Monday, 14 December 2009

Hundreds of Unreads

...and by the word "unreads" I mean unread pages, books, why not even e-mails (which seems to be a legitimate context of using "unread" as a noun; there is a Linux script that can show you an "unreads summary," as I just learned by googling the word "unreads").

I drift from Wayne C. Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction, a very important "read" for my teaching as it seems (and I'm afraid I managed to leave it unread as a student), to another book still mostly unread, Heidegger's Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik: Welt – Endlichkeit – Einsamkeit, and find yet another thing which I could use on my lecture course, inasmuch as I can legitimize a philosophical detour (and I can, when it is a question of Romanticism), namely Heidegger's reading of a fragment by Novalis that I already knew but had never really understood, at least not in Heidegger's sense:
Die Philosophie ist eigentlich Heimweh, ein Trieb überall zu Hause zu Sein.

And once again I experience what reading means, at its best (although this is not the only "best" condition of reading): a constant invocation to write, make notes, anticipate with hypotheses in the form of scribbled notes, sometimes just marking an important passage...

So, once again, I must leave just an indication, continue reading and anticipate the time of writing, or the moment of speaking about the importance of an insight, translating it into a form that suits the lecture course, concerning what was revolutionary in the Romantics' fragmentary epiphanies about literature and philosophy – and why Heidegger's obviously reductive way of reading the fragment, abstracting from Heimweh (homesickness) to Stimmung (attunement or, to use late 18th or early 19th century vocabulary, "sentiment"), Grundstimmung, is actually – perhaps, still – a legitimate response to it.

Friday, 27 November 2009

A Word From an Amateur Translator

Translators of poetry do not work for the poet. They work for poetry. Their job is to ensure that poetry takes place in the void left by the disappearance of the original poem, which itself indicates the absence of the author. Traces of withdrawal.

* * *

Did I just say this? Or am I recapitulating – translating – something someone already said?

* * *

Love in a void... [A later comment: I was quoting my earworm at the moment of writing the note. It was Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Love in a Void."]

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Wrong models – a brief note

"Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful" (George E. P. Box). Well put – but essentially, all we have is "models" and all "usefulness" is based on having "models" of sorts – life, as we know it, would be very hard or impossible without them... So what about "wrong", then? It seems to imply a certain "correspondence theory of truth": since there is never an exact correspondence between a model (a description of various levels of complexity) and the "state of affairs" (or the "thing itself"), all models are "wrong". But perhaps it is "wrong" to expect such an exact correspondence as a measure of truth? Our observations are always more or less "modelled"... A drawing of a landscape is usually not dismissed as "wrong" because it shows only contours and shades, omitting an indefinite amount of details... Its "model" (in another sense of the word) is something like the essentials of observation and not the natural landscape "as such".

Thursday, 8 October 2009

My "Rosebud"?

The smell of clean, damp, slightly frozen sheets, taken from the washing line on a crispy morning. Helping my sister, perhaps – I am not sure about that, but the obscure image came to me suddenly this morning – to carry the laundry into the house to melt and dry. Maybe.

But maybe I just try to complement the strangely material tissue of this memory, consisting of the pleasant smell and its associations, the slanted late autumn sunlight, a dialogue between coolness and warmth, with a situation whose two personal agents are my sister and I.

I guess the most essential part of my memory consists of such an "imperfect", frail tissue, half-dreamt but no less real. Reaching towards the immemorial beyond, beneath memory.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Dear reader, sister, brother. Whenever you feel offended or provoked by anything published in this "personal notebook of sorts" – whose title is "Cultivation of Intimacy", nevertheless – please notice the conspicuous absence of the irony mark,* implying that the author might mean something totally different than what you first think he means. Or maybe not.

* For the irony mark, see below or the article in Wikipedia.

"Forget about the brotherly and otherly love..."

From a Facebook conversation: "... the (originally Platonic?) notion of Evil as absence of Good or absence of reason, knowledge, etc., bothers me. Could we not say, with at least as much justification or maybe even more, that there is radical Evil (a propensity to Evil, etc.) and that the Good [worldly, sublunar, secular good, the only good we non-believers have knowledge of – and I don't dare to claim there is no Good beyond knowledge] means just a conspicuous absence of Evil? And that the banal evil (e.g. der Fall Eichmann) is actually built on a cultured system of evasion and excuses that desperately try to convince us of the absence of 'pure evil'? That 'good' consists of such cultured evasions? That our culture consists of such evasions? And I'm not suggesting that being "cultured" is bad, quite to the contrary... And I concede that this idea is just an inversion of a metaphysical hierarchy and, as such, remains imprisoned by the 'closure'... By using the word (verb) 'cultured' I do not want to suggest that Evil comes naturally, and so on and so forth. By 'cultured' I mean even such very 'natural' things as nurturing, i.e. 'motherly love' ("forget about the brotherly and otherly love")..."

Meat is murder, babe, meat is murder.

I did not find a good video on Youtube for "Motherly Love", but this is a nice cover. TRIBUTOaZAPPA writes: "LOS HUESPEDES FELICES - MOTHERLY LOVE. / Many thanks to Luis G. and HALL OF FAME RECORDS for permission to use music from the UNMATCHED - TRIBUTO A ZAPPA collection of CD's."

I doubt I doubt I doubt

I edited my previous post, "Hetrosexuals [sic] Have the Right to Rock" (The Mentors), by changing the expression "Utter bullshit" to "I doubt". An act of remorse implying that "utter bullshit" may have been a too rash judgment on Jerry Springer and his show. The choices made may well have been done in good faith; it may indeed be necessary to show by any means, to those who don't realize the fact by themselves, that rape is wrong – saying this sounds funny, but if you can imagine that there are people who don't realize that (there is evidence of their existence, I guess) – and that there is no such thing as rape by consent (and that rape is not sex and sex is not rape) – it may not be funny at all. But in any case, I have my doubts. Or maybe my doubts have me and don't let me take things at face value, especially when someone's wearing a hangman's hood over his head.

I tend to agree with the YouTube comment saying "any God that would create a Hell is even more sick and demented then [sic] El Duce."

I doubt I doubt I doubt: all I can write about this portrayal of Evil, maybe a mirror held at popular culture and our obsessions with violence, horror, pornography (or "fantasies" if you prefer that), scapegoats, etc., turns out insufficient, I'm afraid. "Our obsessions" – including mine.

