What Do They Say … / Philippe Charlier

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Listen! Look! Touch ! Feel and beware of your senses. This is the speech that these objects tore out of their roots. These objects which in themselves hide hidden secrets, reveal at the same time whoever wants to be interested in them, secrets of an unfathomable truth. They say that the world is much more complex than it appears. That death – this scandal in the eyes of humans – is not an end. That time does not exist (our yesterdays are tomorrow). That the breath, the force, the Word, the vital spirit … are only one and that it is he who animates the world. That this force is sometimes beneficial, sometimes dangerous. That one must beware of what is not right, and dread that which is too straight. That the devil lies in the details, but that perfection is hidden in the smallest defects.

They say, these relics, these fetishes, these sacred objects: even if you only remove an inch of my surface, you will never erode my strength, my power and my power. They say thousands of days and nights, palaver and meditation, horrors and graces, births and deaths. They say blood, oil and wheat. Dust and time. The wind that claws, the water that erodes. And the sun that crackles. They say the smallness of man (and his greatness, at the same time). They say hope and passion, fear and abandonment. The end and the beginning. The nothing and the infinite.

Philippe Charlier, MD, PhD, LittD, is a forensic practitioner and anthropologist. He works on representations of the human bodies, and rituals related to diseases and death. He loves words, and more.

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