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!

 

Continue reading

Advertisements

“Untriggered by assessments” : What does the photographer want?

I just had a good conversation with F. L. Larkins, an English photographer, after an article I wrote about her work.

Fiona Louise Larkins, English photographer

I subsequently updated my article, and I realized it was a good way to introduce another text about the photographer’s motivations.

It made me think, watched more pictures. There’s something I know : if I see a silhouette walking in the misty woods, or someone watching absently through a window (when it rains -> droplets on the glass), I don’t fall for it. I never fall for it. I just smile and I click away.

I see “the author wants me to notice it is a melancholic moment“. Like Nathalie Sarraute in literature, I disbelieve, I’m in assessment mode, I’m bored.

If I see lovers under an umbrella I smile “it’s cute, they’re in love and luck, right?”. But… No.

(though I love to be with my lover under an umbrella, listening to the subtle sounds of the rain on it)

So what does the photographer want? To testify of something? To fake happiness (like often on Instagram)? To gently mock the craziness of the world (Martin Parr)? To resolve a picture (Stephen Shore)? To have an audience, interest? To “express” oneself? To denounce?

You can make this exercize : watch your own Instagram, then watch the Instagrammers you follow.

Who do I love?

  • triciaetlea : humanism and sense of the frame.
  • jazzy_jeff57 : modestly shows the world.
  • mariakdolores : adorably sarcastic.
  • mariadelsur : shows Paris.
  • studioriquois : haunting landscapes of the North.
  • ninas982 : splendid atmospheres with no people.
  • natela_grigalashvili : people from Georgia.
  • johngiannatos : sparky human lover.

 

And many others. Diversity of motivations! But none of them give me instructions on how I must feel. Openness, subtleties.

I want to raise an eyebrow, to smile, or to have the desire to know the woman or the man behind the cam. Not to be “guided”. The audience triggers what he wants or needs or dream to see. Every single artist/viewer is a free thinker and a great soul. When sparks sparkle : Thank you!!

 

Thanks for reading!

(sorry for my English)

mban928h sm.jpg

 

Proper Melancholic chart.png

 

 

Baudelaire and imagination and Picasso

Baudelaire wrote that imagination is a faculty which, without recourse to any philosophical method, immediately perceives the secret and intimate connections between things, correspondences and analogies.

Isn’t it surprising?

My Harrap’s dictionary says :

 

  1. the forming or ability to form mental images of things, people, events, etc that one has not seen or of which one has no direct knowledge
  2. the creative ability of the mind
  3. the ability to cope resourcefully with unexpected events or problems

 

Baudelaire is telling us not about the nature of imagination, but how it works.

There should be another dictionary next to the normal ones : dictionary of how it works, dictionary of tools for the mind.

 

I think we confusément know, all of us, than from the littlest things to the biggest pictures and projects, ideas come from connecting things people never thought to connect before.

Oh, this is assemblage, right?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

97-022786.jpg

 

Guess how I made the bull’s head? One day, in a pile of objects all jumbled up together, I found an old bicycle seat right next to a rusty set of handlebars. In a flash, they joined together in my head. The idea of the Bull’s Head came to me before I had a chance to think. All I did was weld them together… [but] if you were only to see the bull’s head and not the bicycle seat and handlebars that form it, the sculpture would lose some of its impact.

Pablo Picasso

 

 

The Bourgeois Citizen

What’s the destiny of the bourgeois citizen, today, in Occident?

This citizen is hung between freedom and rules, between individuality and links, between pressures and liberty, between imagination and duties, between work and dreams.

It rubs and scrapes. There. In between.

There’s a fracture between the demands and the possibilities.

Impossible satisfactions.

Where are the levers?

unappeased brain ardors

unappeased brain ardors

 

 

1548371295421528852_40270600

Moments & Epiphanies

ONE

As a bookseller I just ordered the French version of Dan & Chip Heath‘s “The Power of Moments” :

“In this book, we explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work”.

You’re probably like me feeling confusedly that there’s something true here, hmm?

 

TWO

Today I opened a book about Andrew Wyeth, one of the three Wyeth painters (Andrew is the father, Jamie the son, N.C. the grand-father), and I found this quote (in French, I try to re-English it) :

I know nothing more enthralling than to be simply sit in a corn field on a windy day, listening to the dry rustle.

wyethandrew_101825_6-1.jpg

 

THREE

Yeah, “moments”…

I admit I’ve been obsessed for years, as a young man, with the idea of “Perfect Moments”. I ask Wiki about Epiphany (I bolded the bold) :

An epiphany is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. Epiphanies are studied by psychologists and other scholars, particularly those attempting to study the process of innovation.

 

Where do I go with you here? We all know that we remember intense moments (good or bad). The first time you took your lover’s hand. A haunting place, a new city. Meeting a new person and becoming like close friends in a few minutes. A life changing idea. A religious ecstasy. An harmonic moment in family, a summer evening…

I think we all know this, in a way or another!

 

FOUR

I think we sometimes “need” a moment like that, in the deepest of ourselves.

Therefore, I believe we sometimes have a strong tendancy to get “out of the railroad” (for example : doing unusual thing, traveling in new places), just to find more chances to dive into these kind of “moments”. We push ourselves… unthinkingly.

So OK, there’s a book about the “usefulness” of these, but in the end, you and me know that we can’t really trigger them. Being ready for ecstasy is a great way to never meet it!

