On the Dark Side: A “Fluxus Eleatis” Discourse

3
4
views

Ludwig Wittgenstein: “In a conversation: one person throws a ball; the other does not know whether he is supposed to throw it back, or throw it to a third person, or leave it on the ground, or pick it up and put it in his pocket,…Any interpretation still hangs in the air along with what it interprets, and cannot give it any support. Interpretations by themselves do not determine meaning.”

Socrates: So it is that the good man too could sometimes become bad, either through age or toil or disease or some misfortune – for doing badly is nothing other than being deprived of knowledge – but the bad man could never become bad – for he is bad all the time – but if he is to become bad he must first become good.

MM: Are you a good man?

Mr. FFF: I am good and bad at the same time. And not because of lack of knowledge.

Mrs. T: Are you then disagreeing with Socrates?

Mr. FFF: Good and bad is only one of the “dialectical” dichotomies of man. Others being: reason / faith,  bright / dark, rational / irrational, sacred / profane, Apollonian / Dionysian, nature / culture. Dialectics dictate that both sides are taken together, and dealt with as a whole.

Friedrich Nietzsche: Every human embodies a compound of nature and culture, chaos and order, instinct and reason… symbolised by Dionysus and Apollo.

Mrs. T: What are the origins of bad, of the dark side? Was man in the past a unitary entity? How did this dichotomy of bright and dark come about?

Mr. FFF (Reads from Genesis): “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made and he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’  And the woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said you shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die.’  And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die for God knows in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate.  She gave also to her husband with her and he ate.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked.  And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”

St. Augustine: We took away an enormous quantity of pears, not to eat them ourselves, but simply to throw them to the pigs. Perhaps we ate some of them, but our real pleasure consisted in doing something that was forbidden. .. the evil in me was foul, but I loved it. I loved my own perdition and my own faults, not the things for which I committed wrong, but the wrong itself. My soul was vicious and broke away from your (God’s) safe keeping to seek its own destruction, looking for no profit in disgrace but only for disgrace itself.

Mrs. T: Surely the Judeo-Christian view is not the only one.

Mr. FFF: Of course not. To take an example, daemons were benevolent spirits in the time of Hesiod. It was Plato and his pupil Xenocrates, who first characterized daemons as dangerous spirits. This was later absorbed by the Christians.

Mrs. T: Is the dark side a moral construct?

Mr. FFF: The dark side is a multifaceted construct. It has moral and religious connotations to say the least.

MM: The seductress of Juliette claimed immediately after the act that morality and religion are meaningless.

Mr. FFF: Lets put two of the prominent “dark side” attributes on the table: sin and evil.

MM: Juliette’s aim in life is to to enjoy oneself at no matter whose expense. What is the meaning of sin and evil for Juliette?

Clairwil: I expect Juliette to do evil – not to quicken her lust, as I believe is her habit at present, but solely for the pleasure of doing it…one must proceed calmly, deliberately, lucidly. Crime is the torch that should fire the passions.

Mephistopheles: Das beste, das du wissen kannst, / Darfst du den Buben doch nichts sagen.

(Mephistopheles: The best of what you know may not, after all, be told to boys.)

Georges Battaile: Sexual reproductive activity is common to sexual animals and men, but only men appear to have turned their sexual activity into erotic activity. Eroticism, unlike simple sexual activity, is a psychological quest independent of the natural goal: reproduction and the desire for children…Eroticism always entails a breaking down of established patterns, the patterns, I repeat, of the regulated social order basic to our discontinuous mode of existence.

