Thursday, January 31, 2013


Hawkins understands intelligence is more than speed, capacity, replicability, but yet...


This is an extremely important book in the field of Artificial Intelligence. The author reject this Artificial Intelligence because it identifies intelligence to the behaviors produced by this intelligence. Hence the machine simulates intelligent behavior but is not intelligent. Three things are essential goals to satisfy if we want to move towards intelligent machines. We have to take into account and integrate time. We have to include as architecturally essential the process of feedback. We have to take into account the physical architecture of the brain as a repetitive hierarchy. Strangely enough the main mistake is already present in this first programmatic intention. Jeff Hawkins does not include the productions of that intelligent brain. I mean language, all ideological representations or models of the world from religion to philosophy and science, not to speak of arts and culture. And strangely enough this mistake is locked up in an irreversible declaration:

“A human is much more than an intelligent machinre . . . The mind is the creation of the cells of the brain . . . Mind and brain are one and the same.” (41-43)*

We cannot but agree with the first sentence, but the mind is not “created” by anything. It is produced, constructed by the brain from the sensorial impulses it gets from the various senses and the way it processes them in its repetitive and parallel hierarchical architecture. But the mind is a level of human intelligence of its own. Unluckily Hawkins will not see it. I have already said what it excludes from this human intelligence, but we must add the fact that this human intelligence lives in a situation that enabled this intelligence to develop and invent its first tools when Homo Sapiens started its journey on earth some 300,000 years ago. This situation requires from the weak animal that Homo Sapiens is to develop these tools to compensate for its weakness, and to coordinate its survival and development with communication and social organization which implied and required a culture, a model of the world to migrate, develop new productive means, and be able to develop as a species in order to expand all over the world: Homo Sapiens was a migrating species from the very start because of his very brain and the mind it could procude. Jeff Hawkins forgets about the phylogeny of Homo Sapiens. He takes intelligence as existing in itself without a genesis from nothing to what it is today. In other words he speaks of evolution but he does not study it and how this evolution brought this human species into developing intelligence, means of communication and means of production that did not exist before.

At the same time he does not consider the feelings and emotions of that human being and he at best locates them in the old brain, the brain inherited from the species before mammals since the cortex only developed with mammals. It is also obvious this is a mistake. Due to mirror neurons man is able (with some top mammals along with him, to develop empathy, the possibility to imitate (hence to learn through imitation and when language was invented to learn through repetition) and to share the feelings of others and one’s own feelings with others. It is this ability more than the old brain that is at stake here and is neglected. That makes Hawkins neglect social aims, productive objectives, cultural targets, ideological psychological social motivations and of course social organization. To invent and develop intelligent machines would not even exist as a plan or a project or even a desire if Homo Sapiens had not been able to blaze and then run the track leading to development.

He is sure right on the fact that behavior is only the consequence of all this but by rejecting behavior because he rejects behaviorism (which is purely ideological on his part) he also locks himself out of the possible approach of human relations, human motivations towards others, hence concrete, material and also emotional and intellectual behaviors. And that prevents him from coming back to the situation that has to be controlled and set up collectively to reach collectively defined objectives. Globalization is right now the best example of how objectives have to be defined at the level of the planet and no longer at the level of particular countries or groups.

But apart from that the whole book is essential because Hawkins concentrates on the study of the brain and its hierarchical architecture, and I should say its double architectural structure, not double in nature but double in working.

The whole adventure starts with the senses and he straight away says there are a lot more than five senses even if we can consider there are only five basic sensorial organs: the eye, the ear, the tongue, the skin and the nose.

At the level of the eye we have to add motion, color, luminescence and spatial orientation. At the level of hearing we have to add pitch, length, intervals, timbre, spatial orientation and balance (vestibular system). At the level of touch we have to add pressure, temperature, pain, vibration but also spatial orientation and movement on the skin that will be useful both in torturing (along with pain) and eroticism or emotions (along with pleasure). At the level of smell we have to consider intensity, appeal (good, bad or somewhere in-between), spatial orientation. At the level of taste we have to add temperature, texture, appeal (good, bad or somewhere in-between), and even finer elements like sweet, salty, acid, alcoholic and many others. But, and he insists on that, the general senses of the body are essential too. The whole body is a network of sensors that checks and measures our joints and joint angles, all our bodily ,positions, and all proprioceptive receptors (sensory receptors, in muscles, tendons, joints, and the inner ear to detect motions or positions of the body or the limbs, that respond to stimuli arising within the body.) Note these are indispensible for walking, running, swimming and all movements, particularly coordinated movements like gymnastics and all kinds of martial arts And we should add the physiological sensors and mechanisms that measure our inner level of satisfaction, dissatisfaction, balance and unbalance of every single organ of ours. These last sensors are essential for a new born child since it is those he/she will use from the very start and that will prompt his first cry or call. And every single of these senses and sensors sends messages to the brain in temporally organized sequences. The eye reboots its vision three times per second, what is called a saccade.

The first hierarchy he takes is exemplified by vision. I will integrate the eye into it right away though the eye is more or less marginalized in Hawkins’s approach. And here the eye sends many messages according to the particular abilities of the various retinal cells that capture the signal. I will insist on the fact that he neglects: the signals are sent from the retina and are spatially oriented right-side right and upside down. He neglects it because we do not have an “image” on the retina and it is not an “image” that the retina sends. But the spatial orientation of this “pattern” as he calls it is essential. The brain will have to interpret this orientation to reestablish the proper one thanks to the signals sent to the brain by the other senses and thanks to its experience starting right after birth. Experiments have been performed using glasses that inverted the orientation of the “pattern” on the retina and after a short while the brain corrected the initial correction and provided the mind with the proper spatial orientation.

In the neocortex, the capture of a visual stimulus is hierarchically organized and we must keep in mind that the signals are renewed three times a second. In the V1 area only many small segments and isolated characteristics like colors are deciphered. These numerous small elements are sent to the V2 area where they are regrouped into larger elements. Then they are sent to the V4 area where they are regrouped into recognizable elements like a nose, an eye, etc Then they are sent to the IT area where they are reconstructed into a face for example. Here Hawkins defines a pattern as being “a stable cell assembly that represents some abstract pattern” (p. 80). At each level after learning, hence after first stimulation by one unknown element (which is sent unanalyzed to the hippocampus that takes over, identifies it and sends it back into the system), an invariant representation of each identified pattern is memorized (cortical memory, p. 100) in the cells (he does not specify the electrical and chemical procedure nor the molecular level of it). The cortical procedure then, after learning, is a recognition procedure: the pattern received corresponds to one invariant representation previously memorized, otherwise it is sent up as far as the hippocampus if necessary. The last element we have to understand is that the identification is not done in detail but as corresponding to an invariant sketch of the element and that sketch accepts variations. That explains why we can recognize someone and yet be mistaken. The mind did not make a mistake it used some elements that corresponded to the sketch it had in memory, and that was the wrong sketch.

The three basic characteristic of this hierarchical functioning are:
1-                          its sequential memory (sequences of patterns hence spatial in the pattern and temporal because serialized);
2-                          its autoassociative nature (it memorizes a sketch and not the real detailed pattern when learning, though this detailed pattern is also memorized which enables us to realize we made a mistake when we took someone for someone else, and then it recognizes this sketch in the real pattern it receives after learning);
3-                          and finally its “invariant representation” dimension which is the identification of these sketches as referents for further use. Here instead of saying that these sketches have to be “named” he should have said that they have to be identified at each level with some kind of Cortical Identity (CI) and this when connected with the invention of language by Homo Sapiens, or the learning of language by children would have led him to the word “concept” that he uses rarely, and the operation of “conceptualization” that he does not use at all. Homo Sapiens seems to be the only animal who managed this conceptualization power of the neo-cortex (dominated by the hippocampus) into producing language.

We come then to the heart of the volume:

“The three properties of cortical memory . . . (storing sequences, auto-associative recall, and invariant representations) are necessary ingredients to predict the future based on memories of the past . . .  Prediction . . . is the primary function of the neocortex, and the foundation of intelligence . . . Evolution discovers that if it tacks on a memory system (the neocortex) to the sensory path of the primitive brain, the animal gains an ability to predict the future . . . This new idea of the memory-prediction framework of the brain . . . “ (p. 84-105)

We can notice there is an intellectual drift in his reasoning. Evolution does not have a mind or intelligence. Just as we can prove human articulated language is the result of the conceptualizing power of the brain on one hand, and of other physical mutations dictated by the long distance bipedal nature of Homo Sapiens (not the first hominid to have that characteristic but the first to be endowed with mutations that go a lot farther than before) that are absolutely necessary for survival on the other hand (low larynx, high level of innervation of the laryngeal-glottal-buccal masticatory and articulatory apparatus, high level of coordination of various organs and functions), we have to consider evolution as being a blind and unguided process that selects haphazard mutations when they are propitious to bringing a higher survival potential to a given species. It is quite obvious that the development of the neocortex of mammals into human neocortex provided Homo Sapiens with a higher survival potential. In other words Hawkins suffers of some teleological bias which is a way to escape from asking who did it and hence a way to exclude the possible religious answer. But that is wrong. We don’t have to answer the question of where does the logic of evolution comes from because we cannot answer this question with any scientific final elaboration.

Then Hawkins moves to the second hierarchy, that of the neo-cortex structures. The neocortex is divided into columns that are perpendicular to the surface of it. It has six layers. The first layer has few cells that have myriads of small dendrites connected to their neighbors by synapses that can build and rebuild themselves. Then they have three axons, two horizontal and lateral in the first layer connecting this cell to distant other cells all over the brain on one side and on the other side, the famous spindle cells, and a third one going down into lower layers of the neocortex. When layers 1, 2, 3 are activated the activating pattern goes to layer 5 and then layer six. In layers 1, 2, and 3 the pattern is analyzed to be finally identified in layer 5. Then it is moved to layer 6 where a prediction might be performed about what may come next from this identified pattern. Then the transmission branches into part of it being sent to the Thalamus and then back to layer 1 as a feed back and part of it being send simultaneously to motor areas for processing. Layer 4 is the layer where a newly learned pattern, identified by the Hippocampus arrives to activate the column, that is to say layers 5 and 6 and beyond. This can be summarized in a triple hierarchy: the mind must first discriminate an element, then identify and eventually name that discriminated element, and finally classify ort conceptualize this identified and named element. This basic conceptualization that has to be constructed in a child through education, just the way it was constructed in Homo Sapiens through experience.

