Friday, August 13, 2010

Max Picard's Mythopoetic Vision of How We "Wound the Invisible"


"Formerly it was commonly known that the space about men and things, that is to say, the atmosphere, was to be respected. One moved carefully, as if afraid to wound the invisible. Man threaded his way between men and things, he did not break into them. One moved slowly, for one was broad and heavily laden with the invisible. Now, however, the space about men and things is destroyed. Man himself destroyed this space. Man wishes to be everywhere quickly and wants to put everything everywhere. That is why he drove the invisible away,--it is too much in the way for a man in a hurry.

But now, when man has emptied space of the invisible, it seems as if space were drawing him into the emptiness; it seems as if no automobile or airship can ever be fast enough to save him from being drawn into the emptiness...

....That is why the men of today are so easily annoyed by each other: it is the atmosphere that they lack, the atmosphere which served to keep men apart, and prevented them from bumping into each other. A man moves into another's atmosphere and that person is not only annoyed, he is also confused. And most important: when the invisible is destroyed, the visible too diminishes gradually. The powers of the invisible cease to flow into that man and that is why he becomes thinner and less concentrated. He may remain as before, his contours may not change, but within his contours he has diminished in substance, and gradually he becomes an incorporeal imitation of himself..."

Picard, The Human Face


1 comment:

mjmc said...

This is amazing. I long for that invisibility. Not to be crashing around and bumping into everyone and everything. Maybe it's still possible. Walking deftly and silently, bearing the mystery of each encounter would surely avail us of abysmal joy.