Inside Proust, away from the world

[We try to discover in things, endeared to us on that account, the spiritual glamour which we ourselves have cast upon them; we are disillusioned, and learn that they are in themselves barren and devoid of the charm which they owed, in our minds, to the association of certain ideas; sometimes we mobilise all our spiritual forces in a glittering array so as to influence and subjugate other human beings who, as we very well know, are situated outside ourselves, where we can never reach them. On cherche à retrouver dans les choses, devenues par là précieuses, le reflet que notre âme a projeté sur elles; on est déçu en constatant qu’elles semblent dépourvues dans la nature, du charme qu’elles devaient, dans notre pensée, au voisinage de certaines idées; parfois on convertit toutes les forces de cette âme en habileté, en splendeur pour agir sur des êtres dont nous sentons bien qu’ils sont situés en dehors de nous et que nous ne les atteindrons jamais.]

M. Proust – Swann’s Way

I put that in brackets as I had to contain these thoughts in something. Every chapter on Proust’s novel is what he found inside, in his head, in his very own associations. You can see how deep he descended as he mourned that people really differ from how we imagine them. He only dreamed of ‘mentally eating’ everyone, taking everything in, dismantling all the phisical outlines. He was a romantic genius yearning for the power to play with the world as if it was clay. Or his imagined clay, even more flexible.

You might even say that he had an obssesion of doing what only the time itself was able to do; that is to effortlessly reshape all things on earth, from tiniest grains of sand to the highest, never  unfrozen mountains.

read on —->

        *V. Turner – The Passage of the St. Gothard*

Interestingly he says that being outside of us puts other people in a place where we can’t reach them. The whole reach of this characters is limited to their heads. In other words the world outside makes the impression of being  hostile and too far away. We lack any mental control over it.

That might be his idea of any human contact:

eclios17        #L’Eclisse

A helpless introvert. It’s like an unwell solipsist, who was torn apart from everything else but later his dream was shredded too. Reality, a very uncomfortable reality, glimpsed into his dark cave. This post will have no music inserted, I don’t want to hear any voices, any instruments, any singing. As a matter of fact try a two minute silence- how does it feel? Do we always connect silence  with loneliness becouse communication is so primal and if there is anybody around there is also speech, chat, laughter? That’d be one happy world if it’d be so. Maybe it’s a though based in the old times?

He was always inclined to take life as lightly as he could, to cross bridges when he came to them, pay no heed for the future, even when everything seemed under threat.

F. Kafka – The Trial

This is just the opposite of what we speak. The life that is led outside. No artificial worries meaning no problems generated by the mind itself, a mind separated from the practical situations. Indeed it might be a great way to live unless you… simply can’t live that way. There is another aspect well-known to those philosophically inclined. We should suppose that David Foster Wallace would know more about it, more than everyone else. Here’s proof.

Knowing that internal stress could cause failure on the exam merely set up internal stress about the prospect of internal stress. There must be some other way to deal with knowladge of the disastrous consequences fear and stress could bring about. Some answer or trick of the will: the ability not to think about.

D.F. Wallace – The Pale King

His characters provide the best examples. Caught in a dreary torment, seemingly invisible from outside. Proust only wanted to force his subtle aeesthethics on the world outside of him, Kafka’s Joseph K. seemed to be happy without making any fuss about anything, yet we know that the punishment that ensued left him six feet under, not without hours of emotional suffering leading to it. We arrive at the treshhold of present times, with DFW and his lifelong depression issues. He set out to look for solutions. What state would put a man to rest. A perfect entertainment or maybe , as in the Pale King, a developed immunity to boredom. As boredom was the reason for too many thoughts, for too much trouble in the mind and a long list of other disasters. He tried to direct us, or so I think, to the road between boredom (source of unwanted thoughts) and mindless consumption of pleasure (TV? Interet?) which kills the wrong thinking together with the right thinking as well as one’s self and individuality.

Look for the equilibrium of the mind. This is the only lesson for today. Aristotle knew as much, he however, never suspected that the mind is in fact a separate issue (tissue?)

 O. Redon – In the balance

7 comments on “Inside Proust, away from the world

  1. Equilibrium of the mind…I love that. i really enjoyed this piece. Thanks for contributing it.

  2. Stuff Jeff Reads says:

    Excellent post! I read excerpts from “Swan’s Way” in college and loved it. I always wanted to read more of Proust. He has just climbed a few rungs on my reading list. 😉

  3. Laurie Keim says:

    This is a great post and one that researches so neatly the question of perspective.
    Laurie keim

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