God and evil: Alain Houziaux does the “Job”

I remember reading Jean Daniel’s esteem for the “Book of Job”, to which he often referred. A Protestant friend always has it with her and flips through it for a moment of meditation. I too, following their example, tried to read this biblical text from so far back in time and asking the essential questions. I did not succeed, the language, perhaps, a poor translation removing all poetry, all breath. So I gave up.

During a meeting with this friend, I told her about my failure and she lent me Alain Houziaux’s book Job, or the problem of evil. And it is a plunge into the history of this rich merchant to whom life smiles and who suddenly finds himself dispossessed of everything, fortune, family, esteem. He only has three friends left… and God. The question that Job asks, why me, what have I done ?, is deployed under several approaches, that of his guilt, expressed by his three friends, that of his personality, that of the nature of the God that he calls out. , especially that of evil.

God’s answers are not understandable if one takes a conformist and traditional point of view. But we are invited, in a text with a clear cut, to a completely new reading when it comes to the posture of Job, narcissistic, victimary with regard to what he endures without reason, he claims. sitting on his rubbish heap, and enigmatic arguments that God deploys in his answer. The evil that Job faces is absolute evil, evil for nothing. Contrary to what his friends want to persuade him. The question that the Book of Job it’s this one : “Is God the name to be given to Justice […] or is he the Author and the Cause of what is for us incomprehensible and absurd? “

In fact, for the author, there is no harm unless he is absurd, discordant, beyond comprehension and representations. It is a reflection on our possibilities of understanding the world, fragmented, constrained by our own limits. Finally, it is a completely new vision of God. Could he be the author of absolute evil, far from the avenging God of the Bible or the God of mercy, as he can show himself in the texts of the evangelists through the character of Christ?

Reading this text does not require any effort from us, it is clear and accessible, whether one is a believer or an atheist. It is exciting as it raises the question of the relationship between man and transcendence, of faith, in a new and enlightening way, stripped of religious vocabulary. We are here before this question of absolute evil, dealt with many times by philosophers. Spinoza, Nietzsche, Simone Weil could find their way in this courageous and invigorating reflection on the idea of ​​God and of evil. So, the two of us, Job!

Anne-Marie Leclaire Language therapist and engraver

Alain Houziaux Job, or the problem of evil. In praise of the absurd Editions du Cerf, 240 pp., € 18.


In the theater, “Saccage” gives flesh to political and utopian struggles

As they organize themselves to build a society of their dreams, four young characters find themselves in the grip of the threat of the state. Invisible but threatening specter, this one takes back its rights on the autonomous communities in full development. This is what author and director Judith Bernard calls the ” ransacking policy “. For an hour and a half, the protagonists plagued by this dramatic end debate and struggle.

They change and return according to the successive scenes and sets. Different by their context, the situations have in common that they seek political alternatives. Drawing on the experience of militant movements and the texts of intellectuals that preceded them, utopians build their enclaves and their own reflections under the eyes of the spectators.

ZAD, Kurdistan and University of Vincennes

In total, the four actors play around thirty characters, in fatigues in the Syrian battlefield, in loose clothing on that of the ZAD. There is the Situationist student who rejects everything (Jean Vocat), the Kurdish fighter who fears neither Daesh nor the Turkish army (Caroline Gay), the passionate Zadist (Pauline Christophe) and the bald man who becomes, by wearing a collar rolled up and glasses, Michel Foucault (David Nazarenko)…

The discussions first arise in a rather light tone, sometimes comical. The occupants of Notre-Dame des Landes organize their daily life and their resistance, the students of the University of Vincennes strain themselves on obtuse post-sixty-eight concepts. During the first scenes, the urgency is still distant. Then the pace picks up. By means of a ” arsenal rhetoric, legal, police, military “, the state annihilates the ” living spaces ” allowed by utopias. After more than an hour of heated reflections and discussions, they almost all come to naught.

« Rampage ”Does not forget, however, to be a popular and accessible play. The fourth wall is regularly broken by the actors, when they consider it necessary to return to the historical and political context of a situation. While his subject may sometimes seem sharp, the piece gives flesh to the concepts. It shows the concrete reality that the big words from the mouths of eminent political intellectuals carry for the lives of many activists.


“Calamity”, “Drunk”, “A dark, dark man” … Movies to see (or not) this week

Calamity, a childhood of Martha Jane Cannary by Rémi Chayé. Bursting with sumptuous colors and awe-inspiring landscapes, the Frenchman’s new animated film depicts the fantasized childhood of one of America’s most famous figures of the 19th century. Read the author’s interview. (Gebeka Films)

Drunk by Thomas Vinterberg. In the director’s new film, a group of teachers try to get a colleague out of his midlife crisis with vodka and counter philosophy. Predictable bromance.

A dark, dark man de Adilkhan Yerzhanov. Archetypal characters in a universe hyperstylized to the point of freezing. In a world of widespread corruption, Bekzat, a cop well suited to the system, begins to resist under the influence of a journalist with integrity.

