by Antonin Artaud (radio play)
|kré||Everything must||puk te|
|pek||be arranged||li le|
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I learned yesterday
(I must be behind the times, or perhaps it's only a false rumor,
one of those pieces of spiteful gossip that are circulated between
sink and latrine at the hour when meals that have been ingurgitated
one more time are thrown in the slop buckets),
I learned yesterday
one of the most sensational of those official practices of American
which no doubt account for the fact that this country believes itself
to be in the vanguard of progress,
It seems that, among the examinations or tests required of a child
entering public school for the first time, there is the so-called
seminal fluid or sperm test,
which consists of asking this newly entering child for a small
amount of his sperm so it can be placed in a jar
and kept ready for any attempts at artificial insemination that
might later take place.
For Americans are finding more and more that they lack muscle
that is, not workers
and they want at all costs and by every possible means to make
and manufacture soldiers
with a view to all the planetary wars which might later take place,
and which would be intended to demonstrate by the overwhelming
virtues of force
the superiority of American products,
and the fruits of American sweat in all fields of activity and of the
superiority of the possible dynamism of force.
Because one must produce,
one must by all possible means of activity replace nature
wherever it can be replaced,
one must find a major field of action for human inertia,
the worker must have something to keep him busy,
new fields of activity must be created,
in which we shall see at last the reign of all the fake manufactured
of all the vile synthetic substitutes
in which beatiful real nature has no part,
and must give way finally and shamefully before all the victorious
in which the sperm of all artificial insemination factories
will make a miracle
in order to produce armies and battleships.
No more fruit, no more trees, no more vegetables, no more plants
pharmaceutical or otherwise and consequently no more food,
but synthetic products to satiety,
amid the fumes,
amid the special humors of the atmosphere, on the particular axes
of atmospheres wrenched violently and synthetically from the
resistances of a nature which has known nothing of war except
And war is wonderful, isn't it?
For it's war, isn't it, that the Americans have been preparing for
and are preparing for this way step by step.
In order to defend this senseless manufacture from all competition
that could not fail to arise on all sides,
one must have soldiers, armies, airplanes, battleships,
hence this sperm
which it seems the governments of America have had the effrontery
to think of.
For we have more than one enemy
lying in wait for us, my son,
we, the born capitalists,
and among these enemies
which also doesn't lack armed men.
All this is very well,
but I didn't know the Americans were such a warlike people.
In order to fight one must get shot at
and although I have seen many Americans at war
they always had huge armies of tanks, airplanes, battleships
that served as their shield.
I have seen machines fighting a lot
but only infinitely far
them have I seen the men who directed them.
Rather than people who feed their horses, cattle, and mules the
last tons of real morphine they have left and replace it with
substitutes made of smoke,
I prefer the people who eat off the bare earth the delirium from
which they were born
I mean the Tarahumara
eating Peyote off the ground
while they are born,
and who kill the sun to establish the kingdom of black night,
and who smash the cross so that the spaces of spaces can never
again meet and cross.
And so you are going to hear the dance of TUTUGURI.
The Rite of the Black SunAnd below, as if at the foot of the bitter slope,
cruelly despairing at the heart,
gapes the circle of the six crosses,
as if embedded in the mother earth,
wrenched from the foul embrace of the mother
The earth of black coal
is the only damp place
in this cleft rock.
The Rite is that the new sun passes through seven points before
blazing on the orifice of the earth.
And there are six men,
one for each sun,
and a seventh man
who is the sun
in the raw
dressed in black and in red flesh.
But, this seventh man
is a horse,
a horse with a man leading him.
But it is the horse
who is the sun
and not the man.
At the anguish of a drum and a long trumpet,
the six men
who were lying down,
rolling level with the ground,
leap up one by one like sunflowers,
not like suns
but turning earths,
and each leap
corresponds to the increasingly somber
gong of the drum
until suddenly he comes galloping, at vertiginous speed,
the last sun,
the first man,
the black horse with a
and the horse of bleeding meat rears
and prances without a stop
on the crest of his rock
until the six men
the six crosses.
