Am I blind?

metal bar, print on paper, 2mx0,30m, 2011


Am I blind? 

Eckermann said:
“What do you think, can people communicate to each other over distances?”
Placing his elbows on the table, Goethe rested his chin on clasped hands:
“Certainly you are thinking about communication without signal flags, mirrors, smoke signals and the like?”
Eckermann took an awkward sip from the elegant glass filled to brim with schnapps.  Ignoring the drop he spilled on his tie he continued:
“Yes, that’s what I was thinking.  That feeling that even if I am separated from someone, I can still send him my thoughts.”

Goethe appeared to be in a dream and did not even touch his schnapps.  After some time he spoke:
“With lovers, this magnetic power is particularly strong, and acts even at a distance. In my younger days I have experienced cases enough, when, during solitary walks, I have felt a great desire for the company of a beloved girl, and have thought of her till she has really come to meet me. ‘I was so restless in my room,’ she would say, ‘that I could not help coming here.‘“
A poem  of quite contrary sentiments recently written by the master crossed Eckermann’s mind, but he kept his amusement to himself.

“You walked by? Ach. I did not see you!
You returned and I didn’t see you pass by!
Oh lost moment, three times alas!
Am I blind? How could this have happened?”

Then he closed his eyes for a moment, but had a strange feeling as if someone else was opening them.
“Someone should write a critique of the senses,” noted Goethe.
Eckermann quickly opened his eyes and looked at him in surprise:
“Someone like Kant you think?  I wonder whether there are people who have completely different kinds of senses, which we do not even know about.”
“Yes, that is possible”, mused Goethe and looked out the window.  “Too bad Humboldt isn’t alive.  He always had a quick answer for everything.  Yes, he should have written such a book.”
Eckermann raised his head and said: “Maybe there is an oriental scholar…”
Goethe quickly interrupted him: “What made you say that.  There will be no more Avicennas born in the Orient…”
Again Eckermann closed his eyes.

Goethe quoted by Marx and Marx quoted by  Said:

“Am I to grieve with all this pain,
Though breast rise in ever greater exaltation?
Yet a myriad of souls
Did set Tamerlane’s empire aflame”

“I believe, and my experimental results confirm, that it is incredibly important for both persons (the inductor and perceiver) to be  psychologically in tune to facilitate telepathic  communication.  But hold on a minute,“ Professor Vasiljev rummaged through his pockets and pulled out a folded paper. “I received a letter“, he continued, putting on his glasses and unfolding the paper, “from the governor of the Infernal islands, Mr. Castel,  who is attempting to achieve a change in perception through more radical methods, here is an excerpt: … I don’t know Eckermann, did he also conduct experiments?  Let me repeat what I have already written: our world is a synthesis of the perceptions given to us by our senses, a microscope provides a different synthesis.  If we changed our senses, we would change our world picture.  We may describe the world as  a set of symbols capable of expressing anything, all we need do is adjust our senses and we would read different words of the natural alphabet.”

Eckermann opened his eyes, he had the feeling that he had nodded off to sleep for a moment.  He looked at Goethe, whose head still was still resting on his hands, elbows on the table, he looked as if he were also sleeping:

“Heine doesn’t like me, he said that I’m your parrot” he said, scanning Goethe for a reaction.  No hints of any response were visible.  “Nevertheless, I admire Heinrich,“ he continued, “he’s  a friend of Marx, and without Marx there would be no Said!  But there are also other texts of our romantic age besides yours which show that the seeds leading to the unmasking of great epistemological fallacies were sown long before Said was born.
I have no prejudices, I will recite to you the prayer of Mynheer van Koek from his slave ship Supercargo which was written by Heinrich… Yes, Heine is a great poet:

“In Jesus’ name, have mercy, Lord,
On the lives of these sinful black chattel!
If they enrage Thee, don’t forget
That they’re as dumb as cattle.

Please spare their lives in Jesus’ name,
Who died for our salvation,
For if I can’t deliver three hundred head,
‘Twill be my ruination.” 

When he finished reciting, he found Goethe staring mutely: “You’re lucky you’re a literary figure Eckermann“, then he turned toward the tile stove, waving a threatening hand in the air and bellowing at the stove pipe: “and as for you author, I’ve got one thing to say:  Beware!  This is not a house you can build with boards, brick and stone.  And it’s not a composition you put together from parts like a machine.  Writing is an expression of uniqueness, something similar to an organism, and that’s not something you can take apart and put back together again!”

The long-ago death of a fly

( a methodology for writing I.) 3’16”, HDV, 2010