Consciousness Liter ture the Arts
Anna Bonshek, Per Brask, John Danvers, William S. Haney II, Amy Ione, Michael Mangan, Arthur Versluis, Christopher Webster, Ralph Yarrow
Culture, Consciousness and Identity
WIllIam S. Haney II
Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008
Cover Design: Aart Jan Bergshoeff The paper on which this book is printed meets the requirements of “ISO 9706:1994, Information and documentation - Paper for documents Requirements for permanence”. ISBN: 978-90-420-2389-5 ISSN: 1573-2193 ©Editions Rodopi B.V., Amsterdam - New York, NY 2008 Printed in the Netherlands
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: The Fall of Private Man in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party Chapter 3: Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros: Defiance vs. Conformity Chapter 4: Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia: Orderly Disorder Chapter 5: Discovering Happiness in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming Chapter 6: Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author: Being vs. having Form Chapter 7: The Reality of Illusion in Jean Genet’s The Balcony Chapter 8: Soyinka’s Integral Drama: Unity And the Mistake of the Intellect Bibliography Index of Names
159 177 183
dreaming and sleep. psychology. Consciousness and Identity Introduction
Drama and The Natyashastra The seven plays examined in this book focus on the difference between the experience of pure consciousness and our socially constructed identities and suggest how these two aspects of identity can coexist. The three ordinary states of consciousness are waking. physics and biology and increasingly focuses on the phenomenology of firstperson experience. and then toward having awareness per se simultaneously with the intentional content of the mind. which deals with theatre aesthetics. In analyzing these plays. I apply theories of consciousness developed in Advaita (nondual) Vedanta (the sixth system of Indian philosophy) and the Indian philosophical treatise The Natyashastra. Jean Genet’s The Balcony and Wole Soyinka’s A Dance of the Forests. Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. the fourth). and the higher states include the fourth state of pure consciousness (Atman or turiya. neuroscience. The seven plays analyzed here include Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party and The Homecoming. cosmic consciousness and unity consciousness. pure consciousness or
.Integral Drama: Culture. performance has the effect of taking the characters and audience from an awareness of something toward awareness per se. thereby providing a glimpse of higher states of consciousness. As these plays demonstrate. Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. as well as theories developed in the context of consciousness studies. a thriving interdisciplinary field that includes philosophy. Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. As Eliot Deutsch says in Advaita Vedanta.
Robert Keith Wallace notes in The Physiology of Consciousness that
In cosmic consciousness the individual realizes his essential identity as transcendental or pure consciousness as an all-time reality. Emptiness and Form are ‘not-two. As Robert Boyer explains. For example. Increasingly. are one. unchanging background of daily living. spaceless. even in the most dynamic waking-state activity. as the unbounded. original emphasis)
Anna Bonshek illustrates this through the analogy from the Vedic tradition of a Lamp at the Door that “describes the bidirectional function of awareness that illuminates inside and outside simultaneously” (2007: 45). that which is Form is not other than Emptiness. though appearing
. and eventually complete. transcendental consciousness coexists with waking. or Emptiness and the entire world of Form. (1993: 27. In this fifth state. and unthinkable.
Experience of unbounded awareness along with mental activity are natural experiences that typically develop over time. for Advaita Vedanta. or more technically. unchanging unboundedness. the fourth state of consciousness. thus entering the fifth state or cosmic consciousness. that is not different from Brahman and that underlies and supports the individual human person. is that pure. dreaming and sleep. (2006a. 440). in cosmic consciousness. where nirvana and samsara. there is a deeper realization.’ (2006: 108)
As Advaita Vedanta puts it. The individual ego or sense of self merges with the universal Self. timeless. “We find that pure existence which is the common cause of the entire world is itself formless. then one can observe mental content without being overshadowed by it.
Ken Wilber also describes this coexistence of transcendental and waking consciousness:
Mahayana Buddhism maintained that while the realization of nirvana or emptiness is important. the deepest inner sense of who one is gets permeated by nonlocality and fewer restrictions. (1973: 48)
When one has stabilized Atman.’ As the most important sutra on this topic—The Heart Sutra—puts it: ‘That which is Emptiness is not other than Form. the highest Self). one has an inner quality of consciousness that is restful and absolutely clear. undifferentiated self-shining consciousness.8
Integral Drama Atman (or paramatman.
