Tradition/ Innovation Concerning the Young Writers

There are three forces in all things: a power which creates, a power which preserves and another one which destroys. The first force is that which determines and delimits, the second one deepens, shades and deepens – traditionalizing – and the third force, in the enthusiasm of the destruction can generate the sense, the direction of the creation. I think that the first and the second force are the same in their essence and preoccupation, only that this unique force with two faces manifests itself in a different way in the subject it is applied to.
Neither of these potentials is an evil – because here “evil” means only what isn’t suited for something, and the ‘good’ means what is suited for something.
In the same whay the road of tradition is suited for some of theme and for the others, the way of inovation is suited for. Only that according to the above theory, a thing becomes a sine qua non condition for the authenticity of the first variant or the patention of the second: the conservative power (force).
So, this intermediary territory generates the fertility of the tradition and the classicizing of the innovation. All these three, I think (and I even hope) represent the secret the man prolongs, in time, the power of his deeds.
The tradition without other two forces can represent a kind of perpetual requiem in which those who celebrate it are in fact the real dead, for these the real coffin in their own perambulator.
To preserve, for the sake of tradition, means in fact not to have what to preserve without the perspective of innovation – that is not to have for what (for whom) to preserve. We discuse this point no longer, owing to ist evidence.
I shall insist more upon innovation – because it is as much fascinating as deceptive. It is deceptive when it makes us understand that it has anything to do neither with tradition nor with the force of preservation.
So, what we consider sometimes to be inovation, is nothing else but common perversity – the situation in which “the subject” feels pleasure in performing some acts only because they are prohibited; this mirage of “interdiction” belongs certainly to the innocence, to the childhood of the intellectual and to ignorance. Only the capricious and badly grown-up children are those who always do what their parents say they are not allowed to do – and surely they shortly become unbearable persons or even a reason of horror for the adults.
This “innovation” who is nothing more than an exhibitionist or an “enfant gate” is the most predisposed to the radical measures – and this is also due to ignorance because being naturally empty, having nothing assimilated, accumulated in his personality it is easy for him to support the aggressive, destructive actions. But here there are two reasons (I am sure there are more) for which one must not always destroy in the sphere of culture:1. You use up your own energy in your attempt to climb the bulldozer very early in the morning, to hit whole-heartedly the thick wall of bricks etc. This energy is lost in this way, and you, instead of using it to build a thing which can eclipse the other one and to contest it destroying it with refinement even ridiculing it and so demonstrating its caducity, after having destroyed a construction which would have anyway crumbled itself, you rediscover yourself exhausted and decrepit near a heap of bricks. So, this situaton proves you that you were the vanquished person and the reason is a simple one: your own ignorance (why do I avoid using the word “foolishness”?).2. You must not destroy because there is place enough under the sky, there is space enough on this realm: with a little goodwill you will find in abundance a “pretty” place on the right or on the left, up or down. If you block yourself, clinically, only on a certain domain, it means that you don’t have either enough imagination or – more seriously – you don’t have vocation.I don’t want to put an end to this thought leaving the impression of not needing ourselves our “destroyers”. More: the resetting back of the values (which is a little something else) is a necessary condition of very solid culture. But I want to make myself well understood that this is another job, maybe a very useful one, but which has nothing in common with those who are building. These must refind themeselves fresh for their effort. As you can see, I am in this case, the adept of the division of labour.
Another degradated aspect of the innovator is the “original”. Ever since I have learned that the originality can be very easily made up, this seems to me not only a frivolous thing and almost at everybody’s hand but vulgar enough too. In these plains a great stress is laid on originality – which I think is the sign of the thickness of a preocupation and not for few times it gives the measure of lability of the respective actions. A real culture does not represent a great number of original individuals (originality is, in fact, for many times, apparently and sometimes is a proof of lack of education) but it means institutions, schools, trends of though. I prefer a Mercedes or even a tank to a car with an aerodynamic and original coachwork but with an engine of a poor performance.
The choice of a school is a delicate problem. I have already said this but considering it to be important, repeating it, seems to me not to be grave: you must guard against two types of schools: on one side against those schools which are made exclusively for the polishing of the master, the pupils remaining at one time at a definitely inferior condition of this (that oh epigones) and on the other side you must guard against schools that suggest the following story: The Disciple comes to the Master and tells him: Master, you are perfect! Today, uttering your name, I have succeeded in going on water. The Master kept silent. The second day he also tried to go on waters uttering his name. And he drowned himself. In this situation it is possible for the story to be either invented by an unfulfilled and envious disciple or to have to deal with a master being disguised himself as a disciple, or simply with a false master – as we meet every where as a matter of a fact.
I’m not the disciple of the idea according to which “nothing is new under the sun”, but of that coming from the far away and old Orient, from there the sun rises which says that literature and war have a common Zeus; only that I am very attentive that the war, as well as the literature shouldn’t be tricked.P.S. In this postscript I want to bring forward for discussion, the feeling of the destiny: “The feeling of the destiny, that feeling which has a kind of supremacy on the individual ethnic or superethnic soul.”

Published 25 May 1999
Original in Romanian

Contributed by euphorion © Iustin Pantza

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