It is important then to cross this approach with a phylogenic and psychogenetic approach of language to understand how language was invented and how it is learned. That of course would require a lot of space and it is not here it can be presented. But let’s say that three hierarchies can be seen in language and all of them can only be understood as the crossing of the neocortical capabilities of Homo Sapiens on one side, and the highly frail state of Homo Sapiens or the highly dependent state of a human newborn on the other side. These hierarchies are that of the word: consonantal roots, isolating characters or themes, and conjugation-declension fronds giving the three (maybe four) vast phylogenic families of languages: consonantal Semitic languages, isolating Chinese, Tibeto-Burman and Khmero-Vietic languages, and agglutinative (the vast Turkic family from Turkish to Siouan) or synthetic-analytic languages (Indo-European and Indo Aryan languages).

The triple syntax of any language: Categorial syntax (discriminating nouns and verbs, spatial units and temporal units), Functional syntax (building the sentence on the pattern [AGENT (feed-ER) – RELATION (feed) – PATIENT (feed-EE) – THEME (feed-Ø, food, fodder)] and finally Expressive syntax (expressing the mood and modalizations imposed onto the utterance by the speaker and his relations to his environment. These three syntactic functions are mapped onto the first hierarchy by making it all discursive in root-languages, making the last two discursive in theme-languages and only keeping the expressive level for discursive means in frond-languages. Note each one of these three syntaxes is a hierarchy too by themselves.

Taking language into account would have enabled Hawkins to understand that he cannot consider the mind is the brain. The mind is an abstract and absolutely virtual construct of the brain from the various patterns the brain has registered in its own cells and molecules. I insist here on molecules because Microtubule Associated Proteins have been proved as having a role to play in various mental operation, particular with the loss of ,their phosphorylation when activated by some stimulus, for one example. The mind is based on the hierarchical potential and architecture of the brain and this potential and architecture produce the conceptualizing potential that will produce the virtual mind and its tools. These tools are essential if we want to understand the emergence of Homo Sapiens as the superior intelligent mammal on earth and if we want to understand today’s man and human society. The first of these tools is (spoken) language (note written language was invented only around 5 or 6 thousand years ago some 300,000 years after the invention of spoken language). Then Homo Sapiens invented all “ideological” tools to understand and explain the world in order to survive and expand in a state of great physical inferiority as compared to most of his predators. These tools are religion, astronomy, science, history, all constructed models of the world produced or that could be produced with the conceptualizing power of the human brain. Note here Neanderthals could not even invent fishing whereas Homo Sapiens just started with fishing to move onto agriculture, herd-husbandry, and so, and all that before inventing written language.

So I do not believe “the mind is just a label of what the brain does.” (p. 204) and the mind the way I have sketched it is something that might be one day equaled by machines. But these minded machines will not be human since they will not be able to learn and develop their brain and mind the way man does it, from scratch and as the result of an intense and highly emotional intercourse between an individual and his/her linguistic, cultural, social and emotional environment. We are not speaking of a machine loving a man, but of a machine loving a machine not as something programmed but as something learned from experience. As a matter of fact the Terminator saga is a lot more instructive on that point than what Hawkins says. In the same way the intelligent machines are not the machines themselves but all the Mr. Smith taking over the earth by decision of the Architect who manipulates machines into attacking humans till one, two or three humans are able to negotiate the end of the war with machines who accepts on the basis of Neo being crucified in order to be able to defeat all the Mr. Smith and the Architect’s matrix. Once again we are far away from what Hawkins says.

To conclude, Hawkins’s book is the first important step against the apocalyptic messianic prophetic prediction the engineers turned theoreticians like Ray Kurzweil who are already taking all the necessary pills to be able to live long and merge with intelligent machines in less than fifty years, and thus become the nurtured cows of these intelligent machines, who would not be intelligent enough to understand that kind of slavery would be doomed to destruction just like any other form of slavery was and has been doomed to destruction. If these machines were humanly intelligent they would understand that as a basic requirement to qualify for intelligence.

But at the same time Hawkins does not reach the level of the mind. He locks himself in the physiological and biological brain pretending it is the mind mixing up the capacity and the potential. He thinks too much with metaphors and comparisons. To use one I would say that a plane CAN fly but that this plane is not the FLYING POTENTIAL itself. The plane has that potential but to realize it a whole procedure is necessary (with kerosene, air strips, engineers in the air traffic control tower, pilots, passengers, freight, stewards and stewardesses, etc) and flying can only become a reality when that procedure has been performed. Hence the FLYING POTENTIAL is a VIRTUAL capability of the plane, just like the MIND is a virtual construct of the brain using its POTENTIAL INTELLIGENCE, and this POTENTIAL INTELLIGENCE cannot produce any INTELLIGENT ACTION if the VIRTUAL MIND is not activated and used by the brain.

The first intelligent machine invented by man was language in order to satisfy the need for communication Homo Sapiens had. That language has had a long career in improving and developing man’s lot. It has also transformed its inventor and his/her society.

There still is a long way to go to even approach such humanly intelligent machines. In the meantime we will invent and use more and more intelligent machines that will liberate our brain and body of innumerable tasks that would otherwise use our mental and physical time and energy. With this mental and physical time and energy we will develop new forms of intelligence that we cannot even imagine today, and we must not forget that evolution goes on and man is a natural species. The more contact he/she will have with intelligent machines the more chances there will be he/she will go through mutations and developments that will be retained by evolution and education as vastly increasing human intelligence. The more intelligent machines, the more chances man will become more intelligent.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Better look for some polemical controversy!


I am rather disappointed by this book. It is an important testimony on extreme terrorism that condemns someone to death for what that someone thinks or writes, or whatever they may express as for ideas or ideologies that contradict those of the terrorists. The book targets Iran and its criminal fundamentalism that called on every single Muslim in the world to kill, for hefty sums of money, a writer who was declared by some religious higher up clerics to be a blasphemous unbeliever. To have the testimony of the victim of this long unbearable and unacceptable situation is absolutely outstanding.

And yet I am disappointed by the book. It is the testimony of a man who had to be protected by the English government against this menace, who was protected by the English police, and yet became a victim of strict limitations of his freedom of movement and freedom of expression under the authority and by decision of one or two police officers. That protection resembled a loss of freedom not to say secret-underground-home-imprisonment too much. To have that testimony is essential to understand and eventually sympathize or support the author who was the victim of such an unbearable situation.

And yet I am disappointed by the book. There are two essential reasons why I am disappointed.

The first one is that it is by far too long, with by far too many details that are piling up and not building, constructing an argumentation, or simply a structured testimony, in a way it seems to be a pile of sand more than a protective, defensive or vindicating wall. Most of the facts are isolated, without any perspective, mixing personal elements about the author’s wives and his son along with political or police elements without showing any real architecture. At this level the book does not read easily because we get lost from one dozen of pages to the next dozen of pages, at times even from one page to the next, among details that add nothing to the sad tale.

The second reason is that he explains rather well how he got trapped in getting into defensive religious declarations that were going against his main argument about the necessary freedom of artistic expression for an author. It was a mistake since an author is not his characters and he does not have to mix his own religious or non-religious beliefs and those of his characters. That kind of mistake is too often done by many critics, and even many authors, going as far as the caricatural sarcasm from Gustave Flaubert who once declared “Madame Bovary c’est moi.” (“Mrs. Bovary, that’s me,” or “I obviously am Mrs. Bovary”) It was all the more sarcastic since it was plagiarizing Louis XIV’s famous declaration “L’état c’est moi” (“I obviously am the state,” “The state that’s me,” with a strong provincial accent and emphasis on the French “moi” that could mean “me myself and I”). It is understandable that under stress and duress someone, an author or anyone else can make such a mistake. Unluckily there are too many details that lead to the impression that the author was not only under duress but was actually not clear in his mind about his being his character or not, and when we know his character is the Prophet of the Quran, there is a real problem that has nothing to do with religion but has to do with a loss of touch.

Then the mistake has to be repaired and once again too many details lose the reader into a loose sandy labyrinth of non-obvious procedures that once again pile up more than follow a logical line or plan. Maybe the author did not have a logical line, though it is not what he says then, but it definitely is what we feel and we get lost again. That’s a shame because there are quite a lot of moments when there is a real epiphany and revelation, like the accidental meeting with Margaret Thatcher, when she no longer was Prime Minister. This event is made trivial by the remark about her being a touchy-feely person, meaning that she established a physical contact with him, her hand on his fore-arm and then on his shoulder, which surprises him as a matter of fact, though it could be seen as rather banal in Great Britain.

If the book had been cut by half it would have been a lot more effective and a lot more dynamic. The flow of this river lacks momentum and power on a subject that should inspire the greatest number of people into defending man’s free soul, not only the free expression of writers. Here too I feel slightly betrayed. I do not want to provide the freedom of expression only to writers recognized (by whom?) as such. The freedom of expression is for everyone and no one can or should be freer than anyone else. At the same time, and the book completely neglects this side of things, everyone has the absolute right to be respected in their faith, beliefs, ideas, thinking whether other people identify or agree with these faith, beliefs, ideas, thinking or not. Salman Rushdie never set a line between his writing that does not menace anyone and for example the anti-Semite writing of let’s say Céline that has to be clearly wrapped up in some precautionary introduction to establish a distance between the work of fiction and Céline’s ideas that were unluckily going that way and have to be rejected. Even worse: the free expression of some openly racist person or group like the KKK in the US has to be rejected because of their ideology. Anyone who is insulted in his race or beliefs must have the right to say so, to sue if they want to and to be heard as victims by the courts that would deal with the complaint. Some publications publish such anti-Muslim ideas under the cover of freedom of expression of artists with the only aim of making money by selling great numbers of copies that are not clean enough to be respected. There used to be a time when public toilets were built against churches in France. I know one in Bordeaux, except if it was pulled down, and another in Saint Anthème and that one was still standing when I last visited the village.

The book then has a rather dull taste because it does not fulfill its promises, and I thought it was the freedom of expression for everyone.


