Studies in Literature and Science
published in association with the Society for Literature and Science

Editorial Board

Chair: N. Katherine Hayles, University of California, Los Angeles
James J. Bono, State University of New York at Buffalo Clifford Geertz, Institute for Advanced Study Mark L. Greenberg, Drexel University Evelyn Fox Keller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Bruno Latour, Ecole Nationale Superieur des Mines, Paris Stephen J. Weininger, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Titles in the series

T ransgressive Readings: The Texts ofFranz Kafka and Max Planck
by Valerie D. Greenberg

A Blessed Rage for Order: Deconstructionism, Evolution, and Chaos
by Alexander J. Argyros

Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics
by Michael Joyce

The Artificial Paradise: Science Fiction and American Reality
by Sharona Ben-Tov

Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time
by Michel Serres with Bruno Latour

Genesis by Michel Serres The Natural Contract by Michel Serres Dora Marsden and Early Modernism: Gender, Individualism, Science
by Bruce Clarke

The Meaning of Consciousness by Andrew Lohrey The Troubadour ofKnowledge by Michel Serres


The Troubadour of Knowledge

Translated by Sheila Faria Glaser with William Paulson

Ann Arbor


Title. without the written permission of the publisher. stored in a retrieval system.E679T53 1 3 194-dc21 . 1997 97-8493 CIP The publisher is grateful for a partial subvention for translation from the French Ministry of Culture. p.(Studies in literature and science) II. . Michel. or transmitted in any form or by any means. cm. with William Paulson. Series. electronic.) 1. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Serres.English translation copyright © by the University of Michigan 1997 Originally published in French as Le Tiers-lnstruit © by Fran<. ISBN 0-472-09551-X. A elP catalog record for this book is available from the British Library. [Tiers-instruit.ois Bourin 1991 All rights reserved Published in the United States of America by The University of Michigan Press Manufactured in the United States of America @ Printed on acid-free paper 2000 1999 1998 1997 4 3 2 1 No part of this publication may be reproduced. or otherwise.ISBN 0-472-06551-3 (pbk. English] The troubadour of knowledge / Michel Serres: translated by Sheila Faria Glaser. PQ2679. . mechanical.

Emmanuelle.For Anne-Marie. and Stephanie .


Philosophos.Philomuthos. ARISTOTLE . philomuthos pas. philosophos pas.


knowledge. "The Third-Instructed. would have made an unappealing and perplexing book title. "Le Tiers-Instruit"-literally." It refers. and philosophy are linked to travel. Throughout the text. The connection to the poet-musi­ cians who traveled through medieval Provence is made explicit in the second part of the book in the section entitled "Another Name for the Third-Instructed: Troubadour." "third world. "the third-instructed (one)" or "the instructed third"-parallels. "The Troubadour of Knowledge" was chosen to reflect Michel Serres's identification of the third-instructed with the figure of the troubadour. learning." however. In the text." and "excluded third." . and to the felicitous use of language. we have generally translated this phrase literally. to seeking and encountering. in French. to the subject of a third kind of instruction outside the dominant first two: outside sci­ entific and literary education.Translators' Note The French title of this book. to the intersection of genres and disciplines. such well-known expressions as "third estate. his equation of learning and knowing with finding and inventing. then. or the natural and human sciences.


Contents Priface xiii UPbringing 1 Instruction 35 Education 113 .


it strides on a red carpet. A motley composite made of pieces. identical in every way to what one can see ordinarily on the terraqueous globe. Harlequin looks the spectators up and down with ridiculous disdain and arrogance." he responds to the questions that are fired at him." Disappointed. Thus reason never discovers. thus his law: power does not move. dumbfounded. anything but its own rule. for example in front as it is on the back?" Shocked. no. no need for commentary. The word of King Solomon pre­ cedes that of the satellite potentate. "Hey!" he cries. appears on stage. can you also make us believe that your cape is the same in every part. the king's clothing announces the opposite of what he claims. of rags or scraps of every size. which is becoming unruly. Harlequin. in fact.Preface Secularism Back from the inspection of his lunar lands. emperor. Was he incapable of observing anything in the course of his voyage? At first silent. of . "everywhere everything is just as it is here. in fact. Haughtily. Except that the degrees of grandeur and beauty change. "No. "You who say that everywhere everything is just as it is here. Whether royal or imperial. the audience cannot believe its ears: elsewhere must surely be different. From the middle of the class. There is nothing more to be said. a true and troublesome wit rises and extends his hand to designate the Harlequin's cape. What marvels did he see in traversing such extraordinary places? The public is hoping for wonderous eccentricities. the public no longer knows whether to be silent or to laugh. for a press conference. they begin to stir once Harlequin pedantically repeats his lesson: nothing new under the sun or on the moon. whoever wields power. beneath its feet. never encounters in space anything other than obedience to his power. When it does. and. in a thousand forms and different colors.

glistening. Harlequin gets undressed. Powerful and flat.xiv Preface varying ages. everyone waits. the audience laughs again. The audience laughs. spotted like an ocelot. iri­ descent. It's impossible to describe the second tunic without repeating. superb in its misery. after much grimacing and graceless contortion. The king is caught out and discomfited. hesitating. torn up. devoutly. Gaze with all y our eyes at this landscape-zebrine. a map of the comedian's travels. everywhere unex­ pected. from different sources. knotted together. at the panels of his outfit. then. and contin­ gency-does it show a kind of world map. beautiful like a thing: which to choose? "Are you dressed in the road map of your travels?" says the perfidious wit. lashed. then. according to need. . Thus it is necessary to start again. and all cultures are different. lacunar. embroidered. like a litany. this improbable garment dazzles. who chatters like a parrot. as if seized with embarrassment. monotonous. then looks again at his coat. studded. Another shimmering dress. Disconcerted. distressed. colorfully patterned. He gets up. with overlapping threads. Harlequin keeps getting undressed. Pure and simple lan­ guage or a composite and badly matched garment. gaping. mended accord­ ing to circumstance. tigroid. badly basted. is composed of new pieces and old bits. inharmoniously juxtaposed. looks at his public. He takes his time. The derisory emperor. no part resembles any other. worn fringe. similar to the coat. like a suitcase studded with stickers? Elsewhere. reigns and vitrifies space. The map-cum-greatcoat belies what the king of the moon claims. Everyone titters. iridescent. a bit foolishly. looks. is enveloped in a world map of badly bracketed multiplicities. he finally lets the motley coat drop to his feet. Harlequin quickly figured out the only escape from the ridicule his position invites: all he can do is to take off the coat that belies him. zebrine. speech. miserable. tigroid. shimmering. is never like here. accident. so magnificent it takes your breath away and sets your heart beating. Another iridescent envelope then appears: he was wearing another rag beneath the first veil. The Emperor of the Moon finally makes up his mind. no province could be compared to this or that one. because the second envelope. glorious. with no attention paid to proximity.

the Harlequin is only a Harlequin. artichoke. . you could hear a pin drop. the Emperor of the Moon exhibits a col­ orfully patterned skin. torn up . the public never stops laughing. it is as compli­ cated as all the barriers that protected it. damasked. Suddenly. iridescent. more a medley of colors than skin. Like a painting on a curtain. The audience guffaws. mul­ tiply. shim­ mering-is an obstacle to looking. the naked retreats beneath the masks and the living beneath the doll or the statue swollen with bits of cloth. . as a whole. His whole body looks like a fingerprint. The Harlequin is only an emperor. have man­ aged to see right through the whole mystery. Discarded. even gravity. seriousness. too. multiple and diverse. The audience tries to laugh again. defenseless. Indefinitely. Harlequin is a hermaphrodite. All of a sudden. Can someone be asked to skin himself? The audience has seen. Stupefaction! Tattooed. a mixed body. male and . composite. jeers. but it can't anymore: perhaps the man should strip himself-whistles. is a har­ lequin's coat. because it. Certainly. implied envelopes shows and also conceals it. descends on the audience-the king is naked. the last screen has just fallen. silence. the Harlequin never ceases to shed his layers or to peel off his knotted capes. while the one before last resembles the antepenultimate as closely as could be desired: mot­ ley. but the mul­ tiplicity. indefinitely. Harlequin never gets to his last outfit. and delivered. when he dresses and gets undressed: thus named and titled because he protects himself.Preface xv a new embroidered tunic. Harlequin is wearing a thick layer of these harlequin coats. even a derisory one. the spectators. and hides. undulating and plural. . embroidered. Onion. Here he is now unveiled. defends himself. then a kind of striated veil appear suc­ cessively. increasingly stupefied. . Let the last veil fall and the secret be revealed. to intu­ ition. it holds its breath. and still another colorfully patterned body stocking spot­ ted like an ocelot . Even the Harlequin'S skin belies the unity presumed in what he says. the overlap of successive. the first coat makes the juxtaposition of pieces visible. as much as the clothing or the coats that fall to the ground. the tattooing-striated.

skin and hairs. or vengeful victor and the humble or repugnant victim. but it never says flesh. Harlequin discovers. Eurasian. the groove where the bond is knotted and tightens. when the skin and flesh appeared. diluted. cells. the vain. the genius and the imbecile. very precisely. tattooed. nerves. where and how to locate the site of suture or of blending. his capes twirling on both sides. Combined. her­ maphrodite and half-breed. he was adroit even on the left. Science speaks of organs. which thus mixes what the relevant disciplines analyze. the audience is moved to the point of tears. the places. hybrid in general. even as comedy. composite and mixed body. bones. Life throws the dice or plays cards. chimera. This is how he or she shows him/herself: as a monster. You could see this clearly. half-caste. but normal. What shadow must be cast aside. when he undressed. The charms of childhood combined with the wrinkles proper to the old made one wonder about his age: adolescent or dotard? But above all. . the right and the left. Scandalized. Mixed blood. The naked androgyne mixes genders so that it is impossible to locate the vicinities. his flesh. the com­ plete idiot and the vivacious fool. the scar where the lips. the high and the low. uni­ corn. ambidextrous monster. mes­ tizo or mestiza. octoroon? And if he was not playing the king. the emperor and the clown are joined? now. make us see now under his skin? Yes. functions.xvi Preface female. What could the current. the mixed flesh and blood of the Harlequin are still quite likely to be taken for a harlequin coat. and molecules. and diverse functions. which. modest. Monster? A sphinx. to admit finally that it's been a long time since life has been spoken of in laboratories. male and horse. the master and the slave. flesh and blood. the inert and the living. A monster certainly. or borders where the sexes stop and begin: a man lost in a female. in order to reveal the point of juncture? Harlequin-Hermaphrodite uses both hands. designates the mixture of muscles and blood. centaur. one would have the urge to say bastard or mongrel. a female mixed with a male. the whole world discovered his mixed origin: mulatto. the miserable and the very rich. but also the angel and the beast. in the end. he is not ambidex­ trous but a completed left-hander. and on what grounds? Quadroon. crossbreed. beast and girl.

had even under­ stood. and it seemed that this evening the improvisation had ended up being a flop. violently illuminated by the dying fires of the footlights: "Pierrot! Pierrot!" the audience cried.Preface xvii Quite some time ago. having come to laugh and been disappointed at having to think. lilylike. candid. Now then. of benevolent neutrality welcomes. to the point that it believes that as far as it is concerned nothing has changed. all looking toward the stage. someone suddenly called out. a number of spectators left the room. when everybody had his back turned. been a repetition. more clear than pale.just as many apprenticeships in order to make the liberty of invention. sometimes. In this way. so the secular miracle of tolerance. doubtless specialists in their field. on their own. their academy or the encyclopedia formally joined commedia dell'arte. thus of thought. "Pierrot! Pierrot!" cried the fools again as the curtain fell. dis­ solved in the body's attitudes and functions. pure and virginal. spring forth from them. tired of failed dramatic moments. "assimilates and retains the various differences experienced during travel and returns home a half-breed of new gestures and other customs. snowy. and the oil lamps were giving signs of flickering out. As they filed out. more transparent than wan. that evening. of almost all of them. irritated with this turn from comedy to tragedy. they were asking: "How can the thousand hues of an odd medley of colors be reduced to their white summation?" 'Just as the body. incandescent mass." the learned responded. as if something new were playing in a place where every­ thing had." . so that the public as a whole. because each works at the intersection or the interference of many other disciplines and. in peace. "Pierrot Lunaire!" In the very same spot where the Emperor of the Moon had stood was a dazzling. that each portion of their knowledge also looks like Harlequin's coat. turned back as one. Some. all white.


Music Dance: Minuet of the Third Place Magnificence Joy.Upbringing Envoi Body Direction Birth of the Third Learning Brain Birth and Knowledge Writing Sex Chimera Fold and Knot First Memories Rose Window Trill. Dilation. Begetting .

Thank you. My heart-felt gratitude goes first to the late schoolmas­ ter, whose face, voice, and hands will remain in my memory until death and who, several decades ago, made of me what the right­ handed ma jority compassionately call a thwarted left-hander, but which I have to describe joyously as a completed half. No other event sculpted my body with greater consequences, no one decided direction/meaning for me in a more revolutionary way. For once, the teaching body, which gets up to speak and con­ vince, or leans over to write, presents itself to its public in its naked naivete: like an organism, giving rise to language and thought cer­ tainly, but first of all carnally modeled by an anonymous teacher whom I thank.

No one doubts the wisdom of the reform that allowed left-handed people, my fellow creatures, to write their own way. To thwart them would have cast them into a vague population of stammerers, per­ verts, or neurotics, or so the theory goes. In principle, I am part of that sickly group to which today I give voice and which I represent. Strange tidings: all is for the best in the best of all possible bodies. How can a right-handed person be described?

As a severed

organism, suffering from severe hemiplegia. The pen, the knife, the hammer, and the racket are gathered together in one hand, while the other carries nothing. Hot and supple, one side of the body and its extension lives, trailing behind it a sort of cadaverous twin, stiff and cold, contemptible and impotent-in short, uncon­ scious. That is only half the truth. How, in turn, can one describe a left­ handed person? As an organism traversed by a crevice, paraplegic, sick. Pencil, fork, ball, and scissors fit only his one hand, whereas the second hangs, sleeps. Alert, sweet, present, here is one side of space and of life, while the half-body pushes or drags, with no chance of striking a balance, a hard, absent, dead double, a weight without strength, an unconscious mass with no language. All things considered, then, one is the same as the other. Each, divorced, is composed of two twins of which only one, whichever side you choose, has the right to life, the second never having been


The T roubadour o Knowledge f

born. Thus, to allow the left-hander to remain so amounts to creat­ ing right-handed people; other right-handed people, from the other side. The liberation of the left now looks to me like a right­ wing decision. Hemiplegic bodies have granted each other recognition and force everyone to remain in the stupid pathology of division. No, we are not one, but two. Is each person's body, left-hander or right-hander, composed of two enemy brothers, perfect twins, albeit enantiomorphs, that is to say, at once sy mmetrical and asym­ metrical, competing and thwarted twins, one of whom has always already killed the other, whose cadaver he wears, strapped to his back, just as the generals of ancient Rome dragged vanquished and enslaved adversaries behind them in triumph? Does the use, which certain ethnographers have found to be universal, of only the right side of the body derive from immemorial practices of sacrifice? The right-hander or left-hander can never stand to have the other at his side, unless he is dead or stillborn. I preach against the death penalty in this matter, in favor of the reconciled body, of friendship between brothers, in favor, finally, of that rare tolerance, or maybe love, that takes pleasure in the other, his closest neighbor, living happily- who, in order to do so, at least had the chance or the right to be born. The brain is divided into two halves, each of which through crossed fasciculi, communicate with the other side of the body, respectively. Hemiplegia paralyzes both the left side of the body and the right side of the brain or the left side of the brain and the right side of the body. It seems to me that it is better to live, speak, or think with all one's organs than to cut a dark half out of the whole. No one holds this principle in esteem, despite its beautiful, harmonious, and total self-evidence: how to explain humanity's passion, seem­ ingly that of all humanity, for an illness that forces our half-body to be stuck to a cadaver, as in a hideous marriage? Therefore, thanks first of all to the one who trained me in the plenitude and saturation proper to a complete body. Nothing gives greater direction than to change direction. I recount through images the memory of my mutation. No one really knows how to swim until he has crossed a large and impetuous river or a rough strait, an arm of the sea, alone. In a "

that would only be true if the middle could be . any sense of belong­ ing. the body relativizes direction: Neither left nor right is . you have not really left. You do not swim. after or before which all security has vanished: there he abandons all reference points. in both cases it is land or ground. knows that a second river runs in the one that everyone sees. But in the mid­ dle of the crossing. under threat of drowning. Whatever direction deter­ mined by the swim. At first. not while waiting for stable reunions by any means. and then lands. Mter having left the shore behind. take the plunge. which is signaled by the disappearance of all reference points. The outside observer willingly believes that the one who changes passes from one state of belonging to another: standing at Calais as he was at Dover. important as long as I can hold my ground. Thus the body flies and forgets solidity. a river between the two thresholds. even the ground is missing. takes off. what does it matter. Direction The real passage occurs in the middle. for awhile you stay much closer to it than to the one on the other side. once it has crossed a second threshold. at least just enough so that the body starts reckoning and says to itself. waits expectantly for the approach: you find yourself close enough to the steep bank to say you have arrived. the skin adapts to the turbulent environment. On this side of the adventure. you wait to walk. silently. like some­ one who jumps. your foot. the body confidently takes up a slow breaststroke. the ground lies dozens or hundreds of yards below the belly or miles behind and ahead. on the contrary. as if it were merely a question of getting a second passport. No. One must cross in order to know solitude. The voyager is alone. but as if it were set­ tling into its foreign life for good: arms and legs enter this weak and fluid carrier. that it can always go back. The swimmer. of support is gone. Up to a certain threshold. Right bank or left bank. Depart. but does not remain in flight. it says. ver­ tigo ceases because the head can count on no support other than its own.Upbringing 5 pool there is only the ground-a territory for a crowd of pedes­ trians. you hold on to this feeling of security: in other words.

the crevice opened in the thorax by the drawing out of the arms. Messenger. Hyphen. already. surely. You believe it is naturalized. it is now flesh and fish. it is now truly exiled. Well-adapted yet loyal to what it was. it remains left-handed. where another language is spoken. The first ani­ mal belongs. The body will never walk or stand erect as it did when it knew only standing still or walking. turned upside down. The body that crosses surely learns about a second world. once Gascon. the dread of a probable drowning. albeit painfully. the suffering. you're right. For­ ever outside any community. the second shore. today francophone or anglophile. but a little and just barely in all of them. Angel. Harlequin. genre. Do you think it is single? No. It truly inhabits. but the strange living thing that will one day enter this white river. inhabit­ ing both banks and haunting the middle where the two directions converge. but it has known the hyphen: frog-man. Deprived of a home. the wide line of forgetting and memory that marks the longitudinal axis of these infernal rivers that in antiquity were called amnesias. the legs. and that of .6 The T roubadour o Knowledge j reduced to a point with no dimension. and it is really triple or third. which flows in the visible river. You believe it to be double. It has forgotten. double. and species. a dictionary. It has not only changed banks. ambidextrous. Of course. language. the courage of apprenticeship. but. as it is in a jump. A fire with no hearth. biped before this event. With this new birth. customs. you now find that it is right-handed. Bilingual does not simply mean that it speaks two languages: it passes unceasingly through the fold of the dictionary. Do you believe it to be double? If so. the one toward which it is heading. Birth of the Third It reaches the other shore: formerly left-handed. above all. the second animal too. and the tongue. through which it passes. Intermediary. but it remembers nonetheless. inverted. where the body is initiated into a third world. you are not taking into account the crossing. Having become right-handed. as it had to. as well as the direction of the flowing river. converted. and that had to adapt under threat of dying to its eccentric waters has left all sense of belonging behind.

twists the cowlick's tuft. relativizing forever the left. inverted. of the uneasy list of the swim. or rather. But above all. At the apex of the cra­ nium. Did he traverse the totality of the concrete to enter abstraction? Do schoolmasters realize that they only fully taught those they thwarted. it has just discovered learning in this blank middle that has no direction from which to find all directions. a new language. Infinity enters the body of the one who. new customs. as on the high seas. I never learned anything unless I left. it has just learned a third thing.Upbringing 7 the wind. the right. in this river within the river. it has incorporated a compass into its liquid body. in a vortex. certainly. Even more: universal. Departure requires a rending that rips a part of the body from the part that still adheres to the shore where it was born. of the numerous intentions that produce decisions. crosses a rather dangerous and large river in order to know those regions where. Universal means what is unique yet versed in all directions. From then on. is formed a compass or a rotunda from which diverge twenty or one hundred thousand directions. for a long time. Learning In crossing the river. or in the crevice in the middle of the body. can receive and integrate everything: all directions are equal. turned upside down? Certainly. those they forced to cross? Certainly. a place/milieu [lieu/milieu} where all directions come together. Your peers risk condemning you . to the house and the village with its customary inhabitants. wandering without belonging. Did you believe it to be triple? You are still mistaken. Yes. moved. completed. the solitary soul. reference points lie equally far. in delivering itself completely naked to belonging to the opposite shore. it is multiple. On the mobile axis of the river and of the body the source of direction shivers. whatever direction one adopts or decides. Whoever does not get moving learns nothing. to the culture of its language and to the rigidity of habit. Do you still think it converted. The other side. Source or interchange of directions. divide yourself into parts. and the earth from which these directions emerge. nor taught someone else without inviting him to leave his nest. depart. to the neighborhood of its kinfolk.

at least your explosion in worlds apart. like the universe. Depart: go forth. ges­ ture. To split off from the so-called natural direction. Under the supervision of a guide. that is the naked meaning of the Greek word pedagogy. The voyage of children. or theorem. no English word issues from a form that a French mouth would easily outline. education pushes one to the outside. exploded at the beginning in a big bang. To break into pieces in order to launch oneself on a road with an uncertain outcome demands such heroism that it is primarily children who are capable of it. who doesn't know it now. neither the wind nor the birds teach us music . language. But. The temporary guide and the schoolmaster know the place where they are taking the initiate. Leave the womb of your mother. . where I'm going. town. language. Go out. You were unique and had a point of refer­ ence.8 The Troubadour o Knowledge f as a separated brother. often dangerous. Everything begins from this nothing. Above all: never take the easy road. where I am. to the other. be seduced to become engaged in it. the shadow cast by your father's house and the landscapes of your childhood. swim the river instead. To split o fnecessarily means to begin on a road that cuts across and f leads to an unknown place. and then everything begins. brave the outside world. No gesture of the hand that holds the racket seeks a pose that the body would spon­ taneously strike. split off somewhere else. Depart. and sometimes incoherent. from where I'm from. The voyage is leading there. posed at new cost. Through where: that is the fourth question. . I will never again know what I am. Depart. In the wind. To seduce: to lead elsewhere. and who will discover it in time. you will become many. the crib. the three varieties of alterity. moreover. These are the first three foreign things. No learning can avoid the voyage. in the rain: the outside has no shelters. what remains is to seize the body. which. or the soul against the grain. For there is no learning with­ out exposure. Young: old parrot. to foreign things. through where to pass. Your initial ideas only repeat old phrases. Learning launches wandering. This space exists-land. I am exposed to others. Allow yourself to be seduced one day. But the route follows . children must. it is said. the three initial means of being exposed. Become many. no ideas in geometry follow from wide­ open eyes.



topographical lines, at a rate or along a tra jectory that depends on the legs of the runner and on the terrain he traverses­ both rockfall, desert or sea, swamp or cliff. He does not hasten, at first, to the end, toward the target, braced in the direction of his goal. No, the game of pedagogy is in no respect a game for two, voyager and destination, but for three. The third place intervenes, there, as the threshold of passage. And, most often, neither the student nor the initiator know where this door is located nor what to do with it. One day, at some point, everyone passes through the middle of this white river, through the strange state of a phase change, which could be called sensitivity, a word that signifies possibility or capac­ ity in every sense. Sensitive, for example, the scale when it seesaws up and down, vibrating, in the beautiful middle, in both directions; sensitive also the child who will walk when he throws himself into an unbalanced balance; observe him again when he immerses him­ self in speech, reading, or writing, cleansed, besmirched in sense and nonsense. How hypersensitive we were, stuck-up, sowing our wild oats, when crossing all the thresholds of youth. That state vibrates like an instability, a metastability, like a nonexcluded third between equilibrium and disequilibrium, between being and noth­ ingness. Sensitivity haunts a central and peripheral place-in the form of a star. Have you ever tended goal for your team, while an adversary hurries to take a clean, close shot? Relaxed, as if free, the body mimes the future participle, fully ready to unwind: toward the high­ est point, at ground level, or halfway up, in both directions, left and right; toward the center of the solar plexis, a starry plateau launches its virtual branches in all directions at once, like a bou­ quet of axons. This is the state of vibrating sensitivity-wakeful, alert, watchful-a call to the animal who passes close by, lying in wait, spying, a solicitation in every sense, from every direction for the whole admirable network of neurons. Run to the net, ready to volley: once again a future participle, the racket aims for all shots at once, as if the body, unbalanced from all sides, were knotting a ball of time, a sphere of directions, and were releasing a starfish from its thorax. At the center of the star is hidden the third place, for­ merly called a soul, experienced by passing through a channel that is difficult to cross. The soul inhabits this pole of sensitivity, of vir­ tual capacity, at the same time that it throws itself forward and


The Troubadour o Knowledge j

holds back, that is, that it launches itself halfway, the length of the floating branches of the astral body that explores space, like a sun.

If the body or the soul knows this, the brain cannot be unaware of it. Asleep or awake, the brain vibrates and jumps in all directions at once so that the complex curve that it leaves on the map of the electroencephalogram expresses or imitates its autonomy in the form of a ball or a bouquet or billions of stars: under the cranial vault constellations twinkle. Sensitive in multiple ways, the body goes up to the net to volley or, an expert goalie, gets ready to receive shots from every angle of the space and at any moment . . . An overall balance, a child audacious enough to leap into an uncertain undertaking, a mouth that will stammer between noise and speech, between Yes and No, clarity and darkness, lies and truth, tongue, lips, and palate sheltering this included third. The brain is busy mapping this space-time: How? Seemingly from being here and elsewhere at once, continuously and discontinuously. Skipping or twinkling, it haunts this third place discovered in swim­ ming across the river. As with intelligence, so with the promise of invention . . . Remain this player for a long time, this child, this watcher, who bal­ ances or swims, this virgin getting ready to decide. Body, muscles, nerves, direction and sensitivity, soul, brain and knowledge, all con­ verge in this third place in the shape of a star: watch out on the left, pass on the right, keep watch from above, and run below . . . . It-the third place-is sown in time and space. In the middle of the window through which it passes, the body knows that it has crossed to the outside, that it has just entered another world. Space and our stories are full of such thresholds: the axis of the river, the arm of the sea, through which one swims. Here the adventure seems to come to an end, whereas the voyage has merely reached one stage of it; the third included certainly, because here something simulta­ neously ends and does not end. This is the site of the wall, which varies according to the day and the climber, where the third dis­ covers that, this morning, he will get through, even if the storm breaks. The third included: not arrived, yet parvenu. This is the



point in labor when, suddenly, as if by magic, everything becomes easy and one doesn't know why. Right in the middle, the work is over. This is the moment where years of training, of will, of tenacity suddenly enter and settle into the corporeal schema or categorial ease; this very noon I simultaneously begin and have finished, I know that I will speak Chinese though I don't speak it yet, that I will solve the equations of the problem, recover my health, finish the crossing. So real, this threshold, that it can fool you: here is the summit where the route begins, though the beginner believes that at last there are no more obstacles; false middle, imaginary third, sometimes .

Birth and Knowledge
Something compels me to say that we were already subjected to the four major pedagogical tests or exposures-the break up of the body into parts, the expulsion to the outside, the need to choose a sideways and paradoxical path, finally the passage through the third place-in the first hours of our birth, when it was necessary, not without shedding blood sometimes, or crushing our heads, to wrench ourselves from the body with which our being was inte­ grated, since we had lived only as part of the maternal body. It was necessary to suffer an irresistible push toward the unbreathable cold of the outside, to follow a path that no previous constraint had predicted, finally to pass through a narrow, recently dilated pas­ sage, all ready to close up again, at the risk of suffocating, of being strangled, of dying of asphyxia in the obstructed, stenotic, restrained, closed passageway . . . So that, everyone, like me, simply because he is alive knows that, all of that: those death throes in order to be born, that death to live again elsewhere, that is to say here, in another time, that is to say now, and that, because he is there, standing with beating heart, panting, he already knows, therefore can adapt, learn-die-live with the third included. We all came out through that pass, that foreign and natural mountainous place where the highest point of the low points is exactly equal to the lowest point of the high points. We learned, already, that the experience of death throes could suddenly equal the very article of living. Birth, knowledge: what more terrible exposure to the most formidable danger?

I would therefore not advise anyone to leave a left-handed child free to use his hand. All evolution and learning require passing through the third place. has ever changed without just managing not to fall. Time is exposed. the third place exposes the passerby. No one. a second stability from which nothing can come. That is why. from now on. immediately. yes. rarely also unbalanced. Writing During this pedagogic voyage. by broadening. or invention does not cease to pass from one third place to another and therefore is always exposed. Space is sown with sites of exposure where time is deployed. Slippery. that is. thought. the swimmer is exposed. expelled from paradise. unceasingly exposed. Rarely balanced. Now he is taking off from the earth itself: does he inhabit time? No. just like anyone who takes any kind of risk. So that knowledge. we all live evicted. no one inhabits time. wandering with no fixed habitat. especially to write. . Neither positioned nor opposed. the village of his birth.12 The Troubadour ofKnowledge In the course of these experiences. by a precarious balance-the constraining and sovereign con­ dition of bearing toward the true. In the axis of the river whose current flares. with all their risks and dangers. and in space springs forth from places where there is no being-there. always deviating from the place. or invents quickly becomes a passing third. nor from their relation-an arch or static arc of perpetual immobility-but from a deviation from equilibrium that throws or launches position outside of itself. So the third-instructed whose instruction never stops has almost been described: through his experiences and by nature. he has crossed numerous rivers. The passing third is char­ acterized by the nonplace. that is. no one gets through without this slippage. his being and his there. But no one passes. he has abandoned his place. because it excludes the thirds and evicts everyone. from achieving a precarious balance: everyday lan­ guage expresses it exacdy with the word exposure. thinks. liberty. which keeps it from rest­ ing. better yet. time springs neither from assuming a position (the equilibrium of the statue) nor from oppo­ sition. or so that the one who knows. toward disequilibrium. nothing in the world. he has just entered time.

and I am fulfilled: a lateral her­ maphrodite. Left-handed when it comes to scis­ sors. of this treasure that I was never able to use up. the foil. except by placing oneself in the other's shoes. do anything: discovering highly precise mus­ cular and nervous dexterity leads to subtle thinking. The so­ called thwarted left-handers live in a world only half explored by most. of crossing the river. to the memory of that rending moment when the body explodes in parts and tra­ verses a transverse river where the waters of memory and forgetting flow. but left-handed for caresses and private life. To teach this specialized skill to a population makes of it. the racket. writing mobilizes and recruits such a refined group of muscles and neurolo gical endings that all delicate man­ ual activity.1 They could become brain surgeons. the expressive gesture if not society-this. because it contains the potential of learning. knowing from the other side? I would not advise anyone to deprive a child of this adventure. He is properly brought up for public life. hurray for the Greek language. the universe of tolerance and the solar twinkling of attention. rather a crossbred body. of this wealth. the hammer. sinister minority. To enter the world anew by inverting your body requires a shat­ tering abandonment. My life is reduced.-TRANS. Adroit contains the word droit. as Latin has it. One part is torn away and another remains. A discovery and opening up whose deferred healing a whole professional life of writing later describes. the ball. precision mechanics. he shakes the right hand upon being introduced-this. They know limits and lack. is cruder by com­ parison. which dubs this minor­ ity aristocratic! But right-handed for the pen and the fork. whether in optics or watchmaking. the soul. like a chimera.Upbringing 13 Extraordinary work. finally. first of all. Those complete organisms have their hands full. the body-the left-hander has never stopped belonging to the maladroit. perhaps. . can tolerance and nonviolence be acquired. the scythe. Does this scar faithfully follow the old suture of body and soul? Does the thwarted left-hander become ambidextrous? No. How. 1. a collective of adroit people-note in passing the word with which the right-handed ruling class mounts an advertising campaign for hemiplegics. which in French means right.

is provided with a direction. . to the crustaceans that display a large claw next to the smaller one. from spontaneous symmetry breaking. the cowlick. from atoms to stars. or vice versa. and to the somewhat disrupted balance of the female bosom: at least statisti­ cally speaking. like particles around the nucleus of an atom. that's the way it is. deeper than sex. it does turn. with highly refined symmetries and asymmetries. the flanges of our nostrils. . whether animate or inanimate. then to all bodies-to ours. dextro­ gyres. finally. Orientation goes from the local to the global and from the small to the large. Orientation. the latest and least significant offshoot. Then it passes to the shellfish. The left-hander finds his way with difficulty in the forest of right-handed technol­ ogy. Things lean to one side: force fields. Politics. in the world. the world is lateralized. Crystals and molecules are lateralized. our eyes. conforms to our preferences. twisting turbulences. I believe I would answer. spots on the planet Jupiter . Everywhere. and rides on the arrow of time. .14 The T roubadour o Knowledge f Sex Only some living things have the pleasure of a sex. to our cul­ tural divisions. it is said. boreal auroras. oriented. to the reds in power and the whites on the bench. the left breast is bigger than the right. Direction or orienta­ tion comes neither from men nor from their preferences. Direction goes further. Direction tra­ verses our bodies and settles in fabricated objects.-TRANS. levogyres. Left and right apply to more things than male or female and make more univer­ sal distinctions than does gender. cyclones. the universal was born. whereas every­ thing. Were I to be condemned in the court of sociology for not having said that the world is oriented only through the projection of its divisions or the imposition of its choices. The effect of an unpredictable reduction in symmetry in a physical sys­ tem as that system changes to one of lower energy. but from the inanimate world that precedes the living and from the living that precedes culture. enters the box of details. heterocercal in that regard. repeats the pattern frantically. through the revolving assembly.2 Direction traverses the immensity of the sky. from their inclinations. from inanimate matter to living 2. The stars turn and advance. Yet.

In summary. from the pure to the applied. it cannot be found. and without difficulty. invariable. The former goes as far as the object. reversible. from crystals to stars. is necessarily narcissistic. of this ancient clinamen. or it is absent. in our contemporary sciences. from nature to culture. which has been rejuve­ nated. they say. the passage(ways) that philosophy reputes to be the most delicate. perfectly. decided to occident myself from the South? Or: go right straight ahead. a Southwesterner. Leibniz even assimilates orientation to the raison d'etre of . allows you to orient yourself. unconscious of what they are saying. sometimes language. a Californian. that one can divide in an equal or symmetrical manner. The second division. refers to a space or a time that is homoge­ neous or isotropic. There is no center or axis. This comparison designates the experience of a thwarted or completed left-hander (who is at the center of the first division) as being more intense and of greater breadth than the mythic one of the androgyne at the center of the second. either verbal or visual. Everyone. division by gender concerns only sexed living things. Now. sex weighs less than direction. an Aquitanian. How can justice present itself according to the promo­ tional image of the balanced scale. There is no such thing as balanced indifference. some social roles. from things to languages. so constantly physical that it becomes metaphysical. I repeat. then. thus it traverses. from space to time. as well. what is said is not inclined by gender. when the word right itself makes it lean to one side? Here compelled by the incline.UPbringing 15 matter. In the end. from crystals to shellfish. very little. We are more consistently plunged into the lateralized vortex than into sexual emotion. What if I. while the Hermaphrodite stops at the flesh. the male less than the right. either inanimate or living. says that the compass. indicating the North. revolving around itself. irre­ ducible. Through it. the first opens onto the world and therefore is knowledgeable. we communicate with the universe that was born. universal. under the name of sponta­ neous symmetry breaking. without taking into account that rightly one should tack to the starboard. at one's leisure. Orientation can thus be said to be originary. or in culture. Nothing in nature.

How many composers lack the left hand! They say it accompanies: a ser- . blind to their dead complement. in improbable places and times. or the sum of halves. halves. Everywhere and always ori­ entation begins. at zero. beneath direction. even bad sex. The hermaphrodite. on one side. The ambidextrous person. an undivided individual. and sex shines with desire for the unifying moment. A full universe. deprived of a potential link to the other sense. Like the one. Whoever finds himself complete neither sees nor senses a limit and therefore does not understand cutting. undecided. like a flash of lightning. the two others. The right-hander or left-hander lives in a half world and goes to sleep in one direction. the frantic desire to transgress an inaccessible frontier of whose location he is uncer­ tain. ill because he has no lack. frag­ ments. whereas the division of direc­ tion is devoid of this desire. flat. then. whereas the complete body sleeps on both ears. comes second. dangerous. in addition. From writing with a pen. exposed place. two halves. lack. No: the straight. only the thwarted left-hander makes for fulfillment and unity. One can thus describe the principle of reason as a differential of direction and outline it using a very small arrow departing from the absent and unlocatable cen­ ter to direct itself someplace. . what remains to be constructed are the different balancing acts. tragic. its angle appears. rare. it cannot turn itself over. It took me a long time to understand my indescribable luck in being unable to understand these eccentricities. uncoded. neutral. or nothing. or females who are pregnant . asymmetrical. at least. for example. leaning into one half.16 The T roubadour o Knowledge f things: they exist rather than nothing. Legal right is required. is encountered as frequently as sex. Zero. Whence the ambidextrous person has no raison d'etre: nil. Fractional but justified by their raison d'etre. . our era is moving on to keyboards. to patiently construct the double arrow of globally balanced exchanges. Whoever is not a completed left-hander is con­ demned to analysis because he lives in division and destruction. nor can it ever be converted. Exchange. that consists of repeating that every society is founded on exchange. Therefore. the dotted line toward it is effaced. more elementary arrow incontestably gives the parasite the first. one with itself. the male seeks the female who calls. and morality. A world or rather a universe. on top of that. Nothing allows us to hope on the right for an encounter with the left.

