“a kind of untouchable reserve of #incomprehensibility”

In the course of the conversation [with Hrant Matevosian, an Armenian writer] we cannot reach a conclusion about anything or find an answer to any question. I am reminded of the view of the French philosopher Antoine Cournot, that we do not resolve difficulties, we only displace them. “The art of clarification,”, says Cournot, “like the art of negotiation, is often simply the art of displacing difficulties. There is, one might say, a kind of untouchable reserve of incomprehensibility in certain things that the calculations of human intelligence are capable neither of removing nor of diminishing, but only of arranging this way or that, sometimes leaving everything in a half-light, at another time illuminating certain points at the expense of others, which are then submerged by a darkness even deeper than before.” – Ryszard Kapuściński, Imperium (1993, tr. Klara Glowczewska 1994)

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Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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