Monday, January 28, 2013


Juste un petit film pour la soirée, en français en plus.


Voilà un film qui ne fera pleurer personne dans les chaumières, s’il y en a encore quelques unes, en Vendée. Une famille descendant de la noblesse terrienne d’antan nous raconte ses horreurs familiales. Le seigneur plus hobereau que seigneur titré a épousé, sous contrat de séparation de biens, la fille d’un riche sénateur qui est une véritable mère fouettarde, fouette d’abord et pose des questions après. Le père ne fait rien puisqu’il vit de ses terres que d’autres cultivent et la mère ne fait rien puisqu’elle est riche.

Le portrait de ces deux parents désœuvrés, même de bonnes œuvres, et de la mère qui n’a qu’une seule distraction dans la vie, faire souffrir et torturer ses deux premiers fils qu’elle avait laissés derrière chez leur grand-mère paternelle pendant qu’elle allait courir le Vietnam où elle aura un autre fils d’un beau jeune homme à Saigon qui ne survit que comme une vague silhouette dans une photo, est un portrait cruel pour cette classe de gens qui ne savent rien faire de leurs dix doigts ou de leurs quatre mains, pardon deux mains chacun.

Le fils cadet des deux restés derrière va prendre sa mère en grippe et elle va le prendre en chantage permanent. C’est purement écœurant de voir à quel niveau de bassesse cette mère peut tomber dans sa puissance fondée sur l’argent qu’elle a et que son mari n’a pas, ce qui le dessaisit de tout pouvoir.

Si le film montre quelque chose c’est que la haine est la meilleure conseillère de ceux qui ont peur parce qu’ils sont faibles ou se croient faibles. L’instinct de survie prend alors le relais de toute autre émotion ou de tout autre sentiment et l’enfant devient une machine à rendre coup pour coup et les coups sont toujours bas. Et étrangement c’est l’enfant qui trouve le moyen de défaire sa propre mère en envahissant la résidence dans le 16ème à Paris de son sénateur de grand père qui impose la paix par la mise en pension de l’enfant récalcitrant mais qui ne veut que cela pour échapper à jamais à son démon de mère.

L’ennui dans ce film c’est qu’il n’y a aucune attente ou surprise de quoi que ce soit. C’est la victime des exactions de la mère qui raconte en voix off l’histoire de cette rivalité. Il est donc vivant, elle est donc morte, ou presque, en tout cas il lui a survécu et on le sait depuis la première image. C’est dommage car cela tue le suspense que tout film devrait avoir même quand il s’agit d’une harpie maternelle qui ne l’est, nous explique le narrateur, que parce qu’elle fut totalement négligée par ses propres parents. En mère elle se venge sur ses propres fils qu’elle a eu de son mari, et elle est plus ou moins aimable avec le troisième fils d’un autre père sans que cela ne soit officiel. Ce choix de réalisation du film fait qu’il n’y a aucune puissance affective qui peut s’exprimer dans le spectateur. Le film est un film de glace, littéralement congelé.

Je dois dire qu’en famille tordue, je préfère Mauriac. Mais Bazin est un bon second, bien que Poil de Carotte lui fait concurrence.


Sunday, January 27, 2013


Beckett triche avec Proust et s'autoportraitise

SAMUEL BECKETT – PROUST and Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit – 1931-1999

The first thing I have to say is that this English original version of this text is a relief from stress and anxiety because the French translation of it published by Editions de Minuit in Paris, and sole French translation available, is extremely poor and the two main mistakes I had sensed when reading it are confirmed as gross mistakes. Page 31 we find the “dungeon” in  which involuntary memory casts and hides all real events that occurred to a person and that remain secret, unconscious till one day voluntary memory and habit, the two tyrants that impose onto anyone’s life a day-to-day normalized behaviour and an official socially acceptable fake history of oneself, are suspended for a short moment by some exceptional event that could be anything finding an echo in one of these deep involuntary memory records, or a bout of fever or unconsciousness that could bring the unconscious back up. This dungeon is translated by “donjon” which is a castle tower in the Middle Ages. A typical and primitive mistake that yet does not prevent the translator to make the “diver” (p. 32) be “un plongeur” diving down into the involuntary memory that resides in this castle tower. The proper translation should have been “oubliette” or “chamber de torture.” Just before the translator had meddled with a common phrase in English and completely messed up the meaning. Beckett writes: “Curiosity is the safeguard, not the death, of the cat, whether in skirts or on all fours.” And that becomes: “La curiosité entraine  la sauvegarde et non la mort de la chatte, qu’elle soit en jupons ou à quatre pattes.” Thus the cat becomes a pussy cat and she mixes up with another phrase: “curiosity kills the pussy (cat)” which is deeply erotic if not obscene which by the way makes the narrator be a woman. She had completely misinterpreted the skirts of the cat curiosity kills. I would have suggested a translation that uses the corresponding French expression that has nothing to do with cats or pussy cats, something like that: “La curiosité est un bien vilain défaut, mais tellement utile parfois, qu’elle chasse le jupon ou qu’elle coure à quatre pattes.” And sure enough then curiosity is not turned into a female, though she is feminine by grammatical gender, the narrator is not turned into a female neither but the object of this curiosity is either a woman or the other choice is that curiosity is on all fours like a hunting dog or a police dog looking for some corpse or body. That kind of innuendo is in perfect agreement with the English text in which the sexual element is absolutely marginal though of course Beckett thought of it but he managed to keep it marginal.

Thus henceforth and thence I do not recommend the only French translation of this text on the French market and what’s more it was done and published for the first time after Samuel Beckett’s death, otherwise it would have been checked by the boss and we know he was a very good bilingual writer.

But this book has a lot more interest.

The first thing is that, though it was ordered as an academic study of Proust, though Samuel Beckett was in direct touch with the top French university institution at the time of this order, the Ecole Normale Supérieure de la rue d’Ulm, this is not, and by far, an academic study of Proust. It is a brilliant piece of pure literature whose object and subject at the same time is Proust’s works.

The second remark is that Beckett is trying to be Joycean I guess and his sentences are never ending, his paragraphs cover pages upon pages. This style is of course very difficult to follow on an academic document, but it is very good style for literature. Some pages contain what will make Beckett famous, the style of his dramatic trilogy that was to come at the time more than twenty years later. Page 56 the sentence starting “Thus these rare moments . . .” and ending “. . . the corrosion of his heart.” Is an intricate succession of parallel double elements. I count six, hence twelve elements, with one triplet included in the last but one element (the eleventh element): “. . . of his love or hate or jealousy (interchangeable terms) . . .” This is good style and this style is always present and makes the reading difficult because such stylish elements are metaphorical or ,parabolic, and in this present case we have a full Catholic parable in the twelve (the apostles) elements, the six (Solomon’s wisdom number) pairs and of course the nearly closing trinity (God himself). We could probably easily identify sub groups with a quartet for the crucifixion and an octet for the second coming and resurrection.

 The main idea Beckett states is that we live and experience all kinds of events, and all of them will be stored in our involuntary memory’s dungeon. On the other hand, in order to be able to live in society we have to stick to what our (but is it ours since it corresponds to “the Old Testament of the individual,” p. 32) voluntary memory and a set of habits that keep us in time with social life. And the basic point is that this time is not time, is not the time of the deeper memory, of the dungeon, the real time of the real self of a person. This public time that follows the hands of the clock is artificial and prevents us from living in the real primeval duration of the world because that’s the only natural dimension of the passing of an existence. And the official time means death since it also means birth, and that is so biblical, the alpha and the omega, the stepping out of time when getting into eternal life that has to be timeless, according to Saint Augustine. And when you understand that duration you can understand that one small event, like a Madeleine or a spoon clicking on a plate or glass, will suspend this time and throw the individual into the deeper layers of involuntary memory, in the dungeon of his life and he will recover some past event in an instantaneous, timeless and spaceless epiphany. It is spaceless because social space is nothing but distance, be this distance social, spatial, intellectual, or whatever which hierarchy. The epiphany we are speaking of here destroys distance and destroys space. At this epiphanic moment we are both here and now in immediate contact with the event that the diver has recuperated in our dungeon.

Then you understand Beckett declaring that “If this mystical experience communicates an extratemporel essence, it follows that the communicant is for the moment and extratemporal being. Consequently the Proustian solution consists . . . in the negation of Time and Death, the negation of Death because the negation of Time. Death is dead because Time is dead . . . Time is not recovered, it is obliterated.” (p. 75)

In fact the essay is centred on this time dimension. But Beckett might be misled too. When he quotes Proust saying: “I understood the meaning of death, of love and vocation, of the joys of the spirit and the utility of pain,” He makes an important mistake to take the narrator of the books as being Proust. He does not identify who spoke and he does not wonder what the autonomy of the character (even if it is the first person narrator of the book, even if he were to be called Marcel Proust in that novel) from the author. Even, when an author writes his memoirs, his confessions, his direct intellectual speculations we are dealing with what the author through the character he creates for the occasion who can be a doppelganger of the author, is saying, and not the author. It could be as if God and his creature were the same thing and Adam would represent if not be God in his full nature.

That leads him into sliding into an easy exercise, to my mind a useless exercise: to compare Proust’s style with various 19th century schools of writing in France with an additional mention of and reference to Dante and the name attributed to his character Des Esseintes, “Alfred Lord Baudelaire” (p. 80). This mixture of Alfred de Musset, Lord Byron and Baudelaire is a personification of the “’ineluctable gangrene of Romanticism.” (p. 80, reference not provided by Beckett) that he attributes to Proust himself.

It is far more important to study the real style of Proust than to try to put a label on him by comparing him to others. I guess it is Beckett’s naivety of his youth. Proust is unique, like Beckett. But labelling can be very useful to create a smoke screen hiding what the author does not want the audience to see. That’s exactly what happened with Beckett’s dramatic trilogy. The smoke screen of “Theatre of the Absurd” has so far prevented professional critics and academics from digging into the text and finding out the real meaning IN THE TEXT AND THE TEXT ONLY. I should publish a study on that subject in the journal Théâtres du Monde in Avignon, France within twelve months. Keep tuned.

