Maurice Blanchot Menulis Tentang Dostoyevsky

Illustrasi Kreg Yingst
Antara peristiwa paling penting dalam sastera Perancis pada abad kedua puluh ialah kemunculan Maurice Blanchot. Kehadirannya ialah ibarat gerhana dan pengalaman membaca sastera selepas itu ialah membaca di dalam gelap. Berjalan di waktu malam dengan sebelah tangan kita dibimbing oleh pelita yang kita terima di depan pintu rumah, tanpa mengetahui siapakah orang yang meninggalkannya. 

Tapi ia akan ada di situ setiap malam. Setiap kali kita keluar di tengah malam untuk mencari ruang di dalam dunia sastera. 

Saya tidak tahu jika Blanchot patut dipanggil seorang pengkritik, kerana kaedah pemikirannya lebih menyerupai seorang ahli falsafah. Tapi tidak dinafikan sistemnya - dunia dia bermain dan mencipta - ialah sastera. Segala-galanya tentang Blanchot memberitahu dia sangat mencintai sastera dan sangat memahami bagaimana makhluk bernama sastera ini boleh lahir dan hidup. Baiklah kita jangan panggil dia pengkritik: lebih sesuai ialah pujangga kesusasteraan. Atau kesatria hitam kesusasteraan. Tidak hairanlah jika Blacnhot bagaikan tidak wujud di Amerika dan England: sastera yang dilindungi oleh Blanchot ialah sastera kematian; iaitu sastera tanpa moraliti ketuhanan. 

Kita boleh melihatnya dalam tulisan Blachot terhadap watak Kirilov dari novel Dostoyevsky berjudul Demons:

[dikutip dari buku Space of Literature]

It would seem that the most immediately pressing consequence of such an attitude is to make us wonder whether, among all the forms of death, there is not one which is more human, more mortal, and whether voluntary death is not perhaps an exemplary death. To take one's own life: is this not the shortest road from man to himself, from animal to man and, as Kirilov will add, from man to God? "I recommend my death to you, voluntary death, which comes to me because I want it to." "To eliminate oneself is the most praiseworthy of acts; it  practically grants us the right to live." Natural death is death "in the most contemptible conditions, a death which is not free, which does not come when it should, a coward's death.Love of life should make us wish for an altogether different death, a free and conscious death,one which is no accident and holds no surprises." Nietzsche's words resound like an echo of liberty. One doesn't kill oneself, but one can. This is a marvelous resource. Without this supply of oxygen close at hand we would smother, we could no longer live. Having death within reach,docile and reliable, makes life possible, for it is exactly what provides air, space, free and joyful movement: it is possibility.

Voluntary death appears to pose a moral problem: it accuses and it condemns; it makes a final judgment. Or else it seems a challenge in defiance of an exterior omnipotence. "I will kill myself to affirm my insubordination, my new and terrifying liberty." What is new in Kirilov's undertaking is that he not only considers himself to be rising up against God by taking his own life, but expects by so doing to prove the nonexistence of this God -- to prove it for himself just as he demonstrates it to others. As long as he has not killed himself, he himself does not know how this matter stands. Perhaps he is a believer, "having more faith even than a priest," suggests Dostoyevsky, apparently abandoning him to forlorn wanderings among contradictory feelings.Yet this remark is not inconsistent. On the contrary. For it is his preoccupation with God -- the urgency of his need to become certain about God's nonexistence -- that suggests suicide to Kirilov. Why suicide? If he dies freely, if he experiences and proves to himself his liberty in death and the liberty of his death, he will have attained the absolute. He will be that absolute. He will be absolutely man, and there will be no absolute outside of him. In fact more is involved here than a proof. In this obscure combat not only Kirilov's knowledge concerning the existence of God, but that existence itself is at stake. God is gambling his own existence in this freely chosen death which a resolute man takes upon himself. If someone becomes his own master even in death, master of himself through death, he will be master also of that omnipotence which makes itself felt by us through death, and he will reduce it to a dead omnipotence. Kirilov's suicide thus becomes the death of God. Hence his strange conviction that this suicide will inaugurate a new era, that it will mark the turning point in the history of humanity, and that, precisely, after him men will no longer need to kill themselves. His death, by making death possible, will have liberated life and rendered it wholly human.



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