Albert Caraco

ALBERT CARACO (1919-1971)

 

Index:

1. Biography

2. Thought

2. ADDENDUM (14 October 2016)

3. Sources

4. Links

Page last updated on 14 October 2016.

UPDATE: Wrote the addendum to the original article, with extended sources and links as well.

BIOGRAPHY

Born in Istanbul in 1919, from a rich Sephardic family, Albert Caraco
has been a controversial and unclassificable thinker, his works
spanning from plays, poetry and prose from philosophical essays and
pampleths, journals and wandering meditations on art, society,
aesthetics, and much more. But let’s start with some order…

His father, Josè, a banker, conducted a very erratic life and brought
his family in his peregrinations.The Caracos left for Wien, then they
left again for Prague and later for Berlin. Josè Caraco wisely intuited
the path on which Germany was about to walk in, and in the beginning of
the 30?s left for Paris.

The young Albert was a very gifted boy and he correctly spoke four
languages (french, spanish, german and english) and was already very
talented.

He attended the modest Licèe Janson-de-Sailly. He desired to study
medicine, but his parents made him attend the Ècole de Hautes Etudes
Commerciales, he graduated there in 1939.

With the approaching of war, the family left for South America and
made a new series of peregrinations: Honduras, Brasil, Argentina and
finally Uruguay, in Montevideo. The family got the uruguayan citizenship
(and Albert would keep it until his death) and converted themselves to
Catholicism for social convenience. However, the young Albert firmly
believed in it, and his first works, plays, poetry and prose heavily
influenced by simbolism and by fantastic literature, reflected his
faith. Ines de Castro (1941), The cycle of Joan d’Arc (Le cycle de
Jeanne d’Arc, 1942), Eusebius’s mysteries (Les mystères d’Eusèbe, 1942)
and Serse’s return (Contes.Retour de Xerxès, 1943) showed a great
mastery of language and poetric style, a great sense of rythm and a very
good knowledge of history. All of these works were illustrated in black
and white by Albert himself. These works got some success and later
were collected in the book of the battle of the soul (Le livre de les
combats de l’ame; 1949) which won the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe prize.

The Caracos returned to France in 1946, in Paris, and stayed there until the end of the drama that was about to unfold.

Albert became more and more isolated, he focused on writing and meditated a lot. In his autobiography, Ma Confession, he notes:

“I was born to myself between 1946 and 1948, I then opened my eyes on the world, until that moment I have been blind.”

From then on, he maturated his own philosophical, bleak but
realistic, vision of the world trough an immense series of books that
ranged from politics to aesthetics, from religion to art.He shaped his
toughts, maturated thanks to an immense culture, mainly in aphorisms and
dialogues, like many little pieces of a bigger mosaic, wrote with a
great mastery of style and language.

He has been compared to other thinkers that relied a lot on aphorisms
like Cioran, Gomez Davila, Nietzsche, but reducing his tought to this
it would be really unfair to him.

Starting from the hammer of Nietzsche, he developed a bleak
philosophy of the indifference, starting from the classic themes of
European nihilism.

His aim is to analyze and later destroy every explicative hipothesys
or any sense to return the universe to it’s origin: chaos, absolute
indifference, nothingness. His eye analyzed all the consequences of this
nothingness on society, art, politics, human condition. He refused
religions (but respected sincere spirituality, like a lot of his
aphorisms testimony), any form of trascendence, any form of order, he
was focused on catastrophes, death, corruption and decay and embraced a
form of gnostic nihilism, similar in some aspects to the one of
Cioran.In Ma Confession, he wrote:

“The more I grow older, the more the Gnosis speaks to my reason,
the world isn’t ruled by a Providence, it’s intrisically evil, deeply
absurd, and Creation is the dream of a blind intellect or a game of a
principle without a moral.”