but also highlights the uncertainty and illusion of ordinary experience in the field of duality by pointing beyond this dimension to a field of unity. He adds that the aim of the art of acting involves “the creation of this inner life of a human spirit. and it all moves of its own accord. drama theorists such as Denis Diderot and Constantin Stanislavsky allude to the phenomenon of actors witnessing their performances. subconsciously and intuitively” (13). though divisible in different forms.Introduction
in various forms. As discussed in the following chapters. “lives the part. and then to give to his experience an external embodiment” (1986: 15). not thinking about what he does. says the actor “must have in himself an unmoved and disinterested onlooker. while they simultaneously witness their mental activity and perceptions of the world. To further explain this phenomenon. The actor. and in the process exposes how this illusion derives mainly from our perceptions of “reality” devoid of the witnessing quality of awareness per se. not noticing how he feels. integral drama through a variety of techniques not only calls into question the truth-value of logic and reason. I now turn to the works of several authors who discuss the nature of identity and consciousness. In Theatre and Consciousness: Explanatory Scope and Future Potential. it is infinite though it appears in all finite forms” (Sharma 2004: 63). the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. He must have. and its expression in an artistic form” (14). in what is known as Diderot’s paradox. Diderot. penetration and no sensibility” (1955: 14). While Diderot focuses on the relation between actors and audience. therefore. consequently. regardless of his own will. for examples. In their descriptions of the process of acting. Acting thus entails a witnessing quality that not only occurs within the actor but also induces a similar experience in the audience. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe explains the link between higher
. creates intensely uncertain dramatic situations that may often seem illusory. Integral drama. Stanislavsky focuses on the actor’s awareness itself but also defines the actor as a disinterested onlooker: “an actor is under the obligation to live his part inwardly. giving the performers and audience a taste of awareness per se. partless. the internal observer. What distinguishes the seven plays examined here is that they induce in the characters and audience a glimpse of cosmic consciousness.
Christopher Hampton and David Mamet. The inspirational experiences of these artists across different genres reveal common characteristics associated with altered states of consciousness. and audience reception. ranging from the creative process. venue and theatrical experience. Meyer-Dinkgräfe begins his book by investigating the nature of inspiration and the creative process. production and reception. His book analyzes the relation of theatre to consciousness not only to enhance our understanding of theatre but also to reveal how theatre serves as a vehicle for developing higher states of consciousness. the Romantic poet William Wordsworth. which has also been investigated by the philosopher Ken Wilber. play. Meyer-Dinkgräfe also draws upon The Natyashastra and points out that theatre consists of two areas related to consciousness. aesthetics. These aspects in relation to consciousness entail a wide range of questions about theatre that he attempts to answer. Meyer-Dinkgräfe connects the reality of inspiration and the creative process to altered states of consciousness. which he approaches through a novel Eastern perspective on consciousness studies known as Vedic Science. and the novelist Franz Kafka. or enlightenment. designers. Meyer-Dinkgräfe provides ample counter
. As an explanatory basis for his analysis. director. I also invite further theoretical response and empirical research. He examines the experience of playwrights such Alan Ayckbourn. known as moksha in Indian philosophy. the actor’s involvement. actors. Although personally convinced of the arguments here. focusing especially on how theatre affects the spectator and why spectators react the way they do. his book provides an outlook on theatre to be taken up in an ongoing debate. spectators.10
states of consciousness and key aspects of theatre. which suggest that these states transcend the notion of a constructed self defined by contextualists as the sole basis of human identity. specifically in this case from the perspective of Advaita Vedanta. as well as of the composer Johannes Brahms. In response to critiques against inspirational experience. Like Wilber. Although Meyer-Dinkgräfe presents Indian aesthetics through Vedic Science with the disclaimer that he does not have the final answers to all the questions relating to theatre. which involve the following eight aspects of theatre: dramatist. Theatre and Consciousness demonstrates that a comprehensive answer to the key questions on theatre would have to address not only recent developments in consciousness studies but also The Natyashastra.
or the siddhis that he does gain symbolize all of them and therefore he does gain moksha. including the theories of Freud and Jung. For example. Prospero’s development hinges on his use of magic. Meyer-Dinkgräfe also draws upon Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad-Gita. refined cosmic consciousness. intellect. with each of the latter being associated with different modes of perception. desire. mind. but rather mirrors the process of cosmic creation on the level of the individual’s experience of pure consciousness. According to The Natyashastra. which correspond to the increasingly subtle states of consciousness. We can differentiate two aspects of consciousness in dramatic characters. given that he does not attain all the siddhis mentioned by Patanjali. dreaming. sleep. eternity. Similarly. ego and pure consciousness. unity. these faculties include knowledge. body sense. His magical skills parallel the powers or siddhis described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.Introduction
evidence from modern psychology. As examined here. We can see a detailed development of the different states of consciousness in the context of specific plays. and unity consciousness (as explained in greater detail below). who identifies various faculties involved in mystical experience. and thus like Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita restores
. in The Tempest. which he finally abandons. ranging from waking. The fact that a dramatist engages pure consciousness through creative inspiration suggests that this experience would naturally be reflected in the characters. joy and freedom. and the fact that he abandons them allows for two interpretations of his state of development: either he does not achieve enlightenment or moksha at the end of the play. cosmic consciousness. Clark. notably Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Hamlet. through he abandons these powers at the end of the play. Hamlet finally “accepts divine providence as the guiding principle of (his) life” (Meyer-Dinkgräfe 2005: 52). while the development of consciousness extends from waking to pure consciousness and beyond. On the basis of Advaita Vedanta. feeling. the ordinary states of consciousness include waking. As we shall see in the present book. the mind consists of increasingly subtle levels. light. ranging from sense. In analyzing Shakespeare. as well as from writers such as John H. pure consciousness. dream and deep sleep. the ordinary states of consciousness and the development of consciousness to higher states throughout the play. an artist’s creative inspiration is not a fantasy.
