Sunday, April 9, 2017

#99 / Char

René Char, pictured, was a French poet and a member of the French Resistance. I know of him only because Hannah Arendt used a quotation from Char as the epigraph to Chapter Six of her book, On Revolution. That chapter is titled, "The Revolutionary Tradition And Its Lost Treasure." 


Notre héritage n'est précédé d'aucun testament.
Our inheritance was left to us by no testament.


It is in political action, says Arendt (says Char) that we "find ourselves." We find ourselves, and claim our inheritance, through the actions that we take, and it is through our action that we create some new reality in the world. We create, in fact, that "political world" we most immediately inhabit, and that creation arises from actions that we take together. The world we come to inhabit is not what is left to us by "some testament." It is the world that we create ourselves.

We, too, now alive, here in the United States, in a geography unoccupied by any foreign power, are called upon to resist. Mere observation, made from a position above the fray, is not enough. The comfortable role of pundit and commentator is not sufficient. No treasure there.

It is, in other words, now up to us to discover, in our acts of resistance, the "lost treasure" of our own revolution, and to claim the inheritance that is not given to us, but that comes from us, the inheritance that we create.

How high the stakes will go is not yet clear.

Image Credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!