contemplation – action

Il vient toujours un temps où il faut choisir entre la contemplation et l’action. Cela s’appelle devenir un homme. Ces déchirements sont affreux. Mais pour un cœur fier, il ne peut y avoir de milieu. Il y a Dieu ou le temps, cette croix ou cette épée. Ce monde a un sens plus haut qui surpasse ses agitations ou rien n’est vrai que ces agitations. Il faut vivre avec le temps et mourir avec lui ou s’y soustraire pour une plus grande vie. Je sais qu’on peut transiger et qu’on peut vivre dans le siècle et croire à l’éternel. Cela s’appelle accepter. Mais je répugne à ce terme et je veux tout ou rien. Si je choisis l’action, ne croyez pas que la contemplation me soit comme une terre inconnue. Mais elle ne peut tout me donner, et privé de l’éternel, je veux m’allier au temps. Je ne veux faire tenir dans mon compte ni nostalgie ni amertume et je veux seulement y voir clair. Je vous le dis, demain vous serez mobilisé. Pour vous et pour moi, cela est une libération. L’individu ne peut rien et pourtant il peut tout. Dans cette merveilleuse disponibilité vous comprenez pourquoi je l’exalte et l’écrase à la fois. C’est le monde qui le broie et c’est moi qui le libère. Je le fournis de tous ses droits.

continuer Camus


Paradoxe et Compréhension

Ce cercle vicieux n’est que le premier d’une série où l’esprit qui se penche sur lui-même se perd dans un tournoiement vertigineux. La simplicité même de ces paradoxes fait qu’ils sont irréductibles. Quels que soient les jeux de mots et les acrobaties de la logique, comprendre c’est avant tout unifier. Le désir profond de l’esprit même dans ses démarches les plus évoluées rejoint le sentiment inconscient de l’homme devant son univers : il est exigence de familiarité, appétit de clarté. Comprendre le monde pour un homme, c’est le réduire à l’hu- main, le marquer de son sceau.

infinity …

In view of these distinctions it is obvious that the one-sided theories which some people express about all things cannot be valid-on the one hand the theory that nothing is true (for, say they, there is nothingto prevent every statement from being like the statement ‘the diagonal of a square is commensurate with the side’), on the other hand the theory that everything is true. These views are practically the same as that of Heraclitus; for he who says that all things are true and all are false also makes each of these statements separately, so that since they are impossible, the double statement must be impossible too.-Again, there are obviously contradictories which cannot be at the same time true-nor on the other hand can all statements be false; yet this would seem more possible in the light of what has been said.-But against all such views we must postulate, as we said above,’ not that something is or is not, but that something has a meaning, so that we must argue from a definition, viz. by assuming what falsity or truth means. If that which it is true to affirm is nothing other than that which it is false to deny, it is impossible that all statements should be false; for one side of the contradiction must be true. Again, if it is necessary with regard to everything either to assert or to deny it, it is impossible that both should be false; for it is one side of the contradiction that is false.-Therefore all such views are also exposed to the often expressed objection, that they destroy themselves. For he who says that everything is true makes even the statement contrary to his own true, and therefore his own not true (for the contrary statement denies that it is true), while he who says everything is false makes himself also false.-And if the former person excepts the contrary statement, saying it alone is not true, while the latter excepts his own as being not false, none the less they are driven to postulate the truth or falsity of an infinite number of statements; for that which says the true statement is true is true, and this process will go on to infinity.

Aristotle: Metaphysics, book IV

Impressions …

Just got the confirmation yesterday, while boarding for Budapest where I am now. It is part the confirmation of the appointment in the framework of the Program of High-end Foreign Experts of the State Administration of Foreign Experts. Gosh one can make so much out of so little. Though I am pleased to be one of the 18 selected people; and the only social scientist (I am realist and guess for no one else an application had been lodged;-).
Not sure about the details but that will soon be sorted.

May be I am getting old … – When I arrived Tuesday evening in Rome, looking at the trees, the terrible noise transforming into some music of a vivid city, the still somewhat strange, though familiar language …, when I left latish the morning, the pleasant warm sun shining … – As I could not say good by personally  I wrote to a friend, already back at the airport

Vero … Roma è una città bellissima. Sono arrivato ieri sera: imbrunire, un bel “paesaggio urbano”, con alberi mediterranei e oggi il sole, avvolgendo la vivacità nel calore. Una breve visita per me; Non so perché, ma ho sperimentato la bellezza soprattutto in questo periodo.
I actually did not feel like leaving. Sure, when I later walked through Budapest, the city of light (walking along the Danube is beautiful at night-time, the chain-bridge, the castle, parliament …; the loving couples taking photographs), sitting down for a glass of wine, I thought that I am possibly right with what I frequently said: at the end it does not matter where you are …, it does not matter if there is any sense and meaning in all this, it is just being and possibly the being together …
On the latter, it is not just the love stories of the world to which we all add one chapter or more; it is also the working together, not rolling the rock upwards, and not grasping that is always rolling back, the art of life being to be fast enough, jumping out of its way.
So it had been this bizarre, strange, bewildering feeling now in Budapest: I am currently here for some work with the academy (another “big thing” though …. – well, I have a friend here, she is actually member of the academy and people like her makes “academy of science” something really great and outstanding). But I have had some time and walked to “my” university: Corvinus. Just to have a look – it had been on the way to the Liszt academy, another great place where I will go Sunday to visit a concert. Indeed, they removed the statue of Karl Marx, just an empty space now – just an empty space in the main hall, disgraceful in its emptiness … I went to the little kiosk for a coffee, as I did so often over the last years … – and walked upstairs: second floor …, being part of something: I walked to the office door through which I walked for so many times, I looked at the sign: Peter Herrmann. So I am still part of it? A name-tag, an empty desk due to cut backs by the government, limiting a special international program, limiting the influence of a political direction of understanding economics … . As said, a  bizarre, strange, bewildering feeling … – you may say being located in a position which is taken out of history, empty, pre-emptied, preempt …
… and the knowledge that despite of all this one is not alone even if one is …
… the knowledge that despite of all this one is alone even if one is not …
Historically speaking there seems to be a paradox. Quoting Camus then – as you say: surely not serene –

Mourir volontairement suppose qu’on a reconnu, même instinctivement, le caractère dérisoire de cette habitude, l’absence de toute raison profonde de vivre, le caractère insensé de cette agitation quotidienne et l’inutilité de la souffrance. (14)

And the paradox: accepting hopelessness, and still moving on, may actually have the effect that gives it the final meaning … the

Ti aspetto
coming from someone, from somewhere, for something …, does it matter as long as it makes some sense, has some meaning with which we can connect? And the expectation that this will not change the world, as every move of the rock by Sisyphus did not change anything, but importantly for him brought him closer to the point from where he could enjoy a most beautiful view, overarching the entirety, the completeness … – something for which he would return another time ….

Crisis – looking forward

Attac Germany (where I am member of the scientific board) published as special contribution (AutorInnenBeitraege) a contribution I had been asked to write for this section. It deals with the crisis – but tries to do so by way of elaborating the needs and potentials of moving forward by going fundamentally beyond the mainstream proposals.

The article is written in German language under the title

Peter Herrmann

Krise und (k)ein Ende

A (not only) translation into English can be requested from the author. A translation into Italian is in preparation