Wednesday, August 29, 2012

René Daumal on carbon tetrachloride

Daumal (1908 - 1944) experimented with doses of this poisonous substance and then reflected on stuff:

  • You don't have to try this particular and rather exceptional experiment in order that your intuition of the absurd can attain the value of a metaphysical experience. But...the existence of persons and consciousness distinct from yourself, your own existence as an individual and finite creature, all that should, if you really wake up, appear to you intolerably absurd.
  • Remember the day that you tore open the curtain and were taken alive, stuck in the uproar of uproars, in the wheel of wheels. And remember the days that followed, when you walked around like a cadaver bewitched, with the certitude of having been eaten by infinity, canceled and voided by the single existing Absurd.

For Daumal, the absurd consisted in the hysterical multiplicity of phenomena and the moribund of normality. Whereas the Absurd was conceived as the mind-blowing Absolute -- intrinsically not explainable, even to "itself." Yet a condition of being he tried to approach via chemicals, dreams, and poetry.

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