Monday, September 11, 2006

destined to agency, like the red balloon

For the public intellectual, for the academic even, thoughts always seem to fit tightly. With an idea, the spirit of its occurence is so ipso ergo sum, that mind seems to command with the audacity of a threatening blade. Instantly momentary insights ask to be commodified and possessed. Little sparks of "idea", which may achieve conscious manifestation from such unprovoked catalysts as burden french cinema with a sense of the arbitrary, are acted out in narratives and undergo a process of aggregation. Something thought on a tuesday (post-biscotti) finds its way into a dissertation. In this way, something unwilled is brought into the theatre of wills, into the domain of intellectual production; an idea is harvested.

But how do we retain an authentic relationship with something that then moves into the realm of discourse?

Is this the stuff of parrhessia*?

*παρρησία (παν = all + ρησις / ρημα = utterance / speech) meaning literally "to speak everything" and by extension, "to speak freely", "to speak boldly", "boldness".

"More precisely, parrhesia is a verbal activity in which a speaker expresses his personal relationship to truth, and risks his life because he recognizes truth-telling as a duty to improve or help other people (as well as himself). In parrhesia, the speaker uses his freedom and chooses frankness instead of persuasion, truth instead of falsehood or silence, the risk of death instead of life and security, criticism instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest and moral apathy." --Foucault