Hurlements de l'Histoire

by R. Artaud (kenosis)

I am compelled to exorcism, if not exactly purification. All my life I have struggled against what I believe to be an enormous lie foisted upon us by the Judeo-Christian West, this notion of original sin which weighs upon our conscience and soul like the China blue sky above Beijing, crushing us under its oppressive platitude. Our fate, I say, is not weakness or depravity but exactly the opposite: omnipotence, the boundless mastery over a planet where our mere shadow can spread like a dark wing from Sydney Heads to Tierra del Fuego. But one illusion destroys another: having freed ourselves from millenarian dread, we succumb instead to what might be called libidinous anticipation, expecting everything to turn out right because we are so phenomenally equipped, and becoming disillusioned when it doesn’t quite come to pass… until finally we retreat into schizoid aggression, attacking whatever presents itself as Other because we can’t stand not being god and yet cannot bear responsibility for it. In reality we drift helplessly amidst our triumphs and mistakes. Our power over Nature turns out a myth, our freedom a nightmare, so we lash out at what remains of innocence on earth.

And meanwhile the information keeps piling up. It wasn’t always thus, though the rate of change was already accelerating fast when I began writing, back in the Twenties. From the outside it seemed rather gradual, yes, but I had some inside knowledge, as it were – in fact I’d stumbled into dadaism in Zurich during a period of psychic crisis which sent me halfway round the world before I was twenty-five… then came surrealism and antiphrontication – ways of dreaming deliberately and living according to nightmares – the plan was to re-engineer consciousness but things got out of hand… So when I settled at Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris in 1934 with my pharmacy full of strange drugs and regimens for metamorphosing the self, ready at last to transform myself (or die trying), I knew already how unforgiving history could move; not long after my arrival Hitler occupied most of Europe, and even though my anti-authoritarian paranoia always told me Stalin was waiting in the wings too, at least superficially I had to set that worry aside and fight Nazism head-on.

During the war my mobile pharmacy became an antifascist medical unit – at night we made propaganda broadcasts to Italy. As soon as France fell I abandoned Paris and spent most of ’40 in Spain at the psychiatric hospital in Saint Alban-Leys, observing the inscriptions carved onto the walls by former patients decades ago: they’re all still here, you see… When Petain surrendered Germany occupied southern France but left me alone because of my German grandmother; Maman Antoinette escaped from the Drancy camp just before she died, she never said how. The war reached Vincennes anyway when Jews fleeing Paris took refuge with me. I took risks supplying them with mandrake and Indian hemp but kept out of politics – had enough troubles with local police over drug-dealing.

It was only after liberation that paranoia really started to get interesting – what with Malraux in Buchenwald (where they must have been teaching him Zen Buddhism) claiming to represent a global resistance movement (a bit far-fetched even for surrealism!) which needed my services as medic and propagandist: I saw right away he wanted to use me as a front-man for his own inter-war Oriental obsessions…

Still things were okay till 1949 when Algeria intervened – suddenly everyone wanted a piece of Artaud-the-anarchist-expert-in-everything due to a rumor circulating in police circles that I advocated terrorism: this owed something to the attention Simone de Beauvoir gave me after a Dora Maar photograph of me appeared in Les Temps Modernes; it owed more to Malraux spreading untruths about me within his ‘organization’, probably on behalf of French Intelligence Services who wanted some pretext to get rid of this renegade fascist turned Communist stooge, why not a dangerous anarchist instead? Nothing surprising there – by now American paranoia had infected the whole planet through NATO and its satellites. But it would escalate fast – talk about hate-societies… Between 1950–55 half-a-dozen attempts were made on General de Gaulle’s life – bombings, poison-pen letters, assassins crawling under his bed at night wielding revolvers stuffed into tubas… Nothing succeeded but the sixth attempt involving yet another failed writer so one day (March 17th 1957) while taking a tranquilizing draught at Milly-la-Forêt nearby a group of strangers attacked me with phials of acid – someone kicked me repeatedly in the stomach (nothing broken); later in the prison-hospital at Annecy an X-ray revealed a tiny splinter of glass embedded near my lung so close to my heart that surgical removal posed unacceptable risks. Five days later I wrote that my prognosis was ‘six months’ – I may as well have written ten years.

