And so LI moved to Paris…
Lucretius might have been a hard taskmaster when it came to superstition, calling upon man to surpass the “flaming limits of the world” and not to piss himself before the vain phantom of the angry gods – but he did have a fearful appreciation of the power of love, with its invisible, hounding movement. “Hence into the heart distilled the drop/Of Venus’ sweetness, and numbing heartache followed./For if what you love is absent, none the less/ Its images are there, and the sweet name/Sounds in your ears.”
Amen to that! Lucretius, drawing an ascetic’s conclusion from the naturalist stance, taught us to resist the drop of Venus’ sweetness – or so some claim. LI, however, drew the opposite conclusion – we have had more than enough of numbing heartache in our life, and so we didn’t hesitate to follow A. to Paris, merrily throwing away clothes and books, giving away our paltry possessions, and in general reducing the hurly burly of our, shall we say, middle aged existence to the order of two packed suitcases, plus a laptop in a knapsack purchased from Target for thirty nine dollars.
And so the city I have imagined, the exemplum of the artificial paradise, Baudelaire’s cite des reves en plein jour, is a place I casually get ripped off in, purchasing meatballs from the Italian deli down the street.
It is here, I hope, that I will get much more done on the Human Limit, as well as making a superhuman effort to edit many many more papers and books – for the prices of Paris truly are beyond the flaming limits of the world.
On the other hand, what price could possibly be attached to biking, on a lovely autumn afternoon, with my love through the streets up to Paris-Bercy and the BN – observing the absurd names that are attached to things (Simone de Beauvoir’s passerelle, Josephine Baker’s piscine – heartbreakingly, some restaurant that calls itself Jules et Jim (o the exploitation!) in a complex of cinemas, MK2.
And so I have arrived...