Stiegler on holiday…

The usual round of posts by academics on social media about writing during the summer 'holiday' (made more frenzied by Andrew Adonis' remarks)  has made me think of Stiegler's 2012 interview in Philosophie magazine, in which he says:

To deprogram oneself necessitates keeping to very specific schedules, which are what Foucault, once again, described as techniques of the self, echoing Seneca. Holidays are a moment to practice such programmes. Myself, I use relaxation as a form of deprogramming. When I go on holiday, I work early and write all morning. Then, I swim, a lot, until that state when physical exertion stimulates a rush—because the brain produces a lot of endorphins. Swimming thus becomes a journey within oneself, during the course of which I run back through my memory of everything I wrote several hours earlier. Then I lie in the sun, drained, and I let my mind empty, since this is how unlikely thoughts can arise: something un-programmed emerges from all of this. Then I return to writing: I note all that has arisen — first in the water, then in the sun — all through rereading and annotating what I wrote in the morning.

Under the sun, I sense that this mass of hydrogen that has been combusting for several billion years is a cosmic programme that intervenes in my physiological programmes — muscles, brain, various organs — and which, in this intervention, produces a difference, a change of programme which allows me to write another kind of programme: a book in which I comment generally on other books.

Books, when they are good, are thus deprogramming programmes, unlikely programmes, like poems, in which there must be, wrote Paul Claudel, “a number that prevents counting”.

[My translation]

If only…


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2 Replies to “Stiegler on holiday…”

  1. Very interesting quote, and fine translation. I have one disagreement, where you translate near the end of the first paragraph. In French it reads “l’improgrammé qui se dégage de tout cela – et qui en procède totalement”. I think this should be translated as “something unprogrammed emerges from all this and entirely results from it”.

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