title:Amphionism ver.2.0e
by Taro Kimura


Section Chief Tuzzi had lowered his eyes to a speck of dust on his
trousers, so that one might interpret his smile as a sign of agreement.
"And indeed, what should it be?" Arnheim went on tentatively.
Section Chief Tuzzi now directed his smile upward; Arnheim had
pronounced the word this time not quite so emphatically and un-
skeptically as before in His Grace's presence, but with sonorous
gravity nonetheless.
Diotima, defending herself against her husband's smile, threw in:
"Why not? Religion too!"
"Of course. But since we must come to a practical decision: Have
you ever thought of appointing a bishop to the committee, who
should come up with a modern goal for the campaign? God is pro-
foundly unmodern: we simply cannot imagine him in tails, clean-
shaven, with neatly parted hair; our image of him is still patriarchal.
And what is there apart from religion? The nation? The state?"
Diotima was pleased at this, because Tuzzi regarded the state as a
masculine subject one did not discuss with women. But now he was
silent, only his eyes still hinting that there might be something fur-
ther to be said on that score.
"Science?" Arnheim went on. "Culture? That leaves art. Truly, it
is art that should first reflect the unity of existence and its inner
order. But we know the picture art presents today. Fragmentation
everywhere; extremes without connections. Stendhal, Balzac, and
Flaubert have already created the epic of the new mechanized social
and inner life, while the demonic substrata of our lives have been laid
bare by Dostoyevsky, Strindberg, and Freud. We who live today have
a deep sense that there is nothing left for us to do."

"I've read some of his work, and I've heard of him too," he said.
"As far as I can gather, he's regarded as a coming man in pedagogy
and education."
"Yes," Agatha said. "So he is."
"Judging by what I know of his work, he's not only a sound educa-
tor but a pioneer of reform in higher education. I remember one
book of his in which he discussed the unique value of history and the
humanities for a moral education on the one hand, and on the other
the equally unique value of science and mathematics as intellectual
discipline, and then, thirdly, the unique value of that brimming sense
of life in sports and military exercise that makes one fit for action. Is
that it?"
"I suppose so," Agatha said, "but did you notice his way with quo-
"Quotations? Let me see: I dimly remember noticing something
there. He uses lots of quotations. He quotes the classics. Of course,
he quotes the moderns too....Now I've got it: He does something
positively revolutionary for a schoolmaster-he quotes not merely
academic sources but even aircraft designers, political figures, and
artists of today....But I've already said that, haven't I?" He ended
on that uncertain note with which recollection runs into a dead end.
"What he does," Agatha added, "with music, for instance, is to go
recklessly as far as Richard Strauss, or with painting as far as Picasso,
but he will never, even if only to illustrate something that's wrong,
cite a name that hasn't become more or less established currency in
the newspapers, even if it's only treated negatively."
That was it. Just what he had been groping for in his memory. He
looked up. He was pleased by the taste and the acuity shown in
Agathe's reply.
"So he's become a leader, over time, by being among the first to
follow in time's train," he commented with a laugh. "All those who
come after him see him already ahead of them! But do you like our
leading figures yourself?"
"I don't know. In any case, I don't quote them."


"Nay, Leonardo da Vinci himself."
"Da Vinci? Doctor or magister?"
"Neither a doctor nor a magister,-not even a bacca-
laureate, but just simple the artist Leonardo, the one who
painted the Last Supper."
"An artsit? Is he going to speak of painting?"
"Of natural sciences, 'twould seem...."
"Of natural sciences? Why, have artists become men of
science noadays? Leonardo? Have heard naught of him,
somehow....What works has he written?"
"None. He does not publish them."
"Does not publish them?"
"They say he always writes with his lefthand," another
neighbour interposed," in a secret script, so that it may not
be deciphered."
"So that it might not be deciphered? With his left
hand?" With growing perplexity the dean kept on repeating.
'Why, signor, this must be something amusing. Eh? By
way of a relaxation from serious studies, I take it, -for the
diversion of the Duke and the most beautiful signora?"
"It may even be amusing. We shall see, now...."

