What They Said: Jacques Ellul

What They Said












“We are in the process of seeing the fulfillment of Edgar Allan Poe’s prophecy in which the painter, impassioned by his mistress-model and also by his art, “did not want to see that the colors he spread on his canvas were taken from the cheeks of the woman seated beside him. And when several weeks had passed, and very little remained to be done, nothing but a stroke on the mouth and a glaze over the eye, the mistress’s spirit still flickered like the flame at the base of a lamp. Then he put on the final touch, put the glaze in place, and for a moment the painter stood in ecstasy before the work he had finished. But a moment later, he was struck with panic, and shouting with a piercing voice: ‘It is truly Life itself,’ he suddenly turned around to look at his mistress. She was dead.” Nothing ever constrains us to face what is dying when we see it so alive in our images.”

The Humiliation Of The Word,


Jacques Ellul, 1981

[J. Hanks, trans. (1985), p. 208]

6 thoughts on “What They Said: Jacques Ellul”

  1. …and a very many there are (arguably, it is most) who are not capable of being constrained to “face what is dying”, because the only stimuli they know how to be inquisitive about, pursuant of, and responsive to is the stimuli of images, having deliberately and diabolically never been responsibly, thoroughly taught (by the image-enslaved, image-glutted, image-possessed, image-hypnotized, image-addicted, image-dictating behavioral herding machine, which paints the pictures of what sorts of subjects the masses are obligated to become) to never start trusting the gratifications breezily abounding at the ecstatic parades of popular optimisms:

    Parades of popular optimisms which, in cases such as the present civilization’s, are funeral processions constrained, by bleakness in desperation, to display with grand ado the euphorically ghostly attire of death’s denial.

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