Miklos
« Je donne mon avis non comme bon mais comme mien. » — Michel de Montaigne

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6 janvier 2020

L’amour de loin revisité

Classé dans : Littérature — Miklos @ 0:02

La représentation à Paris de l’opéra éponyme de Kaija Saariaho avait fourni l’occasion de parler de ce phénomène qui n’est pas qu’actuel et préexistait aux réseaux dits sociaux, l’exemple le plus notable étant celui du troubadour Jaufré Rudel, parti au XIIe siècle de Blaye (dans l’actuelle Nouvelle-Aquitaine) pour tenter de rejoindre la princesse de Tripoli qu’il n’avait jamais vue mais dont il était tombé amoureux. Il mourra à l’arrivée dans ses bras. De tristesse, elle entrera dans un monastère.

Le texte ci-dessous, en ancien pro­vençal, en est une bio­graphie ancienne. Ceux qui auraient vraiment du mal peuvent consulter avec profit et intérêt le Lexique roman de Raynouard : tomes I, II (A-C), III (D-K), IV (L-P), V (Q-Z), VI (Appendice – vocabulaire).

«Jaufres Rudel de Blaia si fo molt gentils hom, princes de Blaia; et enamoret se de la comtessa de Tripol1, ses vezer, per lo gran ben e per la gran cortezia qu’el auzi dir de lieis als pelegrins que vengron d’Antiochia, et fetz de lieis mains bon vers et ab bons sons, ab paubres motz. E per voluntat de lieis vezer el se crozet, e mes se en mar2 per anar lieis vezer. Et adoncs en la nau lo pres mout grans malautia, si que cill que eron ab lui cuideron que el fos mortz en la nau; mas tan feron qu’ill lo conduisseron a Tripol en un alberc com per mort. E fo faitz a saber a la comtessa, e venc ad el al sieu lieich e pres lo entre sos bratz. Et el saup qu’ella era la comtessa, si recobret Io vezer, l’auzir e ’l flairar; e lauzet dieu e ’l grazi que ill avia la vida sostenguda tro qu’el l’ages vista. Et en aissi el moric entr’els braz de la comtessa; et ella lo fetz honradamen» sepellir en la maison del Temple de Tripol. E pois en aquel meteis dia ella se rendet monga, per la dolor que ella ac de lui e de la soa mort.3

Sources :

- François-Just-Marie Raynouard, Choix des poésies originales des troubadours. Tome cinquième contenant les biographies des troubadours, et un appendice à leurs poésies imprimées dans les volumes précédents. Firmin Didot, Paris, 1820.

- Camille Chabaneau, Les biographies des troubadours en langue provençale publiées intégralement pour la première fois avec une introduction et des notes accompagnées de textes latins, provençaux, italiens et espagnols concernant ces poètes et suivies d’un appendice contenant la liste alphabétique des auteurs provençaux avec l’indication de leurs œuvres publiées ou inédites et le répertoire méthodique des ouvrages anonymes de la littérature provençale depuis les origines jusqu’à la fin du quinzième siècle. Édouard Privat, Toulouse, 1885.

__________________

1. Odierne, femme de Raimon Ier, compte de Tripoli, selon l’option de M. Suchier & de M. Paul Meyer, la seule plausible. Voyez Romania, t. 6, p. 120.

2. Vers 1147 (deuxième croisade). Nous avons sur ce voyage un autre témoignage, celui du troubadour contemporain Marcabru, qui adresse

A Jaufre Rudel oltra mar

sa belle romance A la fontana del vergier, où se trouve une allusion des plus précises à la croisade de Louis VII.

3. Édition critique de cette biographie dans A. Stimming, Der Troubadour Jaufre Rudel, sein Leben und seine Werke, p. 40. M. Paul Meyer l’a publiée, d’après I K, dans son Recueil d’anciens textes, p. 99.

