Analysis of the Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot

blanchot

Maurice Blanchot though being a heavy weight of Literature is largely ignored by the mainstream public due to the dense obscurity of his work. Blanchot’s literature remains largely ornamental like a piece of Baroque opera with strands of philosophy running through it. I would like to discuss the thoughts that I came through while reading his magnum opus: The Space of Literature.

Maurice Blanchot begins his work be characterizing Writing as Solitude. What is solitude in everyday life? It means an inner calm of tranquility. It is questionable to ask whether a writer writes out of solitude or excitement. He quotes Rilke: ‘I haven’t produced a single work: my solitude has engulfed me’. Why can’t the writer be agitated when he is writing his work? I am sure that Nietzsche wrote: Thus spoke Zarathustra while undergoing bouts of insanity. A Freudian ID gets provoked into the necessity of writing. Even mystics when they meditate are never in solitude. There are in a state of deep contemplation. One can also write out of the passion to write but one can never be in solitude when one is in a state of writing. When one is in the process of writing, one gravitates to the center of meaning. So I would like to reformulate Blanchot’s solitude as excitement, agitation, passion and contemplation. The mind can never be in solitude.

Again Blanchot goes on to say that a writer never knows whether his work is finished or not. In one sense it is true and in another sense it is not. Any work of Literature is only partial does not display art to sense of completion. But then again in a literary work, there’s a beginning and an ending. Let’s take an example of Ulysses by James Joyce. The novel running into eight hundred pages and depicts twelve hours of person’s life mainly Bloom, Stephen and Molly. There is a beginning and an ending to the work. Blanchot is partially right when he says that no work of art is complete. A work of art has got only degrees of perfection. Similarly Blanchot also mentions that a reader enters into solitude while encountering a work. Readers of pulp fiction are causal readers. The work of a serious reader is marked by the phenomenology of reading. The mind of a serious reader works as an inter-textual machine. Reading interferes with what has been read in the past. The ontology of existentialism, the autobiographical possession of the reader comes into play while reading. There is perfect reading but there are only imperfect interpretations.

It’s through an absence that word being of writer comes into existence. I would like to refute this statement by saying that writing is affirmation of presence, a saturation of it. Being is pronounced into the becoming of meaning. In writing there’s indulgence of the meaning of being. Writing is excess of being. Presence of being is an affirmation for a writer.

Again he goes on to say that a writer never reads his or her work. That can be true to some extent. Would a writer really enjoying editing his or work?  A writer does not function as a reader. The writer merely proof reads his or her work.

For a writer, a word is something that cannot be mastered. How could that be the case? A writer is a lingual-maniac. He finds new usages for pre-existing ones. He or she also creates new words: for example neologisms. A writer invents tropes of language. How can this be possible without mastery? Writing is not sterile but active and dynamic.

To write is to break the bond between the word and the self. I would like to say that writing is a catharsis. The bond between writing, the word, and the self is one of unison. Writing is akin to having sexual intercourse. The self and the word are bonded to a writer.

The writer belongs to a language that no one speaks. Yes, writing is inventive and seeks new paradigms of a discovery of meaning. Tropes belong to the language of nascence and newness. Writing is a process of self discovery.

When we admire the tone of the work, we are not referring to style or virtues of the language but to a silence. Blanchot is not sure about what this silence is. We are in fascination and catharsis when we unveil the imagery used by a writer. There is intellectual and emotional gratification. We do not encounter the work in silence.

What is the journal? It is not romantic, not essentially confessional. It is the writer when he or she is not writing. I feel that Blanchot is being vague there. Again he goes on to say that a journal is written out of fear and anguish. The writing of the journal is no longer historical. Romanticism has acquired new shades of meaning in blog writing. Taste, art and culture are all romanticized by bloggers undergoing a new experience. As Wordsworth has said ‘poetry is the spontaneous overflow of feeling’. To be romantic is to be in state of mind that’s in passion. Writing a journal can also be confessional. To be confessional is to be passionate and expressive. My writing on adultery is confessional. It is wrong to say that a journal is not historical. For example let’s take Ann Frank. Ann Frank is a passionate outburst of the oppressions that she encountered during a Nazi regime. Thus a journal can be confessional, romantic and historical.

To write is to surrender to time’s absence. I would like to disagree with the statement. Time in writing flows as streams of consciousness.   Time is reflective and contemplative when the writer engages in writing. Writing cannot be marked by the absence of time.

