Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Notes for a commonplace book (17)

Luc Sante:
The game may not be over, but its rules have irrevocably changed. The small has been consumed by the big, the poor have been evicted by the rich, the drifters are behind glass in museums. Everything that was once directly lived has moved away into representation. If the game is ever to resume, it will have to take on hitherto unimagined forms. It will have much larger walls to undermine, will be able to thrive only in the cracks that form in the ordered surfaces of the future. It is to be hoped, of course, that the surface is shattered by buffoonery and overreaching rather than war or disease, but there can be no guarantee. It may be that whatever escape routes the future offers will be shadowed by imminent extinction. Life, in any case, will flourish under threat. Utopias last five minutes, to the extent that they happen at all. There will never be a time when the wish for security does not lead to unconditional surrender. The history of Paris teaches us that beauty is a by-product of danger, that liberty is at best a consequence of neglect, that wisdom is entwined with decay. Any Paris of the future that is neither a frozen artifact nor an inhabited holding company will perforce involve fear, dirt, sloth, ruin, and accident. It will entail the continual experience of uncertainty, because the only certainty is death.
The Other Paris (2016)

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