Antonioni/Fellini/Visconti & other trios to operate on…

Antonioni/Fellini/Visconti & other trios to operate on? I could have added Rosselini but no. Three.

These guys are important Italian directors of the XXth Century. They knew each other, worked for each other, and they have different styles.

Let’s explore Wikipedia… ungingerly, broadly, roughly :

  1. Antonioni : His films have been described as “enigmatic and intricate mood pieces” that feature elusive plots, striking visuals, and a preoccupation with modern landscapes.
  2. Fellini : Fellini’s films are a unique combination of memory, dreams, fantasy and desire. The adjectives “Fellinian” and “Felliniesque” are “synonymous with any kind of extravagant, fanciful, even baroque image in the cinema and in art in general”.
  3. Visconti : wildly decadent, brocaded period melodramas, often so theatrical as to be operatic. “…neorealist tone of common man stories with a sense of avant-garde exploration of interpersonal relations”.

 

When I was in my 20s, I adored Antonioni, “best known for his “trilogy on modernity and its discontents” — L’Avventura(1960), La Notte (1961), and L’Eclisse (1962) – as well as the English-language films Blowup (1966) and The Passenger (1975)”. It was mysterious, enigmatic, and his way to show “incommunicability” were talking to my own disillusions, I suppose.

In my 30-40s, I loved Visconti, his way of growing from neo-realism to big perfect complex movies like The Leopard.

Now in my 50s I explore Fellini in an awe. It’s much more decadent, complex, I have to… dig!

 

If you choose these three, wiki them first, then find your own ways to explore (and to compare). Buy used books (it’s cheaper), read, watch movies, ask and debate in forums, find pages like “Where to begin with”. It can keep you busy for months!

 

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It could be a structure for thinkers/explorers.

How many interesting trios you could explore? In the movies : De Palma/Coppola/Scorcese (again… Italians!?)? In literature : Steinbeck/Hemingway/Faulkner? Proust/Céline/Duras? In music : Ravel/Debussy/Roussel? Politics? Photography (I choose Sternfeld/Eggleston/Shore)? Poetry?

Do we have to choose people from the same time? The same country? The same Art? I think so, it’s probably more fecund. Or else you have to find common structures already, like Basquiat/Shostakovich/Fellini. Hmmm more complicated, n’est-ce pas?

How to explore your trio? Interviews? Finding links? Combine them in Google? One by one, or all at the same time? Influences? Difficulties? End of career?

I copy paste an extract of “A New Guide to Italian Cinema” after the pictures. Have fun! Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Luchino Visconti

In 1960, Visconti made the emigration drama Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (1960), a film that combined the neorealist tone of common man stories with a sense of avant garde exploration of interpersonal relations. Visconti updates the story of Sicilian fishermen from La terra trema/The Earth Trembles (1948) to a tale of contemporary Lucanian immigrants alienated by industrial Milan in a film that has become a canonical example of Italian art cinema.

Visconti’s next film, Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (1963), is an adaptation of the bestselling novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896–57) about a Sicilian Prince who must relinquish power and status after Italian unification. In The Leopard, Visconti shows the dissolution of the aristocracy with sympathy and under- standing for the aesthetic and intellectual qualities that he, as an aristocrat himself, so deeply appreciated. The Prince’s demise is a metaphor for the decline of the aris- tocracy. Death images pervade the film as the Prince stoically witnesses the end of an era. The Prince, played by Burt Lancaster, summarizes the views of the fading aris- tocracy when he dismisses fears of revolution with his belief that the rising middle class is actually interested in becoming part of the system. The Prince offers a perfect definition of the fatalistic concept of trasformismo originally coined by one of the first prime ministers of unified Italy, Depretis, that the more things may change the more they actually remain the same. The film ends with a grand ball for the announcement that the Prince’s nephew (Alain Delon) will marry Angelica (Claudia Cardinale), the beautiful and rich daughter of the nouveau riche social climber Don Calogero. The ball sequences show Visconti’s extreme attention to historical detail and minutely lavish reconstruction of nineteenth-century artifacts. These scenes were reproduced with extravagance and self-indulgence in a complete departure from the neorealist style, and evidence Visconti’s ability to give cinematography the same sort of high artistic power usually identified with painting or opera.