* * *

A little later: One way to make things visible is to push them to the extreme. I suppose this could be why (as I hear) there are militant feminists who actually appreciate the Mentors.*

Marquis de Sade has become one of the most important sources for moral philosophy. And that is not because moral philosophers are immoral supporters of de Sade and sadists.
* Citation needed, as Wikipedia would say. I found no better evidence than this All Female Tribute to the Mentors – the WoMentors – enjoy it:

Monday, 21 September 2009

"Hetrosexuals [sic] Have the Right to Rock" (The Mentors)

The first time I saw footage of El Duce, the drummer of the "rape rock" band the Mentors, was in Nick Broomfield's documentary Kurt & Courtney, aired some time ago (on the Finnish Teema channel, I guess). I can't say I remember exactly how I felt about him, except for the shock that you are probably expected to experience, and a certain ambivalent vacillation between disbelief, horror, disgust and amusement (he really does not seem a very credible witness, as Broomfield tells him face to face – and by the way he laughs, El Duce seems to agree to Broomfield's reasonable judgement).

Only the United States of America could rear such a monstrous figure, I might have thought, and the Wikipedia article certainly has a point in arguing that Eldon Hoke (which is El Duce's original name) "in general played a wrestling-style villain for the audience." In the following we have an example of playing the role consistently to the end:

Utterly disgusting? Of course. But the questions of good and evil are usually not that simple. I wonder if the hooded monster could have resigned his role for a moment and shown sympathy for the other guest, instead of the atrocious comments or jokes(?!) he makes. Well – at least that would not be very consistent, would it?

Talking about good and evil, what about the situation in which the talk show host (or whoever) has staged the scene so that we have a middle-aged mother who tells she was raped as an adolescent on the one side, and this utterly antisocial hooded monster, the "rapist mentor" figure on the other? Are we on the side of the Good when we sympathize with the other guest – the mother guest – and with the booing audience, with Jerry Springer and the Television Company? I doubt. This staging is no better than any "Reality TV" show, the blood-thirsty tabloids, or any hypocritical piece of social porn. Why are they doing this? The "victim" is of course brave to have taken part in this, but what about the other woman on stage? Is she a "victim" too? What's in it for her – just a "career"?

I am almost beginning to feel sympathy for the not-so-credible-as-a-witness alcoholic with the vulgarly Latinic artist name "El Duce". After all, how could someone singing lines like "Bend up and smell my anal vapor / Your face will be my toilet paper" be purely and completely evil?

(Thanks to Pupu for reminding me of El Duce.)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Watched The Wrestler

Micky Rourke's bravura, first and foremost. My first reaction last night, right after seeing the film: the allegorical dimension is rather simple and transparent, as it seems, for a European outsider with an image of the USA largely filtered through film and television. "USA! USA!" the audience chants when Randy "the Ram" Robinson (whose real name is Robin Ramzinski, of course) meets Necro the drug addict or the wrestler with mohawk hairdo and finally the Ayatollah himself, waving Iran's flag. Sexism, consumerism, utter violence as entertainment, all the appropriate themes, the daughter's lesbianism, etc.; Ram as sacrifice and Christ figure with stigmata (including the direct and ironic reference to The Passion of the Christ), et cetera et cetera. Is it all too obvious, then?

When the first impression is followed by this certain unease, I know I may have encountered something that really touches me in a more profound way, beyond the beauty of the film as a film and beyond the angry "message" directed rather at the American society than the average outside viewer who feels he has "seen it all" already, not to mention the melodramatic and sentimental ingredients of whose power I find myself ambiguously "critically aware." At least the strong presence of the allegorical dimension invites me to attempt thinking more clearly about allegory – I also guess I will watch The Wrestler again some time.

(Above: "The official trailer" via YouTube.)

I have to point out that the "American culture" and "American society" are by no means geographically determined and bound by the borders of the nation. The American culture and society is everywhere. This pervasiveness allows us non-US citizens (I have never even visited America!) also to enjoy the humorous, ambivalently nostalgic references to the eighties' emphasis on partying to hard rock against "that pussy Cobain," an incarnation of the nineties, who ruined everything, etc.

I will return to The Wrestler some time, after watching it again. Some time, probably not very soon, though.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Couple of My Favourite Text Samples, Part 2

Above is the beginning of Tristram Shandy's discourse against plagiarism. Cf. Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy ("Democritus Junior to the Reader"):
As apothecaries we make new mixtures everyday, pour out of one vessel into another; and as those old Romans robbed all the cities of the world, to set out their bad-sited Rome, we skim off the cream of other men's wits, pick the choice flowers of their tilled gardens to set out our own sterile plots. Castrant alios ut libros suos per se graciles alieno adipe suffarciant (so Jovius inveighs.) They lard their lean books with the fat of others' works. Ineruditi fures, &c. A fault that every writer finds, as I do now, and yet faulty themselves, Trium literarum homines, all thieves; they pilfer out of old writers to stuff up their new comments, scrape Ennius' dunghills, and out of Democritus' pit, as I have done. By which means it comes to pass, "that not only libraries and shops are full of our putrid papers, but every close-stool and jakes," Scribunt carmina quae legunt cacantes; they serve to put under pies, to lap spice in, and keep roast meat from burning. "With us in France," saith Scaliger, "every man hath liberty to write, but few ability." "Heretofore learning was graced by judicious scholars, but now noble sciences are vilified by base and illiterate scribblers," that either write for vainglory, need, to get money, or as Parasites to flatter and collogue with some great men, they put cut burras, quisquiliasque ineptiasque. Amongst so many thousand authors you shall scarce find one, by reading of whom you shall be any whit better, but rather much worse, quibus inficitur potius, quam perficitur, by which he is rather infected than any way perfected. [...] So that oftentimes it falls out (which Callimachus taxed of old) a great book is a great mischief. Cardan finds fault with Frenchmen and Germans, for their scribbling to no purpose, non inquit ab edendo deterreo, modo novum aliquid inveniant, he doth not bar them to write, so that it be some new invention of their own; but we weave the same web still, twist the same rope again and again; or if it be a new invention, 'tis but some bauble or toy which idle fellows write, for as idle fellows to read, and who so cannot invent?

