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: "...so 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 it. 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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