'Ανάμεσα σε δυο βογκητά ηδονής, μου φωνάζει:
   «Χάιδεψέ του και τ’ αρχίδια, Ανιού μου, θα χύσει καλύτερα έτσι. Σε ικετεύω, χώσε μου το μεγάλο σου δάχτυλο στην κωλοτρυπίδα, θέλω να νιώσω παραβιασμένη από παντού. Ναι, σπρώξε, κούνα το, δεν αντέχω αλλο, χύνω σαν τρελή...»
   Τι γρήγορα που μαθαίνει κανείς όταν έχει θέληση! Έτσι λοιπόν, η ακόλαστη φίλη μου έσκουζε από ηδονή, κι όχι από πόνο, καθώς της έμπαινε ένα πράγμα χοντρό σαν τον καρπό μου, αλλ’ αυτό δεν της ήταν αρκετό· ήθελε επιπλέον να νιώσει το δάχτυλό μου σε μια είσοδο ακόμα πιο απόκρυφη που έχασκε από προσμονή κάτω από το χάδι μου...
   Το αποτέλεσμα τόσης δραστηριότητας δεν άργησε να φανεί. Ο Μπονιφάς σκούζει, πληγώνοντας μου τα πισινά:
   «Χύνω, χύνω! Α, βρομιάρα, πάρ’ τα όλα, πάρ’ τα όλα..»
   Η Ματίλντ τον ακολουθεί με λυγμούς:
   «Χύνω πάλι, μου ξανάρχεται, αυτό το τέρας με γέμισε σπέρμα!»
   Εγώ συμμετέχω σ’ αυτή τη γενική τρέλα τρίβοντας τ’ αρχίδια του αντρειωμένου παλικαριού και ικετεύοντάς τον ν’ αρπάξει τον κώλο μου, που έχασκε κι αυτός από έρωτα. Μόλις νιώθω το χοντρό του δάχτυλο να μπαίνει μέσα μου, βγάζω κι εγώ μια κραυγή και σωριάζομαι στα καπούλια της Ματίλντ, δαγκώνοντάς τα μέχρι που μάτωσαν...
   Αν και τα διηγήθηκα όλ’ αυτά με τόσο αδέξιο τρόπο, πάλι είναι αυκολονόητο ότι χρειαστήκαμε ολόκληρο τέταρτο για να συνέλθουμε από τόσες συγκινήσεις, κι εγώ μια ολόκληρη βδομάδα για να γράψω χωρίς να τρέμει πολύ η πένα μου. Α, αν αποτολμούσα να τα ζωγραφίσω!'

Ανωνύμου, Το Άσεμνο Ημερολόγιο μιας Νεαράς Δεσποινίδος, μτφρ. Γιώργος Λίβιος, εκδ. Ερατώ

The dream sequence in Los olvidados as narrative of the film's stochastic interpretation
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Ioannis Tsirkas




   In a film analysis we can examine a film by segregating it in sequences. Dream sequences as narratives which take place beyond the spatiotemporal axis of the main narrative line of the film can be considered as insubstantial structural parts of it since they do not usually contribute to the progress of the occurrences, functioning only as commentary on both the locale and the subjects concerned. While Luis Buñuel through the oneiric atmosphere of his first two films, Un chien andalou (France, 1929) and L’âge d’or (France, 1930), deconstructed the conventional limits between the oneiric and the actual filmic space involving and evolving the one inside the other in an interactive way, the dream sequence in Los olvidados (Mexico, 1950) does not only seem to constitute a discrete part of the film’s narrative, but also to consist a commentary on all it’s intents and purposes. On this paper I will discuss it’s role as an interpolated narrative which precisely calls for a consistent conception of the whole. More specifically, my analysis will focus on the causality between the dream sequence’s substance as an extra, interstitial narrative and it’s function as an intra-filmic gaze of an enforced by the director variant interpretation of the film.

Unestablished signs of motives and associations preceding the dream sequence
   Before I go through my thorough examination of the dream sequence it is worth mentioning that before the motives and the essence of some relationships during the main narrative preceding the dream sequence we will be forced to perceive them as such only after it has been unfolded. Firstly, although Buñuel introduces us early to the treacherous character of Jaibo (Roberto Cobo) it is only after Pedro’s (Alfonso Mejía) dream that his tendetiousness in the film’s texture is being established through the connotation of him as Pedro’s evil equivalent (Polizzotti 2006, p.52). Secondly, in the end of the sequence when Don Carmelo (Miguel Inclán) is being attacked, a hen watching the wounded blind man is the first to appear, while through a match cut in the next shot we see Pedro both fondling and palpating the egg of another one. The rendering of his second act as a ‘poor substitute for the nourishment his mother denies him’ (Polizzotti 1996, p.41) and of these signs as indications of the affinity between the worlds of humans and animals which by extension suggests the ‘primitive nature of human motives’ (Edwards 1983, p.95) is being evinced as a justifiable interpretation only on the score of and after the dream’s interpolation. Thirdly, when in the following sequence his mother Marta (Estela Inda) through her refusal to dress a piece of meat for him and Pedro’s concomitant disaffection that she does not love him anymore, a possible semantic connection between her refusal to feed and love him would be far-fetched on this point of the plot. The significance, in addition, of the parental neglect in Pedro’s psyche and in the film’s plot will emerge in the dream sequence as well. Lastly, the same applies to Pedro’s guiltiness about his involuntary participation in Julian’s (Javier Amézcua) attempted murder and his fear of afterclaps according to Jaibo’s future behavior in relation to the possibility of their involvement’s revelation[1].

