Unreal Nature

June 28, 2015

I Would Prefer Not To*

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:48 am

… The movement of refusal is rare and difficult, though equal and the same for each of us …

This is from the essay ‘Refusal’ found in the collection, Friendship by Maurice Blanchot (1997):

At a certain moment, in the face of public events, we know that we must refuse. The refusal is absolute, categorical. It does not argue, nor does it voice its reasons. This is why it is silent and solitary, even when it asserts itself, as it must, in broad daylight. Men who refuse and who are tied by the force of refusal know that they are not yet together. The time of joint affirmation is precisely that of which they have been deprived. What they are left with is the irreducible refusal, the friendship of this certain, unshakable, rigorous No that keeps them unified and bound by solidarity.

The movement of refusal is rare and difficult, though equal and the same for each of us, when we have grasped it. Why difficult? Because one must refuse not only the worst but also what seems reasonable, a solution one could call felicitous. In 1940, refusal did not have to be exercised against the invading force (not accepting it was a given), but rather against the opportunity that the old man of the armistice thought he could represent, not without good faith and justification.

… What we refuse is not without value or without importance. Indeed, this is why refusal is necessary. There is a reason that we will no longer accept, there is an appearance of good sense that disgusts us, there is an offer of agreement and conciliation that we will not hear of. A break has occurred. We have been brought back to a candor that no longer tolerates complicity.

[ *  << in case you can’t remember where the post title comes from and it’s driving you crazy]

-Julie

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