He hadn’t any form of faith in the progress and modernity, on the
contrary, he was a great demolisher of those myths. For example, in the
Chaos Handbook (Breviare du Chaos) he wrote:

“The cities in which we live in are schools of death, because
they are dishuman. Each one of them has become a den of noise and of
stench, for each of one has became a chaos of buildings, in which we
ammass ourselves in millions, losing our life’s reasons.Unfortunates
without escape, we feel to have put ourselves, willing or not, in the
labyrinth of the absurd, from which we will leave only when we will die,
for our destiny is to continue to multiply ourselves, only to die in
great numbers. At every turn of the wheel, the cities in which we live
in advance slowly one against the other, desiring only to confuse with
each other: it’s a run towards the absolute chaos, in the noise and in
the stench. At every turn of the wheel the price of the grounds go up,
and in the labyrinth which devours the free space the revenue of the
investiments builds up, day after day, hundreds of walls. It’s necessary
that money give revenues and that the cities in which we live in
advance, so it’s right that the houses double their height at every
generation, even if the water is missing half of the days. The builders
only desire to escape the destiny that they prepare for us, moving
towards the countryside.”

However, Caraco’s thought isn’t only destruction and bleakness.
Sometimes he leaves some little flashes of light, even if those are
destined to die. For example, let’s examine the final part of the first
aphorisms in the history’s tomb (Le tombeau de l’Historie):

“…Nothingness or the history, we have to choose between those two
alternatives, but the second is too often a perpetual agony and
nothingness seems preferable … Grace seems to be excluded, but in spite
of logic, it is not impossible for it to happen to us, Grace falls in a
vertical line, opening an hole between us and the timeless, we which are
at the mercy of the river in which we flow in…”

Caraco tought himself as a civil monk, and developed an inegalitarian
view of history and politics. He wrote, in the Chaos Handbook, “history
is the playground of the elites”. He also focused a lot on the problems
of the concept of mass in modern society and on the paradoxes of the
order.

He had a strange, intense but tormented relationship with his parents
and was deeply moved by his mother’s death in 1969 (widely documented
in Postmortem, a part of the Semainier de l’agonie published also as a
stand alone book). He lived for courtesy for his parents and when his
father died in 1971, he took some barbiturates and sliced his troath
(this according to Volpi and Dimitrijevic, while Billè writes that
Caraco hung himself.If you have a definitive answer to this question,
please let me know).

The press didn’t report his death and his works had a very little
echo, despite the richness of ideas present in them, maybe because the
extreme violence of some of his thesis. Only some of his works have been
translated in languages different from French and only in a limitated
number of European countries.

Definitevely Caraco was a fascinating character and a very talented
man, even if I don’t advocate a lot of his ideas, I think that it’s an
author that deserves to be translated and to be read, contemplating the
extreme negativeness that his operas wield is an exercise that every man
who desire to investigate the depth of the human heart should do.And
last but not least, his style is very elegant and a great work of
intelligence, taste and culture.

I hope to have put some curiosity in you with this biographic
introduction. Let’s proceed with the general traits of his thoughts.

 

THOUGHT

As I noted in the biography, Caraco is a very unusual and
unclassifiable thinker. Caraco, unlike many philosophers, has a great
stride towards literature, poetry. His thought proceed by aphorisms and
dialogues, using a lot of images. Maybe stylistically the philosophers
that are more closer to him are Nietzsche, Gomez Davila and Cioran, but
Caraco has a very personal style so these are only vague suggestions.

As noted before, he wrote extensively about a very wide range of
subjects with a remarkable eclecticism: one of the best examples of this
maybe is “the man of the world” (Le Galant Homme) book, which starts as
a collection of toughts on good manners and about relating to the
others and then explores the fields of religion, society, art, and much
more without feeling forced or phony at all.

Caraco had a very wide and impressive culture; his tought is firmly
rooted in the European culture: Schopenauer, Wittengstein, Nietzsche,
Cioran, Canetti, Berdiaev, Rozanov, Kraus and many many others. One of
Caraco’s remarkable traits is the capacity of creating ties with
different disciplines and developing unexpected new toughts from this
connections.