The dream sequence as intercalary narrative which broadens the main one
   Before Pedro’s apparition getting up from the bed the chickens have already started cackling. Ιn this instance, the in question clues indicate that what comes about makes up a dream. However, their sound might pass for a give-away of the real space-time continuum of the film. So, Buñuel is giving us the first indication of his conation to combine the dream with the reality of the main narrative through the synonymity of their laws of causation. By giving forth a tinge of irony, he uses their sounds as indicant for his awakening into the dream. Then a white hen brakes in under his bed. But what Pedro sees down there is the bloodstained Julian who seems to enjoy his horrifying sight. The symbolic metamorphosis of the chicken to the gory Julian leads us to perceive the hen’s presence from now on as a metastasis of the inner phobias they arouse. Now we have to consider the appearance of chickens all over the place as ‘projections of repressed unconscious desires and anxieties’ (Evans 1995, p.88) and as ‘portens of ridicule or disaster’ (Polizzotti 2006, p.50) in general[2]. While we are watching this particular sequence feathers that Pedro does not notice begin falling between the camera and the proceedings. Τheir presence there does not only emphasize the atmosphere of the dread (Evans 1995, p.88), but also functions as an exhortation expressly intended for the spectators in order to feel in their turn just as Pedro feels, the same dreadfulness, in order to identify themselves not with him necessarily, but with the way Buñuel seems to perceive his hero’s pathos.
   The grinning corpse of Julian under Pedro’s bed is not merely a sign of guilty conscience, but also a signification that his tragic fate will come from the loss of his innocence[3]. These two contrary feelings are engaged in a countervailing way and the unendurable feeling of dreadfulness makes way for that of innocence which is offset by the pacifying visage of his mother in her white dress, soothing him, ‘Listen, you’re not that bad. I’d like to be with you all the time’ and enquiring the reasons of his action, linking thus his obsession with their relationship (Edwards 1983, p.97), justifiably exalted with that of Madonna (Bazin 1978, p.196; Evans 1995, p.88; Babington and Evans 1985, p.10). A Madonna who will soon become a Medusa (Polizzotti 2006, p.10) that instead of snakes will proffer her hands to Pedro (and us) freezing not his shape, but the oneiric time. We can see this moment as an intersection between the two space-time continuums of the two narratives. It’s an instant when you realize that if this is a nightmare you want to wake up. The overlap or, rather, the ambiguity of this proffering where the hands on the side reveal her ‘sheer physical exhaustion’ (Babington and Evans 1985, p.10) is a linking point between the indefiniteness and the dimness (just like the one of her out of focus face for the time being) of the dream against the tangible reality of a flimsy surface structure, a reality that you can touch, but not necessarily feel.
   When he later asks about the piece of meat she did not offer him the other night he turns holding the putrefied flesh perhaps of a fatling and smiling accompanied by the clap and the flash of a thunder. The ‘sexual implications’ (Edwards 1983, p.97) are obvious since the piece of meat has been perceived by scholars as a symbol of her simultaneously awe and desirable ‘torn vagina’ (Evans 1995, p.86) or even of an ‘aborted foetus’ or a ‘meteonymic isplacement’ (Gutiérrez-Albilla 2008, p.31) of her body. Thereby, love is something you must be given, her purport is vital (once again a connection between an empathy and a sexual urge). In place of that flesh there could be a firm one, so we face again the symbolic metamorphosis of a flesh to a rotten carcass. The desirable maternal love is replaced from something rebarbative and bestial which, yet into the reality of the dream, Pedro would have wanted to accept.
   When Haibo pops up from under the bed and tries to pick up the piece of meat his sexual figurativeness is being confirmed forasmuch as what Pedro will lose is both her care and the awakening sexual drive he feels about his ‘devoid of emotions’ (Rubia Barcia 1957, p.398) mother. He is getting frustrated thinking of Haibo who will take her[4]. His mother does not react since she will voluntarily accede to his wishes. However, Haibo’s returning under the bed in lieu of the dead Julian is as well indicative of his own impending death. As regards her betrayal against Pedro, Octavio Paz and others have associated her with the figure of La Malinche (Pollizoti, p.58), the archetypical female maternal traitor of Mexico. I can also suppose that her joint liability for his death and fate is what set up Bruce Babinghton’s and Peter William Evans’ (1985, p.10) claim of her as an ambiguous Medea. In my opinion, the initial common letter “M” of the names Marta, Madre, Malinche, Madona, Medousa and Medea is something that can hardly be considered as an adventitious find.

The dream sequence as an inner reality’s reflection to the external one
   Τhe film starts with a sequence which presents it as documentary and can also be seen as an extra-narrative of the main one and by extension in an adversative way of the dream sequence. It’s aim is to prompt us to a realistic perception of the film, not necessarily to identify ourselves with the heroes and their catastrophe, but to take it as a detached realistic depiction of the into the frame of society problems a community faces beyond us, having nothing common with us in relation to the subconscious passionateness. As the main narrative unreels the influence of Italian Neorealism running through the film tends to become more and more obvious. We wouldn’t exaggerate if we asserted that Buñuel through the dream sequence willed to expand the in question neorealist ‘tangible reality’ (Buñuel 2002, p.140) of the film’s narrative for to express the main character’s emotions and instincts by exploding their subconscious. Most importantly, the presence of the sequence round about the middle of the film can be considered as an evidence of transition from the alleged until then realistic logic of it to the dramatic logic it seemingly suggests[5]. Demonstrating the ‘interchangeability of the conscious and the unconscious life’ (Mellen 1978, p.24) and that morality is inextricably linked with the ‘inner world of desires and feelings’ (Durgnat 1978, p.118) he proves the semblance with the external reality (Edwards 1983, p.109). All these callings are common among people without regard to each one’s degree. Accordingly, the film deals with us all and avers our resemblance with it’s characters. What Pedro needs at last and by extension all the characters is love, as we all, this is what they lack instead of amenity[6]. On the first locale we can see poor children playing insouciant in the midst of a slum’s bumpy road, with Pedro among them. What leads to his being desolated is not merely his penury and the poor relief, but also the lack of love.

The dream sequence as intervention of Buñuel’s subconscious
   As I demonstrated Buñuel’s attempt to bring out the subconscious life of his main hero in order through it’s reflection onto the realistic surface of the film to suggest an additional interpretation was precise and successful. However, I would like to close my paper by bringing forward the fact that Buñuel attempted, in addition, to imbue his own subconscious obsession in the dream sequence achieving thus what Francisco Aranda (1975, p.143) successfully mentions as the ‘compromise between his personal world and the social content of the film’. In 1968 Luis Buñuel during a conversation with Max Aub[7] recounted twenty dreams he was repeatedly dreaming for almost twenty years. I noticed that all the main motives of the dream sequence may draw their inspiration from his personal experience as he is calling up his dreams. Frustration (I miss the train; I lose my suitcases[8]), deprivation (And the train always leaves without me, no one gives me anything, It’s the anguish of not having money), incompetence (I can’t do anything), the dreadful mother, the blessed Virgin[9], animals, the arms of a dead man, the storm and the rain and lighting are some of them. He says that almost all his dreams are painful and words like despair and anguish are regularly recurred in his descriptions. He concludes confessing ‘Yes, that’s everything: religion, eroticism, death’ (Aub and Buñuel 1996, p.15).
   The role of the dream continued to count as an essential factor for the majority of his films after Los olvidados until the later ones. Even so, nowhere else can we find all these constituent elements epitomized. Having already deliberately directed two clearly commercial films and with the little artistic freedom that after so many years of verve once again was cramping his style, Buñuel gives the impression that by assimilating all these elements in the dream sequence, he did not only attempt to illustrate the subconscious factuality of his characters for to attach importance to the social aspect of the film, but for to indirectly revert to his surrealistic origins and piece together his own subconscious with the one of his characters as well, so creating Los οlvidados, a deeply idiosyncratic, sorely made film that gave vent to the ulterior motives of it’s creator.