&c &c – "... as I do now"; "... as I have done."

Friday, 21 August 2009


Point d’ironie n° 37 by Ed Ruscha at agnès b., rue du Jour, Paris. Sculpture by Jen-chri.

Point d'ironie*

Plusieurs raisons ont été avancées pour expliquer le manque de succès du point d'ironie en tant que signe de ponctuation :

* Les signes comme le point d'interrogation ou le point d'exclamation servent généralement à retranscrire la façon dont est ponctuée la phrase à l'oral. Or, une phrase ironique n'est pas forcément ponctuée d'une certaine façon. Parfois, seul le contexte permet de la reconnaître comme telle. D'ailleurs, les personnes qui se veulent ironiques jouent souvent sur l'ambiguïté. [C'est moi qui souligne, P.R.]

(Voir aussi: lien interne)
* The Wikipedia entry exists also in English: Irony mark

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Rephrasing, Paraphrasing Kant's "Reply..."

"... to the Question: 'What is Enlightenment?'"
Wenn denn nun gefragt wird : Leben wir jetzt in einem aufgeklärten Zeitalter ? so ist die Antwort : Nein, aber wohl in einem Zeitalter der Aufklärung. [If it is now asked, “Do we presently live in an enlightened age?” the answer is, “No, but we do live in an age of enlightenment.”]
Enlightenment, not "being enlightened" but "being in the process of enlightening [Aufklärung]" or "becoming enlightened," is reason's constant readiness for critical self-examination – a constant crisis and not a status quo.

This is why I would consider "The Age of Sentimentality" (Sterne, Rousseau, Laclos) and Romanticism as a continuation of Enlightenment and not as simple objections or counter-reactions. Les liaisons dangereuses is a wonderful demonstration of how instrumental reason seeking to play games without sentiment becomes unreason and absurdity.
Online texts:
German original, Immanuel Kant, "Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?" (1783) –
English translation, by H.B. Hisbet (?), "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

Is it Necessary to Die?

As a child or reluctant adolescent, whenever I asked, "Do I have to ...?" or "Must I ...?", my father used to say, "The only things you 'have to' are to be born and to die." Or, in other words, "You 'must' nothing but birth and death." As you can imagine from the two clumsy renderings, the original Finnish sentence is hard to translate from one idiom to another. "Pakko ei ole kuin syntyä ja kuolla," that's the Finnish phrase. See, for instance, the Wiktionary entry for the Finnish noun pakko and you can realize the difficulty. We could try yet another translation, using one or rather several of the very approximate, context-dependent equivalents suggested by Wiktionary, "obligation, force, necessity or compulsion": "Your only obligations are birth and death." "Birth and death are the only necessities." "The only compulsory things are birth and death." "Only birth and death come by the force of necessity." None of these translations is satisfactory. "Il ne faut que naître et mourir." That might be more accurate, I think, but not any more faithful to the Finnish formula than the English versions. Yet: "Abtrünnig erst bin ich treu." More than one language may be necessary for translating "necessary" from one language to another.

I find the question "Is it Necessary to Die?" both compelling and highly suspicious. The adjective "necessary" seems out of place. "Necessity" implies "need" and this notion makes the question sound like a category mistake.

What is "necessity"? What is "necessary"? I take the liberty of citing the OED's etymological explanation – click on the thumbnail image below to see a screenshot of OED Online:

Death is hardly something "[t]hat is needed," in the sense of "[i]ndispensable, vital, essential; requisite." OED adds: "Also with to or for (a person or thing). In the 16th and early 17th centuries the sense freq. approaches ‘useful’ without being ‘absolutely indispensable’." It is hardly something "required" or "imperative," even though it seems meaningful to say "You must die." Here the "must" is, however, used in a different sense than, for instance, in the formula "You must perform the act A in order to achieve the result B."

Yet, what is necessary is also something "[t]hat must be so; inevitable." Death is inevitable, a necessary consequence of being mortal, or rather – more seriously speaking – analytically inherent to the concept of mortality – and thus la condition humaine. Perhaps it is not simply incidental that mortality provides a classical example or the classical example of a premise in a syllogism ("Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Socrates is a mortal.") Death is an inevitable consequence of being born. "Inevitably determined or fixed by predestination or the operation of natural laws; happening or existing by an inherent necessity" (OED). And so on.

In the strictest "transcendental-phenomenological" sense of evidence, death is not "certain," however. No one can face death as a certainty inasmuch as we consider the situation from a purely egological perspective and lived experience. What is more, death does not belong in the sphere of ego cogito. Death never happens "to me," "in person," as an experience in the living present.

In Heidegger's terms, death is the possibility of impossibility. Death is indeed "necessary" (for Dasein), necessary and inevitable or necessary as inevitable, but only in this sense of possibility, an imminent possibility of the impossibility of "being there."

The gift of life is the gift of death. (I cordially recommend Saramago's The Gospel According to Jesus Christ for a heart-rendingly profound statement of this observation.) Inasmuch as "necessity" implies need, requisite, prerequisite, action to be taken, compulsory task, death is beyond necessity. It is none of our concern. It is something that's been taken care of. Birth and death lie beyond our powers. One's birth is an immemorable event – thus it is paradoxical to call it an event in the first place – and none of us lives to tell about their death, for one's own death is by definition something that will not be survived and does not allow for an afterlife. Birth and death are not life-events to be told in memoires.

If there is an afterlife, there is no death. If there is just life and no afterlife, there is no death, either, inasmuch as only that which can be experienced (and thus "survived," "in person") really is in a strongest sense of evidence.

* * *

We should continue by quoting and discussing Blanchot, but I shall leave that for another time.

"Another time" remains necessary. Another time, an other's time, always another. Always, ad infinitum.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Non-believer in first person singular

Someone said, "Even an atheist must believe in something." I am not sure about that – or let us say, I am not ready to believe that. But the term "atheism" is much too vague and generic. There are fundamentalists who consider themselves "free thinkers", advertising their own world view as a key to freedom, and I find such fundamentalism just as alien to myself as religious fundamentalism. I would characterize myself as a phenomenologist – even though I do not think I am professionally qualified to call myself that, having read only some Husserl and never visited the Archives, etc. – and I do not differentiate between being a phenomenologist and being a person. I am not obliged to have faith. I do not deny faith to myself, either: faith can be an "object of study" and I can reflect on the possibility of faith as a genuine possibility of my own (genuine, eigentlich, something of my own). Calling myself a "religious atheist" amounts to having a serious interest in questions of faith and religion but lacking faith myself.