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17 décembre 2019

Sachez flâner

Classé dans : Littérature, Peinture, dessin, Société — Miklos @ 12:58


Non, il n’est pas en train d’utiliser son smartphone. C’est un « flâneur artiste, flâneur solitaire qu’on voit étendu nonchalamment sur deux, trois ou quatre chaises, riant dans sa barbe et lorgnant impitoyablement tous les ridicules dont il se souviendra en temps opportun »

La définition que donne le Trésor de la langue française du verbe « flâner » – « avancer lentement et sans direction précise. Perdre son temps, se complaire dans l’inaction, dans le farniente » – a une connotation plutôt critique de ce comportement : c’est quasiment une errance, une perte de temps, alors qu’on pourrait, qu’on devrait faire quelque chose d’utile.

Ce n’est pas du tout la vision qu’en donne Louis Huart (1813-1865) dans son amusante Physiologie du flâneur publiée en 1841 avec de délicieuses vignettes de Daumier (dont il rédigeait des légendes de ses lithographies) et d’autres illustrateurs, dans une série de petites monographies qu’il consacre à l’étudiant, au garde national, à la grisette, au médecin et au tailleur.

Quelque 150 ans sont passées depuis, le vocabulaire a parfois légèrement vieilli, les mœurs ont évolué, mais les comportements de l’homme en société d’alors ne sont pas si différents des nôtres : il suffit de lire sa description des touristes – terme alors inconnu, il parle des badauds étrangers – qui s’acharnent à voir le plus de monuments célèbres en un minimum de temps, confondant la colonne Vendôme (place du même nom) avec celle de Juillet (place de la Bastille), passant plus de temps à lire dans leur guide (on dirait aujourd’hui : dans leur smartphone) les descriptions d’un monument ou d’une œuvre qu’à les regarder.

En sus de son regard amusé et perceptif des classes sociales (il parle même du « flâneur prolétaire » – qualificatif que Karl Marx a rendu célèbre mais qui lui préexistait), on lira avec intérêt sa description de Paris – des Champs-Élysées aux passages couverts, bien plus nombreux alors qu’aujourd’hui, du Marais, des boulevards, de Montmartre…, des problèmes de circulation et même du street art d’alors – et des évolutions de la ville (« Puis on a, sous prétexte d’embellissements, abattu les arbres qui avaient résisté à toutes les révolu­tions pour leur substituer des sortes de manches à balais revêtus d’une guérite verte »).

Et enfin, il ne faut pas omettre de regarder ces petites vignettes qui rajoutent parfois un degré d’humour, voire d’ironie, au texte (qui n’en manque pas).

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22 novembre 2019

Qui a écrit ces mémoires et à quelle période ?

Classé dans : Littérature, Peinture, dessin — Miklos @ 23:40

Bonne question !

« Les Français ont toujours le mot de liberté à la bouche, mais rien de plus facile que de les plier au pouvoir absolu. Faites-vous craindre, sire, et ils vous aimeront. Ayez une main de fer dans un gant de velours. » Bernadotte à Louis XVIII, cité in André Delrieu, Testament d’un vieux diplomate, Paris, 1846.

L’expression « main de fer dans un gant de velours » aussi attribuée à Mazarin, à Charles V, à Jacques de Flesselles (s’adressant à Louis XVI), à Napoléon, à un prédécesseur du tsar Nicolas (à propos des Russes) et sans doute à bien d’autres encore, illustre fort bien le texte qui suit, extrait des mémoires d’un bien curieux personnage :

«Chaque jour, l’absence et la fatalité de l’éloignement causaient de nouveaux malheurs à mes protégés.

Le spectacle de ces désastres me navrait de douleurs inouïes  mon œil se plombait, et, sous l’influence de ces noirs soucis, mon nez s’allongeait comme une Variété de pomme de terre à tubercules allongés et rougeâtres à la surface irrégulière. (TLFi)vitelotte.

― Ah ! si je pouvais rassembler ces familles éparses, réunir ces tribus dispersées, décider ces peuplades d’origine et de climat divers à former une grande et puissante nation !