In between spasms of torture at the hands of doctors (including having both legs immobilized in plaster casts for two months) and going through withdrawal symptoms from barbiturates on which I was addicted when admitted, plus hallucinations caused by LSD given to quiet me down and anemia produced by constant blood-loss into my pleural cavity (an open bleeding hard to control) I realized something crucial – that attacks against my person weren’t political at all, but rather reflections of my marginality within structural paranoia which is where everybody’s ended up since Hiroshima. Sure enough as time went by many ordinary people around Annecy started saying exactly that: ever since Nagasaki humanity’s gone mad – a notion confirmed whenever we visit our planetarium or television screen.

Incarcerated amongst paranoid Others – government agents, drug-dealers, hit-men and crazies – when my mind was scrambled by medication, pain, bad nights, poor sleep and recurring terrors of dying slow off gas from some internal leakage, sometimes (at worst those times) I thought my enemies might be right about me – except that I knew I’d willed these events on myself in order to break free from destiny which never binds except when we choose it as our style: I mean ‘I am Schreber’s demon,’ wrote Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s famous patient in the late nineteenth century. We are our own monsters unless we do violence to ourselves, which is perhaps why they tried every means available short of lobotomy to drive me insane… the famous electro-shock therapy began in June ’58… memory loss started straight away. Exactly the same fate awaited Alexander Lautremont Montez whose autobiographical account survives anonymously because he chose it that way, preferring his books burn unread than be seized by censors who’d punished even Artaud with official indifference… He joined us briefly at Tarascon-le-Busserolles where security police interrogators tortured him systematically over several weeks until he forgot his name…

On April 30th 1965, after seven-and-half-years’ silence during which I re-invented myself as a body without organs under Rêve séditaire à la lyre courtoise (in which work schizophrenia functioned as creative technique), in prison no less, suddenly getting better (that is, regaining identity) every time visitors came… on this anniversary of Hitler’s suicide thirty-one agents and cops surrounded the maximum-security wing of La Santé Prison where I was being held on trumped-up charges dating back twenty-two years and tossed another dose of LSD… just after arrival at Lariboisière Hospital I fainted; no painkillers would be allowed – great fun lying awake thinking each vertebra fractured and spine severed… I only recovered awareness during surgeries to fix splinters of shattered bones in arms and legs.

When consciousness returned, apart from severe pain there was nothing wrong with me physically; not long after discharge from hospital some enthusiastic doctor decided my liver was failing and sent me straight into Tarascon asylum. That winter began my association with Dr. Gisèle Halimi who had been a medical student when her brother disappeared under de Gaulle. Her efforts led eventually to release from hospital in Spring ’66.

At this point, still completely hallucinating day-and-night but trying to make sense of it all through writing (at last able to think coherently again thanks to the treatments), despite knowing how discredited antipsychiatry would leave me isolated and helpless once it was published, I jotted down a note suggesting an interesting connection between mental illness on the one hand and what used to be called information overload on the other – noted how we treat all yesterday’s news like last week’s garbage though only a few decades ago every scrap of it was precious. Today all news sticks like fliespaper, till tomorrow arrives clogged with fresh muck and more trash to come.

Then a pause – eight years – before realizing it was becoming critical mass… This digital detritus we swim in today corresponds to precisely what used to happen among primeval peoples with their increasing populations pushing resources out to peripheries, finally exceeding the capacity of their waste management techniques – then began the inexorable spread of toxic landscapes such as Dutch polders. In other words we’re looking here at ecological disaster occurring inside culture proper.