UPbringing 17 vant. pass­ ing through his entrails. broken soundboards where one can read only fragments or analyses. Do not tear off the chimera's dress­ ing. oriented or disori­ ented. I know it as pain and fountain. At this scaled. We leave the rightist civilization of style to enter that of key­ boards-planarian. we will also be able to form right-handers completed by their left hand. vernal point lies the crossroads. but with two complementary hands on keyboards or other consoles. and his body on the left because there he holds his tools for the work that earns him a living. and decentered civilization. treasure and secret fold. treble instruments whose bass would be for­ gotten in the deepest shadows-these are the left-handed or the right-handed. That will change us. every­ where coded. voluminous. encountering toward some midpoint the cascade of notes running from high to low. The thwarted left-hander resembles a chimera that would carry his soul on the right. a hand to write with a . under the statue of Hermaphrodite. scar and source. body and soul. listen to the chimera and the point of overlap. because he writes from the side of cultural works. this springlike place is located in the body. Our ancestors searched. which unites the living and pure culture. hands in the network of notes make love to each other. completely flat. we will write not only with this one hand that holds the pencil and pen over a page. for the bonds and folds of this knot. The question of writing is thereby changed: with luck. and that will transform time. a shadow of the other. tomorrow. what a barbarous custom to leave one almost passive! Sometimes these composers are androgynous in miraculous scores that allow them to be heard truly bilaterally. a bond passes through there as a bandage for a second path and that path as the ligature of the first. Cut key­ boards. Chimera Where does the center of the piano ring? Around the third A? Hear the x or the chi of the scale mounting from left to right. precisely. effaced by the clouds. here is a continuous world. a slave. a hand to work the fields or harvest the grain. for this mysterious place where the body is knotted to the soul. bass pianos whose high notes would be lost in the gray. No. The piano itself figures a complete body. the body resembles this very soundboard. And.

monster-unicorn. so that meaning/direction will spring forth. harmonizes. sews. solar plexus.and left-handed . or siren-constructs a connected uni­ verse. a nose with wisdom and taste. through which the rotting fermentations of the earth end up in the universal of pure form. knots. in order for language to really begin. left for the ball and right for the pen. trained from the begin­ ning in the academic right. sphinx. healed middle-new solid. where laughter will be mixed with tears. articulates. traversing the reconnaissance of axial places. by way of the bandage. You need a cross to locate a center and a difficult path to get there. binds. the issue of a tigress and a lion. which unites pri­ vate life and the collective exterior. practices one hundred times a day the interchange through which industrious sweat goes toward the sin­ gularities of art. in highly abstract thought. has had to die a thousand deaths to get there. Liger or tiglon. Many sets are necessary. the right-handed. where freed attention becomes productive. The thwarted-completed left-hander slides constantly across the bandage or the connection. respectively. a hand for caresses. crossing again. where the space of play and refined seri­ ousness touch and are mixed. and they must cross each other in the center of the compass. stomach. torn up beneath his derisory dress­ ing. Harlequin. a passage to the scaled point where the sense of sensation is trans­ muted into the sense of signification. passing through the overlaps of the center. I mean to say normal. an interchange through the ver­ nal site where bodily labor normally persists. You need a crossbred body.18 The T roubadour o Knowledge j refined style or to compose music. sexual organ. crossing. A single line right straight ahead or a single side are not enough. a side for the sign and the greeting. through which stupid and stubborn effort blos­ soms into a work. still gauche in everyday. tongue. passing via the organs in the center. woman-serpent. divided. heals. his soul a lake of tears in the center of his thorax. serene. for sex to appear: how can the left-handed. or of a tiger and a lionness. This complete. of the wind does not make a compass card. half-breed. in one set position? The set. younger than aged childhood. mark their center. crossbred animal. he built his game with two hands. or direction. basic life. heart. where solitude opens up. where rigor is refined into beauty. Do the right. supine as they are. caressing and sign­ ing this vernal.

with a high-pitched tone. And to all of its axial organs. Its body has rare lands." because its division must bring to the fore the light and the dark. excluded. and crossed. The brain is single. incisive. strong and dark there.UPbringing 19 have a sex. The thwarted left-hander has a body modeled on his own brain. as a double orientation. almost absent. to sing the chimeric. and crossed. the conscious on the strong side and the unconscious on the weak side. how do they. A cut body and a crossbred body do not define an equivalent center. Language. double. single. until it floats. and crossed. the tongue . it always whispers doubt and trebles. double. pulls everything to itself. a language. to rest on the ground on the same side: a tumbler. cut sexual organ. Similarly single and double and crossed. chiaroscuro. fades little by little in the grayness as one moves away from that side. or even the same animal. and. double. Luminous discovery: direction produces sex. live encounter of these two directions that form the world and make us participate in it. a light weight. and crossed: absent. places where the map is white. The two strips or paths meet in the third place of intersection. Desire. in the center. also. powerfully present. or sex can be understood as an intersection. as is usually the case in lateralized people. intersection and prod­ uct. like a chimera: through the brain. at least on the organic level. means product. double. always brought. and crossed. like a decentered ball. loses the cen­ ter-could be called the border of gravity. a model of the body. Even the global mass. the unfortunates. is the sharp. whatever clarity or value one grants the nuances. Sex is single. How else to say. unknown places. The great cross of the chimera draws and produces this intersection that. a section. is single. that its center. sex is thus named "sec­ tion. in the form of a cross. double. occupy the multiply crossed compass of their brain? A heavily underlined border of the body-so strongly extant that it takes itself for a reference. Forked. like a chiasmus. in the middle. a complete organism that returns unceasingly to the central model. The brain is single. an intersection. partakes of the conscious and the unconscious? Divided tongue. the two directions are its factors. we think. What is lateralized resembles a flag shivering in the wind. made to be translated. or it is crossed. Either the sexual organ is cut.

which under? This elementary question is posed when one takes two threads in hand and gets ready to tie a knot. attractive. true or false. in the theory of graphs. Which strip passes over. from there. the term complex. or. Every com­ plex knot is resolved in so many local folds where the same ques­ tion is again posed: above. designates and even describes a situa­ tion that is a bit more constrained than multiplication. for example. which has a penchant for crumpled bits of cloth. Penelope the weaver intertwined the stitches in this way: over. Now then. and. a network. always polarized. through a third place. in . whereas the term complex takes it into account. Complex designates a group of folds when it passes from arithmetic. I know what takes place in the center. the complex never described anything but this kind of situation. above. I know the overlap. Fold and Knot I do not know. if one follows language attentively. dark. is produced by direction. too.20 The Troubadour ofKnowledge bifurcates. suddenly. named complex for the first time by J. the cross or the crossing. you only have to lean a little to notice it right away. pure counting. Dedicated only to the number. below? Another way of linking the left and the right. where numerous threads pass one over the other and some under certain others-these to the left or the right of those as much as you like-the outline of a combinatorial topology. to non-sense. The two hands. under. complementary. to topology. One would say that we are playing hot potato. they cross: in what sense? Before teaching chil­ dren the console or the keyboard give them something to weave or knit. repugnant. weave or knit together just as a moment ago they were competing/converging on the keyboards. insensee}. B. the latter cares nothing for place. electrical or oth­ erwise. Bass. Mter all. rigorous. nonsensical [Sense. speaks in two voices. Single and double. coming from fold or knot. strong or weak. I named it the bandage. light. in physics. rather new. But. It. a sys­ temic knot. Listing. in two senses. passing from one direction [sens} to another and. in seafar­ ing or weaving. foreign or vernacular. Sensible. Below. imaginary. lying or loyal. an ancient practice. treble.



German, and used by Maxwell in his theory of electrical fields. Such a network of threads or of forces-sometimes intercepted by resistors or capacitors-is usually called a Wheatstone bridge by physicists. When such a bridge is balanced between two limits, no measur­ ing device can detect it. Thus the complex cannot be observed: nei­ ther seen nor known. Extant then, enormous and sometimes trou­ bling, difficult to comprehend, intertwined, but yet knotted in and by this nullity of difference in potential, it only exists as capacity, as a black memory, a middle between presence and absence, forget­ ting and memory, local energy and global incapacity. Discovered there, the unconscious, admirable network of strange stitches and knots, it is part of the logical family of thirds. If it exists, it lies toward the middle and, like it, has a tendency to get lost in the blackness of memory, then to occupy all of space and time.

First Memories Day. During the day, Penelope weaves, composes, builds her tapes­
try, in keeping with the lost cartoon no one talks about, but which follows the plan and makes the scenes of the voyage appear: the island of Circe, Nausicaa, who throws her ball on the beach, blind Polyphemous in the hollows of the cave, the bare-breasted Sirens surrounding the straits of enchantment . . . piece by piece, day after day, a loom for his lover, a stage in the journey for her lover, a frag­ ment of song for the bard or the troubadour, dozens of verses for Homer, as if all four produced together, in daylight, one his course under sail, the other her scene on woven cloth, the writer his page in columns, the singer his score for the melody-to each his daily task. We follow, listen, read, look at the various paintings, immersed in the incantation of the music: the fatal magician, the young girl with her attendants, the one-eyed monster, and, arranged beneath the wind of the melody, lips opened by the silent wind of voices, the female fish with high breasts on the water, lit by the sun. Night. Now, when the sun falls beneath the horizon, when the sailor furls the sails and the lyre is quiet, when the night impedes the genius from writing and the reader from reading and seeing, they


The Troubadour ofKnowledge

say that Penelope undoes the woven piece, that she effaces Circe, then her island, that the ball in front of Nausicaa's arm disappears, that Cyclops loses his only eye: the threads unravel, the cloth dis­ appears, the notes fall from a fraying staff. The shadow brings these phantoms, the melody infiltrates silence . . . one no longer sees the Sirens nor the aphonic and musical mouth nor the charming breasts displayed above the flowing swell. This ending signifies that we have need of neither canvas nor map nor printed score nor written poem, nor doubtless of mem­ ory. Life and our black entrails are enough. The piece woven yes­ terday, each suite of measures and strophes entered clearly into our flesh and dark forgetfulness, buried alive in the shadow of the body or the dark soul, for the night of epochs and without taking up room, no more of a burden than an arm or another organ. One can undo them without causing damage. They remain there with­ out being there. The night remembers the day without containing it; this nothing remembers something; memory, which is musical, does not take up room. The voices enter in silence, and there they work, in the dark, in the light of intelligence. Our suppleness contains the unraveled tapestry, the absent cartoons and the tacit melody, with no other burden than that of the muscles, nerves of the heart. Dissolved, memory is made flesh, it comes part way back to life, already vibrant, rising from the black sea. Morning. I believe I never heard them sung, no old grandmother told them to me, I only saw a fleeting profile once, I only read a bad summary, yet my body, this morning, with no difficulty, restores, brought up from the sea and those deep grottoes, the enormous ewes that come out of the black lair of the one-eyed monster, the disturbing Circe who makes sailors emerge from foul pigs, the ball that bounds, dancing, outside the melee into which Nausicaa's attendants throw themselves, the mute Sirens with high breasts on the singing waves. All are resuscitated from the empty tomb, from unknotted threads, from effaced verses, from silence, from my loins, from absence, from calm and living flesh, from my sonorous thorax emerging from the dark sea. You who hear or witness these figures looming in the shadows in



the exquisite light of music, in the rhythmic narrative or the scan­ sion of the weaving, boldly forget them this evening, undo in your­ self without regret the threads that hold them or the notes and the words that evoke them. One day you will hum them by heart for your grandchildren, understanding that evening, at last, what you had once learned blindly: the magic fairy and the naive girl playing ball, a dangerous one-eyed thing or a blind victim, and the choral Sirens, tacit, with pale breasts above the water. Forgotten in our bodies, the Sirens remember; they sing the poem. Without space, music holds in us the nil island of memory. The third place around which the rhythm beats and the music vibrates disappears in the flesh, without leaving a trace.

Rose Window
What takes place in the center trembles and vibrates in time. The volleyer and the goalie know how to wait for and to favor at one and the same moment the low shot, the thundering burst toward a distant point, the rapid and short throw, the high jump, the brusque act of avoidance if the attack comes from the front . . . left, right, above, below, how do their limbs come unknotted? How, I do not know, but I know that the body knows how to do it, because it sleeps and watches on both ears. It settles, unbalanced, at a distance, from all sides. Thus, it knows how to maintain concentration. Free of direction. With unknotted, floating threads, all knots open and uncut, arms and legs white, head empty; circular like a rotunda, high like a plateau that is not inc1inded, the body becomes, if I dare say it, possible. Immobile, with the capacity to move. The tapestry we just referred to is being unknotted. One would say the bright spot, radiating in all directions, of the rose window of a cathedral. Attentive, in waiting, the body positions itself [se pose]. The philosophers call a thesis the act of positing [poser] an object, a fact, a true affirmation. The body does not assume this kind of pose [ne se pose pas], like a stone or a statue that is immobilized according to the laws of static, resting on its pedestal and around its center of gravity, stable, balanced, abandoned to the rules of rest. Movement has been described as a series of equilibria, as a sequence of reposes.

one foot first. On the contrary. and which would form the angle of its own fall with the normal line. It is careful then to efface all the forces that were mak­ ing it into a posed statue. unique and definitively decided on. The skin of my feet sometimes blemished with corns. Standing up. Left­ handed on the left side. It would be necessary to trace a composing oblique line that would give the true vertical line of the living being who is unceasingly attracted by this diagonal. an alert goalie. its member- . do you already have in the grave? This is literally the statue of the body proper. partakes of the soft breath. The spiritual. It sleeps stretched out on one side. through its lateralization. What is important lies below. Your feet. it no longer allows itself to be overcome: it is open to any eventuality. leaning like some antique colossus. a static thesis. words emitted by my breath. What is coming can come from each direction on the horizon. Emerg­ ing from rest. They forget to ask you which foot first: left or right? Which one. Do the opinionated do nothing more than argue over a vague sentiment that issues from the body itself? Now if the body plays the part of a statue. my legs feel heavy and my head rather light. a watcher. toward the bottom. If you're considered realistic you're said to have your feet on the ground. minimizes its gravity as best it can by inundating its muscular elasticity with subjectivity. one leg launched forward to give the illusion of walking. right as much as left. sometimes lying on one side. it waits. In both cases. light. It rests on its feet. It fills its space equally: high as much as low. but drawn to one side. it sculpts a second one. it abandons preferences and determinations. This is its usual thesis: repose. As if maintaining equilibrium of itself produced divi­ sions that have long been disputed in the philosophical arena. Here the forces of death are drawn. attentive. but effaces the fatal angle of the fall. the real. to the right or the left. portentous. of the weighty. not your hands. wakes up. it gets up. it reposes. quickly for­ gets that it is leaning in one direction and assumes a different pose-a tennis player readying for the volley. right-handed on the other. with its weight. or your head.24 The T roubadour o Knowledge f The body is like a statue when it sleeps and becomes one after death. fleeting ideas. Yet it does not move. Everything leans and is exposed on the side where it will fall.

overflowing with possiblity and with capacity. What exists is first possible. or. sex. like lap dissolves.3 The watcher who spies or the assiduous seeker. or for the real ground or for the spiritual height. small crossbred bodies. At the crossing 3. reaching the possible. The body enters into capacity. and told him whether to guard his left or right flank-TRANs.John the Good. on the left and on the right. From which one can see that the opinionated one. he is literally nothing but potential: he is exposed in all directions. suspended. you are obliged to pay attention. He does not defend himself. immediately becomes a thwarted left-hander. The brain. . wandering without belonging. it increases in capacity. Pre-cise (before the inci­ sion) -that can be said in better words: virgin. as a son once asked of his father the king. rather.Upbringing 25 ships. Neither angel nor beast. the tongue expose possibilities in wait­ ing. More precisely. a mixed body. During his passion he has effaced all the forces that determine him. moves upstream of every turn to action. who cries for the left or the right. is truly not paying attention. Here it is. always pays attention. fulfilled by the vir­ tual. Impossible? It inhabits these small reduced models: brain. A reference to the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 during which Philip the Brave fought alongside his father. and knows the better how to do so because it has often crossed the old white river. language. The whole body seeks the neighborhood of the center in order to coil up in the possible. Attentiveness and waiting go upstream toward whiteness. the site where direc­ tions are exchanged together. on the contrary. Here let us not call it the unde­ cided body. Indecision speaks of a malady downstream and predecision of the capacity of the source. It goes after the fold of the crossing. like a small sun. This resembles the sun of rose windows: exposure in all directions. though it is placed upstream of every decision. The attentive body blanched like virgin snow. Harlequin becomes Pierrot. Who. though it precedes the cut. but angel and beast at once. a completed body. since the double negation produces a stupid and worthless neutral thing. completed them. themselves organs or functions of the possible. If you change direction. the sexual organ.

the question of the knot. shivers near the absent center: the originary diver­ gence from rest. it beats. sparkling. The brain waits. as the word langue means both language and tongue. Everything quivers around the axis or the transparent center and in its neighboring regions. Whosoever departs from one shore and leaves it behind but holds on to it in order to try to reach and inhabit-adopt-the opposite shore. funda­ mental. white with waiting and capacity. Since the body haunts the left 4. Trill. open. right. to warm their rigidity. translucent to its own routes.-TRANs. . In French the word sex e can mean both sexual organ and sex. multiply oscillating. star-shaped traffic cir­ cle. trembling. vibrating in time like its own electroencephalogram. To lie down on the left or the right side. The left-hander must be exposed to the right and the right-hander to the left to be woken from their animal quietude or their mortal slumber. like a plateau that is not inclined. the miniscule. they pass through the center.4 A series of trembles. passes through the axis so that the body experi­ ences the tearing in the thorax or the belly. The crossroads. distances us a good deal from this arrow. belongs to all the paths. Music Let us return to the small. as is the case in the set of the wind [ lit du vent] or the dead branch of a stream. in a stable and unstable manner. Torn to pieces by the arrow's span. exposed. is no longer posed. The sexual organ hesi­ tates. below. floating. white with possibility. Right-handers like left-handers sleep set deeply in bed [ lit] with one side dead. in the middle of the mouth or between the eyes.26 The T roubadour o Knowledge j point. an immense complex of surveillance. divergence of our raison d'etre. Dis­ quiet. above. minute. of life whose birth can be recognized in vibrations-the regular flutterings of the heart or the chaotically erratic and complex twitching of the mind and of the nervous system. White place. made by the originary arrow. unlocked. its form is exposed. reticent. maybe. passive. essential marks and. differential arrow. shining indeed with stength. oscillating like music and the sounds that carry it. left. the secret. the tongue doubts and gets entangled. This done. rather.

the hammock on the sea in turbulent pitching and rolling. it must cross unceasingly. thus its life. nursery rhymes. And. Time and site of extreme attentiveness. threnodies. Therefore we turn around. to the left. the dance. at the very moment of reaching it. return. once again. tremble. no science. no language. or vertigo. and indefinitely repelled by it. We can only head toward it. we head toward it. scales. we pass the moment of reaching it. feminine rhymes. vacil­ late. all movements crossing and recross­ ing the absent center where none can ever rest. The originary orientation comes from the absent and unlocat­ able center as if it were taking root there: the flash that signals it and hides it with its bursts and eclipses twinkles everywhere like a small sun. the bell that regularly sounds. carried away. in double time and with two feet. the even and the odd. short again. we abandon it. We spend only an infinitesimal moment there. We turn around. music. but in the opposite direction. all vibrations prior to language.Upbringing 27 and right banks at once. Are we afraid of it? We neither know how to nor can we inhabit this fault line. compelled by the arrows that depart from it. its time. from low to high. With the same effort and with the same elan. obliquely or diagonally or transversely. no ges­ ture or thought is founded on this mobile place-which is the ulti­ mate foundation and founds nothing. and we are inclined to abandon it. but. the pole or ultimate foundation that supports . go. to get away from it. masculine rhymes. familiar refrains. ritornellos. entangled or alternated. below. the opposite way. shudder. with four feet or in triple time. with the same movement. lullabies. ringing like a vibrating cord. and its natural place vibrate. We traverse the river without respite. long. above. hesitate. the waltz. We only spend a short time there. doubt around the anxious fault line. measures. shiver. prayers and rites. between nothing­ ness and being. We do not find the center. We turn around again. attracted by this absence. short. the games of ilinx. We lean to the right. in all possible directions of space and time. no system. this axis or this vortex: who would build his house in the middle of a cur­ rent? No institution. We take up the same path. from right to left. from front to back. Thus are born rhythm. always awake.

this is why experience. and each hand encounters a hand to his left and another to his right: a sort of alternating. so that each woman is placed in front of the empty space between two men and sees only it. Double slash. in front of them. as supplicants used to do. Thus man is whatever laughs after coitus. Then. existence and ecstasy are expressed by the same word exposure. that. tango. as well. but each respective line slowly comes undone. From which follow the figures of the dance. ravishment crowning the geminate shock of love. whereas the men recount their love for the absence of women surrounded by women. Every woman pretends to love this hole in space. minuet. defines the animal very well: what becomes sad after coitus. Everything follows from the third place in both directions / senses. the monotonous mur­ muring emanates from the line-continuous since our world has been a world-and sings of the indefinite sickness of love. but since the two others. drunkenness. . Each person maintains an amorous rapport with the two corresponding dancers who border the space that each understands as part of his destiny. Dance: Minuet of the Third Place Men and women dance together face to face. An elementary stitch or thread of real human relations-never straight but made of multiple arabesques. Central figure o the dance. and their infinite substitutions. in effect.28 The T roubadour o Knowledge f nothing except at a distance from itself. gallop. bebop. each opens his arms. twists. crossed chain is formed. Sun. no one sees anyone or speaks to anyone and no one answers them: this chain of supplica­ tions produces the multiplication of the need to supplicate. curls. . have a relation to the two shadows that frame their space. This way each is alone in his lukewarm sufficiency and his unhappiness. or in the squares-this quincun­ cial chain resembles a staff where the notes would occupy pretty much the same place. enabling one to hear a familiar form in a reg­ ular rhythm. which says distance to equivalence . tired of suffering. The third philosophy likes mixed bodies. f Post coitum omne animal triste. while each man responds only to the same lack between two women. . or helixes in the bedroom or the living room. through stations and crossings.

being has just dumped the there. but when it gets up. walks. this mood. gets to know. a dense nucleus that does not move. Loves. Offers. a communal one. because nothing lies under it. This distance separates the animal from the tree and the tree from the stable sand. I think or love. This weighty arrow is directed toward death. lodged no doubt in the same center. throws the ball or evolves. the breadth of the views. launches one foot in relation to the other foot that is set down. holds a tool or looks. Who am I first of all? This black stone. I think or I love. Be on the alert! Watch out! A given event. I think or I love. therefore I am not me. wanders. No longer repeats. Being-there . It evolves. set down at the lowest point. The body itself lies down or coils around this lowered position. Through a disequilibrium free of cares. knows. invents. I have cast off from being there. thinks. Forgets its own home. rooted. heads toward the center of the Earth. leaps. travels. runs. laughing and risky. travels or pays attention. It leaves the shore and takes off. It aban­ dons habit to experiment. Walks. men as a whole only enjoy one being-there. Sub ject certainly. it still turns in relation to this point. as if it resembled my center of gravity or were assembled there. which determines their genus or their species. looks. Though located in vari­ ous places. a surbased weight that results from vectors of laziness and homebody passivi­ ties. with an inchoate disquiet. the map of the traversed desert. climbs. Let's measure the span between the left foot and the right foot. Jumps. the unevenness of the path. Passes the ball. This stone. Grows and launches its branch. It leaves what is stable and moves away. solicits: in this way a gap arises. requires. Swims.UPbringing 29 Magnificence I recognize in myself a tranquil and stable being-there. a unique root of life and of signs that ascribes to man the name humus. therefore I am no longer there. it is positioned. the space that wandering out­ lines. the height of the jump. invents. jumps. a root directed toward the center of the Earth even though it covers a locality. with no guarantees. therefore I am not. runs or swims. a project or thought passes. the volume of knowledge. It abandons abasement and rises up. Gives. It is exposed. Precisely the divergence of walking: the child goes to seek its fortune in the world.

To open distance to this immobile equilibrium projects a second point or place that one must surely call exposed: a gap that invents a space between position and exposure. Death is a return to being-there. no longer in rootedness. the sanc- . whether a statue. or you whom I love. no human being. or think.30 The Troubadour ofKnowledge takes root in this place near the common center of the world and weighs in at the lowest point of this axis. Let us call magnificence the labor in the thorax of this diver­ gence-whether of mediocre or ample size or volume-between the two poles of the position: the low and stable point of the place or the there positioned. This dis­ tance covers at least the whole tree and. the construction of the soul. between the position set down in this place. at the other end of the world from which I depart. through dilation or labor in the uterus of a new space beneath the force of a living being equiv­ alent to the word. What am I next? I am no longer there. . I am toward the other step. an immense space. one would say it was a veg­ etable. and exposure. Finally who am I. for the low part. Joy fills them. at the branchings. Great souls are very exposed. Describing. There is no animal or animated being without these two points. produces. just as misery and pain can give them greater depth. I am also that which I know. but at the extremities. a thesis that is most often low. con­ structs my soul. at the very moment when it is formed. as a whole? The totality of the volume between being-there and the exposed point. crawling. the nonplace or the enlargement of the soul. . down below. risk or libera­ tion. set down. and for the Very High. thus man at the same time as the earth. I expose myself: I am that exposure. on the one hand. the psalm names these two points: the humility of the servant. explosion. com­ pletes them. exactly measured. some kind of green. question. even a petty one. on the summit of the mountain. pusillanimous ones very little. sometimes. Magni-ficat anima mea: this magnitude. made mobile by the wind. Tree or vegetable. who has not traveled in this gap. in an animal movement. flight. I call this large dimension the soul. I am not me. a cir­ cle. thereby evoking the humus. and the high point. Distance or gap no longer refer to the center of the Earth nor to the community of invariance and weight. Who am I? First this stable position that cannot be uprooted. Always in proportion to exposure. literally. running .

a dis­ tancing from the equilibrium around this exposed point. exultation. experience opens this space-which goes from there to elsewhere and can go from Earth to God-for the construction or dilation of the soul. to call God the infinite totality of all the points of exposure. In being exposed through experience. Begetting Standing on this ladder. Let us call soul the kind of space and time that can be expanded from its natal position toward all exposures. The humblest experience of joy confirms that the soul fills the glory of the skies with its song or the world with its nothingness. words that repeat the magni-ficat identically. with songs. or. And the same for time: beatitude runs from generation to genera­ tion. Thus the thorax. the mouth. . Height is thus measured twice. temporarily stable. so that the devout inhabits the unfurled omnitude of space and history. and the heart are dilated and fill themselves with wind. with life.UPbringing 31 tity of God. by opening up or piercing a passage. with his joy. like a free and floating branch. my soul magnifies God. exaltation-the vertical names of exposure. Experience traverses these places and is exposed. In return. man enters into time and opens it. the bestial instinct closes in on itself. the servant measures two times the volume in formation: from below. with the glance that God himself casts. the establishment. a port through which to reach one of these exposed places. the stomach. rather. in its neighboring regions. God magnifies my soul. in effect. on his humility. from above. Between nothing and everything. An almost metrical result: the space of the soul occupies the literally exalted distance between the Earth and God. the uterus. the separation between nothing and every thing­ magnitude makes God and my soul. but reverse their order. the sexual organs. with the other or with recogni- . The animal is a being-there. directly and inversely. Accompanied by joy. Programmed. with goods. The human does not exist with­ out experience. with pleasures. a door. It is not unreasonable. a threshold. Joy. . positioned. with wine. behind him. a differential of time. he produces great things in me: fecit mihi magna . Dilation. Ecstasy expresses an end to this voyage. it launches a space and a time.

here. Having returned to the valley. and only then do they become big again. I wander in the world and the back worlds. the immense space of my exposed soul. with thirst. and beyond the water amid faraway longitudes. . big through dispersion or inanity. also. at the low point of the terrestrial place. . ster­ ile or fruitful. a measured breadth) . . . No. from way down here to the Very High. . I do not remember. Mont Blanc. I still inhabit the summit of the mountain that I scaled last week. or magnifies them . To open the door. false. their chairs. deposuit potentes de sede . God makes them bigger. Only then is the distancing reproduced. right in the middle of the body. and from their overthrown power. their power. et divites dimisit inanes . while passing through indefinitely dilated joy. is ultimately to expose oneself to death. . ever since my most fragile youth. with hunger in my chest. low. the self is begotten. my soul. We are sewn from elastic tissues. Experiencing. and the glacier of Grands-Mulets. I receive. remains there: it was certainly necessary that my body grow. Joy. There is no humanity without experience. A life of experiences forges the passage. . their goods. and. . humble. the streaming goods from . The body becomes pregnant. in its variety of times and spaces. my soul is exposed in learning things. a third place opens in the body to fill it with others. in distancing them respectively from these dispersed places. their glory. in bold abstraction. just as it once expanded to the dimensions of Mount Everest. just as it ven­ tured onto the slope of glaciers and still remains there. Suddenly these dilations. no humanity without these dilations. In being raised. short or long. .32 The T roubadour o Knowledge f tion-with hunger. three true measures of grandeur and volume. but their magnificence. the rich and the potentates lay claim to their own sites. the Gouter dome. having entered me. my uterus. from nothingness to death. are filled with a third. from their emptied riches. again. The scope is enlarged by joy and sorrows. I am dilated from here to the top. Thus. haunts. Social grandeurs. social castes . Et exaltavit humiles . my stomach. . annihilate this distance: superb. cultures and languages. with misery and with resentment. big because deposed. yes. and my heart ( re-cordatus miseri-cordiae. which is me without being me. I have erected my tent way up there amid mathematical idealities. without this exposure that moves toward explosion. in fact. to pierce the partition. In being brought up. landscapes.

of others and of thought. the object that I observe and that fills me with information. In these high. above. below. toward the absent and high nonplace. all of you. esurientes implevit bonis. . which fill up to the hilt this magnificent distancing that one calls me . the veritable essence of the human. of life. The space dilated by learning. without this high and wide expandable space that I experience here and now in my thorax. Misery and joy together complete the fundamental experi­ ence that we can have of being. . me and not-me. Knowing neither sense nor direction. . from humility. grandeur. this airport at the end of the world. marks the other extremity: precisely the border of the other. and a crowd of others. omnivalent. exposed. universal. of all kinds. one day. without this God-function. of pusillanimity. the thought that I develop and the lan­ guage that rains on me. third. metrically. without this opening toward the sum of alterity. Ontologically. the sweet crowd of those around whom I gravitate. of the world. in turn. Ethically. the world whose beauty amazes me and to which I give myself. our wandering goes from being-there toward exposure. miserable orjoyous dis­ tance. my stomach. destroys it: mor­ tal sin of pettiness. psychologi­ cally. The psalm of the Virgin invents the soul as the measure. This experience makes little reference to a subject place. my uterus. strangers or intimates . produces it. is equivalent to this grandeur. limted only by the local me of the earth. you whom I love and who loved me. our grandeur and our being-an empty or full. The soul is joy. . com­ plete appellation whose undefined versions are named. shrinking. the soul is large. the nonplace of God. contraction. Thus my soul.Upbringing 33 the high point. my soul . in the third place. without the creation and the experience of this exposed abyss of which I am nothing but the low riverbank. . a given ideality. our fulfillment. my heart. a local and earthy lip. but above all to that space of which the humble subject only constitutes the lower lip or border and of which the second place. in grandeur and volume. without which we are nothing-a self without joy-lives God himself. there is there­ fore no man without God. and this movement creates distance and exaltation. exposed places. the Gouter dome. . to which. of this dilation. . you. the other fills with a being. I will not give birth. the inverse.

from the feet to the eyes and from one shoulder to another. discover . Small. the unus­ able power remains intact. how. Vir­ ginal. can be exhausted in a work. Magnificence: this capacity tends toward greatness. Darkness. first person. one day at least. which only makes great things from the dead. at the moment of decid­ ing. that remains virginal no matter what one does. the soul? . Which? Where. . . Doubt­ less. The new force is ready. mourns for greatness. made for greatness. Omnipotence: everything again becomes possible. Why stubbornly refuse to call this vacant intensity. grandeur lies in me and dilates. at dawn. attentive watcher. devoted unto dying. the return to the world. this immense demand. nei­ ther the victory that tramples a thousand vanquished. which is like a rose window or a small sun. to be precise. Every day then. my body. potential world and thought right in the middle of the body. Enthusiasm elicits. since my violent. from infallible experience. as it has for several decades. except through crimes and lies. invading . the infinite regret of remaining to one side: the infinite possibility of learning. it awakens a ready energy. evident. construct. everyone. but this work only rarely achieves greatness and doubtless anonymously. nor the excellence that deposes the cohort of the mediocre. but of the work that produces and will give birth to me. does not show it. The body does not form grandeur. undertake something and in a big way. Joy offered. but obeying only greatness. because it is not a question of me. The bomb primed. . to go forth at the first call. This free. And. who is finally well brought up.34 The T roubadour o Knowledge f In the subject. demanding childhood. weighty. already lively gestures. the world and I have returned to the morning of creation. Thus. loyal servant. Morning. Now nothing can make an exception of this experience. . Pre­ sent in my body. Silence. It sings the Magnificat. What is to be done? Yes. and for what? So. the others engender a third person. Go beyond the seas. this unemployed greatness. gives it nothing social or historical. Waking. early omnipotence. experiences this formidable dila­ tion of his being-in explosive volume. unused. and potential­ this free break. strength. youthful and fresh even in old age. while remembering history.

Troubadour. The Generative Couple ofHistory. A gain: The Origin Begetting at Dawn The Problem ofEvil War by Theses The Stylist and the Grammarian Peace over the Species Weddings of the Earth with Its Successive Masters Peace and Life through Invention. Another Name for the Third-Instructed.Instruction Chiaroscuro The Third Place The Third Man To Instruct or Beget The Third Person The Third Woman The Third-Instructed: Ancestors The Third-Instructed. Troubadour. Death and Immortality .


from the former-together bespeak a circular gnoseology. and unique sun corre­ spond several dark foci that can be gathered into a sort of ring­ shaped zone that is exposed. a term in current usage whose Latin root comes from circle. in addition. The real center of each orbit lies precisely in a third place. refer to the solar donor of power and light. centered solely on one source of light. though dark. No.Day. Yes. but each. second foci apart from the first that bend the perfect cycles in an eccentric manner. but Kepler discov­ ered that the general movement of the stars follows elliptical orbits that together. because there exist. refers to a second focus. is at least as active. neither of these two poles is in the middle. I mean to say posed. those excluded from canonical knowledge follow the black holes. brilliant. of which one speaks even less than one does of these solar partners. knowledge becomes decentered. rambles and delays. To the white. to be sure. which. neither the Sun nor the Earth is in the center. rather. Formerly. language. in Greek. In speaking of a center of research. philosophy extolled the Copernican revolution for having chased our planet from the center. redundant. a measurable distance separates a second black focus from the sun of knowledge. a sort of second black sun. or because they sustain them as much as the sun thrills philosophers. but. as Kepler already said of the planetary system. as efficacious and necessary as the first. Neither the Sun nor the Earth is situated at the center of the world. as does that of encyclopedia-a scholarly word that the learned Rabelais copied out. like the 37 . In the same way. of which no one ever speaks. doubtless because the black holes neither blind nor overwhelm them. poor or illiterate. would the scholars them­ selves recognize the solar moments of powerful knowledge if they were not mixed with long hours of black sun? Is true intuition accompanied by an indispensable weakness? And what does intu­ ition owe to this weakness? For purposes of clarity. to our knowledge. Besides. the whole gentle crowd so derided by the learned that they see it as nothing but the object of their studies. The weak and the simple. a third lost zone. knowledge functions elliptically. Research. In addition. away from the Sun. just between these two foci-the shinning globe and the dark point.

to esti­ mate what the flamboyant star owes to the blind point and the lat­ ter to the former. sung. the comedian at the center of the stage and of this book. but does so. cento referred to a patched-up piece of cloth. Transcribe a single model and you are called a plagia­ rist. one playing the role of the other's image. Motivity is divided between the blinding source of light and a second dark point. which translates cento and centon precisely: a poem made of pieces taken from various sources and a patchwork coat. or theoretical made from copied-out bits and pieces. were already composed in that tongue. the motivations and finalities. in truth. Harlequin's coat has returned. the energy of its movement. A word rarely used. the weapon in the . even less where knowledge is heading. By extension. according to its objects. these hodgepodges. But before designating such a mixture as chosen morsels to be recited. lit­ erary. historical. Nonknowledge borders knowledge and is mixed in with it. kentron designates the goad the laborer formerly used to stimulate a pair of bulls in the harness. whereas the potpourri it describes occurs frequently. around a center that is equidistant from these two foci. through its momentum. I regret the eclipse of the French word among the abundance of ob jects it ought to designate. goes back to the Greek kentron. The Latin language. this is what we should call any kind of work. to search for the reasons for such a distance. already knew the word and the prac­ tice. What can be said of new centers? Formerly a poem whose verse or verse fragments were borrowed from various authors was called a centon. to evaluate the productivity of the dark zone and even the fecundity of this double and no longer simple command or attractive regula­ tion-Who would lose one without the other?-this is the program of the Third Instruction. This word. But. this study of Greek/Latin roots of the word center can be reduced to a centon. also called satires. like the world. like its Latin equivalent. thus.38 The T roubadour o Knowledge f world. from which it is evident that laziness is timeless. Single-concerned with the same world and the same men-research turns. or cited. first and primarily. To measure the constant separation of these two poles. but if you copy one hundred.D. you are soon awarded a Ph. musical. We do not know what incites us to leave ignorance behind. For example. given in terms of Kepler's law. a scrap of composite fabric.

pierced. then the merely additive and composite narrative of shedding successive leaves of clothing or the pages that recount this undressing. in its obvious spatial sense. The coat of this vain peacock sparkles with the eyes of those that look at him. of intersection. All alone. green and nut­ brown glances. the singularity situated in its middle. but also a studded whip. To him alone. democratic equality. Kentron thus translates the center of the circle.Instruction 39 belly of a bee or at the back of a scorpion. the word center speaks of the singular and the multiple simultaneously: the latter. Following the history of the sciences. He is the central point where he is. better than a screen . in an indivisible point of intersection. language speaks in several voices and recounts the striptease of the prelude without me. blue and black looks. just as the tail of a black comet drags behind it the shinning nucleus. describes the trace left by the prod. but also the stud and the whip of the rake. stuck there. the Emperor of the Moon in the center become a public laughingstock. witness. behind or beneath the transparency of this pure concept of center whose limpidity hides. lies. the colorfully patterned reunion. the two at last. of directions and surrounding worlds. the sharp point. in its hidden linguistic roots. Center thus ends up bespeaking the wretched one. in the heart of all the folds of his clothes. or beneath all his beneaths: what he is. also. this pure ideality. one and several. flagellated. see finally what the Harlequin wears in the center of his center. a patched-together centon. First the coat. of reunion. I no longer recall in which village of my childhood the central square was given this name: place des Centons. in geometry. the site of torture and the place of the ridiculed king: geometry arrives in last place. and the former. language recounts that the center of the circle or that the center in general. dragging behind it this past. his turban-wrapped head soon appearing beneath jeers and whistles. A Saint Sebastian traversed by arrows. and describes his place. Now the same word designates the instrument of punishment and the one who suffers or merits it-the victim. effortlessly. The very place on the planks where Harlequin undressed. far from designating from the outset the calm site where one debates in serene. an instrument of torture. condemned to stirrup leather or to the mortal goad. stimulation with a distinct style.