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Reads from “The Diary of the War of the Pigs”): “Την κοιτουσε απο κοντα. Καρφωνε το βλεμμα του στα χειλη, στις λεπτομερειες της επιδερμιδας, στο λαιμο, στα χερια που του φαινοντουσαν εκφραστικα και μυστηριωδη. Ξαφνικα καταλαβε πως αν δεν τη φιλουσε, η στερηση θα ηταν ανυποφορη. Ειπε μεσα του: “Ειμαι τρελος”. Κι επανελαβε πως αν την φιλουσε, θα κατεστρεφε ολη αυτη την τρυφεροτητα, που τοσο αυθορμητα του προσφερε εκεινη. Θα εκανε ισως τη λαθος κινηση, που θα την απογοητευε και θα τον εμφανιζε σαν ενα ατομο χωρις ευαισθησια, ανικανο να ερμηνευσει σωστα μαι πραξη γενναιοδωριας, σαν ενα υποκριτη που παριστανε τον καλο, ενω μεσα του κοχλαζουν οι χυδαιες ορεξεις, σαν εναν ανοητο που τολμα να τις εκφρασει. Σκεφτηκε: “Αυτο δε μου συνεβαινε αλλοτε” (και ειπε μεσα του πως αυτο το σχολιο του ειχε γινει πια εμμονη ιδεα). “Σε μια παρομοια κατασταση εγω θα ημουν ενας αντρας μπροστα σε μια γυναικα, ενω τωρα…” Κι αν τωρα εκανε λαθος; Αν εχανε εξαιτιας μιας αγιατρευτης ντροπαλοσυνης την καλυτερη ευκαιρια; Γατι να μη δει τα πραγματα απλα, να μην αφησει τον εαυτο του να καταλαβει πως η Ν κι εκεινος…”

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Reads from “The Diary of the War of the Pigs”): He was watching her from a close distance. His stare was penetrating her lips, the details of her skin, the neck, the hands, mysterious and ever so expressive. He told himself: ” I am mad”. And repeated that if he were to kiss her, he would destroy all the tenderness that she was so spontaneously offering to him. He might make the wrong move, that would disappoint her and present him in her eyes as a person without sensitivity, unable to interpret correctly an act of generosity, like an hypocrite who was pretending to be good, while inside him burn all sorts of vile desires, like a fool who dares express them. He thought: “this was not happening to me in the past” (and told himself that this was becoming now a persistent thought). “In a similar situation in the past, I would be a man in front of a woman, while now…” And if he were wrong? If  because of this incurable shyness he was to miss the best chance? Why not see things in the simple way, not let himself understand that N and himself…”

Michel Foucault: …transgression is not related to the limit as black is to white […] the outside to the inside […] their relationship takes the form of a spiral which no simple infraction can exhaust…sexuality is a fissure – not one which surrounds us as the basis of our isolation or individuality, but one which marks the limit within us and designates us as a limit…transgression and the limit has replaced the older dichotomy of the sacred and the profane.

Marlow: And perhaps in this is the whole difference; perhaps all the wisdom and all the truth, all the sincerity, are just compresses into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold of the invisible.

Brother Medardus: One morning when I was going to the choirmaster for my music lesson, I caught his sister by surprise in a light negligee, her breast almost completely bare. She swiftly covered it up, but my prying eyes had already seen too much. Words failed me. New, unknownfeelings welled up within me and drove the red-hot blood through my veins so that my pulse beat out loud for all to hear. My heart was held in a convulsive grip and nearly bursting, until I eased my torment with a gentle sigh.
Georges Bataille:  …eroticism fell within the bounds of the profane and was at the same time condemned out of hand. The development of eroticism is parallel with that of uncleaness. Sacredness misunderstood is readily identified with evil.
Michel Foucault: If it is extremely dangerous to say that reason is the enemy that should be eliminated, it is just as dangerous to say that any critical questioning of this rationality risks sending us into irrationality… if critical thought itself has a function…it is precisely to accept this sort of spiral, this sort of revolving door of rationality that refers us to its necessity… and at the same time to its intrinsic dangers.

Mr. FFF: The spiral negates the dichotomy. A new paradigm is born. I am a descendant of Gerard de Nerval.
Friedrich Nietzsche:…morality takes good and evil for realities that contradict one another (not as complementary value concepts,which would be true), it advises taking the side of the good, it desires that the good should renounce and oppose the evil down to its ultimate roots – it therefore denies life which has in all its instincts both Yes and No.
Alexander Nehamas: The essential unity of what we commonly distinguish as good and evil is one of the most central themes in Nietzsche’s writing.
Georges Bataille:  If they want to elevate sexuality above its organic matrix and turn it into a spiritual activity, human beings cannot but conceive erotism as a gateway to death and the diabolical. The taking over of evil is an extreme and sovereign value. This process would not require the excision of morality, rather it would bring forth a higher level morality, an a-theological “hypermorality”.