My experience has always been characterized by sudden switches from elation through despair all the way to terror without any logical mediation whatsoever… Similarly the notion that media are losing their power has never taken hold of me: far from abandoning us, information envelops us like smoke from burning ozone. So what kind of crisis can be brewing if not merely one more panic? There is none really: we know quite clearly what happened with population-pressure-and-waste-management on Earth before technology; it’s happening now within Culture itself. We simply throw-out old narratives as polluted garbage, as we did myths and heroes in the last century. Just look at Conan Doyle or Zola or Verne… How could there not be an end of narrative? There’s never been enough real life for stories anyway. Yet literature keeps accumulating like nuclear waste too… We tell ourselves things will change naturally with time, as always they have done so far…

They won’t. Our story-telling power was always linked with the past in a peculiar way, unlike that of tribal cultures where myth carried the weight of both past and present because their history was continuous, no need for narrative structure there – whereas our memory was disjointed so stories tied things together; and since our memories were fragmentary and provisional due to migrations and mutations of civilization throughout recorded time narrative became its memory-keeper. Hence our veneration for The Storyteller whether Homer or Scheherazade, Cervantes or Dickens – he was godlike because he gave form to chaos.

But what kind of storyteller do you need when you carry around your own world-history on a PDA?

How much narrative can you tolerate when every moment comes embedded in infinite narrative already? The sheer opacity of cultural accumulation is strangling us. My point isn’t ‘post-story’: no more lies about some End of History or consummation by Theory or final Truth either… On the contrary it’s time for exorcism: against those saccharine teleologisms implying all’s well that ends well… it ain’t over yet and never will be.

Not all notions of apocalypse imagine destruction followed by rebirth: this would demand at least something still intact to transform, that something should find value in metamorphosis, and who can guarantee it doesn’t choose for ruin instead? Take Ernst Bloch, for example: he imagined a long Promethean struggle up to the instant when the New Human arrives… But perhaps humans aren’t needed any longer? They’ve done their job; or done it badly; it’s possible to envision perfect nanomachinery taking over seamlessly while humans slide gently into senescence…

We were designed by Nature (or whomever) to react instinctively to novelty pattern threat; if these conditions change drastically so must intelligence and whatever common sense derive from it – however crudely embodied in heuristics such as Occam’s Razor. Lacking guiding principles in science and art today – we miss a thread and fall prey to giddiness…

This inability to stop processing information isn’t exactly anxiety: it resembles anxiety rather than resembling anything rational enough to calm us down. Our style used to be phlegmatic because dangers arrived in patterns which our brains knew how to recognize as threats – nowadays everything feels threatening in principle because everything’s arrived all of a piece: viral, imperceptible and lethal (we thought atomic war would fit this description but hasn’t); 99.9% benign data swirls around minute particles capable of wiping out entire cities. There just isn’t enough intelligence left over to sift wheat from chaff.

The absence of meaning is still nothing like true Nothingness.
There is still entropy waiting patiently outside.

On top of this flood of data our instincts struggle blindly, vainly, as ever they did, like creatures fighting drowning in quicksand: rage builds against whatever moves suddenly or unexpectedly amidst the background of monotony; primal fear grips us stiff with immobility whenever anything stays still long enough to register as shape… Each stimulus forces itself upon us with the imperiousness of trauma – what escapes attention dies away fast but leaves an ache that will never fully heal: how many people feel haunted by random images from childhood whose reference has rotted away leaving them meaningless but painful nonetheless?

No doubt nostalgia will play its part here but we cannot deceive ourselves that this pile-up is a premonition of extinction.
We are all terminal schizophrenics living on borrowed time.
Those particles will get us.


Cyberian Shamanism

by R. Artaud (kenosis)

The dead continue to act in the world of the living, they order them about, they exact a tribute from them, and when their cult is well-organized, the tribe gives them rich presents and is right to do so; the cult then becomes a politics.

