Call It Our "Philosophy"  ....
                                    " May God Us Keep From Single Vision And Newton´s Sleep "   ( William Blake )
 
ARCHIPELIC THINKING OR :  THE RIGHT  "  NOT- TO- BE- SEEN -THROUGH  "
 
 
 
 Q :  You call the thinking, that is as split and fragmented as the Caribbean  island world  , the " archipelic thinking " .  How  is this way  of thinking  defined?  
 
 
 
  A:    By diversity and  openness. A colleague  of  ours once said that the  unity  of the Caribbean is  submarine :   the sea separates  and  unites us  at the same time.
     It  is full of  ife and traffic. A  sea can be  more  alive  than  a frontier  between  neighbours.
   
 
 Q:    As  opposed to  that,  you set the " continental "  thinking? 
 
 
   A:   Yes. It  is dominated  by  the  idea of  unity. We find a classical  continental way of thinking in the Mediterranean:  the Mediterranean represents the opposite  of the Caribbean.
     The Mediterranean is  surrounded  by  land, and all is focussed  upon that. There is the  idea  of  The One and The Absolute. It  is  no accident that  the three  big monotheistic  religions have  emerged from here. The Caribbean, on the  other hand, is composed  of many  particles, all surrounded  by the sea. The Caribbean splits,  the Mediterranean  does concentrate. Even such  a small space  and quarreling continent  as  Europe sees  itself as a whole. The continental thinking  is systematic.
     Obviously there  were also  opposing  forces, based on intuition and  ambivalence, but these  they  kept  from the world.   Europe  has  never  exported  their heretics, mystics  and libertarians, but their cartesianism, empirism, dialectics, marxism.
  
 
 
 Q:  All these are   closed systems,  and in their sense mental  continents.
 
 
     A:      Woe to  you if you do not  conform with  them, then you are threatened by  the Gulags, the Inquisition. The continental  thinking can be  endlessly  fruitful, but in accord with  its   nature it remains  intolerant.  Archipelic  thinking   is  of  diversity .  It can never exclude  " the  other " , it  never becomes absolute  and therefore deadly.
 
  
 Q:  In an analogy  to  this, you  differentiate  between  native  and creole cultures. What  do  you  mean by these ?
 
 
  A:    Creolisation means  an intense  mixing of the cultures with the  results being   unpredictable. It  is  more a shock  than  an interchange , not a  mere synthesis, but almost   an alchemy. This  process  knows no  rules, no  aim,  no morals.
 
 Q:   It´s  precisely the creolisation that  cannot  be  turned  into  a system?
 
 
 A:    That is  impossible. 
 
 
 Q:  It´s exactly that  which   frightens the Europeans :  that there  be  no more certainties, no order and identity.
 
 
 
 A:   That   there could be  no center, no Mediterranean, this  still seems  to be  unthinkable  in the  West. But the whole world  is creolising . Europe needs to learn this new thinking.
 
 
 
 Q: Because  otherwise  the  Europeans  won´t  understand the world  anymore?
 
 
 
 
  A:  I am constantly  being asked: Permanent  mixing and  metamorphosis, how can this  work, where  is the truth left  in all that? But that  IS precisely the truth.
     And  it  is spreading.
 
 
 
 
  Q:  Does  it  bother you, that so called  multiculturalism has  become  some  kind  of  a  fashionable vogue now ?
 
 
 
   A:   I am  against  that  multiculturalism. Especially  in the USA,  it  is such  a trick  -   it  only   serves  to keep  the differences  up . It  is  not  enough to  concede to  the  other  his  difference. What  I claim is the human  right  to opaqueness:  I do not necessarily, compulsoryly  HAVE  to understand you in  order to be able  to  live   with  you.


 ( From an interview with  EDOUARD GLISSANT ( born 1928 ) , a writer from Martinique )