"all gardens are hard for trees"

in the collection “A Certain Plume,” (1930, 36) is a collection of surreal vignettes about a character named “Plume”:

“Stretching his hands out from the beds, Plume was suprised not to encounter the wall. ‘Hmm,’ he thought, ‘the ants must have eaten it…’ and he went back to sleep.”

anyways, i’m much more interested in the afterword he wrote to this collection than the poems themselves. it traces Michaux’s ideas about the self and representation:

“[…] For too many thousands of years, he has been occupied by conquerors.

Self is made out of everything. A certain inflection in a sentence — is this another me tryiny to appear? if the YES is mine, is the NO a second me?

‘Me’ is never anything but provisional […] and pregnant with a new character who will be set free by an accident, an emotion, a blow on the head — excluding the preceding character, and to everyone’s astonishment, formed instantly. So he was already fully formed.

Perhaps we are not made for just one self. We are wrong to cling to it. The prejudice in favor of unity. (Here as elsewhere, the will: impoverishing and sacrificing).

In a double, triple, quintuple life, we would be more comfortable, less gnawed and paralyzed by a subconsious hostile to the conscious mind (hostility of the other, deprived ‘selves’).

The greatest fatigue of the day and of a life may be caused by the effort, the tension necessary to keep the same self through the continual temptations to change it.

We want too much to be someone.

There is not one self. There are not ten selves. There is no self. ME is only a position in equilibrium. (one among a thousand others, continually possible and always at the ready.) An average of ‘me’s,’ a movement in the crowd. In the name of many, I sign this book.


Each tendency in me had its own will, as each thought, as soon as it appears and is organized, has its own will. Was it mine? This man has his will in me, that one — a friend, a great man of the past, the Gautuma Buddha, many others, lesser ones: Pascal, Ernest Hello? Who knows?

The will of the greatest number? The will of the most coherent group?

I did not want to want. I wanted, it seems to me, against myself, because I had no desire to want and nonetheless I wanted.

…As a crowd, I found my way around my moving crowd. As every thing is crowd, every though, every instant. Every past, every uninterruption, every transformation, every thing is something else. Nothing ever definitely circumscribed, capable of being circumscribed, everything: relations, mathematics, symbols, or music. Nothing fixed. Nothing is property.

My images? Relations.

My thoughts? But perhaps thoughts are precisely only annoyances of the self, losses of equilibrium (phase 2), or regaining equilibrium (phase 3) of the thinker’s motion. The phase 1 (equilibrium) remains unknown, unconscious.

The true, deep, thinking flux no doubt happens without conscious thought, without images. […] Let us avoid following an author’s thought; rather, let’s look at what he has in the back of his mind, what he’s getting at, the imprint that his desire to dominate and influence — although well hidden — tries to make on us.


His intentions, his passions, his libido dominandi, his compulsive lying, his nervousness, his desire to be right, to win, to seduce, to surprise, to believe and have others believe what he wishes, to fool people, to hide — his appetites and his disgusts, his complexes and his whole life harmonizing, unbeknowst to him, with the organs, the glands, the hidden life of his body, his physical deficiencies, everything is unknown to him.

His ‘logical’ thought? But it circulates in a casting of paralogical and analogical ideas, a straight rode cutting through circular paths, seizing (you can only seize by cutting) bleeding sections of this so richly vascularized world. (All gardens are hard for trees.) False simplicity of first truths (in metaphysics) followed by extreme multiplicity — that’s what he’s trying to get accepted.

In one point, too, will and thought converge, inseparable, and become false thought-will.

In one point, too, the examination of false thought — thought like, in microphysics, the observation of light (the path of the photon) — falsifies it.

And progess, every new observation, every thought, every creation, seems to create (at the same time as light) a zone of darkness.

All knowledge creates new ignorance.

All consciousness, a new consiousness.

Every new contribution creates new nothingness.

So, reader, you’re holding in your hands, as often happens, a book the author did not write, although a world participated in it. And what does it matter?

Signs, symbols, impulses, falls, departures, relations, discords, everything is there to bounce up, to seek, for further on, for something else.

Between them, without settling down, the author grew his life.

Perhaps you could try, too?”

2 thoughts on “"all gardens are hard for trees"

  1. The drawing is not from Henri Michaux,but from Michèle Michaux French artist 80 years old living in south of France

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