Grotowski and Artaud. According to Indian aesthetics. moreover. spiritual. Unlike Arjuna. which has the advantage of enlightened spiritual masters who can supply a methodological approach already proven to be effective. . critically explores modern drama in the context of Indian aesthetics as presented by The Natyashastra and Advaita Vedanta.e. Pinciano. including the theory of rasa or aesthetic rapture. Block. focusing specifically on how Indian theatre aesthetics has influenced drama theories and practice. Hamlet dies at the end in retribution for his mistakes. Mnouchkine. Brecht. Theories on this include those of Diderot. To elaborate on how rasa takes effect.
Rasa is here used to mean such bliss as is innate in oneself and manifests itself [. i. de Salas. Stanislavsky. or subjective. and to what extent this has promoted the development of higher consciousness in actors and audience. It may be advisable. This book. Given that dramatic characters usually undergo a change of consciousness. however. intrinsic. other traditions in Western theatre may offer similar techniques.] even in the absence of external aids to happiness. A review of some of the main principles of Indian aesthetics. While The Natyashastra discusses yogic techniques that condition the mind and body to function at higher states. Barba. whose spiritual development was guided by Lord Krishna. I will deal with empirical spectators. Integral Drama.12
cosmic order. Meyer-Dinkgräfe argues that drama theorists and performers need to develop a performative means to “ensure that the performer is enabled to experience higher states of consciousness during performance” (2005: 91). Given that theatre is
. but as yet these are hypothetical and need to be tested empirically. to follow the insights of the Indian philosophical and aesthetic tradition. Strasberg. will help in this approach. we can ask the question of whether or not actors should become emotionally involved with the sentiments of the roles they play. (Rhagavan 1988: 198)
The Natyashastra describes how fully developed actors can perform to create rasa in the spectator. Meyerhold. however. It emphasizes that the bliss is non-material. several modern theatre artists such as Ray Reinhardt have already taken inspiration from this treatise and from Indian philosophy in general. not just hypothetical constructs. . This book also addresses the prominent issue of the language of theatre.
One can therefore express whatever is latently available on the level of pure consciousness. behavior or culture. the pure consciousness event. known as yagya. a wakeful but objectless consciousness—should be viewed as decontextualized” (1998: 7. “the distinguishing mark of the pure consciousness event is that it is not described as an experience of something” (1999: 75. As mentioned in terms of Advaita Vedanta. presence and total theatre represents a search for an experience of higher states. and that the postmodern concept of the decentered self in Lacan also points in this direction (see Haney 2006: chapter 3). original emphasis). Forman. then those concepts and beliefs cannot play a formative role in creating the mystical experience(s). C. Overall. intellect. for a division no longer exists between pure consciousness and our (symbolic) expressions of it. Damastes.Introduction
often said to have its source in ritual. language of nature. takes a materialist. intuition and feeling. such as ego. are also more developed. postmodernism arguably suggests that the search for translumination. this book will explore the relation between theatre and higher states and demonstrate that one of the key purposes of theatre is to help the spectator access the pure consciousness event described in consciousness studies by theorists such as Ken Wilber. Demastes’ approach to theatre is similar to Meyer-Dinkgräfe. This forgetting model shows how at least some forms of mysticism—that is. takes an abstract. desire. Ted McVay and Owen Flanagan who define iden-
. a practice for attaining higher consciousness. mind. pure consciousness when established in cosmic consciousness can witness all mental and physical activity. Robert K. As Forman says. while Meyer-Dinkgräfe. whether in conscious discourse. the more expressed levels of the mind. and senses. At this stage. Jonathan Shear and others. bottom-up approach. however. theatre in tune with Indian aesthetics is understandable in terms of Vedic ritual. Moreover. Narratives and Identity I will now briefly analyze Narrative and Consciousness—edited by Gary Fireman. top-down approach to the link between theatre and consciousness. as does this book. original emphasis). He further explains in The Innate Capacity that “If one truly forgets all concepts and beliefs for some period.
