Since music is a language with some meaning at least for the immense majority of mankind, although only a tiny minority of people are capable of formulating a meaning in it, and since it is the only language with the contradictory attributes of being at once intelligible and untranslatable, the musical creator is a being comparable to the gods, and music itself the supreme mystery of the science of man, a mystery that all the various disciplines come up against and which holds the key to their progress.
The only phenomenon with which writing has always been concomitant is the creation of cities and empires, that is the integration of large numbers of individuals into a political system, and their grading into castes or classes. It seems to have favored the exploitation of human beings rather than their enlightenment.
Topics: Writing, Authors & Writing, Writers
Being human signifies, for each one of us, belonging to a class, a society, a country, a continent and a civilization; and for us European earth-dwellers, the adventure played out in the heart of the New World signifies in the first place that it was not our world and that we bear responsibility for the crime of its destruction.
Enthusiastic partisans of the idea of progress are in danger of failing to recognize… the immense riches accumulated by the human race. By underrating the achievements of the past, they devalue all those which still remain to be accomplished.
There is one fact that can be established. The only phenomenon which, always and in all parts of the world, seems to be linked with the appearance of writing.
Every landscape appears first of all as a vast chaos … . But the most majestic meaning of all is surely that which precedes and, commands and, to a large extent, explains the others… . My aim is to recapture the master-meaning, which may be obscure but of which each of the others is a partial or distorted transposition… . I quite naturally looked upon Freud’s theories as the application to the human being of a method the basic pattern of which is represented by geology… . Marxism, psychoanalysis and geology demonstrate that understanding consists in reducing one type of reality to another; that the true reality is never the most obvious; and that the nature of truth is already indicated by the care it takes to remain elusive… . But I had learned from my three sources of inspiration that the transition between one order and the other is discontinuous; that to reach reality one has first to reject experience, and then subsequently to reintegrate it into an objective synthesis devoid of any sentimentality.
Our system is the height of absurdity, since we treat the culprit both as a child, so as to have the right to punish him, and as an adult, in order to deny him consolation.
I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men’s minds without their being aware of the fact.
The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.
The musical emotion springs precisely from the fact that at each moment the composer withholds or adds more or less than the listener anticipates on the basis of a pattern that he thinks he can guess, but that he is incapable of wholly divining. If the composer withholds more than we anticipate, we experience a delicious falling sensation; we feel we have been torn from a stable point on the musical ladder and thrust into the void. When the composer withholds less, the opposite occurs: he forces us to perform gymnastic exercises more skillful than our own.
The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he is one who asks the right questions.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Louis Pasteur French Biologist
- Henri Poincare French Mathematician
- Michel Foucault French Philosopher
- Jean Baudrillard French Sociologist, Philosopher
- Roland Barthes French Literary Theorist
- Hannah Arendt German-American Political Theorist
- Jean Guitton French Catholic Philosopher
- Simone Weil French Philosopher, Political Activist
- Daniel Kahneman American-Israeli Psychologist, Economist
- Henri Bergson French Philosopher