Blanchot on the Everyday

How many people turn on the radio and leave the room, satisfied with this distant and sufficient noise? Is this absurd? Not in the least. What is essential is not that one particular person speak and another hear, but that, with no one in particular speaking and no one in particular listening, there should nonetheless be speech, and a kind of undefined promise to communicate guaranteed by the incessant coming and going of solitary words. One can say that in this attempt to recapture it at its own level, the everyday loses any power to reach us; it is no longer what is lived, but what can be seen or what shows itself, spectacle and description, without any active relation whatsoever. The whole world is offered to us, but by way of a look. (14)

On the contrary, the everyday is always unrealized in its very actualization which no event, however important or however insignificant, can ever produce. Nothing happens; this is the everyday. But what is the meaning of this stationary movement? At what level is this “nothing happens” situated? For whom does “nothing happen” if, for me, something is necessarily always happening? In other words, what corresponds to the “who?” of the everyday? And, at the same time, why, in this “nothing happens,” is there the affirmation that something essential might be allowed to happen? (15)

Boredom is the everyday become manifest: as a consequence of having lost its essential–constitutive–trait of being *unperceived*. Thus the daily always sends us back to that inapparent and nonetheless unhidden part of existence: insignificant because always before what signifies it; silent, but with a silence that has already dissipated as soon as we keep still in order to hear it, and that we hear better in idle chatter, in that unspeaking speech that is the soft human murmuring in us and around us. (16-17)
Blanchot, Maurice. “Everyday Speech.” Translated by Susan Hanson. Yale French Studies 73 (1987): 12-20. Originally “La Parole quotidienne” in L’Entretien infini (1959): 355-66.