Chanel 5 – ad 1980’s

Posted on: April 9, 2008

Don’t say France, say Ines de la Fressange

Is it possible to talk about a national principle or essence? Or may we think, with Sigmund Freud, that some kind of ‘general unconscious’ determines behaviors on universal levels without considering factual borders?

What do we understand under ‘principle’? If an essence is a series of words that does synthesize ‘that without which something can’t be as such’, we may understand under principle, a series of words synthesizing ‘the logic (movement) without which something can’t be as such’.

To say that you can talk eternally about something. You start describing it and then you go over to its historical evolution, and then to its interactions and so on. It’s eternal what ever subject you talk about. Even more so if it is nations.  You may thus think that it is possible to get a ‘feature’ which has inherent a logic determining everything (appearance, history, interactions, etc.) so that you don’t have to loose so many words on a subkect to make it become intelligible.

To defend such a hypothesis may be thought in our days almost hazardous: not only deepest suspicions will link you immediately to extreme right and nationalistic wings, it is almost impossible to find any relevant philosophical background allowing to find broader acceptation of such a thesis. Only George Steiner. As said in ‘Splitters’ the linking of language to a national historical evolution does allow broadening the question towards fields that may imply those of our concern.

More thus, than figuring out a ‘nation’ as a fixed entity, whose essence could be grasped, it is more the language that allows thinking the possibility fundamental logics of functioning could be embedded in it, and languages are usually hold in nations or show differences clear enough so as to allow thinking a ‘inside-border-language’ and a ‘outside-border-language’, where the second has to consider the place of origin in order to advance statements towards people who are using a language inside of proper borders.

A language is another subject of eternal conversation (although quite neglected) and perhaps the only ‘object’ regrouping all other objects and subjects, as whatever different a subject from another it will always have in common that it uses a language as means of saying itself. It is easy to make the difference between a ‘common language’, the one we use every day in common life and a more scientific or professional language, where we make use of a certain number of terms inside of a determined logic on subjects of our concern. It is further possible to consider a language on the fundamental logics governing the ordering of structured thought as such, which is traditionally called metaphysics and implies since the end of the XIXth century works on symbolic logic.

To change general positioning concerning apprehensions referring themselves to metaphysics is always very difficult. It is though sometimes necessary if we want to understand phenomena which escape a rationalization through the very fact that the formal patterns of structuring are not sufficient in order to comprehend them.

Basically I introduced a change implying the shift of patterns of evaluation from objective to subjective criteria. Instead of saying: it is like this, I started saying: I see it like this. Consequently, the main object of my studies centered on the structures determining the view of something. The fact that I see it like this, does not imply that you see it like this, nor that you have to see it like that, nor that we can arrive to some kind of agreement on a ‘common truth’ somewhere in the middle, as whatever I pretend, I will go on seeing the same, if there is not a path of demonstration (from: showing) that allows the grasping of the need of a change of view, either because it is more convenient (less stressing – subjective) or because it covers a larger number of phenomena under a simpler frame of explanation (objective).

I do change the criteria of evaluation for simple reasons of study. Psychology becomes impossible in an objective frame, but offers extremely wide possibilities if considered from the point of view of the structuring of fundamental forms. The introduction of philosophical formal patterns as means of evaluation of language and thus of reason, and consequently of mental illness is extremely effective. Very soon it is possible to think therapies based on a few fundamental principles considering eventually the proper translation of language into ’silent languages’: movement, tones, colors (1994).

At the same time though, the very positioning does forward a more orthodox structuring of reality, which implies political changes in general balances. The orthodox, contrary to the catholic, does maintain national churches inside of national borders. Which is to say, that the ‘belief’ or ‘interpretation of belief’ is embedded in a historical evolution hold inside of national frames, so that it becomes impossible to think ‘for all … this or that’ in absolute terms. Catholics (from Greek: catholikos = universal) tend to impose absolute patterns of interpretation on all as proof for truth. Consequently the thought in objective terms does fit the occidental world much better than the oriental, and a change in metaphysical terms may necessarily imply a restoration of more orthodox ways of considering, which logically reflects itself in terms of change of poles of power.

If, and only if, considered in a larger ‘orthodox metaphysical frame’ it is possible to build up ‘national logics and principles’. This implies that a person has a personal logic or principle that is inserted inside of general logics, explaining and determining behaviour, sayings, etc. It is easy this way to explain marginal population’s logics, mafia, crime, etc. It is also possible to determine specific mental illness as deriving from crashing logics putting extreme pressure on determined individuals, who, not resisting to it, see structures of understanding breaking down. ‘Evilness’ as the intended choice of the irrational may be explained as a logical possibility depending on national logics, too.

Seen from that point of view, it seems in 1999 as if the principle of survival would push logics towards the second, as the first only having as consequence a general disaster. As this would imply the restoration of national identities on larger basis, it seems basically to exclude France and Germany (not to talk about Italy, Holland, Portugal, Sweden, Norway and Denmark or Poland), as the very principle of identity seems to have simply disappeared (Larger considerations on Steiner).

The hypothetical reconstruction of a principle of identity at least for France, the subject of this study, seems to pass through a complete destruction of France as a political entity (2003) and the temporary assimilation of it to a given individual whose presence may allow the reconstruction of implicated logics (army, administration, justice, etc.) the only possibility of reconstruction.


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