12 August, 2006

c'est à prendre ou à laisser

But some of us older men, some at least I should like to think, avoid debates because we know better: we know better that 1. learning something is more important than the debate (the ultimate evolutionary metaphor for you: if knowledge is a woman, mating with her is what the match is all about, not about some stupid championship belt); and 2. knowledge rarely comes through argument.

Gawain, 2006, on the value of debate.


I have no ulterior political motives when I find the sculptures you made for Hitler repellent.

What don't you like about them?

Their cold, necrophilic aesthetic, the ludicrous poses, the primitivity of expression.

Fair enough, it's a question of perception.

. . .

I was recently in Paris again, and I went to a fruit stand, there were bananas there, all the same size, but with different prices. I must have had an odd expression because the seller said: c'est à prendre ou à laisser, take it or leave it. That's how it is. That's how things are. I see something that irritates me, and I try to fathom the reason for the irritation, and then I'm rebuked by the seller, who has been observing me.

Then why did you put up with it?

What was I supposed to have done? Should I have said: 'I don't understand why they have different prices'? Then I would have had to endure a longer explanation. That wouldn't have done any good.

You never know until you try. Maybe it would have irritated the banana-seller. No one stops you from reflecting.

He was so categorical. I just tipped my hat and left.

Interview with Arno Breker, 1979 [via Castrovalva]


chris miller said...

Thanks for the link to the Breker interview. Do you remember where it was linked in Castrovalva ?

Conrad H. Roth said...

On the sidebar to the left.

John Cowan said...

"The fact that I was not dueling with [King] Argaven, but attempting to communicate with him, was itself an incommunicable fact." --Genly Ai in Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.