Magic And Happiness

Magic and "happiness" - maybe we can briefly assemble references to other writings by Agamben, where this notion is addressed - am thinking of "Homo sacer" for instance, the preface, where in relation to Aristoteles Agamben speaks of the "happy day". This said, these questions are explicitly related to the state of exception, the ban structure of the law. Again, what sort of excpetion does Agamben suggests with magic and how does is it later on in this essay applied to language, the question of the name - this, still is from my point of view, a very strong connection to Timi's session, being named, demand to respond .... (What sort of preface is the paradigm of Then again, reading the chapter on "profanation {{as in idea to open it up to the common, connected to this idea that in ritual when whatever crosses the line to the sacred parts of it remain profane, and also that in return what can be profanated easilay for example by touch still takes with it a bit of the sacred. its an idea of infection maybe whereas secularisation is that as a division)", which addresses the notion of the play as a kind of mean to redeem those things that become a matter of playing from their given use - Agamben suggests thereby as if giving them back to a free and common use. So, yes, at issue in Agamben's essay is a profanatory practice, that could be applied to the matter of reading. Inasmuch this practice founds its exemplary ground the childs play, it seems to me very important to follow "Magic and Happiness", since here Agamben ascirbes to the child a certain sadness/happiness. What exactly is this sadness, this happiness alike.... in terms of reading to this essay - both to ask, what profanatory use Agamben?s text as a text suggests, and applies to its references, and to profanate Agamben?s text itself?}}

