27 April 2016
Translation: The Grace of Art
Excerpt translated from French from "L'Elégance du Hérisson" by Muriel Barbery, Gallimard edition, p. 116-117.
Eternity escapes us.
On those days when all of our romantic, intellectual, metaphysical and moral beliefs — which years of instruction and education have attempted to inculcate in us — capsize on the altar of our profound nature, society — that territory charged with sweeping hierarchies — drowns in the nothingness of Meaning. Gone are the rich and poor, thinkers, seekers, decision-makers, slaves, good and evil, creatives and conscientious, union supporters and individualists, progressives and conservatives. They become no more than primitive hominids whose grins and smiles, posturing and finery, language and codes, written on the genetic map of the average primate, boil down to this — maintain your social standing or die.
On such days, you desperately need Art. You ardently strive to reconnect with spiritual illusion. You passionately hope that something will save you from biological destiny, that poetry and greatness will not be ousted from this world.
Then, you drink a cup of tea or watch an Ozu film in order to withdraw from the rounds of jousts and battles, the daily fare of our dominating species, and bestow the grace of Art and its major works to this pathetic theatrical show.