uplifting us above ourselves

Where the mind is able to function in an orderly fashion, progressively developing, this activity takes on the significance of a work of art, a human aesthetics. As one grows more aware of this resonance of knowledge in an aesthetics of the mind, as one’s eagerness to learn is matched by an acceleration in the growth of one’s knowledge, a diffuse Prometheanism of a sort associates itself with learning. We learn in general from others and from books; but learning here becomes ours in a deeper sense, uplifting us above ourselves, above ordinary nature.

Bachelard, Gaston. Fragments of a Poetics of Fire. Trans. Kenneth Haltman. Dallas: The Dallas Institute Publications, 1988. 73.

as though we were hunters

Teaching, too, is no longer transmission of a body of useful information, but’s conversation, alone, together, whether in a place appointed or not in that place, whether with those concerned or those unaware of what is being said. We talk, moving from one idea to another as though we were hunters.

Cage, John. A Year from Monday. Middleton, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1967. 21.

draws a circle around the circle/abridged into a word

Every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series. Every general law only a particular fact of some more general law presently to disclose itself. There is no outside, no inclosing wall, no circumference to us. The man finishes his story,—how good! how final! how it puts a new face on all things! He fills the sky. Lo, on the other side rises also a man and draws a circle around the circle we had just pronounced the outline of the sphere. The already is our first speaker not man, but only a first speaker. His only redress is forthwith to draw a circle outside of his antagonist. And so men do by themselves. The result of to-day, which haunts the mind and cannot be escaped, will presently be abridged into a word, and the principle that seemed to explain nature will itself be included as one example of a bolder generalization. In the thought of to-morrow there is a power to upheave all thy creed, all the creeds, all the literatures of the nations, and marshal thee to a heaven which no epic dream has yet depicted. Every man is not so much a workman in the world as he is a suggestion of that he should be. Men walk as prophecies of the next age.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Circles,” Essays and English Traits, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Charles W Eliot, ed. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Company, 1909. Volume 5: 157.

the innermost alchemy of the word

In these phonetic poems we totally renounce the language that journalism has abused and corrupted. We must return to the innermost alchemy of the word, we must even give up the word too, to keep poetry for its last and holiest refuge.

Ball, Hugo. Flight out of Time: A Dada Diary, tr. Ann Raimes (New York: Viking Pres, 1974) p. 71.

Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds

How to begin? At a chosen moment in a vacant country house (mill, abbey, church or castle) not too far from the City of London, we shall foment a kind of cultural “jam session”: out of this will evolve the prototype of our spontaneous university.

The original building will stand deep within its own grounds, preferably on a river bank. It should be large enough for a pilot group (astronauts of inner space) to situate itself, orgasm and genius, and their tools and dream-machines and amazing apparatus and appurtenances; with outhouses for “workshops” large as could accommodate light industry; the entire site to allow for sponatneous architecture and eventual town planning. I underline the last because we cannot place too much emphasis on the fact that “l’art integral ne pourvait se realiser qu’au niveau de l’urbanisme” [integral art cannot be accomplished except on the level of urbanism] (Documents Situationnistes, Guy-Ernest Debord. At present, town planning is determined by and tends to reinforce conventional functions, conventional attitudes. You sleep here, eat there, work there, die there. A revolutionary architecture will take no account of functions to be transcended.) In the 1920s, Diaghilev, Picasso, Stravinski, and Nijinsky acted in concert to produce a ballet; surely it does not strain our credulity to imagine a far larger group of our contemporaries acting in concert to create a town. We envisage the whole as a vital laboratory for the creation (and evaluation) of conscious situations; it goes without saying that it is not only the environment which is in question, plastic, subject to change, but men also.

We envisage an organization whose structure and mechanisms are infinitely elastic; we see it as the gradual crystallization of a regenerative cultural force, a perpetual brainwave, creative intelligence everywhere recognizing and affirming its own involvement.

Trocchi, Alexander. A Revolutionary Proposal: Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds. Published as “Technique du coupe du monde,” Internationale Situationniste #8 (January 1963) <http://www.notbored.org/invisible.html>