Walter Benjamin once said that a child's first experience of the world is not his realization that " hm i am still a little behind in this question, still lingering with benjamin and hope, so let me take a detour to benjamin. "adults are stronger but rather that he cannot make magic?" not only does benjamin see in them a form of unsevered connection of perception and action that he sees inr elation to the potential of revolutionary thought but it is also through children that transformation of the future can be thought. he also refers to this idea of relizing the dreams of the generation before. so i do wonder about the quote and the contextual relation of this quote."(1) The statement was made under the influence of a twenty-milligram dose of mescaline, but that does not make it any less salient. It is, in fact, quite likely that the invincible sadness that sometimes overwhelms children is born precisely from their awareness that they are incapable of magic. Whatever we can achieve through merit and effort, can-not make us truly happy. Only magic can do that. This did not escape the childlike genius of Mozart, who clearly indicated the secret solidarity between magic and happiness in a letter to joseph Bullinger: "To Live respectably and to live happily are two very different things, and the latter will not be possible for me without some kind of magic; for this, something truly super-natural would have to happen."(2)
Like creatures in fables, children know that in order to be happy it is necessary to keep the genie in the bottle at one's side, and have the donkey that craps gold coins or the hen that lays golden eggs in one's house. And no matter what the situation, but yes also you need some skills as "it is much more important to know the exact place and the right words" so its about knwokedge, but what kind of knoeledge i wonder to say than to take the trouble to reach a goal by honest means (but then again i would be interested in this notion of "it is much more important to know the exact place and the right words to say than to take the trouble to reach a goal by honest means" this idea of betrayal trick). Magic means precisely that no one can be worthy of happiness and that, as the ancients knew, any happiness commensurate with man is always hubris; it is always the result of arrogance and excess. But if someone succeeds in influencing fortune through trickery, if happiness depends not on what one is but on a magic walnut or an "Open sesame!"-then and only then can one consider oneself to be truly and blessedly happy.
This childlike wisdom, which affirms that happiness is not something that can be deserved, has always met with the objections of official morality. Take the words of Kant, the philosopher who was least capable of understanding the difference between living with dignity and living happily: "That in you which strives toward happiness is inclination, that which then limits this inclination to the condition of your first being worthy of happiness is your reason."(3) But we (or the child within us) wouldn't know what to do with a happiness of which we were worthy. What a disaster if a woman loved you because you deserved it! And how boring to receive happiness as the reward of work well done.
That the bond linking magic and happiness is not simply immoral, that it can indeed testify to a higher ethics, is shown in the ancient maxim that whoever realizes he is happy has already ceased to be so. " This means that happiness has a paradoxical relationship with its subject. Someone who is happy cannot know that he is; the subject of happiness is not a subject per se and does not obtain the form of a consciousness or of a conscience, not even a good one. " cause this subject disappeared! that is how i would read this christianity: the order to get like a to get there ?abstantion seems to me pro-active, a decision, almost an act, how does that relate unpronounced, or unwritten? ... Here magic appears as an thinking of the more prominent writings of Agamben, like Homo sacer etc, what might be a entrance to this text, could be the circumstance that Agamben calls magic an "exception (I wonder, if this text on magic as a specific kind of "exception" and in relation to the question of happiness also suggests a mode of reading (you know, the magic of reading, the happiness of reading, wich once again enters the realm of messianism, the redemption of both the text and its reader, perhaps).) (cause, if we have been talking about the figure of the ghost, briefly, in relation to Ease, we could here refer to the notion of the gift as a kind of "exception" different to the non-deserved luck/happiness)" that allows to be happy and to know, the only one that allows someone to be happy and to know that he is. Whoever enjoys something through enchantment escapes from the hubris implicit in the consciousness of happiness, since, in a certain sense, yes but this indeed connects it also with ease in a way of being in the adjacent space, when "the happiness that he knows he possesses is not his", no?. Thus when Zeus assumes the likeness of Amphitryon and unites with the beautiful Alcmene, he does not enjoy her as Zeus, nor even, despite appearances, as Amphitryon. His enjoyment lies entirely in enchantment, and only what has been obtained through the crooked paths of magic can be enjoyed consciously and purely. Only someone who is enchanted can say "I" with a smile, and the only happiness that is truly deserved is the one we could never dream of deserving.
That is the ultimate reason for the precept that there is only one way to achieve happiness on this earth: to believe in the divine and not to aspire to reach it (there is an ironic variation of this in a conversation between Franz Kafka and Gustav Janouch, when Kafka affirms that there is plenty of hope - but not for us (I also like to mark, what Tanja already mentioned yesterday, that this question of a happiness, which is only due to that we not deserve it, that is "not for us" calls up the notion of ease, therefore the taking place of each single being, Agamben's remarks on the whatever singularity.)).(4) This apparently ascetic thesis becomes intelligible only if we understand the meaning of this "not for us." It means not that happiness is reserved only for others (happiness is, precisely, for us) but that it awaits us only at the point where it was not destined for us. That is: happiness can be ours only through magic. At that point, when we have wrenched it away from fate, happiness coincides entirely with our knowing ourselves to be capable of magic, with the gesture we use to banish that childhood sadness once and for all.
If this is so, if there is no other happiness than feeling capable of magic, then Kafka's enigmatic definition of magic becomes clear. He writes that if we call but still i do not yet understand this final passage this magic of naming that starts with Kafkas notion of calling "life by its right name", it comes forth, because "that is the essence of magic, which does not create but "summons" - just to continue the unfolding of the texture - refers this essay to Agamben's commentary on Paul's Letter to the Romans, the messianic time as a kind of summaric recapitulation, and somewhere latter on to the notion of faith - pistis - as a specific performative linguistic act, belonging to the realm of gestures, thus this for most of us, I guess, still obscure expression "communicability as such" ... but again, Agamben's understanding of messianism is not clear to me, rereading Christianty, but at the same time affirming it? Sometimes, I can't tell. Anyway, profanation is another suggestion, explicitly applied in distance to secularisation...."(5) This definition agrees with the ancient tradition scrupulously followed by kabbalists and necromancers, according to which magic is essentially a science of maybe this defintion of honesty could be read in connection to the "secret name"s. Each thing, each being, has in addition to its manifest name another, hidden name to which it cannot fail to respond. To be a magus means to know and evoke these archi-names. Hence the interminable discussions of names (diabolical or angelic) through which the necromancer ensures his mastery over spiritual powers. For him, the secret name is only the seal of his power of life and death over the creature that bears it.
But according to another, more luminous tradition, the secret name is not so much the cipher of the thing's subservience to the magus's speech as, rather, the monogram that sanctions its liberation from language. The secret name was the name by which the creature was called in Eden. When it is pronounced, every manifest name - the entire Babel of names - is shattered. That is why, according to this doctrine, magic name binds the potential into a structure - and maybe even valuemagic is essentially a science of the secret name " is a call to happiness " in a way cannot aim for. T "he secret name is the gesture that restores the creature to the unexpressed. In the final instance, magic is not a knowledge of names but a gesture, a breaking free from the name." but here we have a kind of widerspruch. as on one hand it is gesture and in the next step he would refer to the secret languages that on the other hand are without potential? That is why a child is never more content than when he invents a secret language. His sadness comes less from ignorance of magic names than from his own inability to free himself from the name that has been imposed on him. No sooner does he succeed, no sooner does he invent a new name, than he holds in his hands the laissez-passer that grants him happiness. To have a name is to be guilty. And justice, like magic, is nameless. but could we maybe return or just for now here adavance to the last lines of the text, that seem quite obscure still to me "Happy, and without a name, the creature knocks at the gates of the land of the magi, who speak in gestures alone." and how in agamben it is always cutting lose language as this closing down of a meaning of a word also. why happiness is always more than doubled by its own meanings.
(1) See Walter Benjamin, "Fritz Fränkel: Protocol ol the Mescaline Experiment of May 22, 1934," On Hashish, ed. Howard Eiland (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2006), p. 87.
(2) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Joseph Bullinger, Aug. 17, 1778, The Letters of Mozart and his Familiy, ed. Emily Anderson, 2nd ed., ed. A. Hyatt King and Monica Carolan (London: Macmillan, 1966), vol. 2, p. 94.
(3) Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). pp. 269-70.
(4) Quoted in Walter Benjamin, "Franz Kafka," Selected Writings, Volume 2, 1927-1934, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith, trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 798.
(5) Franz Kafka, Diary entry for October 18, 1921, The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1910-1923, ed. Max Brod (New York: Schocken, 1948-49), p. 393.


Edit - History - Print - Recent Changes - Search
Page last modified on December 02, 2007, at 05:56 PM