In groups, when first gathered, they receive direction. They ask questions about chains. The ones they like best will be mirrored by one hand rising into the air. Their bottoms will not rise into the air, no, not now. So sitting, they wait until they are asked the question they like best. They raise their hands. Some of them do not raise their hands. Some of them raise two hands. These second hands are severed with the metal edge of a yardstick. The severed hands are confiscated and placed in the drawer where unauthorized items gather. The stump is placed underneath their bottoms. Only one hand may rise. One or none.
Place your knees on our throats and we choose you. We love what is green. We love what is good. Place your knees. There is no you. We mean, not now. Now we want you to love us. There is no you. Place your knees. Dig deeper. Dig for the green. When we wake, you are us. There is no you. We are born deep beneath the earth. We are not green. We take the chains. We love what is good. There is no you.
They wait in their seats to be asked. They know that they will be asked and this is good. It is good to practice the raising and the choosing. Now they must decide what colors they like. No matter how much of their hands rattle in the air they will only be counted once. There is only one value each hand may assume. We know that this is good. We love what is good.
‘When rhythm has become the sole and unique mode of thought’s expression, it is then only that there is poetry. In order for mind to become poetry, it must bear in itself the mystery of an innate rhythm. It is in this rhythm alone that it can live and become visible. And every work of art is but one and the same rhythm. Everything is simply rhythm.’ (Hölderlin in conversation with Sinclair, 1804.)
As emo as it sounds, the weather was perfect yesterday to wander in the Père Lachaise cemetary;
SCIENTIST: Then we can’t really describe what we have named.
TEACHER: Any description would reify it.
SCHOLAR: Nevertheless it lets itself be named, and being named it can be thought about…
TEACHER: …only if thinking is no longer re-presenting.
SCIENTIST: But then what else should it be?
TEACHER: Perhaps we now are close to being released into the nature of thinking…
SCHOLAR: …through waiting for its nature.
TEACHER: Waiting, all right; but never awaiting, for awaiting already links itself with re-presenting and what is re-presented.
SCHOLAR: Waiting, however, lets go of that; or rather I should say that waiting lets re-presenting entirely alone. It really has no object.
SCIENTIST: Yet if we wait we always wait for something.
SCHOLAR: Certainly, but as soon as we re-present to ourselves and fix upon that for which we wait, we really wait no longer.
TEACHER: In waiting we leave open what we are waiting for.
TEACHER: Because waiting releases itself into openness…
SCHOLAR: …into the expanse of distance…
TEACHER: …in whose nearness it finds the abiding in which it remains.
(Extract from Blanchot’s L’attente l’oubli (1963) in The Infinite Conversation)
Following the winding ways of the Heideggerian landscape is by no means an easy task. We fumble searchingly amongst the shapeless forms of a desert in darkness. Huffing and puffing, we are close to surrender. Then along comes the poem by Rilke and sings:
Though swiftly the world coverts,
like cloud-shapes’ upheaval,
everything perfect reverts
to the primeval.
Over the change abounding
farther and freer
your precluding song keeps sounding
God with the lyre.
Suffering is not discerned,
neither has love been learned,
and what removes us in death,
Only the song’s high breath
hallows and hails.
(Part I, Sonnets to Orpheus)
And off we go again, to play on this tortuous way! hurrah!
Friday night with Prokofiev’s ‘Short Suite’ from Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Violin Concerto in D major’, Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ and four flamboyant Russian encores. All performed by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, together with 26 year old soloist Nikita Boriso-Glebsky and conductor – maestro – Yuri Simonov, at Cadgon Hall.
If there’s any experience which does truly explode the laws of cognition and ‘rivet’ us, as Blanchot would say, to the painfully bare but beautiful, essential truth of existence, it must be the experience of music.