Visconti’s La caduta degli dei-Gotterdammerung/The Damned (1969) with its Italian title referring to a Richard Wagner opera, chronicles the rise of Nazism in Germany through a study of the moral perversity of the Essenbeck clan, modeled after the Krupp family of armaments manufacturers. Visconti connects Nazism and sexual perversion, a point explicitly conveyed through a recreation of the night of the long knives when Hitler’s SS purged the Nazi movement of its SA rivals. Visconti’s Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice (1970) is based on the Thomas Mann short novel about a middle-aged man who remains in Venice during the cholera outbreak that will claim his life in order to ogle a Polish boy at the Lido beach. Death in Venice deals with the decadence of an individual, Whereas Visconti’s next films deal’s with the decadence of an entire family, Gruppo di famiglia in un interno/Conversation Piece (1974) and of an era, L’innocente/The Innocent (1976). Conversation Piece depicts the life of an Italian family in contemporary society and creates a rather bleak view of modern life, plagued by lack of communication, drug addiction, and political terrorism. Visconti’s last film, The Innocent, is an adaptation of a story by Gabriele D’Annunzio in which a nobleman kills his wife’s illegitimate newborn before committing suicide in a study of fin-du-siecle aristocratic society bound to self-destruction.

Federico Fellini

Fellini went from being Aldo Fabrizi’s gagman and a screenwriter on Rossellini’s neorealist film Open City (1945) to become an art cinema director. With its glamor kitsch and emphasis on contemporary consumerism, Fellini’s La dolce vita (1960) is a sociological portrait of 1960s economic boom Italy. The film is divided into episodes that offer a journey through Roman society from the world of the jaded celebrity journalist Marcello, to the decadence of the Roman aristocracy and the banality of late night prostitution. La dolce vita caused scandal due to its striptease sequence, which heightened its box office appeal. In this vein the film is party to the erotic genre of the period, such as the Brigitte Bardot films directed by Roger Vadim in France or Alessandro Blasetti’s Europa di notte/Europe by Night (1959) box office hit, which offered a glimpse into the world of European striptease par- lors. La dolce vita is also remembered for the manner in which the stars Marcello Mastroianni and Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg communicated a sense of Italian fashion to a world audience. The film contributed ot the English language through the reference to the scandal photographer Paparazzo whose name refers to celebrity photographers to the present day.

Fellini followed La dolce vita with one of his most autobiographical films, 81⁄2 (1963). Fellini had previously made six feature length films and had contributed “half ” segments to three others, so he considered 81⁄2 as his eighth-and-a-half film. The protagonist is a film director who can no longer decide what films to make, a crisis connected to his problematic relationships with three different women: his wife, his mistress, and an angelic fantasy figure played by Claudia Cardinale. The story jumps rapidly from present to past, from reality to dream and fantasy as Fellini addresses the authoritarianism of the Roman Catholic Church and its effects on adolescents, the absurdity of the world of film production, and the par- adox of living between reality and illusion. The film ends where it began; with a parade of characters performing at the director’s whims.

Similar themes are present in Fellini’s Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (1965), a film that puts the themes of middle-class alienation from Rossellini’s Europa ’51 and Antonioni’s L’Avventura into the style of spaghetti nightmare hor- ror films. Giulietta is a middle-aged married woman faced with her husband’s extramarital affair. She undergoes a series of traumatic experiences: spiritual séances, encounters with phony oriental prophets, outings with her oversexed, stunningly beautiful neighbor, and haunting by her inner ghosts. These latter include an overpowering mother figure, a beloved, rebellious grandfather, archaic figures, and Catholic martyr nightmares. Eventually, Giulietta chases away her ghosts to face the outside world.2 Though Giulietta arrives at a certain sense of wisdom, there is a fatalistic realization that little will change for her.

Toby Dammit (1967) is Fellini’s short film based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s short story Never Bet the Devil Your Head, which appeared in the multi-director effort Spirits of the Dead. Fellini’s contribution is a parody of many of the currents in film in the 1960s: horror, pornography, westerns, and art cinema. Fellini had already parodied the Italian film industry’s reliance on the maggiorata fisica actresses such as Anita Ekberg and the Hercules series peplums starring American strongman Steve Reeves in La dolce vita. In Toby Dammit, Terrence Stamp plays a dipsomaniac English actor suffering from visions of the Devil as a little blond girl chasing a large white ball. Toby has been cast as Jesus in the first Catholic western in which the Savior returns to the desolate, violent plains of the American west with a plot reminiscent of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short story, The Grand Inquisitor. Fellini takes aim at the world of film theory influential in the mid-1960s in the sequence when the producers’ representative, Father Spagna (many so-called spaghetti westerns were filmed in Spain), introduces Toby to the directors who explain the theoreti- cal basis for their film project as Fellini’s camera scans his artificially re-created Roman streets. Fellini parodies film theory when the directors offer a quick syn- opsis of the theoretical grounding of their film: Roland Barthes’s textual analysis, Georg Lukac’s Marxist social determinism, the Hollywood montage style of Fred Zinneman—the director of the Gary Cooper western High Noon (1952). Toby finally performs the nihilistic soliloquy “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow” from MacBeth at Fellini’s surrealistic re-creation of an Italian film award banquet.3

