Proust & Valéry : Tropisms Unfolding

Proust is really different. This writer in France is really a milestone : long, hard to read, but magnificent like a cathedral for those who dared to explore his huge masterpiece.

Therefore there are two kinds of French people : those who read Proust and those who did not, or abandoned the discipline.

Today I talked with a Proust lover, and we agreed on this :

Proust was a blogger

Well : the way he explores the human mind and its tropisms (which are the “very subtle movements of the human mind”), like a… craftsman goldsmith, a jewels maker, is exhausting : on each page you’ll find ideas for one single evening of conversation (with a real conversation lover, I mean).

(I know : there are few)

Then we talked about Paul Valéry, who does the same in his Carnets (Notebooks), but not in the “novel” form : only thinking and explaining.

Both of them are craftsmen, goldsmiths, jewels makers. They find ideas so subtle and delicious that you have to stop and smile and think for a few hours. Intelligences of the highest range…

One (Proust) unfolds this in long (I mean : LONG) phrases running for pages in gorgeous French. It’s like spreading out in the novel, it’s so good that it can hurt you. YES : “that” good.

The other one (Valéry) works on jewels. He makes very very small paragraphs, a few lines, that makes you stop and think the whole thing :

Oh my God he’s so right I’ve never seen it written so well before!

Finding seeds, delicate ideas. Offering them to the audience, one in complex magnificent buildings made of words, the other in small boxes containing a splendid marvel.

Two ways, to means. Try both, if you dare!

Thanks for reading!

Paul Valéry : Enjoy your hypotheses

Enjoy your hypotheses…

Valéry writes that one good part of the philosopher’s job is to not understand.

That makes sense and we like it, right?

Being able of being amazed by what is granted and ordinary for most people…

That’s what some photographers also do, I beg. Having new eyes.

But there’s more. What I like in this extract is this attitude, which is to voluntarily go and watch things we don’t understand at all, just to…

Enjoy your hypotheses…

We could go further : studying what we think we don’t like, for example, or too complex, or too far in the past (for literature), or… what else?

What’s that sect, made of people who like that, enjoying hypotheses?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Paul Valéry : « A difficulty is a light. An insurmountable difficulty…

Paul Valéry : “A difficulty is a light. An insurmountable difficulty is a sun”.

Une difficulté est une lumière. Une difficulté insurmontable est un soleil.

Yessss you could say it like that : “Challenges are good”, but P. V. is a poet, right?

This quote itself is an example of why I love this thinker. Two short sentences and here you are, wondering. “A sun?”. And this guy does this all the time…

Valéry’s notebooks are exhausting, because you never stop navigating into clouds of great ideas, seeds, impulsions for the mind.

 

Hmmm what do I get?…

  1. A way to apply Amor Fati, “I love what happens to me”.
  2. If it’s difficult it’s entertaining, challenging.
  3. It’s a light : if you incorportate the difficulty to your process, it can be a purpose, a support, a help for life map drawing.
  4. Then it’s really a “light” : a difficulty in a process shows you something, a way, a path.
  5. You can’t touch the sun, nor contemplate it, but it can be a center, a warmth provider, a milestone.
  6. People will ask you why you do it; then they ask you how.
  7. Does the process change you (the light)? Forever (the sun)?
  8. Are diffculties surprises? What is a map? How do we find/draw it?
  9. What if the difficulty come from inside you?
  10. A fool fails because he doesn’t see what’s difficult. What is difficult forces you to think, therefore can make light bulbs appear in your head.
  11. How do YOU read it?

 

Let Jean de la Bruyère tell us the pre-final word :

Les miracles naissent des difficultés

Out of difficulties grow miracles

 

And Wittgenstein gives us a present for the end :

Nous attendons à tort une explication alors que c’est une description qui est la solution de la difficulté.

We are wrongly expecting an explanation, whereas the solution of the difficulty is a description.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : bodylanguage

Insinuation & Pertuiset, a French poem & painting

ONE

This poem from Paul Valéry is a bag of problems, a real mess. Therefore I study it with you, OK?

First, translation. The one I found is a lie…

The title is NOT Insinuation, but “The Insinuater”, or “The insinuating guy”.

Oh curves that meander -> O curves, meander
As a secret lie, -> secrets of the liar
Is not this slowness -> Is there a art more tender
The tenderest art? -> than this slowness?

I know where I’m going,
I’ll take you there, -> and I want to drive you there
My dark intentions -> My bad intent
Mean you no harm… -> Is not to harm you

Etc

Insinuation

Oh curves that meander
As a secret lie,
Is not this slowness
The tenderest art?

I know where I’m going,
I’ll take you there,
My dark intentions
Mean you no harm…

(Although she smiles
With blooming pride,
So much freedom
Disorients!)

Oh curves that meander
As a secret lie,
I’ll make you wait
For the tenderest word

  1. These spoken words of a man who wants, desires, and tries to manipulate a girl, and when we read it today, it sounds… harassing, right?
  2. It is “said”, but pretty surely inside his own head, like if there was a mic inside – but I’m not sure, because of the brackets (which ARE like inside his head).
  3. Every girl knows that a guy who says “I don’t want to harm you” will harm you pretty soon.
  4. Does the poet want to sound weird? To show how it is to sound weirdly methodically desiring?
  5. Is the “tender art of being slow” a delight for the man, or for the woman? Like a too slow cat and mouse game?
  6. We readers probably hate him, with his “I’ll make you wait”…
  7. What’s the tenderest word? “I love you”? “Yes”?
  8. This mister wise guy seems to be proud of his “skills” (“so much freedom disorients!”).