Thank you, J. B.

A friend reminded me after reading my former post:
You are perhaps aware that the oldest manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark – the oldest canonical gospel – ended after 16:8 where the women discover Jesus' tomb to be empty and leave it in distress. "And they told ... no one anything; for they were afraid" (who is narrating this?)
Thank you J. B., I hope you don't mind me quoting you.


Writing: leaving the initiative to language (see Blanchot).

Language, a society without a subject and – thus – without society.

Without society: essential solitude? (See Blanchot.)

* * *

Religion, for an atheist: the only way to preserve mystery might be to affirm the kinship of faith and fiction (read again Derrida, La littérature au secret).

* * *

Being sociable, thanks to, and in spite of, language.

* * *

Speaking of love, I meant reading.

* * *

Reading you like an open book.

Open, like an abyss. Abyss: depthless.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Reprise – of more or less everything written below

Repeating myself, but this is important enough to be re-thought, reconsidered over and over, "always again only for once": An everyday encounter is an act of reading, not only metaphorically but rather in a quasi-metonymical fashion, because every true encounter takes place in remembrance of the secret of the poem, as I tend to rephrase what Paul Celan once wrote.

This is a sequel to the quick and whimsical note from last night, in which the adjectives "intriguing" and "cathartic" may have been quite misplaced. A sequel, also, to everything I have previously written in this weblog.

"Denn mein Herz gehört den Toten an!" (Hölderlin)

"My heart belongs to the dead!" exclaims Hölderlin in a poem written in April 1794. As any reader, perhaps, awakened to the dire reality of the living.

But isn't that the human condition par excellence? The condition of reading – loving that which is no more or perhaps never was, and still is – even more than what "really" is?

Love for the ephemeral. For that which will soon cease being. Any moment.

Love for God, too. For "God is dead". Don't we, the "Christians" (and I would always emphasize my "religious atheism"), actually love the God who became flesh, the perishable god, the Son of Man? The God who could always perish, and did, too. The Lovable God instead of the God to be Feared (I get no reasonable top Google results for "fearable"). The Suffering God instead of the Eternal and Immaculate.

Maybe this is just my perversion – as a non-believer – but the story of Good Friday as a non-happy end seems more intriguing and cathartic than its sequel, the story of resurrection, etc. etc.

* * *

Click on the thumbnail below to read Hölderlin's Griechenland (Apr. 1794) in Sattler's Bremen edition (Hölderlin, Sämtliche Werke, Briefe und Dokumente, ed. Sattler [München: Luchterhand, 2004], 26-28). I trust this fits within the rules of Fair Use. Sorry for the less than perfect quality of the scan.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Writing As Exposure

"Schreiben als Form des Gebets" – there is always someone to read you better than you do. Why else would you write, anyway?

An oblique reference to St. Augustine.

* * *
An oblique reference, mutatis mutandis, to Augustine's question "Why we confess what God already knows," cur confitemur deo scienti.

Cur confitemur deo scienti, the phrase cited by Derrida in his Circonfession, is the title added to The Confessions, Book XI, Chapter I:
XI.I. Cur confitemur deo scienti.

Numquid, domine, cum tua sit aeternitas, ignoras, quae tibi dico, aut ad tempus vides quod fit in tempore? Cur ergo tibi tot rerum narrationes digero? Non utique ut per me noveris ea, sed affectum meum excito in te et eorum, qui haec legunt, ut dicamus omnes: magnus dominus et laudabilis valde. Iam dixi et dicam: amore amoris tui facio istuc. Nam et oramus, et tamen veritas ait: Novit pater vester quid vobis opus sit, priusquam petatis ab eo. Affectum ergo nostrum patefacimus in te confitendo tibi miserias nostras et misericordias tuas super nos, ut liberes nos omnino, quoniam coepisti, ut desinamus esse miseri in nobis et beatificemur in te, quoniam vocasti nos, ut simus pauperes spiritu et mites et lugentes et esurientes ac sitientes iustitiam et misericordes et mundicordes et pacifici. Ecce narravi tibi multa, quae potui et quae volui, quoniam tu prior voluisti, ut confiterer tibi, domino deo meo, quoniam bonus es, quoniam in saeculum misericordia tua.

Trans. Edward P. Pusey:

Lord, since eternity is Thine, art Thou ignorant of what I say to Thee? or dost Thou see in time, what passeth in time? Why then do I lay in order before Thee so many relations? Not, of a truth, that Thou mightest learn them through me, but to stir up mine own and my readers’ devotions towards Thee, that we may all say, Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. I have said already; and again will say, for love of Thy love do I this. For we pray also, and yet Truth hath laid, Your Father knoweth what you have need of, before you ask. It is then our affections which we lay open unto Thee, confessing our own miseries, and Thy mercies upon us, that Thou mayest free us wholly, since Thou hast begun, that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves, and be blessed in Thee; seeing Thou hast called us, to become poor in spirit, and meek, and mourners, and hungering and athirst after righteousness, and merciful, and pure in heart, and peace-makers. See, I have told Thee many things, as I could and as I would, because Thou first wouldest that I should confess unto Thee, my Lord God. For Thou art good, for Thy mercy endureth for ever.
See also Book X, Ch. 2:
Neque enim dico recti aliquid hominibus, quod non a me tu prius audieris, aut etiam tu aliquid tale audis a me, quod non mihi tu prius dixeris.

Trans. Edward P. Pusey:

For neither do I utter any thing right unto men, which Thou hast not before heard from me; nor dost Thou hear any such thing from me, which Thou hast not first said unto me.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

"Multiple Choice" is an Insult Against Multiplicity

Every multiple choice questionnaire should quote a song title by Frank Zappa as the last option of each question: "None of the Above."

Otherwise the questionnaire will not pay heed to singularity, reluctance, and the possibility of its own failure.

Through such an addition, most multiple choice questionnaires would not become any worse than they already are, even if it would make them useless in case of the respondent's reluctance to submit to the ready-made anticipations.