Fellini extended his parodies of popular genres to the peplum with Satirycon (1969), a disturbing, dreamlike vision of the fragmentary classical tale by classical author Petronius, which Fellini turns into a cautionary tale about the decline of ancient Roman society with the expressionistic style of a horror film. Clowns (1970) is a semi-documentary that discusses the disappearance of the clown as an entertainment phenomenon. With Roma (1971), Fellini repeated the autobio- graphical themes he had explored in 81/2 with an episodic film about the Italian capital that contrasts Fellini’s memories of the city when he first arrived in the Fascist period with his impressions as a middle-aged director. For Fellini, Rome is not just a city, but a second home, a mother, a depository of ancient mysteries and current decadence, of filth, life, death, and renewal. After an enigmatic cameo of Anna Magnani, the film ends with an apocalyptic and ironic sequence about a new horde of scooter riding barbarians returning as if to sack Rome one more time.

 

Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni began as a critic in the Italian professional cinema of the 1940s and made neorealist style documentaries in the late 1940s including Nettezze Urbane/N.U. (1948), a faithful account of a day in the life of city garbage collectors. Antonioni brought the documentary long-shot camera style to his early feature films Story of a Love Affair (1950) and his docudrama about troubled youth in Europe I vinti/The Vanquished (1952). He gained international acclaim with L’Avventura (1959), the story of a group of wealthy vacationers who cannot find one of their party, Anna.4 L’Avventura was censored in several countries and its projection suspended for six months in Milan for “obscenity” because of scenes of actresses undressing in front of the camera. In the film the only information that spectators have about Anna before her mysterious disappearance is that she is involved romantically with Sandro, and hers is the first female body seen undress- ing on screen. Otherwise she remains an enigmatic character whose disappearance offers an unanswerable philosophical parable regarding existence. The film became

104 GUIDE TO ITALIAN CINEMA

emblematic of art cinema for the manner in which Antonioni challenged the stylistic and narrative conventions of commercial cinema. His extended long shots and narrative without closure were in opposition to the Hollywood model.

Other Antonioni films include La Notte/The Night (1960), the story of a novel- ist suffering from writer’s block who is also dissatisfied in his marriage. Antonioni expertly employs the setting of an all night party against the anonymous backdrop of industrial Milan as a metaphor for the estrangement between the film’s protag- onists. L’Eclissi/The Eclipse (1961) examines themes of alienation and separation from the natural world, a theme continued in Deserto rosso/Red Desert (1964). Antonioni has a reputation for being more sensitive to women’s issues than Visconti or Fellini. His trilogy of solitude, however, and especially L’Avventura and The Eclipse, reveals an equally male-dominated handling of the female image. Yet Antonioni also made films that questioned the essence of reality with Blow-Up (1966) set in the London of the swinging 1960s, which features a cameo of rock guitarist Jimmy Page playing with rock group the Yardbirds. The film is a murder mystery in which the existence of a chance photograph of the murder scene by a callow English fashion photographer begs questions about the perception of real- ity. Antonioni continued to experiment with new narrative approaches with his film on youth rebellion in the Sam Shepard scripted Zabrieskie Point (1970) and the Peter Wollen scripted Professione: Reporter/The Passenger (1975) starring Jack Nicholson in an enigmatic story about a man who assumes the identity of another, filmed in a style that was the height of the long-shot art cinema style to reach commercial theaters. Antonioni has remained sporadically active in later years with the historical film Il mistero di Oberwald/The Oberwald Mystery (1980) as well as Identificazione di una donna/Identification of a Woman (1982) and Beyond the Clouds/Al di là delle nuvole (1995).

50 crisis is not 40 crisis. And some movies.

Happy new year (and decade)!