Marlow: We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.
Mr. Kurtz: The Horror, the Horror!
Marlow: I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.
Friedrich Nietzsche: It is with people as it is with the trees. The more they aspire to the height and light, the more strongly do their roots strive earthward, downward, into the dark, the deep – into evil.
Marlow: The mind of man is capable of anything – because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future… Droll thing life is – that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself – that comes too late – a crop of unextinguishable regrets.
Friedrich Nietzsche: Human beings need what is most evil in them for what is best in them… whatever is most evil is their best power and the hardest stone for the highest creator… human beings must become better and more evil.

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Reads from “The Diary of the War of the Pig”): “Πιστεψε πως δεν ειχε πια ουτε δυναμεις ουτε ψευδαισθησεις για ν’αντεξει τη ζωη. Η φιλια ηταν αδιαφορη, ο ερωτας ποταπος και απιστος και το μονο που περισσευε ηταν το μισος. … του περασε απο το μυαλο μια λυση που αξιζε τον κοπο να την μελετησει κανεις¨το ιδιο του το χερι, οπλισμενο μ’ ενα φανταστικο ρεβολβερ να τον σημαδευει στον κροταφο.”

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Reads from “The Diary of the War of the Pig”): Adolfo Bioy Casares (Reads from “The Diary of the War of the Pig”): “He felt that he no longer had any powers or illusions to stay alive. Friendship was indifferent and love unworthy and vile and the only thing in abundance was hatred… a solution emerged in his mind to be further explored “his own hand, armed with a imagined revolver, aiming his temple”.

Participants

Georges Battaile, French writer and philosopher

Adolfo Bioy Casares, Argentine writer

Clairwil, character in de Sade’s “Juliette”

Mr. FFF, wanderer

Michel Foucault, French philosopher

Mr. Kurtz, half-English, half-French, ivory merchant and commander of a trading post

Marlow, main character in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Brother Medardus, a Capuchin Friar

Mephistopheles

MM, partner

Alexander Nehamas, professor of philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

Socrates, Greek philosopher

Mrs. T, unknown ethinicity, gourmant

3 COMMENTS

  1. Το πρόβλημα του δυισμού είναι τόσο παλιό όσο και η σκέψη. Είναι μάλλον η αδυναμία μας να σκεφτούμε τον χρόνο. Αντί αυτού σκεφτόμαστε σε άχρονες οντότητες, ξεχνώντας ότι η ίδια η γλώσσα στερητικά παράγει από τον χρόνο το ά-χρονο δηλώνοντας ότι αληθεύει ο χρόνος και λανθάνει η αχρονία, η αιωνιότητα. Ο δυισμός δεν είναι έκπτωση από την αχρονία, αλλά από τον χρόνο, τον σύνδεσμο δηλαδή των πόλων του δυισμού, της αλήθειας του είναι.

    Οι ιδρυτές της σκέψης ο Παρμενίδης (ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι, μηδὲν δ’ οὐκ ἔστιν) και ο Ηράκλειτος άφησαν σαφές μήνυμα κατά του δυισμού και της αλήθειας του χρόνου (Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει). Δυστυχώς δεν τους ακούσαμε αλλά εκπέσαμε στην παρα-μυθία των δογμάτων οι λόγιοι και των θεωριών συνωμοσίας οι άλογοι.

  2. in other words… “ἐπάμεροι: τί δέ τις; τί δ᾽ οὔ τις; σκιᾶς ὄναρ
    ἄνθρωπος. ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν αἴγλα διόσδοτος ἔλθῃ,
    λαμπρὸν φέγγος ἔπεστιν ἀνδρῶν καὶ μείλιχος αἰών”… ΄
    ή εμένα προσωπικά αυτό μου θυμίσατε… καλό βράδυ!

    • «Πολλά τα δεινά κουδέν ανθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει…» Αντιγονη του Σοφοκλεους

Comments are closed.