Having said that, I’d say that the central core of all (or at least,
most) of Caraco’s thought has it’s origins in the classical themes of
European nihilism, in particular the one of Nietzsche: the starting
point of Caraco’s thought is to bring back all the absolute sense,
origins and explainations to the nothingness and to the indifference,
demolishing the pedestal on which the belief stood on, a trait surely
derived, and extremized, from Nietzsche.Caraco’s thought focuses on the
indifference of the universe towards all the human life and values, with
a strong strive to some kind of Gnostic nihilism. He wrote:

“The solitude and the nothingness are sufficient to my being.”

“…I have been positioning myself in this nothing in which I feel
truly myself for years, and I occupy myself with the costant exercise of
unknotting my ego, the game doesn’t come without charm, and after all,
it does not cost a thing, maybe it costs only those smoky ideologies
which I am happy to lose, being saved through the indifference is a
novelty that is not accesible to women and children. A serene
indifference is the source of urbanity, the man who is consumated and
possessed by his desire is nothing but a slave, a master isn’t moved and
doesn’t feel any stir, like the Greek philosphers had already
understood.”

This is the starting point for more or less all the Caraco’s
reflections and thoughts.Another of the main topics of Caraco’s
meditations is the paradox of the Order. A good summary of the main
lines of this thought, and a sample of Caraco’s taste for the extreme
bleakness and flamboyant style, can be found in a fragment of a dialogue
from “the man of the world” (Le Galant Homme). Let’s examine it:

“…Answer:I don’t believe in the goodness of nature, the being of
quality can prove their good origins, but they in no way could represent
the species as a whole, which is nothing but a tangle of abortions, but
without them the Order wouldn’t prevail over the disorder, this paradox
explains it all, like the Gnosis sensed.

Question:Even if the humanity would be amendable, is there some
government who would try to make it better beyond the limits traced by
it’s own interests?

Answer:I don’t believe in the goodness of the Order, because the
Order acquired a taste for repressing us, and it finds it’s legitimation
in this repression.If this ceases, the Order would doubt his own
wardship, every order is pleased in finding ourselves guilty, on the
contrary he provokes us only for the joy of punishing us.

Question:What is the worst, the nature or the Order? If they
treat us as you say, maybe isn’t it a crime to make a child come to
light?

Answer:We are all guilty of existing, the Gnosis admits that life
is a burden and that the salvation of the specie is in castity, from
which comes the general extinction. Jesus – the real Jesus, not the one
of the Catholic Church – predicated a similar opinion when, as some
fragments of apocryphal gospels shows us, he praised a woman called
Salomè for being sterile and he clearly states that he came for
destroying the opera of the women. These are a couple of rational
opinions that every reasonable man should share, however since the
majority isn’t neither reasonable nor sensible, new abortions will have
their birth in shame, in misery, in sickness and in filth. We then must
educate these abortions in order to, once adults, carry on the absurd
destiny of the specie.

Question:Since every child that comes to light is a disgrace, we
have to try to remedy according to our possibilities, cultivating and
polishing this poor being who came from the nothingness, must we then
deliver this to the Order or, as a long time ago they used to say, to
the “Prince of this world”?

Answer: We must deliver this one to the Order, the Order who doesn’t love him and from which he has interest in defending from.”

We can find here a lot of problems usually linked with the idea of
Order in Caraco’s thought. The problems of the masses, who are doomed to
disgrace and catastrophe, but also the necessity of those masses of
poor people for the Order to exist.The wise man, so, is forced to walk a
thin line between two extremes: being destroyed and made an automaton
by the Order or refusing the Order and thus ending in barbarity.This
delicate work of balancement is never ending and must be exercised
constantly for it to work. Even if I don’t advocate the extreme
misantrophy and the refusal of life which can be found in the fragment
I’ve transcripted, I find that Caraco pointed at a very real and actual
problem without creating illusions. As I have said in the biography,
examining the extreme bleakness of the Caraco’s thought can be
instructive.