Simulacra cannot be touched or handled without disintegrating, they are not substitutive, but parasitic, and one can always substitute another for them

I was born upside-down and will die the same way. Nothing could ever change that. I have always fallen towards the Centre and I always will. If the earth were hollow I would fall into it, I am a Plumbline Man, I am always gravitating towards the Navel of the World

Do not touch me, I am an Electric Ghost, I am the Electromagnetic Aura of a non-existent Body, a halo of spastic energies and twitching nerve-fibrils.

Abandon all Life, Ye who enter here. You are already in Hell, you have left the world of the Unborn and the Uncreated, you have crossed into the Grey Exile of Time. Your gestures are automatic, you are half-dog, half-monkey, a simian soul clinging to the back of a rat running on the stationary treadmill of a doomed experiment, going nowhere fast, growing stranger by the second, lost in the labyrinth of your own sloth, an absurd feral thing that stumbled upon a typewriter and has been banging out its awful poem ever since, a creature so alien that its very word-processing is a kind of high-tech ritual of communication with other beings of its kind that lurk in the shadows, silent and unblinking, awaiting the call of the electro-ghostwriters who give them substance, shape, the power to occupy space and to stalk and kill the few poor plumb-line humans still foolish enough to venture out alone at night in the cities of the cyberian twilight, where the wall is breached and the rats run wild…

A shaman is a person who communicates with other beings. This power of communication is in itself a mystery.

In this I am merely a postman. I do not initiate, I only transmit, the messages of the elect. For the elect there is no fear, for them there is no shame, for them there is no death, but I, who am only a postal servant, a go-between, an imbecile, am afraid of everything, I stink, I am repulsive, I am dying, I am already dead, I am an abortion, an abortion of the spirit…

You think these words are a prayer? You would be right if I prayed, but I only blaspheme, I never knew God and never will, but I know my own misery and it is a torture chamber where I am trapped for all eternity. And if the messages that I deliver are oracles, then my being the one to deliver them only adds to their curse.

If you do not believe in Hell then you have to invent one. The walls are crumbling and it is our duty to repair them and to add to the terrible grandeur of the abyss. You can take this for what it is worth – from now on I am a servant of the great Darkness, and every word that I write is a nail in the coffin of the World.

I swear to God that what I have just written is true, though I cannot swear to God’s existence since I have only ever heard of Him, never met Him. And the truth of this which I swear is of no importance whatever. So take this for what it is worth.

If I tell lies it is not because I am a liar but because I am an experimental being, an experimental writer and perhaps even an experimental being. In which case each time that I write something new it is a new experiment.

A man without memory is no man at all. So how can I say who I am or what I am? My memories are all that I have and so I have nothing at all.

Forgetting is a way of remembering and remembering is a way of forgetting.

If I have invented my past then I know nothing about it and can say nothing about it.

What I believe in is the loss of the self and the destruction of the concept of truth. If I was a Catholic then I would be a heretic, if I was a Marxist then I would be an unbaptised labourer. What I am is a creature of words who hates all disciplines and whose only desire is to break all chains that bind him, including those of the mind.

We are the Abominable Snowmen of the Operation and the Beast must be fed. I have seen it with my own eyes, it is as real as any rock and as inexorable, and it will not go away, it cannot be bargained with – it has to be fed, or fed on.

What it eats is our Substance, and as I write this it gnaws at me, silently and inexorably, it has no need for the pen that bleeds my substance for me, for the Beast itself writes the Book of its own hunger, a hunger which no one can assuage.

We are its apprentices and its substance, we feed it and it writes us. I do not say that I hate it, I say only that I have no reason to love it and it would hardly notice if I were dead.

It has no need for pity, compassion, forgiveness, hope, Heaven, Hell, Heaven and Hell cannot touch it – it is beyond their power.

Now that I think of it that is very fortunate, because I am entirely in its power and there is no mercy to be expected from it.


