Calling the Magician: A Few Words for a Caribbean Civilization
From all our machines put together, from all our roads charted in miles, from all our accumulated tonnage, from all our arrayed aeroplanes, from our regulations, from our conditioning, not the slightest feeling could emerge. That is of another order, and real, and infinitely more exalted.
From all your manufactured thoughts, from all your graded concepts, from all your concerted measures, not the slightest frisson of genuine civilization could result.
That is of another order, infinitely more exalted and sur-rational.
I cannot stop admiring the great Caribbean silence, our insolent wealth, our cynical poverty.
You have encircled the globe. You have yet to embrace it. Warmly.
True civilizations are poetic shocks: the shock of the stars, of the sun, the plant, the animal, the shock of the round globe, of the rain, of the light, of numbers, the shock of life, the shock of death.
Since the sun temple, since the mask, since the Indian, since the African man, too much distance has been calculated here, has been granted here, between things and ourselves.
The true manifestation of civilization is myth.
Social organization, religion, partnerships, philosophies, morals, architecture and sculpture are the representations and expressions of myth.
Civilization is dying all around the world because myths are dead or dying or being born.
We must wait for the powdery frost of outdated or emaciated myths to blow apart. We are awaiting the debacle.
...And we shall be fulfilled.
In the current state of things, the only avowed refuge of the mythic spirit is poetry.
And poetry is an insurrection against society because it is a devotion to abandoned or exiled or obliterated myth.
Civilization is not built by means of schools, clinics and statistical calculations.
Only the poetic spirit corrodes and builds, erases and invigorates.
The Caribbean has no civilization because the Caribbean suns poetry. Scandalously.
We has lost the meaning of the symbol. The literal has devoured our world. Scandalously.
Civilization is generalized participation in essence.
Civilization is a wondrous generalized communion.
We are at its mass stage. And the essence of facts, like that of the real, escapes us, initiated as we are to application alone: crude application.
Only the poetic spirit links and reunites.
The vital thing is to re-establish a personal, fresh, compelling, magical contact with things.
The revolution will be social and poetic or will not be.
I don’t hide the fact that I expect everything from a new barbarism.
True civilization is in the realm of obsession.
Civilization is an absurd idea which, felt and lived in its entirety, by that very fact and by that fact alone, becomes true.
I preach obsession.
The true ideal: the ‘possessed’ woman.
To resituate joy and pain, acceptance and creation in the cosmos.
Civilization is born of individual sincerity, individual daring, from that part of individual disorder that everyone carries within him and that he owes it to himself to expand and communicate and that gradually takes over like irresistible tall flames.
Keep your distance, wet blankets.
Give us back our power of wonderment.
I’m calling upon the magician.
Civilization is neither a policeman nor a mechanic. Its foundation is neither order as order, nor work as work.
I admire the perspicacity of poets. Baudelaire celebrating the useless and the dandy. Mallarme pouring scorn on bread. Rimbaud spewing on the ‘centuries of hands’.
And Breton announcing:
‘Professions are withering away.’
The true poet does not preach work. He preaches availability.
To be better able to reach the heart of things.
I demand the right to indolence.
A new attitude towards the object. After the exploitative nonsense that is our bourgeois, comfortable attitude, it is healthy and profoundly important that Andre Breton restores liberating, catalysing and dangerous power to the object, that he gives back the profaned object its dignity of mystery and its radiant force, that, when all’s said and done, he makes of it again what it should never have ceased to be: the Great Intercessor.
Once generalized, this attitude will lead us to the great mad sweep of renewal.
I’m calling upon the Enraged.
- Aime Cesaire(1913-2008)