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mailing list archive - Die Schere #11: Notes

DIE SCHERE #11: Notes 
Water, a rope, a cable are mere media, unchanged, after an invisible force has 
passed through them. This force becomes perceptible, i.e. endowed with qualities 
only when it is received at its destination and meets there the resistance which 
displays its hitherto latent qualities. Silent and smooth as waves may be, their 
deadly powers are finally revealed to the senses by the surf. The text starts 
with these examples of an omnipresent phenomenon of invisible forces articulating 
their productivity only when encountering resistance. EJ returns to this idea 
often, e.g. when talking about the layer of telecommunication signals enshrouding 
the globe, as in #17 and elsewhere; earlier a similar idea may be found in the 
first chapter of HELIOPOLIS when the theory of colours of Nigromontanus is being 
expounded: only an incision into seemingly qualityless matter produces beauty: 
" könnte man auch sagen, daß die Materie einer geschlossenen Frucht 
vergleichbar ist und ihre Schönheit nur sichtbar werden kann, wenn Äußeres sie 
wie ein Messer anschneidet." Nigromontanus came to the conclusion that the true 
richness of reality lies in its potential, "daß ihr Reichtum sich im 
Unausgedehnten beheimate," and that it unfolds to our senses only a fraction of 
The idea of the potential being richer and thus superior to the real, basically 
Platonic, also a productive tenet of German Romanticism ("Schläft ein Lied in 
allen Dingen..."), is at the core of this aphorism. This aphorism sets out with 
images as examples, in the second paragraph the concept of the revealing role of 
resistance is introduced, again by recurring to an image, the surf, as an 
example, but more extended and clear-cut than the previous ones: "Der Steuermann 
hört sie vor dem Schiffbruch in der Nacht": a portentous moment condensed into 
one impressive phrase.
The third paragraph draws the conclusion both in general terms and in particular: 
the potential is richer, more profound than what actually exists –– and silence 
is superior to the word. The latter is true also in this particular sense: even 
just giving a name to the invisible force before it exposes its qualities means 
diminishing it. 
Let me add that anyone acquainted at least somewhat with EJ's works and way of 
thinking will hardly misunderstand his praise of the potential as a downgrading 
of what is real. The first chapter of Heliopolis cited above, celebrating the 
visible world in intensely poetic passages, might serve as sufficient refutation.

Günter Rebing

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