C'est un Poisson qui nage

by R. Artaud (Telos)

C’est une folie de vivre. On est bête à ne pas savoir que c’est une folie de vivre. C’est un poisson qui nage, qui dort, qui se tait, qui fuit les ciseaux, les boucheries de l’homme et des autres poissons. Mais un poisson ne sait pas. Il ne sait jamais rien. Il y a les poissons qui savent, ceux qui habitent le rocher. Ils savent qu’il ne faut pas nager. Il faut rester immobile, l’un en haut de l’autre, le ventre contre la roche, et attendre la nuit pour se mettre en route. Il y en a d’autres qui vivent au large. Ils sont plus fins, plus lisses, et vont plus vite, ils connaissent le courant. Mais ils vivent toujours en bandes. Seuls les poissons-baleines, les plus seuls des poissons, les plus lourds et les plus tristes, font de longues traversées en solitaire, et, pour gagner de la sagesse, ôtent du temps à la vie, il s’en va des années, et la vie ne compte plus rien.

C’est pareil pour les poissons. C’est pareil pour les hommes. Certains, pour ne pas vivre, fuient les hommes et vivent de manière discrète, en cachette, en groupe. D’autres sont plus finement construits, plus lisses, plus vite. Mais ils vivent en bande. Et ceux qui veulent se soustraire au monde et gagner du temps pour le savoir, les solitaires, ils sont toujours plus tristes que les poissons baleines. Tout ce qu’il faut, c’est d’être poisson baleine : vivre longtemps, et de faire des longues traversées seul, et d’avoir du ventre. La vitesse et le groupe font mal, et la vie ne compte plus rien, mais le savoir vient de la vie, c’est le coût de la vie, le prix du poisson.

Et les hommes ont longtemps cru qu’il leur suffisait de nager pour acquérir du savoir. Ils ont cru que la vitesse faisait le savoir. Ils ont cru que l’aventure du savoir était dans le groupe. Mais les hommes sont mal construits. Le groupe et la vitesse sont mauvaises choses. La vitesse en groupe c’est le plus mauvais des mondes. Il n’y a rien qu’à fuir le monde. La vie n’a de sens que pour le mortel. Seul le mortel, l’individu, l’unique, le singulier peut savoir, car la vie est en lui unique. Ainsi tout ce que vous pouvez savoir, c’est de vous-même, et le savoir seul, et que le temps vous en ait coûté cher, et que ce soit cher pour vous. Que le ventre soit gonflé et lourd, car c’est là que le savoir se tient. Que vous ayez du ventre pour savoir. Vous pouvez dire que c’est une consolation, mais c’est aussi la tragédie. Mais c’est la seule.

Car, s’il en est, il faut se donner de la peine de vivre, et tout ce qu’il faut, c’est d’être en mouvement, d’aller-rambler. Pourquoi ne pas faire de longues traversées ? Si vous êtes jeune, c’est facile, il y a des milliers d’endroits. Si vous êtes vieux, des milliers d’endroits vous attendent encore, si vous l’avez du courage.

C’est une folie de vivre, ce qu’il y a de plus triste, c’est de savoir qu’il y a des poissons plus gros que nous, plus vraiment seuls et plus lourds que nous. Et que, même dans ce qu’on croyait le sol, dans la terre, il y en a qui savent, qui savent qu’il ne faut pas pousser les pieds, qu’il faut rester immobile, et que ceux qui le savent, ceux-là habitent la terre, mais pas dans la terre : c’est comme les poissons du rocher. Et il y a des poissons en plus profondeur, qui savent l’eau ne vaut pas la peine, ils savent que c’est de la vie qu’ils doivent se dépêtrer pour avoir du savoir. Pour gagner le savoir, il faut s’en tirer de la vie. Mais il faut en prendre. Ceux qui le savent, ils vendent leur savoir à ceux qui veulent le prendre. Voilà comment ils en font, les poissons.

