“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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“#Blog for yourself and not to please an audience” – wait a minute…

I read many times about big success youtubers who “lost their soul” because they stopped being themselves – instead of it, they began to blog to “please the audience”. That’s baaad! This makes sense, right? Bending their style or their personality to what they supposed to know about the viewers is probably wrong. And each time, the article I read told it this way. Bad bad bad. Nah. On the naughty step!

When I think of that, though, I hear a bell in my head. That’s so precisely evident that my senses are on alert. I know, it’s a reflex.

There’s something similar in poetry. The “poet” is supposed to be “inspired” (by what?), and peeing gorgeous metaphors because… he’s a genius. BUT even the greatest poets agree to say that there’s probably a critic inside their magic brain. Like “another guy” inside, who analyzes and channels/canalyzes the flow.

Let’s listen to Baudelaire :

I pity those poets who are guided by instinct alone: I regard them as incomplete. In the spiritual life of the former a crisis inevitably occurs when they feel the need to reason about their art, to discover the obscure laws in virtue of which they have created, and to extract from this study a set of precepts whose divine aim is infallibility in poetic creation. It would be unthinkable for a critic to become a poet; and it is impossible for a poet not to contain within him a critic. Therefore the reader will not be surprised at my regarding the poet as the best of all critics.

Charles Baudelaire

This is a perfect pattern, a tool for this article :

Here, we’re searching for a frontier between “I write for myself” and “I write for my audience”.

  • If you write 100% for yourself and you’re successful, good to you! You can stop reading this article and have subtle sex with your muse. Take your time, she likes it.
  • If you write for your audience, you’re a backwoodsman losing yourself on the paths of wrongness and your audience will sense it. You forgot why they loved you. Kill yourself.

BUT

Think about Baudelaire, our French poet. You are probably aware that you never REALLY write for yourself : you, from the beginning, took care of the readers TOO. You analyze, you think, you weave your words, YOU are your first audience, this is it. It’s a radioactive pattern. You write, you work daily, you throw a bunch of arrows, you write for you AND you take care of your audience. You want to be loved, that’s all! You know the trees, and you also know there’s a forest. You’re great, because you dance with both. That’s great!

Thanks for reading!

 

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…to meditate is not to cut off the brain…

Imagine a train passing by, just in front of you, as if you were : a cow. But it’s so long you begin to grazenibble a little grass. Then… little by little the sound of the train begins to diminish, until, as the train goes on passing by, you’re in SILENCE. There is a train and you watch the train but you don’t hear the train you don’t think about the train anymore, you don’t even NAME the train :  It’s now just a movement, a neutral colored passing quiet undifferentiated no-thing.

This is what is meditation, for me.

You simply DON’T “cut off” your thoughts, because it’s impossible.

Our brain is used to put words on things, thoughts, feelings. We feel something and we label it : “I’m depressed”, “I’m hungry”, “I’m sarcastic”, “I’m slow”. When you meditate, you little by little see or think about things without putting words on what’s happening.

 

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”
“Regarder, c’est oublier les noms des choses que l’on voit”
― Paul Valéry

 

But what is to meditate? Not much : sit, focus on something unimportant (your breathe, a mandala, a mantra, a candle) and that’s all. Never try to “control” your wringing messknots. It’s just there.

Here, I need a French word, “la déprise“, which could be the “unseizure”, the act to “decide to unhold, untake”. Reality is here, your thoughts are here, you just don’t plug to them while you meditate. They’re like flying birds far far up up there…

Watch without judging – OBSERVE WITHOUT ANY CONCLUSION

Thanks for reading!

 

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Amazement & Learning : Chronicle 12

It is when you have tried and failed that you are truly able to surrender. Though you fail time and again, you continue to try until, finally, there comes a point when you accept your failure; you fully experience and understand your incapacity to move forward. It is at that point that you surrender. So keep trying. That ultimate sense of failure must come to everyone, either today or tomorrow.”

Sri Mata Anandamayi

I love this quote, which seems to say that this “surrender” is, in fact, the answer : once you reached this, you surrender, you let go : you can go on another path. Try another thing, of another “nature”.

There’s an article to write, here. “Insist until you know your fail, until you’re done”. On purpose. Then consider your other options. Which are awaiting, probably.

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I remember a great conversation about teaching. This activity is VERY interesting to think about. There are so many questions you can ask a new teacher!

Flipped classrooms, Theory of multiple intelligences, of course, but also about discipline, how you “hold” a classroom, how you watch kids, what are the differences between countries. And this : do you sometimes use “amazement” to get kids to understand, or just keep following you?

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There are some letters… I find it wise not to send them.

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Gide in his diary tells about drunk people arguing :

– “I tell you I don’t need you.”
– “Perhaps not… But you need… not to need… me.”