Other recurring themes in Caraco’s works are the necessity of think
again from scratch the world and the problems of overpopulation and
pollution, but without parting from the indifference that he attribuited
to the reality.In the “handbook of chaos” (Breviare du Chaos) he wrote:

“…Extermination shall become the common denominator of politics
to come and nature shall join in, adding its furors to ours. The end of
the century shall see the Triumph of death, the world overburdened with
men shall discharge the surplus deadweight of living things. Not an
island shall subsist where the powerful could strip into the consensual
hell which they prepare for us, and the spectacle of their agony shall
be the consolation of the peoples they have led astray. The future order
shall be the sole heir of our failures, and the prophets, amidst our
ruins, shall gather together the survivors.”

The refuse to think again the world doesn’t produce only collective
tragedies, but even personal tragedy and total alienation.in the
“Semainier de l’incertitude” he wrote (in english):

“Biology is our doom and since we lack the spirit our means
require, no spirit is to be expected neither from our worn-out tradition
nor from our everlasting sacrifice. The end of ideology will never
affect Racialism, physical differencies now undo the strongest
arguments, there is no place left for reason, where the outside is seen
as the man as a whole. If man is immersed in his physical appearance,
there is no liberty at all, no spirit saves us from the alien looks and
we become not what we perhaps are, but only what we seem, in spite of
our deepest self.There will soon be no space left for mitigate rampant
fanaticism and racial creed might be the worst, owing to it’s simplicity
and the good faith it gives to common man. We cannot gainsay prejudice
if it agrees with common sense and common sense worship simplicity, in
spite of reason, history, moral and faith.What we become is useless and
we are of no avail, if we don’t seem what others might approve.”

As noted before, Caraco was an atheist and saw monotheism as a
disgrace. He hadn’t this view because of the rampant positivism of our
days (which in my opinion is in fault, but here I digress) but because
of the absurdity and the suffering which every life carries, and because
of the chaos that he saw to reign both in the world and in the very
heart of man. He was cruel and misantrophic towards the masses, but felt
admiration and respect toward the great men, which saw as the only
light of the world. Again, let’s read what Caraco has written:

“if there is a God, chaos and death will appear among it’s
attributes, if God doesn’t exist, it changes nothing, for chaos and
death will be self-sufficient until the end of time.It doesn’t matter
what it’s praised, we are all victims of caducity and dissolution, it
doesn’t matter what is adored because this can’t help in avoiding
anything, the good and the bad have only one common destiny, a common
abyss which hosts saints and monsters, the idea of right and wrong is
nothing but a delirium, at which we cling for convenience.”
(Handbook of Chaos)

“The will to live isn’t the art of living, between the two there
is the will of death, the well-known country in which heroes, saints,
thinkers, artists and all the people to who my book is destined: the men
of good manner and of courteus spirit meet. They share the contempt for
the banality and the taste for the free servitude, they surely can
oppose one another in principles, but they resemble each other for the
cointanment of their ideas; from this the admiration that they feel for
each other.” (Man of the world)

“Faith isn’t a value, it’s a need; the Spirit – which is never a
need – it’s the value par excellence, it’s the common denominator
between all the values, their consolidating element.”
(Man of the world)

As you can see, Caraco is a very strange and uncommon thinker, this
trait was one of main elements that drove me to write this article.I
hope to have given you a good introduction and to have stimulated your
curiosity for this unusual thinker, a very complicated and tormented
man, but also a genius for sure.

I hope that one day Caraco will be translated at least to English. If
you want to know more, I suggest you to check the very beautiful essay
that Billè wrote about Caraco, it can be found in the links.

In conclusion, I’d like to translate one more aphorism from “Ma Confession”:

“My Anima is the Mater Gloriosa and my Animus – yes – it’s the
Author of my books, the hidden God in the central nucleus of stone, of
flame and of ice.”

 

ADDENDUM (14 October 2016)

A long time has passed since I wrote the first draft of this article on Albert Caraco, a very little known, even less translated and nearly forgotten nihilistic of the XXth century, and the biggest exponent, along with Emile Cioran, of a form of nihilism with very a strong gnostic echo in it.