Fascination is solitude’s gaze. To write is to let fascination rule the language. The gaze of the writer could be a sexual, one; it could also be subjective, philosophical, materialistic and transcendental. The gaze is intentional and is borne out the repressed in the ID.

Again he quotes Mallarme: ‘When I write into verse, I encounter nothingness, an absence of God and my own death. It is questionable to ask Blanchot, how negation can enter the realm of writing. Negation is nihilism, a negative affirmation when something positive does not happen. Writing is self proclaiming and affirmative. Yes after Nietzsche’s proclamation that ‘God is dead’, writing has become anthropocentric. How can a writer enter the realm of death? Is the writer killing his self when he enters into the train of writing? According to Camus, while writing we enter into a philosophical suicide. Yes there’s death of the actual self and birth of the creative self.

Again Blanchot goes to distinguish between the crude word and the ornamental word. When we say that the flower is in the garden we are using crude language or the language of communication. If I use: I am flowering her lips, I am ornamentally decorating the language. Writing is ornamental, decorative and hyperbolic. Again he goes on to say: poetry is the universe of words where relations and configurations are attained through sound, figure and rhythmic language. Poetry is akin to the musicality of words, and it flows with the Dionysian rhythm and makes presence with the Orpheus of figures.

Kafka began his writing out of true despair. We should know that Kafka had a stormy relationship with his father. He was also an exiled Jew. Kafka despised authority figures. Writing for Kafka grew out of protest against authoritarianism. This is especially true when we analysis his work—the Metamorphosis.  The work is allegorical and shows the negation of individuality by authority figures. The individual in Metamorphosis is reduced into fragments. Writing for Kafka was spiritual and psychological salvation. Kafka made the affirmation that nothing else besides literature satisfies me. The more Kafka writes: the less sure is he of himself.

Art is primarily the consciousness of unhappiness not its consolation. How can art be the consciousness of unhappiness alone? One can experience art through the consciousness of joy and affirmation. Let’s diagnose Picasso’s painting of the Guernica. Was Picasso filled with angst of the bombing of Basque? Or was he affirming creativity while painting the Guernica. When I meditate on Dali’s painting: The persistence of Memory, I am filled with cathartic interpretation. I appreciate its meaning to portray time as streams of consciousness. I also marvel at the melting clock placed on the frozen embryo and interpret it as Dali’s own oedipal trauma.

 

Smoking Zones

The Indian Judiciary has taken a hard-bite at smokers. They have banned smoking in public places and they have imposed a burdensome fine. I believe that smoking is my privilege as I live in a democratic society. At least the judiciary could have shown humane kindness by introducing smoking zones. I have lived in Indonesia which is a smokers country. In all establishments including airports there are smoking zones. So is the case with Singapore and Malaysia. Sartre has said a smoker experiences the universe when he or she smokes. I hope the Indian Judiciary will introduce smoking zones in places.

An Analysis of Foucault’s Order of Things

Foucault is a postmodern, post structural philosopher, credited with investigating the archaeology of knowledge and bifurcating knowledge into various epistemes (knowledge Systems).
The ‘Order of Things’ traces the development of Epistemes as predominant discourses starting from the 16th Century and going on up to the 20th century. Foucault develops an archaeology of knowledge.
What was Episteme like in the 16th century? It was a conflation of rational and magical sources. Knowledge was based on similitude and resemblance. The sciences attributed properties to things based on their resemblance. Language developed its syntactical qualities by absorbing verbs, and classifying nouns. The world view of the 16th century was not rational but based on the esoteric and the occult. The 16th century is known for its schism of being narcissistic with the symptom of eclectic catharsis of knowledge.
Towards the 17th and the 18th centuries we find the development of scientific thought, rationalism and empiricism. An example is the Helio-centric view developed by Copernicus that the sun revolved around the earth and that the Sun is the centre of the Solar system. Mathematics progressed with development of Algebra and Geometry. The worldview of the 18th century was marked by the development of a scientific outlook. Descartes brought out his famous dictum: Cogito Ergo Sum, I think I therefore I exist. There was a detour from transcendentalism to rationalism and empiricism.
Similarly too in language we find a heap of changes. From the study of grammar, there developed the Philosophy of language that is Philology. The etymological processing of words became a predominant cult. We find Nietzsche reading Greek and interpreting art as the fusion of Dionysian and Apollonian elements. By the 20th century, we find the predominance of structuralist thought which traces the roots of language to the making of Signs—the Signifier and the Signified. The signifier belonged to the sensate realm and the signified belong to the intelligible realm. For example if I say Rose is Passion, rose is the signifier and passion the signified. Post-Structralists developed the Binary divide of language that is a Sign privileges some terms and marginalize others. For example: Whites are a privileged term where as black and colored people are marginalized.
We also find the development of the trajectory of epsitemes in Philosophy. Philosophy grew out of metaphysical thought which was based on God and Religion. Towards the 18th and the 19th century we find the development of naturalism and evolutionary thought. This promoted a scientific world view. Man became a product of mechanistic materialism. Again in the 20th century we find philosophical paradigms shifting to Ontology and Phenomenology. Thus Heidegger invented the question of being of meaning. Sartre developed existentialism with the consciousness of being existing in three states: Being-in-itself, Being-for-itself and Being for others. Sartre also developed affirmation and negation as characteristic traits of the Ego. We also find in that in the modern age there was a paradigm shift to Postmodernism. The Sign was ontologically deconstructed. The Binary divide of language became a philosophical discourse. Foucault was able to bring out power as the ideology of dominant discourse. Lacan in psychoanalysis challenged with stability of the self and introduced the concept of dreams being a language. Lacan is also famous for bringing into fruition the Mirror Stage and the Gaze. We also find the archeology of feminist, gay and lesbian discourses. Althusser reread Marxism and developed the concept of ideological apparatuses.