Canonized by the crushing monarchy of the day. The astrophysical revolution has lost count. whose splendor runs from Plato to Kant and beyond. in the image of the center of the world. education form this central subject. solar. The second black sun appears. these light and dark regions. mixed together. the world converges toward him. covered with pieces. but drowned in shadow. the entire world is gathered and meets. our speculative bedazzlement before the center of the circle obscures the black sun. Subjects exist everywhere. Not only does knowledge lie away from the center and demand the support of secondary black suns. dark nights. of the world and the subject. amid light and shadow. In the center lies the subject. Night. rarely takes into account that observers are night owls who do most of their work after sundown. thrown beneath these pieces. the center is reproduced. composed of bits. Absent or almost absent from the first figure. According to the Keplerian revolution. . and planetary world is reduced to a district. In this ultimately punctual and almost absent singularity. at a distance from the dazzling one. the receiver of information and pain. not only has the sun left the center. an almost useless half-place [mi-lieuJ. are observed. astronomical imagery.40 The T roubadour ofKnowledge can. issuing from thou­ sands of shinning suns and holes said to be black. Now. but the center itself. The history of sci­ ences leaves room. an immense milieu where the terrestrial. which geometry. To canonize the relations of knowledge and light. upstream from itself. throughout the whole of the universe-its quasi nothingness is indefinitely sown. Upbringing. In the course of long. is often juxtaposed or is some­ times founded. sometimes giant. for an anthropology of geometry. the residues of archaic advanced training. instruction. is suddenly sown throughout the uni­ verse. our knowledge unjustifiably established the local solar system as a general law. There is shadow in the neighborhood of this light. but a myriad of suns exists. midday signifies nothing more than the small principality of a nearby dwarf star. Brilliant and somber. We receive from far away the light of other suns. and pain beneath this serene concept. being pure. forgets. multiplied. At the center lies the centon.

This draws sciences and things themselves closer. nostalgia and narcissism. Chiaroscuro The sun loses its sovereignty over knowledge.Instruction 41 Translated from space into duration. The sun not only gives light. from nothing. In both cases. shining and dark. begot the strange idea that two analogues of this center exist in time: the beginning and now. now always begins a new destiny. Why. even if they remain the height of reason and determinism. all the same. Research or the encyclopedia of knowledge. but that prediction is lowered to a certain unpredictability. Since Kepler. from nowhere goes everywhere. closes an era or remains gently indif­ ferent. in the case of knowledge and of the universe. through this mixture of prediction and unpredictability. but also by the other black focus. follows an equivalent history: it already becomes elliptical or has two attractive foci in Auguste Comte-via the hard and social sciences. As a third between two poles. or. the form and con­ cept of the old encyclopedia change. in effect. because the encounter of determined reason with chaos never ceases. A certain disorder favors synthesis. conceiving of history now becomes easy. like space. and. in its role as an attrac­ tor. physics and sociology-before being dispersed today and enjoying several centers or attractors. but is reduced to a . the center. Now we know of a multi­ plicity of attractors in various forms that produce chaotic orders. each planet is found to be attracted not only by the sun. one cannot. if you want. once reputed to be round. would time also not be sown with an infinity of centers or crowning moments? How many beginnings and ends are truly taking place this minute? Yes. Choose from among these equivalent truths. but also power. the latter continually optimized as the moment when we know the most things best. in space and time. it is no longer the final end nor the first beginning of knowledge. because no one knows or can predict the invention of laws. which dream of a subject in the center of everything. there is his­ tory. becomes multiple. inversely. call it a chaopedia! This does not mean that laws are forgotten.

each examined. sin­ gular colors. The coat of Harlequin. science that thought it had reached its apogee whereas it was barely beginning. Midday only produces an oblique bedazzlement. comes from night owls in observatories of space that mix the day with night. like a god under whose reign nothing will ever be new. but comes to us. a single God. this mixture engenders a third light. unique and atemporal. None of these names. its light extinguishes the innumerable multiplicity of dif­ ferent stars. integrates the days of galaxies with the night of black holes. We have left behind the Platonic Good. We cast aside neither our ignorance nor our limitations. does not take up all the room. Colored. politics in its hour of glory. Circumstantial. since the age of Enlightenment: since this Greek Sun. No longer naively opposed to the day. of light. and classical science. and the AufkHirung. the exclusive victory of classical science. Light no longer floods volume. Fragile. of science and dreams. knotted. Nothing new since this fire has illuminated us. This is the age of glimmers. like a ray displayed among myriad rays. like the preceding ones. Thus harlequin and chromatic. Unstable. zebrine band is furnished with differenti­ ated information. Emperor of the Moon. also figures this night knowledge. in turn. Here is something new. At dawn. this daylight knowledge had lost time. the unitary history of our fathers. colorfully pat­ terned. Louis XIV. does not occupy space. All quiet since the Eastern front. night is the sum of the very days of know­ ing. . the Age of Enlighten­ ment. which. Knowledge illuminates the place. the third instruction. none of these so­ called new eras ever changed the regime. Trembling. or history without falsification tolerate images of such discretion or grace. Never did triumphant religions. the wisdom of Solomon. Issuing from a sun. nor the mixture from which time is born. since Plato. Mixed.42 The T roubadour o Knowledge f small cone of bright dust issuing from a fissure in the black box of space. always the same. of obscurantism and progressl -but sown with colors and black. like ignorance to knowledge-what wonderful luck nycthemeral rhythm is for the simple and cruel divisions of error and truth. Beneath the unique and total sun shone the unity of knowledge. tigroid. in spectral.

a group of three. excluded like a parasite. knowledge blinks beneath the sheer weight of dust motes. Truly? Remark­ ably. indifference and interest. sometimes immensely. dance the atoms. if he is not-or is too-involved. the age of scintillation. Perhaps we now prefer the chromaticism of light to its unity. New reversal: from the half-place [mi-lieu]. like the shadow that hid the center? The Third Place Each ellipse shows a center and two foci: here is a third. he profits. This is the age of local brightness and eclipses. intercepting. all of a sudden. from a situation that. is also reversed. What had no more room takes up all of it. as a plane or a variety with no thickness or dimension. profit and deri­ sion. a third man. then? From pain. or better yet: there is no middle [milieu]. colorfully patterned. Far from illuminating the universal. in the center. Encumbered. Of two people who contradict each other. Bearer. in third instruction. the third. saturated with dust.Instruction 43 Shadowy. for example. In the ray of clarity. as the totality of the volume where we live: our environment. one must be right and the other wrong: there is no third possible. between the two others. too well or very badly placed. does this necessary shadow so mixed with light come from. Just as a vibrating string sounds. the French language defines this word milieu as a point or an almost absent thread. and he can then be unmercifully chased. often. The Sun King sees his laurels in ashes. The one who took up too much room loses his place. its speed to its clarity? But again where. and yet. like a universe around us. the third person can find himself in a delicate and ambiguous position. suf­ fers or abuses. Scrounger or messenger. a small excluded locality. inter­ preter. of good or bad news. the third does not cease oscil­ lating-scintillating-between good and bad news. getting too involved. insignificant. ready to vanish. Expelled for interfering. information and pain. the Third is excluded. But what is one calling third there? A third place. it is said. to the milieu [milieu]. the third person? In a third place in the middle of the others. death and .

the third should have been excluded. absurd mid-place at first. proof through the absurd. everything and nothing. at the same time. well. the said diagonal wouldn't exist. Soon one will not find anything but this third. neither even nor odd. It was nothing. be reduced to limit cases of this new form. irrational. in relief. between the two foci. an almost complete milieu.C. that is. follows this law. from this inexpressible source. spurting like a geyser from this absent fault line. who had none takes everything. insists that all other known numbers. to the absence of a middle between these two impossibilities of naming it. other. Hermes himself reproduces it. but. which it sepa­ rates in two without a middle [milieu} imposing itself on intuition. thus worthless. a small animal. at least in those days. But if that were the case. it produces epidemics that put giant groups of large animals to death. great mathematics had just been born. the solar and the black. the apagogic proof. as soon as its exclusion is pronounced. an innumerable multiplicity of such others appeared suddenly in numbers and graphs: the algebra of real numbers. In the fifth century B.. which can be drowned in nothingness. It exists then. then invading. The law of transformation through unpredictable bifurcations. in his usual role of intermedi­ ary from which one expects that he will transmit messages like a . from this impossible situa­ tion: neither this nor its opposite. Absurd [absurde} means deaf [sourd}: The hubbub that Gen­ esis says precedes creation. the true kind. but it is ineffable. the point of which one never speaks. The parasite. from the absurd that the diagonal of the square drives us to the brink of. here it is. birth and expulsion. nothing can become everything. some anonymous Greek sages discov­ ered. precisely.44 The T roubadour o Knowledge f life. the mid-place [mi-lieu} of the square. From this contra­ diction. they became apprised that the length of the diagonal could be expressed neither by an even nor an odd number. zero and infinity. It was called inexpressible. deco­ rating. the discovery of real numbers. exposes itself to disappear­ ance. in geometry. Now. From then on. and the universe that it sows. does it come from such a silence? Whoever took up too much room loses his place. see how it becomes everything-or almost. It was born from the excluded third. In measuring the diagonal of a square having sides of length one. in multiplying to change levels.

Can this law produce time. in the center. for literature. and poverty. in the intellectual sphere. often excluded. He is born in this book. that of our souls. or the physical sciences? Then work in a rich English-language university. of what we know. who was nothing. formal. thus worthless. Epistemology and pedagogy meet. a lesson of ancient books.just as they did before. misery of culture. pain. powerful. blessed-and the wretched South by means of the invention of this third-instructed culture? It is at once a question of wisdom. in economic matters. economics. effectors of change. and it wanted to become something. a worth­ less position today between two others: on the one hand. governs real transformations and begettings. the hard sciences. emerges today. The third estate was nothing. that of things and of history? Of history. in exclusion. Thus expressed. Here is an apologue that locates the two places: do you dream of someday obtaining the Nobel prize in medicine. of the protection of the Earth. in the same way. our supreme good. and. knowing. carried by its giant demographic growth and risking economic death. but who actually trans­ forms the whole cultural landscape with each bit of information. objective. on the other. the third­ instructed. good and bad angels together. you are better off writ­ ing and living in the Third World. the said law. the problem of evil crosses knowledge. of justice. mediators. a third place also exists. not involved. but ours. dying. as well as of peace. not the time of clocks. This triple geographic distance of fortune and speciality shows the level of derision to which the esteem once accorded to the humanities has fallen: cultures of mis­ ery. . But. Whence the begetting of a third man. What will happen to it? In knowledge and instruction. the Third World demands to develop. for example? Those who belonged neither to the nobility nor to the clergy were grouped by the Old Regime in a third class: the third estate. becomes something and grows. a middle becoming a milieu: odious and indispensable animal and god. as his father. with the success now known to us. I wish him a long life. See the shadow. in view of the same award. violence. what one calls culture. Can one delay the inevitable confrontation of the North­ happy. Today. windowpane.Instruction 45 transparent.

chat. demonstratively. let us communicate then: I converse with you. always. understood as singular or plural. that. rarely bears the name of a person. outside. The Third Man The third person haunts our words and our languages. we think: this cog­ ito. the third included and excluded. you address us. universal shadow. The third person. and social avatars we already know. this third whose preceding logical. concerns only rare communities. I suffer: that has been said everywhere. generally issuing from pro­ nouns or demonstrative adjectives. the linguistic roof of our belonging shelters the first and second person. the ones or those. this sphere includes the same and the other in excluding the absent. they. without whom. but that the shadow is dispersed in the second foci of diverse planets. We have to educate ourselves in the third place between these two foci. worthless. plus. the one that. the state of not belonging to our communication. desig­ nate the exclusion or the exterior of the closed group of our con­ versation. which can drown in nothingness. to be accurate. we believe that at the common center of the world the universal sun of knowledge and reason shines. or ridiculous thirds. of us-we who . to indicate or point at these third persons. We pass our arms through the windows of belonging. In the course of dialogue. he or she. So well-defined and closed that we remain deaf to everything except what happens in this belonging.46 The Troubadour o Knowledge f As Kepler taught us. badly placed on the edge of the mid-place. for these thirds. These grammatical third persons. it occurs to me today to think. so that the god Hermes will circulate among us anew. there­ fore a third place. in particular. the same iron law describes the same transformation: nothing can become everything. geometric. because he borrows his own name from a demonstrative. outsiders. are thus exactly. excluded. Let's enter into a dialogue. again. Now. and that a thousand suns of diverse knowledges scintillate amid the common milieu of this painful. on the contrary. specialized. that the problem of evil is involuted in the common center of all cultures. but can become the milieu of everything and. without which or with whom and of which we speak.

morality: it is necessary [it faut}. In the same way. but. without us. in this book. founded . and still. which seem to have become various categories by chance. would have even dreamed of such a union? Of holding the threads of such a totality in one hand? The Third and its vibrant law of exclusion and inclusion thus found the sciences. and using. there is [it y a}. saturate the ontological universe. the third person and its loca­ tive case. precisely. today. in second. the world as such or the physi­ cal world-impersonal. word for word. Thirdly. you. Finally. In second place. the this or that that we point at. in the evidence and. the third person becomes the totality of objects or of objectivity in general: surrounding us. of becoming and of time. doubtless. the portrait of the third-instructed. Here then is the third person become the totality of the social collective that surrounds those who talk of him. inclement weather [les intempiries} designates. fill. The figures of the third excluded or the third person from now on no longer traverse the lacunary space of the preceding exam­ ples. it snows. it hails. for the first time. Teaching is this sowing. Besides. ten models. founded on the principle of the excluded third (we see. this relation of nothing to everything offers up the secret of begetting. through the well-regulated functioning of exclusion) . that objective and intersub jective milieu in which our tongues have always been immersed. Being itself: the French expression for being there. and the second. accurately denominated: it rains. Thirdly. as many thirds as one could want. pronoun and adjective. the German dasein.Instruction 47 are given over to language. he is named: one or each or all or the others. again and profoundly. Either pregnance or expul­ sion. how easily one passes from the linguistic demonstrative. the temporal operator. two. suddenly abound and engender one. in this case. on the contrary. third imperative as impersonal as the objective it rains. simple gesture of the extended index finger that indicates the out­ side. The third person thus indexes the full circuit or the synthesis of knowledge and its objects. it thun­ ders. threatens or admires it-the Latin iste of derision becomes the ille of glory-to the proof that rigorously concludes. completely other. the first establishing themselves on rigorous proof alone. me in first person. translates. Who. both the hard sciences and the humanities [sci­ ences humaines}.

48 The T roubadour ojKnowledge on global becoming and local exclusion.or second-person sub ject. discourse. they found each other. by furnishing the operator of transformations. Thus the third person provides a foundation for the whole of the external real. You must love the language that transforms the slave into the master himself. while link­ ing it to proof. Metaphysically. Here at last we discover a Northwest passage where one is born in both senses. The little one leaves the family home. since it is present at the root of every proof. From social and human exclusion. suddenly. Hermes also went along. and instruction. which is now. a given individual. one moves to the excluded third who. an unprovable philosophy without this third person. Finally. as a guide. and thus the trip into school itself. departure-second birth. more than provable. in turn. renders collective conduct and all its consequences absolute and rigorous. circulating among their rela­ tions: neither the philosophy of communication nor its god can do without what is neither philosophy nor god. then. where beginnings are substituted for each other and beget each other. sometimes. lots of things change. first of all. They found the ontology of being itself. the Third and its law found physics. they found morality by discovering a law of conduct that references no particular will. Here. by giving nature its general objectivity. All learning demands this voyage with the other toward alterity. as well as by making natural phenomena function outside the intention of those concerned with. the reason of realism. This is the goal and the end of the philosophy of communica­ tion brought by the message of Hermes. unique and universal. and furthermore. but. the totality of social inclusion. that is outside the sphere of communication. During this pas­ sage. in both cases. outside any first. thanks to it. outside all logos. To Instruct or Beget Whence knowledge. on top of that. the slave who took the noble child to school was called a pedagogue. time and his­ tory. and within the purview of. Formerly. of the same founda­ tion. it is a question. for ob jectivity in its totality. an outsider or third between the first and second person. which defines or desig­ nates. and that trans- . experience.

he travels and becomes Spanish. stronger and adult. Snow White encountered old dwarfs: ancestors. Thus. and child. above which the third person thunders: it is snowing. but children in size. what it is to emigrate. ille. Before arriving. octa­ roon. already mature. he learns to use his right hand. English. remains left-handed. in fact a half-breed. he catches up a bit with the more fortunate child. Strange and original. Italian. if he marries and learns their culture and their language. The first person becomes the third person before entering the school door. His mind resembles Harlequin's iridescent coat. or German. iste. and soon that of the master. forced to shelter a moment beneath the foliage of the beech tree. from herself. from the forest. the exterior. She will thus be reborn. In the same way. the rich child speaks to the poor adult slave who answers.Instruction 49 forms this emigration into instruction. all pedagogy takes up the begetting and birthing of a child anew: born left-handed. since they were old. exclusion. at the confluence of both directions. This holds for bringing up bodies as much as it does for instruct­ ing. has lived outside. reborn. he enters culture. a quasi equality that permits her to remain protected while becom­ ing a protector. soul and body combined. wandering in the forest. still far away. the derided slave. in her self and otherwise. attracted by the solar focus. here. Scientific by nature. from his greater stature. There is no teaching without this self-begetting. already a mixture of the genes of his father and mother. The half-breed. The com­ monality of reason sends the different black holes back to their cul- . the slave is familiar with the exte­ rior. still a child. in the wind and beneath the rain. from above. it is cold. from them. is reborn right-handed. born Gascon. they will take each other's hands. still. the child evolves only through new crossings. The slave knows the out­ side. maybe. he remains and becomes French. Learning consists of such crossbreeding. mother. Other and experiencing alterity painfully. he is no longer the same. French. establish­ ing a temporary equality that renders communication possible. all of a sudden. Thus the world enters the body and the soul of the greenhorn: impersonal time and also the strangeness of the excluded. he is a quadroon. at the end of the voyage. quickly. a daughter who is mother of herself. is called the third-instructed.

Love the one who begets spirit in you. Here is the shadow and the light. that is. condemned to death and crucified as a slave. then. and death-culturally universal. Now. the living and the dead. from which one learns to see clear reasons like so many variable and separated rational solutions. by a strange symmetry. everything then and nothing. sometimes the appearance of a tongue of fire or an 1. seated. returns to the Heavens where he will come to judge. but compensated by redemption or expia­ tion. the second person. seated on the throne of power and glory. esprit means both mind and spirit. . Second stability: invariance through variations. to become nothing. God comprises. occupies the whole zone of the shadowy focus.50 The T roubadour o Knowledge j tural particularities. From God who is incarnated. a dove. assuming the problem of evil. In the end. the companion leads to an encounter with a second person-a hard and demanding experience. in the end. he will have worked for a week. he has been enjoying rest. the problem of evil-injustice. this holds for behavior and wisdom. Finally. Already other. in addition. The Third Person Present throughout the universe. a third person. marrying. finally becomes everything once again. a humble son of a carpenter born in a miserable stable. the two movements achieve. nothing but everything. including. at the Ascension. violence. The Son descends to the earth. lower still. takes the form of a bird. on the last day. Thus the mind changes its medley of colors. suffering.-TRANS. an equilib­ rium: not solely static. In French. the third person. The third person of the Trinity. toward Hell. a tragic solution to the problem of evil. 1 comes from the first two. the Holy Spirit. for education. suffering and omniscience. stable. in passing. finally to be resurrected. and. One pictures the Father. but absent to the point that no one can find him there (since he hides so much) . in the world and time and history. omniscient. Since then. resurrected. the Holy Spirit. without abandoning its own person or its unity. the law of incarnation that wants everything. encountering. beneath the wind and the stars-from which the self begets in itself. at the right hand of his Father.

of languages and sciences. . like inclement weather. third person. everything. absolutely speaking: it leaves stabilities forever. including those of the balanced movement of cir­ cular history. The sowing of the spirit or mind depends on the heat and the air. It evolves and travels. or compensation be found. which never. This real time of wind and fire. of unexpected combinations. that this launched step comes to rest somewhere: whence the figures of the wing and flight. Whence learning. of alliances . like a raised foot. it thunders. in volatile fluids.Instruction 5I impetuous breath: it is windy. which is exposed. . the other burning-lies the chaotic time of the spirit. of improbable peace alongside vengeance. of instruc­ tion. is equal to that of being brought up. nothing. nor fire. here. here. . which is rather aleatory. nor birds in flight know rest. never or tomorrow. to risk itself in the unstable motivity of deviations from equilibrium. of transfor­ mations with no return. falls on us. whence knowledge. Since. Between the two stable persons in their infinite conversation. No text says that this procession stops. the vibrant law. definitely. of unexpected intelligence and constant advice. noise. suddenly. it is lightening. stability. all the languages of the world known in the public square. and the winged creatures are borne up only by the turbulences that form beneath their wings. again. A miniscule morsel of language inside a closed room. the Holy Spirit is propagated where and when he wants. whence time. it happens through procession. that of the spirit/mind. The Holy Spirit is exposed outside of the Father and the Son. one must always begin again to support oneself on what will always give way. Breeze. The Holy Spirit thus proceeds. . regular time [temps}: it penetrates the world in whirlwinds. the prop always gives way. outside the stabilities of the first two persons. Whence its eccentration. that of the Pentecost. of elements and climate. lightning that splits the sky or rain . This last word describes a step forward. between omniscience and exposure to evil-one focus shining. The third person comes from two others. . Nothing. of travels. of inventions and travails. Neither in flight nor through the turbulent winds can traces of equilibrium. there. of prescription. without leaving their unity. or flame. find definite supports. thus on the weather [temps}. and not on measured. everything. That means that it never stops being exposed. Neither wind.

as if it were a question of her own procession. but because the spirit also comes from them. silent. of flesh and blood. that of the use of days of the calendar by incarnated works. shining like suns. it happens that the real world is the third person. unknowingly. Third person. daughter and mother. The whole pious and naive scene: Anne. thus constituting a new feminine Trinity. half-present. arrived. the mother. one can say "the appearance speaks. before philosophy began to use it for the avatars of the mind or the recognition of stabilities immersed in voluble profiles. . pro­ ceeding from themselves. an ignorant peas­ ant. The world certainly proceeds from these two persons. Solar. The Third Woman Scholars first used the word phenomenology in celestial mechanics to describe the movements of the planets. and Bernadette. visible. Here is a second focus. Mary. the first expression. and legal time. or the mind itself-or that the mind is the world itself or the whole of the objec­ tive. History also proceeds from spirit. evoked. daughter. is spirit. In a dark grotto in Lourdes. The time of history combines a circular. so that finally together they are time. as has been shown. their appearance and their reason. here is ob jective creation and redemption or re-creation through expia­ tion. Translating this Greek and learned vocabulary vernacularly. blind. the known is constructed in the same way that the knower is instructed. the Virgin Mary appeared to an illit­ erate shepherdess to speak of her immaculate conception. women. at the very least unex­ pected in a culture where the gods or God. in the course of learning. finally. then in general physics.52 The T roubadour o Knowledge f Conversely. beautiful things that I not only wanted to prove. in proportion or irregular reason in its solution. with the erratic. to arrive at the same meaning. were begotten in or proceeded from the masculine." a phrase sometimes mumbled. which is why the objective can be known. physical. absent. the third man who is born in me. speaking. by those placed outside of knowledge. but that are born at the same time as the proof. the second. unpredictable time of the spirit. present there.

here are good anthropological models of education. and their work. in the material of the world and in the soul of men. The Third-Instructed: Ancestors Third in spirit or language. but his text also speaks of the Lydian peasant in his dark grotto.Instruction 53 Dark holes of the earth and simple folk that mark a distance from knowledge. The masculine procession of the Spirit imitates begetting. The shadows and forces come together from two sources that beget the work. to those who remain the objects of our knowledge. Voltaire. of the production by the other in myself of a third. but on condition that it be left to oth­ ers. another shepherd in ecstasy in a similar cave? Plato granted himself the right to speak of the Sun. ten writers have more or less mastered the science of their time. passing through Moliere. just like female conception. Yet the learned word and the popular phrase. Sci­ ence illuminates. The division that . or Balzac. the Keplerian revolution. speak of one and the same thing: that appearances. Of the two locutions. Yes. word or spirit. From Rabelais to Valery. Yes. one coming from the blinding solar focus and the other from the black hole. virginal or immaculate. illu­ minates and reinforces science. seem to speak. illustrious tradition. to the poor of the Third and Fourth worlds. Did the Greek Sophists deride the text of The Republic as much for the page where Plato evokes the myth of Gyges. in caves: a phenomenology of which we ourselves dare not speak. beyond geometry and the dialectic. quickly name the most attractive and the clearest. fortifies their work. though he thinks before. In myself spirit is virginally conceived or proceeds. the sowing of scientific knowledge in narrative or in meditations has a long. His pedagogy either produces with two foci or con­ sents to an eccentration that we reject. in Lourdes and today in Yugoslavia apparitions speak to shepherds or ignorant children. and the rationalists laugh. and we write after. in turn. myth-can this be said?-lives always and constantly at a distance from science and even the major theological institutions. We tolerate anthropology. gathered together.

the hard sciences make their crossing. Doubtless the educative couple Meno-Socrates. In the usual direction of its flow. Pascal left only one work and.54 The T roubadour ofKnowledge distinguishes the cultivated ignoramus from the uncultured but instructed. to model. does one always know what the sec­ ond owes to the first? An expert in traditional knowledge whitened by time. precisely that of the center. How can one be surprised that bodies gifted with this complete­ ness would have been seized with the passion of pedagogy? Those who loved their own begetting like to beget. the first writes. Homer played the grandfather from the rosy-fingered dawn of the third millennium. and the last one predicts the probabilities of a meteorology of history. Goethe. Plato. Roulette and Pensees together pursue their com­ mon quest. young Telemachus and old Nestor. Coniques [Essay on conics] and Provinciales [Provincial letters ] . from children to mature adults. Pedagogy knows the tight knot of these two times. ignorant and learned. but which supernatural space causes to appear. left behind them a thousand third­ instructed texts: metaphysical mechanism. Aristotle. or Robert Musil. from the old to the young. are transmitted. while the second recounts determinism on horseback. forms the double body of instruction. in this I read the perpetual youth of the sciences. Montaigne. the humanities. whereas Theaetetus. in whom the night follows or is juxtaposed to the day. Thus Leib­ niz. Pascal. following its loves and affinities (the latter a word used just as much in mechanics or the geometry of ellipses as in the chemistry emerging at the time) . Models of models. same inven­ tion in domains separated only by our narrowness. Diderot. the man to come. or Rabelais sow their culture with all the knowledge of the time. archaic. inaccessible in this infinite world. Abel or . one must get older to understand their wisdom. as an ambidextrous person or rather a completed body. whom only our borders pre­ sent as monstrous exceptions. appeared only recently. their methodical manner of harvesting young shoots. wrote it with two hands: Triangle arithmetique [Arithmetic tri­ angle] and Memorial. the old Egyptian priest of the Timaeus treats the Greeks like children. Complete bodies of works. In exactly the opposite direc­ tion. with this combination. The most obvious case of a distribution comparable to that of the heavens concerns an identical body-same author.

inaccessible at your age. One kind of knowledge. The vector of life increases. with the other. where time is knotted. child inventors of theorems. The dark projects a time that light shelters. in return. he sings the epic [gesteJ of a tribe and the tribulations of its members. in following in the tracks of the elements of the . and constitutes. and. Will we finally beget the age of reason? In another median case. duration disappears. but. unceasingly annuls time by short-circuiting scientific dis­ tinction. Adult: young­ old with the balanced benefit of both ages.Instruction 55 Evariste Galois. con­ trary to expectation. behind. finally adult. behind. the author produces with one hand while. Children. and learn math­ ematics clearly. at the same time. new. is like good wine. Questioningly. maturing. teaches the genetics of his time. they teach me the recent developments and achievements of science and technology. he simply gathers information: Zola tells the story of the Rougon-Macquart family and. unceasingly becomes greener. chiaroscuro makes time itself. whereas in the second it is produced. what one under­ stands and what one doesn't understand: in the first case. but. the experiences of culture. climbs. but. each ignorant of the other. he authentically invents the physical condi­ tions in which the problems of reproduction are posed. they will slowly mature in the center of your body. that of entropy decreases. while from downstream come the clear messages issued from bright-eyed youth. in front. whereas the second kind. doubtless the most frequent. As a novel­ ist. in so doing. These two inverse vectors of time and intelligence would dis­ tance forever the two bodies of the couple from all teaching. Youthful Nobel Prize winners in science next to patriarchs decorated for literature. in front. but. and seems to stop-one would say a galaxy-the third-instructed projects the naive time of sci­ ence. almost always obscure. The forefathers with blurry eyes blindly pass on the contents of culture. I teach my granddaughters a bonhomie whose nobility still governs me. unless the real whirlwind of time or the tur­ bulences of the mind are outlined. the long time of humanity through the slow digestion of traditional contents. falls. learn Homer and La Fontaine by heart. always died in the flower of their youth. From which one must learn. The flame carried by the discoverer strides across the fire-breaks. At the heart of this turbulence.

is the process of begetting. I am not talking about recent narratives that have been catalogued under this heading. Doctor Pascal.-TRANS. which. Here. or a poem adds together various forms of knowledge. Zola learns bit by bit to write with the other. Diderot 's Le Rive de D 'Alembert [D'Alembert's dream] . of lakes of premonition. an adult. With the pen. The most difficult case. He crosses the river. Diderot seems to have understood that it was necessary to name such undertakings dreams. viscous and always churning: ten hot or cold currents traverse them and produce gigantic maelstroms. sud­ denly. because the sciences converge there in a transparency through which the eye passes without seeing any­ thing. leads the writer to anticipate. shattering. anticipates science. lost even. Liter­ ature speaks science. In the furnace of the Souleiade. but is like a group of oceans. which are often mediocre. I would like to give each of these texts the authentic title of unknown masterpiece [chefd 'oeu­ vre inconnu}: unknowing. he begets in himself an unknown scientist. which reencounters narrative. of pockets of innate knowledge in exquisite literary moments. This middle case thus returns to the first in lightning fashion so that knowledge is never cut up into crystalline continents. live. rather. slips into thermodynamics. at the end of this road. a narrative. Even if specialities are divided. no transformation without this fluid whirlpool. . also full grown. difficult to spot. under the watchful eye of a doctor who is a philosopher and a man of learning. in the same way different forms of knowledge merge in speech that seems banal. in pages whose message seems to speak in another tone. without realizing it.56 The Troubadour ofKnowledge genome. the inventive remains undivided. rare. Sometimes.just as the colors in a rainbow dissolve in the white limpidity of everyday light. strongly defined solids. in his best hand. without noticing it. but the one that is most interesting. a story. geneticist. No history of science or history in general. he mimics the exact gesture [geste} of the scientists who will describe them.2 2. without Zola ever having left the narrative. no instruction is possible. at the beginning. when they are intentionally constructed and when they lull to sleep a learned philosopher. but of sudden intuitions present and hidden.

but from stories and languages. From Book III of Sagesse. he describes. A gain: The Origin "If you do not love me. in a sonnet from Sagesse [Wisdom] . draw their beginnings. irritated or rocked to sleep by the buzzing of a wasp around his head. buzzing multi­ plicities from which science like life. and the deep sound of the world parallel to that of the body. his feet in cool puddles of water with which the tiled floor is being inun­ dated. dust particles that dance. Verlaine. " Who doesn't know how to sing this refrain from Georges Bizet? Everyone has seen Carmen. but still sees through a chink that makes dust-motes bright. projects the extrapolation from the exact and recognized curves of the real science of the time. by C. 3. 1 57. On the other hand. from other contents of knowledge. an indeterminate chaos whose constant presence accompanies us. the most frequently staged opera in history.Instruction 57 But the poet does not nourish any project of this kind when in turn he nods off. What is not yet and hastens to become a dream allows one to observe. language like poetry. in chiaroscuro. . pinpointed long ago. doubtless a fake dream. Just as Le Rive de D'Alembert. affected. the flight of wasps. Here a second begetting is described. the deep sound of coanesthesia. p. When noon strikes and the light of Plato's sun penetrates the room only parsimoniously. These are the ancestors or the pedagogues. "L'e­ spoir luit comme un brin de paille dans l'etable" [Hope shines like a wisp of straw in the stable] . . drawn by design. no longer from the hard sciences.-TRANS. in the crushing heat of the hour. hot organism and noisy universe. invading hearing during sleep. I love you . The Third-Instructed. his elbow on the table. during the midday siesta. of the third-instructed. and makes the various colors that the prism of the text dis­ plays shine. Vague but rigorous intuition of a future knowl­ edge and epistemology. F. wisps of straw in the stable. MacIntyre in Paul V erlaine. 3 is unaware of a whole field of knowledge to come. as if at night. 1948 ) . trans. . almost asleep. which comes from a sec­ ond eccentricity. Selected Poems (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

to the very incipit of the novella. con­ tributes to instruction. . in the library of the duke of Osuna or in that of the Dominicans of Cordoba. This time. know how to read the old maps and the Latin Commentaries. where the end of the civil wars was decided against the two sons of the great Pompeii? Pedantic even. to which they are sometimes relegated. it is assuredly good to make oneself learned. cartographer. between Cordoba and Grenada. Here is Merimee inside: archaeologist. parallel to the Guerre des GauZes [Gallic Wars] . That knowledge. already? Certainly. a Spaniard? And where did the decisive battle of Monda. Yes. some­ thing will always come of it. A foolish upheaval that makes for a poor captatio benevoZen­ tiae. philology fights against the toponymy of mountainous Andalusia. who really knows how it begins? With a monument of erudition. to understand them. Study. leave the library to run in the fresh air. if you remain inside. I mean some kind of future that goes beyond a copy. excellent. Outside. . history. one must go to libraries. the author. Carmen begins with learning. will he get out? Does one meet femmes fatales dancing through the shelves or among the incunabula? A moral of the story. take place. you will never write any­ thing but books made from books.58 The Troubadour o Knowledge f who has read the novella by Prosper Mhimee? Furthermore. One must. the Guerre d'Espagne [The Spanish War] ? Though he may have been the ma jor actor. Who then? A Roman. Julius Caesar was not. . you can try your luck. Nothing fur­ ther from Gypsy loves and flying skirts. Linguistics meets geography. Merimee even announces a learned article on "the Roman Inscriptions at Baena" that will indeed appear in the June issue of Za Revue archeoZogique [Archaeological review] in 1 844. and poses precise and subtle ques­ tions: who wrote. And after? For there to be an after. There is the good Mhimee at work among books. the notes at the bottom of the page that so disfigure volumes and the numbers or asterisks with which critics mark up the lines move up arrogantly from the final pages. work. but the goal of the other kind is something other than itself. for example. and archaeology . he reads. Which? Return to the beginning of Carmen. have done one's studies. it is said. comparing the texts and the maps. Will he remain there.

One could truly say that the erudite one walks and suffers. Two foci: inside. and Utretcht ( 1 592-1680) famous chiefly for their editions of the clas­ sics. Now here he is. too. one can deduce that by directing oneself upstream. he is dying of thirst-this does not happen amid pages-and soon goes to drink. . To merit writing a true book-here. taking. on a trip to clarify my doubts about the site of the battle fought by Julius Caesar. have a strong suspicion that this excursion is nothing but an excursus. know geography. The name of a family of printers at Amsterdam. takes notes. he says. copy-with all their mistakes and typographi­ cal errors-dictionaries. then. like Gideon's brave soldiers. lying flat on his belly. whence I see that you bring the outside inside the inside. with a twist of pedantry: you pretend to recount a walk whereas I can show that you transcribe a manuscript! When will we get to the Gypsies and the dances? When. But I. some brook that feeds the swamp downstream from it will surely lead to the source. No. he no longer copies. nonetheless some remains of the library follow. given that the descriptions of the plateau of Carchera and the nearby swamps. 4. Faced with a swamp where the vampire-leeches nourish themselves on the books of others.-TRANS. with no protection other than the sky and no wall other than the horizon.4 I catch him with his hand in the cookie jar. This sight­ ing cannot be a mirage. He seems to travel the Andalusian countryside around the banks of the Guadajoz. and finds a little watering hole full of leeches and frogs.Instruction 59 copies. Meanwhile. will thus publish the learned article. for all my luggage. But before being able to quench his thirst. outside: I am leaving. will we move from the article to the novella. outside. in turn. liar! I. Yes. which will be purer and free of para­ sites. some shirts and the Commen­ taries. harassed by fatigue. catalogs. Burned by the sun. Leyden. the Bible-one must leave Egypt and confront the harshness of the desert. The Hague. which keeps the young girls and the handsome officers from sleeping? Day. Elzeviers. everything there is deceptive. . Merimee seeks . everything really begins. even more erudite than the notes. .

one certainly says that it flows from a source. to violence. Next to it. or. the cartographer. the philologist . in going back up toward the foundations of Rome. in a tranquil shaded cirque of sovereign beauty. Hercules himself asleep. stream and source. answer each other by neighing. liar still. whether as a his­ torian or as a man dying of thirst. black sleep and brute beasts. Is it an originary scene as close as possible to the origins? Is Merimee here really exposed. of narrative? Where can the sources of this scene next to sources be found? At the limits of Quellen forschung. at the beginning of the two. on the fine and lustrous grass. the erudite Latinist. to destitution. on the same soft hillock. a man sleeps. in sum to evil or reality. god or bandit. does he copy. very commonly seek sources. Strangely. next to the source discovered by Merimee. which lies bubbling in a basin of white sand.60 The Troubadour ofKnowledge In other words. just as next to the other lay the club. the archaeologist. while the flock that he stole from Geryon after he killed its owner grazes? A robber. Don Jose keeps a rifle not far from his hand. Yet. stories. numerous . . like him exhausted. in this paradisiacal place in which the narrow straits through which this stream of water runs widen. who. it seems that one must think some­ thing like self-referentiality: the spring first should come out of itself. The horrible mass of books reveals and conceals the river and its origins: I like to say that sources attract the learned because they are free of the learned! If I wanted to pass for a scholar. nonsensical calls that echo the muffled bellows of Livy's bulls. rather. while the horses. Here then is the voyager en route upstream. at the beginning. of myth. the very father of Roman history? Should one still hesitate? Why draw an analogous landscape. murder and robbery. suddenly discov­ ers. to villains in seedy inns. along the downstream gorge. to betray­ als and death. to the desert. a murderer. the historian. animal voices deprived of meaning? Is it a question of history. now. to the sun. similarly Roman. to thirst. traversed by analogous actors. or overcome by thirst. I would call all of that Quellen forschung. a similar tableau is unfurled upstream. Does Merimee play the same trick on us as did Livy. there is the spring. like him. . The marvelous stu­ por of discovery: at the foot of a cliff. but without telling us.

