Tyutchev, Russia, Reason & Faith

Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873) was a Russian poet.

I need him here for a poem which says that you can not understand Russia with reason : you can only believe in Russia.

It’s a structure for the mind, a way to deal with reality.

 

Here are a few attempts to translate the quatrain :

Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone,
No ordinary yardstick can span her greatness:
She stands alone, unique –
In Russia, one can only believe.

You can’t understand Russia with your brain,
You can’t measure it with the standard instruments:
She has a particular status –
In Russia you can only believe.

Russia is understood not by the mind,
Nor by a common rule.
She has a special stature of her own:
In Russia one can only believe.

Russia cannot be understood by the intellect,
nor can it be measured by the common measure;
it has its own particular form,
you can only have faith in Russia

Don’t try to get it with your mind,
Don’t try to fit in your dimension:
There is no Russia of your kind –
Here your belief is only mention.

Russia is a thing of which
the intellect cannot conceive.
Hers is no common yardstick.
You measure her uniquely:
in Russia you believe!

 

Where do we use this structure? In love maybe. In some decisions, or changes (“Do I want to have kids with this person?”). When something’s too big for your own experience.

It’s a bit oriental, right? Let go reason : embrace…

 

Thanks for reading!

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Joseba Eskubi

 

 

 

Умом Россию не понять,
Аршином общим не измерить:
У ней особенная стать –
В Россию можно только верить.

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Big Boredom

This week I read (I underlined) :

A UK wide survey reveals the extent to which the younger generation feel disillusioned, with the MAJORITY (89 percent) of 16-29 year olds, claiming their life lacks purpose or meaning.

Then I learned about three French guys this summer :

  • A Franco-Canadian man, a 44-year-old musician, died after being attacked by a grizzly bear in a remote area of Canada last week. He was surprised by the animal in his sleep. He was travelling along the Mackenzie River to record sounds of nature for a musical project.
  • The adventure of an “eco-adventurer” originating from northern France and living in Toronto, which was supposed to last more than two months, ended tragically during the second stage of his crossing of Canada by bike and kayak.
  • The body of a French hiker, 27, who disappeared in Italy after making an emergency call 10 days ago has been found in a ravine near Naples. He made a plea for help on 9 August, saying he had fallen down a cliff and broken both legs while walking in south-west Italy.

 

Then this :

Antidepressant usage has increase almost 400% over the past few years. 23% of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants. Women are 2 1/2 times more likely to take an antidepressant than men. Antidepressant usage does not vary by income level.

In other words, it’s safe to say there’s a health, happiness, and antidepressant prescription epidemic going on in USA. Why are people so miserable? Or why are antidepressant medications on the rise?

 

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Then, I found this chart :

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Today :

Jessi Combs, famed racer, skilled fabricator, lover of all things automotive, and the “fastest woman on four wheels,” as reportedly died while attempting to set a new land speed record in Oregon. She was just 36 years old. 

 

So this is slowly becoming : what’s happening?

I asked friends, who all agree. In the old ages, we human beings struggled to survive, then (and also), we were constantly working. But today is the days of… more free time. Then how do you live? I wondered once :

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/hey-how-do-you-keep-yourself-together/

Cuddling, reading, sex, alcohol, drugs, sports, art, work, friends, thinking, religion.

You can google “how to live” or “live to the fullest”, you’ll find things possible (“know yourself”, “be moderate”) and hard to find cursors (“be curious”, “set goals”, “laugh”) when you feel this lack of “purpose & meaning”.

 

Voilà. I worry too much for my human sisters & brothers. Too much empathy, I bet.

What did you choose, between the big families?

  1. Evasion, with pills, alcohol or drugs?
  2. Engagement, with politics or religion, rules?
  3. Moderation, with culture, knowledge, watching the world?
  4. Pushing limits, with speed, danger, exploration?

 

 

JP

 

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#change #motivation

 

 

Astronomers, astronauts, Hopper’s letter and the banality of life

In an old French movie we hear :

  • “Deux intellectuels assis vont moins loin qu’une brute qui marche”.
  • (“two sitting intellectuals don’t get as far as a walking brute”)

I read this and I smiled, because, darn it, I’m one of the two sitting guys!

So, well, listen : I went to my mother’s house this week-end and I helped her in her gardening activities : I weed-eatered a big part of the garden to prepare it for tillage.

Happily, her string-trimmer was on batteries, and lasted like 15 minutes before I had to stop. Phewww.

I hate to “do” these things. I hate DIY and odd jobs. It’s awful! I feel sad, and dirty, I’m bored. I am terribly bored. I want to be after. I want to go home.

In a garden, I want to read a book, to have a conversation, to take photos, or watch the buzzing world & butterflies.

I’m a cat person – in MBTI I’m INTFJ and my enneagram is 5 : The Observer – I’m perceptive, I watch and think, instead of… doing things.

Reading, writing (in the morning), eating, sex (evenings), taking photos – my entertainment thing is NOT linked to displacement – which, for me, is a dumb way to kill the banality of life.

And but yeah, Hopper’s letter :

…how life works. It’s moving. Always moving, whether you like it or not. And, yeah, sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s sad. And sometimes… it’s surprising.

Maybe I fear surprises? Why is that? Always moving? Nope.

Make mistakes, learn from ’em, and when life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.

Mmmmh I think I prefer the cave, now. Hurt not good. I’m OK!

Have a nice day!

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Movies : an in between modernity mess

There’s a funny dissonance I love to feel in movies : it’s when the modernity of a scenario, of dialogs, of directing is seen into what seems an “old form”.

