“Add some light in places”, or why to intellectualize will never kill the magic!

This is an old pattern many people use, like an old, useless dusty tool. This one says something like :

In front of beauty, don’t intellectualize too much or else you’ll lose the magic

 

In sex, art, photography, any place where magic is found, of course we can say that wizardry exists because it unfolds out of the words’s limitations.

Even in fields like poetry or novels (where words are used), able to catch you with style and stories, and bring you in the domain of dreams.

And I’m the first to tell – and repeat – here in this blog, that it is wise to stay out of words, these weak labels, in many articles about how photographers or painters don’t like to explain, etc.

In front of beauty, don’t intellectualize too much or else you’ll lose the magic

Peel and decorticate magic, and you kill the goose (with the golden eggs, etc).

Well : Okey!

I’d add this word : BUT. Or this word : ALSO.

But, also, and nevertheless, there are days you wanna do it.

Analyze the magic of a novel. Dissect a music track. Have a precise conversation about sex. Use the pause button on your remote control to understand how a scene is edited. Read articles about masterpieces, and prefaces of old classics. Stop eating this delicious meal and try to find how it’s been cooked. Wonder how your love story is evolving…

This IS what intellectualizing is, it brings knowledge, shows you new paths, increases your intelligence, draws new maps, enlightens your universe, gives you more energy to explore, to dive deeper the next time you’ll plunge into your next “not thinking too much” moments…

Do you really think it “kills the magic”?

What if it rather adds some light in places?

Thanks for reading!

 

#layers
#layers
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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 threw 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, which 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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Gleanpickupping seeds & tools in a Gidon Kremer interview

In a French grey morning of August, I’ve had my coffee with two good slices of brioche, frame window staring, in front of an ominous sky, at the cut out moving trees in the wind, shhhh.

Mind wandering…

According to your job, your availability, your passions, you have different way of “entering contact with reality” :

  • A photographer type will watch around him with the “Can I take a picture here, when, from where?”.
  • A musician type will analyze some new song he hears, decorticating it like an alarm-clock.
  • A poet type will find a good word in a book then might begin to weave a poem in his head.
  • The climber type will watch these city walls… etc…

You… just have to put your “mode on” (and YES, you can have many “modes on” ready in your head, haeccity oblige).

 

I read an interesting interview of Gidon Kremer, violonist, in a classical music magazine. I read this interview with two modes on.

  1. First was : “Find maybe some music to listen to” (I found Schumann, Weinberg, Arvo Pärt, and a Prokofiev melody)…
  2. The other one was my blogger mode : “What little structure, what tool, what tropism can I find in his interview?”.

 

So, well, I learned things about Gidon Kremer himself, his friends, career, evolutions, wonders, etc. He’s an interesting person, the typical clever artist (for me he’s a cousin of Bill Bruford, the drummer).

Eventually, my second “mode on” found quotes, wonders, seeds to plant (here or there) and to meditate on :

  • We live a physical house, but also in some spiritual homes, other “places” we belong to.
  • Playing very few notes is more difficult than pure virtuosity.
  • When you find difficult to play or understand something, you maybe need to find parallel structures in other artists or situations : comparison enrichment.
  • You can explore a field (movies, music) with artists, eras, but also labels or studios, producers, etc. Let’s write something about ECM.
  • Should an artist listen or study what he did in his past? (Kremer never listens what he recorded in previous years).
  • When an artist collaborates, there’s a need of “mutual listening”.
  • Sometimes we miss something. Friends around us indicate things or persons but we don’t listen – when we maybe should.
  • Then and therefore : what is to catch up? How do we? What is “to redeem”, how?
  • “Seeking perfection is the enemy of beauty”

 

Etc etc. I found a few more. Whatever. Each line is a door to a new room, which is full of questions. How to drive “mutual listening”? What becomes virtuosity with very little notes to play? Where the frontier to find between catching up and letting go? Etc…

I found this too : when you have one or many “modes of exploration”, it becomes difficult sometimes to be in direct contact. You ALWAYS have a filter on, and that can be exhausting!

We have to find back a way to quit our introvert-analyzer inner computer to… touch things. I suppose it’s what great artists can do, having the great ability to move it like a lever, a slider, from 0 to 100%, from “I know this without any words” to “Analyze and peel it off to understand it”. Where is yours?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

To write this article, I needed music. I chose Weinberg by Kremer – of course. The YouTube link is under the sleeve, downstairs :

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Words and Concepts are Liars

“Through words and concepts we are still con­tinually misled into imagining things as being simpler than they are, sep­arate from one another, indivisible, each existing in and for itself”.

