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'PataPhysics Quotables

 

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'Pataphysics or 'Pataphysique is one of the early components of the rich Absurdist currents of thought in modern civilization. In the term 'Pataphysics, the initial opening quotation mark (sans closing quotation mark) is intentional and symbolic to practitionors of 'Pataphysics, perhaps 'pataphysicians or 'pataphysicists, as representing the 'open ended' nature of the field. Conceptually 'Pataphysics contains several vectors of meaning. In one sense 'Pataphysics provides an exterior arena for the discussion, analysis, and comprehension of various ideas in Metaphysics, in the same manner that Metaphysics provides such an arena for Physics. In a different though related sense, 'Pataphysics exists as one of the seminal forces which have empowered and informed later manifestations of the Absurdist currents, from Dadaism and Surrealism through to a panoply of Erisian and Discordian interpretations, and beyond. Some have claimed to find the underpinnings of a new religion in 'Pataphysics as exemplified by Asger Jorn's essay 'Pataphysics - A Religion In The Making. David-Baptiste Chirot makes reasonable reference to the roots of Jarry's 'Pataphysics, in his succinctly titled article 'Pataphysics Dada in "avant" USA- &-for Sean Bonney & Frances Kruk--with Asger Jorn on the Religion of Richter's Garden Dwarfs, as seen in the following partial quote: "[Jarry's] 'Pataphysical compilations, Almanachs, woodcuts, all owe a great deal to the medieval period, and specifically to the spirit of Rabelais and Villon. In Rabelais, there is the mocking of both science and religion which go on unabated, as well as the production of a ceaselessly teeming, transmuting and truly 'exceptional' cosmos, in which the sizes and shapes of everything are subject to immense and swift adjustments to indeed 'Situations'." Further, some find a pattern within 'Pataphysics of a 'Deconstruction' of the ideas formulated in the Enlightenment worldview that the Cosmos was and/or would be ultimately perceivable and explainable by Science. Reports have been made discerning connections between 'Pataphysics and the politico-artiste movement of the Situationist International. Also, Alfred Jarry who codified and more impressively, apparently actually lived the concept, sometimes defined 'Pataphysics as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments".

 

. . . at any rate we are including a number of quotables by practitionors of 'Pataphysics, and those who have commented on it, for further illumination, as it does seem a fascinating component of 'The Great Conversation'.

 

"Adelie penguins trade sex for stones"

― (New Scientist, 7 November 2009)

 

"All this twaddle, the existence of god, atheism, determinism, liberation, societies, death, etc., are pieces of a chess game called language, and they are amusing only if one does not preoccupy oneself with 'winning' or 'losing' this game of chess."

― Marcel Duchamp (1887 - 1968) in The Box in a Valise, translated
by David Britt (New York: Rizzoli, 1989)

 

"Blind and unwavering undisciplined at all times constitutes the real strength of all free men."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"Duration is the transformation of a succession into a reversion. In other words: THE BECOMING OF A MEMORY."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907) from How to Construct a Time Machine

 

"God is the tangential point between zero and infinity."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"In keeping with the notion of "the science of the perpetually open", the term ('Pataphysics) is always written with only one quotation mark, as 'Pataphysics. The TRG [Toronto Research Group] explains: "If 'Pataphysics [always written with an open quote] is the 'science of imaginary solutions' and the source of answers to questions never to be posed, then 'Pataphysics . . . [presumably as a review magazine] will be the 'literature of all imaginary sciences'. As such it will constitute the 'Patasignificant advance of a field of non-signification, moving us closer to (and hence by the transcendental law of the 'Patadox further away from) its origin(s). Hence the Science of the never-ending, never commencing discourse"

― from the introduction in Open Letter: Canadian 'Pataphysics edited by the
Toronto Research Group 4.6-7 (Winter 1980-1981)

 

