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Of a whole (I)

January 6, 2009

photo copyright 2008 Michael Tweed

It’s not the One. It is not really the Absolute. Nor the Glory. It is the Only One.

Since the gods are dead, the mystery is faceless. It is really an enigma.

The mystery of what exists takes the form of what exists. It is stone and leaf and tree and brook. It is this mystery solely because it takes the form of what exists.

Rhythmic sound of the sea … Wisdom is not so much knowing how to listen to it as actually hearing it. To hear it before listening to it.

And similarly to see before looking, feel before recognizing. To not label.

The natural world, because it manifests without referring to anything, signifies. The bird which sings in the morning, the wind in the leaves speak only of themselves. They are what they signify. They signify what they are.

There is the world’s beauty. But, behind it, there is the world without its beauty, the world beyond appearance. What is the sea without whatever makes it cheerful or melancholic, grey or bright blue and silky smooth, calm or rough?

A cloud goes by and the sea changes its countenance. Where is the sea?

We speak of “flavour,” but there is no flavour, since it only exists for the tongue. No “smell,” since it only affects the nostrils. No “colour,” being such only for the eyes. There is no “sound,” if neither the eye nor the hand can hear …

There is only what is, beyond sound, colour, smells, pure charge and explosion of sounds, colours, smells and among which we experience only the scattered fragments, only the pieces, through sounds, colours, and smells …

There is the wind which we describe as light, brisk, murmuring, howling; the North wind, the gust …

And there is the wind which is just wind. There is that which is wind and which it would be best not to name, that we cannot name. For the wind is actually just “the wind.”

In sunlight, the water is blue. But without sun, what does it look like? Grey and leaden? These are words. Behind the grey or blue water, there is the water. There is water, the Presence of which disappears in the element of water, in the same place where the disappearance comes back to itself and thereby conceals itself.

Beyond the water – green, grey or blue, warm or frozen, – there is That which we know only as water – green, grey or blue, warm or frozen. That which we neither see nor touch. That which, upon seeing and touching, we neither see nor touch.

Hence, there is no water, even at the limit. What is there? There is.

In the (that) there, something takes appearance, opens itself playfully in the appearance, shimmers there, but, in this same opening, it constantly closes back up, constantly returns to itself.

Everything is in itself appearance. Is in its appearance an appearing. Present and refused, in as long as it is, in appearance, appearance of itself.

What is the rose, such that in itself it is, or in other words as a mixture and unity of forms, colours, velvety petals as well as scent?

Who can explain how the scent mingles with the colour, the petal’s texture, in the unity of the rose?

To remain silent. The sky doesn’t speak. It is only the sky.

The enigma is that the tree is tree, despite my thought. In that it expresses as tree and expresses only as a tree what it is as tree.

The enigma is the absolute identity of things and their exteriority in relation to me.

The enigma is that the world is nothing other than the world and that we cannot think of the tree without being the tree.

And that the tree, precisely because it is tree, does not think, except by being the tree.

Everything names it and does not name it.

Therefore, (even though It is) it disappears.

I see, but what? I hear, but what? I sense, feel, taste, but what? Where, in all this, is what we call the given? Strange name for what endlessly escapes us …

Unless it is what is actually given, but that we cannot have.

Appearance recedes. There is no vision. There is only the visible.

Roger Munier
from D’un seul tenant
tr. Michael Tweed

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2009 10:31 pm

    i like this quite a bit. it’s ll there is to say.

  2. January 19, 2009 11:43 pm

    i’ve translated the entire text and have been meaning to post the rest, so the next one is for you…

  3. January 20, 2009 3:53 pm

    thank you. wish i knew any french. i didn’t know munier. what a beautiful discovery. have you translated some more of his things?

  4. January 20, 2009 4:10 pm

    actually yes i have a few things. if you go over here you can read a couple of other samples. interestingly Munier played a was one of the first people to translate Heidegger into French, i believe he studied with Heidegger too. there are three more sections to this text (5 in total) so i’ll post the the rest over the coming days.

  5. January 20, 2009 9:00 pm

    you have an awful lot of interesting stuff there. i don’t have any thing smart to say but i am intrigued & must look more at your translations & texts. so do you have any plans to translate any Jankélévitch or André Dalmas or must i learn french?

  6. January 20, 2009 10:01 pm

    actually that’s just a few samples i have lots of other things as well, if anything is of particular interest send me an email as i might be able to send you some other things. if you remind me i could send you a list of what i have next week, my email address is on the site.

    there are already a couple of things by Jankélévitch available in English, namely Music and the Ineffable and Forgiveness (which i keep meaning to read), surprisingly that’s it though.

    now André Dalmas, i have never heard of. so i did the inevitable google search and must say he sounds quite interesting. i just found a poem by him that i am joyfully going to attempt to tackle, if successful i’ll post the result. fortunately i’ll be going to the library tomorrow (it’s a two hour drive) and will look through what books by him they have (any suggested titles are welcome). thanks for mentioning him!

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