The Phantasmagorias Of The Night

August 8, 2019

Phantasmagoria is an ensemble of sensible and coherent impressions which gives a unique central notion, resulting from the conjugation of all impressions.

The phantasmagoria of the day is a result of primarily objective impressions. The [principal?] note is one of truth, good-sense, and human proportion.

The phantasmagoria of the night results from a great number of impressions that, in their great majority perhaps, do not correspond to reality…The [principal?] note is one of illusion, inconsistence; an illusion behind which there is no emptiness, and a mystery of proportions greater than man to which man is attracted and in which are hidden elements of supreme wisdom, maleficent and insidious surprises, and nefarious action, perceived only with difficulty.

The noises of the city are those of the machine. In the countryside, the sounds are principally those of the kingdom of nocturnal animals.

The various aspects of the night are repose, mystery, crime, and animal struggle; solitude and meditation; feasts held at night are more solemn than those of the daytime.

Daytime causes palpable reality to be seen in its clarity, coherence, and human proportion; everything in nature seems made in order to be known and directed by man, in order to be subject and adapted to him as to its king.

Rather than illuminating things that they might be seen as they are, the moonlight shines in order to show but itself; an extra-terrestrial atmosphere bathes everything.

The fatuous fires and radiance are brilliant, transitory, and arbitrary in the caprice of their unexpected appearance and disappearance…Though enchanting, their beauty is also bewildering, and would cause harm were they stable. Therefore, it is insidious…

In general, contrary to the light of day, the cause of this radiance is not obvious: because of this it gives the impression that it is a result of mysterious forces, extra-terrestrial and vexatious due to their very arbitrarity and intensity.

The shadows of the day are attractive, smiling, and without mystery. They are not the contradiction of light, but rather a harmonic contrast which helps to endure it.

Those of the night inspire contradictory sentiments. At one and the same time, they give us a tremendous nostalgia for the day and lead us to despise it as being meaningless and banal.

The principal noises of the day are those of man. Even those of nature have something proportional to him. It is evident that everything moves in function of him. The causes are evident. The beasts move themselves at the behest of the pacific routine of conservation and work.

Everything is silent at night. It is a silence in which one feels mystery, for it is not only the absence of the movement of living things, but also the feeling that a thousand things which sleep by day are moving without making noise.

This silence is interlaced with unexpected hummings and noises, or with tragic sounds. The animals which move about, were they large, would seem monstrous to us…or like something out of a fairytale, like the nightingale.

[E o mata-mata.] There is even something frightening and furtive about the routine flight of the birds. Retrospect and historical sense flourish at night.

Great feasts held at night are more solemn, from a certain point of view, out of co-naturality with that which is more pompous about the night than the day.

I know that they are illusions, but God created them to speak of Himself and of the anti-God.

O Universo é uma Catedral: Excertos do pensamento de Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira recolhidos por Leo Daniele, Edições Brasil de Amanhã, São Paulo, 1997, pg. 23.

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