And sorry for my terrible English…

 

50 crisis is not 40 crisis. Tatata. We shouldn’t mix up these. This is not the same thing AT ALL.

(I know, age is just a number and a convention… But here’s my article though)

The middle age (or mid-life) crisis is a big one, it’s when you get 40. First of all, you feel you’re suddenly OLD (according to your youth’s criteriums). People around you divorce and make a big crisis, a depression, etc. You’ll buy books, it’s the midlife crisis, voilà.

The 50 years old crisis seems different, less dramatic, but in fact is maybe much more a big deal. It’s bigger. It gets deeper. It breaks much more things. Now you don’t laugh anymore (even sarcastically).

I played with the IMDB keyword to remember or discover some movies about this subject. After all, art often tells us things, right?

Mid-life crisis (40 years old), gives Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen) – “Life is a little unsatisfying”, driven by nostalgia, A Single Man (Tom Ford) around the idea of suicide after a loss, 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini) about a director who don’t have ideas anymore, Groundhog Day (“My job is so boring”). American Beauty (Sam Mendes) is pretty cruel, The Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood) is around having an island in time (a few days) to break the grey. Then stay the memories. Sideways : travel and drink wine! The Big Chill : reunite with old friends and talk (when one of us dies). Hannah and Her Sisters (daring adultery). Pierrot le Fou (quitting everything and being crazy).

Crisis, boredom, marriage explosions. It’s classical, and the solutions (or at least : tries) are numerous : fleeing, daring, breaking, change…

 

50 years old crisis seems to give more intense crazy things (Birdman), drastic funny changes (Fried Green Tomatoes), wandering in absurdity & disillusions (Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola), visit the past to remember its craziness (Broken Flowers), dealing with many problems (Wonder Boys), dramas & desperate fly away (Husbands), be surprised by an epiphany (Another Woman, Woody Allen), playing with destruction and suicide (The Arrangement, Kazan), talking about the emptiness & fail of everything (La Terrazza). Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, Twice in a Lifetime…

 

Hugo said 40 is the youth becoming old, and 50 is the youth of the old age. Menopause for women doesn’t help, for sure!

What is it?

  1. Transition.
  2. Maybe harder if not much evolved in the past decades.
  3. A tendency to look at the past, instead of future.
  4. Absence of new projects.
  5. A feeling of emergency.
  6. Perturbations (loss, divorce).

 

Movies are interesting because they show what people try to do. From entertainment (buying a big car, trying new sports) to depression, suicide, love, waiting, traveling, breaking patterns, talking, finding sidekicks…

Somes ideas? Other movies? At fifty, will you roar, think or cry?

 

Voilà! I’m 53. It’s 2020. Merry Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Marcello-Mastroianni-min

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My little wallet of enthusiams” : How to fight Anhedonia?

Jim Harrison says somewhere that with the years our “wallet of enthusiasms” becomes thinner.

Well, this speaks to everyone, right? From a truckload to a wheelbarrow (“une brouette”), then to a small briefcase, to a wallet, that’s it. At 50 you don’t jump around screaming in joy about whatever new comes to you, like at 20!

“The moment when things you do become absurd” is probably something I should wonder about more. A kind of “inverse epiphany”, the sudden WTF moment

There’s this moment when you watch in an awe the others keeping being happy and goat-jumping at anything new. Are you becoming just grey?

So I just learned about Anhedonia, reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure, and I think it’s about it.

There’s the good old temptation of getting “stoned”, or to being “entertained” until death, Netflix like, or trying weed or booze, or worse : become workaholically busy like a running headless chicken. Put a lit on enlarging boredom…

You can also FOCUS on your little wallet. Think about it : what makes you enthusiastic, the “like a kid” state? Art exploration? Creativity? Writing (about what?)?

Could one find a new thin paper, in their wallet? One activity you never tried?

Of course I feel this! Therefore what?

What puts me in the “happy child” state? I thought about it and found two things :

  1. Taking pictures, walking outside the-nose-in-the-wind.
  2. Exploring geniuses (I’m with Fellini and Schubert these days).

Someone told me recently (he’s a bit older than me) that he for now focuses on geniuses only. What would be YOUR list of geniuses?

Proust, Welles, Picasso?

These days I’m with two geniuses. Fellini for cinema, and Schubert for music. Both need organization and efforts.