  • Yes
  • No
  • None of the above

"My Life According to Frank Zappa"

Quoting my own Facebook self and "The Song Title Game" a.k.a. "My Life According to ...":

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 10 people or more (if you have time and want to do this) and include me. Try not to repeat a song title. Enjoy!

Pick Your Artist:
Frank Zappa
Are you male or female:
Man With the Woman Head
Describe yourself:
Jolly Good Fellow
How do you feel about yourself:
Harry, You’re a Beast
Describe where you currently live:
Motorhead's Midnight Ranch
If you could go anywhere you wanted to go:
The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue
Your favorite form of transportation:
Space Boogers
Your best friend is:
Lonesome Electric Turkey
Your favorite color is:
White Ugliness
Favorite time of day:
What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening?
If your life were a TV show, what would it be called:
You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here
What is life to you:
Aerobics in Bondage
What is the best advice you have to give:
Eat That Question
If you could change your name, what would it be:
Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus
Thought for the Day:
Jesus Thinks You’re a Jerk
How I would like to die:
G-Spot Tornado
My soul's present condition:
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask
My motto:
None of the Above

One of My Theses on Irony

Anyone who thinks he or she is using irony may be in danger of being used by it. You don't impose irony, you expose yourself to it. Especially when you make statements concerning irony.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A Couple of My Favourite Text Samples, No. 1

A footnote in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Essai sur l'origine des langues, towards the end of chapter V:

Punctuation, which does not have this defect, would be the best of such means if it were more complete. Why, for example, do we not have a vocative mark? The question mark, which we have, would be much less necessary, since a question is recognizable from its structure alone, at least in our language. Venez-vous and vous venez are not the same. But how is one to distinguish, in writing, between a man one mentions and a man one addresses. There really is an equivocation which would be eliminated by a vocative mark. The same equivocation is found in irony, when it is not made manifest by accent. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Essay on the Origin of Languages, trans. John H. Moran)
Le meilleur de ces moyens [qu’on prend, dans la langue écrit, pour suppléer à une langue accentuée], et qui n’aurait pas ce défaut, serait la ponctuation, si on l’eût laissée moins imparfaite. Pourquoi par exemple n’avons-nous pas ce point vocatif ? Le point interrogeant que nous avons était beaucoup moins nécessaire, car par la seule construction, on voit si l’on interroge ou si l’on n’interroge pas, au moins dans notre langue. « Venez-vous » et « vous venez » ne sont pas la même chose. Mais comment distinguer par écrit un homme qu’on nomme d’un homme qu’on appelle ? C’est là au moins une équivoque qu’eût levée le point vocatif. La même équivoque se trouve dans l’ironie quand l’accent ne se fait pas sentir.

Rousseau, whose use of irony is very delicate – infinitely more delicate than Voltaire's, as you must notice if you read their famous correspondence on Rousseau's apparently naïve idea of the "return to nature" – must be aware of the fact that irony, the only irony worthy of its name, is the one that is not immediately recognizable as such, i.e. qui ne se fait pas sentir. Therefore the only plausible way to read the footnote, and especially its final sentence, is to suspect irony in it (only to "suspect", because there is no way to confirm the presence of irony, inasmuch as it is true irony and not just mockery).


Internal link / Cross reference

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Caricature as Portraying Singularity

In order that a snapshot can have the quality of portrait, it must have something of the nature of caricature. Caricature is precisely the anti-snapshot, capturing something that is not simply momentary or even ephemeral, but characteristic: something that stays the same in different observations of a person's movements and gestures and facial expressions.

Yet, the singularity – the one that we strangely feel that we can observe – can be such that it can only be captured in a fleeting moment, drawn in a quick sketch or captured in a snapshot.

The object of our observation, the model herself, might not recognize the enduring nature of that observation, however. It might be alien to her own self-image or rather self-experience, even when everybody else, nous autres hommes, would confirm its vraisemblance.

– – –

Exposure time might be the question.

A case in point, or perhaps an antitype (an exception to prove the rule, as outlined above), the famous daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe, by W.S. Hartshorn (1848):

Some pictures make caricatures futile.

Tode ti – a quick note

Taking a shower, I thought I should write this down...

Singularity is, in temporal terms, not always the same as uniqueness. The singular (tode ti, in Aristotelian terms, "the this" or rather "some this") is the undefinable, beyond species or particular forms (eide) and their differentiae specificae (diaphorai). It is that which resists the temporal changes as well as universality. It is their support (subject, substratum, hypokeimenon), the guarantee of presence as beingness or "thingness" (ousia, translatable as essentia), but at the same time, beyond the presence of particulars and universals.

Thus, the Aristotelian notion of presence both supports the "metaphysics of presence" and points beyond it, to the undefinable singularity – which could be also ephemeral and not necessarily eternal.

Yet, this does not contradict the fact that Aristotle's quest is one for permanence, permanent presence as a guarantee of being.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Oh! you slogan-blogan you!

"The music is out there – just listen."


Wannabe copywriter? Roby critter, creepy rotter, crappy rutter, woppy crater? Copybe wannawriter? Wannawry copybeater? Copywanna writerbe? Bewanna crottywiper?

Oh! you slogan-blogan you!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Listening Lessons

Musique concrète is, among other things, a school of listening, and of phenomenology in concreto.

Xenakis Concret PH - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

(The composition is "Concret PH" [1958] by Iannis Xenakis. I guess the clever picture montage for the YouTube video was made by unholy1988 – not sure about that, though.)

Learning to listen to the music of the world is not completely different from recognizing the originarily poetic nature of real-life encounters: "Every real encounter is also a remembrance of the secret of the poem [jede wirkliche Begegnung [ist] auch Erinnerung an das Geheimnis des Gedichts]" (Paul Celan). The poem refers to the "real life" experience only since "real life" encounters themselves bear reference to "the secret of the poem".

The music is out there – just listen.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Staccato & legato

My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold

by William Wordsworth

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Cf. one variant of Celan's quote of Malebranche through Benjamin's essay on Kafka:
Aufmerksamkeit ist das natürliche Frömmigkeit der Seele.
Here, Frömmigkeit instead of Gebet, piety instead of prayer: "Attention is the natural piety of the soul."*

* The variant is quoted in my Counter-figures, p. 177, note 364; Wordsworth's poem is copied from

Sat on the balcony...

