Learning is to suck at the bones of the dead

I recently received a CD with the music to the film Tous les martins du monde, a biopic of the baroque musician Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe and his student Marin Marais. The booklet includes various texts of people that were involved in making the film and the music. Surprisingly I found a text that very nicely describes cumulative culture. What I would describe as accumulating information and knowledge, improving upon it, and passing on to the next generation, is much more artistically expressed by the following text of the author Pascal Quignard:

The world of imagination sends out its shoots into the real world, and in time the two worlds gradually interlace, ramify and increase. Art is so extraordinary. Survival is so extraordinary. They begin by consuming our mother in her womb, then we are nourished by her milk. We steal the language before her very eyes. We are all thieves. We invent sense in answer to her smiles.

To learn is to suck at the bones of the dead, crack them open, to whistle in the death of those who preceded us.

To live is to live as a parasite on their works, on the ruins and the memory of their works. We live surrounded by hallucinations which only barely conceal deprivation and absence. We are all precarious and desynchronised. We begin to early. We all die before we have fully ripened.
The source is always invisible.
Messages of truth flow through bodies, unperceived by the senders and receivers of those messages.

Pascal Quignard
Paris, October 2001

Looking for the CD? Here it is.