It is sweeter to wander with the wretched and outcasts than to sit crowned with roses at the banquets of the rich
Elisee Reclus

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Speech, Speaking, Not Speaking, Silence

Where are we at? 
We live in a world where much is said.
All the time.
Everywhere is speech. Opinion.
Everywhere is babble.
White noise.

Recently, The Ruinist has been fascinated (in these times) by the following idea: What can be said?

And, in this din of speech, fascinated then by what would be the unspeakable? What cannot be said.

Events, past times, stagnations, moments of reprieve, passings by, jolts, inquiries, set pieces. All areas to enjoy the above questions within.

My Life To Live
It’s easy and it’s fun to get stuck inside a film sequence. Nothing right now can be more enjoyable than a simple passage of time in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1962 film ‘Vivre Sa Vie’. The actress Anna Karina (Godard’s suffering wife of the time) ends up sitting with real-life ‘philosopher’ Brice Parain in a café. Looking over at him and his study of a book, she invites herself over for a drink. He reads, he tells her, because that is his job. Anna Karina begins to speak but is lost for words.
The Philosopher replies to her (although they were really filmed earlier as ad-libs to Godard’s questions) that to think about an action before one makes it is to be paralysed. On speaking he says-

'One learns to talk well only when one has renounced life for a time...Speaking is almost a resurrection in relation to life...Speech is another life from where one does not speak...So to live in speech one must pass through the death of life without speech'

Here what can be said may be answered as something that has been realized only after a period of silence. The Ruinist, desirous of a period of silence, of a period of not thinking in the usual fashion, is moving slowly through such a period. And so, this posting heralds some sort of end-note before all the possible changes. The Ruinist hopes so.

'It is not a question of speaking or not speaking, but of speaking well' (Sontag, 'Godard's Vivre sa vie',1964)

Tired of the oblique and the difficult. Here, there and (almost) everywhere. The Ruinist has come round to prefer The Image again. So less words, less exiled speech, less drifting orphaned thoughts (without response). Like above, like below…

Towards resurrection…
Speak! Don’t speak. It often doesn’t matter. Whos’s listening anyway? Who is listening without already working on their response. That’s not conversation. It’s reciprocal monologue.

The instant gratification of love expressed as consumer desire bleeds us dry with its clamorous stickiness, its panic. If I say ‘I love you’ then it can only be after a period of silent affection. To be in love is to enjoy a sensational wordless drift together. As we post that love and revolution are the two sides of the hated coin, we are already free to dismiss words in the service of revolutionary activity that binds together those in solidarity. This is not to say that nothing can be communicated, merely that politics and it’s chosen tiring words serve us no longer. Revolutionary silence seems a better and more powerful force. Cutting away all the shit words. Cutting away at all the manifestos. Sshhhh! Put your hand in mine. We’ll run at the world together in silence.

And so…
Hide. Be adrift. Wander. Return to tell tales of wonder.
That is to speak freely. To speak of the heart’s adventure. What was found in pleasure and in adverse moments. To speak from the depth of understanding and not merely intellectually.

Detachments, attachments, the second hand, alarms clocks, errors and misunderstanding, the language of the eyes, love, suicide and attempted suicide, blood ties and so on…these are the words that mutate, expand in meaning, coincidence and conspiracy to set the scene for ‘what can be said’. Or what can be said finally, openly, honestly, after all the above scenes…

What cannot be said these days: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Random Banality
"The important point is not their politics, but the fact that they are a part of a new and exciting cultural renaissence in this country'
Tony Blair responding to criticism from Brit Pop stars to the close relations of New Labour to business interests. (29th March 1998)

Speak up for the economy. Nothing else matters anymore.

We hope this is just a blip

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