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Life Arts    H4'ed 2/20/18

Daily Inspiration — Surrealist Manifesto (1924)

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Nous vivons encore sous le rà gne de la logique, voil, bien entendu, quoi je voulais en venir. Mais les proce'de's logiques, de nos jours, ne s'appliquent plus qu' la re'solution de problà mes d'inte'rà t secondaire. Le rationalisme absolu qui reste de mode ne permet de conside'rer que des faits relevant e'troitement de notre expe'rience. Les fins logiques, par contre, nous e'chappent. Inutile d'ajouter que l'expe'rience mà me s'est vu assigner des limites. Elle tourne dans une cage d'oà il est de plus en plus difficile de la faire sortir. Elle s'appuie, elle aussi, sur l'utilite' imme'diate, et elle est garde'e par le bon sens.

Sous couleur de civilisation, sous pre'texte de progrà s, on est parvenu bannir de l'esprit tout ce qui se peut taxer tort ou raison de superstition, de chimà re, proscrire tout mode de recherche de la ve'rite' qui n'est pas conforme l'usage. C'est par le plus grand hasard, en apparence, qu'a e'te' re'cemment rendue la lumià re une partie du monde intellectuel, et mon sens de beaucoup la plus importante, dont on affectait de ne plus se soucier. Il faut en rendre gr ce aux de'couvertes de Freud. Sur la foi de ces de'couvertes, un courant d'opinion se dessine enfin, la faveur duquel l'explorateur humain pourra pousser plus loin ses investigations, autorise' qu'il sera ne plus seulement tenir compte des re'alite's sommaires. L'imagination est peut-à tre sur le point de reprendre ses droits. Si les profondeurs de notre esprit recà lent d'e'tranges forces capables d'augmenter celles de la surface, ou de lutter victorieusement contre elles, il y a tout inte'rà t les capter, les capter d'abord, pour les soumettre ensuite, s'il y a lieu, au contrà le de notre raison. Les analystes eux-mà mes n'ont qu' y gagner. Mais il importe d'observer qu'aucun moyen n'est de'signe' a priori pour la conduite de cette entreprise, que jusqu' nouvel ordre elle peut passer pour à tre aussi bien du ressort des poà tes que des savants et que son succàs ne de'pend pas des voies plus ou moins capricieuses qui seront suivies.


We are still living under the reign of logic: this, of course, is what I have been driving at. But in this day and age logical methods are applicable only to solving problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism that is still in vogue allows us to consider only facts relating directly to our experience. The ends toward which our logic is directed are elusive. It is pointless to add that experience itself has found itself increasingly circumscribed. It paces back and forth in a cage from which it is more and more difficult for it to emerge. It leans for support on what is immediately expedient, and it is protected by the sentinels of common sense from reaching for effective change.

Under the banner of civilization, under the pretext of progress, we have applied the label "superstition" to banish all challenges to our quotidien reality; we have denied our own experience as chimera; we have proscribed every mode of seeking truth that is not conventionally empirical. It is only fortuitously that the world of our dreams and fancies has gained the acknowledgment of the intellectuals. Thanks only to the discoveries of Sigmund Freud, the imagination may be about to regain its rights. If the depths of our minds harbor strange forces capable of augmenting those of the surface, or of struggling victoriously against them, there is every interest in capturing these, perhaps even subordinating our logic to our intuitions. This is necessary, to hold our reason to account, to keep it in check. There is as yet no prescribed methodology for this enterprise, no map of the terrain. So it is to be the responsibility of poets and scientists alike to assure its success.

Andre Breton, born this day in 1896
(JJM takes responsibility for liberties in translation)

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Josh Mitteldorf, de-platformed senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there (more...)
 

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