Sunday, September 15, 2013

"the will to 'heroize' the present" - retro-quotes #50

retro-quotes: a series of germane remarks, by others, plucked from all over the place, and from all over the time - #50

"Modernity is often characterized in terms of consciousness of the discontinuity of time: a break with tradition, a feeling of novelty, of vertigo in the face of the passing moment. And this is indeed what Baudelaire seems to be saying [in "The Painter of Modern Life"] when he defines modernity as 'the ephemeral, the fleeting, the contingent.'  But, for him, being modern does not lie in recognizing and accepting this perpetual movement; on the contrary, it lies in adopting a certain attitude with respect to this movement; and this deliberate, difficult attitude consists in recapturing something eternal that is not beyond the present instant, nor behind it, but within it. Modernity is distinct from fashion, which does no more than call into question the course of time; modernity is the attitude that makes it possible to grasp the 'heroic' aspect of the present moment. Modernity is not a phenomenon of sensitivity to the fleeting present; it is the will to 'heroize' the present" -- Michel Foucault, "What Is Enlightenment?", 1978.

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