_______________________________________
[1] The momentary passing of some chickens near to Pedro after Jaibo’s accusation and threatening is by no means as accidental.
[2] Buñuel had conceded that ‘the irrational element, in the form of a chicken, circulates freely in the film’ (Duncan and Krohn 2006, p.71).
[3] Peter Harcourt (1967, p.10) has claimed that innocence and vulnerability consist leading moral factors of the film.
[4] It is worthy of remark the prompt note that Buñuel has asseverated that frustration is the theme of almost all his films (Pérez Turrent 1995, p.205).
[5] As Raymond Durgnat (1978, p.123) mooted: ‘[d]ramatic logic is suggestive rather than exclusive, divergent rather than convergent’.
[6] As André Bazin (1978, p.198) propounded: ‘Los Olvidados […] is a film of love, and it demands love’. Freddy Buache (1973, p.50) in a perhaps exaggerative way classifies the film as a ‘love poem about those deprived of love’.
[7] See, Aub and Buñuel 1996. Max Aub was also an uncredited co-scriptwriter of Los olvidados (Polizzotti 2006, p.31).
[8] The phases I array in italics occur identical in the text.
[9] I have to mention hereat that Luis Buñuel (2003, p.95) in his autobiography My Last Breath described yet one more recurrent dream instinct with erotic overtones in which a Virgin outstretches her hands to him.



References
  • Aranda, Francisco (1975) Luis Buñuel: A Critical Biography. Translated from Spanish by David Robinson. London: Secker & Warburg.
  • Aub, Max and Buñuel, Luis (1996) ‘Religion, Eroticism, Death’. Translated from Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden. Grand Street, 56, pp. 8-15.
  • Babington, Bruce and Evans, Peter William (1985) ‘The Life of the Interior: Dreams in the Films of Luis Buñuel’, Critical Quarterly, 27(4), pp. 5-20.
  • Bazin, André (1978) ‘Los Olvidados’, in Mellen, Joan (ed.) The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 194-200.
  • Buache, Freddy (1973) The Cinema of Luis Buñuel. Translated from French by Peter Graham. London: The Tantivy Press.
  • Buñuel, Luis (2002) An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected Writings of Luis Buñuel. Translated from Spanish and French by Garrett White. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press.
  • ¯¯¯¯¯¯ (2003) My Last Breath. Translated from Spanish by Abigail Israel. London: Vintage.
  • Duncan, Paul and Krohn, Bill (2006) Luis Buñuel: The Complete Films. New York and London: Taschen.
  • Durgnat, Raymond (1978) ‘Style and Anti-Style’, in Mellen, Joan (ed.) The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 116-124.
  • Edwards, Gwynne (1983) The Discreet Art of Luis Buñuel: A Reading of his Films. London: Marion Boyars Publishers.
  • Evans, Peter William (1995) The Films of Luis Buñuel: Subjectivity of Desire. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Gutiérrez-Albilla, Julián Daniel (2008) Queering Buñuel: Sexual Dissidence and Psychoanalysis in his Mexican and Spanish Cinema. London: Tauris Academic Studies.
  • Harcourt, Peter (1967) ‘Luis Buñuel: Spaniard and Surrealist’, Film Quarterly, 20(3), pp. 2-19.
  • Mellen, Joan (1978) ‘An Overview of Buñuel’s Career’, in Mellen, Joan (ed.) The World of Luis Buñuel: Essays in Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-27.
  • Pérez Turrent, Tomás (1995) ‘Luis Buñuel in Mexico’, in Paranaguá, Paolo Antonio (ed.) Mexican Cinema. Translated from Spanish by Ana M. López. London: British Film Institute, pp. 202-208.
  • Polizzotti, Mark (2006) Los Olvidados. London: British Film Institute.
  • Rubia Barcia, J. (1957) ‘Luis Buñuel’s “Los Olvidados”’, The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television, 7(4), pp. 392-401.



Acknowledgment
   Ι would like to express my sincere thanks to Christos Aggelakopoulos for his dilgent philological support and his felicitous comments on the paper’s content.

ΞΥΠΝΑΩ ΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΜΑΤΙΑ ΜΟΥ ΚΑΙΝΕ... - Πιέρ Πάολο Παζολίνι


Ξυπνάω και τα μάτια μου καίνε.
Η εφηβεία πέθανε μέσα στα γένια μου
Που μεγάλωσαν καθώς κοιμόμουν,
Στην απίσχναση του σαρκίου μου, αποτυπώνεται
Στο λιωμένο φως που καίει στα μάτια μου.
Καταλήγω λοιπόν, στη βουβή πυρκαγιά
μιας νεότητας που την ζάλισε η αιωνιότητα.
Έτσι καίγομαι, και δεν αξίζει σκέφτομαι,
Να είναι διαφορετικά τα πράγματα:
Να επιβάλλω όρια στην αταξία.
Με παρασύρει ολοένα και πιο αδύναμο
Με ένα αποστεωμένο παιδικό προσωπείο
Προς μια ήσυχη και παλαβή τάξη,
Το βάρος της μέρας που έχασα
Μέσα σε ώρες βουβής ευθυίας, και στιγμές
Ανείπωτου τρόμου...

*

ΗΜΕΡΟΛΟΓΙΟ - Πιερ Πάολο Παζολίνι


Ενήλικας; Ποτέ, ποτέ όπως η ύπαρξη
Που δεν ηλικιώνεται - παραμενι πάντα άγουρη,
Από απαστράπτον σε απαστράπτον πρωινό -
Δεν μπορώ παρά να μείνω πιστός
Στην υπέροχη μονοτονία αυτού του μυστηρίου.
Να γιατί στην ευτυχία
Ποτέ δεν παραδόθηκα - να γιατί
Μέσα στην αγωνία για τις ενοχές μου
Δεν έφτασα ποτέ στη μεταμέλεια.
Ίσος, πάντα ίσος με το ανέκφραστο,
Στην απαρχή αυτού που είμαι.