the book agrees with the stance that “the portions of human consciousness beyond the purely somatic—self awareness. psychological. In order to avoid subjectivism. communicate or examine the self. but that in fact “narrative constructs the self” (5). The editors. and how it is realized (its neurobiology)” (4). In contrast to the stance held by perennial psychologists such as Robert Forman. Jonathan Shear and others.14
tity solely in terms of contextualization or narrative—in order to contrast the conventional modern understanding of identity with the Vedic tradition as applied in the following chapters. self-understanding. recognizing that each line of analyses has legitimate aims. this collection argues that narratives not only pervade our lives but are essential to conscious experience because the personal stories we construct about experience allow us to reflect upon our self-identity and communicate with others. narrative and autobiographical memory. Narrative and Consciousness deals with the role of narrative in the development of conscious awareness. conspicuously omit any mention of consciousness by itself. whether in theatre or fiction. that narrative not only allows us to describe. and the construction of self. autobiographical narrative. this approach implies that the self has no extra-linguistic dimension. In support of 20thcentury Western philosophers of mind such as Daniel Dennett who take an intellectual as opposed to a first-hand experiential approach to consciousness. and the neural substrate of narrative and consciousness realization. however. the authors intend to “corral consciousness by paying attention to how it seems (its phenomenology). are a public medium that can be
. (2003: 3)
In their approach to narrative and consciousness. The editors and contributors contend. what mental labor it does (its psychology). this volume employs what Flanagan calls the “natural method” to examine
the relations among the findings. and methods of phenomenological. In explaining how narrative relates to consciousness. and neurobiological analyses of narrative and consciousness. In contrast to the present book. narrative disruptions in the construction of self. Ken Wilber. therefore. fiction. focusing instead mainly on the content of consciousness. that it does not extend beyond the conscious content of mind as rendered by narratives. concepts. the editors explain how narratives. and self-knowledge—are products of personal narratives” (4).
argues that communicative discourse and the disposition to narrated events that impose meaning on behavior has the effect of expanding a child’s consciousness. but also that a child’s selfhood emerges through continuous narrative activity that promotes linguistic and cognitive development. in spite of what some philosophers claim to be the incommensurability of science and phenomenology. Nelson concludes that “A new level of consciousness emerges in the early childhood years that is based on the differentiation of the self-awareness of the early years and the selfand-other awareness of the transition period” (2003: 33). who critically examines how narrative promotes the emergence of consciousness as related to the self. This meaningmaking process fosters a child’s affective development by enhancing
. It helps the child develop a sense of self and become aware of the social world of subjective experience. This leads to an analysis not so much of narrative and consciousness per se. To its credit. This new consciousness depends on language and communication with others. we are influenced by an audience. Valerie Gray Hardcastle argues that not only does narrative foster the emergence of consciousness in childhood.Introduction
observed. the book focuses on already established research based on “credible naturalistic analysis” (ibid. the book presents an interdisciplinary approach to narrative and consciousness sensitive to a “phenomenological seeming” yet restricted by the intellect through the empirical findings of psychology and cognitive science (2003: 6). Similarly. therefore. shared and influenced by their cultural contexts.). Any time we tell a personal story. although in coordinating science and phenomenology it restricts itself to that realm of experience available only through narrative. In one sense. either present or anticipated. not on the experience of awareness per se. A child from the beginning attempts to understand the world by assigning meaning to it. but to an analysis of narrative and the contents of consciousness. Following the work of Owen Flanagan. which results in tensions between real events and how we rhetorically re-present them to others in an effort to persuade. The book challenges this conventional view. the book attempts to coordinate phenomenological and scientific approaches. Narrative in this case belongs to the developmental stage of the child’s entry into a linguistic community. Katherine Nelson.
Any “full-blown” autobiographical narrative depends on the integration of neurological and psychological elements. but instead of relating the self solely to its neural or subatomic quantum level she examines autobiographical memory in terms of its sociocultural.] As we tell and retell stories of ourselves either [ . . making them more and more a part of who we are. David C. [. historical and political contexts. and cul-
. Rubin and Daniel L. a Western approach that does not address the nature of consciousness itself as the witness of language. Rubin and Greenberg. Smith analyzes the interrelation between narrative and its material context in the case of an autistic woman. both Nelson and Hardcastle take a conventional view by focusing on the content of consciousness.] we are in effect shaping our memories of these events. They conclude that
for research on autobiographical memory and recollection. tend to reduce the narrative self to brain functioning and behavior rather than examining the self in terms of consciousness as a state of Being.
In a sense. the relative role of the brain as a metaphor is shrinking in relation to the role of the brain as physical entity about which a great deal is known. Greenberg explore the role of narrative in autobiographical memory. . They examine individuals with neurological impairments such as autism in order to understand the relationship between bodily structure and its cultural context. like the other authors of this volume.16
his or her conscious awareness of the surrounding world. . In exploring the connection between autobiographical memory and scientific studies. self and meaning. Hardcastle shows how
memory and cognition become instrumental processes in the service of creating a self. experience. (2003: 77). (2003: 47)
As we shall see in contrast to the present study of drama. Sidonie Smith also takes a constructivist approach to identity. The authors illustrate this by comparing normal adults to those suffering from damaged neural systems vital for recollection to succeed. Rubin and Greenberg analyze how the recollection of personal events by adults involves two things: narrative reasoning and the support of multiple neural systems in the brain. The elements that constitute autobiographical subjectivity such as language. . Similarly.