Nietzsche, Human All Too Human

This is huge. I think every thinker is aware of this problem. Words and concepts put us in cages, we “think” they explain or describe reality, but they are NOT. Words simplify things, it’s very convenient, to analyze, to draw maps for the mind. But they are not enough.

Poets and photographs know this very well. They work BETWEEN the words, in subtleties and complexity.

It’s ALWAYS more complex than we think.

It why I wrote so many times about labels. If you discover your son is autistic or gifted, you immediately put him in a “box with a label“, and it’s a forever thing!

But there are millions of shades, and each of them… are moving, changing, evolving.

So we often think we know, but we don’t. We don’t know anybody, for example. We’re all islands, we’re complex, we have many faces, and we change along the days.

You can say : “He’s sad”, but you’ll never know how it moves, and how much sad he is, and if it is colored with sarcasm, suicide ideas, or hidden hope. You don’t know if he is aware of all that. You have to talk for a long time with him, to know.

Words are dangerous because they make you more stupid. We have to use them, because it’s the way we communicate, but we constantly need to remember their weakness.

Have a nice day!

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Hegel’s “Unhappy Consciousness” as a pattern for us all

ONE

People like to talk. They talk about things, or events. They talk about their life. That’s OK.

Only some people like to talk about concepts. If I meet someone who, instead of asking what I had for lunch, asks : “You’re French, do you think you have your own way to be skeptical? How?” – then sits and weaves a good two hours conversation with me about it, I want to keep this friend around me. No : I want to marry her!

TWO

What I do here is totally far-fetched, inappropriate and probably useless for almost all of us. What’s the point? I really don’t know. Maybe I’ll discover it while I write it?

THREE

“Unhappy Consciousness” is a concept from Hegel (Phenomenology of Spirit) – it’s very complicated, so… forget it. I just performed surgery on it to extract the pattern, the structure, the tool which is in it, then I wringunwrap it, just to see.

Hegel says “the Unhappy Consciousness is the consciousness of self as a dual-natured, merely contradictory being” : it can happen when you are in state A, you wish to reach a better state B, but there’s a moment you realize that you’re very far from it.

There’s a big gap (or a rift) between the reachable and the unreachable, the changeable and the unchangeable, and you understand it.

Euphoria meets the swamp of skepticism… You’re stuck. You met contradictions. Powerlessness. Stuck as a stuck.

Unhappy consciousness wishes relief from its misery, but it’s a surrender process which doesn’t work : thus a “perpetually self-engendered disorder”.

You have to let go. You need to take comfort. You have to find how. And you don’t.

This happens in Master-Slave couples, when the slave really tries to be exactly what his master wants him to be. Or more tricky : vice-versa. And it’s of course impossible.

FOUR :

What are other examples? How do you do – since you can not get out of it? What is it not as simple as “acceptance”? Do we have to wait? To find other paths? To admit we were wrong? Is it a selftrap? A spirit vicious circle turning like a hamster in its wheel between euphoria and despair?

FIVE :

Hegel seems to say that there’s a solution, though. It’s not in reason. It’s not in letting go. It’s not in surrender. All the logical solutions, at one point, fail and will fail.

It’s where I like it : Solutions are in the oblique.

It’s to forget some frames. To dare. To be crazy. Killing some rules. Finding the good sense of “idiocy”, the opening doors power of the fool’s wisdom. Stop the “desire to act in a comprehensible fashion”.

How to do that?

I don’t know!! Listen to strange advices? Take the wrong roads? Build on other territories of spirit? Kill your Gods and your certainties? Smell the winds ? Jump where you never jumped? What is the Revolution you need?

Where do you apply that? In your couple? In your creativity? Religion? Politics? Where are you stuck in a far-fetched way? Can you feel the energy charging inside the stuckystuck situation?

 

Let Hegel play with our mind now. Amen :

“its enjoyment becomes a feeling of its own unhappiness”

 

Thanks for reading!

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Letting go, but hear Nietzsche creak : Chronicle 13

“La lecture est vraiment la volupté des temps incertains”
“Reading is really the delight of uncertain times”

Jean Giono

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Foucault says that he is tired of comments about “respecting” Nietzsche’s philosophy. The only mark of recognition or gratitude he wants to show to his work and mind is precisely to USE it, to deform it, to make is creak.