Metaphors

The Lamb that was slain was innocent. Paint stinks like wet leather. I awakened her flower and poured passion into it. Morning has a gloomy face. His face froze into ice. Derrida is a sign for writing. Metaphors clouded the sky as gigantic leaves. He wore a mask of feeling. Irony troubles the words into chains. Freedom is not the statue of Liberty. Money is a passion for satisfying desires. The moon wore priestly robes. When the WORD became flesh it did not become fleshy. A troubled typhoon roared in my head. Charm, you are a stoic literary ornament. Desires live in my flesh. Angst is a witch’s black magic spell. Sartre troubled existentialism into a literature of being. Camus is philosophical suicide. Smoking weed is like being on cloud nine. Torment injures the brain into an epileptic seizure. Nihilism is a dustbin of nothingness. Kafka’s existential irony is portrayed as Munch’s scream. Her body is a flower of passion. In Dali’s persistence of memory time is frozen as streams of consciousness. My life is salty and sugary. The echo of desire is Bach’s symphony. Writing metaphors are heavenly angels flying. I attain nirvana when I shit. Prosperity cult theologians are shenanigans of the Bible. My baptism was enacted metaphorically as Christ dying and resurrecting. Catholicism is an idol of Mary. Passports and Visas are bondages of the freedom of the body to be in mobility. We melted in a sea of passion. A dream woke me up into an erection. Don’t sink into muddy waters. Give is this day more than our daily bread. David’s adultery is Bathsheba. The novel spread sperms of letters. Jihad is phallic violence. I am a mad monkey when I don’t write. I use poetic ornaments to woo lovers. Her pubis was a grown forest. I am a poetic soul. I live with the art of making meaning. To commit adultery is passionate and the feeling of being guilty makes want to repent. The Big Bang is a great ejaculation of the Universe. Time is a dead dial. Thick, long needles poured as rain from the sky. Confession is a religion for me. Passionate Serpents make love for a day long …What if I was a Serpent? Magic is Abracadabra. Medusa is a wounded feminist. The thinking self is a stream of consciousness. Charm where is your magic wand? Offer me the gift of my dreams. The lyrics of AC DC are ironic for a dying man. I penetrated the tree into her. Guns and Roses, your lyrics are shallow waters. Life is poetry of existence. To dream is heaven to die is death. Socrates was a phoenix of Wisdom. Derrida detached the LOGOS from the centre of meaning. The Opus Dei is a cult of the Anti Christ. Borges wrote books of imagination. English is black, white and colored. Nihilism is death for the meaning. Time echoed a frozen dream. My death is mourning for my dead father. Life offers me a stoic cup. Virtue thy deeds are Christ. When I puff a cigarette, I am the Universe. Reason is Descartes and Passion is Nietzsche. Reason suffocates the mind and passion frees it. The meaning of life is nothing but an empty cipher. The truth of meaning is Christ. Writing being is coming into existence. Jihadi Muslims are fanatic devils. I love to be in narcissistic symphony. Can the Devil be tempted? Woe, you are my friendly stranger. Hamlet was Oedipal about his mother. Freud is a dream of symbols. Catharsis is the Aristotle of Drama. Covetousness is a narcissistic devil. Gandhi is peace and tranquility. Tolstoy’s novels are virtuous adultery. Attach an erotic meaning to letters. I have polluted my body with adultery. Time on wings is a stale metaphor. The charm of letters lies in the body of meaning. We live in fractured world of hate. Angst you break my bones. Build your house on strong foundations. Wisdom is an eccentric nut. The sky cleared as a sunny angel. I am a vagabond when I write. 13 is an enigmatic symbol. Luck is a dwarf that evades me. Libido is strong coffee, the gold of desire. I melted into her lake. Magic realism is the Gestapo of imagination. Let me float in streams of consciousness. I always copulate with lust. Flowery words are angelic poetry. The photo frames reminded me of life lived. Poetry liberates the soul. Fiction is the mind in catharsis. A dream is melting passion. How can the Cow be a holy Goddess? Hedonism is freedom of the body, an ultimate infinity. Horoscopes are burnt offerings of an asshole. Fuck the word Fuck. Sacrilege is detaching signs from the center of meaning. Smoking weed is Nirvana. I poured my sperm like an esoteric cup. Sartre liberated God and placed man in the centre of meaning in existentialism. Philosophy I knock on your door for Wisdom. Trump uses the whip of coercion and the polish of persuasion. Heaven has no door to be knocked upon. Passion, break free from the fetters of oppression. A free Ego is transgression. Palestine has to sing a song of liberation. Tajmahal is a monument of love. Faith can be small as a mustard seed. I have a bruised Ego. A wounded soul nourishes desires. Birds sing a symphony in the morning. Love is a poison arrow. I live a dog’s life. Orgasm is perfect hyperbole. I have a brothel of a mind and weed of a soul. Zeus hung pink clothes upon the sky. Money is like an inflated balloon. Temptation is the slut of damnation. The eye of the brain is a window of nerves. Politicians, you are devils incarnate. Orgy is a fertility rite. Caning masochism is pleasurable for me. Her nipples were grown grapes. The Super Ego massacres the ID. Purity is a celestial eclipse. Aladdin is lamp of luck. Open Sesame is an opening of the Penis. Metaphors are clitoral. Time moved on dials and freezes to death.

