Sunday, September 26, 2010

Danger Mouth …

"I would have preferred to be enveloped in words, borne way beyond all possible beginnings. At the moment of speaking, I would like to have perceived a nameless voice, long preceding me, leaving me merely to enmesh myself in it, taking up its cadence, and to lodge myself when no one was looking, in its interstices as if it had paused an instant, in suspense, to beckon me. There would have been no beginnings: instead, speech would proceed from me, while I stood in its path—a slender gap—the point of its possible disappearance.

A good many people, I imagine, harbour a similar desire to be freed from the obligation to begin, a similar desire to find themselves, right from the outside, on the other side of discourse, without having to stand outside it, pondering its particular, fearsome, and even devilish features. To this all too common feeling, institutions have an ironic reply, for they solemnize beginnings, surrounding them with a circle of silent attention; in order that they can be distinguished from far off, they impose ritual forms upon them.

Inclination speaks out: 'I don't want to have to enter this risky world of discourse; I want nothing to do with it insofar as it is decisive and final; I would like to feel it all around me, calm and transparent, profound, infinitely open, with others responding to my expectations, and truth emerging, one by one. All I want is to allow myself to be borne along, within it, and by it, a happy wreck.' Institutions reply: 'But you have nothing to fear from launching out; we're here to show you discourse is within the established order of things, that we've waited a long time for its arrival, that a place has been set aside for it - a place that both honours and disarms it; and if it should have a certain power, then it is we, and we alone, who give it that power.'

Yet, maybe this institution and this inclination are but two converse responses to the same anxiety: anxiety as to just what discourse is, when it is manifested materially, as a written or spoken object; but also, uncertainty faced with a transitory existence, destined for oblivion—at any rate, not belonging to us; uncertainty at the suggestion of barely imaginable powers and dangers behind this activity, however humdrum and grey it may seem; uncertainty when we suspect the conflicts, triumphs, injuries, dominations and enslavements that lie behind these words, even when long use has chipped away their rough edges.

What is so perilous, then, in the fact that people speak, and that their speech proliferates? Where is the danger in that?"

(Michel Foucault, "The Discourse on Language." Trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On theater and cinema ...

"'The theater,' says Baudelaire, 'is a crystal chandelier.' If one were called upon to offer in comparison a symbol other than this artificial crystal-like object, brilliant, intricate, and circular, which refracts the light which plays around its center and holds us prisoners of its aureole, we might say of the cinema that it is the little flashlight of the usher, moving like an uncertain comet across the night of our waking dream, the diffuse space without shape or frontiers that surrounds the screen."

(André Bazin, What is Cinema? Trans. Hugh Gray)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

House of Being ...

"Language is the house of Being. In its home man dwells. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home. Their guardianship accomplishes the manifestation of Being insofar as they bring the manifestation to language and maintain it in language through their speech."

(Martin Heidegger, "Letter on Humanism." Trans. J. Glenn Gray)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

(re)enter Caliban ...


As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen
Drop on you both! a south-west blow on ye
And blister you all o'er!


For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps,
Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins
Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,
All exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinch'd
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging
Than bees that made 'em.


I must eat my dinner.
This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in't, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee
And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:
Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o' the island.


Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee,
Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.


O ho, O ho! would't had been done!
Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else
This isle with Calibans.


Abhorred slave,
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
With words that made them known. But thy vile race,
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which
good natures
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock,
Who hadst deserved more than a prison.


You taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
For learning me your language!"

(William Shakespeare, The Tempest)


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

diálogos (des)familiares 2

Idade nova

Filho: Você tá ficando velhinho?

Pai: Tô ficando mais velho, sim. E você, tá ficando velhinho?

Filho: Não tô ficando velhinho, não ... Tô ficando novinho!

Copyright © 2010 Marco Alexandre de Oliveira

Bon Voyage ...

- oui, pour toi, ma T.

"Tu connais cette maladie fiévreuse qui s'empare de nous dans les froides misères, cette nostalgie du pays qu'on ignore, cette angoisse de la curiosité? Il est une contrée qui te ressemble, où tout est beau, riche, tranquille et honnête, où la fantaisie a bâti et décoré une Chine occidentale, où la vie est douce à respirer, où le bonheur est marié au silence. C'est là qu'il faut aller vivre, c'est là qu'il faut aller mourir!

Oui, c'est là qu'il faut aller respirer, rêver et allonger les heures par l'infini des sensations. Un musicien a écrit l'Invitation à la valse; quel est celui qui composera l'Invitation au voyage, qu'on puisse offrir à la femme aimée, à la soeur d'élection?