The article I wrote has indeed, against my toughts at the time, got a good reception, a sign that the strange fascination I felt for this strange man when I discovered it, nearly by chance, many years ago, wasn’t only mine but on the contrary, Caraco, his tought, his harsh life and the problems he posed could attract a quite big (relatively speaking, of course) number of people.
When I read Caraco for the first time, he stuck a deep impression on me: he got an impressive lucidity about many of the problems of the contemporary age, at his time only in an embrionic state and later grown bigger and bigger with the years, he also got a very elegant and refined way of writing, piercing with no mercy and very dramatic, and he achieved a strange synthesis of the logical-rational tought pushed to it’s analytical limits, and an explosion, a visionary volcano of ancient and mythical images, all of it grown with an impressive and incredibly vast erudition.

Very few people can make the terrible dimension of nothingness, emptyness and absence of the trascendent (not by chanche, like many nihilists, Caraco was very, very interested and fascinated with the language of spirituality and religion) so fascinating. This is the main reason, along with the complete obscurity on which he had faded, why I decided to write an article on him, back in 2011.

One, in fact, can’t deny that Caraco’s work has a very big shadow nested in itself, a shadow which I’ve always felt but realized completely only with the passage of time. Fascination led to comprehension, and so I decided to write a second part for the article, with the aim to ampliate the scope and vision of it, without which could be too narrow and unilateral.

The framework defined by CG Jung’s writings is one of the most important sources of ispiration and orientation I used in this follow up.
I decided to use this kind of approach not to write an ad-hominem argument or to focus only on personality of Caraco.
I don’t like both of these approaches since the world of toughts and ideas has as autonomy  and validity on it’s own, indipendent from what the life of their originator has been, an indipendence that must be respected.
On the contrary, I have chosen to use the jungian framework to better understand the hermeneutical horizon and the context of the deepest meaning of some of his ideas, suggestions and images and to grasp the deepest traces of them, which are often rooten in archetypical images and concepts which evoke very old questions and problems that humanity faced during it’s history, standing on a ground much bigger than Caraco’s personal life.

At the same time, however, these issues and Caraco’s life are not completed separated either; following one of the main points of the classical Eastern tought, I think that the domain of ideas, even the most bizzare and sudden intuitions and realizations contained in it, isn’t completely detached or unrelated from the dimension of life of who produces them (in some philosophies of the East, for example, the faculty of tought is assimilated to the senses because it’s assumed that the dimension of separation is illusory, and such the iteractions with reality, from which the individual isn’t separated on a fundamental plane, makes the mind to produce toughts and ideas just like it does with the senses with sound,smell,taste etc).

Because of this, it’s necessary to take an intellectual stance that values both the ideas on their own and the various contextes (historical, biographical, cultural etc), both individual and collective, in a circular relation where both of them are respected in their autonomy but a relation of interdipendence between the both is recognized. Neither of those two poles is fundamentally separated from the other, while retaining a dignity and autonomy on it’s own. The focus, thus, is on the uniqueness and irreducibility of every person, taken as a whole, which can’t be grasped directly by examining the parts that combined makes it, but must be taken as it is, devoid of any pretence of giving a totally binding description or definition. It can be only experienced through and cannot be pinned down without losing the core of the investigation and something important in the process.

One of the first characteristics that emerges reading Caraco’s writings with a careful and sharp eye, it’s the costant presence of a very agitated and fiery emotive dimension, a very primordial and strong force behind the unforgiving harshness of the sentences. This energy, however, is never nominated directly or left free enough to develop itself freely and let herself to be clearly heard and understood.

This tract is very coherent with the conscious work of costant building of contempt and devaluation that Caraco does against all of the manifestation of emotivity, from love to the more sentimental shades of religiousity, obviously including the whole dimension of physicity in this continuous work of demolition and banishment, ending in a position of extreme refusal of these aspects of life and thus associating them to caducity, precarity, corruption and, finally, death (this trait is very common too among other influent nihilistic thinkers, like Cioran, even if in a less extreme fashion).

All of this leads to an important idea promoted by Jung, first in “Symbols of Transformation” and then developed in more or less all his major writings, the idea that which is present in the unconscious but not integrated and rejected by the conscious personality can return in a pathological form. What is left in the shadow, without being developed, grows in a distorted way and silently does it’s deed, until one doesn’t work to integrate and transformate his/her own shadow.

