Monday, February 09, 2009

the language of the cities

The cities are attempting to say something. They expand and contract, at each breath, sounds spurt from them and race across the earth. Brains emit waves ceaselessly, and hearts beat. Life flourishes everywhere. The white blocks of flats standing on the asphalt plains were not, after all, motionless, as had been thought: they swayed. Winding roads, railway lines, building sites, quarries, gasworks. There is so much life on all sides. The earth vibrates incessantly. Bit the contractions of buildings are still imperceptible. People have no idea what is going on. If the knew, then perhaps they would stop talking, and hating, and going to the cinema. People take their own light around with them: they have hollowed out a little room inside reality, and installed in it in their 100-watt light bulb. The light is yellow. They know no other light, neither the white light of the night. Human words flutter across the room, just like moths.
But there is everything, too, that is outside language. The cities invent words endlessly. They canalize their energies, bringing together for example, all the noises made by the car engines, or all the underground movements that thrust their earthworm tubes forward. The wires are tense with electricity. In the invisible sewers, warm ordure flows and glides: that is the language of the cities and it is saying something.
Enough of individual consciousness!!!
In their shuttered cells people study their faces in mirrors; but they learn nothing. They are nothing. They look at their faces and what they see is the senseless transparent mask, the sort of death’s-head that resembles them. People press the tape recorder buttons and say:
“I, Frederic, Ernest, Manuel, Antonio, Christine, Helen etc…”
After that they tell their life story, always the same story, of course, birth, experiences, amorous misadventures, jobs, old age, death. Or else they look at their stupid old yellowed photographs: “myself at the age of 4”, “Myself in New York”, “Myself in Kyoto in 1949”, “Myself with a beard” or “Myself as a blond”. People really know a tremendous amount: they are fully conscious, aware. They possess about 126, 402 words of English, 1, 234 words of French and 11 words of Italian. They have read books, they have watched films, they have looked at paintings, and they have skimmed thru magazines. They know why the wind blows. Why the earth trembles, why disquieting spots occasionally appear on the sun, and why man appeared on the earth in succession to marine jellies and the lizards and the grasshoppers. People know all that, and many other things besides.
Meanwhile the cities expand and contract, and do not concern themselves with knowledge. Clouds bank up, tides swell, rivers flow, glaciers slide, forests burn: and all done without knowledge or consciousness. There are vast terrible languages that cover space and time, languages so vast that in comparison all the words of human languages, put together, would not cover a single speck of dust.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful and frightening

10:35 AM  
Anonymous nio said...

For the Beautiful signifies the possible end of Horror

11:05 AM  
Anonymous miss asphyxia said...

for beauty's nothing but the begining of terror we're just able to bear
"the first elegy"
r.m.rilke

because the beautiful means the possible end of terror
"images"
h.müller

11:47 AM  

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