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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Thoughts & Quotes about Rilke and patience

There’s a very well known quote from Rilke :

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”

…from the Letters to a young poet.

In fact, when he was around 30; Rilke wrote a few letters to a young man who had asked him advices about poetry. Rilke’s answer is splendid :

“Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself.”

 

But at this time he was also writing letters to Lou Andreas-Salomé, who was… 14 years older than him. I read their letters, they are amazing : two high-range brains talking about subtleties of life…

In 1903 he wrote :

“Patience contains everything: humility, strength and moderation.”

 

Patience, at this time, seemed to be an obsession to him.

How do we hear this today?

  1. Do we hear that negatively, patience as inertia disguised in virtues? Should we be patient instead of enter a resistance?
  2. Do we hear that positively, patience as hope? Humility, strength and moderation… Is it linked to indecision “as a decision”?

Savoir Attendre – Know How to Wait

 

How do you hear it?

Why do I think about Saint-Exupéry?

Les vaincus doivent se taire, comme les graines

The vanquished must stay silent, like the seeds…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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When the pleasure is in the comparison

ONE

I just watched Seven Samurai (Japan, black & white, 1954), then The Magnificent Seven (1960).

It’s a big pleasure watching both, but each time it’s very different. Kurosawa’s movie looks very odd, because of the culture, the language and the well known Japanese actors’ intensity. The US one is much more easy and comfortable, with stars (Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner…).

But there’s a “side-pleasure” : you compare. The stories the paces, the ends, the bad guys, the fights…

TWO

Traveling! Tourists have many ways of being tourists : in a group, alone, moving around and visiting, or staying in one city (choose Paris, OK?) and walk “going whichever way the wind blows” (we say “le nez au vent” – nose in the wind).

It’s beautiful or not, deceiving or marvelous, you take pictures or you chat with your spouse. But you have to admit :

The pleasure, again, is in the comparisons game.

THREE

There’s a game I love : learning another language. It’s absolutely full of delights. Culturally. Translating. Discovering idioms. Trying to find out where translated words don’t really fit, match the other language. Finding similar words… or traitors (a library (bibliothèque) is NOT a librairie (bookstore) in France…).

It is, constantly, a game of comparisons.

FOUR

I strongly think that a big part of our inner life is linked to the world with the concept of Analogy. We endlessly get informations with our senses (about places, culture, and people, everything we meet) and then we braincompute them with what-we-already-know with analogy.

Then, we compare. Then, we decide.

This decision can be : run away, explore, smile, talk, anything.

OUTRO

Where else does it happen to you? Where could you trigger a “game of comparisons”? How is it an enrichment? Where is the effort? What about memories? Analogy with them?

Thanks for reading!

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