The very end of this text dealing with music is interesting but Proust’s ideas expressed by his characters – so is it Proust’s vision? – are surprising. Music is seen as “the Idea itself, unaware of the world of phenomena.” (p. 92) This is true provided you disembody music from all instruments. But this also produces the rejection of opera because the voice cannot be disembodied and “by definition, opera is a hideous corruption of this most immaterial of all the arts: the words of a libretto are to the musical phrase that they particularize what the Vendôme Column, for example, is to the ideal perpendicular.” (p. 92) The least we can say is that this is slightly schematic and a comparison, or a metaphor, does not prove anything. Since the example is from Paris it would have been a lot more symbolic to use the Eiffel Tower. Since we are in a Biblical context it would have been a lot more interesting to compare the vertical line to the main vertical beam of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. That would have sounded, both suggestions, more real than the artificial militaristic column quoted here erected more to the glory of a man than to celebrate the vertical line. And anyway in the dungeon of involuntary memory where no time and no space exist, is there still the notion of verticality? Isn’t also Beckett projecting his a-temporal and a-spatial vision he will construct in his dramatic trilogy into Proust?


Saturday, January 26, 2013


Kurzweil still has some work to do to become realistic

This book is probably essential. Ray Kurzweil is reaching the age when he starts listening to various critics and trying to integrate their work in his. But he still believes the human world we know is coming to its end to give way to a mechanically enhanced human world that sounds a lot like Terminator 25.


We must understand this title that pretends to tell you how you can create a mind has to be taken literally. Ray Kurzweil believes in his Artificial Intelligence engineer’s enthusiasm that he can create a mind, that he may qualify as god himself, a secular god as a matter of fact.

“Evolution can then be viewed as a spiritual process in that it creates spiritual beings, that is, entities that are conscious. Evolution also moves toward greater complexity, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and the ability to express more transcendent emotions, such as love. These are all descriptions that people have used for the concept of God, albeit God is described as having no limitations in these regards.” (p. 223)

And do not consider all that is pure rhetoric or pulpit preaching. He believes evolution is the real God when he says: “Our neocortex is virgin territory when our brain is created . . . the biological process of actually growing a brain.” (p. 62) We can wonder about this evolution or biological process if it is a creator or a grower, God or a simple farmer. But we have to wonder what Kurzweil means by “brain” and “mind.” Page 23 over 26 lines he uses the following string of words: “mind . . . brain . . . mind . . . theories . . . ideas . . . thought . . . thinking . . . theories . . . thought . . . brain . . . thinking . . . “ We can assert that these words are not really discriminated. This lack of clear definitions of these terms is of course an enormous shortcoming that is just as nearly irritating as the levity with which he deals with Einstein: “Einstein articulated my goals in this book well when he said that ‘any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex . . . but it takes . . . a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.’” (p. 11) It is obvious Einstein did not articulate his goals since he has not been alive for a while now. That use of the passive by Kurzweil to draw to himself what the quoted person said is even more astounding with at least two and quite often more than three quotations, at times long ones, at the head of all chapters and even subchapters. Kurzweil seems to forget that quoting does not prove anything. But this quoting and bringing together opposed ideas is the basic unitarian objective of the author:

“The truth can be discovered only by finding an explanation that overrides – transcends – seeming differences, especially for fundamental questions of meaning and purpose. That is how I resolve the Western-Eastern divide on consciousness and the physical world. In my view both perspective have to be true. On the one hand it is foolish to deny the physical world . . . On the other hand, the Eastern perspective – that consciousness is fundamental and represents the only reality that is truly important – is also difficult to deny.” (p. 222)

On one hand blunt and brutal materialism since Kurzweil does not seem to consider the material existence of the mind, except when reduced to the brain, or of ideas, thoughts, ideologies, etc. On the other hand a principle that is derived from a false reference to Buddhism.

“In the Eastern view, consciousness is the fundamental reality, the physical world only comes into existence through the thoughts of conscious beings . . . I call this the Buddhist school of quantum mechanics, because in it particles essentially don’t exist until they are observed by a conscious person.” (p. 218-219)

Kurzweil does not know what he is speaking of. Buddhism is basically expressed in the Dhammapada and the Abhidhamma. For Buddha the whole material world exists outside our consciousness and we are part of it because we have a body. This whole world can only be captured by our six senses, the five basic senses plus the mind as a meta-sense that processes the sensations captured by the five other senses plus the abstract concepts conveyed by language and organized in abstract reasoning or description. The word “consciousness” that Kurzweil uses does not correspond at all to the words used for the “mind” that sixth sense or meta-sense. In fact there are two words in Pali for the mind, “mana” that refers to the meta-sense itself and “citta” which refers to the various mental states of an individual experiencing some type of feeling, emotion, mental excitation, etc. Kurzweil uses the word “determined” a lot about the material world. There is a Buddhist concept behind. The whole physical world, including us as physical beings is determined, follows the physical laws governing the cosmos. By using the mind any individual can get into meditation, which will lead him onto the eightfold path of illumination that is to say the possibility to get detached from the determined world and hence to merge with cosmic energy once death has come, thus getting out of the triple characteristic of the determined world: everything is changing all the time; everything is carried by a cycle that goes from birth to life and decay then to death and then to rebirth. Nibbana (known in Sanskrit as Nirvana) is that mentally produced escape from this cycle into cosmic energy; everything has no essence, soul or permanence of any type.

This is important because this should lead us to refusing the basic objective Kurzweil gives to humanity: to use intelligent machines to “coloniz[e]” (p. 281) the universe. In previous books he was rejoicing in the idea that the speed of light could be stepped over, hence speeding the “colonizing [of] the universe” (p. 281) though in this book he is more realistic since the good news about having transported molecules at a speed higher than the speed of light has been disproved in this very 2012 year. But the objective remains: to colonize the universe. Some people never learn. The colonization of the planet by the Europeans has not exactly been the best thing in the world producing slavery, the eradication of American Indians, Aztecs, Mayas, Incas, etc, colonialism and throwing three continents, if not four into, underdevelopment and exploitation. It is high time Kurzweil questions his basic fundamental motivation. The conquest of the universe is not on the agenda. So far we are dealing with the discovery of the universe. We might never conquer it, especially if intelligent beings exist here and there. The use of the cavalry seems to be slightly passé.

This said, and it is fundamental we can move to the main subject of the book: the mind, though in fact he never speaks of it reducing it to the brain. So let’s start with the brain.

After a rather long career and many books published on his “Singularity” that was and still is heftily criticized by many people in the field, including people who are specialists, theoreticians and entrepreneurs in computing science and technology like Kurzweil himself, he wrote this book to get back in phase with others. Criticism was generally rejected high-handedly before. This time he makes an effort to integrate the research of others in the first half of his book, hence to describe the functioning of the brain the way it is known by scientists, though in the second half of the book he goes back his messianic, apocalyptic, prophetic, oracular prediction of the merging of biological intelligence, hence man, into non-biological intelligence, hence machines and we jump onto the track to Terminator 25 all over again and dreams of a time when “computers will have . . . surpassed unenhanced human intelligence.” This phrase gives us in a nutshell, not a walnut but a hazelnut, his basic thinking. Note he of course neglects the fact that human intelligence develops along with all the intelligent machines and theories man has invented. If these intelligent machines are used properly, that is to say at the top of their capabilities, then the intelligence of the users will tremendously develop. Will we have a new mutation in biological evolution? Some human beings are able to develop some tremendous capabilities as for memory, the assimilation of hierarchical systems like foreign languages, etc. These are supposed to be autistic, but do we know anything serious about autistic people apart from believing they are different and have to be put away?

Let’s speak of the brain now. I will not be over technical about it. He borrows from various other researchers (Jeff Hawkins, Dileep George and Jaron Lanier mostly) the general architecture of the brain and adds a couple of things.

The neocortex is the part of the brain that controls our most advanced human intelligent activities. It has six layers and it is structured in vertical columns across these six layers; Each column hence has six layers too. These columns are connected in many ways first of all to the columns around each one of them on a proximity basis, but some spindle neurons can connect many columns in all parts of the brain, 60% of these spindle neurons in the right hemisphere and 40 percent in the left hemisphere. They appeared with hominids, our ancestors after branching out of apes some 10 or 15 million years ago. But we must know that they already existed in apes since Gorillas have about 20% of our number, Bonobos have 2.5% and chimpanzees about 2%. Other mammals do not have any at all. Kurzweil does not speak of mirror neurons and he should have since they are also only vastly present in Homo Sapiens, though they must have been present in hominids and are present in some apes, and these are essential for learning and empathy since they enable someone to imitate the actions of someone else and to empathetically feel the same emotions as other people around them. He also mentions though lightly the fact that a fetus has a brain as soon as one month of age and this fetus will hear (he does not mention this one) and see around the 20th or 24th weeks of pregnancy. He forgets to say that the brain grows after birth. But he does mention that everything happening while the brain is growing has important consequences on the growth of this brain. But he makes his basic mistake here at the very basis of his approach.

First he considers that “learning and recognition take place simultaneously.” (p. 63) He just forget in the womb the fetus cannot learn because all he hears or feels has no referential dimension; These sensations he feels and the sound clusters of any type he hears are registered, that was proved, but with no reference, hence no real meaning, though they can have a comforting or disturbing effect on the fetus along with the mother’s mood.  After birth it is obvious then the baby has the possibility to attach a referent hence a meaning to what he sees and identifies. At this point it is impossible to say that learning and recognizing happens simultaneously for the same things. You have to learn about something before recognizing it. Even if is only a comforting sensation you have to experience it first, to more or less identify it second before being able to recognize it. Recognition is necessarily second at least because to identify you have to experience several times and that’s what he probably means. The first time you just experience, the second time then you recognize and by recognizing you identify even if it is superficially. But there must be a first moment of pure experience. But this is nothing in itself. The main shortcoming at this moment is the absence of any consideration about language. For Kurzweil language, spoken first and written second are the only two inventions of humanity (he says so twice p. 27 and 159) bringing together in one movement two human inventions that have at least 300,000 years between them and it neglects the phylogeny of that linguistic ability. Once again without entering details, language which was oral only for at least 300,000 years out of 305,000 years is an invention of humanity, ,hence of the brain and since language is not something you can touch it is part of the mind. Written language will only come very late in human history. There are still some human groups on the earth that do not write at all.