finished his calculation, he took his diary out of its secret
drawer in the table, and with his left hand, in reverse
script, which could be read only in front of a mirror,
wrote down the thoughts inspired within him by the Tour-
ney of the Learned:
"Bookworms and rhetoricians, disciples of Aristotle, jack-
tlaws in peacock feathers, town criers and repeaters of the
matters of other men, despise me, the inventor. But I could
reply to them even as Marius did to the Rome patricians:
'Adorning yourselves with the matters of other men, ye do
not wish to leave me the fruits of my own.'
"Among investigators of nature and the imitators of
the ancients, there is the same difference as between an
object and its reflection in a mirror.
"They think that, not being a word -monger like to them, I
have no right to write and to speak of science, in as much as
I can not express my thoughts in a fitting manner. They
know not that my strength lies not in words but in ex-
perience, the instructor of all those who have written well.
"Desiring not, nor being able, to refer to the books of the
ancients, I shall refer to that which is more truthful than
books,-to experience, the instructor of instructions."


Painting imitated space. And representa-
tion-whether in the service of pleasure or of knowledge-was posited
as a form of repition: the theatre of life or the mirror of nature, that was
the claim made by all language, it's manner of declaring its existence and
of formulating its right of speech.

And now, in this philosophical-philological space opened up for us
by Nietzsche, language wells up in an enigmatic multiplicity that must
be mastered. There appear, like so many projects (or chimeras, who can
tell us yet?), the themes of a universal formalization of all discourse, or
the themes of an integral exegesis of the world which would at the same
time be its total demystification, or those of a general theory of signs; or
again, the them (historically probably the first) of a transformation
without residuum, of a total reabsorption of all forms of discourse into
a single word, of all books into a single page, of the whole world into one

Even before prescribing, suggesting a future, saying
what must be done, even before exhorting or merely sounding an alarm,
thought at the level of its existence, in its very dawning, is in itself an
action-a perilous act. Sade, Nietzsche, Artaud, and Bataille have under-
stood this on behalf of all those who tried to ignore it; but it is also certain
that Hegel, Marx, and Freud knew it. Can we say that it is not known
by those who, in their profound stupidity, assert that there is no phil-
osophy without political choise, that all thought is either 'progressive'
or reactionary?


No doubt for others my self-revealment, in which I appear
to them, may be taken seriously, inasmuch as they interpret
me as though in reality I was in earnest about the business;
but therein they are deluded, poor, borne creatures, without
the faculty or the power to comprehend and attain to the
height of my argument. And by this it is brought home to
me that everyone is not so free (e.g., that is formally free)
as to see in all which is usually of value, dignity and sanctity
to mankind, merely a product of each man's own possibilities
of inclination, which is operative in permitting him to determine
and make rich the course of his life, or the reverse. It
is thus that this virtuosity of your ironical artist's life comes
to be credited as some god-like geniality, for which every
conceivable thing is a purely spectral creature, to which the
free creator, knowing himself to be absolutely unattached,
does not yoke himself, for he can ever annihilate the same no
less than create it. Whoever has reached such a standpoint
of god-like geniality consequently looks down in his superior
fashion on all other mortals. They are ruled out as narrow
and dull, in so far, that is assured, obligatory, and essential.