as Smith argues. Humbert’s design reveals a conflict within him regarding the ethics of being both a character and the narrator of his surreptitious activity. more so than “the fiction/reality opposition tends to convey” (127). she like the other authors in this volume does not tackle the question of how the self can also escape its cultural context. In analyzing the retrospective pseudoautobiography of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. This position at least hints at the unbounded nature of consciousness and the ability of the self to transcend the limits of language and narrative. does not obviate narrative reality. as if they had died in the concentration camps yet paradoxically continued to live a semblance of life. but no evidence suggests that they constitute consciousness per se. In one example. Lawrence L. this reconstruction of the past does not undermine the capacity of narrative for depicting reality or historical truth. focusing on the ethics of representing the content of consciousness. We also live in the time of stories. Langer analyzes how the suffering of Holocaust survivors affected their autobiographical narratives. relate to our socially induced identity.Introduction
ture may. (2003: 125)
He thus concludes that autobiographical narrative is quite complicated. The authors also explore how a breakdown in the construction of self results in a corresponding disruption in personal narrative. Although she emphasizes how the storied self is situated in culture. James Phelan expands upon this narrative fusion between fiction and nonfiction. Mark Freeman argues that even though autobiographical narrative may falsify experience through its literary elements. in other words. and through this time it is sometimes possible to see things and to feel things that could not be seen or felt earlier on. Freeman argues that
we do not live only in the time of clocks. The aesthetics of fiction. as exemplified by the plays analyzed below. he focuses on the dual identity of the protagonist Humbert Humbert who is a represented character as well as a representing character with the conscious agenda of trying to persuade the audience to be sympathetic toward his relationship with Lolita. The intensity of such suffering causes the victims to be obsessed with death long after their trauma. Langer shows how a victim has to find “a way of expressing the idea
many people throughout the world have had ineffable experiences beyond ordinary waking consciousness and the conceptual. and hope that their study will encourage others to understand human engagement with losses and conflicts. results in improved well-being.18
that the meaning of one’s life can no longer be separated from the meaningless death of others” (2003: 163). as Forman puts it. original emphasis)
Unlike a socially constructed identity based on narrative. resulting in the book Grassroots Spirituality: As they discovered. would prevent loss and conflict to a much greater extent. therefore. While this proposal has its value. Neimeyer and Finn Tschudi examine how people who experience troubles and conflicts tend to express themselves through disrupted narratives. original emphasis). then we must leave room for a consciousness that is not part of intentional thoughts and perceptions so it can tie them together. as suggested by the World’s Contemplative Traditions. As Forman explains in The Innate Capacity. (1998: 17. any parts or elements would be known only by consciousness” (1998: 24. aesthetic experience (rasa) or mystical revelations. They suggest that such therapeutic techniques would benefit the Western criminal system and argue that “the social construction of crime in Western cultures reinforces a dominant narrative of conflict as an offense against the state and the appropriate societal response as one of retribution” (185).
That we must tie all percepts and thoughts together Kant calls the ‘supreme principle of understanding. Robert A. narratable content of the mind. Similarly. The conceptual state of mind does not encompass the unsayable dimension of the sublime. they argue. an experience of consciousness per se beyond narrative. Grassroots Spirituality While socially constructed identity may indeed depend on a variety of narrative genres. this
. consciousness is decontextualized because it is without parts.’ If he is correct. In 1997 Robert Forman and his team of colleagues received a generous grant from the Fetzer Institute to conduct research on the range and extent of what they call the Grassroots Spirituality Movement in the United States. particularly in a clinical setting. “I cannot phenomenologically tease out its constituent parts or elements. Improved coherence in personal narrative.
Grassroots spirituality involves a vaguely panentheistic ultimate that is indwelling. Taoists. Renewal Jews. Forman found that spirituality carries the “inner” overtones associated with Western and Eastern schools of meditation. (2004: 54)
. Elija. was to “determine if this loose gaggle of seekers could communicate or develop into something like a community across the great religious divides” (2004: 18). between a third and a half of all Americans say that their lives have been seriously impacted by spiritual experience. On the basis of extensive interviews with people from a wide range of religious and spiritual backgrounds. thus pointing to an introvertive experience that is not strictly rational. In fact. Through extensive interviews. the spirituality in business consultants. One purpose of his study. and so on” (2004: 17).Introduction
movement includes “Buddhists. a new profession has emerged consisting of “spiritual leaders and teachers” who help people develop through their own first-hand spiritual experiences beyond narrative accounts. spiritual healers. Esoteric Christians. 59% of Americans consider themselves both spiritual and religious. and 41% say they have had a miraculous experience. In the tentative definition Forman offers. meditation or other exercises to reduce stress. Most of these experiences in their immediate first-person dimensions transcend narrative expression. which is primarily non-traditional. Jesus. 12% have had personal experience of a spiritual figure such as God. Forman speculates that we may find a way to solve the ancient religious conflicts that have plagued humanity throughout its history. Neo-advaitan meditators. Forman writes. as the deepest self and accessed through not-strictly-rational means of self transformation and group process that becomes the holistic organization for all of life. while 20% considered themselves only spiritual. Mary or Buddha. is that it does not form a hierarchy but rather a collection of spiritual seekers from all walks of life. with signs of Grassroots Spirituality erupting everywhere across the US and around the world. 23% say they regularly practice yoga. If so. sometimes bodily. As Forman’s book documents. Forman and his team found that grassroots spirituality developed more or less spontaneously among ordinary people without a founder or the organization of a singular leadership. A remarkable thing about this leadership. moreover.
