QUOTE CLUB: BLOOM / by Kulturfolger



Let me illustrate this species of connection, this connecting pattern, a little further by citing a discovery of Goethe's. He was a considerable botanist who had great ability in recognising the nontrivial (i .e.,· in recognising the patterns that connect). He straightened out the vocabulary of the gross comparative anatomy of flowering plants. He discovered that a "leaf" is not satisfactorily defined as "a flat green thing" or a "stem" as "a cylindrical thing." The way to go about the definition-and undoubtedly somewhere deep in the growth processes of the plant, this is how the matter is handled-is to note that buds (i. e., baby' stems) form in the angles of leaves. From that, the botanist constructs the definitions on the basis of the relations between stem, leaf, bud, angle, and so on. "A stem is that which bears leaves." "A leaf is that which has a bud in its angle." "A stem is what was once a bud in that position"
Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature


Kant’s first example of free beauty is flowers.  “Hardly anyone,” he says, “apart from a botanist knows what sort of thing a flower is [meant] to be; even he, while recognizing it as the reproductive organ of a plant, pays no attention to this natural purpose when he judges a flower by taste.” If we make a judgement about a flower, we refer to no “intrinsic purposiveness” of the object, and need no notion of a “perfection” of a flower.

Denis Dutton, The Experience of Art is Paradise Regained: Kant on Free and Dependent Beauty


The grand insignificance of achievements and invention. We are flowers, fancy tools for procreation, whoring about for pollinators. Our mediated reality doesn't give one what one desires it tells one how to desire. It is impossible to move, live or do anything without leaving a seed, trace, mark or suggestion. It is ever more difficult to fix lines on a map which are only pure projection. These lines signify an inventory of our knowledge. These lines however become roots (routes), both solid and liquid, evident and hidden, and initiate a mesmerizing inquiry. Thus, a thousand human ways of narrating natures.


Now I shall speak of the sadness of flowers so as to feel more of the order of whatever exists. Before I do, I'll give you the nectar with pleasure, sweet juice that many flowers contain and that insects seek with greed.
The pistil is the flower's female organ that generally occupies the centre and contains the beginnings of the seed. Pollen is fertilizing powder produced in the stamens and contained in the anthers. The stamen is the flower's masculine organ. It's composed of the filament and the anther in the lower section surrounding the pistil. Fertilisation is the union of the two elements of reproduction-masculine and feminine-from which comes the fertilized fruit. "And Yah-weh God planted a garden in Eden which is in the East, and there he put the man whom He had formed" (Gen. II-S).
I want to paint a rose.
Rose is the feminine flower that gives herself wholly and such that the only thing left to her is the joy of having given herself. Her perfume is a crazy mystery. When inhaled deeply it touches the intimate depth of the heart
and leaves the inside of the entire body perfumed. The way she opens herself into a woman is so beautiful. The petals have a good taste in the mouth-all you have to do is try. Yet rose is not it but she. The scarlet ones are of great sensuality. The white ones are the peace of the God. It's very rare to find white ones at the florists: The yellow ones are of a happy alarm.The pink ones are in general fleshier and have the perfect color. The orange ones are produced by grafting and are sexually attractive. Pay attention and as a favour: I'm inviting you to move to a new kingdom.

 Clarice Lispector, Aqua Viva


A rose in flower, is, so to speak, only for the dilettanti; the gardener’s pleasure is deeper rooted, right in the womb of the soil. After his death the gardener does not become a butterfly, intoxicated by the perfumes of flowers, but a garden worm tasting all the dark, nitrogenous, and spicy delights of the soil.

Karel Capek,  The Gardener's Year, 1931


But the stagnation of the duckweed is not conceivable on the scale of the entire globe, where in any case the necessary equilibrium is lacking. It can be granted (theoretically) that a pressure everywhere equal to itself would result in the state of the rest, in a general substitution of heat loss for reproduction. But real pressure has different results: It puts unequal organisms in competition with ne another, and although we cannot say how the species take part in the dance, we can say what the dance is.
Besides the external action of life (climatic of volcanic phenomena), the unevenness of pressure in living matter continually makes available to growth the place left vacant by death. It is not a new space, and if one considers life as a whole, there is not really growth but a maintenance of volume in general. (...)
I insist on the fact that there is generally no growth but only a luxurious squandering of energy in every form! The history of life on earth is mainly the effect of a wild exuberance; the dominant event is the development of luxury, the production of increasingly burdensome forms of life.

Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy


Or again: in a Japanese flower arrangement, "rigorously constructed" (according to the language of Western aesthetic), and whatever the symbolic intentions of this construction as set forth in every guide to Japan and in every art book on the Ikebana, what is produced is the circulation of air, of which flowers, leaves, branches (words that are far too botanical ) are only the walls, the corridors, the baffles, delicately drawn according to the notion of a rarity which we dissociate, for our part, from nature, as if only profusion proved the natural; the Japanese bouquet has a volume; unknown masterpiece, as dreamed of by Frenhofer, Balzac's hero who wanted the viewer to be able to pass behind the painted figure, you can move your body into the interstice of its branches, into the space of its stature, nor in order to read it (to read its symbolism) but to follow the trajectory of the hand which has written it: a true writing, since it produces a volume and since, forbidding our reading to be the simple decoding of a message ( however loftily symbolic ), it permits this reading to repeat the course of the writing's labor.

Roland Barthes, Empire of the Signs