Tuesday, January 12, 2016

L’intelligence des fleurs (Maeterlinck + Smullyan & William James)



pictures taken in Guarda do Embaú & Torres by A/Z (for more see here);
Lied by Webern;

"For Lallemant, the life of perfection is a life lived at the same time in the infinite and the finite... This ideal is the highest which a rational being can conceive... But when they discussed the practical problems involved in the realization of this ideal, Lallemant and his disciples displayed a narrow and self-stultifying rigorism. The 'nature' which is to be united with the divine is not nature in its totality, but a strictly limited segment of human nature (a talent for study, or for preaching, for business or for organization). Nohuman nature finds no place in Surin and is only passingly referred by Rigoleuc... And yet Christ told his followers to consider the lilies, and to considere them in an almost Taoist spirit, not as emblems of something all too human, but as blessedly other..."
Huxley (Devils of Loudun)
"Nineteenth century chemists were at great pains to analyse opium and isolate its alkaloids, rather like a child pulling a watch to pieces to see what makes it go. They succeeded, but the results were not altogether wholesome. Morphine has much more direct hypnotic effect than opium; its action is speedier and more violent; but it is also a very dangerous drug, and its effects are often disastrous. The action of morphine is sensibly modified by the other twenty odd alkaloids which exist in opium. The intoxicating effect of alcohol differs according to whether one absorbs it in Richebourg '29 or in synthetic gin. An even more startling example comes from Venezuela, where running messengers chew coco leaves, cover their hundred miles a day, and sleep till they are rested. They have no bad reaction, and they do not acquire the habit. Cocaine is a different story. The adepts of the Tarot would say, quite simply, 'We are alive and the plant is alive, so we can make friends. If you kill the plant first, you are asking for trouble.'"
Aleister Crowley (The Book of Thoth)
"Les femmes achuar ne 'produisent' pas les plantes qu'elles cultivent: elles ont avec elles un commerce de personne à personne, s'adressant à chacune pour toucher son âme et ainsi se la concilier, favoriser sa croissance et l'aider dans les écueils de la vie, tout comme le fait une mère avec ses enfants."
Philippe Descola (Par-delà nature et culture) 
"Plants, flowers, trees. They cannot move. They are a chorus singing the juices of the earth and the rays of the sun. But the animal world is all movement, from slow to fast—zigzag. This is a true dance of movement to honor the immobile world of plants."
Scriabin (Sabaneeff/Faubion Bowers)
"Le lis est né, selon la légende, du lait blanc et pur d'Héra que tétait Héraclès enfant et dont des gouttes étaient tombées à terre. Aphrodite, jalouse de cette blancheur, y aurait ajouté un pistil."
Michèle Bilimoff (Enquête sur les Plantes Magiques)
"Las piernas se me han vuelto leñosas y los pulgares del pie pugnan dentro de las alpargatas por incrustarse en la tierra..."
Mauricio Rosencof
"And maybe wisdom and madness do look very similar, at some point."
Monica Gagliano (Do Plants Have Something to Say? NYTimes)

Stephen George:
"Kahl reckt der baum 
im winterdunst 
sein frierend leben.
Laß deinen traum 
auf stiller reise 
vor ihm sich heben!
Er dehnt die arme -
Bedenk ihn oft 
mit dieser gunst,
daß er im harme
daß er im eise 
noch frühling hofft."

"Pis en métal élastique laissant passer goutte à goutte la rosée d'éros qui descend vers la chambre chaude sur les plan[t]s d'écoulement lent et s'imprègne de l'oxygène nécessaire à l'explosion..."
Marcel Duchamp
"... Zeami explains first the timely flower, the charming beauty in the boy's body. He then discusses the temporary flower, the resolute beauty mastered by the well-trained youth. Finally he moves on to the true flower which does not wither away in spite of the decline of the body... flower remaining on the old bones."
Yasuo Yuasa
Regarding flowers, I also like this painting of Joaquín Torres Garcia: Naturaleza muerta (1927).

Regarding horses:
"Naquele dia, quando caí no rio... quando me levantei foi como se tivesse nascido da água... Qualquer coisa agitava-se em mim e era certamente meu corpo apenas. Mas num doce milagre tudo se torna transparente e isso era certamente minha alma também. Nesse instante eu estava verdadeiramente no meu interior e havia silêncio. Só que meu silêncio, compreendi, era um pedaço do silêncio do campo. E eu não me sentia desamparada. O cavalo de eu caíra, esperava-me junto ao rio."
Clarice Lispector
"... el aborigen llegó a establecer tal contacto con los caballos que fueron el complemento esencial en los malones. Claro que los indios no daban a sus 'fletes' el mismo trato que los españoles; no los domaban, los amansaban con mucha paciencia, acostumbrando al animal a sentir la presencia de su dueño y su mano sobre el lomo, hasta lograr que perdieran todos los miedos y recelos."
Liliana de Denaro (Buscando la identidad cultural cordobesa)
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"...échapper par le haut à la fatalité du bas; éluder, transgresser la lourde et sombre loi, se délivrer, briser l’étroit sphère, inventer ou invoquer des ailes..." (: 4).
"Nous avons là un curieux exemple des erreurs, des tâtonnements, des expériences et des petits mécomptes, assez fréquents, de la nature: car il faut ne l’avoir guère étudiée pour affirmer que la nature ne se trompe jamais" (11-12).
"...chaque fleur, afin de maintenir intacte son espèce, sécrète des toxines qui détruisent ou stérilisent tout les pollens étrangers. C’est, à peu près, tou ce que nous voyons; mais ici, comme en toutes choses, le véritable et grand miracle commence où s’arrête notre regard" (: 66).
"On dirait vraiemnt que les idées viennent aux fleurs de la même façon qu’elles nous viennent. Elles tâtonnent dans la même nuit, elles rencontrent les mêmes obstacles, la même mauvaise volonté, dans le même inconnu. Elles connaissent les mêmes lois, les mêmes déceptions, le mêmes triomphes lents et difficiles... Elles luttent comme nous, contre une grande force indifférente qui finit par les aider..." (72-73).
"Voilà donc une fleur qui connaît et exploite les passions des insectes" (: 83).
"Dire, par exemple, comme nous sommes tentés de le faire, qu’une survie sans conscience équivaut à l’anéantissement, c’est trancher a priori et sans réflexion ce problème de la conscience, le principal et le plus obscur de tous ceux qui nous intéressent" (: 304).
Maeterlinck, Maurice. L’intelligence des fleurs. Paris: Fasquelle Éditeurs, 1907.
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"…many Buddhists believe in an afterlife without believing in God" (: 11).
"... psychoanalytic notion that the unconscious doesn’t believe in its own death" (: 14).
"... those who most wave the flag of rationality are those with the most irrational prejudices… The most rational people I know have the good sense to know when rationality is appropriate and when it isn’t" (30-31).
Smullyan, Raymond. Who Knows? A Study of Religious Consciousness. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.
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"'I know not to what physical laws philosophers will some day refer the feelings of melancholy. For myself, I find that they are the most voluptuous of all sensations', writes Saint Pierre" (: 70, n. 2).
"... as Professor Coe well says; for "the ultimate test of religious values is nothing psychological, nothing definable in terms of how it happens, but something... definable only in terms of what is attained..." (: 189).
"The first of these principles is that the old logic of identity never gives us more than a post-mortem dissection of disjecta membra, and that the fullness of life can be construed to thought only by recognizing that every object which our thought may propose to itself involves the notion of some other object which seems at first to negate the first one" (: 347).
James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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