Le diable, l’absurde et la philosophie / Extrait de L'Histoire du diable de Vilém Flusser: « La conversation »
This essay, a short introduction to the French translation of Vilém Flussers The History of the Devil, deals with some of the main aspects of the book, including the notion of sin and the figure of the devil, but also the dangers of nationalism, Marxism, the theoretical shortcomings of existentialism and Flusser’s interest in Buddhism. The accompanying extract from The History of the Devil, paragraph 6.4. Conversation, which is the last part of chapter 6. Envy and Greed, focuses on the notion of conversation, which is absolutely central to Flusser’s thinking. Its future ramifications extend to the concept of dialogue and go as far as the telematic society.
Saul segundo Flusser
This paper will focus on the first text of Vilém Flusser maintained until today. It is the play Saul, written by the thinker at the age of fifteen or sixteen, in 1935 or 1936. The drama, filled with an anguishing existential atmosphere, was written in Prague, the city dangerously neighboring Germany, where the Nuremberg anti-Semitic Race Laws had just began to come into force. In his first work, the author had already built up a dialectical structure, characteristic of his later texts. His very peculiar dialectics, however, does not generate a synthesis, much to the contrary; it generates another dialectics, which instead of limiting, broadens the reflection. In Saul, darkness is opposed to light, Saul to David, the Bible to the twentieth-century. In Flusser’s play, the elements obtain unconventional meanings: darkness is connected with feminine, with nature, with mythos and reconciliation; in turn light, which represents the Universal God, is related to violence and suffering. Saul is an errant character with flaws, weakness, and is deeply human, while David, with his perfection, is perverse. In the last scene, the biblical poetic world of lamentations and hymns cedes place to the prosaic universe of the twentieth-century. The dry, ironic and scientifically objective style of the dialogues between a physician and a man “in leisure clothes” dominates the stage on which lies Saul’s body. This brief text presents excerpts from the play and contextualizes it in light of Flusser’s later works.