Sunday, May 15, 2005


The public mind simply does not exist, however much ideologists confound it with their own mind and that of those who make public opinion. Secondly: True social consciousness, under the conditions of developed capitalism, is obtainable only by individuals and constitutes therefore a minority-problem in the strictest sense of the word.source

In his essay on Simone Weil, Blanchot says that "the further thought goes toward expressing itself, the more it must maintain a reserve somewhere within itself, something like a place that would be a kind of uninhabited, uninhabitable non-thought, a thought that would not allow itself to be thought". As a word might not allow itself to be pronounced, a word set apart from language (in Le pas au-delà Blanchot thinks of folie and angoisse as examples of such a word—a forbidden or forgotten word that nevertheless is loose in our discourse, turning it into an event in which nothing is said, a nonevent or, more exactly, an event that separates into past and future without realizing itself; an interval or arrest that would not be merely a gasp or a sigh or a pause for breath but an interminable delay—a disaster—that language (conceived as a logical condition of possibility, a system for constituting states of affairs) would be powerless to overcome.

In the early récit "Le dernier mot" (1935), which one can already read quite happily as an anarchist's tribute to désoeuvrement, there is a splendid moment when the narrator finds himself in the midst of "a chaotic celebration." Crowds of people flow back and forth through the streets, shouting. "At some intersections the earth trembled, and it seemed that the people were walking over the void, crossing it on a footbridge of cries. The great consecration of until [jusqu'à ce que] took place around noon. Using only little scraps of words, as if all that remained of language were the forms of a long sentence crushed by the crowd's trampling feet, they sang the song of a single word that could still be made out, no matter how loud the shouting. This word was until." Until: a word for the entre-temps: a word set apart, consecrated, while the rest of langauge is disposed of like so many old newspapers.

—Gerarld Bruns, Maurice Blanchot: The Refusal of Philosophy, 177 (1997)

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