That which cannot be said
How does one begin to write? Or begin to speak, which under these circumstances, amounts to much the same thing? What sense can these lines make when we attempt to speak of that which cannot be said? Therein lies the greatest mystery: just being unable to associate a word with it does not mean that the that is not present, or that its presence is somehow upsetting to us. The gorilla is unable to speak and neither are we… for we have been struck dumb…but the image speaks. Its speaks and summons us to penetrate deep into its riddle.
Yes, that’s right, a riddle. Because what it comes down to is that on the borderline of the visible is where we realize that our highest faculty… the one that experts assure us is precisely that which sets us apart from the animals — stands revealed in all its sheer impotency. It is thanks to language that we are human, and at the same time, it is in spite of language. We are fated to speak and to fail when we approach that which cannot be conveyed by words.
What does it mean, then, to become human? To win? To lose? The gaze of the simian — which has not yet become anything — binds us inescapably to that question, and it is one that at times, can press with an unbearably vital urgency.
There is something in the gorilla’s gaze that fascinates, and we cannot escape the force of its attraction. What is it that it elicits from us? Perhaps it is the ability to recover something of the animal that dwells within us, and that keeps us in contact with life’s infinite flux. But perhaps we are also projecting our own desire and obscure yearnings into that gaze: that this mountain of muscle, that this mass of primitive instinct, that this face that looks so human to us, should be just at the point of beginning to speak.
Jorge Camón Pascual