... and listened to the swifts' wings beating as they dove near enough, in their endless quest for the aerial plankton.

Only that and nothing more?

Struggling not to lose the contiguity between heart beat and wing beat.

And the ear drum.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Saturnian Indigestion Revisited

"Faith No More", July 7th, 2009, Tehran Bureau:
No matter how much you abhor the acts of a mass of young people 30 years ago, their resilience and strength was admirable. They withstood years of persecution and brutal confrontations. We must both learn from them, and outsmart them because they already know all the rules.
The ambivalence of the new "mass of young people", another generation, towards the revolutionary legacy ("abhor [...] admirable [...] learn from them, and outsmart them"), should wipe out the outsider's possible cynicism concerning the history, present and future of the Iranian revolution – as a revolution of revolutions, hopefully a movement towards democracy.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Saturnian Indigestion

Quoting Dantons Tod via Wikiquote (Findagains Wake, indeed):
"Die Revolution ist wie Saturn, sie frißt ihre eignen Kinder." - Dantons Tod, 1. Akt, 5. Szene / Danton. Der diesem Zitat zugrunde liegende Ausspruch stammt von Pierre Vergniaud
"The revolution is like Saturn, it devours its own children." But reading this quote, we must remember what actually happened to Saturn – or Kronos (Cronus), a name with the famous assonance with Chronos – and his children. They did not stay too long in his stomach. What revolves tends to return (see my post right below – the previous or the next one, depending on whether you look at it from a weblog writer's or a reader's perspective).
... and he vomited up first the stone which he had swallowed last. (Hesiod, Theogony 453, trans. Evelyn-White)
Just imagine the pyrosis. The heartburn when you have a heart of stone.

Return of the Repressed

The revolution may always eat its children, but what revolves tends to return.

Read from TehranBureau the article ending with the following:
While the outcome is unpredictable, what is certain is that the 70% of Iranian citizens under the age of 30 are children of the revolution; the experience is in their blood. I recall a quote from a protester outside London’s Iranian Embassy:

‘As children of the revolution we have been conditioned to be revolutionaries. We grew up with the glorification of revolutionary songs, slogans, political graffiti, and stories of fearless characters standing up to the Shah’s army to topple the regime. While these were fed to us as propaganda of the Islamic regime, what they don’t realize is that they’ve trained us to revolt for what we believe in and now we’re putting all those years of revolutionary fervour into practice. The fearlessness Iranians now show towards the police, the slogans and perseverance in pursuing their cause, are all building towards something — we can’t go back from here, only forward.’

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

A "video comment" of sorts:

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Ho eros pollachos legetai

I am enjoying this game – writing weblog entries according to the default arrangement, new entries first and then you can scroll down for previous posts – an inverted chronology, which requires an untraditional writing technique of sorts. The narrative unfolds differently. I will try not to edit the old posts too much and refrain from adding all those "P.S." and "P.P.S." self-commentaries.

In any case, I continue with the Love theme.

All You Need Is Love – the point of this quote is not that all the different and even antagonistic aspects or types of love add up into a generic universal Love, an Idea of love that serves as a governing principle, an arche-eros or arche-agape. Rather, I would introduce, even here, the Aristotelian notion of analogy – but without the presupposition of an arche that governs the heterogeny of love or loves and provides a definition (logos) for all different acceptations (pollachos legetai).

Not Just Hippy Love

Still talkin' 'bout love... It is not always happy, exclusively positive or constructive; there is possessive love, sadism, an ability to enjoy violence (at least on film or other forms of art and entertainment – but such an "aesthetic" enjoyment seems to presuppose some dark sympathy) and "understand" murderers: an understanding that is not pity but a horrifying recognition, in their deeds, of some gruesome affinities with one's own latent abilities...

Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto
. So let us not forget the dark side of love.

All You Need Is Love – maybe so, but perhaps only if you're willing to accept its many entangled aspects, beginning with the connection between Love and Need.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Another quick morning note (scroll down for more) – reviewed in the afternoon

Love as judgment is love that does not exclude critical distance or irony. "I don't hate you, I hate the way you are, instead of what you could be." Isn't this the way love can be seen as a political, democratic principle?

The "idea" I am referring to is not about imposing one's "own ideas" ("fixed" or not) on the other, or phantasms and utopias, but about maintaining a conversation – an "ideal" community is an open community, just as Aufklärung is not a status quo already reached or to be reached within a finite stretch of time, but reason's constant submission to self-criticism (my own reformulation of Kant's notion of enlightenment).

All I can do in such a quick, brief note is to indicate Derrida's work on forgiveness... some passages towards the end of Husserl's Cartesian Meditations... and more.

On Love and Understanding (a very quick morning note)

The power (Vermögen) of understanding presupposes the power of love (Mögen) and not the other way around. You can only what you will: you are only able to understand that which you are able to love. Understanding is not – or need not be – a total comprehension, possession, grasping without a remainder that which is to be understood, but a movement towards the other, towards that which remains to be understood but perhaps never totally grasped.

There is, of course, the kind of "cultivation of intimacy" that ensures a total merging of horizons, because the act already presupposed a shared horizon in the first place, a common code.

But love is – or can be – judgment. Love does not "evaluate" but it judges, having "an idea" of what the other could be, has been or may still become, beyond that which he or she is at the moment, beyond all the deeds and symptoms and indications.

Such an "idea" is – or need be – nothing determinate, not a specific content, not a "logos" in the sense of definition, but an indeterminate "possibility" (Möglichkeit), a movement towards that which is "lovable" in the other (be it human or not, animate or inanimate), but not as some "reason" – love is not a matter of "reason" or "reasons".

"I love you because..." is a horrible way to start.

P.S. I don't make references here to Heidegger's texts, for example, and I am not offering any kind of interpretation of his thought on Mögen and Möglichkeit. This quick note, written on a summer morning in a small cottage by the sea, listening to birds singing, is rather intended as a working hypothesis and thus a beginning of a dialogue to come, an incipit of understanding.

P.P.S. I wrote that "you are only able to understand that which you are able to love", but I must add that the ability to love does not exclude actual hate – or frustration, or disappointment in the status quo.

P.P.P.S. (July 1) Instead of "hate" I should probably have written "anger".