The analogy he gives is that all the fish in the ocean are constituted entirely by the ocean. In describing the panentheistic ultimate that is immanent within yet transcendent to the individual. then ‘It’ lives me” (2004: 55). beyond our usual apprehension of space and time. It is the hidden aspect of nature. a Muslim Sufi leader describes the panentheistic as follows: “Spirit is behind everything. a Jewish respondent describes the panentheistic spiritual ultimate as “a formless. but the ocean. Buddhists. the evidence provided by Grassroots Spirituality supports the conclusions of Forman’s earlier book. Everything is a crystallization of spirit. is panentheistic to them. This sounds like a negative expression. being in touch with the living energy. It’s something that is one. that is. It is through this negation that life emerges. For example. “Buddhism talks of mind and body disappearing. including Christians. Mysticism. The spirit is the source behind everything we see.” a Buddhist respondent says. Consciousness. instead of being limited to the fishes. People from all cultural. He concludes that while the Grassroots Spirituality Movement springs from every major religious and spiritual tradition around the world. eternal reality that lies at the heart of all forms.” Similarly. panentheism is the doctrine “that all things are in the ultimate. Jews. it shares a worldview and set of experiences of far greater depth and specificity than previously understood. Muslim Sufis. Yoga teachers. Eco-feminists and many others. When as the Buddhists say. for instance.” Contributing to this “majority report. contrary to claims by constructivists such as Stephen Katz. that spiritual experience. but that one principle is not limited to those worldly phenomena” (52). you disappear. It’s like quietness within. Spirituality is looking beyond the surface. A Native American. But it’s not nihilism.20
Not to be confused with pantheism (which holds that the deity is the universe and its phenomena). Not everybody fits within this majority report. Indeed. Mind. Forman provides testimonies from people of diverse religious traditions and spiritual paths. did not describe a single panentheistic principle but a series of links or a web inter-
. the still point of the turning world. practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique. the invisible energy behind it all. trans-rational experience based on a pure consciousness event. religious and spiritual traditions share common panentheistic experiences. is not a linguistic or cultural construct but rather a trans-cultural. all things are made up of one single principle.
Many corporations and hospitals now provide counseling centers. and the rise of the feminine. Spirituality is now championed in the business world as an answer to morale problems. which he attributes ultimately to the possibility of “an innate human drive for spirituality” (2004: 132). and Hindus. particularly the workplace. Each of these may regard Grassroots Spirituality as the offspring of its own tradition. and the disillusionment with the American dream. Havurah Jews. moreover. but that would be a mistake. As Forman says. Forman suggests that the cause of Grassroots Spirituality is “over-determined”. Added to these causes is the growing support for spirituality in society’s institutions. the influx of lay as well as priestly non-European immigrants to America. Forman illustrates how the Grassroots Spirituality Movement draws from nearly all the religions and nontraditional spiritual groups. the baby boomers and the 1960s revolutionaries. Transpersonal psychologists. the bastard child of all and none of them” (2004: 93). Chinese Buddhists. Burmese. including the Men’s movement. Aromatherapy. however. People are increasingly disillusioned with work. it has many intersecting causes ranging from the attempt to overcome the alienation caused by demographic shifts from the rural to the urban and exurban. Forman identifies a perennial cause. By using Venn diagrams. including many independent religious rivulets. as well as millions of the unaffiliated. Sufis. In addition to these historical causes. which in-and-of-itself is unable to satisfy the individual. This Movement. “Grassroots Spirituality is its own thing. TM. Theosophy.Introduction
connecting all of us. including Vietnamese.
. the declining faith in science and rationality. Everybody in the Grassroots Spirituality Movement. longs for the intuitive or “not-strictly-rational” side of life largely neglected by narrative accounts and the rational worldview of modern science. Christian contemplatives. He compares this movement to an ocean fed by a vast variety of spiritual rivulets. has many dialects. Ramana Maharshi. day care centers and meditation rooms to help foster people’s well-being and spiritual growth. Traditional Judaism. all contributing to a “stew of religions”. and others facets beyond the immediate boundaries of the Venn diagram. each overlapping the other on the introvertive level. a loosening of family ties. that is. disenchantment with the Church. changes in gender roles.
