File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1997/blanchot.9712, message 30

Date: Sun, 14 Dec 1997 15:00:45 -0800
Subject: Re:  MB:  Writer and Place

Michael relayed:

>Why for example, should personal attacks be considered "merely apparent utilities"?

To which I might respond:

To read a personal attack as nothing more nor less than what we
recognize as a personal attack is to read it in what I see as merely a
utilitarian, or mediated manner.

What do we do when a writer strikes us as confrontational, egoistic, or
in other ways we deem inappropriate?  Are we necessarily restricted from
other readings?  What do you say to those who read you as deceptively
lucid?  Even I read myself as confused, tortured, or silly, but my role
as someone emulative of MB, among others, is I think to deliberate
further when I read;  to refuse to settle or rely upon common
determinations.  I see this as an attempt to be more fully human and so
less compromised perhaps, by political, scientific, or artistic
motives.  To my mind then, anyone belongs to this list who attempts in
whatever way "to address problems," as Foucault puts it, "effectively,
really; and to pose them with the greatest possible rigor, with the
maximum complexity and difficulty so that a solution [such as
excommunication or other tried, true and automatic forms of discipline,
or simple reaction] does not arise all at once".

I want to caution subscribers to this list against narrow or the most
ready-to-hand readings.  Rather than dealing with what we immediately
recognize then, our work of reading and writing should be carried out,
as Foucault says further, "with the people directly involved; and the
right to speech and political [transactional?] imagination must be
returned to them."  This is in the interests, he says, of renewal;
something impossible to accomplish in the terms by which such problems
are commonly addressed.

You say it is "great" to read what you already understand.  If you don't
understand it, "who cares", as if you never imagine that comfort and
satisfaction could be dangerous or offensive.  Foucault, on the other
hand, says that we must "carefully guard against making the law".  That
we should concern ourselves instead "with determining problems,
unleashing them, revealing them within the framework of such complexity
as to shut the mouths of prophets and legislators:  all those who speak
_for_ others and _above_ others."  This because the problems we face are
directly connected to people's lives.  The legitimacy of what we are
doing appears only "through concrete questions, difficult cases...
reflections and evidence."  To my mind then, the more comfortable we
are, the less legitimate we pretend to be.

No, I do not seek to impose my will.  I would rather await your honest
sense of obligation.  Foucault recommends, as does Bataille elsewhere,
that we "proceed a little at a time," introducing "modifications", or
what Bataille calls "_obscure determinations_" that might reveal
solutions, or at least change "the givens of a problem" (Foucault,
_Remarks on Marx:  Conversations with Duccio Trombadori, 1991, pp

No, I'm sorry, but I am so unsure of myself that I can very rarely write
in a less than tortured syntax.  Is it to "stretch" the logos?  It is
certainly not "to go where no man has gone before"!  Quite the
contrary!  My pyrotechics betray only distrust.  I am too selfish to
give you something to puzzle over.  I aim only to motivate and to be
motivated.  Honestly, the 'big points' have all been made.  We were born
with them, and are continually reminded of them by the likes of MB.  I
strive to echo those truths, that simplicity.  If there were no ego (and
I carry mine like a medieval jester's bauble) there would be no
writing.  But if you don't write, you get written.

Every nod a good-faith answer to chaos,

Don Socha


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