This is exactly how I consider philosophy and widerly my two “shelves for seeds” : an ensemble of books which are whole tooboxes. I know my blog is creaking at time, but I find it funny and maybe I hope useful at times.

 

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Somebody told me one day a disturbing thing : “You are a better photographer than blogger”. Well… thank you? Little by little, this idea found its path in my mind. I bought a book about photography, and three days ago I woke up my old Canon bridge camera.

Everything you see on this article comes from it. I loved to take them.

But, well, I keep blogging, though 🙂

Thank you!

 

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Jünger asks :

“What are the low-down forms of gaiety?”

 

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Shikantaza, in Zen Buddhism, literally means,”nothing but precisely sitting.”

Learn how to “let go”, nondoing, nonthinking…

Question is :

How not to think about nonthinking? And how not to want… nonwill?

 

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When I talk with 30 and 40 years old people, we’re about the same. I maybe have lost some more illusions.

There’s one big difference, only one, though. Les vieux fous sont plus fous que les jeunes : old fools are more fool than young ones.

I am absolutely NOT an adventurer, but on my field, on my territory, I would dare and I dare much more. I don’t care about “baby steps” anymore. Life is pretty short, and I’m not afraid. Rules (inner rules and society pressure too) can really be moved. Between two choices, I pick both.

So the difference, when I’m fifty, is : I propose much more, and I listen to propositions with many “YES” in my basket, all ready. What could happen, after all? I’m ready.

 

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Le temps porte conseil : en général celui de ne rien faire.

Claude Roy

If I rawtranslate this, I get “Time brings counsel : which is in general to do nothing”.

I googled and found that in English, time does not brings counsel, but “Time will tell”; this is a bit different, right?

More common, “la nuit porte conseil” : Night brings counsel. There, I found :

  • Night is the mother of counsel
  • Take advice of your pillow
  • Sleep on it

And, oh my, that’s so true!…

Thanks for reading!

 

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Elbowing the Audience by killing the Suspension of Disbelief

“Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and,
instead of bleeding, he sings.”
R. Benchley

 

ONE

If you go see a theater play, you have to make a deal with yourself, even if you even don’t realize you do it  :

“I accept to believe that these people on the scene are real”

If you don’t, you’ll watch actors making as if, that’s weird, right?

This is not new, of course : Coleridge (an English philosopher) called it Suspension of disbelief :

“a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.”

You watch Braveheart on TV. You need your good “willing suspension of disbelief”, and if you don’t, you will laugh all along : you’ll see Mel Gibson (Australian actor) running in a skirt, pretending to fight for Scotland, hahaha.

And in a magic act, “an audience is not expected to actually believe that a woman is cut in half or transforms into a gorilla in order to enjoy the performance.”. Now imagine the work you have to do to accept an opera! 🙂

OK, you got the concept.

TWO

Creators and critics are aware of that. Nathalie Sarraute, a French writer, wrote a book (The Age of Suspicion), where she says that the novels’ readers less and less believe in the author “I know all” invention, and therefore that the writers tend to depersonalize the characters. Readers are more and more also critics, they analyze their pleasure, and you have to be smart and inventive to catch’em back.

In fact, this phenomenon appeared in many Arts.

  • In theater, directors began to play with the old “suspension of disbelief” trick : keeping the lights on in the room, allowing characters to call out to the audience.
  • In novels, the “omniscient narrator” began to speak to the reader (about his doubts, or the way the story was told).
  • In movies, characters suddenly watched the spectator, talking to him (Cf Pierrot le Fou, Godard).

THREE

I found this idea in interviews of movies directors like Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and Brian de Palma. Their idea is the same, I would formulate it like that :

“I KNOW for sure that I want to make movies for an audience who is AWARE that it’s a movie. I don’t want to put them in a classical “dream mode”, but I want to play with the audience with the fact a movie is like a clock, a fake funny mechanism MADE FOR HIM, therefore I constantly ELBOW THE AUDIENCE with nods, tricks, implausible twists and turns. They have fun not because they believe it, they have fun because they know I’m here with the scriptwriter working for their entertaining intelligence – so there!”.

So what is played here is not “sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment” any more, like in the normal Suspension of Disbelief. It’s a weaving between entertainment AND logic and realism. Inside the audience, the spectator AND the critic are dancing tango, with a smile. Intelligence is summoned, not only the dreaming capacities…

TOOL :

Where would you use this? Advertising? Poetry? Marketing? What would be a private joke to an audience? What is to elbow you spectators, and how to? Why? If you succeed, what happens?

You can also read : Strangeization.

Thanks for reading!

 

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