On what foot will you dance? What if in a situation you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel?

Being neutral, or hilarious, at a funeral. Feeling nothing after being fired. Laughing when you read a drama book. Crying in front of a comedy.

What if in a situation you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel?

  • It’s surprising for people around you, which means there’s a social pressure, right? You are “supposed to”.
  • It’s surprising for you.
  • Or maybe you exactly know why you react “out of the frame” – but it’s a secret.

 

In “A Streetcar Named Desire”, a woman visits her sister in New Orleans, who lives with a violent man (Marlon Brando). You’re “supposed to” dislike a man who beats a pregnant woman, right? But Brando is so good (and he’s a movie character) that you begin to love him, then you hate him, then you admire his work as an actor, then… Vous ne savez plus sur quel pied danser : “don’t know what foot to dance on” – You don’t know where to stand.

And this is made on purpose.

 

What are situations when you don’t know what to feel, where to stand? Manipulation? Sudden truths? Out of focus? What triggers feelings-confusion? Are you tired? What is this gap, between what you feel and what you’re supposed to feel? What if it was wrong? What if your radar needed to be fixed… or other people’s radars??

 

Thanks for reading!

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“This” Tropism : what you read understands you

The King of Kings of the world, for this, is Marcel Proust.

Buy, one day, a good translation of “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (In Search of Lost Time). If you want to explore Proust, buy first How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton, it’s a really great book, and a great key to this author. Buy it for your birthday! Say it’s from Jean-Pascal, OK?

I try, here, next to my little tools, to talk about “very little movements of the minds”, what we call here “Tropismes”.

There is ONE tropism you know pretty well, you blog reader, it’s this one :

When you read an article and you jump off you chair saying : “It’s true! I feel that too! Never seen it written though!”.

It’s lovely to suddenly see someone who struggles with the same tiny mind movements as you, right?

Someone wrote one day that

We read to know we’re not alone

Isn’t it true?

 

Jean-Pascal

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When your brain has pop-up windows…

– Focus, dear, where are you?
– I have pop-up windows, sorry…

To go blank. To zone out. I searched for English vocabulary, you see?

When do we have pop-up windows? Why? Someone? Somewhere? Is something in our brain capable of “taking the lead”, cutting us from reality to throw the whole package into dreamy states? Yeah, probably. Inattentive because faraway. Is it dangerous? What if it was a sign? Of what?

Let’s trigger a game :

Each time you have pop-up windows, you stop, you stand up, you stop everything, you take your car and you GO physically, exactly, where you were pop-up windowing. I mean really. NOW. What if? What will happen?

Will you, then, have other pop-up windows? Or will you be stopping your zoning-out to be just… there and happy?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Refuse, Refute, Recuse : a game for conversation lovers…

This is a word game for seed lovers, conversation connoisseurs…

You’ll probably find this article vain, or useless. I offer it to word gold diggers only.

OK. Definitions :

  • To refute is to (or trying to) prove something is false or incorrect.
  • To recuse is an “act of intention” : it’s to affirm something is not true. It’s rejection, that’s all. It’s a “Nope”.

What I want to expose here is to remember that to refute is kind of serious. To recuse can be a game. You can recuse an idea, a statement… for fun. Or for the pleasure to examine the “other way”, the wrong one (why not) : just to see what can, could happen.

When I find a “smart quote”, I recuse it. I’m immediately searching for a way to say the contrary AND to show it’s true TOO.

A good conversationalist is a concept lover. Therefore, he or she is able to play that game. Pick an idea, recuse is. That’s all. Now you’re in front of an unknown territory.

Without music, life would be a mistake“, says Nietzsche. OK. But wait : NO!

The tool is : Find a person you want to play with, pick an idea which seems… obvious, and… recuse it! Say no! “Nope! It’s the contrary!”. Then, have fun. Talk about sex, love, art, war, business, everything anything. Have fun, and send me a kiss.

Bonne journée ! Have a nice day!

Jean-Pascal

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Instagram : hornsarahberlin

“To Eat Alone”

Some recent events in my life made me a lonely man, and therefore a lonely eater.

When I was a father in a family, I was really happy to have dinner-togetherness, to cook for my tribe, to talk, listen, laugh, and feel the family’s energy around the table.

I’ve been very skeptical when I read about how Americans were losing these daily gatherings of all the big cats around the table. “Everyone is having snacks when they want, everybody’s picking things in the fridge, watch TV or eat in bedrooms”, they said. My feelings were like between “it’s not true, it’s impossible” and “oh these Americans!”.

When my daughters were little, some days I went home late, it was almost time to go to bed : I told them stories, kissed them goodnight, then I was happy to have dinner with their mother, but also alone.

I remember good summer evenings. Two cat babies sleeping, mother cat watching a movie, and me papa cat, with a cassoulet, two slices of bread and half of a bottle of Bergerac wine, eating on a tray, on my bed, in front of a wide open double-window (or should I say “French door”, really?), watching and listening birds and trees in the dusk, sshhh.

Not working on thursdays, I remember I was happy to have meal time alone, eating in silence in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. On my table : a candle, a corner lamp, and a magazine (about movies). Maybe some Brahms chamber music too. Bliss!

Now I eat alone, but I don’t snack. I never snack, and I’m always questioning my snacking friends in America, opening different little colored bags to crinch crunch and croonch while we Skype. I’m like “Where’s your plate, dear?”. They know I eat alone, thus they’re somewhat amazed by HOW I’m eating alone. Well, that’s nothing special, but I… I’m sorry… I can’t snack. It would kill me under a blanket of depression. It’s almost : “I’m French therefore I need a plate”.