*

ΥΜΝΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΛΑΟΥΝΤΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΗΣ ΝΙΝΑ - Φάμπιο Πουστέρλα


Έλεγες ότι την ημέρα
το σκοτάδι βρίσκεται στα ερμάρια
ή πίσω από τα βουνά,
και βγαίνει έξω μόνο προς το βράδυ,
όταν μπορεί να κοιμηθεί
και φοβάται.
Όμως απόψε είναι αγρυπνία, πανσέληνος,
και πίσω από κάθε σχισμή πάλλεται ο άερας
μαγνητικός, μάντης
σχεδόν κάθε πτυχής των δασών.
Έτσι μετράνε οι ανάσες
σε σας κορμιά εδώ δίπλα: μια μεγάλη σκιά
που ανεβαίνει αργά και κατεβαίνει,
και κάτω, στις αβύσσους, χορός από σμέρνες.



από την Ανθολογία Ιταλικής Ποίησης: Ταξίδι στην Όμορφη Χώρα, ανθολόγηση/μετάφραση: Σωτήρης Παστάκας & Γιάννης Η. Παππάς, εκδ. Οδός Πανός

Παγώνι(Ταώς, Ταώ, Ταών-ώνος)

Λέγεται πως ήταν ο Αλέξανδρος που έφερε από την Ινδία αυτό το πλουμιστό πουλί, ικανό να επισκιάσει με την ομορφιά του όλους τους τροφίμους του πτηνοτροφείου. Όμως η Βίβλος ήδη αναφέρει το πολύτιμο πτηνό, φερμένο από την Ασία με τα καράβια του βασιλέα Σολομώντα. Γνωστό ήδη στην αρχαία Ελλάδα, θεωρείτο ιερό πουλί της Ήρας. Ο κύκλος τον οποίο ξεδιπλώνει δεν θα μπορούσε να είναι τίποτε άλλο από τον ηλιακό δίσκο. «Kάποια παράδοση σούφι, ίσως περσικής καταγωγής, λέει πως ο Θεός δημιούργησε το πνεύμα υπό μορφή παγωνιού και του έδειξε την εικόνα του στον καθρέφτη της θείας ουσίας. Το παγώνι τότε ένιωσε τον τρόμο της αποκαλύψεως, ένα υψηλό δέος, και από πάνω του κύλησαν σταγόνες ιδρώτα από τις οποίες δημιουργήθηκαν όλα τα άλλα όντα [T. Burckard, Introduction aux doctrines ésotériques de l'Islam (Εισαγωφή στις Εσωτερικές Διδασκαλίες του Ισλάμ), 1955].
   Το παγώνι ήταν πέραν τούτου ένα σύμβολο αθανασίας, καθώς επιβεβαιωνόταν πως το κρέας του δεν σάπιζε (εικόνα της γήινης ζωής σε όλη της τη δημιουργικότητα και αστείρευτη πολλαπλότητα» (Fraenger). Έτσι εμφανίζεται στα μωσαϊκά της Ραβέννα και το κοιμητήριο της Πρισίλλα (3ος αιώνας).
   Αναπαριστούσε όμως και την ανάσταση, καθώς τα όμορφα φτερά του χάνουν το χρώμα τους και πέφτουν σαν νεκρά φύλλα το φθινόπωρο για να ξαναγεννηθούν πάλι την άνοιξη.
   Στην ελληνική μυθολογία μια κόρη ωραία και αγνή, η Ερινόνα, βιάστηκε από τον Άδωνη κατόπιν προτροπής της Ήρας, και μεταμορφώθηκε αμέσως σε πάγωνι. Αλλά αν το παγώνι ήταν το ιερό πουλί της Ήρας, τούτο οφείλεται δίχως άλλο στα πολλά μάτια (γύρω στα εκατό απ' ότι λέγεται) που στολίζουν την ουρά του: πρόκειται για τα μάτια του παντεπόπτη Άργου. Για αυτά ο Μπασλάρ λέει το ωραίο: «H ίριδα του φτερού του παγωνιού, το μάτι δίχως βλέφαρα, το αιώνιο μάτι» (Το Νερό και τα Όνειρα, σελ. 35). Έτσι το παγώνι γίνεται σύμβολο επαγρύπνησης και στοχασμού. Οι Χριστιανοί το παρουσίασαν σε ζεύγη, ένα σε κάθε πλευρά του δισκοπότηρου σε μία απεικόνιση που συμβόλιζε τους πιστούς που επιθυμούν να ξεδιψάσουν στην πηγή της ζωής. Στα έργα του Ιερώνυμου Μπος φυσικά δεν θα μπορούσε να λείπει αυτό το ορφικό έμβλημα «που ανθίζει αέναα σε ένα ατέρμονο παιχνίδι χρωμάτων» (Fraenger).
   Στην αλχημική διάλεκτο το παγώνι αντιστοιχεί σε ένα από τα τέσσερα κύρια χρώματα που είναι: το  μαύρο-κόραξ, το λευκό-κύκνος, το κόκκινο-φοίνικ και το πολύχρωμο-ουρά του παγωνιού. Αυτό το τελευταίο είναι επίσης μέρος του Ζωολογίου που συνοδεύει την παράσταση του Αθανόρ.
   Τέλος σημαιώνουμε κατ' εξαίρεσιν πως το παγώνι στο Βιετνάμ είναι έμβλημα ειρήνης.


Jean Paul Clebert, από το Bestiario: Οι Μυθικοί Συμβολισμοί των Ζώων, μτφρ. Κλέων Ρέγγας, εκδ. Αρχέτυπο

  '-ἐγὼ γὰρ ἄν οἶμαι, εἴ τινα ἐκλαξάμενον δέοι ταύτην τὴν νύκτα ἐν ᾗ οὕτω κατέδαρθεν ὥστε μηδὲ ὄναρ ἰδεῖν, καὶ τὰς ἄλλας νύκτας τε καὶ ἡμέρας τὰς τοῦ βίου τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ ἀντιπαραθέντα ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ δέοι σκεψάμενον εἰπεῖν πόσας ἄμεινον καὶ ἥδιον ἡμέρας καὶ νύκτας ταύτης τῆς νυκτὸς βεβίωκεν ἐν τῷ ἑαυτοῦ βίῳ, οἶμαι ἄν μὴ ὅτι ἰδιώτην τινά, ἀλλὰ τὸν μέγαν βασιλέα εὐαριθμήτους ἄν εὑρεῖν αὐτὸν ταύτας πρὸς τὰς ἄλλας ἡμέρας καὶ νύκτας-
   εἰ οὖν τοιοῦτομ ὁ θάνατός ἐστιν, κέρδος ἔγωγε λέγω· καὶ γὰρ οὐδὲν πλείων ὁ πᾶς χρόνος φαίνεται οὕτω δὴ εἶναι ἤ μία νύξ. εἰ δ’ αὖ οἷον ἀποδημῆσαί ἐστιν ὁ θάνατος ἐνθένδε εὶς ἄλλον τόπον, καὶ ἀληθῆ ἐστιν τὰ λεγόμενα, ὡς ἄρα ἐκεῖ εἰσίν ἅπαντες οἱ τεθνεῶτες, τί μεῖζον ἀγαθὸν τοὺτου εἴη ἄν, ὦ ἄνδρες δικασταί;'

