The Stinking Ass by Salvador Dali
Activity with a moral tendency can be provoked by a very violent paranoiac desire to systematize confusion. The very presence of paranoia, and especially the consideration of its mechanism as a force and power leads us to the possibility of a mental crisis of perhaps an equivalent order, but, in any case, to the antipodes of a crisis such as we also undergo during the occurrence of an hallucination. I believe that the moment is ear when, by a process of thought with active paranoiac characteristics, it will be possible simultaneously with automatism and other passive states to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discredit of the world of reality. The new images that paranoiac thought can suddenly cause to appear, not only will have their origin in the unconscious, but also the force of paranoiac power will be used to serve these images. These new threatening images will act skillfully and corrosively with the clarity of physical, diurnal apparitions, making us dream, by its special self-shame, of the old metaphysical mechanism yet with something that we shall willingly confuse with the essence itself of nature which, according to Heraclitus, loves to hide itself. Paranoiac activity always uses controlled and recognizable materials as far as possible from the influence of sensorial phenomena to which the hallucination may consider itself more or less related. If the delirium of interpretation happens to link the senses of the images of heterogeneous pictures covering a wall, this is sufficient to make anyone deny the real existence of this tie already impossible. Paranoia uses the outside world to make the most of an obsessive idea, with the troubling particularity that the reality of this idea becomes evident to others. The reality of the outside world serves as an illustration and proof, and is put into the services of the reality of our mind. All doctors agree in recognizing the speed and the inconceivable subtlety frequently observed in the paranoiac, who, taking advantage of the motives and the facts of such shrewdness that they escape normal people, arrives at the conclusions often impossible to contradict or reject, and who, in any case, almost always defies psychological analysis. It is by a clearly paranoiac process that it has been possible to obtain a double image: that is to say the representation of an object which, without the least figurative or anatomical modification, is at the same time the representation of another absolutely different object itself also stripped of any kind of deformation or abnormality which might disclose this arrangement. It has been possible to obtain such a double image thanks to the violence of paranoiac thought which, with ruse and skill, has made use of the necessary quantity of pretexts, coincidences, etc. taking advantage of them to make the second image appear which, in this case, takes the place of the obsessive idea. The double image (which, for example, may be the image of the horse which is at the same time the image of a woman) can be prolonged, continuing the paranoiac process, the existence of another idea being then sufficient to make a third image appear (the image of the lion, for example) and so on to the extent of a number of images limited solely by the degree of paranoiac capacity of one's thoughts. I submit for materialistic examination the type of mental crisis that such an image can provoke, I submit for it the even more complex paranoiac problem of knowing which of such images has more possibilities of existence if we allow the intervention of desire, and also the more serious and more general problem of order so as to know if the series of these representations is limited or if such a limit does not exist, which we have good reason to believe, or if it exists soley as a function of the paranoiac capacity of each individual. All this (provided other general reasons to not intervene) permits me at least to allege that the images, themselves taken from reality, depend on the degree of our paranoiac faculties, and moreover that theoretically an individual endowed with a sufficient degree of the aforementioned faculty could according to his desire, see the form of an object taken from reality change successively just as in the case of voluntary hallucination, but with the peculiarity characteristic of a more serious order, in the destructive sense that the different forms which the object in question can assume would be controllable and recognizable to everyone as soon as the paranoiac had simply pointed them out. The paranoiac mechanism from which the image with multiple forms is born makes the key to the birth and origin of the nature if the images comprehensible; and the fury of these images dominates the aspect under which they hide the multiple appearances of the concrete. It is precisely the fury and the traumatic nature of the images in relation to reality and to the absence of the slightest osmosis between the images and the reality that makes us come to the conclusion that any type of comparison is a (poetic) impossibility. There would only be a possibility of comparing two things if the non-existence of any method of connection between them, conscious or unconscious, was alone conceivable. Such a comparison rendered tangible would clearly illustrate for us the idea developed for nothing: that we are born irrational. It is because of their lack of connection with reality and for what there may be of the unprovoked in their presence that the images can easily assume the form of reality and this, in turn, may adapt itself to violence of the images which a materialistic thought idiotically confuses with the violence of reality. Nothing can hinder me from recognizing the multiple presence of the images in the example of the multiple image, even if in one of its phases it assumes the appearance of a decaying donkey, and even if such a donkey is actually horrible decayed, and covered by thousands of flies and ants, and, as in this case one cannot imagine the significance by itself of the different states if the image outside the notion of time, nothing can convince me that this cruel putrefaction of the donkey can be anything else but the blinding, hard reflection of precious stones. And do we not know whether behind the three great images, which are excrement, blood and putrefaction, another is not hiding, precisely the most desired of all "the earth of treasures". As connoisseurs of images, we learned long ago to recognize the image of desire behind the images of terror, and even the awakening of the "golden ages" behind the ignominious scatological images. The acceptance of images whose appearances reality laboriously endeavors to imitate leads us to the desire for ideal things. Perhaps no image has created an ensemble to which the word ideal is suited more exactly than the great image which constitutes the overwhelming architecture of "Modern Style". No collective effort has succeeded in creating a dream world as pure and as troubling as the modern style buildings, which, on the borders of architecture, form, by themselves alone, true realizations of solidified desires, where the most violent and cruel automatism painfully betrays the hatred of reality and the need of refuge in an ideal world, much the same as what takes place in childhood neurosis. Here we have what we may still learn to love, the imposing blocks of those delirious, cold buildings scattered through all Europe, scorned and neglected by anthologies and studies. Here we have what will suffice to offer opposition to those pigs, our contemporary aestheticians, defenders of execrable "modern art", and here we have what will suffice to oppose all the history of art. It is suitable to say, once and for all, to the art critics, artists, etc., that they only have to expect deception, a bad impression and repulsion from the new surrealist images. Quite in the edge of plastic investigations and other "boners", more and more the new images of surrealism will assume the forms and colors of demoralization and confusion. The day is not far off when a picture will have the value and will only have the sole value of a simple moral act and moreover that of a simple free act with no motive. The new images, as a functional form of thought, will take the free penchant of desire, all the while being violently repressed. The mortal activity of these new images, parallel with other surrealistic activities, can yet contribute to the ruin of reality at the profit of all who, through infamous and abominable ideals of every order, aesthetic, humanitarian, philosophic, etc., leads us back to the clear sources of masturbation, exhibitionism, crime and love. Idealists without any ideal. Ideal images of surrealism in the service of the imminent crisis of the conscience, in the service of the Revolution.
The Stinking Ass", an essential Dali manifesto to the greater understanding of Dali's paranoaic-critical method, was first published in La Femme Visible, Editions Surrealististes, Paris, 1930.
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