I know better, OK : I have more time, in France. We work less, we move less (distances are… different here – I go to work by bike), and… errr… I think we think that food time is worth it, too : I eat alone but it’s cooked, sliced, prepared, organized. Just a bit. I need it.

Awweee sorry for my bad English. I’m wobbling, I know it. Pardonnez-moi !

Have a nice day! Bon appétit !

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Acceleration & Ways of laughing : Chronicle 14

Why are my friends mostly women? Because men always want to win. As a man, talking to a man always leads to competition. This is really boring…
And, of course, my female friends almost all say that they prefer to talk with… men. It’s the way the world goes, I suppose…

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Today I learned about the word “Culprit“, and in my mind there’s a confusion with “Guilty”. In French, the word is the same : coupable. It’s a weird feeling to discover two words in a language while you have just one in yours!

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A few days ago I saw a guy I know coming in the street. He didn’t see me, then, as I was parking my bike, he did the Store Front Escape. What I read in this “sudden interest” is “I don’t want to talk to this person”. So be it. Me neither maybe, voilà.

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There’s a Virilio simple dial : “Acceleration leads to accident”. What does that mean? When you examine this pattern, do you think about the guy who drives too fast, progress, or about the whole civilization?

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In this blog I claim to be a pecker , like a bird lacking of culture, casually (and randomly) finding microscopic ideas to share. This strange freedom, weaved with the uneasy but comforting idea that my-english-is-not-good-but-I-try-though… makes it what it is!

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There’s a seesaw (we call this in French un tape-cul : a hit-ass – makes sense?) I find in many authors or artists : it’s a swing between 1/ the anxiety of losing some time and 2/  go with the flow and do nothing special. Always interesting to see how people deal with that, and what maturity brings them (guess in which way)…

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We have this word for “shell”, in French : un coquillage, which seems more magic to me. Une coquille d’œuf : an eggshell. Une coquille d’escargot : a snail shell. What do you find on the shore? A shell or a shellfish? Shells, of course. I wonder if in English it’s “charged” like in French : a word full of the sea, the salty taste, the texture and the frame of shells… Maybe it is! But the word itself is delicious, right? Coquillage…

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Some French words in “age” (pronounce not “age”, but “aj”) are like dreaming in the air at the end of the word : nuage (cloud), sillage (the wake behind a boat)

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You’ll always read that other people “can’t really know you”. We are islands, etc. In fact, I’m sure that it’s not true. Some rare people are able and will “know” you (ha, like “I see you” in Avatar!), or a part of your personality. There’s nothing like someone who gets you. Immediately, love is around, or at least a kind of magic bond, intensity. And I think that one of the tragedies of life is to have someone who is able to see you… and you don’t realize it. You don’t listen…

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There’s this little trick between French and English about this phrase : “I miss you”. We say : “Tu me manques”, because this verb is used the other way round in France. It’s a little like “You miss to me”, or worse : “You lack to me”. I’m sorry, it’s uglily said, but it’s true! And I can’t stop plunging into a meditation about how language structures our reality. “I miss you” is very different, in fact, than “You now are lacking to me”… well… sort of. Just imagine that “miss” in French is the other way round. So sorry 🙂

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Sometimes you know someone very well, but you’re surprised to see this person with unknown people. There’s one thing to watch, then : the way she laughs in front of others. Countenance or composure laughing… where people hear joy, and where you hear timidity, hidden rushes, panic, a way to shut up, a given time to think about things to say and, her eyes constantly checking you, a need for help, support, hand in back, come next to me, I need you, friendship and deep bond reaffirmation. All this… in a laugh.

 

Thanks for reading!

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“Become who you are”, is it what Pindar said?

A kid is watching a sculptor working. Days after, he comes back and is in a awe in front of the completed statue, asking to the artist : “How did you know there was a man into it??”.

Pindar was a Greek poet (he died in 443 BC). I don’t know his work BUT I always meet his silhouette, his tone, his quotes, in texts from authors I like  – this pattern, indeed, could become an article one day…

Today I met Pindar in a dictionary about Nietzsche, who wrote to Lou Andreas Salomé : “Become who you are”.

Pfff…

This really sounded like a stupid smart ass self-help quote, almost written in capitals before an ugly sunset above a road (symbol!) cutting a field in two, eeek!

But if Nietzsche studied Pindar, well…

What did Pindar say, really? Wikipedia proposes these :

  • Become such as you are, having learned what that is
  • Be what you know you are
  • Be true to thyself now that thou hast learnt what manner of man thou art
  • Having learned, become who you are

Ohlalalaaaa!

In my French book and on the web, I found :

  • May you become who you are by learning
  • Be as you learned to know you
  • Become what you are by learning who you are

These are 6 different ways to translate Pindar! The pack just throw a fistful of seeds on your table. And I prefer the last one already…

Man could study diaries and interviews of thinkers, or great artists and writers, trying to find what they said about this idea of “becoming themselves”. It could sound… mundane, but I think it could be interesting. For example, many artists say at the end of their life that “Less is More”, right? What other pattern do we often find?

It’s a strange idea, right? As if, like a sculptor with a big block of wood, we were all spending our lives trying to find what man or woman was hidden in the block, already here…

Is it only “by learning who you are”? How so? What do we win when we do that? Are we stronger, smarter? What’s the horror in not becoming the real one? What if we were mistaken all along? Working in a bad manner? What happens when you discover it in the middle of your life? What if we had “many” us to discover? Facets? Is it some work really to discover and become who we are, or are we, like some, the prey of destiny, accidents and betrayals?

Here I ask my readers : what do you think about this idea, who seems mundane and worldly-wise at the same time? For you, is it an empty concept or a good seed for thinkers?

Thanks for reading!

 

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