"Angry young men", for instance, are those who have a sense of injustice, and that implies a love for justice, even when justice remains beyond presence (epekeina tes ousias).

Friday, 26 June 2009

On Music as a Form of Silence, Again...

Maybe music is paused conversation?

By suggesting that, I'm already interrupting the interruption...

Led Zeppelin: "Communication Breakdown", via YouTube.

"Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar" is a Zappa title – his "lyrics" are not simply statements or participation in an argument – they are part of his music and not political rhetoric.

On Political “Leadership” – and Support Instead of “Followership”

In democracy there is no one voice that leads the nation – the voice of a leader, or a unanimous will of the people, or even a majority’s consent that has its chosen representatives – but a polyphony, polylogy of voices. There is even a silence to be listened to, the reverse side of the essential freedom of expression, namely the freedom not to “express”, a freedom to say nothing: an artistic freedom that is not just another form of communication, not another way of making statements and performative speech acts.

Quoting Al Jazeera: “While the broad-based protests have focused on the legitimacy of the entire presidential election, most of the demonstrators are supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's main challenger in the poll” (Wednesday, June 24, 2009). I wonder if that is completely accurate, if it is as simple as that. The green colour was originally Mousavi's campaign colour, but I am convinced it has become more than that. Or at least, the accuracy of the formulation depends on how we understand “support”.

When it is a question of democracy, the mandate – or whatever it should be called – is not handed down by some leader but handed upwards, with all the weight of responsibility that comes with the “symbolic” role. This is why Mousavi can be called – without pejorative or belittling intentions – a “symbol” or a “leader” in spite of himself (héros malgré lui – cf. Le Figaro, June 22, 2009).

Support can be a token of solidarity for those who will not tolerate undemocratic repression, giving the mandate but not yielding, not abandoning themselves to a “ruler”, I believe. Not being the “followers” of a “leader” but perhaps “supporters” in a totally other sense. The distinction is delicate and in constant danger of being effaced, but it should be kept clear.

The difference is, as far as I can see, that in democracy – a democracy to come, always a democracy to come – we are not following a “chosen leader”, but as voters and as citizens, we can be supporters of our representatives, supporters handing “up” something loaded with responsibility. A mandate to be constantly evaluated. Democracy as a constant “crisis”, in the sense of critical evaluation of the mandate, freedom to criticize and a freedom to re-evaluate, without the fear of repression and violence.

Monday, 22 June 2009

See Kafka – or below – for the original formula...

Musik als Form des Schweigens.

A Sleepless Night's Decision

I finally decided to publish this "Cultivation of Intimacy" and imported the more recent weblog,* "Rajan repi päristäen? N. N. ja eräs pirteä pari?" (the title, in Finnish, consists of two anagrams of my name). See below for the topsy-turvy chronology of the unfolding of this combined blog* and the pre-history of the decision.

* The online editor application underlines the word "weblog" with red dots, meaning it does not recognize it as an English term, while "blog" seems to be alright. That's funny, because "blog" is originally a "contraction of the term 'weblog'" (Wikipedia).

Thursday, 7 May 2009

"Realistic fallacies" – a couple of quick notes

1. The thought that literary or artistic realism means describing reality "as it is", objectively and "as such". Did any writer ever seriously and without any reservations think he or she could do that? The heterogeneous abundance of "the real world" cannot be captured as such; selection and decision are always needed as to what are the details to be portrayed, and which is the significance of each, and which method of description is to be chosen, or how to "filter through oneself" the reality to which one is subjected.

2. Another aspect of the same. The idea that realism (in arts and literature) is actually impossible, because while its objective is to portray reality directly and without significant intervention on the artist's part, there is no common reality, only various subjective realities. This notion is a confused relativism and a – either sophomoric or preconceived – misunderstanding of what "postmodernism" (whatever that is) and "deconstruction" (whatever that is thought to be) are trying to argue. We should read our Derridas more carefully and begin with his early work on phenomenology (on Husserl, and also the critical essay on Levinas) – the deconstruction of logocentrism is far from being a refutation of all objectivity and intersubjectivity – rather, Derrida shows how writing is actually the precondition of objectivity and intersubjectivity, and that the living presence incarnated in "hearing oneself speak" is actually menaced, haunted by the form of absence that is implied by writing – and thus by that which makes objectivity and intersubjectivity possible, at the cost of dissolving the living presence! It is a shared reality indeed, and this constitutes an essential tension between "the world" and "the origin of the world", which is in each case unique – deconstruction is not a form of refutation but a way to affirm aporia and undecidability, to keep the tension alive.

Instead of "reality" as such, an artist's object or her subject matter is "the reality of experience", as for Stephen Dedalus, to "encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of [his] soul the uncreated conscience of [his] race" – you can replace the word "race" with "generation" if you will, as Eliot did.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

How to confront ethnocentrism?

My today's – or tonight's – thesis, to be defended in more detail later: Ethnocentrism cannot be refuted efficiently by oversimplifying it. The nationalist or ethnocentrist argument often begins with the sentence "I am not a racist..." (or, as in a Monty Python sketch, "I am not a racialist! But..."). In a certain sense, I tend to accept that claim, even though I know how easy it would be just to smirk at it. I tend to accept it because the concept of racism has become void of all precise content: as far as I know, racism used to be connected with a certain biologism and a belief in substantial differences between "races". No one seriously believes in racism any longer, in that sense, or at least professes such belief publicly (although there are notable exceptions to prove this rule). Ethnocentrism and nationalism need not even signify a belief in the intrinsic superiority of one's own nation or ethnic group. Rather, they seem to be founded on a certain notion of cultural "rootedness" that can very well subscribe to the idea of equality of different nations and ethnicities – a belief in a homestead, fatherland that is the best place for any nation to live their lives. A certain apparently rational myth of autochtony and an argument for monoculturalism...

P.S. I almost instantly begin commenting on my own text – but I suppose "Work in Progress" is all right for a weblog... So, here is a footnote: Ethnocetrism is not a hierarchy of one-over-the-others, but a belief in a "centre", a concentric nationality and ethnicity, one land and one language (or maybe a couple: we have "our own minorities", those that our fathers already learned to "tolerate"...).