To invent human articulated language the neocortex has to have a hierarchical organization, which is the case in each column and in the neocortex all together and within the brain between the old brain and the neocortex. That hierarchical architecture of the brain makes the brain only able to function along that line. The hierarchical architecture of the brain produces hierarchical thinking, hierarchical language, hierarchical society, etc. All human activities contain a hierarchical dimension that is the reflection of the architecture of the brain. And here with language you hold an essential line of thought. Every single advancement in phylogeny, in lexicon, in syntax is produced by the mind and each advancement is inscribed in the mind and determines the next advancement. We could show how complex but also how direct and simple this transitive productive process is. What’s more the experience of a human being in front of any entity is hierarchical. He must first discriminate it. Then he has to identify it and name it with a new name if it is a new entity or an old name if he recognizes it as already known and named. Then it has to be classified and that leads to another abstract operation that is known has conceptualization. There is no concept if there is no conceptualization; Kurzweil uses the word “concept” several times, though he does not list it in his index, but he does not use the word “conceptualization” which means for him concepts are generated by magic.

It is obvious then that written language amplifies the intellectual conceptualization of people since they do not have to simply remember plain facts that are recorded in books. They can step further into more abstract thinking. Imagine what it is when you have the Internet at the tip of your fingers. There are thus systematic hierarchies that he neglects. From root to theme and then frond at the level of the semantic units of the language often called words. From syncretic concatenation, to clause structure, to multi-clause structure by concatenation and then embedding, as for syntax often called grammar. From simple calls, to orders, to descriptive discourse, to explicative discourse, to any other discourse with an ever higher level of abstraction, social meaning, content or intention, and that has to use various media to be uttered or produced.

But there is more if you cross brain and language.

Each column, and that is Kurzweil’s approach, is composed of many modules, each one having about 100 neurons. These modules are connected inside the column in complex intertwined networks. Hence we then have a first hierarchy: neurones and their relations within a module, then modules and their relations within a column and at each level relations between the elements and the direct outside: neurons from one module to neurons from another module in the same column, modules from one column to modules from the same column and to modules from other columns. And yet we miss the spindle neurons that can connect any column to any other column and any module to any other module. These spindle neurons seem to be totally opportunistic and develop according to the needs of this or that moment for this or that individual. We thus get to what Dileep George calls “recursive cortical networks” (quoted p. 152) and I insist on the fact that these networks are growing from nearly conception to death, or at least to an advanced age, as long as we can learn new tricks, that they are flexible and versatile in many ways, which explains why we can learn new things all the time: there is plenty of room in the brain and any learning does not depend on a type of available neurons, they are all basically the same. This enables man to use many ways of thinking and one at least is unpredictable and hence inimitable.

The simplest way is to put together two entities and their proximity implies they are connected. It’s what is called syncrertic thinking and it corresponds to what Kurzweil calls “leakage” in the brain, one neuron being in a certain state due to some influx of information coming to it may have a direct influence on its neighbors as if it leaked its information over his surrounding neurons.

Then we can build a deductive argumentation. One event is the cause of another which is the effect of the first one. We can thus build deductive chains. That’s the standard reasoning in sciences like mathematics. We can also inverse the reasoning and get into an inductive chain of reasoning. From what I know I induce that this should be true. It is a hypothesis. This is also important in sciences, but also in everyday life like: it was raining yesterday hence my father must have stayed home.

But there is another way of thinking. I call it subduction. The simplest form of subduction is a metaphor; I treat one entity as if it were another and that may reveal an aspect of the first entity I had not seen at first. A metaphor or a subduction does not prove anything. It has to be demonstrated afterwards, but that’s how the most creative activities of man develop. We have a deep feeling, a strong emotion, a profound conviction, post traumatic stress, and we draw from this the idea that the working truth should be this or that. It is an induction in a way but a lot vaster and deeper. This sudden truth is the Eureka of Archimedes. A sudden illumination. Note such epiphanies can happen at any time and anywhere and in any field of activity. This subduction corresponds perfectly to the recursive cortical networks Dileep George is speaking of. Note language is not indispensible. A composer can just experience such epiphanies in his composing and he would be unable to explain in words what it means. That’s generally why I would consider the artistic creator is the last person who can explain his own creation.

The question that I will only evoke here is where do these elements of the mind of a person register in the brain. Kurzweil does not even ask the question. For him whole lists of patterns as he calls them are available in the various modules. The question is to know where all these elements, patterns or not, are registered. My idea is that we are working at the level of the molecules with particularly the proteins in the microtubules of the neurons since it is proved some of these proteins can vary including in structure when impacted by some influx of information. Same thing about the transportation of the sensorial information from the sensorial organs to the brain: how is it done? A vast discussion is needed here.

The last point I would like to make here is about Artificial Intelligence. Kurzweil’s objective is to copy a real brain, or maybe several (though mixing two brains might produce strange effects since there cannot be two brains that are identical due to their psychogenetic history), and then compress the information by cutting out all redundancy and the brain is very redundant. Kurzweil says that should have no effect. I would doubt it since each instance of one piece of information was registered in one specific situation with particular emotional or sensorial elements around it and these variations from one recording to the next of the same item will be lost by compressing. Then he will simulate that compressed version of a brain in an intelligent machine. His machine will only be able to simulate the compressed version of one particular brain and hence will in no way represent the human brain at the level of its abstract totality. But Kurzweil knows it is in many ways bound to be too short:

“Almost certainly we would not find a precise match; the neuronal structure would invariably differ in many details compared with the models in the computer. However, I would maintain that there must be an essential mathematical equivalence to a high degree of precision between the actual biology and our attempt to emulate it; otherwise these systems would not work as well as they do.” (p. 153)

What is lost in such a simulation is what makes a brain different from all others, the circumstantial elements attached to each item of knowledge, but it is these elements that may be particularly pervasive in a subductive inspirational way of thinking. A plane after all flies pretty well but it is quite different from a bird, isn’t it, though it performs the task of flying quite well.


Friday, January 25, 2013


Il fait meilleur vivre en Allemagne si vous êtes Turc



L’histoire d’une famille de trois générations d’immigrants turcs en Allemagne. On pourrait s’attendre à in film sur les malheurs profonds de cette nouvelle tribu des indigènes de la république, dans ce cas côté rive droite du Rhin. Et il n’en est rien. Pas un seul slogan, drapeau ou manifestation descendus tout droit de 1933.

Une comédie un peu sentimentale et nostalgique mais pratiquement rien de l’horreur que d’autres communautés étrangères invitées dans d’autres pays européens ont rencontrée, rencontrent et rencontreront encore demain. Le film montre systématiquement les efforts importants accomplis par les Allemands pour accueillir dans la dignité et le confort ces travailleurs étrangers et leurs familles indispensables à la prospérité allemande.

Il ne saurait s’agir en rien d’une immigration clandestine, illégale, sans papiers mais de gens recrutés dans leur pays et qui arrivent donc avec toutes les cartes de séjour nécessaires pour s’installer et prospérer, même si les travaux sont des travaux de reconstruction des villes après la guerre ou des travaux d’hygiène publique comme éboueurs. On a en France inventé un autre nom pour ce travail, agent de collecte, équipier de collecte, ripeur, comme pour donner un habillage digne à un métier que beaucoup considèrent comme dégradant, comme si maintenir la propreté d’un pays était une maladie contagieuse et honteuse.

Qui plus est l’école n’est pas une sorte d’intégration forcée, mais bien un lieu où chacun arrive avec ses particularités, ses particularismes et en est fier car il n’y a aucune honte à venir d’un autre pays que l’Allemagne. Avoir au tableau aimanté une carte d’Europe agrandie d’une carte de la Turquie pour placer chaque élève en fonction de l’origine de sa famille est un exercice d’accueil autrement plus efficace que de traiter tout le monde comme s’ils étaient tous sortis de la même matrice républicaine et constitutionnelle, comme si la France était une légion étrangère où il est interdit d’utiliser son nom d’origine et de mentionner son pays d’origine et tous reçoivent un nom du genre Dupont, Diurand ou Dumoulin, quand ce n’est pas simplement Pierre, Paul ou Patrick.

Il est amusant aussi de voir les préjugés colportés par les enfants Turcs qui viennent d’arriver et qui transportent avec eux des clichés de Jésus et du Christ qui font sourire mais qui sont le résultat d’une langue métaphorique prise au seul pied de la lettre qu’un enfant peut connaître : après tout les Chrétiens mangent bien le corps du Christ et boivent sans vergogne son sang. Alors Cannibales ? Et ils adorent un humain pendu sur une croix, le tout fait de bois avec un peu de peinture. Pour un Musulman il n’y a pas plus idole que ça.

Il faut espérer que ce film permette en France de faire réfléchir certains qui voient les étrangers comme des vaches folles, surtout qu’ils parlent parfois comme des vaches vénusiennes. En Allemagne le film a atteint son but et a reçu pas mal de prix, mais l’Allemagne n’a pas de problème avec ses étrangers, loin de là, ce qui cependant ne veut pas dire qu’il n’y a pas quelques hurluberlus descendus de quelque arbre antédiluvien qui brandissent des slogans et des fanions avec des gribouillis indignes de ce siècle mais qui hélas n’ont pas encore été éradiqués de toutes les mémoires ou de toutes les cervelles.

Un record battu en 2012 : le nombre d’étrangers renvoyés dans leurs pays. C’est la France digne et généreuse, mais certainement pas forte. Dans dix jours je prends une classe qui est en grande majorité issue de ces communautés immigrées, parfois depuis longtemps ou même forcés comme les anciens esclaves des Antilles qui ont fait la richesse de Rouen, de Nantes et de Bordeaux, rien qu’en France.


Saturday, January 19, 2013


Certains valseront de joie sur leurs sacoches d'euros

UN FILM DISTRAYANT UN PEU PROVOCATEUR. Tout le monde sait que la police marche à plusieurs vitesses. Il y a d’abord la gendarmerie partout en France mais seule dans les campagnes et petites villes. La police loin des grands centres. Puis dans les villes et les grandes cilles il y a la police nationale et là il ne faut pas confondre les zones urbaines à risque et les centres villes ou quartiers de luxe, ne pas confondre le 36 quai des orfèvres, Ile de la Cité s’il vous plait, et les commissariats parisiens de quartier et les commissariats de banlieues et encore il faudrait faire la différence entre les diverses banlieues, entre le 92 et le 93 par exemple.