Because of that, two common elements of Caraco’s books are mystical outbursts and an overdeveloped dramatic sensibility, often fused with a strong melancholy and, maybe, an intense longing masked by the will-to-death that runs deeply in all of his writings. Often these are accompained by a constant sense of suffocation and futility.
In fact sometimes, sadly, intense suffering is the only aspect that passes along the individual as an echo a much needed, and desired, change. An echo that it’s hard to grasp and cultivate into an actual transformation consciously.

Maybe one of the most important flashes from the unconscious is the one that opens “le tombeau de l’historie” (history’s tomb) depicting a fantasy of a society guided and dominated by women, like a sign of a new dimension, born unto the ashes of the actual historical and societal order.

This detail, in reality, tells a lot about Caraco’s tought and personality. First of all, it reveals the current of strong, painful and gnostic nostalgy, a dimension in which the planes of life and the plane of peace and salvation are separated without hopes of reconciliation.
This is the kind of approach that Erich Neumann, one of the most brilliant CG Jung’s disciples, defines as “negative mystic”, the approach of whom has understood the vacuity of the quantitative and purely “factual” dimension of life when shed from the rest, and having understood this, is in pursuit of a reconciliation and qualitative expansion but, during this quest, falls, consciously or not, for the trap of the confinement in the memory of the lost paradise, the original dimension of mythical fullness before the separation imposed by life, and thus ends in refusing the world of life and it’s constitutive irrationality and imperfection completely, labelling them as evil and corrupt beyond repair.

Taking inspiration from the symbolic expansion that Jung did of the Freudian language and terminology, at times in which it still was partially drank in the positivism of it’s age, it’s possible to link this type of stance to the desire of a mythical return to the womb, and so a drive of an incestuous regression, as one of the main underground currents flowing deep in Caraco’s works.

The hidden incestuous drive took his toll even on Caraco’s personal life, until the very mystery of his suicide.
In many ways, Caraco never managed to disentangle himself from the bulky inner image of his parents. He ended up in realizing their project and wishes on him, without gaining a real autonomy, inner and outer.
This, maybe, is the root of many of his strange, and sad, habits: writing only for himself publishing very little (if any) while still alive, the subtle annoyance and silenced rage against “Monsieour Pere” (Mr Father), the decision not to work after graduating… all of them, failed attempt to get free from the invisible suffocating incestuous trap, until the day of his very suicide, planned silently for long time and executed, not by chance, the day after his father’s death. Even the decision to hang himself or cut his own troath (I haven’t found a 100% reliable source for ruling out the correct one) can be linked to this grim situation. Both ways are symbols for extreme inner crushing and grave restraints.

Regarding the relationship of Caraco’s with his mother and the other women, these extracts from “Postmortem” are very significative:

“Have I ever lived? I really don’t know, my life has nothing different from an unwritten page and, nearing the fifties, all that is left are only some ink stained papers.
My Mother has been the only event of what I don’t dare to call my existence, her victory is total and I have only the minimum amount of flesh to feel myself as a spirit.
My Mother has become the altar where  despite me I went to offer myself ti the principle of which she was the announciation for, without knowing it. Because every woman brings in herself the image of the deeper I at whom we can’t have access if we don’t renounce our own.”

“Time has taken a new dimension now, it used to flow like a mountain river and now, suddendly, is near the immobility of an immense plain, the river’s bed doesn’t have any argins anymore, the hours that used to chase one after another without a stop now slowly and lazily crawl and sometimes they return on themselves, we are stunned in a way that defies every analysis and anticipates the eternal to us; it’s the endeavour of the past that resurrects and, by stopping the duration’s flow, multiplies even us through the identity that holds ourselves together. This is the gift that Madame Mother does to us from the dead.”

All of this shows very well the point I tried to make about the incestuous drive before. It shows a refusal of the world and a stagnation in a devastating archetypical symbiosis, at the same time against life and protective.