*

  'Εγώ λοιπόν νομίζω ότι αν κάποιος έπρεπε να διαλέξει ανάμεσα σε μια νύχτα που κοιμήθηκε χωρίς να δει ούτε ένα όνειρο, και τις άλλες νύχτες και μέρες της ζωής του, αν έπρεπε να τις αντιπαραβάλει με τη νύχτα εκείνη και να σκεφτεί και να πει πόσα καλύτερα και πιο ευχάριστα μερόνυχτα έχει ζήσει στη ζωή του απ’ αυτή τη νύχτα, νομίζω ότι όχι μόνο ο τυχαίος ιδιώτης αλλά κι ο μεγαλύτερος βασιλιάς θα τα έβρισκε πολύ λίγα σε σχέση με τα άλλα μερόνυχτα.
   Αν κάτι τέτοιο είναι ο θάνατος, εγώ τουλάχιστον νομίζω ότι είναι όφελος. Γιατί έτσι η αιωνιότητα όλη δεν φαίνεται παρά σαν μια νύχτα. Αν πάλι ο θάνατος είναι αναχώρηση από εδώ για έναν άλλον τόπο κι είναι αλήθεια τα λεγόμενα ότι εκεί βρίσκονται όλοι όσοι έχουν πεθάνει, τι μεγαλύτερο καλό θα υπήρχε από αυτό, άνδρες δικαστές;'


Πλάτων, Απολογία Σωκράτους: Η Δίκη του Σωκράτη, μτφρ. Ηλέκτρα Ανδρεάδη, εκδ. Κάκτος

  'Ἄν ἡ σχέση μὲ τὸν ἄλλο προϋποθέτει ἕναν ἁπειρο χωρισμό, μιὰν ἄπειρη διακοπὴ ὅπου ἐμφανίζεται τὸ πρόσωπο [visage], τότε τί συμβαίνει, ποῦ καὶ σὲ ποιόν συμβαίνει αὐτὸ τὸ πράγμα ὅταν μιὰ ἄλλη διακοπὴ ἔρχεται μὲς στὸ θάνατο ἐμβαθύνοντας μὲ περισσότερο ἄπειρο τὸν πρῶτο χωρισμό, σπαρακτικὴ διακοπὴ μέσα στὴν καρδιὰ τῆς ἴδιας τῆς διακοπῆς;'

Ζακ Ντεριντά, Adieu: Επικήδειος για τον Emmanuel Lévinas, μτφρ. Βαγγέλης Μπιτσώρης, εκδ. Άγρα

  'Ἀπ’ τὸν λασπόλακκο βγῆκα μὲ τὴν εὐρωστία τῆς ὡριμότητας. Τί ἤμουν πρίν; Ἕνα σακὶ νερό, μιὰ νεκρὴ ἔκταση, βυθὸς ὑπνώτων. (Ἐντούτοις, ἤξερα ποιός ἤμουν, ἐξακολουθοῦσα νὰ πορεύομαι στὸν χρόνο, δὲν ἐξέπιπτα στὸ μηδέν.) Ἔρχονταν νὰ μὲ δοῦν ἀπὸ μακριά. Τὰ παιδιὰ ἔπαιζαν πλησίον μου. Οἱ γυναῖκες κατεκλίνοντο καταγῆς γιὰ νὰ μοῦ δώσουν τὸ χέρι. Εἶχα κι ἐγὼ κάποτε τὸ μερίδιό μου στὴ νιότη. Τὸ κενὸ ὅμως μοῦ ἄφησε μιὰ ἀπογοήτευση μεγάλη.'

Μορίς Μπλανσό, Η Τρέλα της Ημέρας, μτφρ. Δημήτρης Δημητριάδης, εκδ. Άγρα

ΕΠΙΚΙΝΔΥΝΗ ΖΩΗ


Σήμερα είμαι ίσως ο ευτυχέστερος άνθρωπος στον κόσμο
Έχω όλα όσα δεν θέλω
Και το μόνο πράγμα που έχει για μένα σημασία στη ζωή κάθε γύρισμα της προπέλας
με πηγαίνει κοντά του
Κι ίσως θα 'χω χάσει τα πάντα φτάνοντας.

* * *

Η ΠΡΟΖΑ ΤΟΥ ΥΠΕΡΣΙΒΗΡΙΚΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΤΗΣ ΜΙΚΡΗΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΑΣ ΤΗΣ ΓΑΛΛΙΑΣ  [απόσπασμα]


[...]
Κοιμήθηκα σε μια κουβέρτα ταξιδιωτική
Πολύχρωμη
Σαν τη ζωή μου
Και η ζωή μου δε με ζεστένει πιότερο απ’ το σκοτσέζικο ετούτο
Σάλι
Κι ολάκερη η Ευρώπη κοιταγμένη απ’ το πτερύγιο μιας ταχείας
Που τρέχει ολοταχώς
Πλουσιότερη δεν είναι απ’ τη ζωή μου
Απ’ τη φτωχή ζωή μου
Αυτό το σάλι
Ξεφτισμένο πάνω σε κιβώτια γεμάτα χρυσάφι
Που κυλώ μαζί τους
Για να ονειρεύομαι
Για να καπνίζω
Και η μόνη φλόγα της οικουμένης
Είναι μια σκέψη φτωχική...

* * *

  'Ο συγγραφέας δεν πρέπει ποτέ να θέτει τον εαυτό του σε πανοραμική θέα. Όσο μεγαλειώδης κι αν μπορεί αυτή να είναι. Σαν τον Άγιο Ιερεμία, ο συγγραφέας πρέπει να γράφει μέσα στο κελί του. Να γυρίζει την πλάτη του. Η γραφή είναι μια οπτική του πνεύματος. «Ο κόσμος είναι απεικόνισή μου». Η ανθρωπότητα ζει μέσα στη γραφή του. Αυτός είναι ο λόγος για τον οποίο ο πρωτοπόρος ζητά πάντοτε να μεταμορφώσει την εικόνα του κόσμου σε δική του. Σήμερα, σκεπάζω ακόμα και τους καθρέφτες.'



