What are you looking for?
“The Mount Analogue: it is the symbolic mountain that connects Heaven to Earth; way that must materially, humanly exist, because if not, our situation would be hopeless…we have really found the door. Only from this door does a real life begin.” René Daumal (1908-1944)
I belong to a generation that has wondered, and still wonders, if there is a way through that door to begin a real life. Books such as René Daumal’s Mount Analogue, fed our dreams and hopes, along with drugs and travel. What has remained is the feeling of not belonging to this world, a non-belonging that is responsible for isolation, loneliness, depression.
In Mount Analogue an initiatory and metaphysical itinerary is traced constructed through a narrative of which the mountain is an archetype, a model. There is no stasis and stillness, ascent and descent mirror and merge into a Necessity. In the mountains and in its enchantment, one feels in communion with nature and all of creation, one feels part of it. One lives in the present, in the here and now, and it is easy to reach a spiritual dimension, to reconcile with one’s life. I love the mountains because it heals me.
“Hollow men dwell in the stone where they circulate like wandering caves. In the ice they walk like man-shaped bubbles. By day they remain in the stone and by night they wander in the ice, where they dance at full moon. They eat only emptiness, they become intoxicated with empty words, with all the empty words we utter.” René Daumal
I belong to the generation of “imagination in power, and of “all power to imagination.” Words remained empty, unfortunately, and I am an orphan of ideals and dreams, but still I am unable to accept reality as it is, I must transform it, imagine it. So my photographs, they are never quite mine unless I manipulate them. Photographing Mount Analogue is almost impossible without imagination. You have to remember what you believed in, to see what is not there.
“My Superior had said it well: I suffer from an incurable need to understand. I don’t want to die without having understood why I lived.”
“I am afraid of death. Not of what one imagines about death, because this fear is itself imaginary. Not of my death, whose date will be noted in the civil status records. But of that death which I suffer every moment, death of that voice which, from the depths of my childhood, even to me asks, “what am I?” René Daumal
I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of dying in life. Dementia for me is worse than death. I am afraid of not understanding and not wondering anymore. Daumal could not finish the symbolic journey to Mount Analogue, he died first, but perhaps it is an experience that cannot be accomplished, that cannot be told in words. I am still looking for the door, but maybe not.
And what are you looking for?