Out of the sacrifice of one’s own desires

Museum of Modern Art (Under So Many Civilized Noses) ©MAIERMOUL
Museum of Modern Art (Under So Many Civilized Noses) ©MAIERMOUL

And this is Novalis: “One submits to true translation out of a kind of poetic morality, out of the sacrifice of one’s own desires.”

The same applies to the soft-core political activity of demonstration and the hard-core work of non-violent activism, and also the writing of articles and poems exposing what’s going on under so many civilized noses, whether it’s overtly political or not.

It’s all translation — of moral, linguistic, and psychic material — and Freud’s observation about the agon of treatment applies: what sort of “displeasure” (discomfort) is one willing to undergo in the “labor of translation” that brings these materials to the surface of one’s work — the work of analysis, or poesis?

– Peter Cole, from his notebook on The Invention of Influence