Now, the essence of the Rite is precisely
THE ABOLITION OF THE CROSS.When they have stopped turning
the crosses of earth
and the naked man
on the horse
an enormous horseshoe
which he has dipped in a gash of his blood.
The Pursuit of FecalityThere where it smells of shit
it smells of being.
Man could just as well not have shat,
not have opened the anal pouch,
but he chose to shit
as he would have chosen to live
instead of consenting to live dead.
Because in order not to make caca,
he would have had to consent
not to be,
but he could not make up his mind to lose
that is, to die alive.
There is in being
something particularly tempting for man
and this something is none other than
To exist one need only let oneself be,
but to live,
one must be someone,
to be someone,
one must have a BONE,
not be afraid to show the bone,
and to lose the meat in the process.
Man has always preferred meat
to the earth of bones.
Because there was only earth and wood of bone,
and he had to earn his meat,
there was only iron and fire
and no shit,
and man was afraid of losing shit
or rather he desired shit
and, for this, sacrificed blood.
In order to have shit,
that is, meat,
where there was only blood
and a junkyard of bones
and where there was no being to win
but where there was only life to lose.
o reche modo
do padera coco
Then the animals ate him.
It was not a rape,
he lent himself to the obscene meal.
He relished it,
he learned himself
to act like an animal
and to eat rat
And where does this foul debasement come from?
The fact that the world is not yet formed,
or that man has only a small idea of the world
and wants to hold on to it forever?
This comes from the fact that man,
one fine day,
the idea of the world.
Two paths were open to him:
that of the infinite without,
that of the infinitesimal within.
And he chose the infinitesimal within.
Where one need only squeeze
or the glans.
And god, god himself squeezed the movement.
Is God a being?
If he is one, he is shit.
If he is not one
he does not exist.
But he does not exist,
except as the void that approaches with all its forms
whose most perfect image
is the advance of an incalculable group of crab lice.
"You are mad Mr. Artaud, what about the mass?"
I deny baptism and the mass.
There is no human act,
on the internal erotic level,
more pernicious than the descent
of the so-called jesus-christ
onto the altars.
No one will believe me
and I can see the public shrugging its shoulders
but the so-called christ is none other than he
who in the presence of the crab louse god
consented to live without a body,
while an army of men
descended from a cross,
to which god thought he had long since nailed them,
and, armed with steel,
with fire, and with bones,
advances, reviling the Invisible
to have done with GOD'S JUDGMENT.
The Question Arises ...What makes it serious
is that we know
that after the order
of this world
there is another.
What is it like?
We do not know.
The number and order of possible suppositions in
And what is infinity?
That is precisely what we do not know!
It is a word
that we use
of our consciousness
tireless and beyond measure.
And precisely what is consciousness?
That is precisely what we do not know.
It is nothingness.
that we use
when we do not know something
from what side
we do not know it
from the side of consciousness,
but there are a hundred thousand other sides.
It seems that consciousness
in us is
to sexual desire
and to hunger;
but it could
just as well
not be linked
one can say,
there are those who say
is an appetite,
the appetite for living;
alongside the appetite for living,
it is the appetite for food
that comes immediately to mind;
as if there were not people who eat
without any sort of appetite;
and who are hungry.
For this too
to be hungry
the space of possibility
was given to me one day
like a loud fart
that I will make;
but neither of space,
did I know precisely what it was,
and I did not feel the need to think about it,
they were words
invented to define things
or did not exist
in the face of
the pressing urgency
of a need:
the need to abolish the idea,
the idea and its myth,
and to enthrone in its place
the thundering manifestation
of this explosive necessity:
to dilate the body of my internal night,
the internal nothingness
of my self
which is night,
but which is explosive affirmation
that there is
to make room for:
must it be reduced to this stinking gas,
To say that I have a body
because I have a stinking gas
I do not know
I do know that
but there is a thing
which is something,
only one thing
which is something,
and which I feel
because it wants
TO GET OUT:
of my bodily
however hard people press me with questions
and however vigorously I deny all questions,
there is a point
at which I find myself compelled
to say no,
and this point
comes when they press me,
when they pressure me
and when they handle me
until the exit
of my nourishment
and its milk,
and what remains?
