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!

 

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Assemblage & consequences

There’s a “Deleuze and Guattari” Twitter account that I love.

Those two (a philosopher and a psychotherapist) wrote books like Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980) – which is the biggest seeds tank I’ve ever seen.

I love the Twitter account because they daily lay Deleuzian sentences like “A housewife sings to herself, as she marshals the antichaos forces of her work” – which you can take jargonistically humourously or try to link it to some truth.

(Which is always the same with these guys. You could be flabbergasted by 1000 Plateaus, a crazy & enthralling book, where delirious stands alongside genius).

Today I found this :

An assemblage is an increase in the dimensions of a multiplicity that necessarily changes in nature as it expands its connections

There’s a little pattern, a structure map here, if you puncture the gibber…

Assemblage? I thought about these houses in Seattle, de-foundationned and put on huge boats, sold and… deterritorialized (this to avoid awful prizes, which climb a lot because of Amazon).

Therefore a territory (a house) put on another territory (another terrain). With all consequences : is it fragilized? What about the light (the course of the sun)? Are there new foundations?

You’ll find also articles on the web about… floating houses. Big, normal, American size houses which you can move because they float on water. And there’s plenty of water in Seattle!

Assemblage. Where do you apply this? The building of a porch behind a house, of course, but in the spirit of mind? Or in Art? Assemblage of poetry and marketing? The beginning of a team, or a couple? Old and new architecture?

What do you put together? Things of same nature (is it a must?)? What does is bring? Do you make one thing from the twos? Or does a frontier, a line, stays as a mark, a scarf? What is graft? A transplant? What is dangerous? Rejections? What are the connections? Doors? Different natures of doors? Changing ones?

 

Have fun! Thanks for reading!

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A to B : Frontiers & Movements

Deterritorialization is a funny tool/dial to use!

 

Paths of Iron & Supple Escapes

“No one knows what the body can do”
Spinoza

 

Railroad. In French we say le “Chemin de Fer” : “Path of Iron”.

Deleuze, the philosopher, used to talk about a “between people geography”, links made of hard lines, supple lines, escape lines…

 

ONE

Well, that makes sense : we are surrounded by powers, who want us to stay on paths of iron, right? “Obey! Rules are made for you too! It’s dangerous outside!”.

But desires and grapes of possibilities transform our lives in (oh a new word!) an unremitting evolution of connections.

Paths of Iron are there : what you’re told to do (education, instruction, social obligations). We follow and we have to. Laws and contracts and pressures.

But we watch outside, by the window, we dream and play with possibilites. And about what the body can do…

 

TWO

Supple, subtle, little : now we talk about what happens “under”, in small moments : the small magic, the unpredictable.

In a company, under the schedules and duties, people (and bodies) never cease to dream, to change, to try, to escape control, to invent, to dig little tunnels. Lines of life! A smile, a gesture, tiny cracks (see the light?), a triangle of sun on a table, a seventeen words conversation…

Haecceity! A dance, or a resistance. Denying iron!

We are a group of different speeds and slownesses, an individual, a singularity, constantly inventing grapes of possibilities, a play of forces or encounters. Lines, new lines, inventions.

 

THREE

We can’t grow if we don’t escape, if we don’t walk out of the paths of iron. We all have our ways to do that : knowledge, hunting, exploring, trying…

One escape line can last one minute or two weeks or a life. An on our own becoming…

Fuir -> To Flee/To Leak – a #Deleuze word game

 

c’est toujours sur une ligne de fuite qu’on crée, certes pas parce qu’on imagine ou qu’on rêve, mais au contraire parce qu’on y trace du réel, et que l’on y compose un plan de consistance. Fuir, mais en fuyant, chercher une arme.

it’s always on an escape line that we create, not because we imagine or because we dream, but in the contrary because we trace some real life on it, and because we arrange a consistency. To flee, but in fleeing, to seek a weapon.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

(thanks to Pierre Ansay – may Deleuze’s tools spread)

 

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Everything that goes wrong…

Hi everybody!

I heard about a Tai Chi teacher, an old Chinese woman living in France, who used to say a mysterious sentence to the students.

“C’est ce qui ne va pas qui va”

…which sounds like a typical Oriental brain-teaser riddle like “Everything is in everything and reciprocally”.

What does that mean? How to translate it?

  • Everything that goes wrong goes right
  • This is what does not go that goes
  • Only wrong things are moving forward
  • What goes wrong goes right
  • What doesn’t go goes

 

This sentence is a bit like the Toltec thing. A few words compacted in a seed.

 

The first Toltec agreement says : “Don’t make assumptions”, and the fifth : “Be skeptical (use the power of doubt to question everything you hear)”.

I love that because it’s a loop, and it’s incoherent (to question everything is to make infinite assumptions). And in a way that’s life!

Also this : Ruiz’s agreements are injunctions, orders : Do this/Don’t do this. It’s very Occidental (we all this like this, right? : If this then that (consequences)).

“What doesn’t go… goes” is more Oriental. It’s an assessment, a fact, almost a report. An observation!

 

OK. When you think about it, it works! The perfect image of the grain of sand in the oyster : this makes a pearl.