Μπλεζ Σαντράρ, 23 Ποιήματα και Μια Συνέντευξη, μτφρ. Ναυσικά Αθανασίου, Κλείτος Κύρου & Γιάννης Λειβαδάς, εκδ. Κουκούτσι
St Mark’s Body Brought to Venice (c. 1562-66) - Tintoretto

Zhang Yimou’s Hero as discourse of national identity
Its imagination of Chinese nation for domestic and foreign audiences
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Ioannis Tsirkas


‘As Benedict Anderson has argued, nations are “imagined communities”. That is, they are constituted in part by the discourses that define nation-ness, what we might call discourses of national identity. These are the stories that all nations tell themselves: stories about the nation’s origins, its struggles, its triumphs, its character, its values, its past, and even its future.’ (Hogan 2010, p.63)



   Zhang Yimou’s Hero (China, 2002) is indeed a film in which we can locate all these things about China that Jackie Hogan mentions in the above quotation and therefore it can be seen and examined as a discourse of China’s national identity. In this paper I will try to discuss the afore-mentioned subject by analyzing the main heroic character of the film, Nameless (Jet Li), as indicator of a suggested political attitude towards Chinese’s nation or the concept of nation in general after demonstrating how such an attitude sets off the action of the film. Through this it will be reflected that Hero does not only make do with creating an image about Chinese’s national identity, but also that its text seems to suggest a particular way of such a conception. In addition, as a film that aimed and succeeded to rise to prominence as a global blockbuster it raises questions about the possible fluctuation of covetable acceptance it carried off between the domestic and foreign audiences. Thereafter, I will focus on its suggested political stasis to the notion of Chinese nation for it consists an essential factor for the amplification of the film’s globality, since we can consider the in question suggestion by applying the notion of nation in general, functioning thus as a common point of interest among its multiple audiences.

From the images of national heroes to the image of Chinese nation
   The (re)production of heroic characters in Hero is entailed by the (re)construction of Chinese national identity illustrating comparatively a national and by extension nationalist complexion and substantiating pursuance for ‘identity, unity and collective vitality’ (Guo 2010, p.27). The recourse for these characters/figures and for the whole concept of the film to the historical past, which reflects upon a ‘powerful, peaceful and united China in the present’ (Berry and Farquhar 2006, p.166) functioning as a contemplating comment on it (Hunt 2011b, p.68), is a device quite usual in Chinese culture (Berry 2009, p.116). The choice of wuxia genre, a China’s national product (Teo 2012, p.297), although is connected with ‘spiritual resistance to the officially-constructed discourse of nationalism’ (Quiong Yu 2012, p.161) functions here as parable, or even justification (Curtin 2012, p.193), of the ‘political and cultural nationalism’ (Chan 2011, p.152) of China electing it as a totalitarian nation of negative excesses (Teo 2009, p.187). However, if Hero represents certain anxieties of a redeemed through authoritarianism contemporary Chinese society (Xu 2007, p.30) in what extent is reputed as a global film and in which ways is able to talk to foreign audiences?
   Hero’s narrative although is based upon an alternative version of a foundational Chinese myth lends itself in ‘multiple readings in various contexts locally and globally’ (Lee 2007). Although some composite Chinese elements and the conspicuous ‘nationalist imperative’ (Chan and Fung 2010, p.200) can be identified in the film, simplifying any historical complexity, avoiding ‘anything too “Chinese”’ that might confuse’ (p.206) the foreign audiences and following the ‘demands of the global market’ (p.200) in general, Hero succeeds to balance ‘between a progressive Chinese nationalism and [the] western modernity’ (Hunt 2011a, p.147). The basic key of this achievement appears latent into the deliberate and precise discrimination in the use of the film’s narrative and images. On a first level, the committed propagandistic narrative seems to apply to the domestic audience while the seeking for representative impressive images to the foreign one. On a second level, both of them can be adaptable to each nation of the foreign audiences and most importantly to function as an indeterminate ‘globalised propaganda’ (Harrison 2006, p.572) of loyalty to an authoritarian rule. Consequently, Hero is not only a ‘film of images’ (Gillespie 2004, cited in Qiong Yu 2012, p.156), but also an artistic presumptive evidence of established images, heroic and national ones and more specifically idealized ways of seeing and perceiving the notion of nation.

Nameless as national hero
   The film starts with the following three in order of appearance inscriptions: ‘People give their lives for many reasons.’[1], ‘For friendship, for love, for an ideal’[2], ‘And people kill for the same reasons…’. Consequently, we are able to presume from the beginning that we will watch a kind of sacrifice (giving of lives) opposed to a converse one (killing lives). Possibly we will have to identify ourselves with the characters who will perform these sacrifices. The following inscription tells us: ‘Before China was one great country, it was divided into seven warring states.’ leaving us to assume that these sacrifices will be for China. After that, the following inscriptions inform us about a ‘vision’ of the ‘ruthless ruler’ of the Kingdom of Qin (Chen Daoming) to ‘unite the land’ putting an end to the war of the states. His ‘idea’ is being characterized as ‘soaked in the blood of his enemies’. Maybe this idealist ruthless ruler will be one of the two possible sacrificing characters. The last inscription before the appearance of the title of the film is: ‘In any war there are heroes on both sides…’. In this way the King of Qin appears implicitly as hero from the beginning, a national one. What we have to wait for is the appearance of the hero of the other side. As we will realize in the end of the film there is not actually a veritable other side. Nameless, the one representing the main impersonative character, will sacrifice himself for the king’s idea of the China’s national unification becoming also a hero, signifying that heroes are the ones who sacrifice the lives of others or the lives of themselves in the name of nation.
   Therefore we are not surprised when the other main character of the film introduces himself as Nameless. Sacrificing yourself in the name of nation means that you lose your identity, that you understand your own insignificance compared to the significance of the nation. Furthermore, his self-introducing through his off-screen voice marks him as narrator of what will follow forcing us to identify ourselves with him[3]. We will have to accept his future (self-)sacrifice[4] as ours toο. His will to assassinate the King is something that will be revealed later in the plot, despite his unanticipated decision to let him live very near to the end of the film. Thereafter, until this turning point of the plot we are watching what we faulty consider as the heroic fights of an obedient to the King assassin in order to ensure the integrity of the continuation of his life and reign[5]. Until then we are identified with an individual person who fights and kills because, as he confess in the beginning, this was the obvious fate for somebody without a family name. When we learn his real purpose we admire him yet more, not only as a masculine male figure who offers visual pleasure through the perfection of his body[6], but as a determined moral man to the defense of the small kingdom from which he derives his origin too. He is not an individual, but a votary of his small kingdom who fights for his need to resist against the extinction which threatens it. In order to consider him as a real hero he has to become a votary of his nation.
   The true indicator of China’s nation is nevertheless the King. A despotic and imperialist ruler. The time when Nameless lets him live announces that its a decision whereby ‘many will die’ apart from him. Due to the expansion of the nation the differences have to be erased and this will happen by the route of violence (Quiong Yu 2012, p.161) which is considered by the presented as visionary, perceptive and fearless King (Guo 2010, p.34) inevitable. For the domestic audience this concentration of power in the King (Larson 2008, p.182) and the ignoring of ‘cultural diversity and individual rights’ (Yuelian 2003, cited in Quiong Yu 2012, p.154) can be reflected into the present of China as a glorification of the national interest and even more as an exhortation to it[7]. The foreign audience is free to adapt the film’s suggested political attitude to nationalism to its own conditions, or to consider Chinese nation as an antagonistic one willing puissance in the contemporary global order, or to content themselves only to the film’s visual pleasures just enriching their images about China as a ‘culturally rich country’ (Larson 2008, p.185) and a developing powerful nation of imposingness.