Que l’on joue enfin avec ces discriminations policières et ces différences de traitement des gens dans un film est presque rassurant. C’est donc qu’ils doivent savoir en haut les « gros bonnets » qui sont plutôt d’ailleurs de fervents partisans de la politique qui dit qu’il ne pas sortir tête nue, ou encore qu’il vaut mieux sortir couvert, même, peut-être surtout, quand il s’agit d’un club d’échangistes qui pénètrent au moins autant qu’ils ne sortent. Et ce film se permet quelques sorties ou pénétration dans ces bas fonds banlieusards pour gros bonnets fortunés qui rassurent vraiment. Ils doivent donc savoir.

De la même façon ils confirment dans ce film qu’il y a des caisses noires dans les syndicats patronaux. Ils auraient pu ajouter aussi dans les syndicats ouvriers. Serait-ce pour cela que je n’ai remarqué dans le rouge des manifestations que l’enseigne, j’ai bien dit l’enseigne, du Front de Gauche, pour ne pas heurter les centrales syndicales ouvrières, surtout celle qui utilise le rouge comme couleur fétiche que certains diront couleur potiche ? Probablement. Et donc les gros bonnets savent que tout le monde sait. Alors qu’attendent-ils pour agir ?

Au-delà de ces faits sociéto-politiques il y a le discours ethniques sur Bobigny, puisque Bobigny est mis en avant. L’ethnique des cités dortoirs, poulaillers et pigeonniers à la fois où les pigeons de cette société et la volaille faite pour l’abattoir à peine encadrés et encadrables par les poulets avec ou sans uniformes, c’est la première cible qui est dite au-delà des clichés mais qui pourtant y ressemble bien aux clichés. Il y a l’éducation des enfants et des jeunes qui se fait dans la rue et avec des jeux électroniques, et en même temps ici et là des principes de survie collective digne de nos meilleurs manuels : ne jamais laisser son partenaire à découvert.

Et plus encore il ressort une morale de cette gabegie sociale : les perversions diverses et multiples sont le fait des gros bonnets qui viennent réaliser leurs fantasmes là où ces fantasmes ont un prix qu’ils peuvent se payer et surtout un silence qu’ils doivent s’offrir à coup de gros paquets d’euros. La morale pour les gens de ces banlieues qui monnayent la fange qu’ils servent à ces gens trop bien élevés pour pisser sur un cadavre c’est de veiller au grain des filles et des femmes, de rester loin  et cachés des flics, de ne jamais faire tomber quelqu’un qui participe à cette économie de la luxure de luxe en milieu interlope et donc loin des caméras de surveillance et surtout excitant en diable. Plus raide que moi tu meurs.

Le film impose à tout cela un rythme endiablé et une dimension presque passionnelle entre, d’un côté  le flic du quai des orfèvres qui préfèrent sacrifier sa promotion facile pour pouvoir dire à ses potes des banlieues, ceux qu’il vient juste de ce faire, dont un mineur en âge scolaire, qu’il n’a pas à rougir de ce qu’il a gagné à la sueur de son front et non par le veule asservissement aux ordres des gros bonnets qui ont nom préfet ou ministre , et de l’autre côté le flic tout ce qu’il y a de plus ethnique de Bobigny même, préfecture du 93. Mieux vaut être un commissaire par les examens qu’un commissaire par la soumission à des gens aussi propres que l’eau de la Seine un jour de marée noire.

Maintenant ne me faites pas dire que ce film mérite un oscar. Mais il  mérite une petite visite rapide pour se distraire aux dépens de ceux qui nous gouvernent dans cette valse permanente des sacs d’euros d’une poche à une autre pour assurer la paix sociale.



Beckett and politics from 1928 to 1962

Beckett et les idéologies de l’absurde et de la fin du monde.

Beckett arrive à Paris comme lecteur d’anglais à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de la rue d’Ulm en octobre 1928 et sa présence sera importante sinon permanente à partir de là. Le monde que T.S. Eliot  voit comme le monde des « Hollow Men » (les hommes creux ou vides, 1925) qui regardent placidement arriver l’horreur qui prendra forme hitlérienne après avoir pris forme mussolinienne et avant de prendre forme franquiste est un monde totalement absurde et insensé. Et sur la rythmique de la vieille comptine américaine, « Who is Afraid of th’ Big Bad Wolf » héritée de son enfance et que Walt Disney rendra universelle avec Les Trois Petits Cochons (1932), il ironise sur la peur et l’impuissance des hommes :

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.
[Nous voilà qui tournons autour de la figue de barbarie, figue de barbarie, figue de barbarie, nous voilà qui tournons autour de la figue de barbarie à cinq heures du matin.]

Et pourtant tous en ce temps-là essaient de donner un sens à l’insensé.

T.S. Eliot écrit et monte Murder in the Cathedral (Meurtre dans la cathédrale) à Canterbury en 1935. Au-delà du crime de quatre chevaliers zélés qui croient faire la justice dont ils seraient investis par quelque autorité royale, séculière ou régulière, il en appelle à la raison. Mais de quelle raison s’agit-il ? La raison nationale qui justifie le crime au nom de ce qui est arrivé ensuite ? Laissons faire le crime qui se prépare, nous verrons plus tard ce qu’il en est advenu ? Ou bien la raison mentale, spirituelle, intellectuelle, éthique représentée par Thomas Becket qui répond aux quatre tentateurs ?

Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain:
Temptation shall not come in this kind again.
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.
[Maintenant ma voie est claire, maintenant le sens est évident: La tentation ne se présentera pas à nouveau dans nos affaires. La dernière tentation [chercher le martyre] est la plus grande trahison : Faire la chose juste pour la mauvaise raison.]

La chose juste est de mourir pour la liberté, mais la mauvaise raison c’est de le faire pour la gloire du martyre. Pour Eliot il n’y a aucun doute en cela : contre Hitler les Anglais, les Européens, les Occidentaux, bref tous les partisans des libertés fondamentales doivent accepter de mourir pour les défendre et non de traiter avec la tentation nazie. On sait que ce n’est pas ce qui arrivera avec Chamberlain et Daladier.

H.G. Wells se tourne étrangement vers Staline dont il enregistre et publie une interview intitulée « Marxism versus Liberalism » [Marxisme contre Libéralisme,, accédé le 6 janvier 2013] datée du 23 Juillet 1934. Et il produit son film Things to Come, en 1936 dans lequel il défend un monde futur entièrement blanc, gouverné par la science froide de la raison absolue qui refuse les émotions. Dans des écrits antérieurs il était pour l’élimination de tous les gens non utiles à la société, de tous les gens de couleur avec l’exception des Juifs qui savent se marier en dehors de leur « race ».

Schopenhauer (1788-1860) dans l’antisémitisme va très loin et est le soubassement de la politique hitlérienne sur le sujet. Il suffit de consulter l’article « Judaism » du Historical Dictionary of Schopenhauer’s Philosophy, David E. Cartwright, The Scarecrow Press Inc., Lanham, Maryland, 2005 pour s’en convaincre. Par ailleurs une citation attribuée à ce philosophe dit : "we owe the animals not mercy but justice, and the debt often remains unpaid in Europe, the continent that is permeated with Foeter is obviously high time in Europe that Jewish views on nature were brought to an end...the unconscionable treatment of the animal world must, on account of its immorality, be expelled from Europe." (Nous n’avons pas à traiter les animaux avec pitié mais avec justice, et la dette reste souvent impayée en Europe, le continent qui est imprégné de Foeter Judaicus (l’odeur juive)… Il est de toute évidence grand temps en Europe que les vues juives sur la nature soient amenées à leur fin… Le traitement non-consciencieux du monde animal doit, du fait de son immoralité, être expulsé d’Europe.) Mark Musser, “The Green Nazi Hell and America’s Future?” AIM Report, Accuracy in Media, For Fairness, Balance and Accuracy in News Reporting, July 2, 2009, Washington DC,, consulté le 10 janvier 2013

Le plus étrange avec H.G. Wells est qu’il republiera l’interview de Staline après la guerre en 1945 avant de mourir en 1946. Son eugénisme extrême qui est largement développé avant Hitler et en est une des racines est défendu jusqu’au bout au nom de l’avenir de l’humanité, et ce dès The Time Machine (1895) et la dégénérescence humaine en deux espèces antagoniques construites à partir de l’analyse marxiste de la société coupée en deux classes, ainsi croisant la théorie de l’évolution de Charles Darwin et la théorie marxiste du capitalisme.

On notera que le film de Fritz Lang, Metropolis est construit sur la même métaphore, deux classes antagonistes, la classe ouvrière qui vit sous terre et la classe bourgeoise qui vit à la surface dans les parcs et les jardins. Avec cependant le christianisme et l’éducation les deux portés par Maria, l’institutrice, comme moyens d’émancipation.

Quel acte symbolique permettrait de poser Beckett dans cet univers pour le moins insensé sinon absurde avec le recul du temps. Il fait un choix similaire à celui de H.G. Wells. Il pose sa candidature en 1934 pour entrer en apprenti dans l’école cinématographique de Sergei M. Eisenstein à Moscou, un réalisateur de génie pour sûr mais qui ne fait plus que des films de propagande staliniste à ce moment-là. C’est aussi l’année de la montée forte du fascisme en France. Samuel Beckett serait-il en train de  chercher refuge loin de cette horreur montante ? On sait ensuite qu’il s’engagera dans la Résistance pendant la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale et côtoiera les communistes français dans cette période.

On pourrait multiplier les exemples et on en reviendrait toujours au même point. Avant 1939-1945 le monde sombre dans une folie spéciale qui coupe la pensée en deux avec une zone floue entre les deux, zone floue des défenseurs des libertés fondamentales au-delà des idéologies et qui n’ont pas le courage de prendre partie pour ou contre l’un ou l’autre des deux camps en même temps que l’un comme l’autre des deux camps ne fait aucun effort, loin de là, pour s’allier avec ces défenseurs des libertés fondamentales. Si les communistes allemands avaient accepté une alliance avec les sociaux-démocrates allemands, et vice versa, si les sociaux démocrates allemands avaient accepté une alliance avec les communistes allemands, Hitler ne serait jamais monté au pouvoir. On me dira qu’on ne refait pas l’histoire, mais la France dans laquelle vit Samuel Beckett fait justement le choix qui n’a pas été possible en Allemagne et ainsi le fascisme est écarté en France et des gouvernements de Front Populaire vont se succéder même si c’est l’un d’eux, celui de Daladier, qui signe le pacte de Munich, même si c’est ce parlement qui démettra les députés communistes et plus tard investira Pétain et l’Etat Français.