  • Maybe one can place oneself on positions where it “could” happen.
  • Maybe to have our eyes opened for little moments, or more precisely to be ready to catch spoons, minutes and modest sparkles, like remembering that a new day could be the beginning of some experience. The happy, hidden hope to discover a new point of view, maybe just that.
  • Possibilities.
  • Including intoxicating ones, marvellous ones, overturning ones!

 

But we can’t program epiphanies, right?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Paths of Iron & Supple Escapes

“Biases to Pieces” – when life goes wrong, do something unusual

Inventing Ecstasy? Inventer l’extase…

 

_bodylanguage_13827474_1174269059323126_3246775227421556736_n.jpg

Instagram : bodylanguage

 

 

 

Hail or Meteor : Chronicle 44

What happens after emancipation?

______

Some monsters take whatever passes by and transform it in numbers.

______

Yesterday I saw a mother in the toy store, like I see many times a day, but she was different. Two kids, like 4 and 6. The little one targeted a blue box and began his little game with mum, trying every angle :

  1. Yelling at her
  2. Showing her
  3. “Look I need it!”
  4. Bawling his eyes out
  5. Hitting her knees
  6. “It’s soooo small”
  7. Letting go and sobbing
  8. “Why you don’t waaaannt”
  9. “Pleaaaaase!!!!”
  10. Etc

Brother tried to help, showing the box to mum in silence, then putting it back. The mother was mumbling a little, incoherent, absent, not like “I don’t know what to do”, but absent in herself. Maybe she was on medication, barely watching hearing her little nasty boy. The question became, from “Why the heck do you bring kids in a toy store?” (which is inconsistent), to “Why does she stay here barely mumbling next to a desperate boy who becomes drank in tears?”. She stayed around for like twenty minutes, 98% indifferent, maybe waiting for someone, maybe drowned in cold life-hate. I don’t know. It ended badly : she was absent-mindedly looking at postcards, the boys was rolling himself on the floor, crying, screaming, dribbling, with his brother catching him to prevent him to go back to the toyshop section.

______

A desire for change, at all costs, so strong that you can accept to be in a worse position after this change.

______

After emancipation came madness – instead of being free, we thought we were.

______

Jünger : when a chain of actions begins by a strange fact, every stage, link, will stay true to this style.

______

When someone’s good somewhere it’s strange to see him/her bad elsewhere.

______

Yes some conversations build instantly like a common roof.

______

When you trust someone and say : “Don’t tell me! If you ask me, I’ll answer no. Do it!”.

______

When you’re a blogger and you discover the articles (written a long time ago) which has been read while you were sleeping, you are tempted to read them again, and… it makes sense. Sort of.

_____

Is my blog dishevelled? Oh yeah.

______

The nasty, ugly passage from a perfection to another.

______

During a lecture a linguist made the claim that although a double negative in English implies a positive meaning, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. To which someone in the back of the room responded : “Yeah, right.”

Have a nice day!

(bibimonkey314)12230850_1648931912031757_606765803_n.jpg

The Juxtaposition Principle

ONE

I’m a bookseller, and this morning I talked with a lady who needed books and inspiration to write something for a funeral.

It’s easy to find this, but always in “squares”. Wells.

I mean, you’ll find things from Catholics, from Philosophy, in Spirituality books, in Literature, Buddhism, etc.

But I know a book from a woman who helps the reader to cope with ordeal, in one single book, from texts and quotes from : journalists, priests, masters, buddhists, writers from other centuries, from today, etc…

It’s a great book because “help” seems to come from everywhere, and also because you feel these things are universal, and because it’s interesting to find links between different states of mind. It’s not a well, it’s an ocean…

TWO

I call the Juxtaposition Principle a way to (maybe casually, at least with a certain freedom) to present an heterogeneity.

Serve yourself.

THREE

In the bookstore I do this constantly :

If, for example, there’s an offer for pocket books, I will present 25 different books in a single front display, with : self help, sociology, philosophy, art, anthropology, music and history. Juxtaposition. I do it on purpose, and so there.

Usually, managers don’t understand that.

They want “massive bestsellers front walls”, with one single book presented by the hundreds. This says to the customers : “I’m huge, obey, don’t think : BUY!!”.

My way says :

  1. Let yourself be surprised
  2. There are many levels on this knowledge ladder : choose your stair
  3. It can be fun to find the links between the books
  4. You can be curious if you want
  5. I’m a bookseller and I present these to you, you can follow or not
  6. Maybe theres’s a message here : do you find it?
  7. What is the common trait here?
  8. These are NOT new books, but classics, or different ones : explore
  9. Disobey advertising, find your way into this tree!
  10. Be smart
  11. Etc

FOUR

I wrote an article about this Juxtaposition Principle about my Instagram. Because, evidently you see me coming : Constantly Random is an Instagram flaw

And I absolutely and willingly and by choice do this for my blog.

It’s not about fashion, or traveling, or IA. It’s about MANY things. Juxtaposition.

And of course, I know you know that there’s a little music hidden in this Juxtaposition here.

It doesn’t work that well, but I reached “real” 251 followers today, which gives me 430 followers in total. Not thousands, but I’m happy though. You my followers are curious explorers. And I love you.

Have a great day!!

(tashaenpapier)11055674_1407911786179880_317623341_n.jpg

Instagram : tashaenpapier