Unreal Nature

August 30, 2015

He Belongs to the Rock and the Rock Belongs to Him

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:53 am

… he knows the vanity of all that crushes him …

This is from the essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus‘ found in Faux Pas by Maurice Blanchot, translated by Charlotte Mandell (2001):

… The man who suddenly thinks that he is getting old, that the word tomorrow, “later” will no longer have any meaning for him, feels himself brushed by the absurd; similarly, if he looks at a face, a stone, a piece of sky, by escaping from habitual images, he can be struck by an irreducible feeling of strangeness; and there is the impression of nonmeaning that comes to us not through exceptional states of our thinking but from the coherence and logic of our mental mechanism: the rational, from a certain point of view, is also the absurd.

… On one side [the mind] turns toward the world and sees it as reason cannot perceive it; then it turns toward man and discovers him infinitely greedy for an explanation that he cannot attain. Here it finds a reality that can be described, expressed by laws, used as a means of power but never made clear or conceived in its totality; there it finds a being who aspires without rest to clarity, who calls out endlessly, faced with the diversity that he meets, to a unity that hides itself.

… Whereas religions, in order to justify the call to unity that existence holds up to ridicule, have offered faith in some other existence that gives satisfaction to this call, whereas philosophies have constructed, above the world that collapses and flees, an essential world that survives — the absurd mind accepts the contradiction it is given as is; it encloses itself inside it, becomes aware within it, sharpens it, and far from seeking escape from it by elusions and evasions, aims to live in it as on the only passion that could satisfy it.

Sisyphus is aware; he knows the vanity of all that crushes him; he belongs to the rock and the rock belongs to him, since he can make out its overwhelming lightness.

… [reason] engages in acrobatics that consist of losing itself endlessly, then finding itself, and so on ad infinitum. Only it also sees that each time that it falls, it raises itself back up; each time it falls, its fall restores it to itself. The authenticity of “losing oneself” for reason could always be denied so long as reason has not proven that by itself, by its own means, it can destroy itself, become madness.

-Julie

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