  1. Fellini comes from realism to crazy surreal monster films. It’s complex, evolving, multi-layered, a whole exploration is needed to understand : films, bonuses, interviews, biography and many books. At THIS level on invention, it becomes almost toxic. It haunts you (like when you explore Proust, Mahler’s music or Manet’s paintings). And it’s so much fun too!
  2. Schubert is complicated : he died young, but composed many many musics, chamber music, piano and 9 symphonies! As usual, for a composer you don’t know, you have to listen to many things almost randomly – to discover if you’ll like it, to sponge it into your head. I bought books, a huge biography, and found my entry : the Great Symphony, his last, which obsesses me so much that I listen to different versions all day long. They I read pages of classical music fan forum (in French : http://classik.forumactif.com), smiling at all the passion people put into this…

Anhedonia’s here, but I fight, and it works! If you see me mimicking an orchestra director in front of my Macintosh : I’m good.

What’s next? What about you ?

A field you don’t know, and you’ll explore it. What is it? A language? A painter? A country? An author? Who?

Thanks for reading!

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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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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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Decisions Traps

This is probably dishonest to open a book and to read the summary only. Back on the shelves. Summaries are sometimes enough to seed your brain!

Just did it with a book about decisions – seen as a multi-trap territory. Interesting, right?

TRAPS, what are they?

  1. Too good to be wrong trap : a great story seems in front of you
  2. Imitation trap : it worked there, it’ll work here
  3. Intuition trap : I feel it’ll work then it will
  4. Too much trust trap : Just do it and it’ll be OK
  5. Inertia trap : when we think we control everything
  6. We know the risks trap : nope
  7. Time horizons : it’ll happens “soon”, or “in a long time”
  8. The group trap : everybody does this thus I’ll do it
  9. Conflict of interests : bad diagnostics and bias (often money)

 

Do you take decisions? Where would you use that? therefore what?

 

Have a nice day!

 

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Complementary Partner?

When you’re young, you like simple, you like big statements. “Life is sad”, or “I’ll find my prince”, or “I wanna be an actor”.

Some people stay there, it’s why they love categories. They REALLY think they are INTJ – and if you say that sometimes you are also an INFJ, they say you don’t understand the concept. They use boxes and labels. For themselves.

Big question I had when I was in my twenties : “What’s better, to find a complementary partner or a same as you partner?”.

With easily guessed consequences :

  1. If you marry someone like you, it’s easier, you party together, you love the same movies and musics, and your sex life is paradise.
  2. If you marry someone not like you, it’s a mess : quiet vs loud, classical music and hardcore rap, reading in bed and motorbiking in the mud.

After all : BooksTeaCat, SportsBeerDog & their Social Interactions Necessities

Then you grow up and you live and the constant rain of complexities, disillusions and surprises end up to your upgrade : it’s A Matter of Levers – simplicity is senseless.

As we are moving forward in our days, we change, we plug to possibilities, we have many speeds, many joys, many powers and weaknesses, we have many intensities, and feelings.

(And it’s the same for your partner, silly!)

Whoever your partner is, the result is a mess, right? So what? That’s life! Amor Fati!

Oh snap : When you hate someone and 3 mn later you deeply love this person

  1. When your other is a lot like you, it’s great : my lover is a cat person, a book lover, a quiet person, and she has no car (oh this is perfect!) – we evolve in the same aquarium. And I can write or take photos as much as I want!
  2. When your other is a lot NOT like you, good. Why did you choose this person? How do you dance? Isn’t complementary perfect? Don’t you like to read alone when your spouse kills ducks in mudfens? Don’t you have a friend to talk to when your lover is a man of zero words? And also don’t we all need to be disturbed?

What’s the secret here? To stay yourself, of course. Not to bend too much, at the risk of losing your inner light…

Mmhhhhh…

“Opposites attract, but similarities bind”. Is that true?

The “Let’s make it a dance” tool says this : “When it’s difficult somewhere but you have to insist and you have to stay in the system, just accept and absorb the difficulties – and invent a dance. Your dance. It’s a mess, but you can dance it, smile, and climb the stairs”. And ignore the others. Nobody can understand your own dance. It’s a secret.

Sorry, this article is a mess, tant pis. I don’t even know where it went. Hence, I found a picture of my Eliette playing watergunning (or squirtpistoling) with a friend, voilà.

Bonne journée ! Thanks for reading!

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Everything that goes wrong goes right

Are our Fears camouflaged Desires?

