sábado, 1 de agosto de 2009

“Establish yourself within yourself"

“In Bulgaria the Communist party put young people into factories or co-op farms to teach them about reality and to fight intellectuals’ elitism. Above all, it denigrated intellectual work. Intellectuals came out of it more humiliated than “realistic”.
What I got from this was a great respect for those who live by the mind, and I have it still. It’s quite a rare activity, isn’t it, and one that deserves to be encouraged, surely not converted into another function, even if it were to be productive in terms of consumer goods. My friends, who establish themselves in a factory in May 1968, afterwards seemed to me to have a lot of psychological difficulties, a great feeling of guilt and no self-confidence. I had just read Saint Thomas, who took up the Biblical and evangelical precept to love thyself as thy neighbour, and advised the believer to “Establish yourself within yourself!” It’s a sublime phrase that in the end invites us to be reconcilied with our narcissism before we establish links with anyone else. Any link with “vanity” (or what we call egotism) is unfailingly denounced. It’s quite the opposite, because to “establish oneself within the self” guards against any excesses of egocentricity. So I used to say to one of my friends whose establishment in the factory ended with a lot of bitterness: “Establish yourself within yourself and you’ll choose afterwards if you can get establish elsewhere” He saw what I was saying, but only after a few years later, after his painful experience”.

From “Revolt, She said” by Julia Kristeva
Semiotext(e)-MIT Press, 2002

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