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Monday, September 6, 2010

Les Paradis artificiels

It seems, to me, any apotheosis, or better yet, any point of sublimation, requires... work. If one is to enhance beauty, within an artistic piece, it isn't something that is a function of morals or mere passion; but a point of reflection. Where one looks into a mirror and sees themselves as subject/object, somnambulist/mesmerizer, etc.,

I admire Baudelaire because he realized this, and in his Les Paradis artificiels, where he pits a comparison between Wine and Hashish, (I'm only just in the beginning of this work), he signifies something that correlates so well to the artistic process. I'll begin with Paganini. It was said that Paganini, prior to fame, traveled with a Spanish guitarist, who happened to be an immense talent, an immense beauty. On one of his travels, this Spanish guitarist came across a marble cutter; the guitarist was slated to give a concert for the bourgeois in town that night, but they found him entirely drunk with the marble cutter, so when he went on stage, many were offended, and left. But those who stayed, were privy to something that really cannot compact to word. The marble cutter wasn't gifted on his violin, but once he started playing, the guitarist provided a contrast befitting every notion of beauty that can be conceived. What Baudelaire was trying to say, in approaching this, is that wine, as opposed to Hashish, produces useful results. Hashish, according to him, is useless and dangerous.

Bear in mind, I'm just in the beginnings, of this work; once I read it entirely, I'll provide a more perspicacious blog. When Baudelaire describes the effects of Hashish, he exemplifies an Objective process. Where an individual's conscious behavior disappears from time to time. So that everything is just that, objective, and the person affected can become a tree swaying in the wind, losing the sense of self command so significant to "reality."

Hashish is antisocial; wine tantamount to the nature of man. At least, according to what I've read thus far, what Baudelaire has said. What I want to pinpoint in this blog, though, which seems to lack focus at the moment, is that we always seem to be in search of artificial paradises. A way to fuse the animal (man) and the vegetable (wine, hashish), so that another being erupts, a divinity, if you will, the holy ghost in an unholy trinity. The question becomes, can we exceed the artificial aims and create paradises of our own, on our own?

I'll quote something from Barbereau:

"I fail to see why rational, reasoning man must employ artificial means to reach poetic bliss when he can, with enthusiasm and will, raise himself up to a supranatural existence.

The great poets, philosophers, and prophets have all, by the free and pure exercise of their will, succeeded in reaching a state in which they were at once cause and effect, subject and object, mesmerizer and somnambulist."

Baudelaire's response to this is, "there I completely agree."

And it's something I've always tended to believe. Wine is wonderful, and I imagine hashish, which I've never tried, opium was never a drug of choice (!), does bring one to what feels like a philosophic and artistic apotheosis. The more sensitive natures, at least. Hashish inspires kef, the point of perfect bliss. Where man literally becomes God.

But if one has the capacity, they are able to become the subject and object of their will, they are able to exceed the artificial paradises, and come to a paradise of their own "Dasein." I really wish I could go back to the Hotel Pimodan (back in time, that is) and see a whole series of Delacroix's Hamlet lithographs... and meet Baudelaire and Gautier and whatnot... but what I really anticipate, in everything I do, is to bring things to their intrinsic possibility. The true cultivation of beauty, by means of a will that makes me cause and effect, subject and object, mesmerizer and somnambulist. That takes me to a point of reflection, so that the mirror I view, isn't Narcissus gazing over his own reflection, but Artemis inviolate by Actaeon's violation. Bearing the "soul" to the world, when really this is a mask of something more infinite, what we're ineluctably grasping (at). So maybe that's why we aspire to artificial paradises, there are too many quandaries to resolve, but perhaps, the key to it all, is will; the will, more importantly, to see that Les Paradis artificiels are always things of our own making. But if we bring our will to full apotheosis, the things of our own making become the things that exceed, and make us. Yes, that primordial yawp of the inimitable Whitman.

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