dedramatise myself(…)is like giving up alcohol or love


august 29, 2016 by admin

My only practicable emancipation from the insatiable question of how to speak the truth about myself might be, perhaps, to lose the slightest interest in striving to answer it. To walk well away from it. My self might be consid­ered, tautly, as consisdng of nothing more than what it does. No transcen­dent ‘character’ need swell like a miasma over and above its actions; as Aris­totle was convinced, it’s in my performance that my truth is to be found. From this brisk perspective, any quest for a precise self-characterisation be­comes a sustained error. On the contrary; to resolutely dedramatise myself is often the precondition for some clarity of behaviour. Then sheer boredom, too, can truncate lengthy self-scrutiny. The self can readily -and merci­fully- become deeply uninteresting in its own eyes. It cannot gossip with much enthusiasm to itself, about itself, for very long (although one can think of exceptions). The outside world and other people draw me on, ‘out of myself’, until some equable self-balance is restored. And my relieved turning away from some finally outgrown account of myself is like giving up alcohol, or love (…).

Denise Riley, The Words of Selves. Identification, Solidarity, Irony. Stanford University Press, 2000

Imagini: John Baldessari, Self Portrait (with Brain Cloud), 2010

Baldessari Self portrait with brain cloud


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