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may 20, 2008 (0082)

Last week, 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 much.
Any thinking that mulls life over and over has that man to thank.
This 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 relationship—hence a high-sounding, somewhat pretentious word structuralism—between nature and culture, which the "intellectually correct" establishment had so far seen as strictly 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 savages—, religion, 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.

Lévi-StraussI 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 the 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 to appear.
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 the same way as he might refer to The Revelation of Arès as mythology for 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.


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