Socrates has a question for you

I read one day that Socrates asked to a master of ballet :

“Who are you and… how do you know?“.

There are many questions you can ask to someone you’re interested in, where do you come from? or what happened in your life? or what’s new? or what are you working on? or tell me what’s difficult? or what did you learn? or who is important in your life?, etc, but :

How do you “know” means a lot. How do you increase your knowledge? What is your package, your bond to reality, your system, your measures? Do you read? Do you watch things, people, actions? Do you think? Do you remember? In what way? What do you seek? What is the nature or the knowledges you pile up in your brain? Do you have models? How is it cleared up? What for? Are you curious, where, how, and why? What are you weary of? Senses? Interpretations? Where could we be mistaken, why? Do you need to understand or to change something?

It could seem pointless, but I don’t think it is. Because these questions ask about this :

What is your out/in interface with the world, and how does it work?

Just an example : memory. We all know that our memory is not perfect, and THAT is interesting : it doesn’t work properly, this is why we can work, interpret, metathink, analyse, retry, write, rethink, etc…

You’re a photographer : how do you know? You have your technical skills, right? And then? How do you know what to photograph? How do you know when to trigger? How do you know if the frame or the light is OK? How do you… make progress?

Now play this game with others :

Tool : How do you KNOW?

…when you’re a poet, a photographer, a teacher, a priest, a spouse, a journalist, a blogger, a writer, an architect.

And yesss, haecceity : you can be all of them, right?

Thanks for reading!

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Let us enrich ourselves with our mutual differences.

Paul Valéry

 

 

#Antonioni #quote

We know that behind every image revealed there is another image more faithful to reality, and in the back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one, and so on, up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see.

Michelangelo Antonioni

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“Oh Fabiola!” – Tremendous Love & Speechless Shock are two Stendhal’s Syndromes

Stendhal was a French writer (1783-1842 – let’s say it was the time of Napoleon). He wrote great novels, but I want to talk today about two stendhalian concepts : Cristallization and what we call the Stendhal Syndrome.

The Stendhal Syndrome happens when a human being becomes speechless in front of too much beauty : overcome, overwhelmed by emotion in front, for example, of Art.

Wikipedia : The staff at Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital are accustomed to dealing with tourists suffering from dizzy spells and disorientation after admiring the statue of David, the masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery and other treasures of the Tuscan city.

There is a Paris Syndrome too, of course, mostly happening to Japanese visitors, crushed by the City and its beauties (but also by the differences they find between their “idealized” vision of France and the reality). Yes, it’s like a “mega culture shock”. There’s a book (“Les Fous de l’Inde”) about a similar shock for India, felt by people from the whole Occident. A oceanic feeling leading to craziness. Embassies know this very well : they take care of people, and put them in planes to go back to normal life.

It’s interesting to study this and its source : Expectations? Tension between reason and feelings? Between brain and reality? What do you think? Have you been crushed by beauty one day? In front of a painting? A place? A light?

Cristallization has also been described by Stendhal. It is about love, of course! It’s when, in the beginning of a love story, the “marvellous” feeling cristallizes around every characteristic of the loved person, who is seen as perfect in every way, or as they say in wiki : a mental metamorphosis, in which unattractive characteristics of a new love are transformed into perceptual diamonds of shimmering beauty.

We have all probably been there : when we’re ready to love someone, when our “love” chooses a person, we open some gates and a big lake of sweet sugary love is poured, unleashed on the poor chosen “other”. Admiration, Acknowledgement, Hope and Delight are steps of the journey.

Of course, this is far from a balanced process of inventing a couple! You can watch out for disillusion. Cristallization often grows when the loved person is far (great for perfection, right?). This “love” generally explodes like a multicolor comet in front of reality.

Then remains possibilities : nothing, a friendship, a real love, an impetus to build something stronger, etc.

Thanks for reading!

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“You and your books!”, a story of Words & Maps

25 years ago a friend of mine suddenly attacked me with this phrase : “You and your books!” – “Toi et tes livres!”.

It was very clear : I spent too much of my time reading books (instead, probably, of “living my life”, meeting people, thinking by myself, talking to her, who knows?).

I was a bit shocked. I thought about it for a few days then I wrote her a letter (no email, in the eighties). My main idea, in this answer, was that books were not papernothing, but more like a meeting with a person who spent months or even years to elaborate it.

You don’t need to have a Master Degree in Linguistics to know that our link to the world is made of “events, and how we judge them” (past, now or future), and for that purpose, we use… words. At times, I wonder if books were not just a way to draw maps for my life…

Each book can be seen as a possible “conversation” with the author? Or… an inner travel?

Thanks for reading!

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Proust & les Hirondelles : Chronicle 4

Absolutely no cunning could prevent a man
from being smashed against his dreams

 

I’m French, I’m sorry : my english is clumsy these days…

Have you ever visited the school you were in as a very little child, now you’re an adult? Among all the memories and the heartbeats you feel, you also find that… everything around is very little, right? You’re taller, now… you’re different. Perspective.

Today is the “braderie” in the city of La Madeleine. We love braderies in the North of France. It’s like your US garage sales, all along some streets : today was about 1.200 exhibitors (or displayers, how to say that?). I took a cool picture of motorbikes toys, you like it?

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I’ve been asked one day about my “goals in life“. I have been very disturbed by this question, which is so… all about efficiency. I couldn’t think of a goal, even one. I feel like Cioran, in shock and in anger, after being asked about what he was “preparing”. If a French says he has “goals” in life, he sounds ridiculously Action Man, that’s it. The idea itself is a nightmare – at least when you’re more than 22 years old. I don’t want to be efficient, I just try to live, right? Dreams, maybe… Dreams, OK.