The complete refusal of history, coherently coincides with the dual aspects of a strong nostalgy towards the absolute (the lost paradise) and a strong death wish, which both are typical of the incestuous regression as described by Jung in “Symbols of Transformation”. The incest wish at it’s roots, before eventually becoming a concrete desire towards a real person, it’s a symbolical amplification, an inner craving and attachment, and thus it’s being capable of make a severe, and invisible, impact on life as a psychic disposition (and thus as an inconscious orientation in the choices of life) and this disposition can eventually develop itself in the abstract plane of imagination and fantasy (again, often the life which is not lived produces an unbalance towards fantasy and imagination).

To highlight the impersonal quality of this kind of situations, it’s interesting to note that, in the field of philosophy, Caraco was not the only one to fall in such a deadly web. Another philosopher, equally unknown, that succumbed to a similar fate was Philipp Mainländer (1841-1876), maybe the most extreme disciple of Schopenhauer, who killed himself after completing his only book, “the philosophy of redemption”, and had an equally morbid relationship first with his mother (he swore to die a virgin after his mother’s death) and then with his sister. The whole family in the years ended extinguished in tragedy.

This kind of disposition and inner, silent, tragedy has been wonderfully understood and put on film by a great director, the Italian Luchino Visconti, whom both with one of his least known movies, “Sandra” and in one of his best known works, “The Damned”, did an awesome job in portraying the mix of nostalgy, death wish and suffocation, in both it’s highs and lows, discussed before.

Caraco’s drama is precisely the one of being very gifted, a man with a sharp intelligence and also full of powerful images, and at the same time being very denied in living, bringing outside, in the real life, all of this, falling thus prey of the strong autonomy of the unconscious, exploding in images and fantasies, without form and losing the autonomy over them, without realizing it.

This tendency both orientated Caraco in exploring the darkest recesses of life and to cover in death even his most brilliant writings and intuitions, like his toughts on the crisis of politics and society, the impersonal and subtly oppressing nature of power, the radicality of doubt.

For me, thinking about him and his works after all these years (I wrote the first version of the article in 2011), the encounter with Caraco has been an important confrontation with the dimension of evil and absolute negativity, a dimension from which it’s not possible to subtract oneself completely but which very few people have the courage to face clearly, and even less come out from it with a new vision, not only of the intellectual order. This, maybe, is the purpouse of these encounters, to transform and become enriched with a more complete vision and understanding.

Caraco has been, without knowing it, a brilliant victim of himself and a sad testimony for the centrality of psychic life in the weaving of one’s fate. As an old indian saying goes, the mind produces fate like the oyster it’s pearl.
I close this article while meditating about the wisdom that this phrase holds and offering a tought of compassion to who, like Caraco, ended up losing the hard struggle against oneself.

SOURCES

Apart from Caraco’s books I’ve used this books to document myself:

  • El Nihilismo / Nihilsm (Franco Volpi)
  • Lexicon der philosphischen Werke (Franco Volpi ; Julian Nida-Rümelin)
  • Symbols of Transformation (C.G. Jung)
  • The Origins and History of Consciousness (Erich Neumann)

Sources different from books:

  • Billè’s essay (can be found in links)
  • Note by Vladimir Dimitrijevic (Caraco’s first publisher)

LINKS

Handbook of Chaos English translation (partial; at the end of the page you can find the Billè’s essay too) Link now dead, unfortunately I couldn’t find a cached version of it.

Philippe Billé’s essay Remarks about Albert Caraco (a copy that I saved some time ago, now hosted here because of the removal of the original source page)

Studia Caracoana (Spanish). An excellent collection of studies and documents about Caraco

Caraco’s full bibliography (from Studia Caracoana)

Editions l’Age d’Homme Caraco’s publisher  (French)

Site ALBERT CARACO Site about Albert Caraco administrated by Bruno Deniel-Laurent (French)

Lady Mother, Dearest Father theatre play Spoleto Festival 2009 An Italian play, produced by the Mittelfest 2009, which combines and confronts Franz Kafka’s”Letter to his father” and Caraco’s “Post Mortem”.

Visconti’s movie The Damned IMDB Page

Visconti’s movie Sandra IMDB Page

Google books previews: go to google books and then write inauthor:”Albert Caraco”

 

 

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