Thus. Hercules has killed before our very eyes. from decision. glaciers or humid prairies. . Instead of hanging the murderer. the origin goes back to a flowing point of some kind of flux. they. Though he comes upon him in flagrante delicto or almost in the act of murdering. before our very eyes. whereas his guide ran to deliver him to justice. Evandrus makes his­ tory branch off toward myth. Let us forget Latin and the Spanish language and speak Greek for a minute: the two men free themselves from judgment. had a b::td name . the judicial toward the religious. here the narrator makes history branch off. reconstitute the character of Evandrus so that the two scenes give the men equal treatment. the Basque bandit has taken the place of the robber­ murderer. from justice. charged with the pursuit of justice. tipped off by the guide. and his captivity. that is to say from criticism. the two of them. Merimee thus treats the banished one with humanity. Here Hercules and Don Jose are free-born to gypsy life. has his case dismissed. where the basin brings together or collects a thousand small inlets of separate waters coming from upstream. among these ordinary places. not far from the springs. followed by his execution. because the carabineros. another substitution with almost no difference. As a result. Near the sources. certain ones simply form a dam. by dis­ engaging it from the judicial: Don Jose will continue to live free for a moment. Don Jose kills no one when he wakes up. a substitution with little difference. the role of governor. who played. A god in place of a condemned man. of the Vienne. as if on a geo­ metric axis. The victim. he seems to judge the hero but just as quickly spares him by recognizing him as divine. from judges. Cacus. and. the religious and the mythic branch off from the judi- . Always and everywhere. in Cordoba. pursued by justice. we will honor him on the altars. someone still excuses Hercules: a certain Evan­ drus. criticism lays down its arms. will arrive too late to seize him. Hercules awakens and kills Cacus. Let us compare the two stories. issuing from ice or rain. . In Livy. as well. Robber and murderer. and other rivers quickly persuade us that the point of origin is reduced to a gather­ ing. were they always as free as air?-but free from whom and what? In both cases. in those days.Instruction 61 VISIts to those of the Garonne. The whole narrative will be told while he remains free: between his flight.

Carmenta . whose name means "good man. Evandrus substitutes a god: for the bandit. Carmencita. has for mother-or wife-Carmenta. and criticism is to the judicial what myth is to narrative. we still do not know Don Jose's victim: Carmencita. to begin with. literary-both free themselves from the judicial. . And there we are. Mhimee in the second: the writer or the learned man. had. Now. at the top of the terraces or the steps. in the same person. and in the same neighborhood of origin. In fact. Don Jose speaks before the executioner hangs him. a text for an action. . one could almost say that he sows him. an actor for the title role. Hercules and DonJose leave the criminal courts to climb onto the altars or the planks of the theater. at the same moment. Carmen: Carmencita. Merimee dons the garb and assumes the gestures of the critic. between the veils of the taber­ nacle or the curtains of the stage. the two stories. if you do not love me. in Merimee the literary narrative branches off from critical scholarship: on both occasions. . this is the one Don Jose killed. Have we arrived at a common source? Yes. Evandrus. who loved him . At the precise place of the fork in the road. Evandrus. someone is substituted for someone else: a ram for Isaac." he who turns the strongest into a god and pre­ judges the weakest to be bad. whom he loved. at the moment of judgment. A god and a hero thus appear in place of two gallows birds. How? For the accused. cause of exile-are knotted together in the same name. He leaves him near the sources and abruptly turns off. Who operates the substitution? Evandrus in the first case. take care . I love you. the son of Hermes. substitu­ tion takes place. In the beginning is substitution. at the instant when the decisive knot should be cut. To put it another way. invented writing. on the balanced scale. The two stories-mythic. exceeding the source itself-mother or mistress of the judge. myth is to the judicial what narrative is to criticism. for the assassin. upstream from their origin. . . leads him down and then loses him on the road of erudition. in the myth without love. or . and if ! love you. In the beginning is representa­ tion.62 The Troubadour o Knowledge f cial. Merimee substitutes a hero. cherchez la f emme. it's said. in the same circumstances. in the same body. In all representation. .

Meaningless neighing and bellowing.Instruction 63 at least had imported it from Arcadia to the banks of the Tiber. beautiful. at Cordoba. Roman. magic . to speak. he descends from it. Night. Or for the arid desert a climate-controlled library . all operations of invoca­ tion or enchantment that substitute software for hardware. Let's now descend the ma jor river. . in the middle of the night. none can distinguish between an old orange hawker and a young and pretty grisette. charmed. attractive. of opera. and of narrative in general. Like Aphrodite. the relief guard. Span­ ish. what does it matter? . . dead and invisible beneath the burning sun of the sources. she is born from the waves. present. You would take one for the other. doubtless. like a joker of substitution. naked. Carmen. of singing. right next to the author. goes back to the source. ancestor of the Sibylls. his wife or mother. after the angelus has been rung. on the quay on the right bank. she sings magically. From the source emerges the Guada joz. intoxicating. Source of life and cause of death. and from the top of the river­ bank. As to Carmenta. . . To write. of writing. now. . fatal. bad. Emerging from this dark scene at the river's edge-has she just come from swimming across?-by the staircase that deserts the quay. . of speaking. He would have had to pass through a third point. suddenly. the young Gypsy with the black skirt arrives. terrible Carmen. Here we are at the enchanted origin of the story. from the origins to the thread of time and of the story. witch. when the sun sets. reciting. living. visible. at dusk. . Carmen bespeaks everything at once. for the old guard. allowing ourselves to go from upstream downstream. an interval that measures the length of Don Jose's freedom . Merimee. as the sailors say. horses and bulls . women are bathing. . begotten. For whom was this anadyomenous Venus being substituted? Carmen. next to the author. to sing. of every story (let's appreciate that this word evokes at once one of the humanities [history] and the telling of a story of no importance) . going down. to represent. right in the middle of the river's course. or a small tributary of the abundantly flowing Gaudalquivir river. sud­ denly. powerful. seated there. of science. learned.

Which is why it is so named: chef. if one allows oneself to descend downstream. to a substitution whose cause. a voice in two opposite direc­ tions . Dead. singer and dancer. delicious and fatal loves. Scholarship and archaeology. a double direction following the nonsensical noise of the animals . like the murderous but divine hero. scholar and storyteller. Before and outside every law. like the river whose branches are drawn in the earth. Scholarship or science relinquishes its clairvoyance. like this attractive femme fatale. still upstream. there she is nude. a waterway serves as the inductive thread. in the waters of the Guadalquivir. third. brilliant. because the beginning of the novella has extracted from them the very essence of what they can give. He is reborn double. sorcery. is named Carmen. swimming. as if there existed in narrative a clarity that is suited to leaving science to its blindness: extralucid Carmen. This begetting also concerns the writer. Carmen all by itself claims this genealogy. inac­ cessible and nevertheless there. blind. See how a body is born. from sources at Cordoba. debuts as night falls. exactly what scholar- . because it says. better than any scholarship. Groping. bathing in the waters issuing from this source. . . What of this alternating chiaroscuro? Learned ones. and narrative. a single direction at last for the narrative that begins and for the river that flows . . Every chef d'oeuvre recounts the begetting of its own art. begins. . the good and evil eye. the learned article begets the living novella. chimera. scholarship leads to a hyperclairvoyance. as if the river had begotten her. because criticism discourses on narrative and not the other way round-well. leave the narrative in peace. Who will decide? Could there exist a supplemental clarity in critical scholarship and a darkness in narrative. narrative speaks of and comes from criticism and abandons it. magician. whose flow. selecting the red and black cards. in no way leads back to the library or the learned article at all! One would say that a flux has branched off. here. close to a source. reading the forked lines in the natural writing of the hand. naked. .64 The Troubadour o Knowledge f songs. From books toward their origin. iniquitous or just judgments. and literature. and before language. history and philology lead. followed in the other direction. Here is the double focus. . do not put notes at the foot of Carmen's pages.

overflowing with information. If one fol­ lows the course of the river or the valley toward the mountain. As if. . nonknowledge still knew what knowledge. but. at a particular moment and even at every point.Instruction 65 ship will never know how to say of itself nor of texts nor of men nor of the world. Like the waterway. it would do double duty with science. In the same way. But only philosophy can go deep enough to show that literature goes still deeper than philosophy. or to take the left. finds what. erudition and storytelling. And to descend. always. in this hesitation. narrative gets through where philosophy repeats and stagnates. one many confluences as one wants. finds she who. betweenjudgments. utters the title and develops the ending. a flowing origin. the adventure remains a third party. drowned in the density of meaning. copied out with his right hand. upstream of the sources. Drawing bifurcating as networks. to which we return today. love and death. In this place. on the side of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. He discovers the flowing origin of his narrative. in equilibrium. . if philosophy consisted of clarifying statements and transforming them into an ob ject of debate. I see that clear knowledge contains a blindness almost as far- . will never know again. the body of the author bifurcates: with his left hand Merimee begins to write. encounters as a philosophy of creation. scholarship and literature. copies his scholarly article. Blindly understood. in the peaceful cirque with the fine field and white sand . toward the recounted narrative. he leaves and does not leave his library. truly. and among the tanners and the work­ ers. The lesson of Merimee will change our life: learned. at nightfall. sleeps the third-instructed. tired of works by experts. infinitely surpasses the scholarly: the fascinating tale. An exact proof that the source lies exactly in passing through the third point. and. The novella describes the crossing of a threshold or a passage­ way: science returns to it and the story descends from it. one must choose: either to go downstream to the right. and forgets scholarship. well as Carmen teaches the third­ instructed excellently. . It could be said that literature gets through where expertise sees an obstacle. But. has always inspired. because the bifurcations abound. he returns to the river's quays.

which casts a laser beam. . The solutions do not always reside in the place where one looks for them. their heads bent toward the ground. All-discerning beneath the light of his circular eye and taking hold of language with his devouring mouth. he is surrounded by sheep and rams. even his own name still forsake him today. who can see even in the black box. admirers. bears a name that expresses several names at once: Polyphemous. the paws of the monster unearth and carry them. Begetting at Dawn Stinking of the suint of male sheep. subjects. by sea and outside the islands. Polyphemous the encyclo­ pedist has one hundred thousand striking or rigorous words at his disposal. the dark cave where Cyclops sleeps defends itself from prying eyes. Who will cauterize this implacable light? Who will close this sec­ ond hole that overhangs his mouth? A man named Nohbdy. his common name of Cyclops means circular. A man who has wandered for such a long time. That means: the one who speaks a lot. Nohbdy. the wanderer. the one of whom one often speaks. occupying all space. slaves. that his vessels and his sandals. All of his glory emanates from his eye. because he has only one eye. in order to see better. The one-eyed. his plans. Furthermore. loyal porters. inescapable. illustrious and fertile in arguments. as powerful as the mountain beneath which he sleeps. intelligence forbid­ den them. The sole glimmer that emanates from one hole feeds the sec­ ond. disciples. Sometimes one can only understand if one liquidates one's knowl­ edge in the loyal narrative of circumstance. but he sees more and bet­ ter-he. gasping for breath. that he has lost everything. has no name. accept that one must pay off this change of place with some kind of blindness. Ulysses' topmen can lie low in the corners all they want. the hairy and savage giant. hole. avid. in the middle. extra-lucid monster. He counts a lot. He is no longer counted. to his other hole-his bloody mouth. his tunic. that is. splashed with milk curds around cheeses draining on the rack. bard. lieutenants. One must always pay.66 The Troubadour o Knowledge f reaching as the dark knowledge contained in ignorance is deep.

What burnt stake. He abandons total lucidity. beneath the four-legged animal and with head lowered. by means of an invisible and animal birth. rivals. one hundred times more than of conquerors and cyclopses. the first double of Ulysses burns beneath the drunkenness of glory.Instruction 67 But who then converses unceasingly. perfidious. then. negotiates. better than Olympic. his own pen name. And of whom does one speak since the Trojan War? Of him. Who navigates circularly. the fire and the moun­ tain. Who can never do without companions. It is said that Homer could not see. the bleating lambs. the mastery of language. has just signed The Odyssey. ferocious domination over men. harangues. He effaces Polyphemous. Hairy. He kills his own true eye. Ulysses. between the two already extinguished eyes: the shadow follows light in the middle of the two foci. Nobody sees him reborn from the black hole of the grotto. invisible. a writer. pompous titles. He leaves the glory and the power. nourished on sheep and human flesh. renowned last name. a powerful demigod holding up the mountain. with his pointed sword. artist-at the very least on the austere path that leads to this craft. who can recognize that the rosy color of dawn caresses like fingers. vain. who. He even put out his middle eye. Who then bears the name of Cyclops Polyphemous? Ulysses himself. but a clairvoyant blind man? . insatiable. He no longer counts. an incontestable expert in languages? Ulysses. outsmarts. When the navigator cauterizes the giant gaze. He is. Nohbdy. not in order to adopt another moniker. a court? Ulysses. The new one overthrows this blinded wreck so as to be reborn from the mor­ tal cavern with a second effaced last name: Polyphemous becomes Nohbdy. loses power to gain humility: more than animal. he blinds himself. circular and complete science. his beautiful. finally. and flees from the den in the belly of a wooly ram. wins. but to renounce all: here he is. Nohbdy. not taken. here is the authentic author. what scathing pen put out his eyes? Say. uncontrollably dominating. the absent hole of the beau­ tiful work. sings at banquets. creator. visits all the seas and the known lands? The same. in the center. not seen.

becomes. seems to be opposed to a given culture. at certain moments. or that of earth sciences-interrupt opti­ mism. by an inverse turn. of the Trojan War. war. in a single place. by extension. A single shining focus. Against the grain of Hindus and soon of . the tree of knowledge or science induces our first parents to an original sin that has become transhistoric. the murderer of Carmen. comprehensive and rooted. where the sources are located. divided in such and such speciali­ ties. Are they the internal crises of science? Reason crosses violence. misses this crossing. is born of Egyptian pyra­ mids. the second black focus appears. A single dark focus. but encounters it as long ago as earthly paradise. the black holes are suddenly sown in the starry sky. legally. which. and pain. from the novels of Zola to Pascal's Pensees. The earth comprises the whole set of singular localities and science the universe of specialized regions. which is traditional in philosophy. But. it encounters the problem of evil. every man. in returning to the origins. on Earth. culture is thus. legally universal. illnesses. carnage. to science. But. What relationships does reason. comprehensive and local. contemporary technolog­ ical risks. death. violence and expulsion. Why trace this cycle? Doubtless because of the order and the homogeneity reason is supposed to have. universal. beneath conjoining skies. de facto. and of Greek tragedies.68 The T roubadour o Knowledge f The Problem ofEvil Broadly speaking. at the moment of Hiroshima. opposed. sometimes inca­ pable of addressing global problems. since the Semitic dawn of our his­ tory. a sort of cam bends the perfect orbit where an eccen­ tricity appears. Scholarly Merimee. the burnt stake enters the eye of Cyclops. science travels the circle of what used to be called the encyclopedia. facing the noonday sun. thorn of the circle. which. Accidents-that of physics. that of biology. this sudden encounter of science with evil. Western reason meets death neither in Hiroshima nor on the occasion of ma jor. tombs. in fact. suffering. science. without which he would not survive. many dark ones. injustice. None of the third-instructed texts evoked earlier. which begets shadow? An originary liaison. as if the cycle were losing its smooth surface or its purity. lives his own culture. discovers. today. prejudged as simply luminous. maintain with this problem. many light ones. Universal.

it finds culture. who also pose this question but give it a whole other solution. but. of its foundation. Western science is born of this exclusion. whereas this was the contribution of cultures whose local rootedness made wisdom enter. Yes. It emerges from the tragic. of all our neighbors. then. culture takes root. For better or worse.Instruction 69 Arabs. but excludes it. its history recounts trials of exclusion and badly defined debates with religion and law. Neither Leibniz nor his successors accepted this Keplerian revo­ lution that consists of placing two foci in charge of knowledge and of the world-two universal suns. Repetitive. but intelligible spaces. abstraction. easily or with difficulty. The former does not know single places. in this question science quickly takes the place of God or substitutes itself for him. reason and pain. . Nothing. in effect. to withstand finitude. . but at the same time it is modeled on the second. the fugitive pleasures of love. of roots. Prosper Merimee seeks the local truth of bookish information and abandoned works of art. Leibniz's Theodicy even made God appear at the fundamental trial of human destiny. . face to face with it. the noncircular universal of action and thought encounters. excluded third . we only know and are only effective by means of our science. black. today. before any judgment. nor to conceive of the death of children. Science wanders. near or far. so that the tragic founds the West's history. in science. it gathers and in consequence travels. Its fundamen­ tal categories come from it: purity. its rea­ son. . there exists a cultural universal induced by the problem of eviL We are instructed-thirds from the start. But from now on. rigor. in our very foundations. and the history of its reason. as it did at the origin. the West begins at the same time as the problem of evil and wages against it a consubstantial dia­ logue or combat. there. reason attains the universal. . all powerful and omniscient. Reason does not introduce evil. In science or by science. We used to accuse the lat­ ter. singular flesh. of producing suffering and pain. the per­ manent triumph of violent men. both of which fight against the problem of eviL It is modeled on a bright sun that purges itself of every shadow. nor the strangeness of suffering. helps us. It turns. sun. the scandal of eviL And. Universal science scours the countryside in quest of sources. the injustice that strikes innocents.

Neither the global nor the uni­ versal suffer. Thrown under. I suffer. the way station. if science and thought refer to collective or for­ mal sub jects. No. because it bears the world and history. the learned describe or take care of pain. because a man already occupies this place. makes or follows the legal eccentricity of the world and is sown. and. power weakness. a spirit that. multiplied. and thus does not often die in it. where the fresh fountain will stanch thirst. painful univer­ sality and rational singularity. sleeps not far from his blunderbuss. We think and know. hunger. Finally. the universal the singular. and hunger are found at the point where the global touches the local. Literature has cried misery and suffering since its birth. through field glasses. universal knowledge meets singular evil. evil. Second focus. the guide. murder. nervous. In the paradise lost of springs and green grass. and poverty. a scintillating sun. pain. Suffering and misfortune.70 The Troubadour ofKnowledge Oh marvel. where beauty favors rest. proceeding from or begot­ ten by rational universality and painful singularity. or God himself his incarnation. local pain cries its narrative. At the site of the cam where the singular relays the smooth and universal cycle. disillusioned loves. scents danger. injustice. Philoso­ phy-a third person. because men. only the local undergoes evil. third-instructed. knowledge blindness. Whence two cogitos. this man. First focus: universal and clear scientific reason. That moment never ends. simultaneously. here is the paradisiacal place where green grass attracts the sleep of the wanderer and the grazing of the horse. burning: each singular incarnated individual suffering and dying of the harshness of men. or armies on the threshold of war always already occupied possible paradises? In fact. science culture. the sub­ ject undergoes. Science meets culture when science is incarnated and encoun­ ters or produces pain. The general watches the battle from afar. Science has not yet learned the language of this sob. In this tragic place begins the reason of the third-instructed. injustice. ecce homo. . Here finally is why he bears that name. did not science begin its wandering for this rea­ son alone. right here. dogs. vio­ lence. a redoutable old shot­ gun. far from complaining of it. All the places are always already occupied.

on the one hand. arts. and. without the history of religions or literatures. also universal. The social sciences are dying from having forgotten the two fundamental modes of reason. a brilliant sun that commands scientific knowledge as much as the second reason. and gods. on the other. but from what we suffer. in rel­ ativity and without the reason of both universal foci. pain. but burning in the second focus. his instruction. hot. monotheism reaches its peak in the regime of the mind and the life of the incar­ nated. and his education-in all. that of knowledge lies in the concrete. which are inseparable. bright.Instruction 71 in the universe-avoids neither the center nor the periphery. . tales. religions. judges. one in the focus of science and the other in that of cultures. without law or philos­ ophy. the same one certainly. his engendering-to reason. and death-inspires in us and that has produced artists. this hero or that example. which comes not only from what we think. poverty. This is the secret of knowledge: it functions like the world. that the problem of evil-injustice. The third-instructed owes his upbringing. In short. Thus at its height the universal attains the singular. It illuminates and mobilizes through two forms: without the first. without the history of science. the one that comes to us from thought and the one. here or there. both universals. This latter reason cannot be learned without cultures. the height of science lies in the knowledge of weakness and of fragility. and contracts. There is only one authentic reason. hunger. narrative is the height of criticism or of theory. Whence the idea. we think because I suffer and because that is. the summit of abstraction is read and lived in the landscape. comforters. myths. the second would be irrational. suffer­ ing. We know through the pathetic and through reason. but without the second. of tech­ nology. a new one. that of the sciences and that of law. the first would be unrea­ sonable. of a cycle of instruction suitable for relaying the human sciences that are expiring because they no longer go forward and no longer go forward because they no longer train anyone and because one can no longer be educated without the hard sciences.

the vagrant. In writing amorous. Beyond the abandon­ ment of his own speech. the scholar. the sun heats a larger space than our three lumps of coal. on the con­ trary. in the same way that a philosopher arrives at thought after longjourneys in the country of the encyclopedia. Just as the sailor does not become one unless he has felt his ham­ mock rocked by all the oceans formed or not by local seas. Let us be careful not to confuse the ineffable with a lack of vocabulary: every bank surpasses in opulence the thin wads of money deposited each week by each individual. all while claiming to surpass language. crowns the long patience of a writer. The richer his language. a singular landscape. surpasses science and narratives. Very dear. repeats the same hackneyed words rather badly. tech­ nical language. more than costly. to speak in one's language it is useful to have made the rounds of it. supple. he flips through the pages of encyclopedias and dictionaries. he must also become a writer and in order to do so traverse its capacity in every direction. philosophy begins beyond disciplines and lit- . but because he thinks in his language. the thinker tests thought by bathing in regional knowledge. surpasses the expressible. language takes revenge by outstripping the pathetic or vain idiot who. omnipresent. sly. a complete cliche. The return to the raw given. metaphysics arrives after physics. painterly or musical. the third-instructed is engen­ dered by science and pity. Pain. Let us avoid say­ ing that we cannot say: the inexpressible. ineffable. In effect.72 The Troubadour ofKnowledge At an equal distance from each. can do with­ out this learning. The writer does not attain style until after such preliminary traversals. the carpenter. true naivete. through the abandonment of language characterizes either feigned naivete or true stupidity. the vine­ yards of France promise better vintage than my dark cellar. one must have rubbed against its surface in every sense. the monk. labile. The thinker must begin by learning everything. the more trustwor­ thy his work. Yes. Just as to speak honestly of the sea. he has for a long time set up his desk right inside the dictionary. even a theoretical one. just as he also tests his language by not being repulsed by the notion of writ­ ing the language of the tactician. No economy. War by Theses Words. exorbitant.

whereas sapiens first of all means to feel or suffer flavors and fragrances? Blue and not color of sky. but of language! Now I fear that the so-called philosophers of language in fact use only very few words. Serres uses the word pourvue. hard or soft. Multiple journey of the thinker who does not have to be contented with canonical knowledge or with the correct proof. he can speak of atoms. he finds what his language does not include. yellow and not nuance of honey. dozes. waiting for the one who chooses as a career the task of waking them up.Instruction 73 eratures: not only sciences. There. of making it think or exist by placing it in a false equilibrium. writes his language. Patient work. of sailing. in speech itself. and tries to exhaust its capacities. that of the writer who navigates the long course of his entire language and who. Do people know. exact or inexact. tries out long chains of synonyms. the tools or the witnesses of intelli­ gence remain lulled to sleep in potentia.5 why then odor of rose or taste of pear? Cruel poverty of 5. Let us call cant the language that uses few words: frozen pond lost in a forest. all complex and ill at ease. What can one who writes in such a closed register think of language? Fenced in by a rare idiom. fearing no waters. do not use adjectives to signify smells.-TRANS. and literatures. except for a small part. or taste. Alas. but who must throw himself also into myths. even when you say. sight. describes it up to its furthest shores. because thinking well requires numerous words. he com­ bines. for example. rigorous and fluid. obliged to wisdom and sagacity. using the most simply trivial example. Meaning is gained in walking. Enough speech. hear. just as our neurons sleep. do. Is what is lost in breadth gained in finesse or rigor? Do not say. of music or of love. Too much criticism: works! What's called theory always offers maximum facility with minimal vocabulary. to touch. Here he is finally naive. that is how it is for sight. that Homo sapiens. converging at the height of this effort toward a lost nuance. sto­ ries. . acts. that is with all possible words. at least the French language species. of reviving it whole and proper. living and human. Driven to look. which contains the word vue. because only with them can one meditate. Most often language. but words. very well pro­ vided for. of defining his lan­ guage right up to the fault line.

acquired. who is young. To work. without ever leav­ ing words. as a new end of the world might rise up at the corner of the portolan. hear. much later. Old. Touch. Bougainville sails into the unnamed channel where the killer whales and the ju'bartes. on a day of a syzygy. 6. Thus. Here. . or finner. forgeting a language barely learned. the true naIf instructs the false naIf. especially that found near the coast of New England. 6 Plunging as soon as possible into the singular givens of the world. never makes one attain naIvete. he has paid the heavy price of naIvete. a false fountain of youth from which one emerges senile. his head has become white with knowledge. crazy. an extreme place where like a veil language shivers in the wind. Wily old traveler in sight of virgin islands. joyous. sapient. demands a new word from the old dictionary. at the melted soldering. the educative couple: two naIvetes that are not twins. at the edge. taste. see. a statue that seems to begin. keep him from arriving. at the broken clasp. with smell. metaphysics and philosophy come after physics and poetics. viewed. Mter having turned the last page of every encyclopedia and corpus. which only gives the thirty neighboring nuances. Yes. he has used his tongue with a thousand words. fin-whale. Look for the third. where a lost variety of green. Nothing resembles a new thought more than this trembling. Later. precisely.74 The Troubadour o Knowledge f epithet! Even Condillac's statue does not point out this lack. Here then is style: the singular vibration on the confines of lan­ guage. do not speak of the five senses until the end of probative journeys in sciences and narra­ tives. breathe. false. it is better to run through language. packed tight in front of his boom. at the fault line of language. true-youthful-and the young. He can instruct because he has the white soul of children. The new naif of this event is beginning to grow old. again. Having passed through there. authen­ tic. indigenous-decrepit. a vibration of feeling and of the poorly said. Ju 'barte was a name given in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to species of rorqual. the old. fresh. and feel. but restores trite sentences.-TRANS.

France included) from another line-less stable. style experiments. through meth­ ods that you might wish were complementary. Can one. going along on opposite sides. style without rules. reserve grammar for itself and reject style? We know this distance that separates or has separated the acad­ emic tradition (born in European universities in the Middle Ages. conserved by the Latin Fathers. conceive that a similar division could become complementary? The mathematician will know the world . not very professionalized because linked to certain inimitable individ­ ual talents. then. and J anotus of Bragmardo-those risible reasoners. ridicules from time to time Honorius. that he wrote The Theaetetus and The Symposium. have little desire to reunite and. from Goethe to Niet­ zsche. God sometimes. why mathe­ matical analysis would expel refined language. Grammar likes to think it is theoretical and usage experi­ mental. hermaph­ rodites. Marphurius. not understanding. starting from language. result from the fact that in his work he united grammatical debate and stylistic exploration. sometimes legislates. grammar without material. but also in Germany. This couple visits the world. since one would not exist without the other. essays. style and grammar both explore language. far from loving each other. These two halves of philosophy. rarer. never attaining by right the title of philosopher. analyzes. on Greek foundations laid down by a certain Plato and the school of Aristotle. knowledge and sub jects. in certain works. and having no school or disciples because inimitable­ a line that doubtless appeared in France. a tradition that has lasted without notable interruption until today in all Western coun­ tries. Neverthe­ less. with different means. peacefully. seeks to found. at the origin of the bifurcation. Grammar describes. Should philosophy. they desire each other and meet. The grandeur of Plato and the site that he occupies. that you are sur­ prised to see opposed. from Montaigne up to the eighteenth century. why the writer. at the moment of fusion. are rivals and heap anathemas and sarcasms on each other.Instruction 75 The Stylist an d the Grammarian Why would the philosopher not write? In the name of what must he reduce his meditation to elements of grammar? By what right does one refuse him the right to style? Seemingly far apart.

one and the other. narrative never knows what it is saying. poetry. The work anticipates its logic in the time of history. toward mathematics and logic. the explicit. it is nonetheless true that the philosopher. And thus. The gram­ marian. never deploys the language of which he nonetheless speaks subtly and accurately. Fact precedes law. present on both fronts. if possible. But he does not make the rules or the laws explicit. for his part. that of the craftsman when he turns himself into a technician. and phi­ losophy arises when evening comes. Now if the stylist rarely needs grammar and can transgress it in his refined gesture of invention. but grammar presupposes a language that could not have existed without its odysseys. A double route for the philosopher. at the very least. needs to know the gesture of both. Rabelais at Janotus. In the name of what ablative principle would he reduce himself to the theory of elements. . but the rules anticipate their application in the ideal and logical time of knowledge and the philosopher awakens at dawn. and the craftsman if he attains to the work of art. without logic or rules of meaning. the stylist cannot even write without a prior obedience to grammar. . if the grammarian never gives himself over to style among his delicate minutiae of analysis. Conversely. that of the tech­ nician . and solicits debate between distinct positions. he indeed consents to this. because he seeks the clear and distinct. or litera­ ture because of their confused or obscure or. comple­ mentarily. knowledge. and must become. the technician if he learns craft. One presupposes the other: use. To his mind. you can imagine the progress of the artist when he turns to craft. The grammarian-philoso­ pher will know language. . syntax or semantics. The stylist laughs at the grammarian. deployment imply the rule that implies a whole philos­ ophy . and so on until the end of the road. given that the positive work of language consists also of accompanying him to his outermost borders and toward his future? The grammarian-analyst willingly banishes myth. shrouded contents. If he truly writes. but law precedes fact. and the world better if he tol­ erates style and opens himself to its exploits. the physicist will know things better and even his own tools if he comes round to technology.76 The Troubadour o Knowledge f better and even his own language if he consents to physics. Noon.

and movement.Instruction 77 Moliere at Marphuris. as if school complacently drives away those who do not have the means to participate in the conversa­ tion. justness or accuracy. as if the implied remained accessible to everyone. Does the philosophical grammar of our time go further than it did in the eighteenth century. closed. In the same way. especially. that often turns into algorithm. motionless in his giant stride. they develop the obscure. at the cost of the thickest obscurity? As if the obscure balanced itself out. rigorous philosophies of communication become incommunicable because of their techni­ cal nature. it clarifies. without ever leaving the same point. the other through expansion. In these fascinating places. one through comprehension. but does not move. These exhib­ ited interpretations come at a high price: in both cases one must . indefinitely interpreting. as if you had gotten hold of an infinite well from which dichotomy gives birth to itself. Cer­ tainly. Do you wish to analyze? You will not cease to do so. and Musset at Blaz­ ius. The efforts or works of the grammarian and of the stylist are as similar as they are opposed to one another. You must always pay in the currency you want to earn. but laughs. from which it relentlessly derives debate as one draws water from a well. or the academy laughs at university professors for their lowly hatreds that spread terror in times of implacable war. quickly inaccessible to whoever does not speak it. Do you want to debate? Debating begets itself because war gives birth only to war. did these surpass antiquity? No. literature makes fun of the academy. arguing without a break. The analyst clarifies. does that of the eighteenth century go beyond medieval theories. certainly. Do you want to interpret? Do not stop: implication returns inexhaustibly. no more able to walk than Zeno. pointed. as was formerly the case with scholasticism. passing over the belly of problems and of the dead. one-fourth of a badly split hair. philosophy discovers something like a limit point. As if language were taking revenge in both cases. Given over to enshrouding as if to vertigo. and depth. It illuminates. but at the cost of a technical language that is restrained. stomp­ ing on the same place. Marivaux at Honorius. breadth. but it never moves. at their immobility. Does philosophical grammar clarifY as well. Do you seek to clarifY? You will not cease to bring light until the fires are extinguished.

and neurons. running use up a bit of enlightment. invention and speed with confusion and obscurity. neighborly relations. of language. rigorous. that's all. for example. Each one counts the other's loss in order to say to him amicably: I understand nothing of what you are saying. Other . One must look at the balance sheet. responds the stylist. in signatures for legal contracts. The grammarian to the stylist. reasons and proportions. there. courageous. The philosopher knows but he also does. But dichotomy or separation do not have a monopoly on the search for the elementary. inattentive. I create meaning. The one accepts that his feet will get caught in his shoelaces. muscles. and sometimes dearly. Clarity is paid for in narrowness. You do nothing. liberty is exchanged for constraints and progress is paid for with certain regressions. Walking. Even in philosophy.78 The Troubadour o Knowledge f pay. even atheism. confused and irrational mind. You clarify language at the cost of its life. you advance one-half a millimeter per century. the spending granted must be regulated by the currency that circulates in the market where one does one's business: in coin in the commercial district. analy­ sis leaves fecundity behind. If. in order to run. even democratic liberties. one must consequently settle one's debt. and the swal­ lows who bear spring on their wings. no one has ever succeeded in having his cake and eating it too. Get out of here. The grammarian says: You know nothing. circumspect. my intentions and goals. I admit it. Both are correct. makes distinctions in order to recognize the elements. the tragic. the world. detail and screen squander and gain? In the same way. else­ where sometimes with blood and life. But you pay for every­ thing: even progress. prudent. You are always right in what you advance and claim. The analyst cuts up. in tender­ ness in the exchange of love. I make language live at the price of clarity. meaning about life. the other that he will only lightly touch the ground. To each his risk. The styl­ ist. I analyzed the movement of bones. whereas each thinks he is not paying. A question of scale: what do micro­ scope and telescope. in knowledge currency. I would never leave the starting block. Clarification is paid for with statistics and sterility. knowledge even. love. work­ ing at both jobs on a medium scale. intuitive. Yes. During this time. On top of that. and lofty views by imprecision. So? Wily. If one must always spend or pay to know.

because he believes that one knows nothing of what one has not practiced professionally. He can thus miss. one is never wrong. he explores alone. Whoever makes mistakes is human. theorizes: the writer pur­ sues. One exposes oneself when one makes. just as the earth does once one no longer works it. precariously balanced. prolongs the lin­ eage of his art. At least he tried. in other words. Objects take revenge just as language does. The philosopher-writer experiments on language by construct­ ing it. nonsensical result. Cant produces a sterile knowledge of dead things. a better definition of man than the old adage errare humanum est. the truth of the analysis. The same is true of philosophy and of language: the philosopher-writer tries things out. I do not believe I know. To know lan­ guage one must make it. the examination or the control of variations in a function or process respect ties and connections destroyed by division and allow the presence of a metal to be recognized. opposed. and for example in chemistry: the weight. he assays: two ancient verbs of ancient chemistry. Fragile. its genuine worth. because cutting up the links does not leave things as they were. often. of alchemy even. in all sciences or research. maintains connections. One must test or assay it. breaks. on the other hand. just as the gesture of the artisan continues. fabricates. French still uses the word tet (test) in laborato­ ries-an ancient beaker or resistant earthen pot used for assays or for testing gold. naked. one imposes oneself when one unmakes. I know of no better way to be always right.Instruction 79 operations remain possible. Experimentation carries a risk-of the aleatory. When one unmakes. but no longer speaks of assay in terms of weighing. He tests. musical staff or line of meaning. the reactions. in effect. the mixture of one body with another or the contact of both. and as much as it can. . welcome even if it turns out to be aggressive. produces a negative. to which I say. too. advances. The analyst stops. He experiences. Necessary methods if analysis fails. experiments. that have returned to common usage. do not react as foreseen. They reserve the unexpected. he essays. the writer relies only on talent that never has the solidity of method: with no school to pro­ tect him by means of dialogue and a fixed position in the group. the authenticity of an alloy. the unknown. without imitator or master. A faithful assay or essay sometimes.