Mais comment les convaincre, et en supposant que j’y parvinsse, quelle forme de gouvernement établir, pour mettre d’accord toutes ces ambitions rivales, toutes ces prétentions jalouses, toutes ses mœurs disparates !

Une république fédérative était impossible  c’eût été la guerre civile organisée !

Un bras de fer seul pouvait contenir dans le devoir ces bandes indisciplinées.

Dans l’intérêt même de leur sûreté, de leur grandeur, un chef, un maître, un empereur était nécessaire, et ce chel. ce maître, cet empereur, qui pouvait-il être ?

— Je décidai que ce serait moi.

A ce projet, ma tête s’enflamma, et j’entendis tressaillir en moi la tirade de Charles-Quint au tombeau de Charlemagne :

Empereur, empereur ! être empereur ! ô rage !…

C’était un rêve sublime !

— C’était, si l’on veut, une odieuse usurpation; mais, en étudiant l’histoire de l’antiquité, je vis que quantité d’amis du peuple n’avaient procédé par la démocratie que pour arriver au despotisme.

L’exemple de ces grands hommes rassura ma conscience et je résolus de les imiter en tous points.

Je ne me dissimulai pas que la tâche était rude.

Ces peuples dont je voulais faire des sujets étaient nés libres et tenaient à leur liberté.

Jusqu’à présent, ils n’avaient compté avec personne, et l’idée de payer un impôt pour couvrir les frais d’un gouvernement, la dotation nécessaire à un César, devaient nécessairement les effrayer et nuire à ma propagande impérialiste.»

Je résolus donc de leur dissimuler le coté disciplinaire et fiscal de mon plan, et de les prendre par les appâts matériels.

Et Ah, vous n’avez pas encore trouvé ? Passez votre souris sur les points de suspension en fin de cette phrase (sans cliquer).pour avoir la réponseIl s’agit de Cucurbitus Ier, personnage très légumineux de l’amusant L’Empire des légumes. Mémoires de Cucurbitus Ier, recueillis et mis en ordre par MM. Eugène Nus et Antony Meray, dessins par Amedée Varin, et publiés à Paris en 1851, année du coup d’État de Napoléon III. Cliquez sur l’image ci-dessus pour voir son portrait. Texte intégral et joliment illustré disponible en cliquant sur les points de suspension.

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14 novembre 2019

How AI defends itself against humans who wish to resist its increasing domination

Classé dans : Actualité, Politique, Progrès, Santé, Sciences, techniques, Société — Miklos @ 23:16

Fritz Lang: Metropolis (1927).
Cliquer pour agrandir.

A friend of mine had emailed me yesterday an article about the scandalous Google Project Nightingale – a major invasion of privacy concerning personal health information.

Here is a literal copy of what I replied to him:

Thanks! Not surprised, I read a few days ago a similar article, this time about the pharmaceutical industry… Speaking of which, an increasing number of medicines are missing from pharmacies: it turns out that as some prices go down here, the industry sells these products in other countries, and so makes more money. Health is definitely not their goal (unless the health of their wealth).

One thought about the increased size of « big data » and IA, leading to the increased robotization of society: one danger I haven’t seen addressed is that of bugs and viruses: they are inevitable, in any system: even a totally closed one, while immune to viruses (but is “totally” ever possible?) will have bugs. And this is much worse than a human error…

Pretty dark future.

Michael

My email reply was rejected with the following error message:

Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
SMTP error from remote server for GREETING command, [...] reason: 500 5.7.1 Symantec Zodiac

Looking that error up, I found that it means that Symantec found the contents “objectionable”.

So what’s next? Probably effectively blocking access on the Web to such “objectionable” articles and to any reference to them by deleting them from their search engine?

