IX

Don’t ask for the formula for opening up worlds to you in some syllable like a bent dry branch. Today, we can only tell you what we are not, what we don’t want.

—E. Montale

Life cannot simply be something to cling to. This thought skims through everyone at least once. We have a possibility that makes us freer than the gods: we can quit. This is an idea to be savoured to the end. Nothing and no one is obliging us to live. Not even death. For that reason our life is a tabula rasa, a slate on which nothing has been written, so contains all the words possible. With such freedom, we cannot live as slaves. Slavery is for those who are condemned to live, those constrained to eternity, not for us. For us there is the unknown—the unknown of spheres to be ventured into, unexplored thoughts, guarantees that explode, strangers to whom to offer a gift of life. The unknown of a world where one might finally be able to give away one’s excess self love. Risk too. The risk of brutality and fear. The risk of finally staring mal de vivre in the face. All this is encountered by anyone who decides to put an end to the job of existing.

Our contemporaries seem to live by jobbing, desperately juggling with a thousand obligations including the saddest of all of them—enjoying themselves. They cover up the incapacity to determine their own lives with detailed frenetic activity, the speed that accompanies increasingly passive ways of behaving. They are unaware of the lightness of the negative.

We can choose not to live. That is the most beautiful reason for opening oneself up to life with joy. ‘There is always time to put an end to things; one might as well rebel and play’—is how the materialism of joy talks.

We can choose not to act, and that is the most beautiful reason for acting. We bear within ourselves the potency of all the acts we are capable of, and no boss will ever be able to deprive us of the possibility of saying no. What we are and what we want begins with a no. From it is born the only reason for getting up in the morning. From it is born the only reason for going armed to the assault of an order that is suffocating us.

On the one hand there is the existent, with its habits and certainties. And of certainty, that social poison, one can die.

On the other hand there is insurrection, the unknown bursting into the life of all. The possible beginning of an exaggerated practice of freedom.

Posted By

GrouchoMarxist
Jun 1 2012 20:22

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