Oui, c'est dans cette atmosphère qu'il ferait bon vivre, - là-bas, où les heures plus lentes contiennent plus de pensées, où les horloges sonnent le bonheur avec une plus profonde et plus significative solennité."


"Des rêves! toujours des rêves! et plus l'âme est ambitieuse et délicate, plus les rêves l'éloignent du possible. Chaque homme porte en lui sa dose d'opium naturel, incessamment sécrétée et renouvelée, et, de la naissance à la mort, combien comptons-nous d'heures remplies par la jouissance positive, par l'action réussie et décidée? Vivrons-nous jamais, passerons-nous jamais dans ce tableau qu'a peint mon esprit, ce tableau qui te ressemble?

Ces trésors, ces meubles, ce luxe, cet ordre, ces parfums, ces fleurs miraculeuses, c'est toi. C'est encore toi, ces grands fleuves et ces canaux tranquilles. Ces énormes navires qu'ils charrient, tout chargés de richesses, et d'où montent les chants monotones de la manoeuvre, ce sont mes pensées qui dorment ou qui roulent sur ton sein. Tu les conduis doucement vers la mer qui est l'infini, tout en réfléchissant les profondeurs du ciel dans la limpidité de ta belle âme; - et quand, fatigués par la houle et gorgés des produits de l'Orient, ils rentrent au port natal, ce sont encore mes pensées enrichies qui reviennent de l'Infini vers toi."

(Charles Baudelaire, "L'invitation au Voyage." Petites poèmes en prose: le spleen de Paris)

"Você conhece esta doença febril que toma conta de nós nas frias misérias, esta nostalgia da terra que ignoramos, esta angústia da curiosidade? Existe uma região que se parece com você, onde tudo é belo, rico, tranqüilo e honesto, onde a fantasia construiu e decorou uma China ocidental, onde a vida é doce de se respirar, onde a felicidade está casada com o silêncio. É lá que é preciso ir viver, é lá que é preciso ir morrer!

Sim, é lá que é preciso ir respirar, sonhar e alongar as horas pelo infinito das sensações. Um músico escreveu O convite à valsa, quem é que irá compor O convite a viagem, que se possa ofertar à mulher amada, à irmã dileta?

Sim, é nesta atmosfera que seria bom viver - lá, onde as horas, mais lentas, contêm mais pensamentos, onde os relógios batem a felicidade com mais profunda e significativa solenidade."


"Sonhos! Sempre sonhos! E quanto mais ambiciosa e delicada é a alma, mais sonhos a afastam do possível. Cada homem traz em si sua dose de ópio natural, incessantemente secretada e renovada, e, do nascimento à morte, quantas das horas que contamos são repletas de gozo positivo, de ação bem-sucedida e decidida? Haveremos de viver, de passar algum dia para este quadro que meu espírito pintou, este quadro que se parece com você?

Estes tesouros, estes móveis, este luxo, esta ordem, estes aromas, estas flores milagrosas, são você. São ainda você, estes grandes rios e estes canais tranquilos. Estes enormes navios que eles carregam, todos repletos de riquezas, e de onde se elevam os cantos monótonos da manobra, são meus pensamentos que dormem ou que rolam sobre o seu seio. Você os conduz suavemente para o mar que é o Infinito, refletindo as profundezas do céu na limpidez de sua alma linda - e quando, cansados pelo marulho e cevados dos produtos do Oriente, eles voltam ao porto natal, são ainda meus pensamentos enriquecidos que voltam do Infinito a você."

(Charles Baudelaire, "O Convite à Viagem". Pequenos poemas em prosa: O spleen de Paris. Traduzido por Dorothée de Bruchard.)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Beauty and the Fool ...

"Et ses yeux disent: « Je suis le dernier et le plus solitaire des humains, privé d'amour et d'amitié, et bien inférieur en cela au plus imparfait des animaux. Cependant je suis fait, moi aussi, pour comprendes et sentir l'immortelle Beauté! Ah! Déesse! ayez pitié de ma tristesse et de mon délire! »

Mais l'implacable Vénus regarde au loin je ne sais quoi avec ses yeux de marbre."

(Charles Baudelaire, "Le Fou et la Vénus")

"And his eyes said: 'I am the least of humans and the most solitary, deprived of love and friendship, and thus inferior to the most imperfect of animals. But still I was created, I too, to perceive and feel immortal Beauty! Ah, Goddess! Have pity on my sorrow and my madness!'

But the implacable Venus with her eyes of marble only gazed out at something, I don't know what, in the distance."

(Charles Baudelaire, "The Fool and Venus." Translated by Raymond N. MacKenzie)