Why? Because it's easier. strange. supposing that you content yourself with talking. don't copy. It is easy to believe that there is no difference between a dis­ course on Margaux and Margaux. Test. even if you tell the truth. play. often extraordinary world. magazines. art difficult. in schools and lecture halls. he essays. Eat and drink. a copy of copies? Why? Because he would not know how to write an answer key. lan­ guage has nothing to do with what is said of it when it is not prac­ ticed fully. pressed to take up the voyage again in a rarely familiar. he requires history. the philosopher do not write enough to know. Take off your clothes. He never knows who will enter on the next page. never a medi­ tation. novel. books. Never mind the fall. Live. novella. He bears this possible error and this potential fall like wounds to the flank of his work. go. criticism. No. History recounted never equals history made. analysis. That a match is reduced to what the newspaper says about it. at dawn. Leave. though it brings more glory and money with infinitely less fatigue-that's how strategies are judged in practice. In any case. One willingly believes that the language analyzed by grammar and philosophy equals the live language invented by literature.80 The T roubadour o Knowledge f make mistakes. leave. love is never proven by words or by love letters. unpredictable paths present themselves that are so attractive and beautiful that he gets up in haste. To hell with mistakes. enthusiastic about landscapes to be crossed. representations say. Why? Because he can and knows how to copy. let's have acts. On the contrary. Have you noticed. and if he wins he will rejoice. as long as you haven't essayed. newspapers. Criticism is easy. taste. you lie. The true lie comes from recoiling from the attempt. try. play. You believe that a good atlas of the desert takes the place of life with the Tuareg in the Sahara. Would you have the audacity to speak of the world if you had never traversed it? Just as things differ immensely from what speeches. Taste. the professor. he tests! If he loses he will not have done anyone wrong. The grammarian. but always criticism or history. or a comedy. The pain and courage of wandering in order to pay for newness. Because. each morning. If not. or lose himself. in classrooms. No. Making . Enough said. the absence of true exercise? The examiner or the judge never requires a poem. go down on the field. You will lie. do.

and his chlamys.Instruction 81 explores. stuck in the earth. in turn. the Sophist writer falls to the ground. He interrupts rhetoricians and rhapsodes. makes fun of them and tor­ pedoes them. the foot soldier advances toward the cavalryman to seek hand-to-hand combat. unmaking undoes. and on which faraway. how you love petty quarreling and victory: Could your soul be so base? Who named you the state's attorney. write. With what hatred and by what right? One breaks up the text with a little fencing rattle that cavilingly details the large network of meanings intersected by the other. he barks. long. His questions cut up the expose into brief phrases of dialogue. someday. and his dichotomy brings the proposition back to the minimal length. Socrates. . Socrates crushes him. The whole truth. Watch out: it's lethal. what dialogue. Encumbered by his mount. why a speech. With what right do you impose. Here the indefinite well of debate is opened. body to body. why a dialogue. subtle attractions play. can be born. short. demands short speeches. Why did you just write "demand. his favorite kind. this type of argumentation? Under what condition? What do you want? Against whom are you fighting? The length of the preliminaries and the requisite conditions. Socrates. before the beast in question appears. measure the weight of meanness. if you will. and so on as much as one desires. his caparison. what will you lose by cutting everything? Anyone can let fall on Socrates the blows with which he strikes Protagoras or someone else. thrown from the saddle. armed with a bow whose arrow flies or with a javelin that he throws. but nothing but the truth. that of a word. Do not lie. here and now. fragile. Here he is flat on the ground. the implacable prosecutor of humanity? Why do you take the place of those who condemn us and who. of such questions posed by Socrates to Socrates. what kind of demand are you talking about? What speech." in what sense. Armed with a short sword. from the exordium to the finale and vice versa. willjudge you? What resentment pushes you to the perpetual accusation of everyone you meet? By what right this right that you give yourself of pursuing and denouncing? A third Socrates. an analyst. he who is used to galloping on horseback and not to fighting hand to hand.

toes rooted in the mud up to the ankles. a polemical or warlike status? Socrates the footsoldier unseats the cavalryman. a long chain of reason unfolded on his shoulder. wall and prison. letter by letter. suffocate the myrmidion. makes holes. and in the open field. like a lure that a bull looks at. connected. an omnipresence. seize. Socrates the prop forward 7 or hooker. changing unceasingly in appearance. linked. The sword tears. Socrates the myrmidon tears the net of the retiarius. his bull neck jutting forward. confronts in the closed amphitheater. Does language-analyzed. mobile. surrounding the body. in both cases. the stand-off half.82 The Troubadour ofKnowledge The myrmidon with the small sabre. a similar function as when undulating. plane and sphere. cuts the network. Singular combat of the static and solid foot soldier against the agile and enveloping light infantryman: formerly. in three dimensions. on the front line. protected by heavy armor. in mobile netting. phrase by phrase. the fullbacks unceasingly fool each other by catching each other off balance. flowing with its local compo­ sition. immobile. stubbornly resistant. reorients the whole fabric of the game from the closed side toward the open side. "l . in one dimension. 7. put him to death.-TRAl s. always global even dense as a stone in the hand? Would it not have. with a slight or invisible distancing from equilibrium. word by word-maintain the same scope. a flighty bird. a point or a rolled ball in the gladiator's fist. The retiarius makes the net undulate. an expanse that becomes a hoop net. soft. naked. rooted in the ground-who are opposed in the collective battle. in the black tunnel of the scrum. tackles to the point of winding the third or three­ quarter line who strike the whole heavy mechanism with an imper­ ceptible change in speed. The forward fights foot to foot. resists every push. unravelled by a sabre. gauche surface and mobile volume: in zero dimension. The hooker gets the ball once it has cleared the legs of his teammates in the scrum. a chitinous insect. cuts stitch by stitch into the fault lines of false meaning. cape manuevers displayed before the myrmi­ don. the retiar­ ius. crossed bonds that attach. the Romans appreciated these two gladiators-reduced models of the cavalry with its lightning move­ ments and of the infantry. changing feet. in two dimensions.

unseats with one blow of his head the disarticulated Sophist puppet. The myopic bull. dove's foot that. What instant does he commemorate with this hateful parricide? What forgotten moments will we com­ memorate when the prop forward tackles the three-quarter. Till when. from war to gymnastics.Instruction 83 By the time the analyst distinguishes the right from the left. behavior as well as passions remain constant. trembling. when the analyst convicts the philosopher-writer of nonsense? Whether we go from murder to entertainment. . Raise your head above the serum. as master sailors used to. whereas those in the boxes expected it. the hoof or its opposite. pirouetting behind red mariposas and mano­ letinas. A prop forward advances step by step. a twist of the lower back. unnoticed. when the retiarius strangled the vanquished myrmidon on the bare ground. from spilled blood to philosophy. fine. The latter run. the wrist sensititive to the slightest solic­ itation. . the third excluded. which of the two. at the torero in his bright and funereal outfit. in a rectilinear orbit. from ritual to language. meter after meter of earth dearly conquered. analyst-the question has rebounded so far away on the long geodesics of language . Over what void are you bent here. ugly to the point of being scary. caressing the earth. in what direction the inclination-to the mil­ limeter. whereas the former fight or balance themselves on the beam. Good trainers say it is impossible to mistake what distinguishes gymnasts' bodies from athletic natures. fragile. when the foot soldier unseated the cavalryman. play. in celebrating a deci­ sive moment in the history of the human beast. will die. throws his tons and his horns. globular eyes. from human to animal sacrifice? Bull Socrates. a feint or sneak move from behind. the stylist has already alighted in the dust. neck lowered on the ochre sand. the groin and the arch of the thigh exposed. will kill. buttocks high. fawn's muffle. four-footed infantryman or swift-footed runner. makes the retiar­ ius's net fly toward the bleachers. to the very half-second? Which of the two. jump. Short combat or long: a change of scale. bald forehead. see high and long. in this commemoration of the instant where the collective turned. without knowing or deciding on it. with a third. No athlete is at ease on the trapeze or on the . one kick in the goal area and the action will shift to sixty meters away.

in love with beauty-foxes. a narrow horizon and few ideas. or else wiry. Quixote drags his misery. for­ ever bound to the exhausting dichotomy as infinite in its genre as the most watered-down speech. finally. with powerful upper thighs. at the moment of the death of his master. inefficient. Plato-but where had he run off to. Realistic entrepeneurs and miserable aristocrats. without this united pair that never existed. subtle analyses of the soul: Plato drugs Socrates with hemlock in order to be able to write long and beautifully. immobilized. Drafted. the bull is dead. No philosophy without this peaceable cou­ ple. I suppose. rapid intuitors with a subtle sense of smell. with a stubborn will. He observes both parallel populations: opinionated workers. Socrates and Plato. the grammarian and the stylist. writes. When he writes. with powerful arms and a scapular waist. but how tragically sad to commemorate always the same battle for the same execution. An old savage philosophy where peace cannot intervene except between a derisory Socrates seated on his ass and a beautiful. of both of these populations. in the end. in ordinary literature. gives him a narcotic in order not to find himself torpedoed. in regard to the same difference in the domain of knowl­ edge. The burrowing insect and the migrating bird. fixed and obsessive-hedgehogs. rigid and cold. tirelessly returning to the same subject. Military recruiting had the benefit. on the cadaver of Socrates. the height of its views. numerous fleeting ideas. to follow the law after the death of the legislator.84 The Troubadour o Knowledge f bars. Socrates checks in with the gymnasts. few gymnasts come down to the track or the field. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. let analysis give style a faultless - . dis­ comfited Plato perched on his mare. running after pure ideas­ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. the breadth of its field. afraid. Today. plunges the torpedo himself into torpor. Let writing give grammar its demon and light irony. efficient and stable. Short. once the trial is over. The teacher. with stocky musculature. unstable. Always dueling. burgeoning innovators deprived of mas­ tery over their own fecundity. winners. Panza makes his fortune in science. But he never wrote why Socrates was never able to write: exhausted by analysis. spirited. is never mistaken either. a good trainer of intelligences. What wonderful good fortune to keep grammar at a distance without the barking of the grammarian. the great character missing from The Phaedo? Plato.

" Leibniz says. laughing about use­ less battles that have simply become rituals. learned in love. his horse on the road. No philosophy without this appeased pair. The Divine Comedy also takes revenge post mortem. his soul. his family. all at once. In the sci- . "sees God face to face-and that I am right. the universal and the singular. like that of the atomic bomb. for that of myths and religions. condemns. tech­ nologies and sciences-third included. The vengeance of writing and of philosophy. of language. his thought by doing without this simple and necessary precept. tomorrow it will speak. now that we remem­ ber this original sin of linguistic disputes. "Now my adversary. friend of wisdom. and philosophy will be reborn. his budget or drives his car. more grammatically. Quixote in windmills and discomfiture. fall. finally: Dantesque. of the bull or the matador. of the retiarius and the myr­ midon. overkills. his life. generally. including Abelard. of the foot soldier and the cavalryman. he had cited great predecessors. the archaic execution. and will ask for its support. But now that we truly remember the cadavers that lie between us. or immobility. in the three supernatural spaces outlined by the sentence. That day the adventure will begin again. thus with more stylistic elegance. has as a goal what it claims to have in its name. The tribunal passes sentence. manages his body. To ensure a footing in the neighborhood at hand but to predict from afar: no one directs his steps on the mountain. Not only kills but condemns or still saves after death. A youthful memory: Leibniz completes his Discours sur la con formite de lafoi avec la raison [Discourse on the conformity of faith with rea­ son] with Bayle's funeral.Instruction 85 solidity. but whose disjunction produces a single laugh­ able idiocy. or. through commemora­ tion. Leibniz wins because Bayle is dead. Sancho cultivating banality. and one under­ stands the weight of the punishment. what good is the ritual of commemoration? What good does it do to make the stylist and the grammarian fight in the arena of lan­ guage? If philosophy. which reunites in one glance the local and the global." Just beforehand. who suffered in their flesh as payment for their discussions. that of the sacrificed cock on top of that of the condemned Socrates. more than for the support of analysis and rhetoric together.

a writer. In the same way. Because if argumentative and pugna­ cious reason drives the adversary to death. triumphs. pleads that the abominable black box may long remain empty. the saintly and reasonable philosopher. Thus conformity-I mean the thing and the cause that faith and reason have in common-is again death. up to the splendid funeral of the latter who is immolated at the entrance to the tri­ bunal of the Theodicy. theories change. and there he pleads the divine cause. in and of itself. appears the one where the philosopher. but also practically. certainly. ever since "Thanatocracy. at the tribunal of reason and of science. Plato stands on the funeral and the tomb of Socrates. faith. but on the-empty­ cenotaph of humankind in its entirety. in Hermes III. 73-104. the stake of discourse-the conformity of reason and faith-is settled by death. but rather the demands of specific lives: we no longer fight against anyone but ourselves. Here. Cf. and therefore are dead to the colloquia and to the administration. None of us are opposed to the other. rather we all live as thirds. and there is always some historian to unearth the cadavers and con­ demn once again some forgotten inventor to wander without rest in the hell of error and deceptive shadows. Is a new one beginning? 8. Thus Leibniz constructs the courtroom. History: a well of resentments. Does this position bring all philosophers close together? Does philosophical reason always need a murder to establish itself? Recently an important change occurred: my feet have not rested on the-full-tomb of any particular body." Statues. pp. Behind the tribunal. where God himself appears. again. accused. He places his feet-he establishes himself-on Bayle's tomb. the philosopher pleads for the survival of men on Earth.-TRANs. No more individual executions.86 The Troubadour ofKnowledge ences. 1 974) .8 Today. Speculatively. but because the holders of adverse theories retire. . and The Natural Contract. "Trahison: La Thanatocratie" [Treason: Thanatocracy] . La T raduction (Paris: Minuit. in the writ­ ten discussion between Leibniz and Bayle. not through the marvelous power of their veracity. he. reveals to us what comes after death. who will resolve the question and obtain the proper sentence. A certain history is being completed.

the ancient. Past the confines of the campus. . each in turn and time after time. and sometimes to think. therefore maladapted. frequently get together to talk. inside this belt. repeats a thousand already completed cycles. three gently rolling hills. and hears nothing but the wind. hominids believe themselves to be first. This then is what animals do not speak about. a disciple of Saint Francis. from the sun to the entrails of the globe. one communicates there through means other than language: would this be one of the sites of another kind of knowledge? Refusing to transport. he speaks to the birds. but above all he listens. the canonical chirping of a bird so easy to imitate that the singer soon obligingly responds. experiment. into the new one. Inanimate matter. in successive waves. the San Andreas Fault close by. insects. a kite and an enormous tarantula. There one sees only the sun or the moon. the bay in the dis­ tance. in their totality. devoted to language and to codes. in addition to the troop of heifers. most often bare. fifteen thousand women and men write. Hominids seem not to know that their his­ tory. the tacit counterpart to the students and researchers below. flora and fauna. the solitary person would. the language of one into the silence of the other. energy.Instruction 87 Peace over the Species A highway encircles Stanford University. wrenched mastery and empire from life. calcu­ late. only a few million years old. because they arrive last. the others saw it actively try to conquer the whole Earth. all the food. fish. space. gauche. flora and fauna are often older than they. stiff. still astonishing the Earth with their youth. As soon as each of the living species appeared in the light. Plants. new and recent. time. pro­ vide a refuge for hikers who if they are silent and walk quietly can find blue j ays and kestrel falcons. mammals. birds. read. arro­ gant about their little science. instead. print. rare rattlesnakes and many harm­ less serpents. sometimes green. size. power. reptiles. present and past. attempt to bring the latter. Weddings of the Earth with Its Successive Masters Latecomers. with a walkman. each according to his means and his strategy. rigid.

to the very limit of power and glory. shows that at this temporal threshold. In order to survive. Each reign recoiled before the Mother. how will the rats be able to continue to exist among rats alone? On this vertiginous threshold. . from the worm to the bull. the rat. Each specialized species. were humbled. from the fern to the sequoia. Here and there. maybe. to decide. Approaching them. all of a sudden. ruse. . from the mosquito to the cow. then. here below. number. At this point. the termite has nothing to eat except an identical termite. the wapiti . Having arrived at its culmination. in the universe. end­ lessly repeated throughout our evolution. this species eliminates all the others and destroys the Earth. became kings: the wolf.88 The T roubadour of Knowledge force. the horrifying competition. the ocelot. pulled the inanimate world. depending on whoever seizes the upper hand. when they were faced with the announcement of collective death that would immediately follow definitive victory. of their final battle against the temporary master. in their carriage or the length of their stride. Here they are at the summit. each species presented itself in turn: and the Earth judged them. but the constant and hyperarchaic presence of our Earth. in the course of time and of millions of millennia. and meanness. from the serpent to the whale. . literally. we still recognize today. in the sole and generalized termi­ tarium. other earths. unbalanced and in danger of dying from this simplification. Mother Earth always got the last word. Indeed. one by one. in turn. nothing new under the sun. it was necessary. . rational reproduction cov­ ers the manifold and burgeoning real. power and glory. disap­ peared as a result of this challenge. era by era. And all without exception. Species disappeared. The new master invades the whole of the Earth: the sur­ face of the globe suddenly finds itself crawling with millions of lizards . or rather. in all its generality. having reached the extreme limits of appropri­ ation. in themselves . down its nar­ row slope. and others. the Earth places the queen species in danger of extinction from the species' excessive triumph. the ma jesty of their reign and their ancient dignity. on their garments or their body. Those that survived remained because they renounced unique mastery. when only rats exist.

abandoned the pinnacle and entered her: obedient to her constraints. the image of command. silently. immobile. before this Earth that bears the same name we do. Humbled. only a few million years old. and not to know that his des­ arrogant. when faced with the risk of death and burial. they humbled themselves before the Earth. mixed. humbled. then. they thereby show us. homo was given comes to him from humility.Instruction 89 and by themselves. homo humilis seems tiny. communitarily. . or of the cow. in an inextricable network of creepers and branches to form a mass of rain forests or equatorial forests . the role of men. in our turn. who. the faultless harmonic fold of Mother Earth. written in his name Uust as the primordial. time after time. in the end. To dissolve. . Too young. Today. we will all bow. Were men. to those who had just abandoned forever the arrogance of their ancient destiny. drilled black trenches into the humus or the rocks. all the living were once called men. having arrived late. to hide in the humus. the reign of the mam­ moth. abandoning their haughty strategy to reunite with the enslaved obedience of instinct. the paranoid pro ject of occupying the whole Earth for themselves alone. would safe­ guard them. heads bent to the earth and eyes lowered. to mix. of the fly. all. of the scarab. power and glory or actively final. melted into nature. Our forgetting induces this stupid illusion. they made this mute decision. Obedience reflects. dissolved. the animal seems to bend. our first parent. Too fond of taking com­ mand. There lies the mark of their humility. But language remembers: because the name that Proud. threw down the virile challenge of mas- . definitive decision of plants and animals is mutely inscribed in the genome of the species) will one day lead him to humble himself. before man. Contrary to our illusions. they en joyed the summit. filled with stretched toward them. Kings. disappeared in the turbulences of high-altitude regions or linked themselves together. that of the spider. we never acquired the memory of previous reigns: the era of the creeper. that they once played. Yes. they dove to melt in the depths of the seas or slid beneath her surface without disturbing it by slipping into the heavy swell. thus named because it gave back birth. in all places and times. each in turn. if animals humble themselves. tacitly imprinted in their coded gene.

ends in art brut whose interest is . Savage and sage. new. including the free gift of the idea that arrives. conserve behind them their true original sin. obedient with dumb platitudinousness for having commanded maldly. Thus I never leave the-third-path on the crest between the institutions of science and the hills of silence. immediate and savage genius. read in the ruddy hourglass of the black widow or deciphered in the calm braids of the anaconda. Peace and Life through Invention. and their whole instinctive existence continues to arrange itself in memory-but we hold it before us. both of which are aerophagic. forgetting. without preparation. the look of the sea lion expresses it. This sin. before their dissolution into humus and instinct. glorious. in one go. thus kings. and so madly competitive that they forgot the Earth. the last. Everything always comes from work. Here we are in turn. Choose: empire or Earth? Up to now the latter has won. Learning. they have abandoned this intel­ ligence in favor of bestiality. like our collective pro ject. forever stable in their genome: to have been men. Those who wait for inspiration will never produce anything but wind. With the exception of very rare cases-less than ten assuredly for four millennia of known history. Obedient now from having commanded so much. everyone keeps it. Not at all original: ter­ minal. To give oneself over. it can be counted in the stripes of the tiger's dress. imbecile intelligence and harmonious. final-but not primitive. at the pinnacle of power. humble instinct. Will we leave paradise? I have to say to my grandchildren that I still remember a child­ hood in a calm countryside that provided plenty of delicious fruit.90 The T roubadour ofKnowledge tery before their definitive retreat. fixedly. those who almost always sign their names to mathematical and musical works (two languages with a thousand values because they are deprived of discursive meaning)-one encounters no natural. Next. I seek a middle path between royal. at the very instant of committing the sin. polished. Troubadour. powerful. behind them. arrogant. to no matter what. All humans. Our language retells this. here and now.

eternally en joying his intelligence and renewed happinesses. One must imagine the great philosophers as rugby players. Artwork. With greater strength. One thus meets few sick. a craftsman of writing distributes them in a sentence and on the page like a painter his reds among his greens. Doubting. with its procession of suffering and trials. creation exhausts to death and kills in the flower of youth whoever does not resist with force: Raphael. yes: pathological. who has become expert in his par­ ticular material: forms. no. or a composer the brass instruments overlaying the percussion sec­ tion. Such is the case for consonants or sub­ ordinate clauses: a lengthy labor on a sheet as full of holes as the barrel of Danaid. or the unbal­ anced. marble or landscape for others. the work comes. every day. of crimes and abomina­ tions. a craftsman by training. this infinite God who could so easily have rested. hear the vowels: a worker. The romantic and deceptive publicity in favor of the mad. from weakness. one must. It emerges from the glands. In rigging three masts en route from Saint Malo to Baltimore. Before beginning to rhyme. Malebranche was asked how and why He had created the world. nothing. weak. nothing is more true. Rousseau and Diderot walked dozens of kilometers. for those kinds of crafts­ men. Schubert. Mozart. for example. language for me. completely naked. from dawn till the throes of death. let's look at the word. around forty. a Sisyphean task so undefined that one spends one's life at it. Thomas Aquinas. Balzac and St. whose work runs on neurosis or chemicals. New ideas come from athletes. the elder Corneille would get undressed to roll himself up. neverjust any old way. in homespun blankets in which he would sweat abundantly. has produced . drugged. colors.Instruction 91 confined to pyschopathology or to fashion: an ephemeral bubble worthy of the stage and of buffoons. images. the unhinged. around thirty. as in a sauna: the work of genius transpires from the body like a secretion. Chateaubriand outclassed the sailors in gymnastics and acrobatics. All of this presupposes the best health: devouring the body with its flame. Before claiming to produce new thoughts. The work has a worker as its author. In practice. To create: to give oneself over to nothing but that. In Greek the nickname Plato signifies broad-shoul­ dered. or melancholic geniuses. the philoso­ pher would customarily reply that no one creates except through an excess of strength: thus the universe is born from the excess strength of its maker.

in the end. the only act of intelli- . or poems. Solitary. but especially social chemistry. the work gives it back with interest. then. High-level sportsmen live like monks. Thus there exists a hygienics. descends the steepest slope together. for him. A victory over death. books. grow from each other by increasing their resistance to the attraction of death. then power lodges in the work. as a support. seven regu­ lar hours of sleep. from a unique disposition of neurons and blood ves­ sels. The work makes up an animal species unto itself. phylogenetic. at a certain point the latter needs only the work: it's up to the worker to give his body and his life. Thus what was born two thousand years ago still lives intensely. a diet of the work. Never from collective banality. and a strict diet. and there is no known life except an individual one.92 The T roubadour o Knowledge f many sterile emulations: nothing comes out of an in jection or a whiskey flask. Everyone always says the same thing and. and pharmaceuticals. Resist fiercely the talk around you that claims the opposite. Do you seek to invent or to produce? Begin with exercise. Singular. one feeds off the other which nourishes itself with it. music. smoking. conventional fashions. Vital health produces of itself. so that both. it identifies with life. f f Invention is the only true intellectual act. films. by far the strongest and thus the worst: the media. produces individual fruits or buds. Or. All that debilitates steril­ izes: alcohol. like a whirlpool or a galaxy. The opposite of fashion. rather: supposing the worker starts out weak and languishing. It comes. that is to say invention. then the product rebounds on life. The work inhabits force. Stubborn. until it conquers morbid­ ity as well as mortality. quickly functions. small and growing. What is called the immortality of chefs d'oeuvre simply results from this positive volute that is nourished and expands by return­ ing to itself. and unceasingly reinforces the worker. it resists the media-that is. the work. Whence. Do not resist only narcotics. opposed to what is said. yes. The goal o instruction is the end o instruction. Original. like the flow of influence. victory over death. in a spiraling sym­ biosis. and creators live like these athletes. late nights. the mid­ dling-by definition. The work of art erects a dam against this erosion. If the work needs the worker. The hardest life and the most demanding discipline: asceticism and austerity. since its tree.

negentropic and thus not very probable. reproduction. cheating. the better the counterconditions are for the exercise of thought. The one who does not invent works somewhere other than in intelligence. those that live on messages. it avoids the hatred that holds this collective together. just as the saints placed their churches in danger. sweet. Invention. the ideocracies also. The absence of invention proves. whatever that may be. I think therefore I invent. Dead. The inventive breath alone gives life. The more institu­ tions evolve toward the gigantic. it knows nothing of the collective great animal. that fear it like the greatest danger. the absence of the work and of thought. This is the misunderstanding: what is propagated and becomes probable. light. why write otherwise? In all other cases. they sleep or fight and prepare to die badly. and publishing. shakes the soft belly of the slow beast. by counterexample. Inventors scare them. surround themselves with a mass of solid artifices that forbid invention or break it. Why work.Instruction 93 gence. battle. All my life I have marveled at the hatred of intelligence that makes up the tacit social contract of so­ called intellectual establishments. the great mammoths that are the universities. goes . repeated images. Only invention proves that one truly thinks what one thinks. because life invents. the intent of discovery doubtless car­ ries in itself a subtlety that is unbearable to large organizations. Invention. The institutions of culture. inversely. Do you want to create? You are in danger. agile. media. con­ vention. in making the obedient napes bend. Only discovery awakens. They repeat. negentropy grows in proportion to improbabil­ ity. The rest? Copying. solitary. laughs at the heavy mammoth. Some­ where other than life. is called entropy. rapid. or printed copies. laziness. which can only continue to exist if they consume redundancy and forbid freedom of thought. sleep. Brutish. One calls information a quantity proportional to rarity. Information. Precisely scientific. or of research. of teaching. the cardinals chased the saints from the church because they were troubled by them. this definition surprises whoever hears the other kind of information being spread about and disseminated to the point of redundancy. I invent therefore I think: the only proof that a scientist works or that a writer writes.

for invention. creates difference: it resists the descent that ancient language designated by the verb to gulp down fall downstream [avaler]. some kind of capital. that is enough. while the dam. a pool of oil. The current. inex­ haustible. the lat­ ter toward the rare. to [vers l'aval]. their paintings saved neither Van Gogh from indigence nor Gauguin from black misery. dissolution. Each . time. it happens all by itself. the work of art not only resists time as it passes but also reverses it. a depot of power like a lake upstream from a dam. you need energy. In order. and one hundred parasites now wrench their works from each other for the weight of gold or yen. This last flow wears away the relief. rare. for example. disorder. undifferentiated sand. In the first case. as one says. It is easy to reckon the temporal difference between the work of art and the luxury ob ject. Here a world other than the one in which we live is defined: here. illustrates the opposite of work. from the water in which it entered into a solution: dissolving it. mixed with increasingly slow and muddied waters. All known sources are reduced to these dams. a mine of coal. information goes back upstream. on the other hand. Entropy descends. but a few years later it is difficult to sell and only at a low price. the former toward the most probable. Resist. then. In the equation where time equals money. the fall. not in the second. The latter costs quite a lot when fashion displays it. As the saying goes. one rises and the other falls. what is the nature of the work that makes the worker? A bank of energy. Because the work and the worker belong to the same family as the word energy. on the other hand. dissolves all sorts of rocks and combines them. doubtless. which dissolves it but which cannot cut into the diamond. this resistance must intervene. the earth and the stars turn in the opposite direction. One could easily define work as the complete set of operations that would permit draw­ ing out the sugar. the river leads toward the sea. which crumbles toward disorder and nondifferentiation. The sugar cube cannot defend itself against water. to flow from the source. extracting it and crystallizing it.94 The Troubadour o Knowledge f against the irreversible course of entropy. at some point and some­ where. In all cases: accumulated time. Saturated with information. levels it.

If you seek to create. As rarity. because of invariance. reverses the order that makes all obedient napes bend in parallel. what's called news. To reverse time. in the opposite direction from that of information as dissemination. the layers of the onion. from having had to run toward the origin of the world. precious stones. and. They will die chil­ dren. Resisting is not enough. the direction. Coming from the source. because there has never been a bridge that on some disastrous day a river did not carry away. the water makes the low watermark of the dammed lake rise toward the top without going downstream. Or rather: the order that composes crystal. and power. the pentagon of rose windows. children. or a frightened virgin who did not cede to the advances of a rather hairy fawn. work. more like no. Y es. let's distinguish two types of success. fountains. the twinned cell from which human offspring is born. some- . so that. one must swim upstream. As if certain things went up the very stream that the orders men give themselves go down. certain works have met with success: they must cer­ tainly have suited the most common taste to gain favor at once. spreading rumor. two kinds of time: that of the work of art follows life. germinal cells. Nevertheless. and the Bastille Opera house. then. You will recognize the work and the authentic worker from this infallible sign: both together make you younger. To resist the ratings. It does not last out the month. before it is even born. all filled to bursting with information like blue supergiants and flee the spendthrifts that waste information: newspapers. the leaves of the artichoke. in the end. information runs. Time does not cease its work of usury. Two worlds. the action of movement must be reversed. the other sinks with death and history. two flows or stellar rotations. is looking dread­ fully old. We once again encounter the two foci. One requires energy. Y es and no. love springs. the look of the sea lion. in order to get the better of it. To create means to go toward the hands of the divine worker at the dawn of things. Resistance is not enough.Instruction 95 day Moliere gets younger and makes my grandchildren laugh. the high summits of mountains. the other falls all by itself. the first follows fashion: and immediately proves it by transforming itself the next day into a flop.

Do not forget that the media repeat what those who control them today were saying when they were twenty years old: they are at least a generation behind and sometimes two. Time. but spread in Celtic land. the dream of whom was gasping for breath beneath Adam's rib. in the West more than the East. I stammer when I express myself in any language other than my own. thus more English than Mediterranean. This is the only means of liberating the present. To discover what one is. intuits them. the imprint­ ing of my genetic code. midway between Spanish and Italian. Thus you must search passionately for what you are and not for what they say you are. But do not be mistaken: noth­ ing is more difficult than trying to determine of what our present consists. This sec­ ond triumph lasts. a difficult thing. awakens them. which is defined precisely by the rare. but which only the work can deliver. sur­ veys them. it cannot survive time in general. Conversely. I hope this for all. the present idea connects the black and forgotten earth . information-saturated meeting of the work with the live. success does not engender its succession. That is the image that my coat of arms carries. In this case. is awakened by creation. To find the contemporary.96 The Troubadour ofKnowledge times the week. the other kind of success plunges to the very depth of the live works of the moment. half-breed. What everyone says of it. far from clarifying it. Occitan. It seems to me that one can only create in the straight grain of culture that is incarnated in the flesh of its flesh. a much rarer invention still. How many books temporarily in vogue yesterday now burden the remainder tables? In this instance. arouses them. Resist the torrent of influences. liberates them. which always sleeps. the medals. Don't listen to anyone. the two other leaves of a clover with a Latin peduncle. Does one only invent some­ thing new when it issues from the deepest roots? Like a bolt of lightning. while my exac­ titude seeks and finds to say in French something that my body has carried for millennia in my maternal tongue. just as God aroused Eve. that tattooing of my skin. latent forces that condition it. success assures and begets succession: the succession of time follows the success of the work and not vice versa. as if by a miracle. The contemporary moment is created through the work of art more than the work is fabricated by the contemporary moment. masks and conceals it. miraculous.

haughtiness and secrecy. That mod­ esty seems proud. but this primacy often goes unrecognized. or Venice gives itself more readily than Paris. Flat. we defeat ourselves in all competitions. yes. for arrogant. Nothing. our language. You will always be bad at knockoffs. rare. a sublime rather than amiable city. always in danger of leaving success to more rapid and more certain seducers. one must know everything and thus have worked prodi­ giously. so that we pass for unreachable.Instruction 97 with the unbreathable stratosphere of the future. the most difficult. hands down. which are now global. In the realm of rarity. Our teams play soccer and rugby divinely or ( typically) col­ lapse when the rarest of talents is lacking. one that is difficult to understand. but we are condemned to produce in this difference. no. Resist imports then. artistic. who do not hesitate to use any means to gain our favor. this necessary condition no longer suffices. In the same way. Florence. or precisely. Coca-Cola always beats Sauternes. It is thus neces­ sary to declare our specificity. for example. because of the quantity of information. Rome. Because the . demands still more austerity than thousands of oth­ ers that refuse themselves little in the way of indulgences. France runs the fatal risk of keeping itself from the French themselves. we criticize ourselves to the point of exasperation and exclusion. Couperin and Corneille. To create. Flat out. most often corrupted. and sometimes. reserved beneath understatement. tucked away beneath reserve. are harder to understand than Beethoven or Shakespeare. infinitely arduous. ironic and fine. the demanding French tradition. demanding. is more difficult than to create in France. its culture is unceasingly threatened with ruin from this excess or this distance. When debility is the fashion. always keeps way ahead of its rivals or emulators. loses. Half­ breed. learned but light. so that in a century in which advertising never waits for someone else to pay you a compliment. that is our paradox! Thus. because of its hard nature. In addition. then. counterfeit. A culture makes its nature known as much in stadiums as in other places. We refuse ourselves charm and comforts. Ours. It is not only in the fine arts that this improbable haughtiness makes our lives so difficult: we do not like half measures in any­ thing.

