Yes, I know, we are all against axioms, guarantees, certainties.
But can we really live without sharing our being against—without depending upon this sharing?
The search for identity is not always oriented toward the mass, toward the great crowds of followers. Even the small group can become our safe space. What’s more, the very refusal of every group and of any form of membership can construct its own arrogant, solitary radicality through the play of recognition.
My stubborn solitude is fed by what it opposes; it even—or maybe, above all—feeds on criticisms.
To appear to be against someone or something that seems to assume the features of authority—a charismatic person, a common truth—is not always an act of revolt. Its origins could be, for example, the desire to receive part of the light of that which one challenges by taking the role of challenger. As if saying: I beg you to notice that I have no leaders.
I believe that the reality of not being esteemed (which is to say valued and measured)—even in the form of a certain hostility—by a group has greater significance in the renunciation of revolt than repression. And there is no resigned desistence that does not degenerate into resentment, quick to assemble in new, spiteful herds.
Two or three words, the same ones, repeated in some meeting, and there they are joining the discussion that unfailingly ensues, in hope that other words—two or three—will replace them.
All right, it is as you say, I am going too far. But doesn’t seem to you that this all consolidates the group and calcifies thought?
Starting from myself, what is said to me always seems so imprecise and reassuring, that hearing it continually repeated is frankly too much.
Deepening relations of affinity would have to mean making difference emerge (otherwise, on what do we base affinity?). And yet one doesn’t escape homogeneity (the fact that some anarchist use this word in a positive sense makes my head spin) by refusing conferences, membership cards and other blatantly formal fixations.
The mechanisms—I hesitate to say rhythms, but perhaps they really are rhythms—, the rhythms, then, of participation and compromise stress our lives well beyond measure. Thinking for ourselves, as Lessing expressed it, is never the outcome.
What would the desire to rebuild be if it never leads us to destruction? What would it be if it anchored us to the role of destroyer?
Gottfried Benn said that the one who loves ruins also loves statues. And with regard to statues, Benn, it was understood.
Perhaps it is anxiety about the future that transforms individuals into puppets of a group. A life considering needs a solid basis. Obedience and calculation live under the sign of an eternal tomorrow.
But aren’t ideas—coagulants of language—giving us the awareness of time?
Thought is born only when desire grows pale. Living the moment, the immediacy of existence, completely, does one have no future, does one have no time—does one have no ideas?
If all values collapse (is it possible?), only “because it pleases me, that’s why” remains.
So many acrobatics to discover what children have always known.
The relation of mutuality—in no way a moral good, in no way a duty—is maybe really a relationship between children.
Translated by Wolfi Landstreicher.