Conclusions: considering Jhang Yimou as national hero
   At the end of the film on a shot of the Great Wall a text like the one in the beginning is appearing again affirming the director Jhang Yimou as ‘principal narrator’ (Rawnsley 2010, p.15) of Hero. In these lines we read that the King’s vision to ‘unite’ the country was achieved and that the Chinese still advert the Great Wall, which he built two thousand years ago, when they speak about their country. The presence of this monument seems to consist an ‘intersection between China’s civilized past and modernized present’ (Xu 2007, p.60) confirming Yimou’s will to explore the appropriate political stasis of a Chinese to his nation in the present through a reversion to its origin and creation. As the Great Wall is a symbol of Chinese past grandiocity, in the same way he endeavored to make Hero a symbol of the potential resplendence of the contemporary Chinese nation. By succeeding to create a global blockbuster able to represent China to the western audience he becomes a kind of national hero for the Westerns, imposing thus the same status in his country (Chan and Fung 2010, p.209). If yet we consider Nameless as an alter ego of Yimou, who is being represented through the character of the King?
   Regarding the King as the equivalent of the Chinese Communist Party, the political message of the film seems structured with preciseness. In this way and as my analysis demonstrated, Hero functions more as an intervention on the discourse about the expedient political stasis in the contemporary configuration of Chinese nation and as an imposing image to the West of its potential developing supremacy if this stasis will be adopted by the Chinese people, than just a cinematically cultural approach to the Chinese nation. Like Nameless, Yimou sacrificed his more artistic intentions and directions of the past in order to direct a high-budjet commercial film which applies to the masses inducing them to think and act nationally sacrificing their individualism like he did with his artistic one. Through Hero he is expressing primarily a covetable nationalism subservient to the political aspirations of the Communist regime and not the opposing doubts of his previous films for which he had experienced factual objections.
   The perception of the Chinese audience, critics and scholars was the predictable[8], while the global audience even if apprehended the nationalist message, the overshadowing dominance of the film’s spectacle did not allow its taking objection to it. Although it would be illustrative to substantiate this reading of the film with Zhang Yimou's posterior route, my purpose was to count only to the film's text in which the transitional anguish of him and the Chinese nation is thoroughly reflected.


_______________________________________
[1] I will emerge presently the reason why I am keeping the original punctuation within the quotation marks.
[2] The symbol of full stop is absent in this sentence possibly in order to give emphasis both to the significance and the abstractness of the last world “ideal” pre-declaring that the film will be about ideals.
[3] His anomia also prompts our identification.
[4] It will be made clear later why his sacrifice has not to be considered as merely one of his own life.
[5] When the King asks him about a desirable reward for his achievement he responds that the integrity of Qin is his duty so laying down the only principle of his assassinations.
[6] It is worth mentioning that the construction of male images in the Chinese waxia genre films is being conducted by ‘strong nationalist overtone’ (Quiong Yu 2012, p.146).
[7] The assertion that the film’s narrative can function as ‘ideological endorsement to China’s ambitions to unify regional territories’ (Chaudhuri 2005, p.98) has not to be regarded as a far-fetched conclusion.
[8] It would be useful here to cite the following extract in order to give a concise idea of the film’s main reception in China: ‘Released at a time when China’s image was improving in the wake of continuous economic growth, entry into the WTO, winning the Olympic bid and the return of Hong Kong and Macau, Hero and the ensuing debate became part of the discourse on nationalism, and the movie was denounced as a vehicle for strengthening dictatorial rule because of its positive portrayal of the First Emperor’ (Louie 2008, p.137). The general endorsement of the film by China’s leaders (Berry and Farquhar 2006, p.163) is also indicating.



