“These are not heroic times,” one of the French President’s ministers is purported to have said recently.
The President of the National Assembly put it another way: “There are no strong cravings in the country (“envie” in French) and this is Hollande’s opportunity. No craving for the extreme right, no craving for the right, no craving either for the socialists. When there are no cravings, the one in power has the best card in the game – the one that allows him to be the reassuring one.”
Or: Look Into the Hypnotist’s Eyes. Relax. You Are Feeling Very Sleepy. You Wish to Abandon All Resistance…
At one point in Simon Brook’s excellent documentary film The Tightrope, his father, stage director Peter Brook, has one actress walk as would the character of Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In the Trial Scene, she must first make her way through a wall of fire, then, through another wall, of water this time.
Whether heroism appeals or not, these days, both in real life and in fiction, the sensation is more of having to walk through layers and layers of some soft yet resistant material – say, soft foam. Soft foam in which any attempt at struggling will do nothing but further exhaust you, and lead to an overwhelming desire to rest your head on the closest bit of foam and snore the time away. This is too much… let others decide… I give up…
These are not heroic times? When, in human history, were the times not heroic? How best to deal with the trials being the only worthwhile question. When to take a break, when to keep on moving.
No cravings? Except the politicians’ desires to believe their own posturing? Please.
Listened to a recorded interview done with Jacques Brel, ages ago. “I try to follow my astonishements (“étonnements” in French)”, he said. “Not so much my dreams as my small astonishments.” There are enough of those to fill a lifetime.