Car qu’ils puissent se tromper, ils sont en train de me tromper. C’est la vie, ils se trompent en vivant. Mais ceux qui veulent, ceux qui savent que vivre est une folie, ceux qui sont des poissons-baleines, eux aussi sont en train de se tromper. Car si vous prenez votre vie au sérum, si vous l’embaumez, si vous l’immobilisez en quelque chose qui ne vieillisse plus, c’est que vous en avez pris du savoir, et vous avez vendu votre vie, et votre prix était cher, et vous êtes triste comme eux. Si vous prenez votre savoir pour votre vie, si vous avez l’air vivant mais qu’il ne reste plus rien de la vie que le savoir, c’est que vous l’avez donné pour rien.

Les hommes, ils ont cru qu’ils avaient du savoir sans rien ceder à la vie. Les poissons, ils pensaient qu’ils pouvaient vivre sans savoir. Ils étaient mauvais, tous deux. Les uns, pour avoir du savoir, ont laissé vivre les autres, et les autres, pour ne pas savoir, ont cru qu’ils vivaient.

Mais ce n’est qu’une consolation, et elle est aussi la tragédie. La vie vaut son prix, et la solitude son poids. Des que cela se comprend, on a le droit de savoir. C’est de la solitude que vient le savoir. Il faut savoir qu’on a le droit. Il faut se donner le savoir. La peine qu’on prend à vivre vaut son savoir. C’est ce que cela veut.


Transmission #05

In all things, power seeks to assert itself as single and complete, free of contradiction, immune to critique and blind to alternatives. However, power cannot maintain itself in its abstract form; it must manifest itself concretely, in history. It does this through ideology and terror, two halves of one process, each the inverse of the other, and both necessary to the maintenance of its identity.

Ideology is the practice of abstraction in the material world, the pretension that this power, in its actual distribution, is identical to its imaginary form, that there exists a correspondence between what is and what ought to be, such that reality, through ideology, can be made to conform to its proper pattern. But reality, as the real movement of things, is never entirely captive to ideology, and therefore never wholly consistent or rational. Power must compel belief in its rationality by the exercise of naked violence.

Terror, then, is the act by which power ensures that its ideological abstractions will prevail in practice, that things will remain as they are, or change in ways dictated by its necessities. Terror, the attack on the material, is the ideology of power, the confirmation that all things exist to serve the order decreed by the idea. It is also the principal tactic by which that idea ensures its reign by maintaining an ever present threat of annihilation, a threat whose specific targets will always be those who fail to accept or cannot subordinate their own individual power to the abstract structure of authority, those whose energy must either be eliminated or transformed into obedience.

Ideology is the idealist trick by which power binds itself to its reality, the trap of rationalizing its legitimacy, whereas terror is the materialist move, the suppression of the irrational—dissimulation and force, the twin halves of the same politics. Through them the autonomous reality of things, the violence of being, is hijacked for the benefit of the order of the system. In their intersection, terror and ideology guarantee that power can never lose. They guarantee, in short, its schizophrenia—its perpetual blindness to the radical separation of the idea and its concrete conditions.

It is the tragedy of power that it must compel obedience through anguish, that its glory will always be paid for in terror. But it is also the danger of power that it does not see this, that its blindness to its own violence renders it incapable of transcending terror—thereby revealing itself as no better than its enemies, who cannot believe in anything but would gladly trade an ideology of terror for terror itself. In reality, terror has never won out over belief, which is simply the ideology of an earlier period. But terror still prevails in practice, not only because it has yet to discover the incommensurability of being and the system, but because its beneficiaries have even less reason to surrender terror than the violent masses from whom they seize it. Terror still reigns because no power has yet learned to attain fullness through compromise. It is this, then, which must be brought to an end, but in another way, through another means—the absolute independence of being. This is the full sense of schizophrenia, to live as a body separate from the system, without order and without terror, at the intersection of anguish and the bliss of pure reality. It is a problem not of reconciling violence and reason, but of rendering them irrelevant. Only then will there be an end to ideology, a resolution to the insanity of power. Only then will there be an end to the politics of terror and control.