Through where do you pass? Everywhere and through as many places as possible. the exodus without a path remains his only sojourn and his blank book. I now branch off to maintain the opposite . or worse. his anger. but I try to forget. en joy all power. who. take them. Where are you going? I don't know. he sometimes invents. he has chosen to wander. or launches an opinion poll. and. Thus. He does not plod along or travel by following a map that would retrace an already explored space. and his strained liberty. whoever wants to create resists the power of knowl­ edge. to put it plainly: leave every­ thing that reassures. Learn everything. Philosophy lives and is displaced in this austere and desertlike landscape where a whole people wan­ dered for a generation and waited and saw nothing of the promised land. programs. almost always knows what he is doing. Refuse to recognize your references. I beg of you. a mountain or a statue. less than a historian. There are few supports in the desert. learn and fabricate without respite. at the beginning. with his whole body. but a global world. when he doesn't know. certainly. Wandering includes the risk of error and distraction. that is proper to the impotent. the philosopher who seeks does not employ method. One must instruct oneself as much as a possible. manipulates phenomena in the laboratory. If the philoso- . in order to train oneself: everything comes from work. both the works that have already been made and the institu­ tions that feed on them. Doubt in order to create. all his passion. a professor. To analyze or to judge. together. It does not seek a spring. as soon as slanderous tongues claim that I almost never know what I am doing or am going to think when I dedicate myself to philosophy. Thus. the only game in which the loser takes all and the winner often takes nothing. This signifies. Where are you coming from? I try not to remember. the only adventure still possible in contemporary times. Positive sciences employ methods and results: whoever mathe­ matizes. I thus resist in order to finish with my pre­ ceding speech. inventions or local discoveries.98 The Troubadour ofKnowledge weight of the past or science crushes and sterilizes: no one produces . take the greatest risks. where its nephews can live. at their word. but only in order to know nothing. encyclopedi­ cally. a well. No. I have the urge to tell fortunes. a critic.

resists the pressure of his peers. one recognizes the philosopher in terms ofwhether or not he has brought the future: ifhe misses it. Leibniz. just as the Middle Ages were lodged in a sort of Augustinized Aristotle. always rec­ ognizable. The work of a philosopher. but the philosopher has neither theory nor experiments nor method. does not return the way he came. This invention and the hope of it thus entice one to an adven­ ture from which one does not return and that can be described in terms of exodus and not of method. for those who cast themselves into this folly with no hope of recompense. if he obtains local results. the philosopher dies in the rigidity of dogma or because what a teacher said has vitrified his thought. Philosophy. the failures of experi­ ments. along an oceanic expanse without reference points. when one is traveling along the most certain paths. thus even less their gaps or their flip sides. today. but which are valuable as elements of an anthropology of discovery or an ethic. and as a desert without reference points rather than as a discipline in the form of a staked-out space-all dangerous and risky terms that can be understood as myths or poems in order to exclude them from thought. very rare. the opening of knowledge and the house of pity. as it is today. lost forever to philosophy. It carries general­ ity. and Bacon. exists if and only if it sets aside and carves out a space that history will inhabit. Which I must now define: philosophy devotes itself to anticipat­ ing future knowledge and practices on a global scale. which will . his exo­ dus remains unaware that he finally sees a large whole. it dreams of the third instruction. by the divisions of previous knowledge and as one among them. if and when it takes place. deprived of an atlas. the incompleteness of results or the toppling of a theory. points to his time. as wandering rather than as an itinerary or a curriculum. A scientist dis­ covers or invents in the lacunae of a method. or better yet as a simple hygienics. and modern times in Descartes. his discipline happily becomes a science. wanders.Instruction 99 pher follows a method or a school. Far from being produced. of birth and crossbreeding. philosophy thus has the func­ tion of engendering the next knowledge in its global culture. establishes a ground that will found local inventions to come. The scientist. Christopher Columbus invents the West Indies. which is why. the earth or the atmosphere of the history of science itself and the liberty of art. he does not exist. the Renais­ sance in Plato.

our ultimate limitation and most extreme source. A few centuries ago. Would I dare to rewrite some rules for losing your mind. at the first break of dawn. who hears the one who finds? For he demands a lot from himself and from those who study him closely: new in each line. Another Namefor the Third-Instructed. the game of always losing ends up winning in another world­ that of things themselves.100 The Troubadour o Knowledge f be named after somebody else. Nothing in my books. so alert to time. I find-and only write if I find. what ease in recognizing yourself in a text because you always start the same one again: by beginning again. Y et. Only the one who has played the riskiest. I do not seek. in any place. whereas. in imitation of monasteries. Men of all cultures have only ever invented. including your shoes. of finding? Who is more profoundly boring than the repetitive reasoner who copies or seems to construct by constantly repositioning the same cube? Ruminating on the past-what a system! Repeating a method-what laziness! Method seeks but does not find. classical philosophers strove for Rules. you scratch yourself in the same place. whatever the domain. spoiled. If you want to lose your soul. because he who seems to have lost it is finally the one who saves it. On the contrary. but for governing the mind. wandering on the path that it itself . or for messing up the play of the advertising subject and its lingo. work to save it. then. his text is not supported by any reprise. by reinventing life: that is called resur­ rection. the most mortal game discov­ ers. the most absurd. The terrible place whence all life comes. than the improbable unexpectedness. Only third innocence invents. go naked. first. reader. which launches itself and risks itself. when the time has come. you believe you understand. What does it matter? He begets a time. Troubadour. the play of ambition in the city or of dominant systems? Learn everything. if they knew they were going to die and because they knew how to live and think close to death. throw everything that you own into the fire. What is more lively. Creation resists death. is revived from elsewhere. The most difficult art is that of infinite melody.

honored. You will recognize it from this sign that cannot fool you: an irremediable loss. finders who go nimbly from novelties to finds. twisted. The delicate child delivers from historical death the fortunate mortal who saves him. here or there. Church. The Generative Couple ofHistory.Instruction 101 invents and that never returns to itself. Philosophy willingly distinguishes nature and culture. tormented. it survives. In good health if it does not create. Not only does creation survive. Creative culture is this fragile child expiring among us. rich. whose leap is sustained only by its restlessness. in turmoil. suffer and chant. strange to hear. exposed. divergent. emanating from the body's roots like birds taking flight all around the leaves of a tree. and fat. it disap­ pears. Always in the process of being born. but rather its sim­ ulacrum or its counterfeit. dominant. fulfilled. I have always written like a troubadour. you haven't found it. by chance. going forward without profit or help. we know Maecenas only through the one who found shelter for his own immortality as it was being born. burgeoning. the power that one accords it and its the­ atrical gesture. let's finally understand why. nature is opposed to whatever does not cease to lose its strength. Better. business or a well-off private individual. Here are the donor and the beneficiary: the former certainly . powerful. in Maecenas's home. Born under a secret name. I finally found my ancestors. who alone holds the secret of subsistence. giv­ ing its life on the contrary to do so. while culture fights for its existence and dies from creat­ ing. And yet. cheerful. torturing. flapping like the edge of a flag in the wind. it dies and lives only from him: state. Death and Immortality Despite its glorious name. exploring unceasingly another frag­ ment of the earth. Such an accurate and profound definition that if. Whence one immediately arrives at the definition of creation: it makes its way dying. always at the stage of being born. an open exodus that those trouveres. If the patron loses interest in creation. but there is no long duration or even history except through this child. a new born in the throes of death ever since the world began. creation cannot survive by itself. Without a patron. you encounter creation.

or collective. and the latter. because it and it alone. here their bond is real­ ized. for the long term. generosity. remains and lasts. the sec­ ond more exceptional still? Here then are culture and economics. but the probability of Maecenas and Fouquet surviving in history thanks to the fable and the epic is very low. invariant. one plays for the long term and the second for the short. which allows us to observe the elementary conditions of history in a single example. the couple. In the face of their bond and common wager.102 The Troubadour o Knowledge f makes the latter live. Bound. through its weakness. by the gift. which cannot be exhausted by time. furnishes the only and long-standing infrastructure. our goods and our powers are effaced from the surface of the earth? How is it that creative culture founds the long term of . either individual and bodily. risks the short term. since it com­ poses the two-faced prosopopoeia of its conditions: here fortune and there genius in the best cases. In the couple thus united and stable in time. Whence a new question: how is that what among us is revealed as the weakest. in the neglect of future generations. when our bodies are corrupted. stubborn. in a state of irremediable loss. Virgil assuredly lived thanks to Maecenas and La Fontaine thanks to Fouquet. whereas we see that economics is merely its immediate condition. death then appears. one operates in the present moment and as in real time. for the common and the rare. They fight in concert against two kinds of effacement. has the strength to last. here. and oh marvel. Whereas economics breaks time up into short periods. makes the former survive. to decide between them! Formerly and not long ago. beyond all hope. as gift and countergift [contre-don}: what a crucial experience. one unlocatable and the other rarer still: there. in fact and by law. improbably. De facto. It is useless to define the generous one without the recepi­ ent or the latter without the former. certain people posited economics as the infrastructure of history. the latter certain of making his mark and the former tak­ ing the riskiest chances. a sure thing. one unusual. culture. while the other hopes for continuity over the long run. because they form an insepa­ rable couple. Which one and how? In fact. even childish and dying. creation. together. would not this couple illuminate history. but in an asym­ metrical manner.

strictly. a relation that takes us back to the level of animals. Mae­ cenas would receive Virgil. catastrophes. though infinite. dead.Instruction 103 history and its continuity. and past. weak. Buy ten houses then. producers only of monotony. on the contrary. what interest is there in con­ quering yet another one? You will never find anything but the same one. what is creative culture? Often. They eat at the zoo. set­ tle into some important position. war gives birth only to conflict and compe­ tition to rivalry. Ease chews on repetition out of boredom. software founds and conditions hardware? The hardware founds the software. and it encounters nothing but repugnant obedience. But first of all. Whence the search for a good other than gold or domination. the unexpected and. tends to reproduce an accrued fortune con­ strained to think only of itself. Creation invents news by recounting today what it didn't know yesterday-my vocation consists of writing and saying not what I know. seizures of power. the improbable. but precisely toward the unforeseen of the artist. and dying child? How can one explain the improbable generosity-aside from tax deductions? It is that for­ tune. more than perfect. the great of this world. paradoxically. pluper­ fect. what I don't know and will astonish me-and the patron would run at dawn to the news. finally. by the rich institution or man. boring. wear twenty expensive rings. these laws that enchain the monotonous time of history through identical reproductions make even the thickest-skinned blase. not toward the news that shouts every day at our broken ears of other murders that are really the same ones. pretty much. wars. Once again. What can be paid for becomes boring quickly. . has never produced any­ thing but the unhappiness of men. both of them suddenly living this novelty. of this soft. who would read out loud to him what he had written the night before. dominate fifty shoe-shiners. in the morning. still and always the same. and the will to power. because command only knows how to engender hierarchy. the relation is inverted: the hard durable. but from then on the short term cedes its place to long duration. but. only the softest endures [durJ is not [perdurej. for the immediate present. why this mothering. old monotonous repe­ titions of a world given over to iterative domination. left to itself. that. of other scandals. Nothing new beneath this golden sun.

from birth to normal death. The latter gives to the former the passing day. That's how culture becomes a second nature. The patron makes the artist live in the world opposite from the one in which the artist makes the patron survive. dying. in the other direction of time. and the former gives him inexhaustible youth in return. The child. the unique certainty of the end. goes toward birth and childhood. Peace. The creator is born old and dies young. but also life. Creative culture lives in the new and can define itself: as the lowest proba­ bility. the greatest rarity. The creator. he finds and ifhe does not find. toward the greatest probability. time goes from left to right. from death to birth. just like the georgic and bucolic nature whose parturition Virgil announced to Maecenas every morning. This is why I said. Alas ! we no longer recognize anything but seekers or researchers. Nothing less monotonous or more inestimably precious: always at the stage of being born. as they say. the astonishing novelty. In the realm of bread and water that the generous person gives to the cre­ ator. Going toward childhood and birth. know how to be born infants and die senile like everyone else. called this producer of improbable novelty a finder: trouvere in the North. . the opposite of those who are realistic and. this couple has produced a new epoch. of glory. polluting culture with his resent­ ments [ressentimentsl ? This unpredictable invention is called peace. in this regard more vivacious and robust than the one we have since used. what is he doing here. toward the improbable. hell. I want survival to sig­ nify not only prolonging existence. time goes from right to left. troubadour in the South. whose flow runs toward the greatest probabilities of power. and of death. but also transfiguring it. have their feet on the ground. which follows from invention and conditions it. thus irremediable loss. in the other world created by the work that the finder gives back to the donor. In all epochs. The old French language. The creator does not seek. This is why the work does not use itself up and resists the monotony of history.104 The Troubadour ojKnowledge Neither Maecenas nor especially Virgil knew the day before what would be said on the morrow. the greatest rarity. it is always in the process of being born. The artist and the patron meet at the intersection of these two kinds of time.

Whence this dangerous result: the properly cultural interest. without great fanfare. for all that. what announces a new time always arrives like a subtle breath of wind. for a long time to come. But there is ordinary information and rare information. make every patron 's enterprise fail: what makes the most noise always fol­ lows the climate of its time and couldn't precede it. hot air-things that are worthless. It is as difficult to receive as to give. The whole question thus comes down to what I would call the risk of rarity. a roof. softly. certainly. explicitly or tacitly. The search for the greatest effect will then. This gain can be defined very rigorously as that of survivor's insurance. What does the parasite give to the one who keeps him. corre­ sponds to what holds no interest. and dinner? Vain words. inversely. which the­ ory defines as improbability. So exchange ends up unbalanced: all against nothing. not always. it reimburses the donor-who may even be dead by then­ for the guarantee and the insurance a thousand times over. cannot be bought. ten years later. because what's at stake is . a life transfigured that I have a tendency to consider as the only one that is livable. in that very domain. This analysis holds as much for the work of art as for scientific research: it has happened that all funding is denied to some physicist seemingly engaged in investi­ gations of no consequence who.Instruction 105 These two worlds that turn in two different directions and these two times know nothing of each other and rarely appreciate each other. the greatest rarity. a countergift can hardly be found: one encounters few patrons. is often-not always-inversely proportional to the passions of the moment and sometimes. For a rare gift. for it concerns another life. that is the one-sided contract. powerfully creative. with certainty. There is no guarantee or insurance for creativity. The only improbable thing they have in common is this con­ tingent couple united by the gift. I prefer to call it a pardon. a countergift. but which. Thus the countergift goes back to a bet almost always lost but which yields infinitely-more than any other-if won. it ends up in the gap between material and information. Or. but. receives the Nobel Prize for an unequaled invention. because all cultures require. once it suc­ ceeds. The situation is thus redressed. where we have learned to value information. but even fewer creators. as one advances into modernity. who offers him a coat.

through it. through innovation. prospers and develops." Along the continuity thus woven. The Roman Empire lasted two thousand years. But what does fame matter! All that matters is the fabric of his­ tory that it shows and constitutes. Value is eroding in proportion to the speed of circulations: both are growing exponentially. the American reign began with the last war and started its decline a decade ago. Virgil rendered Maecenas immortal and will carry him in his wake as long as humanity survives. through rapid exchange. I return to the continuity of history. come around as advertising. neither less nor more than the preceding ones. in volume and in weight. the more a country. Deter­ ministic processes now furnish the so-called consumer society with products whose value often melts away in a lightning interval: nine­ tenths. worse. for gifts accorded to those that contemporary soci­ ety. the British dominion over the world less than one hundred. That is why I called the couple into which Virgil entered "generative. today. for these very reasons and at the same time. Thus. to the point of death. how long will the five tigers of Asia govern? Our thinking should place patronage in the midst of the real conditions that history and economics create for value. for sports or science. of what we have just bought at the supermarket goes directly into the trash to join the newspaper and almost all of what we received in the mail the same day. We are losing rarity. the faster it leads us from schlock to rubbish. as proper names on advertising banners. the gifts that. the Middle Ages of Christianity a millennium. ask yourself at what price you will have to sell it off tomorrow or in five years. activities that are noble but almost as rich as the donors. I propose that one keep the appellation of patron for pure cul­ tural assistance. and thus the long term. Whence these diminishing returns. and to call promotion or. let us come to our era.106 The Troubadour ofKnowledge immortality. research precedes and pilots . Con­ sumerism or consumption denote this quick drift of value. while ten thousand patrons saved one hun­ dred thousand bad rhymers from the famine they abundantly deserved. since. sponsorship. Of an ob ject in circulation. always deprives of every good.

Whether by chance or lottery. who thus restores to our world. the free gift plays at winner-takes-nothing and loser-takes-all. from which this rarity that we have lost will be drawn. Only this minimum swims upstream. the one that leads to all finds. with max­ imum information. In this moment of quick drift toward schlock. . The French words [grace] . or on Vir­ gil. it follows the rapid circulation and the lightning-fast drop that I have just evoked. A gift with a minimal countergift. The number of geniuses dying in desperation compared to the number of distinguished impotents shows that the choice. an informational countergift. that is patronage. liking] . grace gratuite [gratuitousness] . or gre [taste. immortal. Taste waits and plays for rarity. And the patron keeps his name only through the artist. express this simple arrow of exchange without expecting or demanding a return. devoured by banality. often costs more money than the vile product it insolently vaunts. a work that lasts transhistorically. seems to me the current role and the positive work of the patron. and if you only want to save it. a difficult one. the countergift is worth more than the gift. suddenly two times will be born and branch off. Exchange calculates and seeks to win. The rule of patronage strongly resembles the one that I follow in my daily work. against the powerful current in which rarity is being lost. infinitely more. which strains toward power and glory. you will certainly lose it. Even in real time the countergift surpasses the gift when the yacht wins the race or a discovery gets once­ exhausted production going again. is comparable to a lottery. The one fights in exchange. on a Sunday painter or on Braque or Raphael.Instruction 107 the economy itself. Exchange is deterministic. Here it is: whoever wants to save his soul accepts that he may lose it. with rapidly eroded value. the forgotten improbable. A winning formula that is the inverse of prudence. The logic of taste differs from that of exchange. The patron happens upon Abbe Delille. the one that all research respects. and the other throws itself into the gift and its pure hazards. advertising. the gift can be reversed: the payer reim­ burses with play money. stochastically. Thus. The random search for such an improbability. From these two different playing fields. a bad rhymer.

in that case. always re-created. as 1 did. but. who was the very first one. From the black box into which they decided to sink one day.108 The Troubadour ofKnowledge This reversal of exchange and of taste inverts time itself. and before them their millennarian ancestor." Virgil answered. recited before Maecenas the page of his poem where Aeneas descends to the Underworld. "how did he get out of there? Do you think he rose from the dead?" "I don't know. through heroic re-creation. Odyssey made Ulysses "We evoke their shade through the magic of rhythm: Aeneas finally pulls himself from the abyss. 1 don't know." . the true one. to be the only value that resists all inflation and that. "And." he added. and beauty alone calls humanity to its living. one after the other. "if he died or didn't die from this blow. in the fertile cres­ cent. they were delivered. to truly come out of nothingness. true fortune sometimes smiles. the archaic Gilgamesh. you will find no expertise. "The one who comes out of the shadows. which. 1 imagine that Virgil. the minister asked if it was necessary for the hero to die in order to enter the other world. Question: What appears today. What 1 wanted to prove. Ulysses too and Orpheus as well. in this time without culture and with almost no creation. to leave light-footed in quest of immor­ tality. Here is how. resurrected. assuredly. the only true immortals by reason of their torment. Work then and take risks: a lottery for the audacious on whom. one fine morning. "call him Aeneas. that is. present. or Homer maybe. instead of wearing down or eroding value." "Explain what you mean then ! " Maecenas cried out. this terrible risk in this infernal visit con­ ditions the existence and the beauty of works. "Only the beautiful work takes us back to youth. culture becomes a second nature. the one that understands what it is to be born. Homer comes out. makes it grow exponen­ tially. on the contrary. increases? Experts unanimously responded: the authentic work of art. reborn. finally inoculated against forgetting. in anguish." the author of The Aeneid resumed. But for authenticity in real time. how. here and now. in our memory at least. When silence replaced the music of the distich. whom 1 recall here and whose descend to the same places. There is no real cre­ ation without such a voyage into the darkest tunnels. it is said.

One can call them our ferrymen: in the same way that each of us crosses the channel of sex so that children will awaken after we disappear. standing. no longer before us. it would be incarnated in a man who could be said to be divine and who would be reborn after hav­ ing accepted death at the hand of the most powerful of his con­ temporaries. the one that integrates all knowledge. "We feel alive and together. this long procession of illustrious names dis­ played before Aeneas in the centuries of centuries. works of music. that of the good tidings that consist of placing our death. "Mter him. with the acceptance of a per­ sonal death that founds history just as the acceptance of our death conditions the birth of our descendants. but finally. in time." questioned the mInIster. body to body and in genetics." Maecenas. on the one hand.Instruction 109 "But. poems. "it owes this to the rare heroes who braved it up close in order to come back and join the generations to one another. who extracts this memorable page from nothingness?" "I imagine. injustice. will emerge from the Underworld. and death face to face. enthused by this farseeing projection. does not fear to confront evil. art accomplishes this transmission for the longest duration. also ven­ tured in these unnameable subterranean realms?" "That if humankind does not fear death as a whole and its his­ tory. not in history but according to legend. . who knows if the future will see the advent of a religion-that diligent enthusiasm which resists negligence­ founded in part on this idea that no one ever creates if he does not put himself in the gravest danger. pain. Just as love weaves our local and indi­ vidual bond. "what does this scene or this multiple series mean. Orpheus. Because he. truly forgotten. and that. too." said Virgil with passion. "and I hope or prophesy that the ferrying does not stop. behind us. statues will cele­ brate for millennia his resurrection. as something to be suffered. parallel to the his­ tory of our knowledge. via the beautiful work and in it. without forgetting Hercules and Theseus. a demigod who. Gilgamesh." resumed Virgil. Ulysses. on the other. what is meant by this suite. painting. which will begin the history of their era. inquires then: "But after us? Mter you.

then to emerge as the originator of a beautiful work. I hope. will never be sated. or those decapitated amid the drumrolls of power-who are poor in works and in posterity. who. deprived of any assistance. If the seed does not die. posterity knows that it descends. to be sure. and celebrate these formidably present. Doubtless. the charter of his­ tory. not far from here. the conquerors. one more time.110 The Troubadour ofKnowledge "I dream of a genius. "Our fundamental history follows that of the predecessors who show us radical necessity and the most difficult path. accompanied by a woman so happy to be on this voyage that she will be called Beatrice. this hunger. " And finally Virgil fell silent. No. I will help him to enter. living people with more press and fervor than the mighty who chased after glory-the wealthy. with these few others. And we do not know the name of the unfortunate who. at this very moment. Who. Who succeeds him? In our museums. like Jean Valjean. no immortal­ ity of the human species. who died of poverty and hunger. to be born in Italy. that of our exhausted bodies. who return tojoin the tradition of yesterday to the vivacity of today. from revolutionaries or generals. in search of the same beauty as the one aroused by these names and these bod­ ies that withstood time. I write in my language. is giving his life to the work that our grandchildren will consume to survive: because if the appetite for bread is some­ times calmed. "I cannot conceive that this heroic suite will stop. "I tell you nothing more than a law of life: but the laws of the longest life are not like those of the shortest. What is cul­ ture finally? The irregular and regular resurrection of those who braved death to create. Without formulating it. then. who got lost in the sewers of Paris. later. crowds commemorate the resurrection of Van Gogh or Gauguin. Without them. it does not bring forth beautiful fruit. will make me descend with him into these abominable places. madly. the powerful. there exists in living flesh a program for this law. without their rebirth no history. Art emerges from the tomb." he added dreamily. no continuity. but even more from an indigent lost in the archipelagoes of the Pacific. should be called a patron? At the juncture where .

spirit.Instruction 111 long duration joins the brevity of life. an evanescent phantom. just as the shadow of Beatrice floated above us a moment. just as Ulysses and Gilgamesh visited Maecenas through the voice of Virgil. in these dark days. . the moment pushes the tomb­ stone so that a phantom is reborn or returns. the one who visits us today. in the rare places where his­ tory is pro jected on the moment. but that alone. tongue of fire. here it is. has the quality. incandescent: begotten again by science and by the death of men. and capacity to unite us in global human trans­ mission and in the unexpected sowing of powerful creations. just as Virgil visited Dante and gave him the golden bough. barely recognizable. Here it is. seed of suns. ready to be effaced in gusts of light air. generative vigor.


Elsewhere Something New under the Sun. Night You.Education The Law of the King: Nothing New under the Sun Something New under the Sun. Day The Third Person: Fire . Here Me.


covers the earth and seas. is exacerbated for some reason. It does not moderately transform the fragile equilibrium obtained through the shimmer­ ing fusion of numerous factors. humidity. makes the space a desert. nothing will ever be new beneath this faraway and frozen light. levels the hills and fills the valleys. Conversely. Cold arrives and takes over: if it becomes terrifYing. but it occurs especially through its action. reigns. so that it cracks and the ochre desert extends in space. When uniformity appears. or the length of these pale plains. Nothing new without sun. nonetheless. the thickness of the coat of arable land on the rocks. The law of cold reigns in the countries of the North. If the sun retreats. razes reliefs. Winter wins the battle: now king. a source of light without a flame before which the new has disappeared. if you are not dead. that of the flame governs the South. chases or starves animals and plants. in fact. has produced. stops the waters. absent or present. linked to each other. the dissolution that exposure to the sun. stable or labile. . the sun that makes the new absent itself. the white ice field advances. dictates its unique law to the winds. heat takes over. Let us suppose that one of these variables. The monotony is not repeated before an indifferent eye. temperature. If the opposite tendency takes hold. produced it. expels or makes the flora and fauna scarce. Cold. totally whitens spaces and volume: a single law vitrifies the expanse. you could say that it reigns. nothing new with the sun or without it. but kills or masks their diversity. . sum up these factors. cov­ ers the earth with sand and makes the waters of the sea evaporate. The wisdom of Solomon places the sun so far away that it observes. With its burning. the flame destroys volume: in the expanse its order reigns. brings certain species to the fore. seek. change together there: relief and altitude. Does dissolution take place beneath its gaze? Cer­ tainly.The Law of the King: Nothing New under the Sun Temperature is but one variable of the climate of a place. when the new is lacking. As proof. take temperate countries where the temperature is 115 . Takes over and reigns. an all­ powerful sun. A thou­ sand other elements. Nothing new from the sun. detached. Local equilibria. it alone commands the winds. decreases or strongly increases. the richness and density of the flora or fauna .

long creepers in knotted networks of communication. for this reason. Again. reigning. great colonies of agitated ants. swallows every detail beneath the flat level of the silky water. All other factors reappear en masse: it is warm and cool. In the midst of stones and glass. finally alone. for living. now exclusively political animals. because dawn is oblique and twilight is extended in the modesty of the morning. If the waters hold back. coex­ tensive with the planet: already. what will they eat when they have won the famous war for life. these lizards. If a species or a living variety holds back. enclosed forever in the city built without limits. pines. who can leave the city called Japan or the greenhouse called Holland? When greenhouses cover the earth-disaster. sub jected to their law alone. finally dedicated to politics and to politics alone. calm and windy. until everything is obliterated beneath the smoothness of the waters in mourning. one law: marine transgression. is not . a single family. so that they will live only in an environment exclusively of rats or lizards? Lizards? If man holds back. like a scale-of events. luminous. The human species takes over and is going to reign. Novelty occurs if the sun holds back. in front of them. a word that signifies mixture or temperament and with which one qualifies the so-called temperate countries. palm trees. men will have nothing but glass and stones beneath them. The climate does not reach a peak. all prey to the exponential growth of reproduction. the space is not tied to a single excessive constraint. have in return invented history. Living from relations. drink­ ing only from their own bonds. I mean to say a temporal sequence­ tempered. or rats with a particular smell or ants with certain political customs. I guess. dry and humid. in a world finally vitrified. and. inexorable winners of the war of survival. which.116 The Troubadour o Knowledge j milder. Or else space invaded by an inextricable network of interlacing creepers. This variable mixture could be called time or weather [temps]. eating. We arrange the world for ourselves alone. With the rise in water level the flood begins and reigns. And these rats. lizards by the bil­ lions. for build­ ing. Imagine the earth cov­ ered with billions of almost identical lizards or an interminable beach beneath a gray mass of crabs moving without a single gap. numerous fauna appear-every­ thing becomes visible at once. chiaroscuro.

closure under the law-God does not hold back. seraphims and archangels. the great Pan. reserve. Limited-can that be?-by the power of evil. withholds neither its power nor its science nor its politics. Monotheism destroyed local gods. To persevere unceasingly in its being or in its power characterizes the physics of the inert and the instinct of animals. Maybe the existence of bad demons-like that of angels and cherubs. we no longer hear goddesses laugh amid the springs. our freedoms. of his own accord. Nothing can now lay claim to novelty beneath the torch of omnitude: a complete well of true thoughts. including his own incarnation-sings to us of his benevolence and his divine mercy. must learn modesty and shame. and. his tolerance. in the inferno of the unity the number of colors in the medley dissolved. on the con­ trary. God is the only being to whom such a thing has happened. We . of sain ts.Education 11 7 wary of itself. nor do we see the genies appear in the foliage. Wrong. Perhaps Satan shows the clemency of God. is dead. the preformation of everything that is possible. The hominid must learn to hold back. does not hold back. therefore dual and trinitary. God holds back throughout all eternity. his suspension. with virgins and the Virgin. condi­ tional and creative omnipotence. God holds back or. We have God to thank for having held back a good deal short of monotheism. his science. and his language must learn understatement. Doubtless humanity begins with holding back. already. of the holy fam­ ily-good spirits and bad finally on the same level and for once and with the same function. the stars paled. . they say. holds back his power. He created the world. God emptied the world. When the sun appeared on the side of the Middle East. overburdened day after day with the small glory of men who have arrived at beatitude or saintliness. Maybe existing evil demonstrates God's goodness. encum­ bered with martyrs. of all the latitude that he gives. pow­ ers and dominations. consequently. Whence his bonhomie. . sur­ rounded by multiple messengers. and if God did not adhere to a strict monotheism? What the devil. maybe the existence of all these impedi­ ments-that God tolerates or that we impose on his ubiquity. his holding back. his sweetness . If God holds back. a lot of people aspire to command. The sacred history of God recounts something other than his solitude and shows.

The expansion of the single law of a very small star is called the aurora. because linked to the millenarian battle of the gods. that he does not bring his arm down on the devil. By themselves. the galax­ ies also. The law of expansion. Already. I laugh at the old gigantomachy of small local gods. like us. They prop- . because Satan. I observe that he allows the angels to rag on him and the sweet crowd of saints to compete with him. that for­ gets moderation. and I cried for the loss of the hamadryads. without mercy or excep­ tion. Barbarism fol­ lows the single law. that he even disappears a bit in the crush of wings. The solitude in which the trees. I hated monotheism for this holocaust of deities. I believed for a long time that monotheism had killed local gods. and oceans found themselves tore me up. still takes all the powers of the world with no protests from God. Dawn effaces the stars. and robes. On the contrary. By the same token. to this gigantomachy from which we make our model. the others turn. if it ever had one. it seemed to me to be wholesale violence.118 The Troubadour o Knowledge j are perhaps surviving on this reserve. my fathers. Not long ago. supposedly general law results from the frenzied expan­ sion of a local element that loses its hold. One incapable of thinking in a new way. I dreamed of repeopling the empty space. Now the sun is nothing but a yellow dwarf. I see that God welcomes the gods. aureoles. Perhaps God only created the world in the field of his abstention? How much weight would we have if he had not held back? Moved by tradition. in view of making the remain­ der disappear. I find myself less pagan. gases occupy the volume that is offered before their expansive pressure. That of gases. A single. No one has ever seen a gas show proof of restraint in order to leave a part of the space empty. And yet the supergiants continue to turn. And yet. I would have willingly prayed to the destroyed gods. if it ever learned it. obviously. The dwarf has lost moderation and abandoned its self­ restraint. he even allowed himself to be killed without reacting in any notable way. whose aurora hides the blue giants. rivers. I discover that God is good and maybe even infinitely weak. that one can hardly dis­ tinguish him amid the palms. He holds back with modesty and shame. seas. nothing in the sky will ever be new after it. a pagan like all peasants. forever on the brink of war.

created as we were in the margins of his restraint. beauty. that take up space. This first obligation conditions life. The lacks and defects required by truth. of all the things that expand. creates a readiness for a sense of emergence from which novelty will come. that is its definition: it exceeds its limits. as amply as a gas. does not always persevere in his being and thinks that elevat­ ing his own conduct to a universal law is the definition of evil as much as madness. epidemics. just like the sun. microbes are propa­ gated.Education 119 agate themselves. which spreads out. Nothing new is born if some intensified sun stops it. refuses in himself and around him the brute power that is propagated. simply hold back. of the wisdom of restraint? The excellent quality fades and is lacking: there is no beautiful decollete without defects in the shoulder. the atmosphere. Who. ambition spreads. To abstain from all evil. First maxim: before doing good. The work is born in a reserved hollow. of the shame of truth. and the flames that. Morality demands this abstention first of all. Pestilence. avoid the bad. good itself. In the same way. Noise. He reserves some strength to retain his strength. in particular that of its own expansion. force. The barbarian spreads. of the understatement of beautiful language. It reserves some reason to retain its reason. but also by life. Nature is in retreat. will sing of the modesty of culture. rumors spread. in return. owe their existence to the marginal reserves that we leave them. certainly. advertising spreads. The new can be born in chiaroscuro. First obligation: reserve. Because in expanding. that occupy volume. so that . must be named. The sage thus disobeys the single law of expan­ sion. We owe life to the restraint of God. Evil gets around. the waters. Thus reason seeks not to submit to an empire. very quickly becomes evil. The gentle man holds back. Death always lays down the law. The gentle and reasonable man can thus disobey reason. thus birth hides its stable in the margins of nonlaw. on the contrary. the Earth. The rubric of all the things that spread. goodness. Violence spreads blood. In the same way. In the same way. power. kings spread. ruckus. We also owe life to the all the gaps left by the other living things.

He is human who does not always bring his arm down on the weak. if the living species reserve their power. troubadour. Paranoia could be defined as the expansion of a local. It had to happen that one day some Cor- . expands. he perseveres in his being. Common people are not mistaken when they say that the madman believes himself to be Napoleon. we sometimes give our lives for it. more or less. taken sep­ arately. We should hold back. open our politics to the rights of the world. just as psychosis has leveled everything in him. the great kind. Nothing new under this madness. it is never said that the one who believes this is mistaken. Humanity becomes human when it invents weakness-which is strongly positive. He hides and allows himself to be invaded. His absence in space and in history signifies his restraint. God abstained. this is the conduct of madness. As it is difficult to spot him in the dense crowd of saints and angels. Madness. exacerbated trait vitrifying mental space so as not to leave any chance of growth to another variable. Finder. but when it becomes collective. to even go beyond one's completely developed perseverance. We should conceal ourselves a bit beneath the trees and the rose bushes. if the waters hold back. as a matter of course. he would have been alone . When pre­ sent. If not. Good tidings are born at midnight: without sun. Our social behaviors often translate maladies into giant mod­ els or add together a number of atoms or elements that. or even on those proven to be bad. a psychotic eradicates all other presence. solar. are nothing but morbid. whoever has found him still seeks him. converts his entourage. To unceasingly persevere in one's being. or on the strong. Royal. abstain collectively especially. out of resentment. if we put the brakes on the expansion of our reasons. imperial. If the sun. to overcome while preserving. always resembles. to provide for novelty. the conduct of someone who wants to become king and begins to identify himself with the sun. Now. each of us. We can hardly stand this psychosis when an individual imposes it on us. fragmented still in the Trinity. invest a part of our power in softening our power. The propagation of pathology overcomes everything that it finds before it and absorbs it while preserving itself.120 The Troubadour ofKnowledge margins are born around him. He invents good tidings.

that the big ones are equivalent to the small one. hold back for the first time. Thought begins when the desire to know is purged of any com­ pulsion to dominate. reason (ratio) is clothed in proportion. so fully does it teach that everything is not-and far from it-always and everywhere as it is reckoned to be. or any other insanity. How much water in this pure wine? The name that is also given to the coefficient of propagation in a suite or a series. whose mediocre size pro jects. that is the exact opposite of a proportion? If reason holds back. There is a miniscule and close to zero probability that one will always be right about everything and everyone. and proud body of the surveyor. in any case. in extreme circum­ stances. so that one calls reasonable the one who is neither always nor everywhere right and who does not take advantage of those who are never right or of those who. no reason or proportion without mix­ tures-thus reasonable reason will laugh at pure reason. do not shrink from using the methodical words of philosophy. according to a common relation. Reason is born under the Greek name of logos. Rea­ sonable signifies holding back just short of the capacity of one's own reason. at the foot of the pyramids. is a single variable that tries to spread beyond its little niche. free. which itself holds back in the face of the upright. Cheops and Khephren. so deeply does it plunge into mixed bodies. If he succeeds. as soon as Thales discovers. relation or proportion. One does not work without the other. To define madness. Here. How can we have an expan­ sive and united idea of reason that makes a madness of reason. formida­ ble pharaohs. beneath the sun. he is labeled a madman. Madness develops according to the same law of expansion as the one we wish for in the name of reason. he is crowned emperor. that perseveres in its being or overcomes itself in preserving itself. before Mykerinos. as it would at an oxymoron. can sometimes be right. The divide is rather narrow that separates the two decisive reckonings. proportion: it measures the quantity or the volume of an element mixed in a solution. The collec­ tive assembles and recognizes itself around the potentate who seeks to be taken for the real thing. Reason wants to invade the whole place just like any other variable.Education 121 sican math student would believe it up to the very end. if he fails. a . Let us bring up our children in the shame of reason. Let us think of reason as ratio. so that they experience its modesty.

Knowledge is certainly excellent. who denies it. madly logical. Here something new in the shadow of the sun. I am sure. up close. what does the rigor or the depth of a theo­ rem matter if it ends up killing men. science takes over. We meticulously organize a world where only canonized knowledge will reign. unexpected in the dry and burn­ ing desert. we call the history of sciences. Or of liv­ ing. If rational science holds back. crazy. just as winter reigns and takes over. . reserve. but if it claims that it is the only good and the whole good. It would be enough for them to learn understatement. As judicious as an idea appears to be. Thales invents science. The fear of a uni­ tary solution makes for the beginning of wisdom. and if it behaves as if this were the case. rationally tragic world. one thou­ sand times better than a thousand other things that are also good. it becomes atrocious when it reigns alone. but the way heat is: if it remains mild. Who denies the utility of flame and ice? Science is good. Science. or making an excessive power weigh on them? Wisdom provides the yardstick of moderation. holding back: the content of an idea matters a little less than the way it is put into practice. which equals that of rea­ son's retentions. but in the same way cold is: when it remains cool. Thus novelty arises at every minute of the day or night: this uninterrupted fecundity of time.122 The Troubadour ofKnowledge shadow similar to the three enormous shadows according to the same ratio or reason. It is possible to conceive of the sciences becoming wise. Unified. the value of science is esteemed as much for its performances as its truth-one judgment should temper another. outside the solar follies of kings. will soon reign. then it enters into a dynamic of madness. assuredly. The only hope remains that science can learn a tolerant wisdom that the other instances of power were never really able to learn and prevent a united. Science will become wise when it holds back from doing everything it can do. risks looking like an earth covered with rats. It would be dangerous if the hard sciences came to pass themselves off as the only way of thinking. Plunged in darkness. Yes. No solution con­ stitutes the only solution: neither a particular religion. a space that. nor a particular science. tragic. is just and useful. nor a par­ ticular politics. and even.

shines softly like a peb­ ble in a hollow. I would never become its zealot. I know that it must not be promoted or given power. it just as quickly reigns over cemeteries. nothing that understands the things of the world better. does not spread of its own accord. forgetful of the work. even my loves. in good time. fortunately. weak. The work-timid. or more extensive. philosophers. it took them from me and gave them back to me magnified. they multiply the risks of the others. Too dangerous. I would not judge as true what cannot or does not know how to hold back from conquest. and my adventures. deeper. Wisdom adds restraint to the true. advances. the work holds back. History shows no counterex­ ample. If philosophy constructs a universalizing world. reserve to the criteria of the true. fragile. if philosophy holds back. If philosophy. blind and stubborn. I have given it my life. let us spare it publicity. should not assume the right of spreading in space. an institution perse­ veres in its being.Education 123 Truth. I love philosophy because it carries in itself that word of love that I love. lost-waits for one to take it. I hope that it will be sterile in company men. Let the idea express truth. One always believes that an idea is not dangerous except when it is false. art frames it with a . it must be kept from taking power. my nights. Theories-too dangerous. But. nothing larger. more luminous. that wisdom that I discovered only late. on the contrary. Philosophy must beget men of work. Now. and scientists. priests. Sterile. by all rights. Single propagation and final solution. my body. millions of men will soon march with cadenced footsteps thousands of miles from the place the theories were broadcast before gigantic por­ traits of those who promoted them. but. More terrifying than politi­ cians. that enables one to live better and to attain rare beauty. Too dangerous. Let us not grant power to ideas because they multiply the reach of power. There is something new in its chiaroscuro. The wisdom proper to philosophy comes from its restraint. my time. nothing that renders one more intelligent. I do nothing to spread its power. Lover of philosophy. seizes power somewhere. The madness of solar truth. my pleasures. in men of power. If science and if reason hold back. I know nothing better than it. By itself. warmer. as surely as I love it. As theyexpand in space.

we will descend. models. the fluctuations of history. I truly know this. as secretly musical. small distances. as beautiful. The beautiful is the true at peace with itself: the truth held back. the fables of language. we will no longer run a risk. Holds it back in singularity. as my language. Beautiful. there is nothing as pure as French taste. the rigors of formal science. . Altogether beautiful. I would suffer a lot.124 The Troubadour o Knowledge f margin of reserved beauty. excellent. idiot imbeciles. as absent as God beneath the host of cherubs or as the lilac behind the pear and apple dried in an old Yquem. Alas. structures. the same repetitions of the same names in all latitudes-an earth covered with screeching parrots. Happily and by definition. Philosophers. There is nothing. that is to say as a mother tongue. precisely placed. more stupidly than lizards. no other language hides with as much discretion. The beautiful contains the true. Defines it. The true demands a limit and asks the same of beauty. constellations. nothing approaches beauty as closely. are found the things of the world-rivers. turbulences or percolation. neighborhoods. Preserves it from excess. altogether new. I think from speaking English today. Construct a great work in which. yet I would not be able to bear having my language spoken everywhere and always. refined. crowds. and the narratives of the people-but construct it so beautifully that even its beauty holds it back. oceans. When science and reason have attained beauty. lim­ its its expansion. make your work with exactitude and suffer in silence that they call you poets-those who are ordinarily excluded from the city. If language holds back. The same maniacal language and science. philosophy brushes aside all danger. surreptitious. time. It is better so. Beautiful. it no longer holds back. lower than rats. is as precise and clear without show­ ing off. I mean that it holds it back. closes up the trail when it passes. the true forgets to advance in space. Yet how beautiful it was! When all the people of the world finally speak the same lan­ guage and commune in the same message or the same norm of rea­ son. the approximate exactitudes of experimentation. forms its traits. the inimitable does not find imitators and thus does not spread or propagate itself. no mode of expression approaches understatement more closely.