Absolutely no cunning could… etc…

I’m too lazy to find it, but the stupidest quote ever is something like “Give yourself a very high goal, then maybe you’ll reach a lower but good stage”. Of course there’s a more accurate one, saying that while you try to do that, you fail choosing the right path to achievement, you stay blind to feedbacks, etc. Typical Wrong Way Up. Well yes, these are words only, I know.

I have no goal, not one. It could be “to be happy” or “to be creative” or “to be a better human” or “to help others”, but I already failed in all these fields, obviously! And who will feed my cat, while I John Wayne?

If you want some fun, though, Google Image “Goals Quotes”. Plenty of orders in capitals. Like : <<DON’T LET ANYTHING STOP YOU FROM REACHING YOUR GOAL>>. Ohlalalaa, my French eyes are hurt! I need a beer, I think.

So I found a goal : stay zen in front of bullsh*t 🙂

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It’s when the weather change (warmer air, higher sun, sudden showers) than you can have a rush of childhood memories. Or teenhood, say. Suddenly it’s HERE, you feel the same feeling you had in your mother’s arms, or at school when you were loving some shy redhead in silence, or when you were gathering interesting rocks under open sky. The idea of memories in Madeleines de Proust come from the food, but also from a smell (freshly cut grass, chocolate cake baking, little pot of white glue in kindergarten) or a sound (of swallows flying hunting between streets, or the familiar engine’s roar of you’re father’s car), but also from the light in the air, the clouds, a coming thunderstorm…

Marguerite Duras says somewhere that she can NOT write if the bed is not made. Strange thing is : I never forgot that, because… that’s true.

I bought a Raymond Carver book, “The American Chekhov”, as they say. I know Carver’s work pretty well, but I never read him in English. Good exercise. I can’t resist to a blurb on a book saying “The (Italian, Canadian, whatever country you choose) Chekhov”…

They have something in common, that’s right : they watch meticulously our little renunciations, our microscopic failures, our rushes never said, our words, spoken and immediately regretted, our love silliness, our boredom. But it’s not “laments”. It’s more like : “This is it, brother human, and it not even THAT dramatic”.

I found a rose, there. Is a rose, is a rose, Mrs Stein. Look where she is (“une rose”) :

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In the shades of break-up moods, you have the yellow poison of jealousy, the dark corners of loneliness, the twinge of uncertainty and many more. The invisible bitterness of “having being loved and then not” is sometimes like swimming against the cold current of a long deep river.

In the shades of illness… Oh, another time, OK?

You can read books (or see a therapist, it depends on how you’re made), self help or philosophy : you’ll read everywhere that you have to find your happiness inside you, right? Again? I “have to”? The capitalized ORDER quote is <<BE HAPPY AND SMILE>>. Yes, each time, you want to punch the author in the face! Bim! Paf! Pouf!

Give birth to a dancing star from the chaos you have within

Strange star, but that could be my Nietzsche goal, maybe… Well, see?

Thanks for reading! Merci!

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Illness and Reality

When I was about 16 I’ve been very ill for some months. Rheumatic Fever, they call it. It’s pretty rare in our days in occident, a bacteria attacking heart, kidneys, among many other dangerous things. It was frightening

I noticed two things :

  • People were watching me differently (I had the label “dangerous disease” on my forehead).
  • I watched life differently too.

When you carry something like that, diabetes, cancer, or even… pregnancy, you evolve in the world in another way. You swim in another water. You have different glasses. Some things become very important, and some others things you see seem ridiculous. Yes it’s an insularity : somewhere it makes you lonely. You don’t get other people’s dramas. And you don’t necessarily want to explain why…

Do you say? When do you have to? What kind of island are you on? Who understands? Do you need to find similar cases to share with? What is different, if you dig? Where is the fear? The security?

Good day!

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Instagram : Leahminium

Books to awestruckheal your worries?

We all have worries and overthinking hours. We often superthink about “what will happen”, and… OK, there’s a concept here I’d like to present to you :

Affective Forecasting : which is “to predict your future emotional state”. You worry about what you WILL feel, your future emotions, their duration, and their intensity. Ohlalaaaa !

Your mind, like mine, has more superpowers : the capacity to overthink the past. It’s a whole mess, right? You do and redo what happened, and you imagine what you could or should have said or done, etc. You have hours in the night to to that, right?

What to do, que faire ?

Books. You can easily find novels and accounts about betrayals and despair and divorce if you’re in a break-up, about illness if you have some health problems, about crazy job stories if your manager hates you. It’s about understanding. You’d be amazed by what people go through. “We’re not alone”, “you’ll learn from that”, etc.

But there are books about worse situations, which can put your story in perspective and detach yourself from your mess. It’s not about understanding yourself, but about awestruck (waow, THIS is a frightening word!). The OMG books, if you want.

Personally I’d choose something real about WWII or these terrible stories about USSR and gulag. Yes it’s a little awkward, to breathe differently and watch the sky when you think about “worse”, earthquakes, burning cities, epidemics or working class centuries ago. Shit happens and can hit the fan, but there you’ll see that there are BIGGER FANS, much bigger. For gulag, I suggest Shalamov.

Until…

Thanks for reading!

Russian trio to begin :
Shalamov : Kolyma Tales
Grossman : A Writer at War
Alexievich : Secondhand Time

 

#sadness #tears #train #carol