The vastest and most profound of Sciences, that which indeed contains
all the others within itself whether they want it or not, ’Pataphysics
or the science of imaginary solutions was illustrated by Alfred Jarry
in the admirable person of Doctor Faustroll. The Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician,
written in 1897-1898 and first published in 1911 (after Jarry’s death),
contain both the Principles and the Purposes of ’Pataphysics, science
of the particular, science of exceptions (it being clearly understood
of course, that the world contains nothing except exceptions, and that
a “rule” is precisely an exception to the exception; as for the
universe, Faustroll defined it as “that which is the exception to
oneself”. The Science, to which Jarry dedicated his life, is
practised unwittingly by all mankind. Human beings could more easily
dispense with breathing than with Pataphysics. We find ’Pataphysics in
the Exact and Inexact Sciences (though nobody admits it), in the Fine
Arts and the Foul Arts, in every kind of Literary Activity. Open the
newspaper, turn on the radio or television, explore the Internet,
speak : Pataphysics!
’Pataphysics is the very substance of this world.
The College of ’Pataphysics was founded in 1948 (vulgo)
to study these most important and serious of all problems : the
only ones that are important and serious. Let there be no mistake: it
is not a question, as some simple minds who take Jarry for a satirist
seem to think, of denouncing human activities and cosmic reality; nor
is it a question of promoting a mocking pessimism or a corrosive
nihilism. On the contrary, it is a question of discovering the perfect
harmony in all things, and through this harmony the profound
concordance between people’s minds (or, equally, the ersatz which takes
the place of mind). It is a question of a few people doing consciously
what all others do unconsciously.
The College of ’Pataphysics addresses itself and can only address itself to a minority.
Its activities have an ambiguous character. The superficial observer is
amused, even delighted: he imagines he has come across a group of cruel
practical jokers, cynical or subtle irony, collections of pungent
curiosities, merciless exposures of pretence. Is he perhaps mistaken?
A closer look and a more prolonged acquaintance with these activities
will enable the observer to perceive that they correspond to a general
viewpoint and an entirely new psychology, beyond laughter and even,
perhaps, beyond smiling. Jarry was imperturbable.
The publications of the College of ’Pataphysics include a journal, under the title Viridis Candela and the subtitles Cahiers, Dossiers, Subsidia Pataphysica, then,during the Occultation (1975-2000), Organographes, Monitoires and L’Expectateur published under the responsibility of the Cymbalum Pataphysicum, then the Carnets trimestriels, LeCorrespondancier du Collège de ’Pataphysique, and currently Le Publicateur du Collège de ’Pataphysique.
Previously unpublished texts, learned studies, pataphysical
speculations, epiphanies (in the sense of Joyce) of non-deliberate
pataphysics, serials, research in progress, constitute the essential
part of it. With the passing of time, one notices that these works have
founded today’s understanding of Alfred Jarry, Raymond Roussel and
Julien Torma; that the College was the first to publish a play by
Ionesco (The Bald Soprano) or by Boris Vian (The Empire Builders),
or the exercises of the Oulipo, and that, with ever renewed subjects —
from the art of insulting to the life of the saints of the Pataphysical
Calendar, from spoonerism to merdicine, from detective
stories to Potential Politics, from the draught of Noah’s ark to the
celebration of Hair, from Homer’s irony to Gödel’s theorem, a veiled
treatise of Pataphysics shows through. Aberrance is universal and the
Science of it also. That is the reason why the College has expanded
itself into numerous Institutes out of France (Argentine, Milan,
Limbourg, Antwerp, Germany, Sweden, London, Spain, Naples, Low
Countries, China…). Translations and anthologies in Czech, Slovak,
Swedish, English, Italian, German, Deconstructionist, Polish, Spanish,
Dutch, Arabic, Chinese or Kosovar show that, according to His
Magnificence the Vice-Curator Founder, the world is, in its whole, the
true College of ’Pataphysics.
Properly enrolled Members of the College are entitled each year to receive four issues of Viridis Candela
and, also two Internal Publications that are not available for sale to
the public. These publications are not limited to pieces of writing.
Stamps, postcards, posters, cassettes, CDs, articles of clothing,
varied artefacts, or portfolios of original computer graphics have been
offered to the members. In addition, the said Members have the
right to wear the Insignia of the College by day as well as by night,
to participate in its Assizes and Private Manifestations, to make use
of the Pataphysical Calendar, etc. They have the opportunity, depending
on their merits (pataphysically speaking) or their state of seniority,
to be received into the Hierarchy, to become members of the Ordre de la Grande Gidouille and to be honoured by the College at their respective obsequies. Finally, they have the Privilege of paying phynancial fees to the College.