Remember: Big Brother is watching you more than ever

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26 août 2019

Letter to an Egyptian friend

Classé dans : Actualité, Politique, Société — Miklos @ 10:47

Jewish scribe (source)

Z.,

No, I was not mad at the first flurry of messages you had sent me, but sad. Sad that you speak of friendship between us – which I indeed thought there was – yet make totally unilateral assumptions about my “beliefs” (not to speak of my personal history) without having ever asked me or heard me say anything about them. This is definitely not my “belief” in what friendship (as you mention this word) is or should be. Or should have been. Friends, real friends, may have varying opinions on certain issues, without hampering mutual respect and communication.

I have long hesitated whether to answer at all. You had actually stopped responding to my emails since July of last year – more than one year ago –, after writing this last message: “There is something I would love to talk with you about , but maybe at a later time. I think I will need to go now. So, have a wonderful day , mi amigo!”. Had I not written again (and again), I wonder if you would have done so, and when you did, it was not to “talk with me”, but “talk to me” and prevent me from replying by putting an end to the conversation. Is that what an amigo is?

So now I wonder if you are at all in a position of hearing anything that I would say, or that my response would merely be an act of politeness to allow me to react, regardless of the content of my reaction, and that’s it. If this be the case, anything that follows below would be just noise. Is it worth that I tear all my insides in order to express this?

I don’t remember if I told you this: two years before we got in touch on the Couchsurfing site, I got in touch through the same site with M., a 23-year-old Egyptian guy. The initial contact, first in writing then by voice was so good that I asked him if he had noticed from my profile that I had lived in Israel (as I knew that the tension between our people might be resented by some on the personal level). The tone of his voice changed right away and he replied coldly: “So you are one of these Zionists?”, to which I asked: “What is a Zionist for you?”. His reply: “Those who want to throw us to the sea.” I couldn’t help bursting in laughter and say to him that for some Israelis, the Arabs are those who want to throw them to the sea… I then added two essential things (for me):

  1. Among the people who believe in most movements or ideologies – religious, political, social, cultural… – there is a whole spectrum which goes from one extreme to the other extreme (and luckily enough, many moderates in between). In Zionism (I defined it for M. and gave him a very brief history), there are people who believe that the land should be equally shared – i.e., one state – by Jews and Arabs alike, others that it should be split between two independent states, Israel and Palestine (which is what I happen to support), while others believe Israel should cover it all (and some even think it should extend from the Euphrates to the Nile, but luckily enough, very few).

  2. Any label – “Zionist” is a label, as well as “Arab”, “Jew”, “Muslim”, “Israeli”, Black”, “Gay”, etc. – is so generic that it does not define individuals, i.e., people: it does not say what they really believe in (as I mentioned above for “Zionist”) nor, more importantly, how they behave towards other people. There are Jews who don’t believe in any aspect of Judaism (the Jewish religion) and may or may not hold onto some traditions, while there are many different (and conflicting on some issues) Jewish trends among believers. So the fact that M. views me as “Jew” and “Israeli” doesn’t mean he knows anything about my values in any of these domains or my social and political (and religious) beliefs. He would have to know me personally so as to get any idea about where I stand on all of this.

The miracle in this is that M. heard me. His tone became friendly again, and he expressed his wish to stay with me. Not only was that experience great (for each one of us), but he came back since twice; later, I was among the first ones to which he announced his engagement, and he wants me very much to come to Egypt for his wedding later this year. Moreover, his whole attitude towards people who happened to be Israelis has changed: he is interested in communicating with them now (while he avoided them earlier).

This issue of “labels” is actually reflecting the problem of “identity”: this idea (of an identity, a single identity) is tragic, because it views us (humans, but this is true also of all the other living creatures) as organized in antagonistic groups – people, or nations, or clans, or tribes, or herds, whatever goes along a presumed binary “identity” which is perforce in conflict with any other “identity” – rather than a multiplicity of identities which may overlap and should allow us to negotiate and cooperate in order to address problems that are too big for anyone to face singly. This is, by the way, also true of friendships: they require at times not just communications, but negotiations on conflicting issues.