The wish for mentor

Mentor sounds good. It’s not a guru – where you feel it’s toxic, too much, manipulation. It’s not a guide. It’s maybe in the middle…

It’s not a muse, nor an authority, it’s not a coach, not your parents, or disturbers.

I’m reading Irving Yalom‘s autobiography, where he tells his constant need, during his growing life, for a mentor. An adult person who would have “detected” his uniqueness, his talents, his whatever makes one special…

Then, this person would guide you a little, would show you things you should know, and would probably tell your parents (who aren’t aware, of course).

It’s a cousin-pattern of many things, linked to Types,

  • like the teacher who unblocks you with a single phrase,
  • the uncle who offers you a magnifier (or a telescope),
  • the best friend who marks/scars you forever with a single innocent observation,
  • the soul-mate lover who disturbed you so much you’re reconfigured in the whole of you, or almost.

Wishing you had a mentor is almost a Type in itself : overthinkers, introverts, shy people, book lovers, quiet seekers.

Everybody needs attention and understanders (and I think it’s why some love stories are so intense), good conversation lovers, listeners, good askers. Here, it’s something else, right? Not sure…

Every other helper I listed here can embody the role of the Mentor… one needs. Someone who gets you, even in a 2 seconds sentence,

  1. points you out to others
  2. shows you possible paths (doors, windows)

 

Well, we should NOT need that, but… we do what we can!

Have you met a mentor? Have you been a mentor to a kid? Should you? How?

 

Thanks for reading!

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What do you do in a trustless world?

What do you do in a trustless world?

First of all : is “trustless” even a word? I know how English build/uses words, hence (or therefore) I can invent “trustless”. Voilà. I’m pretty sure to be understood, here.

What do you do in a trustless world?

Hmmm I think you need two different tools, which are a FILTER and a MACHINE.

  1. The Filter is the Comical/Grotesque one. This helps to tolerate, to bear the world around.
  2. The Machine is the wordy one. Accounts, Stories, Tales. This is it. The tendency to tell, to write, to invent ideas or stories from the craziness.

 

Where d’you see that? Which one do you choose? What is efficient, for you? Where does the “I wear a mask” intervene here? Do you hide your filter? Do you hide your machine?

What about this event, this process : “Abandonment of the Mask”? Another article. I know.

Thanks for reading!

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Movements in a line (and amounts of possibles)

Just a little pattern to play with :

Valéry writes about what came, in literature, after Romanticism – example : Baudelaire after Hugo.

That’s this : Movement B comes after Movement A. It comes :

  1. To distort it
  2. To bring corrections to it
  3. To bring contradictions to it
  4. In the end, to stand in, to take his place

 

…what we are, what we can, what we want

Amounts of possibles?

  1. Unexplored domains
  2. Paths to trace
  3. Fields to exploit
  4. Cities to build
  5. Relations to establish
  6. Processes to spread

 

Can B bring exact responses to B? Is B a retaliation to A? Is this answer a energy source in order to gather? What are the desires in play? To be more solid, more clever, more… pure? What is the adolescence of newness? Why is it an advantage? Where are the imprudences, vulnerable spots, the impurities? Wisdom, move, perfection : when (after) do they come? What and where is the loss, when B crystallizes? How do audiences move around these?

Where do we see that? Between personalities? In Art only (fashion, architecture, etc)?

 

Have a nice day!

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Objective Ns of little happy baby goats

One of the most stupid and dangerous diseases of companies is evaluation.

There are books, entire books about this curse.

Today, everything about your work is measured with percentages and numbers…

And people in the field know that this doesn’t show anything.

I wrote an article about the N/N-1 stupidity : N/N-1 Business Bullshittery

So today if you accept that game, you work to “make numbers”, not to work well.

For example : for a moment French police officers where “evaluated” according to the number of identity checks they made in a day, which led to absurdities, and they complained that you shouldn’t check identities to “reach your objective”, but when you perceive you should do it.

So a “good” policeman was the one who goes over his objective, and the “bad” policeman was the one who just work normally.

When you’re under a hierarchy, you have to understand it’s a play, a game. You can run and jump like a little happy baby goat, of course, to “reach your objectives”, or you can perceive what’s under, and do your job the best you can (it’s the deal).

That means that you don’t expect to be valued correctly. You’ll be valued negatively, most of the time, because you don’t reach your numbers (which will climb next time if you do it, as you can expect). You thus have to be valued… by yourself.

