Expecting repetition from the law of nature is the ‘Stoic’ error. The wise must be converted into the virtuous; the drea, of finding a law which would make repetition possible passes over to the moral sphere. There is always a task to recommence, a fidelity to be revived within a daily life indistinguishable from the reaffirmation of Duty. Büchner makes Danton say:
It is so wearisome. First you put on your shirt, then your trousers; you drag yourself into bed at night and in the morning drag yourself out again; and always you put one foot in front of the other. There is little hope that it will ever change. Millions have always done it like that and millims more will do so after us. Moreover, since we’re mae up of two halves which both do the same thing, everything’s done twice. It’s all very boring and very, very sad.
However, what good is moral law if it does not sanctify reiteration, above all if it does not make reiteration possible and give us a legislative power from which we are excluded by the law of nature? Moralists sometimes present the categories of Good and Evil in the following manner: every time we try to repeat according to nature or as natural beings (repetition of a pleasure, of a past, of a passion) we throw ourselves into a demonic and already dammed exercise which can end only in despair and boredom. The Good, by contrast, holds out the possibility of repetition, of succesful repetition and of the spirituality of repetition, because it depends not upon a law of nature but on a law of duty, of which, as moral beings, we cannot be subjetcs without also being legislators.
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. Translated by Paul Patton. London: Continuum,2001, pp. 3-4. From Georg Büchner, Danton’s Death. Translated by Howard Brenton, London: Methuen, 1982, p. 25
Love in an animal sense is an illness, but a necessity which one has to overcome. Politics is an odd game, not without danger I have been told, but certainly sometimes amusing. To eat and to drink are habits not to be despised but often connected with unfortunate consequences.To sail around the earth in ninety-one hours must be very strenuous, like racing in cars or splitting the atoms. But the most exhausting thing of all – is boredom.
So let me take part in your boredom and your dreams while you take part in mine which may be yours as well.
To begin with, there has been enough talk about art. After all, it must always be unsatisfactory to try to express one’s deeds in words. Still we shall go on and on, talking and painting and making music, boring ourselves, exciting ourselves, making war and peace as long as our strength of imagination lasts. Imagination is perhaps the most decisive characteristic of mankind. My dream is the imagination of space – to change the optical impression of the world of objects by a transcendental arithmetic progression of the inner being. That is the precept. In principal any alteration of the object is allowed which has a sufficiently strong creative power behind it.
If the canvas is only filled with two-dimensional conception of space, we shall have applied art, or ornament. Certainly this may give us pleasure, though I myself find it boring as it does not give me enough visual sensation. To transform three into two dimensions is for me an experience full of magic in which I glimpse for a moment that fourth dimension which my whole being is seeking.
Stars are our eyes and nebulae our beards… we have people’s souls for our hearts. We hide ourselves and you cannot see us, which is just what we want when the skies are red at midday, red in the blackest night. Our torches stretch away without end… silver, glowing red, purple, violet, green-blue and black. We bear them in our dance over the seas and mountains, across the boredom of life.
We sleep and our brains circle in dull dreams.
Max Beckmann, ‘My Theory of Painting’ in Max Beckmann. Paintings, Paperworks, Graphics. Galerie Thomas, 1938