It’s obvious – and very disturbing – when you watch Seven Samurai (1954) or Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). The sound is old, and it’s black and white vintage, but everything sweats modernity.

It’s as if it was “not OK”, not fitting, and one wonders how the audience could watch that at the time. You feel this with all Welles movies, but also Fellini’s.

But in the beginning of the sixties, you find movies which are between two worlds : Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962), Huston’s Night of the Iguana (1964), Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), but also Lilith (1964) or Breathless (1960), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), The Misfits (1961), L’Eclisse (1962)…

All of them are black and white movies, and you begin to watch them accordingly (“Oh a good vintage classic movie!”). And you are FLOORED by the complexity or modernity of these…

Well, this article is about this “in between” mess. The structure seems to be : “looks like an old form, but modernity explodes into it”.

Where do you find that? In literature? Photography? Poetry?

What if you searched, out of Netflix, “Best films of the Sixties”, and watch them all, just for the pleasure of discovering forms, authors, resonances, happiness? Out of the flow…

Have a nice day!

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Middle of life & Refusal of continuous evolving plan

“In the middle of the journey of our life”, writes Dante in the beginning of his Inferno.

Roland Barthes uses this to think about the feeling of being in the middle of our life.

After an event which determines the start of the second part of life, some rest then they go on, repeating what they did before, maybe slowly withdrawing from action. Acedia (Wiki : “a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one’s position or condition in the world”) is not necessarily a bad thing.

Let me fall into a quiet clean living space

Others will feel the coming of the end of life – or at least, that they begin the second part – and choose, like after a tremor, to change something.

Life of course, but also elements of it, things like beliefs, methods, ways of writing are subject to mutations.

In fact, one can feel this need anytime, not “in the middle of life” (which becomes, then, one trigger).

Who never felt “la lassitude de n’être que soi”? The weariness of being only oneself…

Something suddenly has to be done (and we should probably also list the triggers). What’s and how is it discontinuous?

  • sinuous – bends
  • defectoring – big changes
  • lives using turnarounds – doing the contrary for certains things
  • metamorphosis – another skin, way of seeing things
  • displacements – moving places, moving where we act
  • growing by stages – learning, opening
  • risks – uncertainties, voluntary skidsideslips, waverings
  • seeking freedoms – explorations
  • re-inventions – mutations

and having said that, at the same time, staying truthful & faithful (to ourselves).

  1. Choose solutions
  2. Invent solutions

Thanks for reading!

Don’t ask me who I am and don’t ask me to stay the same.

M. Foucault

See also (Google it) “Becoming Deleuze”. For example :

“Becoming-” is a process of change, flight, or movement within an assemblage. Rather than conceive of the pieces of an assemblage as an organic whole, within which the specific elements are held in place by the organization of a unity, the process of “becoming-” serves to account for relationships between the “discrete” elements of the assemblage. In “becoming-” one piece of the assemblage is drawn into the territory of another piece, changing its value as an element and bringing about a new unity.

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Rifle Shoulder Switching & other Aiming Transmutations

Some guys are astronauts, some other astronomers, right?

Someone who wants to be an astronaut, because of an accident or bad vision, has to give up, he’s sad, what’s the meaning of life, etc.

He must aim differently. Use what he learned to work in the boat industry. Become an engineer or a scientist, to help organize, calculate or help the guys in the rocket.

I read this phrase recently :

One does not do what they WANT to do, but what they CAN do.

Now think about how many times we have to do this in life…

It can be the simple “lower expectations”, but it’s often richer, or more complex.

We have the whys : why do we have to change our aim? Change? Interruption? Surprises? Betrayal? Death or dearth? Did you fail an exam? A breakup?

Then the hows : is it an instant modification based on instinct? Is it wanted or piloted by circumstances? Do you need help? What about the nature of the coming change? Is it about intensity, complexity, a change of nature?

Something, then, is bending.

In French, to say “to change your tune” or “to change tack”, we say : “Changer son fusil d’épaule” – something about Rifle Shoulder Switch.

What happens inside? Disillusion? Bitterness? New steam? Relief?

M. Yourcenar said something like :

There’s a relief in the deep of each powerlessness

 

You’re a conversationalist but your best friend disappeared in a love affair with a Belgian mountain climber? Blog the possible chats’ ideas!

You’re a painter but you lost both arms in a paintbrush accident? Teach your art to young people!

 

I put this again : What about the nature of the coming change? Is it about intensity, complexity, a change of nature?

Do you know examples?

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Passages of Valéry – from prose to verse; from speech to song; from walking to dancing

Paul Valéry plays :

The passage from prose to verse; from speech to song; from walking to dancing.
Le passage de la prose au vers; de la parole au chant; de la marche à la danse.

He found a structure, this “passage”. What is it, an elevation? Probably, right?

He notices something :

The purpose of dance is not to transport me from here to there.

The person who organizes or triggers the passage from 1 to 2 has obviously a will. A will for?

Speech tells details about things, it parcels out things, it labels things. A song adds a freedom-movement, brings other reasons for words, and make them mobile. As does poetry.

Dancing, poems, songs : all are rushing to feed a fire. What fire?

Let’s come back to the passage :

from prose to verse; from speech to song; from walking to dancing

It’s a tool. From A to B, bringing this, quitting that.

Where could we apply it? To other universes? Teaching? Photography?

What about meta? What would be the passage from prose to verse to (up again)?

Thanks for reading!

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