Now to the “issue at hand”. It is so complex that I won’t write here a whole book about it, but try to lay a few points. First off, I don’t believe in “being right or wrong”: both “sides” can be right – each according to its own arguments – yet in conflict. This is why the approach at addressing a conflict (this is true between two people too as well as between two groups or nations) is communication, pragmatism and mutual respect. The alternative is one-sided power aimed at making “the other” feel wrong, lower in position, or even totally eliminate him from the area or from the surface of the earth.

History is also a complex issue: Jews have lived in the area for over 2,500 years. At some points they ruled, and later were occupied and ruled by a variety of nations (Persia, Rome, Christians, the Ottomans, the British, and more in between), and partially exiled out of the country (but not totally: some Jews remained at every period) of the area. Even when they ruled, the borders of the area they ruled changed with time (and at one period, the Jewish Kingdom split in two different ones!). They were obviously not the only ones to live there, and when Islam appeared, obviously Muslims started appearing there too and developed their own sense of identity. After Jews started returning to the area (end of 19th century), conflicts developed which turned vicious. Yes, Arabs were chased out of some villages (and even killed), ironically as Jews had been chased out and killed in the past. History repeats itself in tragic ways.

An additional tragic dimension is the intermix of the sense of “national identity” (for Israelis, for Palestinians) and religion. According to Yeshayahu Leibowitch, a major Israeli thinker (who influenced my thoughts), they should totally be distinct, i.e., religion should not have any role in the politics of a state (in this case of Israel), which is sadly (in my mind) not the case, on the contrary: there is a confusion between Jews as a people (or nation) and Jews as a religion, and there is a radicalization, and far-right nationalist ultra religious Jews are increasing in number (as it happens these days also in other religions and countries). For this thinker, the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian problem should be viewed as a national issue, and both, legitimate nations, should have their own independent state, side by side (which I believe in). I believe in negotiations, not in power conflicts, which requires from both sides to be open and willing to give up too on their absolute positions.

Also, for this thinker, there is no such thing as a “holy place” in Judaism: nothing material can be holy, only God is holy. So the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall should not be an issue in the political decisions to come. It is however ironic and sad that both religions claim the same place and fight about it, while religions should encourage love between people (but the more radical any religion becomes, the less respectful it is of other humans). So personally, I don’t care where these sites end up being (in Palestine? In Israel?), but hope that regardless of where they are, they should be open to any respectful visitor.

This brings us to the issue of territory. As borders (of the Jewish Kingdom in the past, of the territories more recently) have kept changing, which are the “right” borders? This question, in and of itself, could be true of any country: those of France had changed during the centuries, as those of many other countries: for instance, Al-Andalus, a large area of Spain and Southern France, was dominated for close to 800 years (from 711 to 1492) by Muslims. I think the approach to the Israel-Palestine issue should not rely that much on history (because then: which history, the one told by Jews or the one told by Muslims? How far back?), but be pragmatic. The pre-1967 borders provided each nation with a clear majority on its territory, so why not declare these (maybe with minimal adjustments) as the borders of the two states? This is what I think and hope might help solve the larger problems. It won’t necessarily bring immediate love between the neighbors, but if you see the situation between France and Germany, which had been at war on and off for more than 150 years and now live peacefully side by side, I think there is hope. In the not so far past there was almost an agreement achieved, but the Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was murdered – by a radical Jewish Israeli (as Sadat had been murdered by a radical Muslim Egyptian). At times, I think the worst enemy is inside, not outside.

In summary: I tried to express some of my views on this complex issue. I was not trying to prove anything. I don’t think I am “right” or “wrong” (nor think that you are), I don’t believe in “black and white” situations, and think that in view of the major global problems we all face (global earth warming, diminishing of resources, etc.) people should cooperate rather than fight to attempt to keep control of “their” resources. That’s why I also hope that our differences won’t destroy our previous friendship.

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