Work well, and smile in your belly.

Thanks for reading!

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Digits Masters Detrimentors

 

Experiences or Things?

I had a friend who loved to separate concepts. You only could be a “giver” or a “taker”, for example. Which one are you?

These rhetoric traps were funny to detect, as a sign of…. whatever.

Useless it is to say you can be a giver here AND a taker there, AND differently all along the day, useless to say it’s a constant process : life, movements, dance.

With money, should you buy experiences or things?

As if you have to choose between both…

I’d buy experiences AND things. And things which could bring you a great experience : typical : a DVD, a book. And things bought WHILE you’re living a great experience. Etc etc etc.

The constant adaptive dance of life is really great to process and to unfold…

Experiences can make you grow, or give you memories, they change you if they are important. Things can be offered, can trigger experiences, can be source of pleasure. A bottle of Chardonnay wine (thing) is able to illuminate a great experience (the greatest conversation ever, in a summer night). Etc.

The tool and dial and lever here are really easy :

Each time someone summons you to choose between two concepts (it’s very common in companies, in hierarchies), close your mind or catch the double and juggle like with plastic poos : it’s a trap, enclosing you (or trying) between two artificial pincers which don’t even exist. Get out of here, and remember that life is NEVER simple. It’s subtle, fluid, complex, and a joy to activate.

Have a nice day!

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Watzlawick wrote somewhere that when something is bad…

Watzlawick wrote somewhere that when something is bad, the contrary is not necessarily good.

The idea of “choice” is really a problem, right?

  1. If you INSIST, you’ll maybe fail : “More of the Same Thing”, when insisting is a failure
  2. If you QUIT, you’ll maybe fail too. Or succeed. You have to try!

There’s this : if you walk on one path, you’ll never know what you could have discovered on the other one. One just imagines (convinces oneself) it’s the good choice.

In a way, it’s understandable. A choice, and you close a part of your brain. It’s simpler.

The Frenchness in me is a bit mischievous, and tells me that in front of a choice, I’d choose both – “Bake Two Cakes”, or the dangers of segmentarity

But the crux (I just learned this crux word, and I’m happy!) of these problems is Haecceity.

Insist on A and Quit B, and you just close possibilities, that’s all.

Life is not made of A or B, but to plug with possibilities, it’s constantly moving along the day, along days. Therefore big choices (apart of choices like “I quit smoking”, which is obviously clever) are maybe mistakes : one should always be prepared to play with propositions of life. Don’t you think?

But some days, we are tired, I agree.

Have a great day!

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Our inner forest of archetypal patterns

I read something about Picasso and Matisse, his friend. One was skilled with drawing. The other one with color.

I always loved to watch people’s structure. You can see them as deep Archetypes or themes or axis or schemes : one has to teach, the other to art, or to parent, or to love, or to fight.

And the artist has to know his assets.

And the drawer has to know if he’s fast or meticulous.

Etc…

One has to find their inner patterns.

I think I love to share, therefore I should have been a teacher. So… I write a blog.

Some people heals. They use their hands. Some are in action. My tools are made of words…

Axes, Axis, Axles : “Become who you are”

When I study Picasso I read a lot. INTFJ. I don’t want to hear about periods or chronology, but I love to be explained about his trunks, his structures :

  1. Discover the modern
  2. Express by the primitive
  3. Build until crumbling
  4. Invent some new codes
  5. Hold all styles in one’s hand
  6. Let loom the monsters
  7. Stare at inhumanity
  8. Pit against the present
  9. Never finish

Picasso’s Tools for bloggers!?

Today I think we are all made of like a forest of archetypal patterns…

When I take a photo I don’t look for colors or light, I seek structures. A balance. Which comes from lines. And I search for a mood. Here, Dieppe, Normandy, France.

Do you know your structures? What is your axis? Has it changed? What makes you move? Ideas? To appear? To create?

Acts or words? Feeling or thinking? How is your forest? You have a map?

Have a great day!

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Strangeization of Mainstream : Soldiers (ABBA song)

Eight and final studio album : The Visitors.

“Soldiers” is a strange song, a frightening one. A strange 6/4 drum beat, gorgeous and modulating synth strings (appreciate the fantastic out of tonality/back to it B -> Bm while “In the pale moonlight”), a haunting guitar, a splendid round bass line…

Well, it’s the best Abba album for me. A twilight. They knew it would be the last. It’s this fantastic braid of abba-istic gorgeousity AND risky or sad harmonies and lyrics. Sick songs…

The tool here is a recipe :

  1. Take a mainstream form : people expect something
  2. Add complexity or unexpected moods you never find normally in THAT form

 

It’s an old structure : do not add intensity, but complexity. Where will you do that?