References
  • Berry, Chris and Farquhar, Mary (2006) China on Screen: Cinema and Nation. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Berry, Chris (2009) ‘Jia Zhangke and the Temporality of Postsocialist Chinese Cinema: In the Now’, in Khoo, Olivia and Metzger, Sean (ed.) Futures of Chinese Cinema: Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures. Bristol and Chicago: Intellect, pp. 111-128.
  • Chan, Joseph M. and Fung, Anthony (2010) ‘Towards a Global Blockbuster: The Political Economy of Hero’s Nationalism’, in Rawnsley, Gary D. and Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh T. (ed.) Global Chinese Cinema: The Culture and Politics of Hero. London: Routledge, pp. 198-211.
  • Chan, Kenneth (2011) ‘The Contemporary Wuxia Revival: Genre Remaking and the Hollywood Transnational Factor’, in Lim, Song Hwee and Ward, Julian (ed.) The Chinese Cinema Book. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 150-157.
  • Chaudhuri, Shohini (2005) Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Curtin, Michael (2012) ‘Chinese Media Capital in Global Context’, in Zhang, Yingjin (ed.) A Companion to Chinese Cinema. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 179-196.
  • Guo, Yingjie (2010) ‘Recycled Heroes, Invented Tradition and Transformed Identity’, in Rawnsley, Gary D. and Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh T. (ed.) Global Chinese Cinema: The Culture and Politics of Hero. London: Routledge, pp. 27-42.
  • Harrison, Mark (2006) ‘Zhang Yimou’s Hero and the Globalisation of Propaganda’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 34, pp. 569-572
  • Hogan, Jackie (2010) ‘Gendered and Racialised Discourses of National Identity in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia’, Journal of Australian Studies, 34(1), pp. 63-77.
  • Hunt, Leon (2011) ‘Dragons Forever: Chinese Martial Arts Stars’, in Lim, Song Hwee and Ward, Julian (ed.) The Chinese Cinema Book. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 141-149.
  • ¯¯¯¯¯¯ (2011) ‘Heroic Chivalry, Heroic Sacrifice: “Martial Arthouse” as Epic Cinema’, in Burgoyne, Robert (ed.) The Epic Film in World Culture. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 63-81.
  • Larson, Wendy (2008) ‘Zhang Yimou's Hero: Dismantling the Myth of Cultural Power’, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, 2(3), pp. 181-196.
  • Lee, Vivian (2007) ‘Into/Out of the Critical Divide: The Indeterminacy of Hero’, Scope, 9. [Online] Available at: http://www.scope.nottingham.ac.uk/article.php?issue=9&id=955 (Accessed 28 April 2013).
  • Louie, Kan (2008) ‘Hero: The Return of a Traditional Masculine Ideal in China’, in Berry, Chris (ed.) Chinese Films in Focus II. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 137-143.
  • Qiong Yu, Sabrina (2012) Jet Li: Chinese Masculinity and Transnational Film Stardom. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Rawnsley, Gary D. (2010) ‘The Political Narrative(s) of Hero’, in Rawnsley, Gary D. and Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh T. (ed.) Global Chinese Cinema: The Culture and Politics of Hero. London: Routledge, pp. 13-26.
  • Teo, Stephen (2009) Chinese Martial Arts cinema: The Wuxia Tradition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • ¯¯¯¯¯¯ (2012) ‘Film Genre and Chinese Cinema: A Discourse of Film and Nation’, in Zhang, Yingjin (ed.) A Companion to Chinese Cinema. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 284-298.
  • Xu, Gary G (2007) Sinascape: Contemporary Chinese Cinema. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.



Acknowledgment
   Ι would like to express my sincere thanks to Christos Aggelakopoulos for his diligent philological support.

  'Κατά συνέπεια στο ανθρώπινο επίπεδο η μέθοδος πλησιάσματος της μιας ψυχής στην άλλη στο πιο στενό επίπεδο αμοιβαίου ενδιαφέροντος αρχίζει να προσεγγίζει τη σχέση της Ψυχής προς το Θεό -οπότε τα ανθρώπινα όντα ως εραστές & επιστάτες & πατέρες φτιάχνουν την Αιώνια Σκηνή. Η οικειότητα αυτή διαρκώς παραβιάζεται από σκληρόκαρδη τρέλα & πολιτική & δουλειές & πολέμους.
   Επομένως ο άγιος είναι ο στενός και τρυφερός φίλος όλων -ο άγιος Φραγκίσκος και τα Πουλιά- που αναγνωρίζει την Αδελφική Αγάπη. Όχι ηθικολογίες, Αγάπη.'


  'Ο αγώνας & Πόνος του Θανάτου είναι μονάχα η Ψυχή που την εξαναγκάζουν να αναγνωρίζει την Τελική της φύση & να εγκαταλείψει τον Ξεχωριστό Ατομικό Εαυτό.
________

   Φτώχεια, πείνα, πόνος επίσης χωρίζουν τη ψυχή από το σώμα, το πρόσκαιρο σώμα, και χρησιμεύουν ως ασκήσεις του Θείου. Αν κι είναι οδυνηρό - κάποιος πρέπει να υποφέρει, ο άνθρωπος ή το βόδι του.
________

   Η ανταμοιβή εκμηδενίζει τον Αγώνα. Ο Θεός είναι Τέλειος.'



Άλεν Γκίνσμπεργκ [& Ουίλιαμ Μπάροουζ], Οι Επιστολές του Γιαχέ, μτφρ. Γιώργος Γούτας, εκδ. Απόπειρα

  'Όσο η τυραννία ενός ηγεμόνα φέρνει ένα κράτος κοντύτερα στην καταστροφή του, τόσο και η αδιαφορία για το κοινό καλό φέρνει μια ελεύθερη πολιτεία κοντά στη δική της καταστροφή.'

  'Οι κατακτήσεις είναι εύκολες, γιατί γίνονται όταν έχεις όλες τις δυνάμεις σου· δύσκολα όμως διατηρούνται, γιατί τις υπερασπίζεσαι μόνο με ένα μέρος των δυνάμεών σου.'

   'Ό,τι αποκαλούμε ενότητα σε ένα πολιτικό σώμα είναι κάτι ιδιαίτερα διφορούμενο· η αληθινή ενότητα είναι αρμονική και έχει ως συνέπεια να συμπράτουν όλα τα μέρη για το γενικό καλό, παρά τις φαινομενικές αντιθέσεις τους, όπως ακριβώς στη μουσική οι ατονίες συντελούν στη γενική αρμονία. Ακόμη και σε ένα κράτος στο οποίο μας φαίνεται πως επικρατεί μόνο αναταραχή, μπορεί να υπάρχει ενότητα, δηλαδή εκείνη η αρμονία από την οποία απορρέει η ευτυχία, που είναι και η μόνη πραγματική ειρήνη. Συμβαίνει κι εδώ ό,τι συμβαίνει και στα μέρη του σύμπαντος: η δράση των μεν και η αντίδραση των δε τα συνδέει αιώνια μεταξύ τους.'

  'Δεν υπάρχει μεγαλύτερη προσβολή για τους ανθρώπους, από τον χλευασμό προς τις τελετουργίες και τις συνήθειές τους. Αν επιδιώξεις να τους καταδυναστεύσεις, αυτό μπορεί μερικές φορές να θεωρηθεί απόδειξη ότι τους εκτιμάς· αν θίξεις τα έθιμά τους, αυτό αποτελεί πάντοτε απόδειξη ότι τους περιφρονείς.'

  'Τα κράτη που υποτάσσονται με υπόγειο και αδιόρατο τρόπο, όταν χάνουν τους νόμους τους, δεν παύουν να κυβερνιούνται από τα ήθη.'


Μοντεσκιέ, Εκτιμήσεις για τα Αίτια του Μεγαλείου και της Παρακμής των Ρωμαίων, μτφρ. Θωμάς Σκάσσης, εκδ. Πόλις