First Fanon

I was slightly desperate not having a book at hand as I about to head to catch a rather long (city) bus ride.  Finally I grabbed a copy of Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks that I picked up used a while back and headed out.  I don’t think I am sucker for just anything new but Fanon’s style was impacting to say the least.  And I think it was impacting because it struck a chord that I am tuned in to but rarely hear played with all notes together.  The notes comprising this chord looks a little a like this existential/psychological/social.

Fanon is not a philosopher as such, nor is a social theorist or poet.  He blends these influences into a sort of form that, for me, speak of acongruence, that is, of accounting for the gifts and passions in my life that should not be neglected.  Here are a few excerpts from the intro,

The explosion will not happen today.  It is too soon . . . or too late.
I do not come with timeless truths.
My consciousness is not illuminated with ultimate radiances.
Nevertheless, in complete composure, I think it would be good if certain things were said.
These things I am going to say, not shout.  For it is a long time since shouting has gone out of my life.
. . .
This book should have been written three years ago . . . But these truths were a fire in me then.  Now I can tell them without being burned.  These truths do not have to be hurled in men’s faces.  They are no intended to ignite fervor.  I do not trust fervor.
Every time it has burst out somewhere, it has brought fire, famine, misery . . . and contempt for man.
Fervor is the weapon of choice of the impotent.
. . .
It is good form to introduce a work in psychology with a statement of its methodological point of view.  I shall be derelict.  I leave methods to the botanists and the mathematicians.  There is a point at which methods devour themselves.

I have only a read a couple of chapters and there is little that is ‘new’ and some things I might question or challenge but to read someone for whom these ideas were formed out of the direct crucible of experience remains an important part of our formation.

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