On comprend alors le choix de Samuel Beckett en 1934 et puis ensuite celui pendant la période d’occupation.

Beckett, engagé jusqu’au cou dans la résistance est forcé de fuir après dénonciation et de prendre le maquis véritablement dans le sud de la France. Cet engagement est-il un engagement politique donc du côté de la force principale de cette Résistance, le parti communiste, ou n’est-ce qu’un engagement motivé par des raisons générales et éthiques et l’acceptation de travailler avec d’autres sans se poser de questions ? Ce n’est pas l’objet de cette recherche. Mais si on suit la classification d’après guerre du théâtre de Samuel Beckett dans la catégorie du théâtre de l’absurde on pose une continuité entre l’absurdité de cette période d’avant-guerre et de la guerre d’une part et le théâtre de Beckett d’autre part. On peut aussi voir que le retrait loin des références idéologiques directes dans son théâtre, ce qui permet de le voir comme absurde, est un moyen pour Beckett de jouer sur trois tableaux à la fois :

1-                            La période que nous venons de vivre est absurde (raison de plus si on ajoute les camps d’extermination des juifs, des tziganes, des communistes, des homosexuels, des russes et bien d’autres encore) et moi, Beckett j’en donne une métaphore parabolique ;
2-                            Par cette métaphore parabolique je ne prends pas part au débat politique et reste volontairement et résolument en dehors de la dichotomie du monde pendant la Guerre Froide ;
3-                            Par cette métaphore parabolique je permets tant au camp de gauche pacifiste et anti-guerre froide de justifier leur combat au nom de la raison (même si cela couvre les crimes de Staline et du goulag soviétique) qu’au camp de droite engagé bec et ongles dans la lutte pour l’arrêt de l’expansion communiste au nom des libertés fondamentales pour lesquelles la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale a eu lieu (même si cela couvre les crimes de la guerre de Corée et des guerres coloniales).

Les choses ont-elles vraiment changé après 1945 ?

Nous traitons ici de trois pièces de théâtre de Samuel Beckett qui forment un tout comme nous le démontrerons plus loin. D’abord En Attendant Godot (écrite en français en 1952, jouée en 1953 et traduite et jouée en anglais, Waiting For Godot, en 1955), puis Fin de Partie (écrite et jouée en français à Londres en 1957, traduite et publiée en anglais, Endgame, en 1958), et enfin Oh ! Les beaux jours (écrite et jouée en anglais, Happy Days, à New York en 1961, traduite et publiée en français en 1963). Deux remarques s’imposent : elles sont toutes trois contenues dans une période étroite 1952-1963. C’est la période la plus haute de la guerre froide qui culmine avec les missiles soviétiques à Cuba en octobre 1962. Elles ont été écrites dans la période la plus intense de cette guerre froide qui  va de 1948, le Coup de Prague à 1962-63, la crise de Cuba et l’assassinat de J.F. Kennedy. On notera qu’en France c’est la période où la guerre d’Indochine bat son plein jusqu’à la défaite de Dien Bien Phu et qui s’enchaîne aussitôt après sur la guerre d’Algérie qui finira par le retrait et l’indépendance. Cette période est dominée par une coupure du pays en deux camps idéologiques qui se veulent antagonistes mais en trois courants politiques dont le courant communiste qui est exclu du fonctionnement normal des institutions et du gouvernement depuis 1947, puis le courant socialiste et centriste de gauche (radicaux) qui refusent toute alliance à gauche et s’allie systématiquement avec le centre droit, et enfin le courant gaulliste et centre droit qui participe directement ou indirectement aux gouvernements de centre gauche et centre doit qui se succèdent. Le cas le plus notoire est celui de Jacques Chaban-Delmas, un des lieutenants directs de de Gaulle, qui sera ministre d’état de Guy Mollet en 1956-57 et ministre de la défense nationale et des forces armées de Félix Gaillard en 1957-58, qui enverra le contingent en Algérie et mettra en place les deux Centres d'Instruction à la Pacification et à la Contre-Guérilla (CIPCG) formant à la guerre psychologique, pour beaucoup un euphémisme pour les unités d’interrogatoire serré, en d’autres termes la torture, en Algérie avec à leur tête les généraux Salan et Bigeard qui feront le putsch du 13 mai 1958 à Alger qui ramènera de Gaulle au pouvoir sans élections préalables.

Plus absurde que moi tu meurs.

La deuxième remarque est celle de la langue. Samuel Beckett est bilingue et à ce titre fonctionne différemment dans les deux langues. Ce fait n’est pas pris en compte ni compris par la plupart des critiques de Beckett. Nous aurons tout loisir de montrer les différences entre les deux versions de ces trois pièces, des différences faibles pour la première, notoires pour la seconde et importantes pour la troisième. Ces différences ont une valeur qui a été négligée dans tout ce que j’ai pu lire sur Beckett, au moins minimisé. Je suis saussurien par principe et considère que la valeur vient de la différence et pas de la ressemblance car comparer les similarités n’est pas prouver, en fait ne prouve rien.

Mais il faut voir que la période qui suit la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale est une période qui produit des idéologies en continuation avec celles qui ont provoqué cette guerre. Mais plus encore que cela j’aimerais montrer l’immense changement en train de se faire sous les yeux des témoins mais qui ne deviendra évident qu’après la période concernée (après 1968) et qui aujourd’hui nous oblige à sortir du carcan de l’absurde et à considérer ce théâtre comme ayant un sens, si du moins nous voulons bien utiliser les outils normaux de l’analyse sémiologique et en particulier Kenneth Burke et son « pentad ». La référence à l’absurde devient absurde en elle-même.

L’idéologie qui est en continuité avec les années 1930-1945 et que je vais survoler rapidement est, outre bien sûr le communisme et le militarisme en particulier colonial, la dianétique et la scientologie. Je préfère et de loin prendre une idéologie de ce type plutôt qu’une philosophie dont les trente années d’après la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale ont été le nid, le creuset et même la couveuse, car la dianétique et la scientologie se sont dotées, à la différence de la philosophie existentialiste par exemple, dès le début d’un appareil matériel, l’Eglise de Scientologie, qui prétend être l’outil universel visant à gagner le contrôle du monde entier, de l’humanité pour imposer le changement que son fondateur Ronald Lafayette Hubbard considère comme l’ultime et inévitable phase de développement humain. On  notera la continuité par rapport aux idéologies communiste et nazie à la fois dans l’appareil de prise et de contrôle du pouvoir et dans l’objectif universaliste. Mais notons que cette ambition de vouloir conquérir l’humanité tout entière pour la changer est commune à de nombreux partis politiques et à pratiquement toutes les églises ou institutions religieuses, sauf celles qui prétendent n’être que pour un peuple élu.

Il n’est pas question de discuter en détail cette idéologie et une discussion beaucoup plus détaillée est disponible dans un fichier de notes de lecture et de débats sur la dianétique et quelques autres livre de Hubbard à l’adresse suivante :, sous le titre : RONALD LAFAYETTE HUBBARD DIANETICS AND THE WORLD ATOTALITARIAN VISION.

L’idée principale est que les hommes n’ont qu’un seul principe vital et c’est l’instinct de survie. Rien d’autre n’existe pour Hubbard. Ainsi l’amour comme la sexualité sont réduits à la reproduction sexuée et donc à une vision hétérosexuelle pro-créationnelle. Toute autre forme de sexualité et toute autre forme de relation amoureuse est rejetée comme d’une façon ou d’une autre perverse, et en plus toute relation amoureuse, raison de plus sexuée, est proscrite pour les cadres et les étudiants de l’Eglise de Scientologie et des centres de formation. Le deuxième principe est que chaque homme a un psychisme qui peut être mesuré avec précision et positionné sur une échelle de quatre rangs. Toute personne en dessous de 2 est plus négative que positive et donc se met en péril tout en mettant la communauté tout entière en péril également. La survie de cet individu ou de cette communauté qui tolère ces individus est en jeu, c’est à dire menacée. On a là la continuité absolue de l’eugénisme de H.G. Wells et le principe d’élimination des individus concernés est en continuité absolue avec les pratiques des nazis en Allemagne et les pays occupés et des staliniens en URSS et ses pays satellites.  L’anticommunisme cependant de Hubbard est proche de l’hystérie à certains moments. Mais cette idéologie dianétique et scientologique, dans son extrémisme même, est typique de la période de Guerre Froide, et donc importante pour comprendre la vision de Samuel Beckett dans sa trilogie, particulièrement en France.

L’anticommunisme officiel en France tient aussi de l’hystérie particulièrement pendant les guerres coloniales qui s’étalent de 1947 à 1962 sans interruption. Samuel Beckett n’a pas pu ignorer – excusez du peu car un listing complet des faits de censure, de répression, des refus de compter les voix communistes pour les investitures de gouvernements au Parlement sont myriades, ou légions si vous préférez un discours plus biblique – les événements de Charonne le 8 février 1962 où 8 personnes, toutes communistes, trouvent la mort par répression d’une manifestation par les forces de l’ordre, tout comme il n’a pas pu ignorer le massacre d’Algériens, en particulier le 17 octobre 1961 ou entre 80 et 200 personnes trouvent la mort dans la Seine essentiellement, sous la direction du Préfet de police Papon.

