More is more!

Go to the table of contents —by Cyril Aslan Skinazy Lire cette page en français

Great writers always end up meeting somewhere or another. So when Milan Kundera said the incorrigible immaturity of a man arises from his worries about his own image, or that only a great intellect is able bring logical sense to senseless ideas, he brought together in the spheres of oblique yet light thought, Jim Harrison telling Brice Mathieussent about his novel remedy for combating depression, a remedy forged from a measure of deep Indian wisdom.

—courtesy Anne-Sophie Cochevelou

To ward off depression, said the writer fond of the great outdoors, there’s nothing better than going against one’s habits. And to mention the example of a day that starts with its end, jumping out of bed and devouring a gigantic lamb stew, or by telling the story of the friend who decided to follow his dog around for an entire day. Carlos Castaneda says the same thing in his book, “Lessons of a Yaqui sorcerer”: one of the essential elements of wisdom is breaking one’s routine. The displacement of temporal logic is to the mind what movement is to the body: a principle of absolute hygiene.

But where Harrison comes even closer to Kundera is when disregards the need to assert his personality. Personality is a vice of those who live in cities he says. Because in nature, faced with the vastness and the strength of personality, it is vain and ridiculous to want to develop and flaunt it. Natural elements take care of returning us to the most basic humility.

The human populations of cities are continually tossed between a need for identity and a wish to conform. And if in principal complying with social standards is a way of surviving, it is ultimately a false chimera which grinds individuality to the ground.

Truth be told it’s worth remembering the oldest of the three precepts engraved on the frontispiece of the temple of Delphi and immortalized by Socrates, “Know thyself”. At the risk of encountering a paradox: only people who know themselves will not attach importance to their image. They can play with their image, surprise their entourage and whoever else is paying attention, staying constantly on the forefront of themselves without fear of being misjudged. This is why the eccentric personalities fascinate. There is nothing artificial in their way of breaking the rules. What is artificial is not the opposite of what is natural, it is its necessity. “Since the world is perishable, I do only what is artificial” sang the Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

Faced the oppression of the conformity and its trivial dictatorship we are in great need of more imagination. More is More!

—by Cyril Aslan Skinazy

#Hashtags: Alexandra David Neel, Albert Einstein, Amy Winehouse, Andy Warhol, Anna Piaggi, Arthur Rimbaud, Betsey Johnson, Chuck Berry, Eddy Sedgwick, Elsa Schiapparelli, George Sand, Henry Miller, Isabella Blow, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Kurt Cobain, Lady Gaga, Leigh Bowery, Marylin Manson, Michelle Harper, Mick Jagger, Nina Hagen, Orson Welles, Oscar Wilde, Paco Rabanne, Salvador Dalí, Vivienne Westwood, Yayoi Kusama, Zaha Hadid.

In this issue: