The essence of any carnival are the masks the participants wear. They conceal the face but make the joy and exuberance manifest, and the carnival is ultimately a celebration of life. Disordered as most carnivals are, they are an exaltation of that order in the universe, which if not always clear and palpable, it remainsContinue reading “A sad carnival”
Someone should write a typology of confinement. We are more reflexive than ever, more sensitive than ever, and less likely to put up with any form of detention than ever. I’ll be honest, when I read or hear how people are getting depressed from staying at home, I can’t help thinking: we wouldn’t last aContinue reading “The invisible gift”
There are many paradoxes out there, but they fall under our radar when we focus on the wrong points. Let me explain using a familiar example. Most chronicles written during the Middle Ages were done by monks. By chronicle I don’t mean any history book, but those long compositions starting from way, way back andContinue reading “Open chronicles in cloistered times”
Since deciding to start blogging every day, I have avoided writing in the first person, recounting my days and my experiences in typical public-diary fashion, as I didn’t want this blog to be yet another machine of ego-production, yet another let-me-tell-you-about-my-life space. Yet, it turned out to be yet another machine, and yet another space,Continue reading “The age of self-chronicling”
In times of trouble, we act just like our immune system. We either keep a low profile or go into overdrive. Some like to track the second hand as it goes around the dial. Others mine the free/d hours of the day frenetically for new occupations. As a writer recently put it, we might findContinue reading “When Robinson Crusoe starts to cough”
As I suggested in previous posts, all moments of crisis reveal unseen aspects of human existence. They pick us up from the waters of our daily swim and give us a different perspective on the pond. Some force us to look at ourselves and each other differently, some help us discover previously-unknown truths about ourselves.Continue reading “Between the Zoo and Foucault’s Great Confinement”
‘There still exist towns and countries where people have now and then an inkling of something different. In general it doesn’t change their lives. Still, they have had an intimation, and that’s so much to the good. Oran, however, seems to be a town without intimations; in other words, completely modern.’ Like so many townsContinue reading “Camus’ whispers and suspicions”
We are faced with a splendid opportunity: to be the architects of our own time, now that we have been given leave from the managers of our daily schedule. To be, as Pascal Bruckner has called it, an aristocracy of inner life. An aristocracy, I would say, of our internal clock. It is a rareContinue reading “Life in DIY mode”
According to Google Trends, interest in the word ‘epidemic’ has increased from 6% to 100% since January 2020. That’s stating the obvious, of course. Not all epidemics, however, are caused by bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms, attacking us silently from within, slowly taking our breath away, leaving our streets empty and silent. Some epidemics areContinue reading “When St Vitus goes marching in”
If you ask us whether we like being in self-isolation, we’d say absolutely not! There’s nothing worse for a spinning top than to find itself brought to a sudden halt.
However, if you ask Homer whether he would have enjoyed being in self-isolation, he’d probably say: well, my much-suffering brilliant friend, that depends.