Sunday, April 01, 2007


'Every confession of love is a betrayal of love' -H. Arendt on Rahel Varnhagen.

On arranging and re-reading a great amount of senseless stuff I published here, the light of 'home-coming' with a thought or two did strike me suddenly - I seem to have been pointedly right when deciding to write for its own sake, so that every letter and line would be the sketch of another sketch that fingers toward a person life and failingly attempt grasping the essence of the poor old lost Self. It is not strange that 'life has proven the theory and made it true' (Rosenzweig) when one has invested so much life-time in developing his mind, either as a weapon to protect himself from the world at large or at the only device available to let the world wholly consume him; so that the matters being treated in my long hours of plundering into manuscripts and lives have constantly been pointing toward the same direction - an account of love that can speak its own language once the word has fallen into such a disrepute not unlike that of philosophy. I remember having started this project really in 2000 or 2001 while studying under Georgia and producing translations of Sappho's lyrical fragments from the obscure Aeolic dialect (inclination which I kept down to 2004 - often the translations were presents for friends) and trying to develop an idea of the formative character of this archaic Greek poetry over the German mind of the Romantic age. It was followed by some literary engagements with Victorian literature and realist poetry, a conscious reading of the Hebrew Bible and an interest in the Midrash... then I encountered Arendt's book on Augustine which is really the first philosophical book I read (not counting Seneca or Plato) with an underlying intention to really understand - an enterprise wherein my male academic ambition was put to halt.

Altogether the last four years of writing (which are present in this blog at a rate of about half of what I've written) were really underarching dark times, writing in napkins and small little notebooks, on the covers of old notes and receipts, never having the feeling of 'home'; writing always in parks and cafes, in hotel rooms or in temporary provisoria where my only companion were dozens of books which I brought along about everywhere; the issue of love is for me intimately bound to the experience of Exile and that's why I've spent a good number of years writing in a foreign language that is no longer foreign - trying to adapt to the conventions of the world albeit only linguistically. Writing in internet-cafes and at friends' houses, jotting down notes during a journey in a plane or a bus, stealing images from the street and converting the 'no-return situations' of the street's everyday life into their own intepretive and therefore real potentialities. One shouldn't need engage in this whole talk about love weren't for the experience of philosophy having lost its innocence in Exile, in street talk, in passions, in failures. The philosophy of my greener days was poisoned by the language of the street and could never find herself 'home' again, so to speak. But the climax of the writing kept changing, downgrading tonalities in a desperate search for meaning and for better questions. The epic style of the Greeks was infected by the simple Hebrew poetry, the undistancing from technology in the imagination and the ever-recurrent obsession with the unsayable facts of death.

In these notes I jotted down just too many confessions that I've come to retract today, searching for a more subtle way to live. All the confessions were indeed a betrayal, both in the sense of Augustine and in the sense of Rousseau - reason for which I wrote to my favourite painting and to his painter that an 'I love you' will no longer effect any magic tricks upon the environment, the Greek gods stand long dead and my philosophical 'need' is one of conversation, of communication... far more beyond a quest for the essence of things that can be unconcealed only with a narrative through which the lives of many people are being shaped in these spaces of solitude. Nowhere but then and there I can feel their utmost closeness and I'm afraid of the betrayal that comes with the confession, with the absurdity which I've come to replace with a mad tranquility - it is about writing from a different perspective, that of the radical thinker that is no longer interested in the question of finding a home in the world, but rather concerned with the 'lovers of the world', rather than with the love of the world. Academic writing is of course no solution to this problem, but thinking itself provides an answer that doesn't answer, it is only a manifold questioning in which the countenances come alive again and the paradoxicality of the writing is simply a technical device by which one joints the time in the unseparatedness of his own life from that of the others - thinking is no longer a solitary business, it knows no detachment from the world and can only think his own climax and anti-climax not necessarily in the company of people, but in the plurality of being, in the plurality of persons. I keep re-reading notes from the last year and ever since the Midrash on 'Dror Y'ikra' I've been consumed by this Midrash of Love. But herein my failure: It is impossible to construct a Midrash without a previous conversation to comment on, and it is this previous and private conversation what my mind is looking for, heading toward.

The pieces of the conversation come often fragmentarily (just like Benjamin's descriptions of Modernity and Arendt's phenomenologies of our social life) and need to enjoin themselves together in a moment, so that the conversation can leave the philosopher and become part of the objects of the world. No better example than the Book of Ruth: The friendship (in the Roman sense) that builds an artifact on earth and opens the gate of worldly love, of unreflected love and only thus can the whole narrative lead to the very last verse: David, and by tour de force to the Messianic times. I had never been to assued until this day of the incredible continuity in a person's mind on the condition of sincerity - and this sincerity is not about truth or lie, it is about never giving up the expectation of the conversation being shaped and formed. 'Speech' so to say, is the most radical theology and it can't confess any intimacy because then a life is lived so that all the intimate is only public and the public is lived only on the private level - the assurance of a political tragedy. My time has come to start gathering the pegs of seven long years of Exile and build them into a conversation. A 'nunc stans' for scholarship and life. I'm not assured I'll finished the task (yet I'm assured about its failure) but enough compassion has been gathered from them, as to give it a try. I can't stop thinking about the questions my beloved ones ask, while I can't furnish any answers I must try and provide them for myself, as an extreme individual - one that doesn't start a conversation with an 'I'.

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