That I am suffocated;
and I do not know if it is an action
but in pressing me with questions this way
until the absence
of the question
they pressed me
until the idea of body
and the idea of being a body
and it was then that I felt the obscene
and that I farted
and from excess
and from revolt
at my suffocation.
Because they were pressing me
to my body
and to the very body
and it was then
that I exploded everything
because my body
can never be touched.
- And what was the purpose of this broadcast, Mr. Artaud?
- Primarily to denounce certain social obscenities officially sanctioned and acknowledged:
- this emission of infantile sperm donated by children for the artificial insemination of fetuses yet to be born and which will be born in a century or more.
- To denounce, in this same American people who occupy the whole surface of the former Indian continent, a rebirth of that warlike imperialism of early America that caused the pre-Columbian Indian tribes to be degraded by the aforesaid people.
- - You are saying some very bizarre things, Mr. Artaud.
- - Yes, I am saying something bizarre, that contrary to everything we have been led to believe, the pre-Columbian Indians were a strangely civilized people and that in fact they knew a form of civilization based exclusively on the principle of cruelty.
- - And do you know precisely what is meant by cruelty?
- - Offhand, no, I don't.
- - Cruelty means eradicating by means of blood and until blood flows, god, the bestial accident of unconscious human animality, wherever one can find it.
- - Man, when he is not restrained, is an erotic animal,
he has in him an inspired shudder,
a kind of pulsation
that produces animals without number which are the form that the ancient tribes of the earth universally attributed to god.
This created what is called a spirit.
Well, this spirit originating with the American Indians is reappearing all over the world today under scientific poses which merely accentuate its morbid infectuous power, the marked condition of vice, but a vice that pullulates with diseases,
because, laugh if you like,
what has been called microbes
- is god,
They make them with the microbes of god.
- You are raving, Mr. Artaud.
You are mad.
- I am not raving.
I am not mad.
I tell you that they have reinvented microbes in order to impose a new idea of god.
They have found a new way to bring out god and to capture him in his microbic noxiousness.
This is to nail him though the heart,
in the place where men love him best,
under the guise of unhealthy sexuality,
in that sinister appearance of morbid cruelty that he adopts
whenever he is pleased to tetanize and madden humanity as he
is doing now.
He utilizes the spirit of purity and of a consciousness that has
remained candid like mine to asphyxiate it with all the false
appearances that he spreads universally through space and this
is why Artaud le Mômo can be taken for a person suffering
- What do you mean, Mr. Artaud?
- I mean that I have found the way to put an end to this ape once and for all
and that although nobody believes in god any more everybody believes more and more in man.
So it is man whom we must now make up our minds to emasculate.
- How's that?
- How's that?
No matter how one takes you you are mad, ready for the straitjacket. - By placing him again, for the last time, on the autopsy table to remake his anatomy.
I say, to remake his anatomy.
Man is sick because he is badly constructed.
We must make up our minds to strip him bare in order to scrape off that animalcule that itches him mortally,
and with god
but there is nothing more useless than an organ.
When you will have made him a body without organs,
then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions
and restored him to his true freedom.
They you will teach him again to dance wrong side out
as in the frenzy of dance halls
and this wrong side out will be his real place.
(Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu),
a radio play by Antonin Artaud (1947).
Excerpted from the collection:
Edited, and with an Introduction by
Translated from the French, Oeuvres complètes, by
University of California Press
Berkeley Los Angeles
ISBN 0-520-06443-7 (paperback)