JULIEN BISMUTH, 12.19.20:
I filmed this footage last year in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil. I like how the branch bends as they step out of the frame, bowing to fit the sudden slope of their descent. I like how their presence pierces and splinters the surrounding vegetation, then drops back into it at the end of the shot. But the word “like” is inadequate. The feeling I remember having when I filmed this scene was one of wonder.
In his lecture on ethics, Wittgenstein says that if he had to name an anchor point for his ethics, an instance wherein he “always felt pleasure,” it would be the following type of experience:
I believe the best way of describing it is to say that when I have it, I wonder at the existence of the world. And I am then inclined to use such phrases as 'how extraordinary that anything should exist' or ‘how extraordinary that the world should exist.’
To wonder is not simply to be in awe. It is also to question or to be interrogated by something. And to question is to think, inasmuch as to answer definitively is always to repeat what has already been established, what has already been said. The voice behind me on the screen behind me just asked “How does language perform?” Which leads me to a second quote from the same essay by Wittgenstein:
My whole tendency and, I believe, the tendency of all men who ever tried to write or
talk Ethics or Religion was to run against the boundaries of language. This running against the walls of our cage is perfectly, absolutely hopeless. Ethics so far as it springs from the desire to say something about the ultimate meaning of life, the absolute good, the absolute valuable, can be no science. What it says does not add to our knowledge in any sense. But it is a document of a tendency in the human mind which I personally cannot help respecting deeply and I would not for my life ridicule it.
Certain truths resonate more deeply when they run against the walls of their own gestation.