Then I realized that this toxic poem is like being mockingly, sarcastically in a smooth talker, a womanizer’s head. Each of the four strophes is ridiculous and show-offy.

I couldn’t find the purpose of this, until I saw Pertuiset in a book, yesterday evening :

TWO

This Edouard Manet‘s painting is totally forgotten today – apart from Art specialists. He pictured Eugène Pertuiset, a hunter of the XIXth Century, a globetrotter who killed beasts, and showed the skins in Paris salons.

Far from Tanzania, right? All this is ridiculous, from thr French garden to his costume (more adapted to Germany than to African’s deserts), to his face, the tree, the angle (no horizon). Manet wrote, like carving lovers, his name on the trunk. “Has the artist intentionally exposed the model’s comicality?”.

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THREE

Braggarts are exposed (in French we say “un fanfaron”), but not and never explained. The show-offist are just… shown, as they are. The audience has to find the ridiculousness or absurdness of what they to or try to do. The keys are not given.

Trying to impress, being sure to impress, and looking like a fanfaron, oh my. We’re all afraid of being impostors, right?

Thanks for reading!

L’INSINUANT

O Courbes, méandre,
Secrets du menteur,
Est-il art plus tendre
Que cette lenteur?

Je sais où je vais,
Je t’y veux conduire,
Mon dessein mauvais
N’est pas de te nuire…

(Quoique souriante
En pleine fierté,
Tant de liberté
La désoriente!)

O Courbes, méandre,
Secrets du menteur,
Je veux faire attendre
Le mot le plus tendre.

(Paul Valéry)

How to deal with the Sharing Boiling Syndrome & let go, silly…

Sharing Boiling Syndrome. This is a feeling I know pretty well. What about you?

If you discover something great AND everybody’s on it, you’re cool. You talk about the “last thing”, a good movie, some music, a best seller, with everybody. Great!

But if you discover something incredibly interesting but it comes “out” of the thin surface of the “news”, you have it :

The Sharing Boiling Syndrome – let’s call it the SBS.

I have to say that this year is great for me. I’m definitely in love with a great person, I discovered (and am exploring the works of) a writer (Paul Valéry) and a painter (Edouard Manet) and a photography agency (Magnum Photos).

For me it’s like a Triple-Kingdom, a splendid source of pleasures, ideas and discoveries.

Well, if you follow my blog you already know this : I share plenty of my little seeds with you. I explain the little tools they are. And I like it!

This afternoon, I watched my cat Bidou (who has diabetes and has stopped eating, which worries me a lot) and I read a fantastic book about Manet in the sun of my kitchen. March seems to say : “The sun is not dead, it’s here and it’s warm”. Yeepee!

  1. I’m boiling with pleasure (intelligence is terribly sexy).
  2. I’m boiling with a powerful need to share.

 

Therefore I began a blog post about Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, but I realized I will let go. Maybe.

My lover and my friends know I’m a bit of a lecturer. I share with passion for 5 minutes, then I’m sorry because I’m not sure it’s interesting for the other person.

Bah, it’s the way I am, right?

 

I was like, in the sun : “Let go. Have fun alone. You don’t HAVE to share.”

Okey.

 

But thus I wrote this article to tell about the rush! I found a way for the energy…

Incorrigible!

Thanks for reading!

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Manet by Nadar, 1874

One purpose of Art – Is it yours?

I’m no Art Historian, but today I will link two French artists to write a little article about the Purpose of ArtPaul Gauguin (1848-1903), Painter, and Paul Valéry (1871-1945), Poet and Philosoph. Both were artists but also thinkers.

Valéry says that Art has an object, a purpose, which is to grasp, to understand, to give birth to Poetry. Not the “poetry of words”, of course, but the Poetry of things, of Art, of Life, who knows, Poetry with a capital – you and me we exactly understand what he means, right?

Poetry is EXACTLY what you can not explain with words. It’s “between” concepts, between all words. It’s above them all. It’s richer, and more complex. Words are weak, in this kingdom…

But, says Valéry, Art uses little tools, particular “low level” objects, the “things you notice” : likeness in painting, plot or descriptions in literature, energy or rhythm, in music. All artists have knacks and tricks. Impressionists used a certain way to paint. Psychedelic rock groups have a certain sound. Some photographs have a blurry style, or a particular way to use black and white. Some movie makers – choose Tim Burton – do “their thing”, right?

Why not? These are tools, the soil you manipulate, the knacks and the style you like to use. This is “you, working, doing your thing”.

The danger, says Gauguin, is precisely here.

the danger is when the audience drains in assessments

The audience is smart. People NOTICE what you do. They’re like : “Haha, this was smart!”. They see what filters you use on Instagram. They see you like slanted frames. They notice what you want to tell us in a blog. They smile, they notice the music in the film, the way you “sound” in your novel, the way Seurat used DOTS in pointillism. This last example triggered Gauguin’s remark :

the audience drains in assessments

(You can almost get the invisible rest : “And where is poetry?”)

Well, yes, “OK he’s smart”. People see and understand what you “do”. They have fun! But THIS IS NOT POETRY. Magic appears out of your little knacks – and I hope you know it!

 

The audience must wait. They wait for the song of life. They wait to be touched in their most treasured intimacy, with good, complex, mysterious energy. It’s about Wizardry, right? YOUR wizardry. This energy awakes things in people. And THIS is what is important. And like says Valéry :

What I hold now makes itself desirable

Hmmm, ain’t it poetry?

 

Thanks for reading!

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