Twitter account because they daily lay Deleuzian sentences like “A housewife sings to herself, as she marshals the antichaos forces of her work” – which you can take jargonistically humourously or try to link it to some truth.

(Which is always the same with these guys. You could be flabbergasted by 1000 Plateaus, a crazy & enthralling book, where delirious stands alongside genius).

Today I found this :

An assemblage is an increase in the dimensions of a multiplicity that necessarily changes in nature as it expands its connections

There’s a little pattern, a structure map here, if you puncture the gibber…

Assemblage? I thought about these houses in Seattle, de-foundationned and put on huge boats, sold and… deterritorialized (this to avoid awful prizes, which climb a lot because of Amazon).

Therefore a territory (a house) put on another territory (another terrain). With all consequences : is it fragilized? What about the light (the course of the sun)? Are there new foundations?

You’ll find also articles on the web about… floating houses. Big, normal, American size houses which you can move because they float on water. And there’s plenty of water in Seattle!

Assemblage. Where do you apply this? The building of a porch behind a house, of course, but in the spirit of mind? Or in Art? Assemblage of poetry and marketing? The beginning of a team, or a couple? Old and new architecture?

What do you put together? Things of same nature (is it a must?)? What does is bring? Do you make one thing from the twos? Or does a frontier, a line, stays as a mark, a scarf? What is graft? A transplant? What is dangerous? Rejections? What are the connections? Doors? Different natures of doors? Changing ones?

 

Have fun! Thanks for reading!

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A to B : Frontiers & Movements

Deterritorialization is a funny tool/dial to use!

 

Paths of Iron & Supple Escapes

“No one knows what the body can do”
Spinoza

 

Railroad. In French we say le “Chemin de Fer” : “Path of Iron”.

Deleuze, the philosopher, used to talk about a “between people geography”, links made of hard lines, supple lines, escape lines…

 

ONE

Well, that makes sense : we are surrounded by powers, who want us to stay on paths of iron, right? “Obey! Rules are made for you too! It’s dangerous outside!”.

But desires and grapes of possibilities transform our lives in (oh a new word!) an unremitting evolution of connections.

Paths of Iron are there : what you’re told to do (education, instruction, social obligations). We follow and we have to. Laws and contracts and pressures.

But we watch outside, by the window, we dream and play with possibilites. And about what the body can do…

 

TWO

Supple, subtle, little : now we talk about what happens “under”, in small moments : the small magic, the unpredictable.

In a company, under the schedules and duties, people (and bodies) never cease to dream, to change, to try, to escape control, to invent, to dig little tunnels. Lines of life! A smile, a gesture, tiny cracks (see the light?), a triangle of sun on a table, a seventeen words conversation…

Haecceity! A dance, or a resistance. Denying iron!

We are a group of different speeds and slownesses, an individual, a singularity, constantly inventing grapes of possibilities, a play of forces or encounters. Lines, new lines, inventions.

 

THREE

We can’t grow if we don’t escape, if we don’t walk out of the paths of iron. We all have our ways to do that : knowledge, hunting, exploring, trying…

One escape line can last one minute or two weeks or a life. An on our own becoming…

Fuir -> To Flee/To Leak – a #Deleuze word game

 

c’est toujours sur une ligne de fuite qu’on crée, certes pas parce qu’on imagine ou qu’on rêve, mais au contraire parce qu’on y trace du réel, et que l’on y compose un plan de consistance. Fuir, mais en fuyant, chercher une arme.

it’s always on an escape line that we create, not because we imagine or because we dream, but in the contrary because we trace some real life on it, and because we arrange a consistency. To flee, but in fleeing, to seek a weapon.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

(thanks to Pierre Ansay – may Deleuze’s tools spread)

 

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Meandering Rolling between Differences

Reading the preface of Gide/Valéry ‘s correspondence, I kept this idea : these guys, so different, had almost nothing in common. Their friendship lasted 50 years for no reason other than itself. An intimacy where they judge each other, enrich each other, confess the deepest, on a kind of rare air summit.

Manon Lescaut is a French novel which came a Puccini opera (“Manon Lescaut”) and a Massenet opera (“Manon”). Every classical music lover knows that there’s a pleasure in comparing versions of the same opera (I wrote an article about this : What does Manon Lescaut want?). But here, you can also have fun noticing the differences in the librettos – inventing a 3D game of differences of differences…

A model (a car, a boat model) is “the same, littler”, but not exactly, right? Like a map for a territory. A model is a lie. It’s the same for representation, “this is not a pipe”, says Magritte under his painting of a pipe. Indeed it’s not. Same with words? This differences-dance between real and representation or telling is a rolling dance…

A map misses something (the wind, the changing light, events). But it’s an analogy. “This for that”. A line for the road. A dot for the house. A cross for the church. Different.

Displacing effectiveness or for effectiveness. A model is tinier. When you focus on analogies, you notice the differences. It can become a code. An icon. A symbol. The christian cross has no Jesus on it. A drawing of a knot shows something, but doesn’t secure anything. And when you tell a story, you miss 99% of it and you change the rhythm.

Noticing differences between two things, ideas, persons : a source of happy tension, thoughts, your brain stands up : enrichment.

 

You have your A? Find your B thing!

 

Thanks for reading!

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