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Maurice Vlaminck

June 15, 2011

Maurice Vlaminck from Disobey (1936)

If a new war breaks out, can we still talk without laughing—or crying—about the benefits of education, progress and civilization?

The stagnation in which all the branches of human activity are drowning is not a crisis: it is an outcome, a result.

Progress is senility and death disguised as the future.

The War of 1914 was a cubist war, but the one coming will be surrealist.

To die poisoned by mushrooms or to die on the field of battle? In both cases you reveal your ignorance.

What is dangerous is that man has managed to fly at over 300 miles an hour, but his coefficient of stupidity, selfishness and cruelty stays the same as when he only used his feet to visit his neighbor.

For an individual, the only way to escape from a hopeless situation is suicide. For a nation it is war.

Oh, thanks to engineers and technicians, the world today is swimming in happiness and bliss.

If there’s any overabundance today, it’s not of food, but of assholes.
Incidentally, there’s an overabundance of manufactured objects, cars, bicycles, typewriters, toilet bowls, pots and pans, radios, phonographs, hardware, flashy chrome gadgets, which, after submitting to the laws of escalated production, found no more markets or buyers.
Unsatisfied with not knowing what to do with all these useless items that clutter up modern life, not knowing on whom to foist them, they have decided to increase the salaries of those who make them so that they will continue to make them. Instead of cutting back on production, they stupidly scream and yell about under-consumption!

Disobey progress and civilization. Disobey the trends, snobbism and fickle, contradictory, irrational theories. Disobey the machine! Disobey stupidity! Back off the road that the crowd, the mob is taking. Flee the false, modern mysticism.
Go it alone, all alone. Count on no one and obey only your instincts, the sure laws of nature. Maybe you’ll have a brush with the abyss, but, all things considered, it is no more of a risk than the nice young man buried on the battlefield or elsewhere.
Whether it be in the service of Attila, Charlemagne, Robespierre, Napoleon, Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, etc… The masses vanish, disappear, anonymous in death.
Only the names of few, hands stained in blood, are graven in stone for eternity.
They print them in books for little children.


Maurice Vlaminck

June 11, 2011

Maurice Vlaminck from Disobey (1936)

Comfortable houses. Escalators. Water, gas, electricity on every floor. Sewers. Subways. Cars. There’s nothing more to do. Everything works by itself. Even thinking! We have the radio and the newspaper: they keep us from thinking and know ahead of time what we have to say. We have our opinions prefabricated, fit to size, like fabric sold by the yard.
We are fed before we have eaten. We arrive without walking. We have love without the pain or pleasure of loving.
We don’t have to pay to laugh. We don’t even know how to cry anymore.
And despite this mechanical, electric life, we are scared to die and talk about happiness.

Why talk about hygiene, about living longer, when modern warfare, instead of the old choleras and plagues, makes millions of us disappear?

What is more boring and sadder to see than a breeding ground where all the trees are of the same species, lined up in parallel rows? But what beauty, what grandeur does a forest emanate! The implacable injustice that comes out of it represents a sovereign truth.

The League of Nations. The Conference on Disarmament: a team of engineers and technicians who imagine that by bolting a cover on this huge cauldron we call the World, it won’t blow up, even if they leave it burning in the inferno of factories.

A European war would certainly spell the end of western civilization. A war is not desirable, of course! But the end of this mechanized civilization with all the degradation it carries, wouldn’t it be a benefit for Man?

In times of slavery, the captives aspired to be free. In 1936, age of progress and science, all that men hope for is the right to be shut up for 40 hours a week to work like an idiot!

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