Monday, 17 December 2012

Any resemblance between these two contemplative-thinkers ?

Laozi (6th Century BC) Dao De Jing, I (translator T. Chilcott)

‘The Way that can be spoken of is not the changeless DAO.
The name that can be named is not the changeless Name.
Namelessness: the blank that was before both heaven and earth.
Naming: the mother of all living things.
To understand the mysteries of DAO, empty yourself of all desire;
to understand its outward forms, fill yourself with all desire.
DAO and the world flow from the same source, but differ in name.
Their oneness is a mystery, a mystery upon a mystery,
the gateway to the essence of everything that is.’

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (650 - 725),  Mystical Theology, Caput V (translator John Parker)

‘On the other hand, ascending, we say, that It is neither soul, nor mind, nor has imagination, or opinion, or reason, or conception; neither is expressed, nor conceived; neither is number, nor order, nor greatness, nor littleness; nor equality, nor inequality; nor similarity, nor dissimilarity; neither is standing, nor moving; nor at rest; neither has power, nor is power, nor light; neither lives, nor is life; neither is essence nor eternity, nor time; neither is Its touch intelligible, neither is It science, nor truth; nor kingdom, nor wisdom; neither one, nor oneness; neither Deity, nor Goodness; nor is It Spirit according to our understanding; nor Sonship, nor Paternity; nor any other thing of those known to us, or to any other existing being; neither is It any of non-existing nor of existing things, nor do things existing know It, as It is; nor does It know existing things, qua  existing; neither is there expression of It, nor name, nor knowledge; neither is It darkness, nor light; nor error, nor truth; neither is there any definition at all of It, nor any abstraction. But when making the predications and abstractions of things after It, we neither predicate, nor abstract from It; since the all-perfect and uniform Cause of all is both above every definition and the pre-eminence of Him, Who is absolutely freed from all, and beyond the whole, is also above every abstraction.’

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Last tango in Paris, Bertolucci, 1972
or An attempt of transcending the pain

by Sorin Atanasiu

Solipsistic sexuality (God, I love this word! I mean solipsistic). The big question: Is it possible to take the pain (the death) away through sexuality ? Can sex be a therapy ? The film is a plea for your lost orgasm. It’s all internal. And it stays there. Brando doesn’t have to act. It all comes natural. It’s like breathing. I don’t care about the plot, I never cared about the plot. Plot is a pretext. The history is just psychological. Because it’s an experience. They’re endeavouring to found a new history not knowing nothing about each other. Brando’s character (a certain Paul) refuses to give names. He hates any form of identity. The identity is the very enemy of his renewal. The name is a prison. He replies like a demon: “I’ve been called by a million names all my life. I don’t want a name. I’m better off with a grunt or a groan for a name”. This underlines his bestial nature. Sometimes, bestiality could ease the pain.

He’s not spiritual. He opposes redemption, church, priests, God. He hates them. Maybe it’s his revenge for the existential injustice that led to his wife’s death (even if it’s suicide). He burns all the tracks that could show the way through settlement in the light of the Name.
He is in touch with Life only in the peaceful, empty room. Which might be the void that awaits for a Meaning to be given. The empty room is his empty soul. No law in it. Just a continuous passion. Free passion for everything that pleases him. Like sex with a beautiful, sensitive young woman. Apparently, he does everything for oblivion. Tormented sex could be the best way. 

Schneider’s character (Jeanne) is blocked for a second. She doesn’t know what it needs to be done in a place without laws: ‘So what do I have to say and do I have to do ?’. He just invites her into the journey: ‘Come on the good ship, lollipop’. It’s like saying, ‘It’s not important to know exactly what to do, but to flow with the ship, the good ship’.  He concentrates the dialogue upon the body, to the exploration of it. He stopped to believe in spirit. Maybe he never believed. His ONLY reality is the BODY. Jeanne regains her childhood, her innocence. In this room, innocence cohabits with sexuality without any problems.

Jeanne calls him an egoist, and she’s right. He is an egoist and a misanthropist. I know, he loved his wife. but she was the only person he’s ever loved. Anyway, his love for her must had been strange that she committed suicide. Now, he’s looking for any possible tricks to make the life bearable. He uses what he can.

The big warning of the film is: Human Reason is pure shit. It can not succeed. It can not solve the major problems of the existence. You are doomed to finiteness. In the end, everything goes chaotic. When the roots of your life disappear, when you’ve got no motivation, it means you run out of reasonable (artificial) meanings. You have to go authentic. And this authentic CAN NOT BE GIVEN BY REASON, which (Reason) is shit !! Reason can not cope with trauma. It can not cope with nothing essential. You have to transcend the mind, the pathetic history of yours, the headquarters of your many social habits. The society, the impersonal is what kills you for good. You need to get out. To rebuild yourself following an instinctive path. What do people do in order to hide their emptiness ? Paul confesses to his mother in law: ‘they take drugs, play music...they are afraid of the dark’…the dark in their empty soul. We are estranged and artificial beings. All the time. We learned to react through a social programme. It’s not really you, it’s a preset behaviour.

Paul’s struggle is very consuming. In the end, he tries to bring some sense in his empty room by getting a new bride. He curses afterwards the dead bride, the dead wife which is also dressed like a bride. He’s terribly upset that he wasn’t able to discover the true nature of the woman, true nature of his wife.

In the end, he pledges for identity, for a life in the country side with sun and cows. It’s probably his last bid of getting into ‘normality’. ‘Tango as a rite’. He is not going to be accepted in this new (maybe fake?) posture. Jeanne has just shot a stranger. She prefers the artificial life with that young, impersonal boy, which is the most despicable expression of stupid humanity.

Indeed, woman isn’t meant to be understood but loved.

Did I talk about us or did I talk only about my own disease projected on the film ?