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- Until 19.03.22

© Raphael Massart

Fatigue and Magic

Romain Noël

Lately, I see things that give me the shivers. They are things about me, but ultimately also things about the world and things about you, about us: things that are common and perhaps about to become even more so. I don’t know what came over me that day, but I went out and when the door closed behind me without a sound, because I didn’t want to wake anyone up, I knew I would never come back. At least that’s what I thought.

I know that some of you are angry at me for slipping away all of a sudden without saying anything and then coming back years later with a blistered tongue and a monstrous look. I wish I could have done otherwise but it was the only way, and I know you understand. Everyone knows that I would have died if I had stayed. That I was being hunted. And everyone knows by whom. But I came back because I finally realized I had to talk about this: about the fatigue and the pain and the ghost ships that split the nights, and all the creatures that came up to the surface to warm up to their moonlight. And of course all of this was connected to what was then circulating, clandestinely, under the name of prophecy.

I think it started because of fatigue. Or thanks to fatigue. Fatigue as a suffering that allows all sufferings to come. Maybe this is where the fault lies, maybe the system has not foreseen everything, maybe something will finally explode. The fatigue increases and makes the bed of a river that nothing can stop; which is the river of the suffering. Kafka predicted it in other words, and it is not for nothing that he wrote this book whose title I have forgotten, where a human changes into an insect or a dog, maybe into a monster, I don’t know.

What power doesn’t understand is the link between suffering and mediumnity. Power does not understand, cannot understand that those who are tired suffer more and those who suffer more end up living in total intimacy with ghosts, even if no one gives them the same names and embraces them in the same way. And so it started like that, because I was tired, suffering, and more and more, especially in the evening, I named ghosts that I embraced afterwards, and that in return – and this is perhaps the most important thing – fuelled in me the dark fire that animates my life today. But you know what I mean. The general strike is a form of pirate faith. Those who fall asleep like this never stop sharpening their weapons. If we practice every day then our fatigue will eventually show its fangs – and we will destroy what needs to be destroyed.

My room is located on the twenty-second floor of a gleaming tower. From my only tiny window I can see the horizon glowing red and I can see in it the same promise of total destruction and uncontrolled pleasure every time. When the wind blows hard the steel of my building starts to crunch and sometimes I feel like I understand its language even if I won’t dare to translate it here. I’m not one to betray the secrets of others. It is said that the prophecy was written by ghosts, flies, or ants. Another hypothesis states that it was written by a conspiracy of obsolete objects. No one agrees on the details, but everyone agrees that it is of minority origin. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I take notes with a tiny pencil on a tiny notebook. Sometimes the notes in question are one word, but they are books to me and we write them together.

Soon the suffering will be so great that the revolution will take place, but no one will realize it. We will wake up one morning like after the worst nightmare, and the face of the world will have changed. It will not be the good that triumphs over the evil. It will only be the tired people who will enjoy the deepest rest while power will repeat, as if to protect itself, the word apocalypse. But the authorities have not understood that no one believes in this idea of apocalypse anymore, that everyone knows that the worst has already happened centuries ago and that it has lasted too long. Only the powers are afraid of the apocalypse, because they know that behind the veil, behind the back of the catastrophe, there is the imperfect landscape of circulatory emotion and holed pleasure. I have a great affection for things with holes in them; only the world with holes in it is a breathable world.

When I first heard about the prophecy, I must admit that I didn’t believe it. We were coming out of decades of repression and no one could believe in anything anymore. It was necessary for it to come back into my life in another way for me to finally understand it, and to believe in it. It was in the street, one winter evening. A red-eyed creature came out of nowhere, and its fiery tongue infected mine. Since then I pay attention to everything around me. And this attention regime is both paranoid and loving. My heart heats up every time I catch a glimpse of the other world in the most infamous things. Last time I saw the word revolution appear in a puddle. I still get scared sometimes but it’s not the same. I am no longer at the bottom of the hole. Or maybe I’m still in it, but I feel good that way. My heart warms every time I realize that I’m believing the stories I tell for myself. I cut out pictures from magazines. I collect signs, I dismantle old machines, and I call it fixing the world.

All extraordinary phenomena can be explained rationally, of course, but they do exist. It is a matter of understanding certain symptoms as signs and certain signs as traces of magic, to finally settle down where facts shine as fictions, and fictions as facts, since it is all one, and it is only a matter of choosing the life we dream of. Faith has nothing to do with God, as The Oracle in The Matrix reminds us; it is only the sound that the world makes when it works: love in form. If we are tired, it is because the world is having trouble functioning. At the heart of our immense tiredness is a key to another land. I’m not sure I have this key, but more and more, collapsed on my bed surrounded by ghosts, I find myself feeling it in my pocket.

We trusted each other and everything started to grow. The things that were liquidated became precious. The tired people never stop working, but they work, so to speak, behind the back of the established world. Personally I like it when things happen behind the backs of other things. When it happens behind the back and when the upside down bodies invent the next worlds by moaning.

At one point in the prophecy, it is said that imagined things are not lost, that the smallest forms are not for nothing, that everything is recorded somewhere, and that the different versions of the world continuously draw on these recordings to continue their course. On the quantum level, our imaginative commitments make us the scriptwriters of reality, even if the actualization of our fictions is likely to take place at a thousand light years from our existence. But this distance itself does not matter, since what happens somewhere is perceptible everywhere, and we can thus find in a distant past the actualization of one of our future desires. The prophecy also says that all this is based on a form of availability, and that this availability strongly resembles, from an emotional point of view, what we call “love”. Love – taken not as a pact between two people but as an anarchic technology – is thus the key to time travel – which itself is the key to happiness, which is nothing other than the triumph of the imagination.

All this is a bit heavy, but aren’t all prophecies heavy in their own way? Personally, this heaviness no longer frightens me – on the contrary, by attaching me to the earth, it helps me to remember that I am a body, that you are a body and that we are worlds in the making.



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