My Docudharma Manifesto

No, I haven’t written my own manifesto.  But my intention at this site, and one which I think it is particularly fitting for this site, can be summed up by Tristan Tzara’s 1918 “Dada Manifesto”, from which I quote:

There is a literature that does not reach the voracious mass. It is the work of creators, issued from a real necessity in the author, produced for himself. It expresses the knowledge of a supreme egoism, in which laws wither away. Every page must explode, either by profound heavy seriousness, the whirlwind, poetic frenzy, the new, the eternal, the crushing joke, enthusiasm for principles, or by the way in which it is printed. On the one hand a tottering world in flight, betrothed to the glockenspiel of hell, on the other hand: new men. Rough, bouncing, riding on hiccups. Behind them a crippled world and literary quacks with a mania for improvement.

I say unto you: there is no beginning and we do not tremble, we are not sentimental. We are a furious Wind, tearing the dirty linen of clouds and prayers, preparing the great spectacle of disaster, fire, decomposition.  We will put an end to mourning and replace tears by sirens screeching from one continent to another. Pavilions of intense joy and widowers with the sadness of poison. Dada is the signboard of abstraction; advertising and business are also elements of poetry.

I destroy the drawers of the brain and of social organization: spread demoralization wherever I go and cast my hand from heaven to hell, my eyes from hell to heaven, restore the fecund wheel of a universal circus to objective forces and the imagination of every individual.

Philosophy is the question: from which side shall we look at life, God, the idea or other phenomena. Everything one looks at is false. I do not consider the relative result more important than the choice between cake and cherries after dinner. The system of quickly looking at the other side of a thing in order to impose your opinion indirectly is called dialectics, in other words, haggling over the spirit of fried potatoes while dancing method around it.

If I cry out:

Ideal, ideal, ideal,
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge,
Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom,

I have given a pretty faithful version of progress, law, morality and all other fine qualities that various highly intelligent men have discussed in so manv books, only to conclude that after all everyone dances to his own personal boomboom, and that the writer is entitled to his boomboom: the satisfaction of pathological curiosity; a private bell for inexplicable needs; a bath; pecuniary difficulties; a stomach with repercussions in life; the authority of the mystic wand formulated as the bouquet of a phantom orchestra made up of silent fiddle bows greased with philtres made of chicken manure. With the blue eye-glasses of an angel they have excavated the inner life for a dime’s worth of unanimous gratitude. If all of them are right and if all pills are Pink Pills, let us try for once not to be right. Some people think they can explain rationally, by thought, what they think. But that is extremely relative. Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it puts to sleep the anti-objective impulses of men and systematizes the bourgeoisie. There is no ultimate Truth. The dialectic is an amusing mechanism which guides us in a banal kind of way to the opinions we had in the first place. Does anyone think that, by a minute refinement of logic, he has demonstrated the truth and established the correctness of these opinions? Logic imprisoned by the senses is an organic disease. To this element philosophers always like to add: the power of observation. But actually this magnificent quality of the mind is the proof of its impotence. We observe, we regard from one or more points of view, we choose them among the millions that exist. Experience is also a product of chance and individual faculties. Science disgusts me as soon as it becomes a speculative system, loses its character of utility-that is so useless but is at least individual. I detest greasy objectivity, and harmony, the science that finds everything in order. Carry on, my children, humanity . . . Science says we are the servants of nature: everything is in order, make love and bash your brains in. Carry on, my children, humanity, kind bourgeois and journalist virgins . . . I am against systems, the most acceptable system is on principle to have none. To complete oneself, to perfect oneself in one’s own littleness, to fill the vessel with one’s individuality, to have the courage to fight for and against thought, the mystery of bread, the sudden burst of an infernal propeller into economic lilies…. Every product of disgust capable of becoming a negation of the family is Dada; a protest with the fists of its whole being engaged in destructive action: Dada; knowledge of all the means rejected up until now by the shamefaced sex of comfortable compromise and good manners: Dada; abolition of logic, which is the dance of those impotent to create: Dada; of every social hierarchy and equation set up for the sake of values by our valets: Dada; every object, all objects, sentiments, obscurities, apparitions and the precise clash of parallel lines are weapons for the fight: Dada; abolition of memory: Dada; abolition of archaeology: Dada; abolition of prophets: Dada; abolition of the future: Dada; absolute and unquestionable faith in every god that is the immediate product of spontaneity:* Dada; elegant and unprejudiced leap from a harmony to the other sphere; trajectory of a word tossed like a screeching phonograph record; to respect all individuals in their folly of the moment: whether it be serious, fearful, timid, ardent, vigorous, determined, enthusiastic; to divest one’s church of every useless cumbersome accessory; to spit out disagreeable or amorous ideas like a luminous waterfall, or coddle them -with the extreme satisfaction that it doesn’t matter in the least-with the same intensity in the thicket of one’s soul-pure of insects for blood well-born, and gilded with bodies of archangels. Freedom: Dada Dada Dada, a roaring of tense colors, and interlacing of opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques, inconsistencies: LIFE