Nietzsche is more lyrical : “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

And also, in a way, it’s the Amor Fati wisdom, the love of fate. You can (and have to) decide that what happens… happens. It’s better to accept it. If it’s wrong, we can maybe decide it’s right :

…it’ll make you stronger, it’ll make you think, it’ll show you new path.

On our need to be disturbed…

“What goes wrong goes right”, hey, it’s the title of my future book, OK? Don’t steal it, please!

Have a nice day!

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Bothness, the Blindfolded Lynx Game

I got the spark (bzim) for this little article when I read a Edgar Wind quote, which offered images (among others) like :

  • a dolphin with an anchor
  • a turtle with a sail
  • a blindfolded bobcat

I found this in a Didi-Huberman small article, playing with dances of two concepts – which I like above all or almost.

Therefore I write all this to try to catch a blurry idea in my web, searching with words…

 

There’s a relation between “not knowing” and “knowing” : what is it made of, how does it move? Is there a frontier here? How does it move? If I increase my knowledge, do I lose something else?

Appearance/Disapperance as a dance, or a will – maybe like the fireflies, the lightning bugs in the night : they flickeremit signals.

To slow down to think about all things. To be fast to catch an event in flight.

 

festina lente : hâte-toi lentement : make haste slowly

 

DIALECTICAL Images : “involving the interaction of opposites”

A dolphin needs an anchor to experiment something. Like try to play badminton with your other hand (with a partner who does the same). It slows you. It triggers other things.

A turtle with a sail. Is she a dreamer? Does it give a 1% more power, sufficient to trigger a big something? What is a placebo? Can you be your own placebo? Meta?

A blindfolded lynx. He has to increase his other senses?

Bothness… Or a will to decrease something to win something else… It’s a way to find a way out, to open an oblique door…

 

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There is no Sky of Ideas

Found this idea in a book about Deleuze. I share. Share, then.

 

This good old Plato had a funny idea.

To separate :

  1. the world of the perceptible in which we live
  2. the world of ideas where they are fixed for eternity

 

When we judge someone we compare a pure idea, an idea of perfection, with a reality.

Then we declare something.

Is what we see worthy of the general idea?

Well, then we can give a rating, a grade.

 

Problem is it doesn’t work like that.

There is no Sky of Ideas.

 

We all constantly want to escape that. We want to embark. We want to become. We search for sense, and meanings, and feelings. We dig. We watch. We cook and bake our life with what we find. We perpetually change. We hate to stay “the same”, to be put into boxes. We are alive and we want to try speeds and ways, to invent and to explore. We are simmering ourselves, and what we do… makes us understand a little more who we are and who we want to be; and this is called life.

 

There is no Sky of Ideas. Only possibilities.

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : bodylanguage

Levi-Strauss & Derrida… for bloggers?

Here’s a little tale for your week-end…

Levi-Strauss, anthropologist, in The Savage Mind, talks about two ways, two “Types”.

  1. The Bricoleur, the DYIer who uses whatever he has in hand and imaginatively recombines them to create something new.
  2. The Engineer is more scientific, he has a project from A to Z, he uses rules and knowledge. He builds and he’s serious.

 

The Bricoleur is a savage mind, he steals, gleans, finds “things” and plays combinations games, tries, have fun. He’s casual, right? The Engineer is serious and follows something.

 

Derrida, philosopher, studied all this and wrote later that the “Engineer” is an ideal who doesn’t really exist. He can not be the master of all, he can not be at the origin of all his projects.

  • In a way, every Engineer is a Bricoleur, right?
  • Is the Engineer is a myth invented by Bricoleurs?
  • Are all Engineers Bricoleurs?

 

– Oh, well… I think I just bricoled this one… So sorry.
– No you’re not.
– …

 

 

Thanks for reading!

Bonne lecture et bonne journée !

 

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Instagram : penguinthemagpie

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Savage_Mind

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure,_Sign,_and_Play_in_the_Discourse_of_the_Human_Sciences#Bricolage

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricolage

Bricolage is a French loanword that means the process of improvisation in a human endeavor. The word is derived from the French verb bricoler (“to tinker”), with the English term DIY (“Do-it-yourself”) being the closest equivalent of the contemporary French usage. In both languages, bricolage also denotes any works or products of DIY endeavors

 

Levi-Strauss : 

[He or she] is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks; but, unlike the engineer, he [or she] does not subordinate each of them to the availability of raw materials and tools conceived and procured for the purpose of the project. His [or her] universe of instruments is closed and the rules of his [or her] game are always to make do with “whatever is at hand,” that is to say with a set of tools and materials which is always finite and is also heterogeneous because what it contains bears no relationto the current project, or indeed to any particular project, but is the contingent result of all the occasions there have been to renew or enrich the stock or to maintain it with the remains of previous constructions or destructions.

 

the engineer is always trying to make his way out of and go beyond the constraints imposed by a particular state of civilization while the “bricoleur” by inclination or necessity always remains within them.

 

  • the “savage” is a bricoleur, assembling patchwork objects by adapting “the means at hand” (by adding, deleting, substituting and transforming them);
  • the “scientist” is an engineer, creating objects “out of nothing,” “out of whole cloth.”

 

Derrida : 

the odds are that the engineer is a myth produced by the bricoleur