Thanks for reading!

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“Alaric claimed that a “demon” drove him against Rome. Every exhausted civilization awaits its barbarian, and every barbarian awaits his demon”. #Cioran #Quote

Emil Cioran (1911-1995), De l’inconvénient d’être né, part VIII :

Alaric claimed that a “demon” drove him against Rome. Every exhausted civilization awaits its barbarian, and every barbarian awaits his demon.

Typically Cioranesque : Two lines, irrevocable, interesting.

This quote contains two things, right? Today I’ll let got the second one, to focus on this :

Every exhausted civilization awaits its barbarian

I think it’s true. I think also it’s a pattern, a dial you can apply on other fields : couple and marriage, companies, partnership.

When this “structure” is done, tired, exhausted, rotten or worn out, many things can happen. The simplest one is to decide to destroy it. But many times – it’s so human – nobody can decide. It just goes wrong, more and more.

Awaiting a barbarian is awaiting an external element, who is new, and has this barbaric quality : he dares, he brings some chaos, or at least some fracture. He disturbs.

Then you extend the possibilities : rebuild Rome or not. Some windows were opened, some doors. You can mutate. You can be lost, cut from the rest, you can dance with the barbarian, you can kill him and insist on the past.

Awaiting another revealer?

Thanks for reading!

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Palm of Ordinary Seeds & Masters Wrong : Chronicle 8

Within my reach !
I could have touched !
I might have chanced that way !
Emily Dickinson 

 

For some of us, who have inside a sort of “rush”, a surge, an inner run-up force, there are many ways. You can Huckleberry Finn along a river, you can also Kerouac all along the road, you can choose a passion (collecting – forks or shipwreck books -, throw yourself into sports, politics, veganism or religion, anything that can keep you busy). If you have young kids, you don’t have to worry : these little brats will keep you busy. You can disappear, too, into alcoholism or antidepressants, or sleep. Shopping, why not, if you’re moneyfilled.

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My daughter was in England all past week in Plymouth, including the day people were killed and stabbed in London. You will see plenty of pictures of people in Europa saying “We Are Not Afraid”, and, like Londonians during the V1 V2 Nazi bombing during WWII, we are NOT afraid. I told my daughters to live, to shop, go to theaters and restaurants and have fun with friends. That’s our way to resist : to stay ourselves against idiots.

And yes : spot the emergency exits, everywhere they go.

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When you advise a friend to read a book, to watch a movie, and she or he asks why, you answer : “You will know once you’re on it”. With a certain smile, right?

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When a window is closed, another can open. What kind? What is different? What if it was the last window, closed for ever?

After a big disappointment, what’s left ? Pieces : misanthropy, auto-torture about ideals and dreams, and Art as a shelter.

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What do we do (or think we can do) against an formidable enemy, a wrong energy? What if you can’t resist because it would be stupidly useless? Seeds for an article :

  • Don Quichotte’s mills
  • A drop in the water
  • An attempt for appel d’air
  • Dessiller (open sb’s eyes)
  • Draw maps (for later)
  • Barometer (to warn)
  • Warn, alert
  • Guerilla
  • Witness
  • Grains of sand (in the clock)
  • Breaches & holes drilling

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Map of Variations :

To draw a map is very common. You can use it anytime, on anything. Territory, music, history, love. Then it’s not “really” a map, but a set of informations about something complex, a table, a chart.

Choose a song and list elements : lyrics, instruments, production, place of instruments in the sound, construction. There’s one “another nature” map, though : It’s how all these change and evolve in time.

Seed/Tool : in every chart you find or work on, think about the MoV.

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Feedbacking a patient can have a great effect, I read once. It’s probably the same for teachers, parents… It means : stopping being “The One Who Knows”, ride down next to your patient/student, and talk man-to-man about YOU. This can have a tremendous good effect. Your advice, on this?

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This is a seed for short stories : “When imminent danger is a godsend”. Why, where, how, etc. Your turn!

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Embarrassment when you see a Master out of his domain. Nietzsche’s music? Schoenberg’s paintings? Or someone you know? A great cook trying to fix his car? A genius computer programmer parenting? And so what?

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Sapiosexual breakups are the worse. Because instead of missing an inventing sex life, magic tenderness and a silky skin, you miss a thinking brain, a conversation master, a challenging thinker, you miss questions, surprises, bends and laughs. AND magic tenderness, okay. That’s worse, eventually.

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Eventually is a very tricky word for us French. I know it means “after some time”, or even “finally”. But in French, “éventuellement” means “possibly”, or “potentially”. Well, even now I have to check. Each time I use it. My brain doesn’t not want it. I always want to call Obama on the phone to explain him there’s a mistake.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Jean-Pascal

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