/// creative texts ///
APHORISMS BY BORIS GERRETS
God of [T]Reason
A traveler came into a village and saw a group of men praying. He stopped, spellbound by the peaceful spectacle and watched the men. When they were finished praying, the eldest among the faithful advanced towards him. He greeted the traveler in the elaborate local custom and then asked him what his religion was. When the elder noticed that the traveler hesitated to answer, he added that in his country it was illegal, punishable by death, not to believe. After all, their God was the God of Love and who could possibly be opposed to Love? The traveler, whose time of reflection was up, looked in the old man's eyes and asked him the following: 'Here's a man who does not lie, he does not steal, he treats his fellow man with respect and does not beat his children nor his animals in anger, but he does not believe there is a God. And here is a man of faith, who preaches the word of God, but in secret he fantasizes about his neighbour's young daughter, he beats his wife and children in anger and occasionally he lies to make the power of his God even more glorious. Which man, I ask you, would your God love more?' The elder, whose gaze had not flinched until then, turned his head and looked at the other villagers, quietly gathering around him. Then, after a moment of silence, he said: 'It is the second man he loves'. The traveler was puzzled and asked: Why would God prefer a sinner or a man of integrity? The elder man locked his eyes on the traveler and said: 'If God would love the first man, there would be no more reason to believe and His Kingdom would crumble'. The elder made a gesture to his fellow men on which they led the traveller away, to be hung in the village square.
GOD BLESS ISLAM!
Hand painted Inscription on the front side of a Poda-poda (minibus) Freetown, Sierra Leone
The following texts were first published in Mindfields, an exhibition catalogue for a solo exhibition in Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, Finland curated by Guy Brett in 2002
Where I used to live the housemaids only had one day off during the week. It was too short a break to return to their villages.. Instead the day - it was always a Sunday - would be spent with their boyfriend, who at that time they would rather call their fiancé, because these things were not taken lightly then. He would come in the morning on his 50cc and wait downstairs. The doorman would not let him in, not even through the service entrance, so he would wait at the back of the building, sitting astride his bike. The top two buttons of his broadly striped shirt would be open and he would sport black sunglasses whose frame form a straight line on the top, rather like the glasses Ray Charles used to wear. This gave our young man a fierce appearance, although he probably had a modest character and courtious behaviour. She would wear a tightly-knotted scarf, trousers and red lips. It was a thrill to hold him tight around the waist and smell his skin. They would head off into the countryside. They and ten-, no, one hundredthousend other identical couples, in a cloud of blue smoke and yellow dust and the deafening sound of one hundredthousand 2-stroke motors swarming through the streets towards the edge of town and beyond.
could it be true
Could it be true that most peoples' minds are determined by only a few early impressions ? Let us say: Goethe by the smell of freshly baked bread on a winter morning, Churchill by the image of his father naked, Mondriaan by the shiny blackness of polished shoes in church, James Brown by shining them on the steps of a radiostation, Wittgenstein by unfolding a starched napkin, Pollock by the sound of gunshots, Robert Musil by a flash of sunlight on the window of a passing tramway, Jim Morisson by a lifeless butterfly on his window pane...
journey to africa
On a journey to Africa I developed an inexplicable fascination for the portable glass vitrines which are used by the street-vendors to exhibit their merchandise: beignets, watches, sweets, medicines, gold jewelry, etc. The wooden frames of these show-cases bore the marks of a turbulent life, full of scratches, carvings and bleached by the sunlight. The most astonishing was the sight of a man who, returning home at night, carried such a case on his head with a burning petroleum lamp inside. Slow-paced and an with an appropriate uprightness, he embodied the image of human dignity.
act of walking
Let us say that the act of walking can be seen as the expression of an anthropomorphic clock. But unlike the mechanical clock its time is relative, individualised and it contains a highly disruptive non-linear element. For although imperceptible under normal conditions, during a fraction of a second every step has the undeniable characteristics of falling. I consider these foundering moments as time-gaps that reveal a kind of cosmic dimension in the way that they place humans on a par with all other falling objects in space.I have calculated that these moments strung together mean that I must have spent more than 64 days in the falling mode during my lifetime. Now the question is: How many more things have I done, that I don’t know about because they happened so fast that they could not be recorded?
men of books
There is something very mysterious about the gesture of opening a book. It seems to instantly create silence - a condensed silence in the shape of an eliptical space around the book and its’ reader. I know people who can’t read and yet they keep opening books and look at the pages only because of this silence. Strangely enough, it protects them. Other people feel treatened by the power of this silence and they must then burn the book. This is especially cruel because of all manmade objects the book is certainly the most human. It mirrors the natural symmetry of his body. That’s why in some places books that are beyond repair are not destroyed but buried.
