Bologna, 6 September 1999
by Luther Blissett Project
'The question obsessing me is: have I kept my promise? Without doubt, by my refusal and my critique I made some kind of promise. I am not a politician, by keeping my word I would not dispense any real benefit to anybody, and yet I am haunted night and day by the feeling that I have failed to keep a promise, one that is more important and necessary than those of politicians. Sometimes I am tempted to sacrifice literature itself, if only I could keep that promise. Maybe it is a mere repercussion of "male pride", however, there is no doubt that having lived in peace through the past twenty-five years of democracy - even getting advantages out of it in spite of my dissent - has long hurt my soul.'
(Mishima Yukio, 1970)
'When the enemy is frightened, his combativeness weakens, which creates a loss of timing. Even simple, ordinary gestures can be used to distract the enemy's attention. For example, throwing one's sword to the ground is part of the art of war. If you are really able in swordless fight, you will never be disarmed.'
(Munenori Yagyu, XVIIth century)
Many subjectivities of the Luther Blissett Project Italian columns have decided to greet the new millennium by committing seppuku, a ritual suicide. Suicide is the practical demonstration that Blissett gives up mere survival as a territorial, identitarian logic. Suicide is the ultimate and most extreme 'take to the bush' of this folk hero.
We are not advocating nihilism or relinquishment; rather, we are
choosing life. Seppuku is not *the* course of action, Luther Blissett
is a name that anybody can keep adopting also after next New year's
Day. There are countries where the fight has just begun, and we
surely hope it goes on.
Seppuku is our suggestion for those who have used the name for at least the past five years, so that they look for new styles of this martial art, and let the "newcomers" free to develop their own plans. We should be strangers in nameless lands: to someone else, this can be accomplished by adopting the LB multi-use name; to us "veterans", it is quite the opposite.
The Seppuku is not the end of Luther Blissett. It is the beginning of a new phase, a new way of using his face and name. For those who will commit it, Blissett's suicide will consist in giving up that signature and moving on to new conflicts. It is quite the contrary of what usually happens to suicides: they don't go anyplace, while their names are more oft-mentioned than before their death.
Seppuku is not a defensive move, to avoid the Multiple's spectacular recuperation or something like that. What has non identity cannot be recuperated. Blissett's purpose has always been infiltrating "mainstream culture" as a trojan horse and opening the city's doors to multifarious experiences. They owe a plenty of money to all of us, now we are entering the vault.
Thinking of Buddhist belief in reincarnation: the followers of the Awakened One do not believe in an immortal soul; none the less, they think that a person can reach the Nirvan once s/he's gone through several lives. Reincarnation without soul (as well as without identity) may seem a contradiction in terms, and yet it is conceivable, because every action of living beings leaves a trace, some sort of potentiality which, once the individual's earthly body is dead, produces the birth of another being.
Analogously, so that the tension which Blissett produced in the
past years can become incarnate in other experiences, the corpse
must release spores that are both infective and thaumaturgical.
Never the less, the Multiple has numberless bodies, many of them
will stay alive notwithstanding the death of some others.
Thanks to the Seppuku, "Luther Blissett" will go through different rebirths, all of them disengaged from the strict adoption of a name, for a name cannot help producing an identity. Whether this identity is singular or collective, real or virtual, historical or mythological is certainly not without consequences, but after a while it become something you need to get rid of.
As Zhuangzi reminds us: "The perfect man has no ego, the inspired man has no works, the wise man has no name".
And, as the matchless Cary Grant once put it: "It is better to leave a minute earlier, leaving people wanting more, rather than a minute too late, when people are getting bored."