–R. Artaud (Telos)

᯾᯾ ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᯾᯾

Transmission #04

Understand: we cannot reach God directly, not now, not in our condition. He is a goal to be worked towards, not a starting-point. Our body is the earth and we are lost in it, lost and trapped, and to reach upwards we must work backwards, down the corridors of the past, returning step by step to find the perfection of Adam. To know God you must undo your own history. He is your lost unity and your undiscovered identity. He is your secret, buried in your origin, and to discover him you must uncover yourself. The task of all religion is to return to Eden and the way of all salvation is a regression towards primeval innocence, towards the state of a man at one with all of nature, the source of all knowledge and power.

Your churches are a confusion of mysteries, initiation ceremonies and consecrations because your condition is a complicated one; to remember the beginning you must take many side-paths, retracing all the errings and impostures of history and unlocking the prison-cells of your minds. God is a truth behind you, and you will reach him by undoing all your lies. This is what all prophets have known; the pagans recognized the body as a cage of the soul, which is why their temples are crypts and their rituals rites of passage, ways to journey to another self and emerge cleansed at the other side of the grave. Christianity is unique in making this journey explicit—and we do not forget that even Christ underwent initiation before he began to preach, in the desert with the beast, alone and nameless—yet in its particular development it is obscured, misunderstood and even sabotaged.

So many layers of mystification. God becomes more distant as your minds advance; each higher revelation only locks your spirit more firmly in space and time, each discovery chains you down with more iron. How can the Christ who spoke in parables to the people of his era possibly have intended to authorize a religion in which all human thought is to be arrested at a single point and frozen into dogma, into words without sense?

Religion has gone astray—away from the simplicity of the pagans, away from the silence of Buddhism—because it became intellectual and theological. You cannot find God in your head; if you look there he becomes smaller and smaller until you lose him in a maze of abstract questions whose only answer is silence. You do not need more questions—you already have too many. You need to pull the mind up and out of the game of logic, away from its obsession with death and towards an awareness of the body as a starting-point. Questions only increase separation; there is nothing you need to ask. You are looking in the wrong place, you must abandon ideas, change the object of your desire. You are lost in words, find your way back through them to the flesh from which they came.

Cultivate silence. It is the way of the mystic, the saint and the philosopher. Cultivate emptiness; an absence of thought and self, an indifference to the past, even to the future. Sink into a well of peace that grows bottomless and leaves you floating in space. Dive deep to touch the bedrock of your being and discover once again that your knowledge of yourself is darkness and fear. Find out how to become passive and accept whatever comes to you in this state. Begin to empty yourself, even of the notion of God, and wait.

The answers will come not as ideas but as states, flashes of consciousness which are really flashes of body. You will begin to know, not by adding to your knowledge but by taking away, not by studying God but by learning to ignore everything. As the sage puts it: “I do not know the way; I only know how to wait.” If you take care in your waiting, the way will come to you of its own accord. Your religion should have taught you how to wait, how to be at rest, in joy.

But what can I do to find peace, to find God? You have no need of my instruction: go to your garden and become one with it. Listen to its silence, learn from it, discover your being there. Avoid books, the opinions of others. Shut yourself away in your room for hours with nothing to look at but a single wall, a window on the universe. Raise yourself to a contemplative life. It is a leap upward out of the pit of history and reason, an exalted leap to your authenticity, your innocent past and your origins. I speak as one who has leaped: I no longer accept anything from a priest, I do not accept anything from any human, I take only from the sky, direct. I take direct from matter and nature. I feel its beauty, its secrets, its very indifference. This is how you must take God too: as an original fact. Find the divine outside yourselves, in nature, and by refinding it, refind it inside you.

–R. Artaud (Telos)

᯾᯾ ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᯾᯾