night & day: madness as dazzlement

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“And if, now, we try to assign a value, in and of itself, outside its relations with the dream and with error, to classical unreason,we must understand it not as reason diseased, or as reason lost or alienated, but quite simply as reason dazzled. Dazzlement is night in broad daylight, the darkness that rules at the very heart of what is excessive in light’s radiance. Dazzled reason opens its eyes upon the sun and sees nothing, that is, does not see; in dazzlement, the recession of objects toward the depths of night has as an immediate correlative the suppression of vision itself; at the moment when it sees objects disappear into the secret night of light, sight sees itself in the moment of its disappearance. To say that madness is dazzlement is to say that the madman sees the daylight, the same daylight as the man of reason (both live in the same brightness); but seeing this same daylight, and nothing but this daylight and nothing in it, he sees it as void, as night, as nothing; for him the shadows are the way to perceive daylight. Which means that, seeing the night and the nothingness of the night, he does not see at all. And believing he sees, he admits as realities the hallucinations of his imagination and all the multitudinous population of night. That is why delirium and dazzlement are in a relation which constitutes the essence of madness, exactly as truth and light, in their fundamental relation, constitute classical reason. In this sense, the Cartesian formula of doubt is certainly the great exorcism of madness.

cuckooDescartes closes his eyes and plugs up his ears the better to see the true brightness of essential daylight; thus he is secured against the dazzlement of the madman who, opening his eyes, sees only night, and not seeing at all, believes he sees when he imagines. In the uniform lucidity of his closed senses, Descartes has broken with all possible fascination, and if he sees, he is certain of seeing that which he sees. While before the eyes of the madman, drunk on a light which is darkness, rise and multiply images incapable of criticizing themselves (since the madman sees them), but irreparably separated from being (since the madman sees nothing). Unreason is in the same relation to reason as dazzlement to the brightness of daylight itself. And this is not a metaphor. We are at the center of the great cosmology which animates all classical culture. The “cosmos” of the Renaissance, so rich in internal communications and symbolisms, entirely dominated by the interacting presence of the stars, has now disappeared, without “nature” having yet assumed its status of universality, without its having received man’s lyrical recognition, subjecting him to the rhythm of its seasons. What the classical thinkers retain of the “world,” what they already anticipate in “nature,” is an extremely abstract law, which nonetheless forms the most vivid and concrete opposition, that of day and night. This is no longer the fatal time of the planets, it is not yet the lyrical time of the seasons; it is the universal but absolutely divided time of brightness and darkness. A form which thought entirely masters in a mathematical science— Cartesian physics is a kind of mathesis of light—but which at the same time traces the great tragic caesura in human existence: one that dominates the theatrical time of Racine and the space of Georges de la Tour in the same imperious fashion. The circle of day and night is the law of the classical world: the most reduced but the most demanding of the world’s necessities, the most inevitable but the simplest of nature’s legalities.”

– Michel Foucault
Madness & Civilization

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4 thoughts on “night & day: madness as dazzlement

  1. adding layers would be a first for me and perhaps not such a bad thing at all. there is, of course, a significant amount of morbidity in the cunt, too, you know…

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  2. Well, this blog, for instance, is merely a personal archive of information I find appealing. I believe in the damage of religion, through my confessions I will always be a victim. I have always found that my need to be lusted after is stronger than my lust, my need to be fucked stronger than my need to fuck. I enjoy the female form, as a body, more than the male form (not necessarily sexually, but artistically, or aesthetically). I am trying to fine tune my ability to enjoy what I detest (perhaps a reason why I love delving into Bataille). I have stopped concerning myself with the artists so-called ´duties` a long time ago. Chasing a truth (my only form of heroism) is what I aim for, as one would make a big mess while searching for an object in a cluttered room, I too make a mess. Chaos is imperative. Truth, to me, is cleansing. I often find it in dirt. Pain and suffering (mourning) is always a tool. Like all powerful tools it has a price.

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  3. Thanks for your reply. If you’d allow me to disagree, I’d disagree with the statement that an artist does not have a job to do. An artist has a job like an engineer, teacher or air traffic controller. If there was no obligation in duty, a teacher would merely be a shit-talker or fact-stater and an engineer a grownup with Lego blocks. An artist, or anyone who calls himself as such, has a duty, a job, surely, to whoever chooses to be audience. If you walk away from that duty you become something else I feel. Equally, there is a different distinction between a painter or sculptor (solely teqnique) and an artist (imagination & teqnique).
    A writer than doesn’t publish is a blogger, or a diary keeper. A painter paints and a sculptor sculpts and master their respective domains teqnically. An artist opens doors to somewhere else, if not, it is an incoherent mess, only recognized by the artist himself. The artist has a job, if not, we’d all be artists and justifiably so. Teqnique itself does not make one an artist, then a plumber would be an artist too. So the first thing one needs to do is to recognize which is the strongest, the teqnique or the ability to transport people.
    I am not here to judge and understand your motives and respect that. However, as an outsider, I feel your ability to draw & paint, your teqnique, is terrific. Paint something you would like to look at yourself, the bloody stuff is a diary affair, or get involved in porn and fuck the wizard out of yourself. My 2 cents, or meticas rather.

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  4. I hear you. I must say, though, that I never said an artist does not have a duty. I said that I, me, myself, do not concern myself with artist-duties. It kills me, the duty part. I don´t believe I am an artist at all. I even hate the word. In Portuguese, the word `artista´ can mean many things, it can mean actress, or even con-artist. Ironically, I believe that a lot of people out there who call themselves artists are in fact false individuals that know how to speak ´art`. I delve into myself and the product of this dark excavation is not for sale. I don´t give a fuck if you, as a viewer, understand it or not. I look at hundreds of pieces of art on a daily basis that makes no sense to me at all, yet it hangs in some white cube and some pretentious rich fuck bought it because another pretentious intellectual fuck said it´s `good art´. It has turned into a spectacle, this artists duty, this artist´s ´role`.
    I haven´t painted in a very long time. I am currently interested in twisting little minds out of the conforming principle while they are still young (teaching) and also in being a mother. Survival is also on the list (making money), so painting, well, painting has become somewhat of a luxury, it´s not a necessity anymore. But I do thank you for you compliment about my painting. I can sense you understand a large part of this wicked mind, and based on this, your comment means a lot.
    Damn, I miss the feeling of paint on my fingers. The last time I painted anything I happened to be adding some red to my cunt. Porn is not an option. The fix, the meaning I find in it dissipates as quickly as an orgasm. And after I cum, all I really want to do is make ´art`.

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