Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia

In this essay of 1929, Walter Benjamin addressed the intersection between the creative act, altered states, and mind-altering drugs:

“In the world’s structure, dream loosens individuality like a bad tooth. This loosening of the self by intoxication is, at the same time, precisely the fruitful, living experience that allowed these people to step outside the charmed state of intoxication…It is a cardinal error to believe that, of “Surrealist experiences,” we know only the religious ecstasies or the ecstasies of drugs…But the true, creative overcoming of religious illumination certainly does not lie in narcotics. It resides inĀ a profane illumination, a materialistic, anthropological inspiration, to which hashish, opium, or whatever else can give an introductory lesson.”

Benjamin, W (1929) Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia. In Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, vol 2, 1927-1934. Cambridge. Harvard University Press.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: