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STAY BAROQUE

Vesconte Maggiolo, portolan planisphere (detail), 1531, lapis lazuli, pigment, gold, and silver on vellum, 36 × 80 3/8".

ONE OF THE MOST innovative Western intellectuals of the twentieth century, Pier Paolo Pasolini, wrote in 1966 that we are often prisoners of sick words. He was talking about words that seem to be full of meaning but are in fact meaningless—or, perhaps more precisely, words that have vague and mysterious connotations but leave us very anxious because of their appearance of stability and coherence. Pasolini mentions three sick words—cinema, man, and dialogue—while insisting that there are many more. I think that Enlightenment is one of them. That we are prisoners of this word has already been shown by Foucault. However, addicted as he was to the idea of power, Foucault failed to recognize that prisoners are never fully imprisoned and that resistance is never solely determined by the conditions the oppressor imposes. After all, the revolutionary accomplishments of the

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