Jacques Rancière says, "Understanding must be understood in its true sense: not the derisive power to unveil things, but the power of translation that makes one speaker confront another" (The Ignorant Schoolmaster, trans. pp. 63-64). If I ask for an end to confrontationI may not ask alone; to name one name I may have Corradi Fiumara to hold my handwill you accept that as my translation of Ranciere's idea? Is there a nonconfrontational way of facing one another, or a completely nonconfrontational addressivity? A lapidary addressivity? A simple bringing into contact? (In any event, Rancière himself thinks somewhat along these lines, proposing an alternative to the metaphorical equation of reason with combat.)
And what of my translation of translation? Is there at work in translation a power that asks? A power that asks one speaker to listen to another? Give up power, I hear?
I have a will to translate salto mortale. What would it say to delay leaping into it?
Have I ever denied your acrobatic powers?
Let me catch you with my arms of nonaggregation:
One can say, if one likes, that truth brings together. But what brings people together, what unites them, is nonaggregation. Let's rid ourselves of the representation of the social cement that hardened the thinking minds of the postrevolutionary age. People are united because they are people, that is to say, distant beings. Language doesn't unite them. On the contrary, it is the arbitrariness of language that makes them try to communicate by forcing them to translatebut also puts them in a community of intelligence. Man is a being that knows very well when someone speaking doesn't know what he is talking about.
Do I understand irony correctly?
What a happy troupe we are, we who are distant.
It is because we are distant that we identify with the funambulist. But we empathize as well as identify. We hold our breath. We gasp. Would we empathize if we were up there on the same rope trying to hold our balance? That is, must we find a moment for empathy, or are empathies immediate? Are empathies immediately distant?
Don't credit me with too much irony, by the way. Please.
Words are doors to the soul. Have I ever been through those doors? Imagine a door marked Gregarious.
Words about the poetic virtue:
The impossibility of our saying the truth, even when we feel it, makes us speak as poets, makes us tell the story of our mind's adventures and verify that they are understood by other adventurers, makes us communicate our feelings and see them shared by other feeling beings. Improvisation is the exercize by which the human being knows himself and is confirmed in his nature as a a reasonable man, that is to say, as an animal "who makes words, figures, and comparisons, to the story of what he thinks to those like him." The virtue of our intelligence is less in knowing than in doing. "Knowing is nothing, doing is everything." But this doing is fundamentally an act of communication. And, for that, "speaking is the best proof of the capacity to do whatever it is." In the act of speaking, man doesn't transmit his knowledge, he makes poetry; he translates and invites others to do the same. He communicates ans an artisan: as a person who handles words like tools. Man communicates with man through the works of his hands just as through the words of his speech: "When man acts on matter, the body's adventures become the story of the mind's adventures." And the artisan's emancipation is first the regaining of that story, the consciousness that one's material activity is of the nature of discourse. He communicates as a poet: as a being who believes his thought communicable, his emotions sharable. That is why speech and the conception of all works as discourse are, according to universal teaching's logic, a prerequisite to any learning. The artisan must speak about his works in order to be emancipated; the student must speak about the art he wants to learn. "Speaking about human works is the way to know human art."
I hold open a door to your adventures. Can I hope for more than vicariousness? I wouldn't risk standing in your way, or tripping us both up, for the sake of a merely vicarious adventure. What are the true poetries of shared feelings? Rancière points down the "long path of the dissimilar" (p. 67)? The poetry is not the dissimilar but the path.
What do we know through the poet? Whom do we know? A person not content to feel, but who must impart feelings.
Instead of translation and counter-translation I will speak of panecastic translation, a translation in which each party brings something to the work of translation. Panecastic translation is a dialogic breach, a working of the gap between feelings and expressions. Panecastic translation assumes that each and every utterance is translatable. It may then resemble a form of piracy.