Tuesday, January 7, 2014

the street market of life

Juan Goytisolo's novel Makbara, which starts in the 'self-confident Eurocraticonsuming city' of the West, culminates in an appreciation of its Hegelian antithesis--the street market (his real-life model is Jemaa el-Fnaa, in his adopted hometown, Marrakesh):

'an agora, a theatrical performance, a point of convergence: an open and plural space, a vast common of ideas
peasants, shepherds, soldiers, tradesmen, hucksters who have flocked to it from the bus terminals, the taxi stands, the street stops of the jitneys poking drowsily along: coalesced into an idle mass'

'offerings on the open market, within reach of anyone willing or able to give value for value received: far from the irreducible molecular order of the great industrialized European city: the hostility of the clock, the pressure of time, rush hours, infinite loneliness shared bumper to bumper'

'creating structures to welcome the world-wanderer'

'survival of the nomad ideal as a utopia: a universe without a government or a leader, the free circulation of person and goods, land owned and used in common, the tending of flocks, sheer centrifugal force: the abolition of private property and hierarchy, of rigid spatial boundaries, of domination based on sex and age, of the ugly accumulation of wealth: emulating the fruitful freedom of the gypsy who respects no frontiers: encamping in a vast present of quests and adventure....a calligraphy that over the years is erased and then retraced day after day'

Here, in the gaudy market, his omniversal unipresent characters find a 'tiny little island of freedom and rejoicing in an ocean of wickedness and misery, giving them and giving myself the necessary strength to complete the day's journey, to gather up our belongings and prepare to move on, to seek shelter, to lull ourselves to sleep with the idea that tomorrow everything will be better and they will still be with you, as will I, all ready to invent new and even more marvelous adventures, finding a welcome refuge, if it be God's will, in the free and easy, kindly tolerance of the public square'

This is, of course, the endless presence, the eternal now--duplicitous and dramatic, monotonous and unique, shared and solitary, everything and nothing

The street market of life

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