A un autre niveau qui nous sera essentiel plus tard on assiste à une véritable campagne de criminalisation de tout ce qui ressemble de près ou de loin à de l’homosexualité avec l’amendement Mirguet voté par le Parlement le 18 juillet 1960 dont la discussion n’est pas sans échos encore aujourd’hui. Là encore on pourrait parler d’hystérie. Cependant le film de Jean Delannoy, Les Amitiés Particulières sortira en salle en 1964 et le film de Jacques Rivette la Religieuse d’après Denis Diderot (celui-ci concerne simplement la sexualité chez les hommes et femmes d’église), interdit en pré-censure en 1962, autorisé au tournage par la CNC en 1965, interdit aux moins de 18 ans par la CNC et finalement interdit le 31 mars 1966 par Yvon Bourges ministre de l’information de Georges Pompidou, un des tous derniers cas de censure en France, révèlent s’il en est besoin cette hystérie qui perdure au-delà de 1963. Le dernier film sortira finalement en juillet 1967 interdit au moins de 18 ans. Mais revenons au débat parlementaire sur l’amendement Mirguet. Voici le compte-rendu officiel.

Discussion du projet de loi n° 60-733 autorisant le Gouvernement à prendre par application de l'article 38 de la Constitution les mesures nécessaires pour lutter contre certains fléaux sociaux.
M. le président. M. Mirguet a déposé, à l'amendement n. 8 de la commission des affaires culturelles, un  sous-amendement n° 9 ainsi conçu:
« Après le quatrième alinéa du texte proposé par cet amendement, insérer le nouvel alinéa suivant:
« 4° Toutes mesures propres à lutter contre l'homosexualité. »
La parole est à M. Mirguet.
M. Paul Mirguet. Je pense qu'il est inutile d'insister longuement, car vous êtes tous conscients de la gravité de ce fléau qu'est l'homosexualité, fléau contre lequel nous avons le devoir de protéger nos enfants.
Au moment où notre civilisation dangereusement minoritaire dans un monde en pleine évolution devient si vulnérable, nous devons lutter contre tout ce qui peut diminuer son prestige. Dans ce domaine, comme dans les autres, la France doit montrer l'exemple. C'est pourquoi je vous demande d'adopter mon sous-amendement. Le Parlement marquera ainsi une prise de conscience et sa volonté d'empêcher l'extension de ce fléau par des moyens plus efficaces, à mon sens, que la promulgation de textes répressifs.
M. le président. Quel est l'avis de la commission ? (Rires.)
Mme Marcelle Devaud, rapporteur. Je ne trouve pas que cela soit particulièrement drôle! Il y a là une situation que vous connaissez et que je connais aussi. (Nouveaux rires.) Oh ! messieurs, il est trop facile de rire d'un problème moral qui devrait vous préoccuper. Sachez que l'opinion a les yeux fixés sur le Parlement: il serait plus digne pour lui de ne point plaisanter trop facilement. Nous ne sommes pas ici chez les chansonniers. (Applaudissements.)
Soyez assurés que je ne suis nullement gênée de parler de ces choses puisqu'elles existent. Il est naturel qu'on en parle pour les combattre. [les mises en relief sont les miennes] [, accédé le 7 janvier 2013]

Voilà la tableau dans lequel Samuel Beckett écrit sa trilogie et si Fin de Partie est jouée en français à Londres avant Paris, c’est bien une façon de préparer sa sortie à Paris et d’éviter les pièges de la censure. Nous verrons pourquoi. La sortie de Happy Days en anglais à New York est aussi le moyen de détourner la censure française sur les mêmes éléments que Fin de Partie. On notera aussi que la version française qui suit est expurgée de certains éléments par trop explicites.

A l’époque on classa Samuel Beckett et quelques autres dans le dossier « théâtre de l’absurde » ce qui évitait de regarder les détails et de chercher un sens, puisqu’a priori il n’y en avait pas.  Les choses aujourd’hui ont sensiblement changé et je suis surpris que l’on continue encore de classer Samuel Beckett dans l’absurde sans le soumettre à une analyse sémiologique serrée. Je montrerai pourquoi il en est ainsi plus bas.

Ce qui fait que l’on doit aujourd’hui reconsidérer cette classification, c’est l’évolution phénoménale de la science et de la société qui a fait sauter les tabous hystériques de la Guerre Froide, du communisme au couteau entre les dents et surtout de la sexualité, plus précisément de l’homosexualité.

La science est parcourue par un progrès tellement exponentiel qu’aujourd’hui des penseurs comme Ray Kurzweil peuvent poser le concept de « singularité » qui explique que vers 2050 les machines seront plus intelligentes que les hommes et qu’elles prendront donc sinon le pouvoir du moins la préséance dans la gestion des affaires humaines. On a là une nouvelle forme d’hystérie, cette fois totalement positiviste et qui nous promet non une utopie mais une dystopie. Je ne discuterai pas sur le fond de cette idéologie qui a peu à voir avec la science. Disons simplement que le cerveau humain se développe au fur et à mesure que les incitations venues du monde le lui permettent ou l’exigent. C’est ce cerveau, ou plus exactement le cerveau de la couche la plus développée intellectuellement de la société qui produit des machines sans cesse plus puissantes et intelligentes. Sans entrer dans les arguments de ceux comme Jeff Hawkins qui considère que l’homme sera toujours plus intelligent que les machines qu’il inventera, disons simplement que les machines que l’homme invente permettent à l’homme, et en particulier aux jeunes hommes, donc les enfants y compris en bas âge aujourd’hui, de développer de nouvelles capacités intellectuelles. Dans cette évolution globale de l’humanité – qui ne dépend pas tant de mutations biologiques sélectionnées par la sélection naturelle que de la mise en activité et du développement des connexions des neurones cérébraux dont l’immense majorité est inemployée – la couche supérieure intellectuellement se développera de la même façon et en proportion. Ces capacités intellectuelles ne sont que partiellement génétiques et il serait une erreur de limiter l’accès aux machines intelligentes à une couche étroite de gens. Les tablettes sont faites aussi pour les bébés, malgré ce que les associations anti-progrès peuvent dire. La prudence est de rigueur, la peur ne l’est pas.

Ce développement scientifique a bouleversé le monde par la communication virtuelle, bientôt la nuagique généralisée, c'est-à-dire la réalité virtuelle pour tout un chacun. Les approches de l’histoire fondée sur la coupure du monde en deux, l’élimination de l’une ou l’autre des deux parties, quels que soient les critères retenus, sont aujourd’hui dépassées. Si on se contentait de maintenir Samuel Beckett dans l’absurde né de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale et de la Guerre Froide en continuité sur l’entre deux guerres précédent, on pourrait l’enterrer. Or il n’a jamais été autant d’actualité qu’aujourd’hui, comme nous allons le démontrer et ce serait ignorer le monde réel que d’en rester aux visions éculées des années 1950, même quand elles portent le nom de Camus qui lui aussi a besoin d’être réinterprété. Un exemple récent (date introuvable mais qu’on peut induire de la carrière de l’auteur comme étant de 2011) est « Camus and the Absurdity of Existence in Waiting for Godot » d’Angela Hotaling de la SUNY Oneonta (Oneonta, NY)

When one does not give in to Camus’ concept of philosophical suicide, or like in “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, when the characters are struggling on the edge of philosophical suicide, an extreme upset to one’s existence arises. Without God, or Godot, life appears to be meaningless. When all science can do is “explain this world to me with an image,” (Sisyphus P. 454) truth seems so distant from “me,” the subject. In order to understand anything I have to “reduce it to the human.” (Sisyphus P. 452) Reducing what is “true” to the human distances one from the truth because of the limits to human understanding. To Camus, no clarity about this world can be reached. Does this mean that the world is absurd and thus, one is doomed to live an absurd and meaningless existence? Or, does it mean that one cannot understand the world and because of this, one suffers from the nostalgia of the desire to understand? Perhaps without this profound desire for clarity and meaning, nostalgia and an absurd existence [are] avoidable. But, is the desire itself avoidable? For Vlad[i]mir and Estragon the desire consumes them. Godot is the only explanation and even that isn’t sufficient because “he” has no reality. When it is impossible to explain the world without “reducing it to poetry,” (Sisyphus P. 454) life is either meaningless, or meaningful, but if this meaning is beyond one’s understanding, does that make it meaningless?
[, consulté le 7 janvier 2013. Quand quelqu’un n’accepte pas le concept de suicide philosophique de Camus, ou comme dans En attendant Godot de Samuel Beckett quand les personnages se battent au bord du suicide philosophique, une perturbation majeure se produit dans leur existence. Sans Dieu, ou Godot, la vie semble insensée. Quand tout ce que la science peut faire c’est de « m’expliquer le monde avec une image » (Le Mythe de Sisyphe, p. 454), la vérité semble si loin de « moi », le sujet. En vue de comprendre quoi que ce soit je dois « le réduire à de l’humain » (idem, p. 452). Réduire le vrai à de l’humain me distancie de la vérité du fait des limites de la compréhension humaine. Pour Camus on ne peut atteindre aucune clarté concernant le monde. Cela veut-il dire que le monde est absurde et qu’ainsi on est condamné à vivre une existence absurde et insensée ? Ou cela veut-il dire que l’on ne peut pas comprendre le monde et que de ce fait on souffre de la nostalgie du désir de comprendre ? Peut-être que sans ce profond désir de clarté et de sens la nostalgie et une existence absurde [sont] inévitables. Mais le désir lui-même est-il évitable ? Pour Vladimir et Estragon le désir les consume. Godot est la seule explication et même cela est insuffisant parce que « il » n’a aucune réalité. Quand il est impossible d’expliquer le monde sans « le réduire à de la poésie » (idem, p. 454) la vie est soit sensée soit insensée, mais si ce sens est au-delà de notre entendement, cela la rend-elle insensée ?]

Tout le texte de cet article suit l’a priori que le monde de Vladimir et Estragon est absurde, et pourtant la dernière phrase ci-dessus laisse entendre que peut-être il a un sens, mais l’enfermement dans le Mythe de Sisyphe de Camus fait que l’on tourne en rond et n’approche en rien un sens quelconque sinon à prétendre que Godot est dieu (God) et que sa non venue est une absence, une mort et que cette mort et absence de dieu signifie l’absence de sens, l’absurde. On voit alors l’a priori idéologique : Samuel Beckett exprime ici l’absurdité d’un monde qui a perdu ou à qui on a enlevé dieu.

Il semble qu’il faille dépasser cette lecture religieuse de la trilogie de Samuel Beckett pour trouver le sens de ces pièces en elles-mêmes et non en dehors.

Pour ce faire nous allons utiliser les concepts de Kenneth Burke de ce que j’appellerai un structuralisme sémiologique postmoderne.

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