If I may say further, the greatest failing of the blogosphere today as I see it is a surplus of logic, of reason, of a demand that we cope with the problems of our age without emotion, without illogic, without animus and human frailty.  Yet we do not live this way, not in America or in the world outside.  It is not a revolution if there is not dancing.  It is not a beginning of a better world if it lacks love and sex and hate and trauma.  It is not always the most important thing to make sense.


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    • Jay Elias on September 14, 2007 at 00:03

    You explain to me why you exist. You haven’t the faintest idea. You will say: I exist to make my children happy. But in your hearts you know that isn’t so. You will say: I exist to guard my country, against barbarian invasions. That’s a fine reason. You will say: I exist because God wills. That’s a fairy tale for children. You will never be able to tell me why you exist but you will always be ready to maintain a serious attitude about life. You will never understand that life is a pun, for you will never be alone enough to reject hatred, judgments, all these things that require such an effort, in favor of a calm level state of mind that makes everything equal and without importance.

  1. Interesting Jay.

  2. …thank you.  Though I confess when I saw it post right in front of the pony party I was like “whew they’ll all go there” 🙂 

    • melvin on September 14, 2007 at 00:22

    of “politics.” While I understand the fascination it has for many, that it had for my mother even, electoral politics is to me the boring subject on earth. Why it generates to much blog traffic is really beyond me, except that it costs nothing to have an opinion about.

    Your diary rather surprises me. Very pleasantly.

    Easiest thing in the world on the net or anywhere else to get stuck in a persona that started out as just an experimental approach to attempt to be heard or get attention.

    Like smart people in the smart trap, discounting what they shouldn’t because they are used to being right, the smartest people in the room. Just one example. Everybody is typecast somehow.

    I think it might be interesting to bring here  everything from the far shore of what we individually know about or found interesting.  Variety. There is too much sameness here already. Can be civilized without being bland?

  3. If I may say further, the greatest failing of the blogosphere today as I see it is a surplus of logic, of reason, of a demand that we cope with the problems of our age without emotion, without illogic, without animus and human frailty.  Yet we do not live this way, not in America or in the world outside.  It is not a revolution if there is not dancing.


    You will never understand that life is a pun

    that’s one sign anyhow that can’t be hung around my neck.

    • Caneel on September 14, 2007 at 00:41

    I prefer the tango myself.

  4. I hail from the hippies…. still wear
    tye-dye dresses…lol

    my outlook

    dance like nobody is watching
    sing like nobody is listening
    love till it spills onto everything you do
    share and care about all living things

    I really am excited about this site…..

  5. I remember when I was in college I had a crush on a fellow who was into dada.  I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it and for years simply hated the philosophy.

    After 6 years of Bush, dada has a lot more resonance for me.

  6. mine’s so cluttered, you seem quite absolute by comparison.  im jealous.

    we already know we disagree on the human nature issue anyway, so its no surprise that we’re not going to see eye-to-eye on the social contract either, is it?

    but i think i already copped to my lack of self-reliance today… 😉  you got me there.

    thanks for sharing, again.  may i never understand you, id be bored  😉

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