they will discover that the language dominating the world lacks the term modesty. or merits grow. the West has known nothing but this form since the dawn of its time. "What is the best form of government?" theoreticians constantly ask. the Parisian revolutionaries of year II. with derision. The free citizens of Athens. or as a screen that hides the fact that they crushed the slaves and wogs. aristocrats considered themselves equals. all other dialects to the poor. To en joy power and not to pride oneself on it. They will have abandoned. . if the best hold back. equivalent fortunes in a savage competition. in order for force or fortune or talent to occupy the terrain. invented or practice democracy. that is to say. the best possible: born rich or intel­ ligent. Always and everywhere in our culture. When one knows only by example and acts only from mod­ els. the potentates of the West. here lies the beginning of wisdom. of holding back: the only thinkable equality now presupposes poverty-not as lack of wealth. of Thebes. whereas it served them or still serves them as publicity. There is scarcity. how can competition be avoided. they say. If the strongest. the one I hope for. that is to say. that they were going to take the place of the decapitated nobles or that they are exploiting the Third World to death. aristocracy and inequality? Thus one tendency is optimized. the question dictates: aristocracy. wealth. It is always necessary to form or imitate the ideal of man. chosen: arms. Of civilization.Education 125 When the powerful and the rich no longer speak anything but English. The govern­ ment of the best and the best form of government. Why would the best things hold back? Y we discover today this new but ancient fact: that the Earth et cannot give to all its children what · the rich tear from it today. brothers in arms bound to the hard law of duels. but as a positive value. the race begins. true democracy. diminishes or minimizes the same or said force. today weighted down with dollars. While our constant aristocratic models increase or optimize a given tendency in order for it to invade space. pitiless competitions between deserving experts. The political philosophy of restraint. Put this way.

in equilibrium. after having lost its squadron. behind which high cliffs are covered in a plumage of palm trees and waterfalls. And all of a sudden. Without an engine or a rudder. then by winds when the fog rose. almost the entire crew occupied the heights. enclosing a tranquil lagoon of green waters from which a long. one beautiful morning. One would have thought it one of the Cocos Islands. toward the first rocky point. which. for this lightning moment. put to sea much earlier. carried to the river's edge sailors and officers in the starved disorder that is easily imagined and in the mad hope of sur­ viving. Yet it did not sink: it is possible for a ship to remain afloat in extreme conditions. But the rafts and the whaling boats. to seek with all their eyes some sign on the hori­ zon. Elsewhere During the battle of the Pacific. abandoned to meteors. Not one drowned. The tranquil swell pushed the ship. suddenly enveloped by mist. but situated thousands of miles further east. Let's go. believing it to have been at the bottom of the ocean for a long time. a miracle. .126 The Troubadour o Knowledge f The Third World precedes us. sustained such a rain of torpedoes and pro jectiles that it shipped as much water as its tonnage. whose name and flag I will conceal. deprived of all radio contact. a large supply ship. where it smashed and foundered in two minutes. drums. seized by currents. had ceased search­ ing for it. with all hands and its cargo. masts and rigging. Something New under the Sun. as if it had waited twenty days. it wandered alone for two or three weeks on the deserted expanse of the sea. the most beautiful and the most typical of the Pacific lands. Since the quickwork and deadwork had disappeared beneath the water. The survivors recounted that in those moments they believed they had abandoned the world of men. Each rescue boat finds itself besieged. Land hol Illuminated by the rising sun. one of the harshest of the last world war. disabled. a coral barrier appears directly in front. songs. flat rib of sand emerges. unable to act. Then from all points along the coast come long canoes garnished with rowers and heralds who hail them with a great many cries and gestures.

took a wife . beneath very spectacular differences. interminable discus­ sions began-about each other's gods. incomprehensible to the point of laughter to his interlocu­ tors. The natives turn their small boats around. The latter gets up. The assemblies multiplied and never ended-so many were the jokes and so great the good humor. For long months nothing was lacking for the complete happiness of the shipwrecked. in the greatest detail. religion. but on neither side were these rules neglected. For the natives.Education 127 Since the sailors understand nothing of these demonstrations. about the rules followed in given matters by each of the two communities. The natives nourished a strange passion for words: they asked for the precise translation of their terms and were tireless in their exp lanations. delicious feasts around those Polynesian ovens hollowed out of the earth and from which the cooks took sumptuous pancakes made of sweet potatoes. and lead those who suddenly become their guests toward land. others cleared a corner for a garden in which to sow some seeds saved from the disaster. head in the other direction. almost naked. as in previous centuries. their advantages and disadvantages-first through obliging gestures. They wore th"e mselves out on parallels: the constraints dif ­ fered. nothing ever had. In brief. Enchantment descends on the scene. and so on: that in distant times pale popula- . nothing appeared on the horizon. confronts the splendor. rites. The elders recounted nevertheless what their elders had recounted. all ended up recognizing many resemblances. but each was sub jected in his country to equally complicated rules. Cer­ tain of the men. Once these matters of living were settled. ma jestic. asks for the captain. police. Time passed. The survivors recounted that at these moments they believed they had landed in paradise on earth. whose performances they compared. games and laughs. Exchanges that fully satsified the parties. and work. they cannot decide what to do: to defend themselves before an attack or to embrace those who welcome them. It was necessary to speak of love. then in a progressively clear and mas­ tered language. and that brought them closer together. Suddenly silence descends: the chief or king appears.

barefoot. Each one on his own. others began. Some of them called it Nil Island. at the ready to cast off. in the evening. like an immobile small boat with an undivided crew. pathetic farewells. The survivors recounted that during them they lost all memory of their former life. at attention the length of the gangway. one beautiful evening. could not believe their ears or their eyes. Separations. they organized soccer tour­ naments. they did not remember that an island existed on their maps with this particular bearing.128 The Troubadour o Knowledge f tions had landed there. because they were no longer divided for services. and threnodies. In the huts. paradise. even in making comparisons. despite a sense of happiness and satiety. as we know. The anchor was lifted to the sound of the melancholic bugle-call. gifts. Which nonetheless returned. to call this blessed land Third Island. resumed hostilities. Time passed. for fun. in the form of an aircraft carrier that suddenly appeared without anyone ever hav­ ing seen it leave from any point on the horizon. the talented islanders quickly learned. others didn't. Time took refuge in these matches. having dropped both gigantic anchors in front of the coral reef. Some of them died. The admi­ ral commanding the ship summoned the captain on board and decided to repatriate right away this fine society that no longer planned on anything but soccer in the tropics. One even said that its whaling boat touched land before it had been noticed. tears. the sailors of the aircraft carrier. and to shoot for the goal. Their goalies especially were given to very extravagant acrobatics. in some new unit. desperation on both sides. but. Initially spectators of these games or fights (for which the feasts unfolded on taboo terrains) . to multiply the passes. into port­ siders and starboarders. . to defend and attack. as chance would have it. the cliffs and the waterfalls disappeared in the circle of the sea. at Hiroshima. promises. Because they risked becoming bored. As for those aboard the war vessel. End of the first act. strategies and training were debated over root beer. to direct a ball while running. the Admiralty having taken great care to disperse the group. as they had been on board. Matches followed in which sometimes separate teams within each commu­ nity faced off and sometimes the islanders faced their hosts. songs. and a dream life. Then the war ended. but never since.

All of a sudden. in a bar. the populace rises. to the stadium. Why not? says the other. . everything is at an end: the goal of equality has just been shot point . the more enthusiastic. toward the small hours of dawn. a church. the score is eight to seven. and the voyage is organized." the crowd clamors. and soon bring up the paradise lost. "But no. waves their arms and hands. the match continues. finds some of them. doubtless at the exit to a stadium." The game resumes even more beautifully and. and fortune. out of breath. Each one seeks their old mates. by chance.Education 129 The second and last act begins in a city of the Western world. they have never seen anything but enormous aircraft carriers-except the hull filled with water whose remains had so quickly sunk. The sailors then get up to leave the spectacle and return to sleep. It is evening. . exchanges that always delight the parties. it ends with the score of three to one. space. how the girls and boys have grown. "it is not finished. beneath live torches. legs devoured by cramps. Time passes and the old sailors no longer understand: exhausted. All this done but especially said. dramatic. but no. Everyone takes his place and the clamor rises. . one must certainly charter a small boat . suggests going back. whose smallness surprises the natives. now somewhat dispersed in society. broken by exclamations: that the king has grown older. en masse. whose name and language I will conceal. One survivor. The match opposes the eastern team to the western one. Two of the survivors find' each other there. or a market. the players fall one after the other. the wealthy pay less than the poor. But. When there is no regular line from one place in the world to another. and. Each team scores. . They clap each other heartily on the back. at the end of twenty-four minutes. The triumph of return: new delicious feasts around the same ovens. It's becoming tedious. elegant. evoke old combats. stubborn. but the women remain beautiful and one must go kneel at the tomb of the dead one knew and who have not had the chance to see those who have returned. the leisure activities resume and everyone returns. and makes them sit down again. songs and thren­ odies. Superb. . who knows. two towns on the island. led by the aging king. extends into the night. In short.

one single small rule. What is the point in humiliating the vanquished if one wishes to pass for civilized like yourselves? . eight to eight! Sleepy. previous conversations are resumed." "And each eats a piece. stunned faces are quiet. "You must have a conqueror and a conquered. eight to eight." "No. because one gets the upper hand." the sailors protest in turn. as in soccer. if you don't share it. no. "But yes. Someone will eat the whole thing and the others won't eat anything. the endless discussion is continued. don't you share it?" "Certainly. When you cut u p a pancake according to the number of those that are seated around the fire. are decided between. the sailors hastily return to their cabins to go to sleep. A few hours later. with teams consist­ ing of the same number of men on playing fields in the same shape. " "This pancake. Strategy. "Why would you decide between the teams?" " " "We do not understand that which is neither just nor human. tournament. stunned.130 The Troubadour ofKnowledge blank by a forward who is carried in triumph around the playing field." The pale. incapable of clearly grasping the event. which is something un just and barbaric. as you say. "How then do you decide between your teams?" ask the sailors. but they had changed a rule. "A game is finished when a team wins and the other loses." claim the islanders. right?" "Surely. and only in that case! " say our sailors. the portsiders or starboarders of always. the two teams. Each one cries: eight to eight. " "We d o not understand your ideas. scores. "What does that word mean in your dialect?" "A difference in goals. the game ends on true sharing. did it occur to you not to share it?" "That wouldn't mean anything. And little by little the truth comes to light. So we play the game for the time that you taught us. The natives played the same game as before. If at the end the result is nil. " " "If not.

I don't know their title. and he fell among robbers. from having taken them sometimes in my boat . Here But he-scribe. sociologists." "At Hiroshima?" "Truly won it?" "Are you trying to determine the true conquerors?" the second threw out. "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jeri­ cho. and in general take men for the sub ject of studies. a third or nil island. from this point of view. in bed. amid the regular rocking of the hammocks.Education 131 So. as well as the northern and southern towns. legislator-desiring to justify him­ self. right?" "Certainly. "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied. leaving him half dead. "I know them well. The feasts. . but they study the natives of the islands . learned man. in sweet equilibrium in the crib of the hold. as does the eastern town. their hands behind their heads: "Say." "They sing of victory: who can conceivably be above those who explain and understand others who. who stripped him and beat him. until sharing returns. can resume around the ovens from which the pancakes are taken. . Some players have even died from it. and departed. They continued to chew things over." "Died from it? Really?" "Why not?" "So the western town is happy and has a fete. Now by chance a priest was . who was passing by the gangway. . what is more their neighbors?" Something New under the Sun. missing from maritime maps. that is. the last war. will never again be their fellow creatures. . Sometimes the game lasts for weeks. which the game of sharing interrupts for a time. we won it. one must begin again. for ob jects. the sailors dreamed of this singular land. said to Jesus. for a long time." In the winds that led them back to their city and their family. sometimes a long time. Ethnologists.

a judicial division of space and time is offered to or imposed on human offspring. and whatever more you spend. to throw off balance-from the thigh. classification. came to where he was. I spent my childhood or hell in the schoolyard. a jungle or primitive forest. A child of the people.' Which of these three. and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. I will repay you when I come back. he had compassion. out­ side. . for pure pleasure. and took care of him. Inside. In the inner court­ yard. But the most muscu­ lar or vociferous did not carry the day for long if he did not recruit around him a guard. and went to him and bound up his wounds. in clouds of dust. and of the countryside. Take care of him. cocks. It was enough for them to have an advantage of three inches in height to be able. more powerful together than any duke. between the tree trunks. who are split into groups in order to build their reflexes. the great stature of the teacher dictating spelling and arithmetic ensures the order of the rows and benches. of the streets. So likewise a Levite. and pugnacious murderers. pouring on oil and wine. from the begin­ ning. in terror of ambushes and relentless vengeance by gangs led by young. the strongest relent­ lessly tortured the weakest. Whence the con­ temporary formation of a rival militia at the orders of a new enemy. as he journeyed. do you think proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" The legislator responded: "The one who showed mercy on him. saying. beyond the threshold. the quarreling spreads cries and furor. But a Samaritan. when he came to the place and saw him. along the repulsive outhouses. or dukes. and when he saw him. arro­ gant. unchallenged. The door of the classroom opens for the school children onto an empty and ugly courtyard that they invade screaming during the so-called recreation period. battles. hopeless chaos as soon as the bell rings. even more aggressive and roguish than the first cock. in our latitudes. passed by on the other side. then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn. and the blows always beat down on the same ones without respite.132 The Troubadour o Knowledge f going down that road." The Gospel according to Saint Luke 1 0:29-37 The bell rings. the shoulders or the ankle-whoever was not attacking them. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper.

in the seeming turbulence of games. the news announcing. beneath the paternal and blind gaze of the instructor. than by those lieutenants. seeking power without having the means. what child would have perceived the differ­ ence between these giant massacres and the merciless vendettas that brought together the cubs. after the theme song. salivating with servile obedience. and the future fathers of the same through the eternal return of the same signal marking time. I know that it trembles with terror. Between the Spanish revolution of 1936. by irresponsible legal minors. the sons of wolves. hour after hour. henchmen so much more implacable toward the humble and anonymous troop. These ad juncts were doubtless mimicking their parents: we were living that ignoble era during which France lost its soul in collaborating with the Nazis. proud of their biceps. At home. who were peaceful but bent beneath the wind of power. The following bell thus rang the hour of vengeance or of revenge. The battles between gangs begin. to the veritable crimes knowingly perpe­ trated. as was said in the newspapers in regard to the grown-up war. Adults give the name "playground accidents." which are covered under insurance plans.Education 133 thus furnished with bodyguards or ministers. the Second World War and its sum­ ming up at Hiroshima. I remember very lucidly that I was less disgusted by the young chiefs. Who would not have savored the silent repose and a certain air of paradise in the classroom when the door barred the storms of the schoolyard and the good schoolmaster . as soon as the bell rings. When I hear the vibrating bell that chimes the hours in so-called institutions of learning. a battle prepared by the hostile camp by means of signs and messages circulating through the classroom from hand to hand under the desks. civil and familial time had the same rhythm: bombing sirens. which adults think expresses the fully legitimate relief of finally leaving behind the white notebooks and the blackboard. the doleful law of our history writ small or large. secondhand executioners. the opening of new killing fields. the reflex bell of dogs? The bell finally rings. various alerts. No recess ended without the bell announcing some ignominy. The general roar when the door opened after the bell. simply signifies the reopening of hostilities.

until the moment. science and intelligence distance us from it even more than do muscle. a gang leader . I have passed enough of my life on warships and in lecture halls to testifY before youth. Far from bringing us closer to peace. the same lieutenants. shouting. I thus found myself beneath the same wind possessing another kind of power. this fear that can pass for the fundamental pas­ sion of intellectual workers. of our speculative schemes and of their essential unhappiness. since this word formerly designated the entrenched camp set up in the evening by Roman soldiers before an attack or for defense. and academic conduct: the same ter­ ror reigns in the covered playground. humbly bent beneath the wind of power that they sometimes take for fashion. drooling in servile obedience and similar peaceful legions. To call the site of universities a campus. A shame took hold of me that never abated. returning as regularly as the bell rang. seven times blessed. . which already knows. hard and roguish. in the utopia of figures and numbers. in pastorals. a secret passion that pushes me to speak now of ourselves. stinking. when I suddenly understood that I liked them because the schoolmaster singled me out as first in the class and shielded me with his shadow: on this side of the wall. what literal luck. military tactics. and on campus. a cock and thus pugnacious. Culture continues war by other means-by the same means. . I sense it and divine it. In .134 The Troubadour ofKnowledge dictated two quatrains on the idyllic wine-harvesting in which the author had surely taken no part. worse. more often for truth. Horror. since the bickering ceased neither around the vines heavy with blue fruit nor in the winepress where the sexes were cruelly thrown together: what in poems one calls the calm happiness of the bucolic? For a long time I believed. bestial. hid­ den in another space. this phantom standing behind those who write at their table. or size. slimy. in effect. in front of torpedo launch­ ers. in the ideal peace of the intellect. in the ma jestic shape of absolute knowledge. at least until I was nine. ignoble disgust. and separated in time by some sonorous indicator. already divining servile gleams in certain looks and in the arching of backs. opening and closing colloquia where elo­ quence vociferates in order to terrifY speakers all around. an intellectual utopia. In theoretical gangs one encounters the same little chiefs. maybe. that there is no differ­ ence between the purely animal or hierarchical customs of the playground.

but Sophia. Reason always lurks around proportion and dominance. A postwar French university philoso­ pher. Now the intellectual. cocks and dukes once again. but it skyrockets and invades time and history as soon as reason takes command. . Without knowing it. I uneasily survived ten diverse terrors maintained by theo­ reticians who were serfs to political or academic ideologies. slier. and seems to me a saint of paradise next to the theoretical physicist whose equation can blow up the Earth or the philosopher who enslaves entire peo­ ples for generations-or the sect that mimics him throughout his career. more transparent. intelligence multiplies vengeance as much as can be desired and pretends to annul it by dissimulating. knowl­ edge. knowing means of conducting a war cannot be compared to the blows of the cock and the duke of the schoolyard: they are finer. the learned. director-princes of groups controlling beneath their pressure the space of the campus. Why. What wisdom? Pacified knowledge. wisdom. It thus throws up a bridge between the classroom and the so-called playground. appointments. as well as for others-a danger we only discover in moments of tension or crisis. and include the innocent irresponsibility of pure spec­ ulation. theoretical. the experts know to which faction. just like current strategic games. or reason. on the contrary. more global. linguistic. The strongest boxer in the world never fells anything but a pitiable body with his swing or his uppercut. vio­ lence grows little and slowly when fists and feet are involved. gravely overvalue the pacificatory role of rational knowl­ edge: this miscalculation constitutes the self-publicity of these dis­ ciplines. Thus traditional political theories. As vindictively as it acts. to which gang a given campus belongs and what pressure group holds court there.Education 135 effect. Today we have produced philosophies that are so global they eradicate all history and close off the future. knowledge is committed to a risky career-for us. Here is the unhappiness proper to our work: like a coefficient. does philosophy hold on to being called so? Because it does not ask us to love either intelligence. such powerful strategies they achieve the same deterrence as the atomic weapon and result in perfectly efficacious cultural genocide.

generally watched over by guard dogs. out of regard for the health of life and mind. Let us define this sphere under the notion of prescription. a capricious and seemingly irregular trek constrained only by the obligation to avoid speculative places held by force. sometimes. Punishment replaces or buys back the offense that a scale balances: one for another. since that would amount to getting revenge. that you are trying to avoid. one after another. adopt no idea that would contain. for example. when. by ten ferocious hounds. in great number. on the face of it. One does not pronounce the quantum law that would suppose an equal- . some rules of ethics or deontology: Mter attentive examination. I had to con­ ceive. rare moments of invention. We lack a simple. the distributive equivalence of an eye for an eye. These rules do not trace a method. it counsels the victim of an attack to takejustice into his own hands: dole it out yourself then. we lack. takes the place of thought but always makes it smaller. Thus. Always avoid all membership: flee not only all pressure groups but also all defined disciplines of knowledge. and efficacy. Never throw yourself in to a polemic.136 The T roubadour o Knowledge f and footnotes. Many truths. very little goodness. Only animals savor hierarchy and the unceasing bat­ tles that organize it. for my private use. forbidding all freedom of thought at all cost. then. any trace of vengeance. from farm to farm. the reciprocal involvement of science and society. Everyday language takes one for the other. never peace. I blame the very functioning of intelligence in the institution and of the latter in the former. Hatred. but very precisely an exodus. We have at our disposal tools. A walk in the country follows a similar unexpected and jagged tra jectory. Only a peaceful notion will do. then relentlessly followed. Vengeance produces a seemingjustice. nor above all disciple. democratic intellect for man. Neither master. notions. Continuous war. since there you are attacked. an intellectual sphere free of all relations of dominance. I do not hold any particular individual or sect responsible for these ter­ rors. A thousand certainties. whether a local and learned campus in the global and societal battle or a sectorial entrenchment in scientific debate. on the other hand.

This vengeful invariance launches a process that no reason could stop because reason itself is equivalent to full and complete reparation. rather. in quantity. which in this way renders strict justice. Which is why it is called reason: not a quantitative equality. essential distribution: a tooth is not worth an eye. as) indicates a finer. without the rational tare? Thus reason does justice for the thing. in compensation. but a proportion that is precisely adapted to the plaintiffs and the complaint. which seem suspended in the air. with­ out support. . Here is a principle that must be called equivalence or equity. satisfying the offended who demands that the in jury be put right and obtains this. How can we think without compensation. something rather than nothing. the term res bespeaks accusation. position. from this compensation. What to place on the other pan to redeem the harm done to this nothing that did not even achieve . it says. in the entire effect: the rational law of justice and of mechanics. in quality. a tare to return them to the correct horizontal and planar. That there exists. Nothing without a reason and a thing without a cause express not so much absurdity or con­ tradiction as a disparity in balance on the scale of justice: to this nothing. That is enough: in justice would consist of an excess or a lack in the reparation. This nothing comes trial debates and on which it rules: the cause. thus the cause makes it right. One must put right as in a reciprocity. the tare to rea­ son. The full cause is found. of putting someone in the right from [rendre raison] (principium reddendae rationis) comes from noth­ res. but also the relations of length on the beam of the scale. add or subtract a tare that returns the beam-beautiful word-to the horizon. . likewise. We do not know how to think something in isolation. Before signifying causality. departures that require.Education 137 ity in the order of magnitude. one must. qualitative. to this something. a word from Roman law that designates the legal case a ing else: nothing. or this (as such) rather than that-here are two statements that describe two departures from equilibrium. but lex talionis. The principle of reason or. one considers the weight placed on both pans. hung without attachment or floating without weight: the verb to think itself derives from slope and weight. whose Latin origin (just . in order to combat in justice. is without reason. as if reason came in second.

bringing the rational tare between existence and nothingness or the possible. fulfills the ontological lack exactly. Does this reparative reason con­ serve some trace in science or rationalism of the vengeful eye for an eye? In medieval or Renaissance astronomy. the principle of reason brings ontology under the universal law of rightness. the circular returns and compensations of cosmic time? The laws of nature. or their respec­ tive order? The distributive invariance of vengeance launches a process that nothing. in the juridical sense. a rigorous equation. existence. reduced to such harmonies. Giving the reason for a phenomenon consists of compen­ sating it. without reason. the long equilibria of the universe or the economy. Reason avenges nothingness. whose troubled name still indicates a departure from equilibrium. go back to the principle of sufficient reason. Fulfilling the ontological lack. understood as a positive legislation of the physical world. This rational thinking. justness or justice. Is this a kernel of public pros­ ecution and conviction in the world and thought. Inversely. Measured or weighed by this yardstick. does mathematical equality also lead back to the law ofjustice? What does one call thinking then? Compensating what is not by means of reason. this weight or compensatory proportion. Thus it touches on quasi-divine creation and supposes a mortal familiarity with nothingness or the possible. appearing through the invariances or stabilities. otherwise qualified. Inventor of the principle of sufficient reason. equals reason added to nothingness. Giving equity to existence. why call just. thus rendering it thinkable. which remained in vir­ tual or potential worlds? Reasonjustifies the existence of what is by compensating the potential or nothingness. reason makes it so that all of the knowledge that ensues from it ensues from juridical equilibrium. would be able to stop: thus the long . or as if it justified what is based on what is not.138 The T roubadour ofKnowledge existence and to that. Leibniz calls laws ofjustice the rules of invariance and stability by which things as well as statements are compensated. as if reason constituted the relation of being to nonbeing.

The same order always governs the world. inflicts on he offender an exactly equal harm of equivalent nature. as the legal means of acquiring property through uninterrupted possession and in that case is called acquisi­ tory prescription. keep the complete memory of exact reason intact. The offended. when the creditor does not demand that it be dis­ charged. in civil law. to make of this last a third offended man demanding. some­ times. that irreversible time that goes in one direction without ever being able to turn back. in particular those of . advanced rationalists. in and of itself. Usucapion equals right of property. or flaw is called prescription. obtaining reason from the in jury. a flaw in or an excess of reason. once past. excess. _ Vengeance and its apparentjustice. effaced the rights of everyone else. Forgetting intervenes during the course of duration. In criminal law. the balance of terror.Education 139 equilibria of the world are counted all along the eternal return. a time limit is calculated that. and history conspires and consents to the rhythmic return of constel­ lations as well as to the rules of weighed thought. It is defined. is called extinctive or liberatory prescription. illuminated by the most pro­ found laws that reign over the world of atoms. They know nothing of duration. the twin of vengeance. founding the eternal return. equi­ librium or a sufficient reason: the vendetta does not cease. We others. the whole effect is never equal to complete and total rea­ son. Liberating oneself from a charge. precludes any public action being taken against the criminal or the delinquent. where anamnesis neither restores nor compensates exact or intact memory. as if the passage of time. Here is the immobile motor of our movements.just as the learned who give themselves over to thought inside the classroom walls imitate the hoodlums who fight in the courtyard when the bell rings. imitating its compen­ sations or reparations. In summary. through reversible and cyclical time. Everything is in order: the cosmos and time strike. reason in the world and in history. bringing back the hour of compensations. In French law. this new time creates a lack in sufficiency. for example from a debt. in turn. this lack. prescription admits the essential action of time. call all of that.

it's as if you no longer owed anything. time. and the regular return of time. time. at its limit or boundary. on the . the world has lost the eternal return. This is why. It fights against the usury of history. Prescription. In the same way. when the planets return to themselves. Time passes and does not flow in a passive manner.140 The Troubadour o Knowledge j the possible predecessor. forgets and ends up being silent. like a baptismal river. In the third position between law and nonlaw. law is an integral part of the memory of the social computer. frozen. debts. it forgets or effaces acts. it annuls the laws that are in force concerning charges. vengeance. erodes the deeds and the facts. it remains rational. There is no world more atrocious than the one where nature deliv­ ers itself over to the eternal return and pushes forgetting and mercy back into the Underworld. the equivalence of charges. of itself. and the red giants of the sky explode at the hour of their supernova. wear and tear has gnawed at them a bit. suspends or changes action. does not flow. makes you innocent. we know. and crimes. Prescription brings it back or puts it on its feet: real and sweet is the world where the rivers run toward the mouths of forgetting and the ghost of truth is pushed back to the Underworld: aletheia. on the con­ trary. rubs out traces. returns like the constellations or the comets. as if you had never robbed or killed. The great invariances drift. its boundary with his­ tory. Through its codes and its texts. simultaneously for the symmetry of space. It is said that the river Forgetting runs in the Underworld: pre­ scription returns it to the earth. in the same way that time cares nothing for the principle of contradiction. Sud­ denly. astronomical. Prescription traces in law the limit of nonlaw. This is why it has always been more or less linked. takes away the remain­ ders. In physical fact. often lose their memory at the same time as their reason. property. It has had a hand in constructing this memory. prescription falls by definition into the irreversible domain of history and opposes its annual or thirty-year lapses of time to the invariable and inviolable rules. This is why its emblem outlines a scale. whose sons. seated on the banks of rivers. Linked to the eternal return and to stable invariances. More than limiting them. It does not return to put right. when the creditor does not ask for anything and the public ministry attacks no one. offenses. on the side of vengeance.

Just as it creates our acts. and thus founds it. which fluctuates. with natural law. from turbulent and lively confluents to dead. but law recognizes this in recognizing the action of time. in sum. toward the law that. forgotten branches. real time creates law. we must turn this specter around head to head in order for the single universal and unprescriptible law to become prescription. and reason. yes or no. others would say from an idealized phantom to the complex apprehension of the concrete. and the other. it leans.Education 141 other side. There is no invariant except on condition that it be thrown into the variable. they are made and are formed in time. remains unvarying throughout its passage. transforms it. which. Just as we have put time back on Earth and on its feet by revers­ ing the old map of the Underworld and the globe (given that. For the most positive laws. exalts them. Nature runs or flows from bifurcation to bifurcation. through pre­ scription. On this boundary time exerts no action of itself. toward maximum law or nonlaw. the river Lethe flows like love and its forgettings) . It gives birth to them and makes them vanish. our acts are immersed in time. and rational science conserves the traces of this primitive law that one calls natural. occupied by natural law. it dismantles it just as easily. Time creates the law. that is to say. Reason avenges nothingness. unwritten and therefore unprescriptible. as is well known. tak­ ing everything into account. universal and unvarying. heroically. Duration knots them together. It can pass neither for definitively stable nor for madly or irra­ tionally unstable. Uneasily. some would say from rigorous reason to chaos. in fact. is said to be unprescriptible. the in temporal side. law stands between two zones. without examining this nature that remains foreign to the work of time. along with the Ancients. forms it. we no longer conceive of equilibria except in movements. but for prescription. This is the opening of the law toward its own foundation. stable throughout this passive time. and that is what the natural is-what keeps being born or risks not being born. their true primary matter. Depending on the epoch. creates law on the side of history. and. intemporal. unknots them. effaces them. Jurisprudence. invaded by history and the colorfully patterned forgettings of its tatters. Here nature has come: whatever will be born. toward one side or the other. two tempta­ tions: one. I call nat- . if it creates it.

In the third position: inscribed. Prescription is part of nat­ ural law and through it founds law and through it remains unpre­ scritable. innocent. of law. as an epigraph to every text. that is to say toward physical nature. but passionately. irreconcilable enemies. know that before the blank page. immobii e like a sack of lead or ringing like a bell. One does not forget forgetting. nor does it identity itself with dead loss. All of that concerns law. It in no way equals conservation. in the most profound sense of the word. In making it vary. holding back or mercy cloaks justice and descends on des­ tiny. it invents anew. The parable of the good Samaritan enounces a contradiction: such a man cannot pass for good. of theory or literature. though stable. science. wisely lost: a new invariant through variations. everyone has forgotten it: pre­ scription certainly exists and it has succeeded. and as it signified in Roman law. once the hour strikes. Natural law. Everyone remembers this. mathematics or love. but it has already written mem­ ory. prescription is written at the top. but the following concerns morality. as a preamble or preliminary. The only act that we can neither efface nor annul is the act of annulling or effacing. effaced. it alone exists before. historically. For two millennia at least. free. and theology: the pardon founds ethics. By definition. that of hateful. in some sense an unforgettable act. clemency founds power. prescription. implacable. in annulling it. memory-forgetting. in its top margin. politics. founds it. Written at the top of the page but rubbed out and leaving the page intact. as in a third place. As the term indicates. intellectually unvarying in the black box of history. the memory kept sheltered but at the same time effaced. everyone remembers but everyone has forgotten that the Samaritans had the worst of roles. prescription always already precedes you. . stability through instabilities. because it has left its trace. essentially. another founda­ tion of the law stronger than the dreary eternal return.142 The T roubadour o Knowledge j ural. Prescription asks for forgetting. is not found on the side where one expected it but on the other. It remembers being written but pre­ scribes forgetting. separated from the first by the whole formidable expanse of the sky. When you write in the morning. virgin. white.

whose striptease always and everywhere showed the same thing. do not know how to suspect vices. because he wrote this text of which I am not the author. hides. we will no longer write philosophy except by prescription. naive. with some ad jectives. as if the num­ ber of them corresponded to the number of interior walls that reflect them. "Who am I?" either I substitute the question. I willingly enjoy the encounter. Me. the ad jectives over­ abound. and at that moment I smile. supple and adapted. modest or terrified. like those of a crystal or a fly's eye. For the question. an esteemed ad jective in my country where one likes the old words of the nobility-genteel. but. Night The author? Who is he. Timid or fearful. who am I? Admirably named. thus attentive. whether it be a question of suit. or of blood. reflect. "Who is he?" or modesty requires that I always seek to respond beside the point. That is. of sex. of the colorful pat­ tern. I can name the ad jective. Rapidly. the rustling multiplicity of external events. courteous. that is if others don't throw it there. of skin. But he has already come. it seems. sub jected to them. When it is possible to read without scandal a narrative where the most abominable man now behaves like the best. though intimate. I am not . is thrown beneath the capes and coats. by cheerfully giving contingency its chance.Education 143 In order not to write any longer except in the beauty or love of wisdom. Who am I? It is said that I am genteel. Confident. with a few variations more or less. the Messiah will come. the sub ject. ultimately of soul-my soul o a thousand voices that the god that I f honorplaced in the center o everything like a sonorous echo--whose jux­ f taposed facets. unlocatable like Harlequin. I quickly divine pos­ itive qualities in the other. Can one seek more as well? From the comparative­ the interior-to the superlative-the intimate? Is there something more intimate still? Does what lies below always resemble what one can see on the surface? Lacking the sub ject. jumps behind or beneath the succession of clothing. the second is thrown aside. If the first throws itself below.

sub­ an ad mitted. to whom I become hostile or indifferent? Ajovial or modest man. sud­ denly. and rarely bow down before the highest rank. . I am a bit sub ject. tortured. its ma jesty took the throne? Must one recognize. Who then have you met. I do not fully believe in masks. distracted. sweetly ironic before the peacock. I construct myself by throwing myself immediately under my opposite. respectful of whoever works. on the contrary. can one say courageous. makes me always place the level above me. reserved. quickly breaking off with the vain. I define myself through contacts. a comic king like Harlequin. in the sub ject. All the same. . thus. depending on the person and the entourage. vio­ lently disobedient to whoever commands or thunders or pro­ nounces the law. warm. at first I only find better than myself: generous? Maybe. even enthusiastic. a sub­ ject that could unduly have taken the central place. absent. concentrated . when. in nominalizing itself. talkative. I am loquacious. at least sub jugated. you who like me or hate me. Finally sub ject? But I become suddenly aware of it: wasn't the word subject itself jective that belatedly became a noun? First dependent. but then suddenly I discover that I am throwing myself under. neighborhoods. or totally given over to the other. encounters. compelled. took the principal place and. I present my homages to chambermaids-by birth. . thrown alive under the moving "we" of inter- . in communication. or a tragic king. as a result. exposed. Tucked away. I am much obliged to you . I throw myself under? Admiring. indeed obliged. tac­ iturn. traversed by arrows in the center? What am I then. before taking myself for the point of departure of a logical and grammatical statement where this individual being becomes a per­ son and the basis for acts and knowledge. expelled the other ad jectives outside the center where. An ad jective so well cast aside that it bespoke the docile and the obedient and that. and rela­ tions: yes. I beg you. .144 The Troubadour o Knowledge j wary. in philosophy. thus. I belong to the family of the humble. Tell me. who encourages it and often fortifies it. Emperor of the Moon. then? My initial esteem for the other. sav­ age. surprised by the generous person. moved by the beauty of the body or of talent. for whoever is revealed to be inventive and good. all that is true. just as I can say to whomever I am speaking: thank you. what is meant by a lie? The relation produces the person. frigid before the grandeur of the establishment.

