Man … the human person … the free individual … the I … at once torturer and victim … at once hunter and prey . . .
Man – and man alone – reduced to a thread – in the dilapidation, and misery of the world – who searches for himself – starting from nothing.
Exhausted, thin, emaciated, naked. Aimlessly wandering in the crowd.
Man anxious about man, in terror of man. Asserting himself one last time in a hieratic attitude of supreme elegance. The pathos of extreme emaciation, the individual reduced to a thread.
Man at the stake of his contradictions. No longer crucified. Burned. You are right, dear friend.
Man on a pavement like burning iron; who cannot lift his heavy feet.
Oh! Since Greek sculpture, what am I saying, since Laurens and Maillol, man has been well burned at the stake!
It is doubtless true that since Nietzsche and Baudelaire the destruction of values has accelerated . . .
They drip around him, his values, his fat; to feed the flames!
It is not only that Man has nothing more; but he is nothing more, than this I.
Originally published in Cahiers d’Art, Paris, 1951.