” and enjoy our common panentheistic ground while at the same time exploring our differences (173). As Forman says.22
fatigue and stress. reflecting some imperfect match of a soul’s purpose and a body’s conduct. seems more like an ‘It’ than a ‘He’ or a ‘She. Forman argues that Grassroots Spirituality provides an opportunity for the world to transcend its differences and unite on the basis of what he calls a “trans-traditional spirituality” (173). theatre also achieves this integration through a trans-traditional process.
the ultimate. Millions of readers from around the world will be uplifted by the knowledge that their own
. Forman offers a realistic plan for achieving this integration through the organization of trans-traditional processes. (208)
Forman’s book provides an objective and insightful report on one of the most significant social developments in recent history. These include ongoing local gatherings. In Grassroots Spirituality. Instead of being divided by our different traditions. integrating these local conversations within a national infrastructure—while always focusing on process instead of content. Not since the Middle Ages has the world seen the kind of spirituality movement that he describes. As Integral Drama will demonstrate. we may have to decide whether health problems are the product of bad genes and environmental exposure. . no matter what social role or station we enter or where we move. (2004: 152)
Modern medicine he concludes seems to be moving toward accepting spirituality as a tool for healing.” recognize that these depths can encourage us to grow “beyond any single path. [but] a much more integrated and immanent panentheistic presence. non-dogmatic conversations between spiritual groups. we should come together “in the light of our common spiritual depths.
At some point. moreover.’ The ‘It’ here is no longer some personalized and judging God-figure. His survey of this modern phenomenon graphically illustrates the power of consciousness to know itself through a broad range of interconnected spiritual avenues. or if they stem from more transcendent causes. when it is identified. It is directly available to each and every mind and heart. . Health care is shifting in its orientation to include self-help through yoga and meditation.
The “It” and “Its.” moreover. not merely subjective but intersubjective awareness. The lower left or “We” quadrant consists of the relations between one “I” and other “I’s.” which constitute the exterior realm. consists of “your own immediate thoughts. The upper left. felt energy phenomenologically expands from gross to subtle to causal. cells and organs systems. the interior awareness and shared feelings of groups. As Wilber puts it. sensations. The objective upper right quadrant thus consists of what subjective awareness looks like to objective science. or ‘it’ fashion” (2006: 20-21. The Natyashastra.” “We.’ for example. or an integral operating system. or body to mind to spirit.” The “I” and “We.Introduction
panentheistic experience is shared by many. While the lower left is the cultural dimension. has an exterior. the self unfolds from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric. its material components. belong to the upper right objective and lower right interobjective quadrants. which constitutes the lower right quadrant. DNA.” representing not the individual but group or collective consciousness. its matter and energy. the ‘we’ expands from egocentric (‘me’) to ethnocentric (‘us’) to worldcentric (‘all of us’). 3rd-person. In his recent book Integral Spirituality. and its concrete body—for all those are items that can be referred to in some sort of objective. feelings. Every “We. Each of the four quadrants shows development or evolution. and the unsayable states of consciousness beyond narrativity. phenomenological and the lower left cultural or intersubjective. the behavior of groups studied through third-person science. or “I” quadrant. the neurotransmitters. hermeneutic quadrants respectively. In the Lower Left. just as the experience of awareness per se in theatre is shared by spectators. and so on.” and Its.” “It.” while the upper right quadrant is “what any individual event looks like from the outside. The Four Quadrants In support of Forman’s research. This especially includes its physical behavior. Ken Wilber develops “the integral approach” to life based on the four quadrants.” which constitute the interior realm. belong to the upper left or subjective. This expansion of group awareness allows social systems—in the Lower Right—to
. the lower right is the social dimension. In the Upper Right.
In the Upper Left or ‘I. he defines the four quadrants as consisting of the “I. original emphasis ).
and postmodernism on the cultural lower left quadrant. While modernism tended to focus on the upper right objective exterior quadrant. including the lower left cultural. Although the phenomenological core of the Wisdom Traditions were savaged by modern epistemologies. not just in social systems of the lower right quadrant as argued by modernists. the interior of the individual with all the stages “of consciousness.24
Integral Drama expand from simple groups to more complex systems like nations and eventually even to global systems. Modernist epistemologies demanded of the Wisdom Traditions empirical evidence. [. original emphasis).] It is a reflexive or self-referential form of knowing. have been rejected by modernity and postmodernity. Postmodernity. (1999: 118. integral methodological pluralism “can reconstruct the important truths of the contemplative traditions” (2006: 49. Wilber salvages the great wisdom traditions by situating them in an integral framework that includes the premodern. however. realization. (2006: 23. . and spiritual experience” (2006: 44). modern and postmodern realizations. original emphasis)
Wilber shows that the upper left quadrant first emerged in the Great Wisdom Traditions which looked at the “I” from the inside. the Great Wisdom Traditions specialized in the upper left quadrant. These truths include the five natural states of consciousness of the wisdom traditions: waking. intersubjective and upper left subjective. He notes that although contemplative traditions do not free individuals from their culture. I know my consciousness and I know that I am and have been conscious simply because I am it.
