Surrealpolitik: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality

Author: Andre Breton

Boston: MIT (1994)

Quick Summary

Some very poetic Breton on, well, the paucity of reality; how flimsy it is, how barren.


There are 8 quotes currently associated with this book.

As I write, I am like some smuggler in the twilight running guns destined for the war I wage with myself. (page 139)
Tags: [Surrealism]
Given that the same old debate continues to rage even in this day and age, all that remains are words. Words tend to group themselves according to specific affinities whose general result is to recreate the same old world over and over again. Things then proceed as if some concrete reality existed beyond the particular -- indeed, as if this reality were immutable. In the realm of the pure establishment of facts (should one care to venture into it), absolute certainty is required in order to put forward something new, something powerful enough to run counter to common sense. The legendary E pur, si muove! which Galileo is said to have muttered after having recanted, remains timely to this very day. How many men are there today who, anxious to keep abreast with their times, feel themselves capable, say, of making their language responsible to the latest breakthroughs in biology or the theory of relativity? (page 140)
Tags: [Surrealism, Truth & Real]
Are not our powers of speech essentially responsible for the mediocrity of our universe?...[A]ll these worn-out truisms...have kept us so firmly planted in our run-of-the-mill world. It is they that have given us this taste for money, these crippling fears, this "love of country," this disgust for our destiny. I do not think it is too late to reexamine the deceptions that are part and parcel of the words we have so far misused. What keeps me from scrambling the order of words, thereby making an attempt on the sham life of things? Language can and must be set free from its bondage. No more descriptions from nature, no more studies of manners and morals. Let there be silence so that I might tread where no man has ever trodden, silence! -- After you, my fair language. (page 141)
Tags: [Surrealism, Truth & Real, Simulacra/Illusion]
There was once someone unscrupulous enough to include a note in an anthology that listed some of the images that occur in the work of one of our greatest living poets; it read:
A caterpillar's morning after in evening dress means: a butterfly.
Breast of crystal means: a carafe.
Etc. No, my gentle sir: does not mean. Put your butterfly back in your carafe. Rest assured, what Saint-Pol-Roux meant to say, he said. (page 141)
Tags: [Surrealism]
Let us not forget that it is only our belief in some sort of practical necessity that keeps us from granting the same value to the testimony of a poet that we would grant, say, to the testimony of an explorer. Man's fetishistic need to don sun helmets or stroke coonskin caps means that we listen to the narratives of expeditions with an altogether different ear. We absolutely need to believe that things actually did happen. (page 142)
Tags: [Surrealism, Truth & Real]
The danger into which reason (in the most general and arguable sense of the term) places us by submitting works of the mind to its unbending dogmas, by not allowing us to choose the mode of expression that does us the least disservice -- this danger, without doubt, is far from having been averted. The pathetic supervisors who dog our steps even after we have graduated from school still make their rounds in our homes, in our life. They make sure that we always call a spade a spade and since we just keep on smiling nicely, they don't necessarily pack us off to prison or commit us to asylums. (page 142)
Tags: [Surrealism, Truth & Real]
Latin civilization is over and done for and, as for me, I ask that not a single finger be lifted to save it. At present, it is the last bastion of bad faith, of decrepitude, and of cowardice. Compromise, trickery, promises of peace, vacant mirrors, selfishness, military dictionaries, the resurgence of foppishness, the return to the Church, the eight-hour work day, burials worse than in plague years, sports: one might as well just throw up one's hands. If I show some concern for my lot, it is not in order to fatalistically resign myself to the vulgar consequences of those chance circumstances that caused me to be born here or there. Let others be devoted to their family, to their country, to the earth even -- count me out of the competition. (page 143)
Tags: [Surrealism, Truth & Real]
In our cities, the avenues running parallel from north to south all converge in an empty lot made up of our jaded detective's eyes. We no longer have any clue as to who asked us to solve this murky case. The uncovering of the plot, the right no longer to think and act as a herd, the unique opportunity we still have to regain our raison d'ĂȘtre--of all this, nothing survives the course of our dream but a hand closed save for an index finger imperiously pointing to a spot on the horizon. There, in utter purity, the air and light are beginning to incite the proud uprising of all the things that have been thought yet barely framed. There, restored to his original sovereignty and serendipity, man preaches to himself alone, it is said, an everlasting truth that is strictly his own. He has no notion of this hideous arrangement of which we are the latest victims, of this foreground of reality that keeps us from budging. (page 143)
Tags: [Surrealism, Truth & Real, Rationality, Dreams]