I can get rid of them without a lot of trouble­ that does not change much. alone. In flames. some­ one dogmatic and opinionated brings out the slumbering mocker. The servant of a thousand masters. does what it can: it adapts. tattooed. In reality. is a dime a dozen. Thus the self is a mixed body: studded. Half-breed. I feel the clothing under my skin like a naked man who is covered. the Emperor of the Moon wears their colors and their jerseys. nor place a title beneath my signature and on my visiting card. humble and free. Irresistibly. forges the unity of the person at the same time as those of action. and the fool brings out the inextinguishable laugh of the gods. Who am I then. I never wear powder or foundation. living under a thousand layers of patchwork coats. Harlequin dresses in his sub­ jects-spectators. pro­ ductive of me. Do not accuse the profiles that others sketch in me of being masks. sub ject to the bonds of communication. spotted like an ocelot. Here Harlequin's coat returns. always present despite the fact that an authentic Holocaust eradicated the whole sect-I no longer have any forefathers. encumbered by his solar madness. touchy. sub jected to the collective we. normal. becomes a true tragedy king. I diagnose the essential theater of the mentally ill in the solar tragedian: the comedian. Sub ject to his sub jects. and free from myself. this is why he remains a comedy emperor. external and far away. the . is founded on the tragic-the comic leaves them to their multiplicity. once again? Solitary and social. because he remains in the public arena and is part of it. zebrine. I mean to say from terms placed side by side. spotted. sewn from ad jectives. on a heap of straw. shimmering. hermaph­ rodite. nor painted cardboard on my face. burning. animal of flight and love. timid and coura­ geous. whose life must be its business. ad jectivized sub ject. I am numerous enough to have never had the need to lie. and time­ the sub ject of knowledge itself. I am thus all those that I am in and through the suc­ cessive or juxtaposed relations in which I find myself involved. ambidextrous. the powerful brings back the ancient Cathar. the self. as one says. place. the tragic. at least in the West. May the reader pardon me: I only speak of myself (of myself. quadroon. truly? ) in order to seek as faithfully as possible what the reader is about. whereas Solomon. tigroid. Thus the unfortunate awakens in me the old Christian who always sleeps with one eye open and who gives birth to a new Chris­ tian.Education 145 sub jectivity.

everything is combined. I am. the violent passions. a fleeting profile effaced before a deceptive and lying horizon? No. by consequence. and beauty brings them all to their knees. the metaphysical vocation of the archangel-messenger. from this point on. the hesitating divisions. or. my furor to tions together: and without. but where they occupy all the places and all the directions of space. nuanced. in the same place. What I am.or bad-tempered melee. . behind and be fore. Yes. Mixture and time are contradictory. travel . nor by ad jectives. newly nominalized (one rightly says the "nouveaux riches") . the false and true sub ject. mixture. in and outside o the corporeal and theoretical. . wavy. claustrophobias. Like time. Am I then a backdrop by relation. but are most accurately described by all the preposi­ before and after construct their viscous fluidity. at the same time. the ichnography of these silhouettes. in which some suddenjets of pride spurt momentarily from a basin of oily humility . in the midst of the squawking. the ad jectives are immersed of themselves in each other and play unceasingly at being the sub ject: a melee in which each goes by turn and sometimes all go at once to the center. The word saying the thing itself. thorax drowned in a lake of tears. plunged in noise and furor. Aquitanian soul. from and via and toward. of the hurly-burly of parasites who gravitate around this self. between and beyond. too juxtaposed. . of the time derived from temperature or from tem­ perance. vari­ able. to be precise. all can be reversed. is expressed without difficulty: a mixture.146 The Troubadour ofKnowledge violent man arouses the pacifist. My soul. in which the yellow coating of awak­ ening is frayed and thrown into the black volume of forgetting. all senses. an exile bathed in the gift of tears. the accumulations and . in an unstable state. just as is my cloudy. a temperament. made of time. the cowardly hypocrisies and courageous loyalties. with over and under. . a nervous and fluctuating summation. a good. I am the sum of these ad jectives. social and professional f. for and against. a total liquid solitude. and time can be named neither by nouns. the mixture is contradictory: from yesterday to tomorrow. a fine topology that best expresses the places and neigh­ borhoods. too stable. a solution without exclusion in which the flux of abandon suddenly crosses the variable space of courage. the ruptures and continuities.

is a mixture like me. the liq­ uidity of solvents and solutions. 1 am not the devil. blood diluted for a . in changing doses and with mobile titles. shimmering. from the Pactolus and the Jordan. thus. the rags and tatters in which a thousand mimes are badly juxtaposed. due to the sudden demand of a powerful and punctual relation. from the Elbe and from the Missis­ sippi. Chinese from the Yangtze. of the Amur. sailor of the Sea at the confluence of the rivers of the Earth. certainly. Thus 1 carry in myself. each part or suspension capable of suddenly finding itself raised. African from the banks of the Niger. Or will become the axon. tempered like the climate of my native landscape. depending on the moment and whether 1 fall in with the right or wrong sort of people. in the most intimate part of me (I was going to say beneath me) the composite rags of the fabrics that clothe my real and virtual entourage.Education 147 scarcities. 1 am the world map and all the world at the same time. or spotlighted beneath the crossbeam of circumstances or intersections. literally. my visiting card resembles my visits. then melted them together. Of an Aquitanian disposition. 1 descend from the Garonne. with soft nuances. from this unexpected churning? Legion. enthusiastic and desperate. but rags become my very flesh. A sort of pseudopod advances. And I would tolerate writing titles on my visiting card on condition that the title comprise the diverse relations of the substances dissolved in it. No. Per­ haps it will never reappear. It stretches. It will retract. my blood runs beneath the banks of the Garonne. 1 think. Who am I? A fusion of alloys. the locative ad jectives in turn abound. the flux and evolutions. my flesh emerges from the lillies of the Garonne. awakened. Quadroon. melancholically cheerful. I am not a problem. more coa­ lescent than coalesced. my mixed liquid blood: Quebecois from the island of Coudres in the middle of the Saint Lawrence. What will I invent today beneath the force of some dove's foot? What new property will emerge from this new mixture? What fresh Aphrodite will be born. Brazilian from Be1em on the lip of the Amazon. tattered rags. from the Huang. the map of geography. my time has sewn them. I am a solution. their density in the alloy. And everybody. of the Ganges and the Nile. 1 am legion. 1 am octaroon. the positions and sites. of the Mackenzie and the Y ukon.

I live like an animal without a species. World. writer. sailor. I believe. With no genus. without membership: free. sometimes harmonized. no. pure sounds deprived of meaning. Half-breed. . maybe. yes. Peasant. I include them all. singing bass. and larigot. Y es. is quiet-how to muzzle the beak of this incurable chatterer?-then voices are raised. hurdy-gurdy and rebec. yes. except. soprano. my delights and loves: great bell. a beast of temperance and of temperament. once language. hunter of stones and mason. certainly. organ stop. the fundamental musical tonality that has accom­ panied me since remotest childhood. lynx. passionately in search of saintliness. atonal acouphenics from which. of mixed blood. philosopher. it is not an illness. in me I carry the great organs. armor or armature that carries me. that belonging causes the evil in the world. But. I hear the flute and the cello. the lullaby and the canon. an American Indian even asked me.148 The Troubadour o Knowledge f thousand reasons and in a thousand quarters. dog. I learned to labor. and whose tessitura indicates my own modality. charivari. during a powwow. spice vendor. dawn serenade and ballet. a continuous tearing. I am legion. finally. I am. on . The Mricans never believed that I was a toubab or European. From the fluid flood and the dissolved alliance. I cry with emotion and hope at the idea that I could become one . flowing from all the rivers at once. again. topologi­ cal and temporal? When. in my very depths. maybe those who read and believed the books that explain the principle of identity. wolf. these pieces or instruments are combined. What am I not? Bull. silence and night insulate soli­ tude. I take care of belonging through the intersection of one thousand memberships. the mandora and the tuba. always plaintive. cer­ tainly. . Who am I. a being of time. I hope. often quarrelsome. the Chinese thought I was from some national minority. everywhere an immigrant rather than an emigre. liquid. by reason of exclusion. cavatina and rigadoon. to which tribe I belonged. I sold oil and salt. continues without a break. did I do any­ thing else in the course of my life? Vagrant. all. which holds the seat of the others in me. assuredly. snake. whose abridged ver­ sion allows one to reign. What animal would not serve me as a totem? A fox? No. gull? I am and I com­ prise the whole Ark. I recently became a novice mountain climber. monk. among the hidden tears? Who am I. free in the iridescent space of mixtures. hurly-burly.

to substance. suddenly. at work. and it complains. more sub ject even than the first. at the bot­ tom of the bottom of the bottom the background noise fluctuates. the world. the streaming Aphrodites of musical inspiration­ or a pure cry of pain-emerge. cer­ tainly. When you hear or compose variations on a given theme. in the political sense. He is thrown below: he must know that he owes his place as king to the fact that he is the most sub jected of sub jects. . purer. Why prejudge it as more stable and more centered than they? Y es. but why separate it from them? There is as much distance between the variations as between them and the theme. ethical. music. a united and turbulent flux and river. shorter. the portage and reach of time. since dawn. finally. it thunders. . which nothing prevents me from calling a variation on one of the varia­ tions. . Me: long note. don't you sometimes ask yourself if the theme itself doesn't develop like one variation among others? Simpler. . two feet. gathered together. dream of taking his place or of arranging it to welcome the temporary king. with his supports on the same earth as mine. was an adjective before transforming itself into a noun. who never ceases to be a sub ject. There I throw myself into the world of things that throw them­ selves into me. ten fingers. and here I am. each. from ad jectives. a man among so many others. which are circumstantial. Cheat! One would say that flightiness. all. up. At the bottom of the bottom lies and moves music. because the number of assassination attempts directed against him are far above the num­ ber of those plotted against just anyone. to the stable and fixed noun: but the word subject. . noise. ever since the guillotine wel­ comed him. The proof is that. that. Classical philosophy advises passing from modes and attributes. settled down. it is windy .Education 149 rare occasions. it must. to forget (the only true lie) the combinations and efface the multiplicity of pieces. the theme is nothing but one of the variations. when lan­ guage. as I said. gets into the melee. flighty and inconstant. and the impersonal it of temporal intemperate weather: it rains. with a few rare and wise excep­ tions. doubtless. Me: pronoun. in the best cases. Me: brute quarreling. Thus the king himself is a sub ject. shouts . it cries. all his former sub jects. after having lived. the others. Me: third per­ son.

And I recognize what I feel. give or take a few degrees of magnitude and perfection. a yellowish and mediocre dwarf. somewhat. research and questioning. . Everything is truly always and everywhere as it is here. It is even said that the big bang's point of origin would have had no site or time. Would the mixture of an uncertain knowledge and a certain abandoned pathos left behind be what one would call belief? I do not know. that is to say. theme-variation. universal and singular. even the king. likewise the central sun is nothing but a marginal star. I know. I mean to say that everything is a Harlequin's coat. king and sub ject. a numerous ensemble of composite pieces. tragic incar­ nation ready to die. But first of all: I do not know if I believe. Or I know that I am indifferent to it. without true grandeur. even the self. when I know it. no. even nouns. in the immense concert of supergiants. its profound humility. citizen-king. what I do to know it. supergiant in his central glory and dwarf lost in a manger at the periphery. the third person propagated everywhere? Absurd. he is not concealing any­ thing. I know knowledge. ad jective and noun. what it is to know. I know what I know. impossible. even the sun. multiple. I know ignorance and doubt. If King Solomon returned among us. what act.150 The T roubadour ofKnowledge Nominalized ad jective. I have never had the courage to expose what I believe. its happiness and its ob jects. divine and divinity. I know nothing of what it is to believe. Singularity is scattered. Thus the center is nothing but a centon. would he say. Even God? Isn't he one of the secrets that I unveil: singular and triple. to have the courage. red like Betelgeuse or blue like Rigel. unity multiplies. strong enough. You ask the Emperor of the Moon to get undressed to show what he is hiding: well. or what feel­ ing accompanies belief or faith. even the theme. I do not know what thought. its enthusiastic quest and its deserts. even the sub ject. What does it matter to me to learn whence comes what I will dare to say: I am old enough. creative law. Nothing new under the galaxy of Cygnus? It has been a long time since the astrophysi­ cal revolution taught us to no longer center the sky or the uni­ verse. its multiple paths. modestly arranged forever in a black box. even substance. its rare and necessary forgetting of dominating reason. inadmissible: I did not dare to say it.

for long. real. a continuous wall of the universe. cruel. in the God of my father. I have heard them cackle. . and pinnacle. in an ecstatic manner. rarely. Here. and the wars of nations without their hideous sacred.Education 151 I do not know if I believe in God. I know that often I cannot believe in God: I am an atheist three-fourths of the time. here I am truly pagan. I have witnessed it. I prefer to describe its matter or flesh. the others say the law. I believe. I believe. polytheistic. I have sometimes seen the gods flee from an island that I was approaching. founda­ tion. And when the long eclipse follows the brief. is spread throughout. but sometimes. I believe. in my neighborhood. Mystic miscreant. pre­ sent. I admit it. behind the clouds of the atomic blast?-but I have also seen a light goddess pass among smiles. all the rooms of the same house. on my philosopher's word. but to that means of construction that a tiler indicates when he says that a hexagonal and red floor tile reigns in. a constant proximity and meaning . an atheist sud­ denly converted amid the shells on the battlefield of Verdun. doubtless he damns me. my rare assurances are immersed in dreary incredulity. I have often heard legions of demons released in the thundering of canons. not now. . inevitable presence. and their dwellings without the spirits of their forebearers: the air is peopled with passing archangels. I was floored by the devil himself-Who did not perceive his monstrous body outlined. I know that the divine is there. then. yes. often. in abandoning my intelligence to this misery. Now during the moments when I believe. abominable. and that it reigns through the uni­ verse. I have seen them. reign does not refer in any way to a king. he abandons me. but ensues. Maybe. that cannot be decided. leave the woods uninhabited by hamadryads. a sailor son of a mariner. the towns without temples of differ­ ence. or appear in glory. through intermittent flashes. of which I am certain. I know that. I am certain that God is not: it's an out­ dated and unnecessary hypothesis. with innumerable mes­ sengers. Everywhere in the universe. but I cannot. a peas­ ant son of a peasant. . intuitive flash. sometimes. the sea without Sirens. I believe in a single God. in the gods of my oldest fore bearers. Y et. incarnated as all powers. the divine is the fabric. yes. bedrock. Did God abandon all of us ever since that recent day when we abandoned him? I do not believe.

effaced. meaning of the old word atheist. under his breath. Attributes. a strange exception. and because of this vocation. God. absolutely certain beyond all hope. remains the undisputed master of all that men call the power and the glory. I believe essentially that the world is God. I believe. only. time. courteous. even more. sometimes. the author of this book. who lets fall His pen amid tears. you who pass by and whom I will never know. souls. . I have even com­ posed. the hurly-burly of my carnal and categorial life . I believe especially. a crowd of gods reduced to two. I have never ceased to survive through him. Harlequin. while the one of goodness hides and disappears in the straw in a manger. that he remains inaccessible. The center. Everything is God except the one who writes him. improbable. Multiple ad jectives: genteel. talkative. . you finally who make up the noise. the ragged coat. Since Nagasaki. that they constitute the world. but what is more I am sure. music. I am seduced. Here. beaten. The composite periphery. yet this fault line of nothingness is not God. history. no God. . God is absent. The one. taciturn .152 The Troubadour ofKnowledge besides me. . am not God. the grainy noise made by mills. The theme. that the variable sky is God Himself: I have navigated in God. they fill space. a new. flown in the midst of God. . nothing for the second. that I and I alone. that nature is God. Stars of every magni­ tude. so removed. with him and in him . in this divine concert traversed by quarreling. by my Cathar ascen­ dance. you who have excluded me. All for the first. Variations. and the sea. The proper name: Solomon. The sun. common. of which one. The manifold. above all. that they solder society. source of all pain. very pointed. you are God. received his true light on my back in the cor­ ridors of ice high up on the mountains. white waterfall and laugh of the seas. Substance. that there exists a hole. . Here. . a bizarre flaw in this massive and dense pantheism. especially. but. My portion of destiny is this site of atheism. who is disfigured. that of evil. Further ahead: the dis­ solved mixture. you whom I love and you who hate me. . . while naively tracing my path of humility on the divine page. at dawn. you from whose lips I received springtime flowers. .

One can imagine. mixture tends infinitely toward purity and painting toward geometry. you would find this granular arrangement. take the mosaic from the painting. the elements. In the final analysis. on the one hand. immersed in a homoge­ neous and isotropic space.Education 153 The manifold and unity are in reality. The mosaic shows the grains. a cloud of milk. The discontinuous emerges from continuity. curves are displayed according to laws and get their bearings thanks to straight lines (both vertical and horizontal) . a mixture diluted to the point that the colors would vanish to allow homogeneity to appear. a pint of blood in the Mediterranean would not be able to disturb this uniformly wine-colored sea. every detail is annulled and ob jects are vitrified: approximation makes room for rigor. like limit singularities in a variation. and its other limit on the faces of the manifold­ Harlequin dressed in his coat. The elements dissolved in the mixture are well or badly separated. whose lim­ its outline a sort of network. if you could see La Belle Noiseuse from infinitely close up. A drop of honey. This is the manifold: world map. then by making a puzzle or a game of patience of it based either on its traits or section by section. So the com­ plicated volutes are simplified to the extreme. Mixture never ceases. In the corresponding geometric graph. doubtless it must be called reality. The mixture thus tends toward the manifold. seemingly. by having it cut up. give way to a continuous slope of forms and mixed colors. the manifold and the singular become limit singularities of mixture. that of the mixture of liquid colors on the canvas. points have no parts. . remains. a superb foot emerges from a chaos of tonalities. conversely. neither lines nor planes have any depth: here the reign of one succeeds that of the manifold in the mosaic. Here is the simple image. the vicinities dissolve. a centon of various texts. Let a picture painted in oil on canvas represent the same scene as the mosaic: the network disappears. Solomon and his sun. partes extra partes. like whole numbers on the line of real numbers. Har­ lequin's coat. which we conceive with the help of two opposed singularities: reality's limit on the side of the singular. Take a mosaic: it juxtaposes millions of elements in various forms and various colors. surrounds and bathes us. In La Belle Noiseuse. In the most extreme case you could say that. We can. erased. an unknown masterpiece by a nameless painter.

before. . a cutout in the form of a puzzle. itself invisible. When the white light of the day. Harlequin's coat. beside and against. The white light on the translucent pyra- . a prism that is absolutely transparent. of prepo­ sitions. Who am I? No one. Now. Which is what I wanted to show. the dance of fire that illuminates us. according to or until this one or that one: topology has returned. . ready to dissolve in the air. White. it comes out on the other side in a rainbow of dissolved and distinct colors: not a single one is missing. is cast on a face of this candid prism. brilliant. in the same way. Now there exists a topology of geometry's first graph. invisible. after. the rigorous descrip­ tion that topology proposes or the one that uses prepositions is good for all three schemas. candid. If we had to describe La Belle Noiseuse or Harlequin's coat. and trans­ parent. neighboring sparks. long. strictly speaking. short. before or between. no matter where light comes from. Zero. outside and in. behind. How can we speak of mixture? By means. faraway. to pass from mixture to the manifold and from the mani­ fold to unity. I imagine a pyramid. one of the mosaic. Nil. torn up. Stellar spectrum. an image on a television screen. everything. soon we distinguish the manifold or swim in the melee. Therefore. So pale and gaunt that I lose my existence. strictly speaking. Thus. we would have to draw unceasingly from the list or rubric of prepo­ sitions: such a color or form is found in or outside. over or under. nothing but noth­ ingness.154 The T roubadour o Knowledge f Monism and pluralism are limit philosophies abstractly con­ structed against a real background of mixture. through continuous. But I can still describe. beyond and between . Sometimes we perceive the singular. Nothing. once again. Not a single portion of being. we traverse a space or a time that vibrates and trem­ bles like the curtain of flames illuminating the ramp of the theater where Harlequin undressed. finally another one of painting. over and under. but capable of mak­ ing everything visible. in front of. Fire. subdued. estab­ lished or irregular. Which is what I wanted to show. A pure solid entirely given over to light. whereas the second proposes a mosaic. The first geometrizes it. high and low. Pallid and wan specter.

diaphanous. As for Tintin. An enthusiast or inventor of the clear line. trait by trait. Invisible. the lost friend. since he signed with only the initials of his two first names. Universally. but calm. White. body. and the abominable one who turns l . he has no name. soul. their creative power is resurrected. the monk in ecstasy. his intelligence levitated. I already knew when we spoke together that I was dealing with an angel. Nil. then. dazzling. We evoke these two shadows. I am no one and am worth nothing-capable. Who then. Tintin resembles him but especially Blessed Lightning. we do not call to them. Nothing. at work. he inhabited a house of light colors and a limpid.Education 155 mid explodes according to the more than multicolored spectrum of panchromaticism. therefore welcoming. In French the initials R Gsound like "Herge" since the His unaspirated. In the high-altitude areas of Tibet all the keys of the secret are discovered: white snow. reduced to pure noth­ ingness. Transparent. Belgian artist Georges Remi (aka Herge) wrote the Tintin comic books. . I remember him as a transparency. pure body. Day Envoi. therefore possible. therefore productive. I suppose. he can: infinite capacity. and wisdom. Modesty detaches the essential and reserves it. Nonexistent. Remi and Georges. was the one who thrilled our childhood? Georges was white: luminous. is the white essence of the hominid. therefore everyone.­ TRANS. of learning everything and of inventing everything. My friend Herge did not want a last name. just an onomatopoeia. because man is nothing. and why I had to: because apprenticeship. therefore indefinitely fit for the universe. therefore everything. You. Since God and man are dead. That is why I was able to write this book. understanding. like a child. Once again here is the law. not even a nick­ name. No one. of which you see the foundation. therefore all values. 1 Such an acronym shows and hides that he had hardly begun to be or exist. then.

and function on the wheel. but the small void right in the middle confers strength. before our 2. the atrocious world of victories and defeats finally flattened. laughing. Genius is not only defined by this growing recognition. in searching for his lost friend Chang.-TRANs. Tintin discovers that the greatly feared abominable snowman may actually "have a human soul. works that are yet to be completed? The white domino equals all the colors. . Thus Georges. 2 No more mean people sacrificed or punished. Try to cite a single work read continuously for more than half a century by sev­ eral generations. virtually: depending on whether one puts it here or there. and that delights in sterility. or Herge. where. in its art and in its actions. confiding. says a Chinese proverb. a great conversion. whom no one surpasses in force and vigor. it is one. loved a colorist. but especially by the secret relation that it maintains with the two positive manifestations of life: the comic and childhood. children up to the age of seventy-seven. but how to name the crystalline." Blessed Lightning is a monk. The very young nieces and the white-haired uncle laugh together at Moliere and Aristophanes. who signed his name in white. native. What does this naive. coherence. The high moments of culture begin with these great bursts of youthful gaiety: creativity laughs. announce for us. so that his work says an immense Y es. Thirty rays converge toward the hub.156 The Troubadour o Knowledge f out to be good. I think I can say that Georges stands out as the only true genius. ingenuous. exactly the opposite of the one recommended to him. In the snows of the Himalayas. transparent and white light that gave birth-through what prism?-to these images in which millions of children and adults have recognized them­ selves for so long? How can a name for it be found? Genius? Yes. Reference to Tintin in Tibet. living. Herge loses the last negative val­ ues. and new Y es. of the notable and truly famous people that I have encountered in my life. each rereading it as the following generation dis­ covers it. destruction and ruins. solitary and rare in a cen­ tury that loved. two. More than twenty books radiate like a dawn from this life. It owes transparent. The clear line unveils all these incandescences. or three. vital.

and Jolyon Wagg . this detachment equiv­ alent to polyvalence. a quasi­ anonymous character. designated by an onomatopoeia. capable of everything that is possible. fish. ice floe. or the genius of Georges. draws. Indians and Congolese. my friend. you will understand all and here you are. Calculus. the Incas. his face. white. Whitened. knowing all and capable of everything. air beneath the feet of Blessed Lightning. angelic soul of Georges. without a name. when the light coming from him produced all the drawings. of whom I publicly testifY that. White light is broken down into the spectrum of the rainbow and absorbs it. transfigured by it. incandescent. archangel. or luminary. occupying the heights.-TRANs. crushing work. Characters or elements in the Tintin books: Captain Haddock (Tintin's best friend and fellow detective) . all the portraits exploding on the perimeter of the 3. The vital circumstances. the flora Castafiore. abandon­ ing the body and the soul to the evil of time. radiated like the sun. The creative center. in the middle of the rose window. and the tedious insurance salesmanJolyon Wagg [Seraphim fair. it contains them and effaces them. exis­ tence and perfection to the whole wheel. the head of Tintin. How to draw his portrait. first in black and white. head of Tintin. converge in the center. at leisure. . es. both appear in The Calculus Af . literally sunflower J . the candid center. Bianca de Castafiore (the opera singer) . Asia. the whole world. massive and dense. all the details of a life given over to work. invading the days and the hours. round like the moon. voyages. work. child­ hood. America. toward a man. Thirty rays. the islands of the Pacific rim. hits and misses. plant.Education 157 this performance to its whiteness: the zero sum and union of all colors. . waits. hardly existing. LampionJ . con­ verge toward the hub where the empty and transparent circle of the middle. and including around him the fish Haddock. flower. This supreme abstraction. accept being nothing. with his head barely outlined. encounters. 3 The white domino produces and includes the series of all the dominoes. shine. Professor Calculus [Tournesol. just as the tail of the peacock folds back after it spreads. Y transparent void. Herge. who is kidnapped for his invention. everything and nothing. The If you want to become everything. like the snow or the glaciers of Tibet. signing with the initials of his first names. labor above all. all that says Y es alone gives cohesion and plenitude.

. This banal experience. learned so many things about men? Things are reversed by magic: the world mim­ icks the memorable panels. But it can happen that the muffle of a bull will cover his neck and his shoulders and he will run. has its origin in the author himself who obeys this bizarre law that inverses the order and the unfolding of things: he submits to it and masters it. multiple vignettes that have fascinated us since our bitter childhood? And that fascinate us because the white spot. identifies for the same reason and participates as a thousand diverse individuals-from every class. life has begun to follow the spells of art. star or king. indeterminate head of Tintin burns through the page or pierces the casement of one of those windows through which. whatever he is called. The adventurer. a mask of a bull's head falls over his own. Climbing up from this restless and sweet crowd toward its ani­ mator or its creator. . I had already traveled so much. while he is crashing around. Who has traversed Shanghai. in which Captain Had­ dock stumbles backstage. Tibet. childlike. almost absent light from which a series of transparencies in turn produces a return to depths. latitude-in the characters of this encyclopedia made up of ellipses and parabolas that make Herge into the Jules Verne of the first human sciences. 4 Each reader thrusts his own body into the straits left by this white absence and says to himself in evoking it: I am Tintin. in turn. the models reflect the image. in a stage set of virgin for­ est. one reaches the clear and calm. stagger­ ing. .-TRANS. which says a lot about experience. can slide his face or his bust and reappear. on the other side. of a palace or an opera. culture. in fairs and festivals. I even know some who would not deign to look at the flowers in the field if they had not first seen poppies in a Renoir: no I1e-de-France before Corot.158 The Troubadour ofKnowledge stained-glass window. fenced in by the war in a loop of the Caronne. Reference to a scene in The Seven Crystal Balls. Scotland. 4. the one who wants his photo­ graphic portrait taken as a hero. ethnicity. the inoffensive and almost inexpressive. or the Near East without saying to himself: I recognize this landscape that strangely resembles what I saw in my childhood through the eyes of Chang or the son of the emir? How is it that. through the props .

his arms open. . in the very body of the author. necklaces whose value explodes for a long time on the open tra ectory of this invad­ j ing helix up to the stars but that turns in on itself to feed on the antipodes in the castle. Watch out for the one who comes out of there or who leaves a trace: here lies the treasure. this time. thus produced and producer. a spiral that ends only at the hour of death. in the statue. beneath the armor and in the outbuild­ ings. rubies. proof that a lot of people and things are hidden there. which begins to produce of its own accord life as it is and the world as it is revealed and thus. An enchanted circle in which the man and the work feed on each other. In those happy hours when he waited for us on the steps of his house. in the fetish. We will never know if the panel becomes white because the illustrator dies or if he dies because Tintin. will not emerge from it. into his work. his eyes and face illuminated by a smile and by goodness. which haunted him or that he inhabited. in the cave. Diamonds. a circle of profusion that gives birth to all these stories without borders from Moulinsart. He always looked as if he were emerging from his castle. with blood. 5 as if from a cornucopia. just as one says the eye of the cyclone. Georges never ceased entering or leaving that mill. tranquil and diaphanous.Education 159 The man of work enters body and soul. the man and the work. I devined had the 5. I never passed along the road to Dieweg without my emotions going beyond gratitude toward the one who delighted enchanter. my childhood. Thus the portrait of the man is reduced to the eye of the work. Moulinsart is the house where Tintin lives with Captain Haddock. Through my tears. The circle rises from I know not where and climbs like an opulent spiral that goes to the extremities of the world and enchants it but that always returns to the vertical of itself: Rameau counts the measures that are born nat­ urally from music itself. a calm and sun-filled space. site of the treasure where Georges shone. whose measures produce the music of Rameau and finally Rameau himself who composes the measures. and tears.­ TRANS. Georges radiated with the white light of a diamond in this trea­ sure. in particular. joy. that man who one day set his hand to work.


The T roubadour o Knowledge f

Bombings, deportations, wars, and mass crimes crushed our childhood, in desperation and sorrow, in shame for our fellow men, except for the singular enchantment that China and the Amazon gave us, shining behind the clear line, and the shattering forgiveness of the abominable monster derided by all and who becomes, seen up close, merciful and good, a conversion in the middle of the immaculate desert. The only lights in the heart of darkness. What good is living if no one ever enchants the world? How and where to live if there is no enchanted place in the middle of these destructions? What if we had survived, in those times and those unlivable places, only thanks to such utopias? Still the eye of the cyclone, the only space where a skiff risks nothing, white silence in the midst of cries. Between paradise and the dreary landscape, between the bitter valley and the kingdom, the Messiah and the man in the street, dif­ ference, infinitesimal, shines like a small tear. Enchanted things and bodies seem to be immersed in limpid water beneath which they glitter like diamonds or pearls: trans­ figured by a gloss, an Orient, or a dawn of whose natural source we know nothing; their nimbus dazzles us and protects them. To make them radiate thus, we content ourselves most often with immersing them in the transparency of language or in the brilliance of style and we sometimes succeed: we see them shine behind clear words or stiffen or settle beneath their rigor when they do not shrivel up beneath the ugliness or the dryness of terms. "The trees and the plants," the fabulist Fontaine would say, "have become speaking creatures in my work, who would not take this for an enchantment?" Here the sunflower and the chaste flower, plants, but also the haddock, a fish, converse with a dog, an animal who usually barks. To perfect the miracle, one can by turn immerse words and languages in the spell of a song the word


whence comes


Things are immersed in speech and speech plunges into music: a double transfiguration of the world by the poetic work; the entrance of Wagner, going up and down scales in space or the stair­ case at Moulinsart. 6
6. Igor Wagner, accompanist to Bianca Castafiore in The Casta fiore Emerald, who leaves a recording of himself practicing his scales while he slips out.­ TRANS.



The illustrator, with his broken ear, does not understand it in this way. For him, enchantment does without song: the ridiculous soprano atrociously executes the aria of the jewels and loses hers, which were believed stolen, whereas they shine calmly in the nest of 7 the pane1. The comic strip opens an original path, different from that of language, of rhythm or of sound, and allows beings and things to radiate from their own forms and in their singular waters: the mute poetry of the clear line. Vignettes replace rhymes and cadenced feet in this classic fabulist with one hundred diverse acts, whose stage is the universe. Here I have found the name of the one who did not want one; note that the fountain image of shining and tranquil water. Formerly, portraitists surrounded the heads of saints, martyrs, vir­ gins, or archangels with an aureole whose light marked their transfiguration. Laugh rather at those who laugh at them: most cul­ tures, modern or ancient, have a particular word to designate the glory with which certain bodies sometimes shimmer, in an explo­ sion of energy or love, goodness, ecstasy, and fervent attentiveness. With this sign, one recognizes that someone is thinking: the idea escapes or emanates from his body in a golden glow. Social glory does nothing but poorly imitate this real aureole that emerges from the face. The great painters, gifted with a keen eye, see it. Or, rather, when they reproduce the things of the world just as they are at the moment their creator's hands give birth to them-infant, initial, with a first name only, beginning-they pro­ ject, in their painted work, their divine experience and attentive­ ness. I no longer know what to choose: does the aureole describe the light that emanates from the model or from the illustrator, or rather does it fix the source of light that illuminates both, or finally, should one see it as the eye that truly sees? In order to finish the book that bespeaks and describes the cir­ cumstances of the life of the third-instructed, as a wheel with

ria fontaine} reflects


7. Aria sung by soprano Bianca Castafiore in various books, which also ref­ N erences the "Air de bijoux" in Gournod's opera Faust.-TRA. S.


The T roubadour o Knowledge f

spokes around its hub, I intended to trace the portrait of my friend, one of the profiles of this life. Having only a first name, here he is: a void in the middle of this radiating circle, a white brilliance, the glow of dawn, a clear aureole, the eye of the painter and of the cyclone, sparkling and calm, just as I knew him, as I loved him, modest, restrained.

The Third Person: Fire
When a man swims across a large river or an arm of the sea (just as in reading or in writing a reader or an author traverses a book and finishes it) , at a given moment he crosses an axis, a middle, equidis­ tant from the two banks. Once he 's reached it, is continuing straight ahead equivalent to turning around? Before .this point, just before this moment, the champion has not yet left his country of origin, whereas after, the exile to which he is destined already sub­ merges him. A moving thread, slim and fine like a crest, this threshold deter­ mines the voyage and every apprenticeship, a rare place that is barely noticed, so abstract that it could be called nonexistent, and yet so pregnant and so concrete that it extends its nature and some­ thing like its color across the entire tra jectory that consists of cross­ ing it. The breadth of the river or of the training-of the book, and, in its middle


of the world-feel the effects of it, as if

they reproduced this thread writ large. The limit of a frontier designates, on this side of it, familiar lands, acts as a third party in a division, but a voyage pulls and drags this third place throughout the whole space that is thus divided. Before the frontier, less at home already than usual, the novice swims or is displaced toward the strange; once past it, having almost arrived elsewhere, he is always coming from home: half nervous, at first, and filled with hope; already nostalgic, after, and soon half­ regretful. How then can a singular place pass for rare and, never­ theless, be disseminated everywhere, on the ground and in the soul, remain abstract, utopian, and yet become pantopian or panic, meaning the expansion of this singularity in every place? Though born left-handed, I write with my right hand, and the happiness of living in a body thus completed has never left me, so that I still beseech schoolmasters not to thwart, as one says today,

To learn: to become pregnant with others and oneself. invades the system in its entirety: the whole person calls him­ self right-handed and left-handed-or complete. rare. but to give them an immense advantage and to harmonize their bodies by forcing them to hold the pencil in the right. dilated. to complete right-handers in the same way. symmetrically. flying from one riverbank to another. learned. of scientific culture and of knowledge culled from the humanities. complementary. of the most intellectual. like Hermes.Education 163 my companions on the port side. through the middle of the organism. in this book. and of a tolerant ethics. hot and tangible in life or in the space discernible on a map. a harmonious middle/ milieu. on islands or paths. Once again. The line that separates the left from the right-and the female from the male-I do not know through where it passes. of these third places-rare. And. a hermaphrodite. for achievement and agreement. A beat. the Harlequin's coat and flesh are sown with colored spirits: fires. a daughter between two banks. fine as limits. the third place. Thus the third place is annulled in black memory or dilates in the soul: open. hermaphrodites. Since most contempo­ raries abandon the pen for the computer console. it is filled with third persons. but who can also be found on earth or in the sea. a trembling scintillation. a pulsation. but the whole body changes and is transformed depending on whether it turns right or left. the dis­ covery. a trembling like the kind one sees in a cur­ tain of flames that shimmers and expands suddenly to illuminate as far as the horizon.Just as the third person is spirit. hand. of expert erudition and of artistic narrative. messengers that belong to two worlds because they put them in communication with each other. co�ugated . Begetting and cross­ breeding. or cultural pro ject. yet suddenly can turn in on itself so as to illumi­ nate nothing but a narrow and limited vicinity or to be annulled in darkness. doubtless as geometric and formal as the frontier or the axis on the river or the straits. their keyboard demands con jugated fingers. animate. of the gathered and the invented. sharp as crests-singularities that one can say are out of the ordi­ nary. hemiplegic in both cases. in many regions. a ship with two sides. or whether it agrees to risk going toward the other bank. the god of translators. ambidextrous people. of third-instruction. these third places give the naked and visible flesh.

The small flame bursts. The theory of knowledge has never stopped taking the emission or . to the whole set of these thirds who are annulled or become all of society. Never would I have hoped for so much bright light. and of morality. See: the fire lights up. though. doubtless monstrous. of the universe. history recaptures this pro ject. without anything having predicted it. From nothing to everything. searing pain. spatial. to the singular or plural. morning. evil: the flame burns. and sud­ denly returns to darkness: day. but from whom we learned that the rule always followed by those like us. storms. chiaroscuro. in intellectual space. high. night. Two foci. of sparks quickly licks the local. was reduced to an exception. at once: sparkling science. while human and reasonable prudence was taking refuge in remote localities. the fortunes and misfortunes of the sea. Among improbable and difficult circumstances-war. across the riverbed. one that was rare not so long ago. we reached a nil island lost in the immensity of the Pacific where the natives were given over to strange behaviors. from the sum total back to zero. the fire illuminates the world. of a universal only reflected and discovered by chance in this abandoned singularity. lights up the global. are sown everywhere. on the entire body. long or short. through the incessant divisions of its vibration. From closed communication between two first persons. which are obvious and problematic. the sun lights up not so much the world as a corner of the universe. As if a bias had conquered the whole volume. The universal lodges in the singular. despite its flashes. and the latter does not allow itself to be seen in its ma jesty except during brief and lightning intuitions. but nocturnal. multiple begetting: these singularities. carnal. Low. of being. pedagogic. Since today urgency demands it. And suddenly. the flame lit up neighborhoods. The oblique has conquered the general.164 The Troubadour o Knowledge f together because in reality the single reason of universal science and of singular suffering cannot be separated. from the four sides of the water. to the point of outlining a synthesis or pointing to a univer­ sal. The pages flame as in a hearth where the dance. Scintillating flames: a yellow dwarf. it tolerates the black shadow.

the question of evil and of suffering. for a single sun. relativistic and modest. trembles. remain true at the same time. reaching a point of immeasurably disseminated fragmentation. tenebrous. The flame. on the contrary. attentive to these small. forgetful of the universal in favor of singularities that carry meaning. the sun lights up the whole. on their very expression. Facing the sun and as universal as science. Irregularly. minis­ cule. scintillates like a curtain of flames. becomes immense. occupies the second focus or the darkness of the universe. henceforth prudent. Having become. if and when we arrive. dances. thus on the principles of every apprenticeship and on the span of knowledge-a wisp of straw caressed by a ray of light emanating from a fissure. from the local to the global. at details. the ideal of knowledge thus passed from general laws to detailed debate. renewed astonishment. are fascinated with aiming a luminous. the universal was lurking. as well as the singular existence of the indigent and sorrowful man. it demands. the universal asks neither to stretch out nor to reign. Surprise: in some places or neighborhoods. At the center of the system. which is always suspected of abuse: and I swam toward the middle of a river or questioned myself gravely about my hands or the islands. and law-but also on their quality. vibrates. to be returned to the close and fine locality where it was unearthed. Devoted to the search for truth. adamantine.Education 165 expansion of light as its model. These two propositions. recently. our contemporaries. as fine and pointed as a laser. Light pushed back the darkness and was supposed to triumph in space and in history. through analyses or equations. quasi­ punctual beam. somewhere in the universe. the universal and the singular. and returns to ground level. Defined by closure and specificity. customs. I willingly admit to having long prefered the exquisitely workable local to the pretentious global. This pulsation touches not only on clear knowledge or on evil. of in justice and of hunger. experiments or for- . We have abandoned unitary synthesis to find ourselves or lose ourselves deliciously in the delicacies of the infinitely small. we do not always reach it. frivolous details. this knowledge pulsates. this marginal dwarf just happens to have been thrown there. or a firmament in its entirely under the reign of mid­ day. And.

reveals himself to be a philosopher. instructed. Finally. he engen­ ders in himself third persons or spirits that sprinkle his body and his soul with their form and their brightness fire that is their summation. he can teach. if meditation fails. he knows. as much as the pieces and bits compose the colored fires of Harlequin's coat or the white 1980-1990 . as well.166 The T roubadour ofKnowledge mal proofs. as such. but also through experimentation. hemiplegic and limited to a half? Aristotle said it excellently: "The philosopher. Reborn. let the story go there." but added. why not try narrative? Why would lan­ guage always remain right-handed or male. colorfully patterning the body and the soul just as millions of nighttime suns spangle the universe. in some sense. sometimes. and. educated. Mind: clear light. when experimentation doesn't get you there. if it can. "the one who tells a story. tells a story." Brought up in irregular flames. he takes pity. modest and restrained.

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