The monk L’iu-Han of the order of Tei’Tsuei was asked compile a list, naming and numbering everything in the universe. During 5 years of meditation he finally decided that number one should be the blade of grass. He then proceeded patiently, his mind zooming in and out of the world greatest and smallest things. After a lifetime of naming and counting he finally arrived at number 54 357 835 791 653. That was the drop of dew. He couldn’t think of any more things. Initially he was pleased with the circularity that his list seemed to suggest. But then his agony began. Could he have overlooked something? He withdrew within himself and spend years pondering, And as he went over his list again and again it became increasingly convinced that most things were actually an aspect of another thing. So he began downsizing his list. Wind and air was grouped into one, so was movement and speed. In the end he was left with only two things: the world and the mind that could conceive of the world. Now the question was how to order these two. Was the mind an aspect of the world or the world an aspect of the mind?
cheerfulness of the theoretician
The cheerfulness of the theoretician has its origin in his firm belief that the world is shaped according to models that have a direct correspondence with the categories that shape his thought. Therefore he must have looked at himself with a certain irony, thinking that man is a universe in miniature form. It took mankind some time to understand that the brain was the actual organ of thought. But once that was established man was able to argue that at least the theoretical universe had a measurable size.
Among the more despotic models of the transmission of consciousness, pornography is the most subversive and infectious. It creates an immediate and irrevocable link between the eye and the rest of the body. The body reacts, before it can think. The perception stimulus bypasses the initial stage of interpretation and the mind can only play a defensive role: the only alternative to surrendering to the effect of pornography is to screen off your eyes or your TV. Still, as with a computer virus, the damage is already done on the first exposure. Like other totalitarian mindfields pornography is a self-affirmative closed-cirquit system with its’ own codes and language that operates on a very basic level, in this case the level of the corporeal. One might say that pornography is body-fundamentalism. Following this argument one might also say that religious fundametalism is pornography of the mind, and fascism pornography of the social.
the young Rembrandt
The young Rembrandt was not painting his face, he painted the mirror.
The face of the young sailor seen through the port-hole,as the narrow strip of water between the dock and the ship becomes the ocean.
The face of the young girl, as the port-hole through which her lover is looking becomes one dot among countless others on the white flank of the ship.The silence after the ship has disappeared over the horizon.
The emptiness of the spot where the girl had been standing.
someone thought he had
Someone is believed to have discovered a method according to which he, whenever his life confronted him with various possibillities of action, would be able to choose without failure the one that would prove to be the right one, without having to resort to a lengthy process of carefully considering the pros and cons beforehand - which by the very nature of this kind of pondering would have resulted in the unsatisfactory impression that one's life is merely a string of dubious compromises instead of a genuine expression of a cosmic flow.
The basis of his method consisted in what seemed a simple fact, namely that among a set of given possibilities, A, B or C etc., only one of these would propose the correct line of action to take, thereby automatically eliminating all other possibilities. However, after close scrutiny, our man, who had lost his entire fortune through gambling, noticed that once the decision for, say, A was made, B or C etc., by the shift of meaning in favour of A, were now liberated from the burden of their previous importance and began therefore floating in the foreground of the mind like - how shall I put it - sabotaging obstacles in the wheels of determination. Nevertheless he found a way to mould this dilemma into a mathematical form by attributing relative degrees of certainty to each quantity present within the set of possibilities and placing these in a hierarchical order according to their decreasing value. This amounted to a formula in which the effect of the exponentially increasing uncertainty was, by the same token, offset by a reversely proportional growth in certainty as any action however irrevocable would, while it travelled down the line of generations of decision making, become increasingly interchangeable and therefore exercise a diminishing influence on the outcome of the whole. So much so that, if projected into a mathematical future, the entire gamut of possible actions would eventually cancel each other out. Our man, whose invention in retrospect merely amounted to a dialectical play with the idea of subjectivity and objectivity, was ready to toss his only remaining coin in a bet in favour of a radical interpretation of the Newtonian view of a mechanical, reversible universe. He claimed that if he jumped, he would not fall into the depths, but the deep would, as it were, rise up towards him, a phenomenon that at a first glance seemed less dramatic but all the more miraculous to the general perception. It would be quite unfair to prematurely declare him a fool, for I have so far not yet found anyone who was able to prove him wrong.
search an entire dictionary
Search an entire dictionary in order to find a word you forgot.