in my doctor's waiting room, I was leafing through a magazine. Who
might expect a undistinguished periodical, even one soiled and
dog-eared as an old book, to mention philosopher ethnologist Claude
Lévi-Strauss? Even then it didn't do so without printing nonsense. It
read, "In May, 2008, Lévi-Strauss will be the first writer alive
published by La Pléiade"? I groused inwardly, "Untrue! Those newsmen
always talk rubbish. La Pléiade published Julien Gracq years before he
died. My children presented me with that edition then..." but my
thought soared soon. I looked up at the ceiling. It's incredible how
many memories you recover from a ceiling! My old impressions of
"Tristes Tropiques" ("Dismal Tropics"), a book I had devoured around
1958 at Lyon, rushed up toward me along the plaster moldings.
That hard mecreant of Lévi-Strauss—I also was a
mecreant until I
was some years over thirty—has thought much and made us think
Any thinking that mulls life over and over has that man to thank.
is why my thinking, untalented, which after all the Father has used to
express himself, has all of the great thinkers to thank, Lévi-Strauss
among others. He has urged my generation to realize the structural
high-sounding, somewhat pretentious word structuralism—between
nature and culture, which the
"intellectually correct" establishment had so far seen as
irrelevant to each other.
Would Lévi-Strauss be surprised or even annoyed at seeing us Arès
Pilgrims use his
findings to bear out our return from culture to nature, between which
he has shown the enduringly active mesh and gears? I don't know, but,
whether he likes it or not, that extreme non-believer provides us
extreme believers with a convincing argument against our
detractors. Because we have taken up or revived natural spiritual life,
because we are the new savages in the noblest sense of the word—God's
which is entirely cultural, sees our natural faith as a great danger
and along with three hundred loudmouths, the other
cultural old voices
(Rev of Arès xLv/2), it is forever running us
down, but, yes indeed, Lévi-Strauss has given us the major
argument to reassure reason.
feel gratified by two sides of Lévi-Strauss.
His negative side. Lévi-Strauss belongs among those who provide me with
the reverse of a necessary contrast, the obverse of which is The
Revelation of Arès.
Lévi-Strauss's complete atheism is one of the shades that I need to see
Light better. A thinking, a pondering, whatever, is a debate and I have
learnt that opponents, particularly those who are good and intelligent
men like Lévi-Strauss, help think as much as proponents do. To
me, entrusted with a world prophetical mission by Jesus, the Creator
and a few angels, whom I have encountered just as Lévi-Strauss has
encountered the Natives of Mato Grosso and the Amazon River Basin, that
is, without having asked for it ever...To me, a scribbler and
philosophaster, one who writes only because the Father asked him to (Rev
of Arès 33/10), to me a talentuous Levi-Strauss, atheistic
and even more than atheistic, says Lévinas, utterly indifferent to the
notion of God, provides me with the night necessary for
the Dawn and the Day
Another negative side of Lévi-Strauss's: He has referred to the
existentialism of Sartre, also an atheist, but a thinker far more alive
to man's complexity, as "metaphysics for salesgirls," in much
way as he might refer to The Revelation of Arès
suckers. Some sort of non-existentialism or even non-humanism with
Lévi-Strauss—which is no non-humanity—, for much in Derrida's
deconstructive way he has deconstructed ethical...and spiritual
beliefs, a lot of man's inner realities, on which my hope is based,
reinforces the contrast that I need to explain to the world what I
believe in and why I believe in it.
Levis-Strauss's positive side is related to the one already mentioned.
He has dug out a cardinal truth: Primitive or wild thought—which also
is the title of a book by him, "Savage Mind" —
is by no means a feeble or babyish form of reason. In so-called
primitive societies thinking and all of intellectual operations are not
different from ours, so long as our thinking is really bright. Thank
you, Claude Lévi-Strauss, for demonstrating that the Arès Pilgrims'
faith, a faith devoid of theology or intellectualism is just as good as
the convictions of well-cultivated religion or rationalism.
Pages and pages would be necessary only to summarize the
significance of Lévi-Strauss's work. Notably he has been a strong
critic of a technical society as intent on destroying earth as unable
to generate virtue. But sadly this is just a blog, the style of which
is brevity. Only, before closing this entry, I beat my breast because I
thought ill of a magazine that, as it is a vulgar periodical, has
wrongly said that Lévi-Strauss would be the first writer alive
published by La Pléiade. A short while ago I opened the less vulgar of
all books, the Webster's New World Encyclopedia (ed.1992), and read
this: "Levi-Strauss, Claude, 1908-1990..." Now, Lévi-Strauss, far from
being dead in 1990 will be 100 years old in November, 2008. We wish him
a still long life! What we find in the most serious books —just
imagine, an encyclopedia!—may always be questioned.