"It is because the public are a mass ― inert, obtuse, and passive ― that they need to be shaken up from time to time so that we can tell from their bear-like grunts where they are ― and also where they stand. They are pretty harmless, in spite of their numbers, because they are fighting against intelligence."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"It is conventional to call monster any blending of dissonant elements. I call monster every original inexhaustible beauty."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"Laughter is born out of the discovery of the contradictory."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"Recently re-reading some of Jarry's essays and fictions re 'Pataphyisics, two things really struck me. One is that Jarry's 'Pataphysical compilations, Almanachs, woodcuts, all owe a great deal to the medieval period, and specifically to the spirit of Rabelais and Villon. In Rabelais, there is the mocking of both science and religion which go on unabated, as well as the production of a ceaselessly teeming, transmuting and truly "exceptional" cosmos, in which the sizes and shapes of everything are subject to immense and swift adjustments to indeed "Situations". Rabelais spoofs and distorts and disgorges the scientific and religious languages of his time, a crazy quilt "polygut" of half digested Latin and the wildly free and raucous French of the times, itself at the thresholds of the strangling codifications soon enough to appear."

― David-Baptiste Chirot in The "Avantism" of Garden Dwarfs--Kenny G on the Harriet Blog

 

"The first "official" introduction of 'Pataphysics to the North American audience/readers may (or not) be seen as Evergreen Review Issue 13, May/June 1960, with a spiral and the words "What is 'Pataphysics" suspended in the "equivalent" of a foto dipped in green ("evergreen") of Jarry aboard one of his personal manias, his beloved bicycle, heading down the street, away from the camera, into that Futurity which the present is the 'becoming memory' of."

― David-Baptiste Chirot in The "Avantism" of Garden Dwarfs--Kenny G on the Harriet Blog

 

"The game is the Pataphysical overture to the world. The realisation of such games is the creation of situations. A crisis therefore exists, caused by the crucial problem which each Pataphysical adept must resolve: s/he must either apply the situlogic method and attack the conditions of the reigning society, or else simply refuse to do anything whatsoever about the situation. It is in the latter resolution to this problem that 'Pataphysics becomes the religion best adapted to life in the society of the spectacle: a religion of passivity and pure absence."

― from 'Pataphysics - A Religion In The Making by Asger Jorn, originally appeared in Internationale Situationniste No.6 (August 1961)

 

"The great merit of 'Pataphysics is to have confirmed that there is no metaphysical justification for forcing everybody to believe in the same absurdity, possibilities for the absurd and in art are legion. The only logical deduction that can be made from this principle is the anarchist thesis: to each his own absurdities. The negation of this principle is expressed in the legal power of the state, which forces all citizens to submit to an identical set of political absurdities."

― from 'Pataphysics - A Religion In The Making by Asger Jorn, originally appeared in Internationale Situationniste No.6 (August 1961)

 

"The theater, bringing impersonal masks to life, is only for those who are virile enough to create new life: either as a conflict of passions subtler than those we already know, or as a complete new character."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"The virtue of dress rehearsals is that they are a free show for a select group of artists and friends of the author, and where for one unique evening the audience is almost expurgated of idiots."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"This terrible fear of the non-existence, le Neant, le Gouffre ― Can be summed up in a sign found in the battered offices for various services of the Health and Welfare departments, as well as those were free legal counsel or financial advice may be given: This sign sums it up: 'If it is not in writing, it never happened'. Perhaps 'Pataphysics may propose as an exception the happening of something which is unwritten, and so, logically, inferred to be, to remain, unwritten ― and hence never having happened, ― and yet, it has happened ― A happening beyond the bounds of the written, in a zone one aspect of which Whitman called "the real war will never get into the books."

― David-Baptiste Chirot in The "Avantism" of Garden Dwarfs--Kenny G on the Harriet Blog

 

"To keep up even a worthwhile tradition means vitiating the idea behind it which must necessarily be in a constant state of evolution: it is mad to try to express new feelings in a mummified form."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"We believe that the applause of silence is the only kind that counts."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"We shall not have succeeded in demolishing everything unless we demolish the ruins as well. But the only way I can see of doing that is to use them to put up a lot of fine, well-designed buildings."

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

"You're looking exceptionally ugly tonight, Madam, is it because we have company?"

― Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

 

 

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