Thanks for reading!

 

Let’s call this Strangeization of Mainstream…

A Matter of Levers

Sick Songs of Abba & Bee Gees

Fm Do I hear what I Cm think Im hearing
Fm Do I see the signs I Cm think I see
D Or is it just fantas E y  Fm
Is it true that the Cm7 beast is waking
Fm Stirring in his restless Cm7 sleep tonight
In the pale moon B light Bm
Fm In the grip of this c Cm7 old December
Fm You and I have reasonE to remember
Do I hear what I think I’m hearing
Do I see the signs I think I see
Or is this just a fantasy
Is it true that the beast is waking
Stirring in his restless sleep tonight
In the pale moonlight
In the grip of this cold December
You and I have reason to remember
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I don’t sing
They blow their horns and march along
They drum their drums and look so strong
You’d think that nothing in the world was wrong
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I won’t sing
Let’s not look the other way
Taking a chance
Cause if the bugler starts to play
We too must dance
What’s that sound, what’s that dreadful rumble
Won’t somebody tell me what I hear
In the distance, but drawing near
Is it only a storm approaching
All that thunder and the blinding light
In the winter night
In the grip of this cold December
You and I have reason to remember
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I don’t sing
They blow their horns and march along
They drum their drums and look so strong
You’d think that nothing in the world was wrong
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I won’t sing
Let’s not look the other way
Taking a chance
Cause if the bugler starts to play
We too must dance
Soldiers write the songs that soldiers sing
The songs that you and I won’t sing
Let’s not look the other way
Taking a chance
Cause if the bugler starts to play
We too must dance
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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!

 

When you insist until you fail… on purpose.

“When you insist until you fail… on purpose” is a pattern everybody knows and everybody tried one day, right?

For Headlong rush or forging ahead, in French we say : “La fuite en avant” (an escape forward).

Sometimes one does it oneself, but is it on purpose and fully aware – as a strategy, or in a nihilistic despair suicide-like rush?

In other times, we can be part of it, for instance when you work for a company which makes bad decisions in a row :

Incompetence or Cruelty?

There’s these ideas swirling in “forging ahead” : going fast, decide quickly, being a bit crazy, vanity and vainglory, last brightness, grab what we can, or maybe go ahead, destroy what we can, and bury yourself in the end. Who knows?

In dictionaries I found to careen, which seems to be a bit crazy, right? To throw oneself into the fray (if the fray is a fight, why is there another word? Is a fray a messy fight?). “Fling yourself” sounds similar.

All these sound risky and breaknecky… but I titled my article “When insisting…”. Therefore I’d like to talk about a quieter way of forging ahead, a headlong quiet insisting daily rush…

I just found the word “Adamant”, which is splendid! Maybe because in French “Un Diamant” is a Diamond. Your adamant sounds to me like “adamond” – see?

I also found that you add “on” after insist : to insist on, stubbornly, right? Leads me to “pigheadedly” (waowwww!).

This is really funny to discover these words… In French we also say this. Entêté (could be “enheaded”, or têtu comme une mule…

Calmly insisting… until I fail. Makes me think about self sabotage (but “Why would you do that??”), or nihilism.

Sometimes it’s the only way, the only path to walk on, so… you go! Sacrifice? Maybe. Suicide? Maybe. Dark fun? Why not? Manipulation? Ohhhhh… No. To provoke, to trigger an answer, to show a door or a window? Well…

When do we do that? When do we witness that? What to do, then?

Overthinking, I know.

Thanks for reading!

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Baltimore Text found in a Church, Part I

Where I was a teen, in the seventies, there was a paper.

People where photocopying it for each other, even in France, as a source of life wisdom…

“Manuscrit trouvé dans une église à Baltimore”

I remember it pretty well because I liked very much some (most) of the sentences :

Here’s the text. Tomorrow or the day after, I’ll blog about my own version I wrote, watching my little daughters growing up. It’s a bit different, you’ll see.

By the way, it was NOT a text found in a church, but a prose poem written by a man called Max : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderata – I learnt it today : in these times, you believed it was found in a church…

Thanks for reading!

 

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

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