Newsletter May 2016


New looks everywhere …
Times have changed, and yet being relevant is always on the paper about the same thing. I scan through the prose of my companions of a few months, Homer, Heraclitus, Plato, Plotinus, Augustine. Their project, their vision, down to their very words, resonate like nothing around me — present friends and social environments, discourses in the media, or even intellectual stars of our times : it takes true genius, chance, and a bucket-full of patience to make a real game-changer. Or even just to come across one.
Times have changed ; and many of us like to indulge in believing that they actually reversed ever since. But reading through and between the lines is indeed the task of the thinker : back then just like now, relevance, a true relevance, to one’s present and to one’s future, for centuries to come, demands erudition just as much as profound taste, and technique just as much as timeless meditations. The Iliad, the Enneads or even Augustine’s Confessions were not just epiphanies of the ideal — the very emergence of these was made possible through genuine, visionary revolutions on the form too. And it still strikes me, more than twenty years after the launch of a public world wide web, that philosophy and its writing have still not entered this medium truly — adapting itself, expanding its possibilities, or just like verse poetry : bringing itself to higher levels thanks to the technical constraints and specificities of the genre. Discovering itself anew, eye-openings to its new boundaries, through the technique of the day.
Not that this space is truly spectacular, for its texts or for their environment, but I continue exploring and tracing the blueprints of its possibilities a little more everyday, one code at a time. And for this I must stay tuned to the inner voice of my aesthetic sound box, even if this means at times shutting the other ear. Out there, philosophy, if at all, barely survives through institutional commentators and syndicated teachers, leaving even less hopes of popular or even everyday recognitions for the devoted writer. Not to mention, therefore, his tendentiously aesthetic criterion, still fetching mostly, and at best, soft sighs in seas of indifference. A last resort : today just like twenty centuries ago, holding on to our conviction that the key to seeing the future is in one’s attention to the details, all the details — highlighting, between the lines of reason, all the angles of beauty.


Springs 13 May 2016
Trance 24 May 2016
Phenomenologies of Time 6 December 2013
Lifelines and Ashes of Beauty 24 January 2013
At the Edge of God : Leibniz 19 August 2013
How to Re-Appropriate Historical Conjunctures 15 October 2012

13 May 2016

Springs have passed, by the dozens, but I don’t notice them anymore. Last night, she jumps around to reach the balcony as we hear the rain crackling the panels. “The first monsoon comes around May 20th,” she rejoices. I search, but cannot remember echoes or emotions from the coming of the first rains last year, or any year before that. She smiles, nostalging the hostel emptying itself to go run on the lawn, under the felicities of the weather. “It must take intense climates to keep populations so enthusiastic about its variations,” I comment. “We people don’t care that much about the weather.” . . .


24 May 2016
L’autre nuit,
Je rêve, ou presque,
et un texte,
me vient aux yeux fermés.
Le jeu semble cosmique, religieux,
Peut-être une Ecriture,
Je m’entends à deviner les mots,
un par un,
Comme si c’était ça,
L’expérience de la révélation :
Lire un texte,
Pour la première fois,
Les yeux fermés.
The other night,
I dream, or almost,
and a text,
comes to my closed eyes.
The game seems cosmic, religious,
Maybe a Scripture,
I hear myself guessing the words,
one after the other,
As if it was that,
The experience of Revelation :
Reading a text,
For the first time,
With closed eyes.

Writing, sleep and blindness are the ingredients of my reading. . . .


Phenomenologies of Time

According to the phenomenologists, the world and the human being have to be investigated through the specific evaluation of human consciousness. Husserl would soon realise how, unlike in physical science, a study of consciousness must directly address the question of time. Phenomenology, from the start, would be — among other things — a discourse on time. . .

Opening the Phenomenon of Time
Part 1 Part 2
Husserl : Remembrance of Things Past Heidegger : Springs of Time Within
Part 3 Conclusion
Levinas : Otherwise, Time On the Dialogues of Philosophy and Science

Lifelines and Ashes of Beauty
24 January 2013

In 1819, British poet John Keats (1795-1821) offered a new life to an old genre, the ode, with six pieces that would later become classics, and contribute to his fame: “Ode on Indolence,” “Ode on Melancholy,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode to Psyche,” “To Autumn” and finally, “Ode of Grecian Urn.” In the latter piece, a poem of 5 stanzas, Keats reflects on the nature of Art, and in particular representational Art, via the discussion of two scenes displayed on an imagined Greek vase. As a poetic representation of a piece of art, this ode belongs also to the genre of the ekphrasis, itself prominent during the era of Greek art. The first scene represents two lovers and communicates an idea of an impossible passion. The second represents villagers about to perform a sacrifice. In this short commentary, I shall try to discuss certain passages of the ode, and explore the underlying reflection or contemplation that Keats attempts to undertake . . .


At the Edge of God : Leibniz
At the Edge of God : Leibniz
19 August 2013

The Enlightenment Century is generally presented as an era of revolutions in science and philosophy in occidental Europe. The Enlightenment’s appeal to reason was then considered as the cornerstone for the conception of the human being and life in societies, which was to be followed during the major social, political and economical developments that would occur in the following centuries. One of its main effects would become the growing critical spirit towards all things religious, from the very theological conceptions of God, soul, etc. to the more concrete faces of religion, such as matters concerning the clergy and the institution of the church. In other words, the deepest roots of the West’s contemporary distrust and skepticism towards religion may be the Enlightenment Century . . .


How to Re-Appropriate Historical Conjunctures
How to Re-Appropriate Historical Conjunctures
15 October 2012

In the mid-19th c., when Karl Marx announced, in the Communist Manifesto and later in his Capital, the emergence of strong movements of revolt by the working class in industrialised England, France and Germany, he certainly did not imagine that the first cases of such uprisings would actually take place far away from Western Europe. In 1917, the Russian Revolution revealed to the world that this social insurrection could also concern populations of the rest of the world, of “marginal” countries, of the so-called “developing” nations. It is during that era that the left as a political project arrived in India. In the 1920s, the Communist party was officially launched. These times were marked by a world of huge possibilities. Around the globe, young and educated individuals felt the potential of these days and decided which side they would adopt, in a variety of forms. More than just a political matter, this opposition also represented ideologies and ideals, and it would thus find a particularly fertile terrain in the arts and literature. It is in this context that grew, in India, a group of young writers with a broad affinity with leftist politics: All-India Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) . . .