Patrice Riemens on Fri, 16 Jul 1999 19:27:00 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Claude Levi-Strauss, The Broken Hologram

"Montaigne said once that old age shrinkens us by every day that passes,
and consumes us in such a way that when Death comes, she taketh only a
half person, or a quarter of a person.  Montaigne died at the age of 59,
and probably could not even imagine the extreme age in which I am finding
myself to-day.  In this very old age which I never thought I would attain,
and which consitutes one of the most remarkable surprises of my life, I
feel to be like a broken hologram. A hologram that does no longer have its
original unity, yet, as is the property of holograms, every remaining
piece retains an image and a representation of the whole.

And thus, there is for me, in me, a real me, who is no more than a quarter
or a half person, and a virtual me, who retains a lively mental image of
everything.  The virtual me embarks in a project to write a book, starts
marshalling the chapters, and then says to the real me: "It's up to you to
go on with the job".  Upon which my real me, who is totally spend by now,
retorts: "That is your business. You are the only one who still sees the
whole."  My life now takes place inside this very strange argument indeed. 

I am very thankful to you all to have silenced this dialogue for a few
moments. Your presence here today, and your friendship, enable my both me
to merge again for a short while.  I know that my real me goes on melting
away till its ultimate dissolution, but I am thankfull to you to have
given me a hand, and thereby to have given me the impression, however so
fleeting, that this is not the case." 

(Words to this effect were spoken by Claude Levi-Strauss (born 1907)  at
an intimate gathering at the College de France on the 25th of January
1999, at the presentation of the special issue of the journal "Critique"
entirely devoted to him & his work. Since Levi-Strauss spoke without
notes, and there was no recording, his speech was 'remembered' by
Roger-Pol Droit and published in Le Monde dated January 29, 1999.)

"Claude Levi-Strauss", Critique, Nos 620-621, 1999.  192p, 98FF
Paris: Editions de Minuit.

#  distributed via nettime-l: no commercial use without permission of author
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  un/subscribe: and
# "un/subscribe nettime-l you@address" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: <>