A promise de Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio. From a 2015 news item, the De Serio brothers tell the hell of illegal work in the Italian countryside.

Babylon of Franco Rosso. Cult but not found for decades, the film punctuates the struggle of reggae against racism. It is now playing in France.


“Drunk”, baked in the ideas

In Thomas Vinterberg’s new film, a group of teachers try to rescue a colleague from his midlife crisis with vodka and counter philosophy. Predictable bromance. .

Symbolic mother, within everyone’s reach

From the historian, feminist and lesbian, of romantic relationships between women, one could expect strong support for assisted reproduction for all, and even surrogacy. It is however her strong opposition to these medicalized gestations that Marie-Jo Bonnet expressed before the National Consultative Ethics Committee, during her hearing in 2014. If she deplores the transfer of female power to scientists, she is ‘offended by the unbridled race of homosexuals towards normalization, at the cost of renouncing the subversive and transgressive nature of their sexual orientation, capable of attacking the foundations of patriarchy and its heterosexual norm.


The painful observation of this “Rebels” invited Bonnet to remind some, to reveal to others, the richness of “Symbolic motherhood”. It is by no means a question of surrogate motherhood, which would postulate the incompleteness or the suffering of any childless woman, but of a motherhood other than biological. Knowing and researching it would make it possible to resist societal injunctions to childbirth, which would be largely responsible for the desire for a child. Understanding this motive would free from all guilt those who refuse to comply with a supposedly natural destiny, would allow sterile women to evacuate any stigmatization of abnormality and for all to fully enjoy, without judging themselves selfish or underestimating themselves, of this. what does this other path bring: being yourself by creating yourself, “By favoring symbolic fertility”. A development that, according to the author, biological motherhood could not bring, as pointed out, in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir in the Second Sex. Proof: in the XVIIe century, Madame Guyon, a mother however, is overwhelmed by the symbolic motherhood which unites her to her spiritual son, Fénelon. As for the author, she thanks life for having given her symbolic mothers, to whom she dedicates this book; she thus offers us the story of her own rebirth, between spirituality and creativity, feminism and psychoanalysis, mysticism and writing. His experience makes this book eminently human, which some will find too intellectual to be accessible to an average readership.


In fact, the essay presents the facets of said motherhood by articulating, with audacity and brio, philosophy, esotericism, art, but also history and intimate autobiography. Such a link gives us a dive into the Women’s Liberation Movement, divided as to the very nature of motherhood, fractured by the symbolic motherhood that Antoinette Fouque intends to impose through it. It is necessary to have a certain talent and an unshakeable conviction to cross these lines of interpretation and pass without breaking from Socratic maieutics to “Technological matricide”, caused, according to Bonnet, by scientific modifications of reproduction. They lead, she believes, to an erasure of the female subject under the effect of medicalization, increased in the name – you – of commercial interests, inseparable from neoliberalism and globalization. This capture is doubled, according to her, in the case of “surrogate mothers”, a commodification of the female body, an exploitation of poor countries by rich countries.

The work calls as much on the richness of symbolic motherhood as on the complexity and risks of scientific discoveries, while the evocation of the happiness of these mothers – infertile or lesbians -, even of their “right to a child”, most often obscures them. Also the indictment of current maternity that the historian draws up neglects the affect and the desire for children of women – and of men who do not conceive of their life without paternity – just like the envy of couples of embody their love, to prolong it as well. The book is very silent on the joy of being a mother, seeing in it only the cause of depression and self-sacrifice, and forgetful – one will not fail to say – that nothing can replace the tenderness of a child, so absent in these pages, under the pretext that it owes its birth above all to societal pressure. The radical nature of these remarks will, without doubt, be controversial, all the more so as the essay, as brilliant as it is learned, is fascinating; it is no less disturbing, and that’s good!

Yannick Ripa Drawing Coco

Marie-Jo Bonnet Symbolic motherhood. To be a mother differently Albin Michel, 352 pp., 20,90 €.


Daniel Kehlmann: “We would be further if we left the hygiene theater”

WORLD: Many German politicians consider compulsory masks outdoors to be a sensible reaction to the rise in the number of infections.

Daniel Kehlmann: You can ask the virologists: They tell you that this is nonsense. A disease, which is primarily transmitted by aerosol infection, cannot be combated by wearing a mask outside.

WORLD: Aren’t you afraid that this purely symbolic politics will prevail?


Tour de France: “Is there anything better than this great summer soap opera?”

Guillaume Martin, himself captain of the Cofidis team, did it again last year. He wrote a philosophy of cycling. In “Socrates à Vélo” he imagines the philosophers how they would prepare for the Tour de France. It’s about dealing with performance, discipline and the desire to drive. Martin tries to bring the world of cycling closer to us through philosophical reflection on it. It’s a strange sport that philosophers ride in but also think about the philosopher.