Conspiracy Addict

Recently I met a conspiracy addict, a die-hard Christian and we discussed many things. I, though knowing, asked him causally about the symbolism of the 1 $ Bill –the all Seeing Eye and the unfinished pyramid which I regard as a great work of art. The emblem is surreal and juxtaposes fiction and reality to a credible tangibility. He abruptly told me it’s demonic and signifies the New World Order. Unlike him, I paid Indian currency and bought a 1 $ Bill which I carry in my purse. I am so mesmerized by its enigma. Again he told me that the Vatican is a Cult and devotion to the idol Virgin Mary is idolatry. I think in a way its true as there’s no Biblical reference to worship Mary. And again Mary was not a Virgin. I am pondering over the question is Catholicism blaspheming Christianity? I don’t know the answer and I do not care. I become amused when people light candles for the idol Mary. Again our thoughts drifted on to the internet. He said WWW is 666, the mark of the beast. Yes, in a way he is true as it represents the Hebrew letter Vav. It is humorous to see what people post on face book. Many souls post their airline ticket, Arrival and departure and Selfies. Facebook is an ego booster to people with low self esteem. For my friend Facebook, WordPress and all social media sites are controlled by the Illuminati. People using Facebook suffer from Egosis a strange disease of the EGO. There are eccentric people who change their profile picture every now and then. Worse are the ones who proclaim sickness and want to get likes and shares. There are some who use Christ and plead: share and like and get your wishes satisfied. My friend believes that this is a plot of the Illuminati to gratify the ego of people. Again my friend said why should a phone be called I—phone? I stands for the Illuminati. He told me that 13 (13 again a strange occult number) families in the World control the Illuminati and want to control the whole world. For him the Bombing of the twin towers was a plan of the Illuminati to start a war in the Middle East and to get a footing of America to dabble in the affairs of the Middle East. The Illuminati’s interest is OIL and Iraq is richly blessed with it. It’s a frank to probe what was wrong with Iraq during the regime of Saddam. Again our conversation drifted on to Robin Williams. My friend claims that he was murdered by the Illuminati. Even the death of Michael Jackson was not normal but an Illuminati sponsored death. I am not sure whether I can believe all of this but I also carry my doubts and I am also addicted to conspiracy. I turn to my purse and smile wickedly at the 1$ bill. For all I can say is that the Illuminati can go to hell. I care two hoots.