P.P.S. "Tolerate" in inverted commas – why? Well, I remember Derrida saying in an interview that "toleration" is actually an insult. I agree on that: the notion of toleration implies a condescending attitude, a hierarchy between majority and minority, "same" and "other", concentric and eccentric. To be sure, "toleration" might not be the worst kind of attitude, but it's still a questionable form of ethnocentrism, I'm afraid.

How to confront ethnocentrism?

My today's – or tonight's – thesis, to be defended in more detail later: Ethnocentrism cannot be refuted efficiently by oversimplifying it. The nationalist or ethnocentrist argument often begins with the sentence "I am not a racist..." (or, as in a Monty Python sketch, "I am not a racialist! But..."). In a certain sense, I tend to accept that claim, even though I know how easy it would be just to smirk at it. I tend to accept it because the concept of racism has become void of all precise content [later: that's rubbish]: as far as I know, racism used to be connected with a certain biologism and a belief in substantial differences between "races". No one seriously believes in racism any longer, in that sense, or at least professes such belief publicly (although there are notable exceptions to prove this rule). Ethnocentrism and nationalism need not even signify a belief in the intrinsic superiority of one's own nation or ethnic group. Rather, they seem to be founded on a certain notion of cultural "rootedness" that can very well subscribe to the idea of equality of different nations and ethnicities – a belief in a homestead, fatherland that is the best place for any nation to live their lives. A certain apparently rational myth of autochtony and an argument for monoculturalism...

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A/ Still-born generation/s

Video: Can, "Mushroom" (Tago Mago, 1971), courtesy of YouTube (here's the MTV version; unfortunately I don't know the director, etc.)

When I saw
Mushroom Head
I was born
And I was dead

This is how the refrain goes, as I hear it (no "a" before "mushroom head").

As I see it, it is "about" being part of a still-born generation. Even I am that, even though I was born in 1968 and not for instance 1945 (or 1950 as Damo Suzuki). Part of a generation or generations marked by a profound distrust against our "fathers" (maybe also "mothers") and humanity "in general". A generation — or generations — of despair, but a shared despair, one that has to be "given" ("I'm gonna give my despair" is how I hear the other refrain; some have heard it otherwise).

Saying it is "about" that does not mean that I guess this is what Suzuki and Can "wanted to say" with their song (even though I'm quite convinced it is not, or at least not exclusively, about "'shrooms" or any of that hippy-go-lucky scene — listen to the next track on Tago Mago, "Oh Yeah", beginning with an explosion and sung partly in Japanese, and decide for yourself).

P.S. It brings to my mind Beckett and his Pozzo:
They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more. [Elles accouchent à cheval sur une tombe, le jour brille un instant, puis c'est la nuit à nouveau.]
Is "dead" just a metaphor, then? Well — it most often is, as Blanchot might say — being mortal means being unable to die, because the ability to die and to be mortal "ends" with what we call "death" and what Heidegger calls "the possibility of impossibility", the ever-imminent possibility that all possibilities become impossible.

No one knows what it's like to be dead, "literally" and in person, and yet we "know" the death of the others, all too well perhaps. Mort galore (I know this combines French and Irish, but I guess that suits the context).

Did someone say "Death died in Auschwitz" or am I just hearing voices?

P.P. S. And maybe it's the mentioned distrust, a distrust against "common opinion", that encourages "ambiguous messages" — and laconic comments, too? I would not ask the artist "Am I right? Is this what you wanted to say?" It's an artist's privilege to be reticent about his/her "message", even to give away authorship ("I'm gonna give my despair" is also ambiguous, a "Gift" indeed, if you add the German significations to the English).

P.P.P.S. About the "'shrooms" — I know it's also a generation of hallusinogenetics, all kinds of escape from the shadows of all kinds of clouds and all kinds of "values" that have become questionable, to say the least.

P.P.P.P.S. (Added August 27, 2009) Listening to the Jesus and Mary Chain's cover of the song, I realized they sing "I gotta keep my distance." I prefer "I'm gonna give my despair" – and that's what I hear Damo singing...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

"Spring" ("Kevät", 1947) by Lauri Viita

I thought I might as well share this translation of a poem by Lauri Viita (1916-1965).

Räntäseula seudun päällä,
saappaan alla lotinaa,
lantajuova järven jäällä —
kesä tulee, ihanaa!

Upon the field — a sieve of sleet —
Slush is splashing underboot.
Upon the lake — a dungy strake —
'Twill be summer — wonderful!


Maybe "dungy strake" (a previous version had a word rhyming with "sleet") calls for a commentary, in view of the non-Finnish-speaking readership? Back in the day, fertilizer — manure, dung — used to be transported, in early spring, to the fields with sley across the ice (we have ca. 60.000 lakes in Finland). "Strake" is a synonym of "streak" ("strake" rhymes with "lake").

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Realisms, objectivity, and the relativism of subjectivities

Tous les écrivains pensent être réalistes. (Alain Robbe-Grillet.)
It's not a question of realism being faithful to objectivity while experience is always subjective. This is a sophomoric misunderstanding.

In art, it is not a question of imitating or representing reality, but of presenting, producing or reproducing an experience. An experience is not like a snapshot, a photograph in a newspaper, capturing objects as neutrally as possible.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Inaccomplished separations

Reading Blanchot's L'écriture du désastre in intervals, long intervals, and this time I come across these words (on pp. 96, 97):
Les fragments s'écrivent comme séparations inaccomplies; [...]

[...] les faisant persister de par leur inachèvement, toujours prêts alors à se laisser travailler par la raison infatigable, au lieu de rester la parole déchue, mise à part, le secret sans secret que nulle élaboration ne saurait remplir.

[...] ces paroles semblent-elles avoir besoin d'êtres reprises, répétées, pour échapper au sens qui les anime et afin d'êtres détournées d'elles-mêmes, du discours qui les utilise?
This fragmentation or re-fragmentation of fragments is not meant as cheap witticism, just as indications of places to be re-read with care.

The difficulty of commenting on Blanchot is double-edged: either you don't understand or you understand too well in order to "explain" or write commentaries: the words hit the mark with so much precision it is impossible to add anything to their clarity.

It is also useless for me to comment on this "arrogance" of my own. Those who think such a comment without a comment has no substance whatsoever will not be persuaded, no matter what.

"... persister de par leur inachèvement ...": that's to insist.