These hodge-podges of common-
places, wherewith so many furnish their studies, are of little
use but to common subjects, and serve but to show, and not
to direct us; a ridiculous fruit of learning, that Socrates does
so pleasantly canvass against Euthydemus. I have seen
books made of things that were never either studied or un-
derstood, the author committing to several of his learned
friends the examination of this and t'other matter to compile
it; contenting himself, for his share, to have projected the
design, and by his industry to have tied together this fagot
of unknown provision; the ink and paper, at least, are his.
This is to buy or borrow a book, and not to make one; 'tis to
show men, not that a man can make a book, but that, whereof
they may be in doubt, that he cannot make one; 'tis to
show men, not that a man can make a book, but that, whereof
they may be in doubt, that he cannot make one. A president,
in my hearing, boasted that he had clustered two hundred and
odd common quotations in one of his judgments; in telling
which he deprived himself of the glory that had been attrib-
uted to him for the speech; in my opinion 'twas a pusillani-
mous and absurd boast for such a subject and such a person.
I do quite contrary; and, amongst so many borrowed things,
am glad if I can steal one, disguising and altering it for some
new service. At the hazard of having it said that 'tis for
want of understanding its natural use, I give it some partic-
ular address of my own, to the end it may not be so absolutely
another's. These set their thefts in show, and value themselves
upon them; and they have more credit with the laws than
with me. We naturalists think that there is a great and in-
comparable preference in the honour of invention to that of


Suddenly much softer, she said:
'Don't be childish, Victor. I'll give you a last chance.
What happened yesterday evening was just an accident, a
relapse. It will all be different when you have finished your
I asked:
'Which book?'
She picked up my 'manuscript':
'This book, your book.'
'I didn't write a single word of it.'
'There are nearly two hundred pages of typescript.'
'Yes, two hundred pages copied from other books.'
'Copied? I don't understand.'
'You will never understand anything. I copied these two
hundred pages from books. I didn't write a single word of
She looked at me. I raised the bottle and drank. A long
drink. She shook her head:
'I don't believe you. You're drunk. You're talking
rubbish. Why would you do that?'
I sniggered:
'To make you believe I was writing. You disturb me,
you spy on me constantly, you prevent me from writing;
seeing you, your very presence in this house, prevents me
from writing, You destroy everything, degrade every-
thing, annihilate all creativity, life, freedom, inspiration.
Since childhood you've done nothing but watch over me,
guide me, annoy me, since childhood!'
She remained silent for a moment, then she said, she
recited, staring down at the floor, the threadbare carpet:
'I sacrificed everything for your work, your book. My
own work, my clients, my last years. I walked on tiptoe so
as not to disturb you. And you have not written a single
word during the two years you have been here? You do
nothing but eat, drink and smoke! You're nothing but a
good-for-nothing cheat, a drunk and a parasite! I told all
my clients that your book was about to appear! And
you've written nothing? I'll be the laughing stock of the
whole town! You've brought dishonour on my house! I
should have left you wallowing in your dirty little town
and your filthy bookshop. You lived there, alone, for more
than twenty years, so why didn't you write a book there
where I wasn't disturbing you, where no one was
disturbing you? Why? Because you couldn't even write
one word of a third-rate book, no matter were you where
or how you were living.'


"But surely you don't take me for a guide?" he cried indignantly, "a
guide, an ordinary guide?"
"I thought ..." I stammered. "I was told that..."
"Tut, tut! Whoever told you that was joking. You are acting as if you
were the kind of man who would ask a well-know painter about the sate
of the building trade. I am an artist, my dear friend, and what is more,
I invented my branch of art myself, and am the only one to practice it."
"A new art? You can't be serious!"
"Kindly refrain from laughing," he said severely. "On the contrary, I
am extremely serious."
I excused myself, and he continued modestly:
"I was broughtly up to all the arts, and excelled in them. But all the
artistic careers are overcrowed. Despairing of ever making a name as a
painter, I burnt all my canvases. Renouncing my poet's laurels, I tore up
approximately a hundred and fifty thousand lines of verse. Having thus
established my aesthetic liberty, I invented a new art form, based on the
peripatetics of Aristotle. I called this art amphionism, in memory of the
strange power which Amphion possessed over stone and the different
materials of which cities are made.
"In this connection, those who take up amphionism will, naturally, be
called amphions.