. argued that all perceptions are really perspectives embedded in bodies situated in cultures. original emphasis)
The upper left quadrant truths of the premodern Great Wisdom Traditions. . because and only because I am or ‘have’ that consciousness. what it is to ‘have’ ‘my’ consciousness. Forman refers to self-awareness in the upper left quadrant as knowledge-by-identity:
In knowledge-by-identity the subject knows something by virtue of being it. which rejected premodernity and modernity both. Wilber argues that every epistemological occasion has four quadrants. I know what it is to be conscious. As we shall see. these epistemologies were themselves monological and did not draw upon the four quadrants in defending their interpretations of truth. phenomenological quadrants. which they were ill-prepared to provide.
emotional and spiritual—must be exercised in the I. original emphasis)
The upper left quadrant.
. first-person immediate experience of consciousness. the integral model now claims that any physical event associated with the upper right quadrant is really influenced by all four dimensions. such as that induced by the plays discussed below. 1st-person experience. Wilber concludes that all levels of existence—physical. This integral model has in recent decades been adopted by many disciplines. to causal phenomena (‘There is only vast emptiness. witnessing (turiya or the fourth state) and nondual (turiyatita). an infinite abyss’) to nondual (‘Divine Emptiness and relative Form are not two’). As we shall see in the plays discussed below.Introduction
dreaming. and the governance of social systems (Wilber 2006: 27-29). psychological understanding. The cure for physical illness depends on research into all four quadrants. While conventional medicine deals mainly with the upper right quadrant. (2006: 76. Businesses today put emphasis on individual behavior. culture. mental. As Wilber says. therefore. Similarly. but first person states (zone #1 [seen from the inside]). phenomenal states in many types of meditation are said to unfold from gross phenomena (‘I see rocks’) to subtle phenomena (‘I see light and bliss. the integral model has also been employed in business. including medicine and business. has two zones: zone #1 is the direct. deep sleep. zone #1 in the upper left quadrant constitutes the witnessing or awareness per se aspect of the performer and spectator’s subjective experience. The latter two states are variations on the ordinary states induced by meditation as well as aesthetic experience (rasa). with the upper right being only a quarter of the story. we and it quadrants—the self. while zone #2 constitutes the witnessing of a particular conceptual content. cultural management. These are not 3rd-person structures (seen by zone #2 [from the outside]). nature and society—for maximum development toward truth and happiness. while zone # 2 is a first-person conceptual reflection on that experience. which now needs to address the four environments or markets for a product to be successful. I feel expansive love’).
in my direct. such as that based on the perception of a play.
gluttony and intemperance that impels the other characters to transmogrify into beasts. a unity-amidst-diversity through which the self as internal observer can witness the contents of the mind and the perceptual world. Berenger has the strength of character to remain an individualist by not joining the happy throng of less sensitive people. Through the confrontation between Stanley and Goldberg and McGann.26
The Plays Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party presents Stanley as a character who has opted out of conformity to a social community and attempts to live a life of freedom. Berenger alone manages to resist rhinoceritis by not conforming to the urge to give up his humanity and become a rhino like each the other characters. also intuit the possibility of such an experience. Berenger and through him the audience gain access to the coexistence of pure
. Although the play shows the absurdity of defiance as much as the absurdity of conformism. Having rejected his socially constructed identity. only Berenger has the self-sufficiency to avoid the over-indulgence. Through Berenger’s taste of the void of conceptions beyond cultural constructs as displayed by his selfless support of the best interest and wellbeing of others. only Stanley experiences an epiphany of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. although in their anxiety to conform to their community they don’t take advantage of this possibility like Stanley. the audience also glimpses a state of unity beyond duality. The real freedom of a unified. In Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. In the opposition between consuming to sustain biological existence and desiring to consume as a means of wish fulfillment. Goldberg and McGann. until Goldberg and McGann invade his privacy and attempt to reintegrate him into the community from which he managed to escape. however. Of all the characters in The Birthday Party. Stanley attempts to rediscover the natural self he enjoyed during his stint as a pianist. transpersonal self approached by Berenger and the spectators derives from a sense of the connection between the local field of matter and action and an underlying nonlocal field of mind and consciousness. namely a glimpse of pure consciousness as a void of conceptions in the upper left quadrant. He shuns the outside world and its immeasurable demands on him by withdrawing into the silence and peacefulness of his subjective world. Pinter moves the characters and spectators toward an experience of the unsayable secret of theatre.
represents Romanticism through her scientific outlook and emergent affection for her tutor Septimus Hodge. but involves a coexistence of Emptiness and Form that characterizes a taste of cosmic consciousness. namely that of a rhinoceros. which undercuts Newtonian physics. rationality and nonrationality. but rather a transcending of the separate-self sense to a transrational. transverbal experience. Hannah Jarvis. Newtonian determinism and the chaos of Eros ultimately leads the characters and audience to a taste of unity as embodied by love. Harold Pinter portrays Ruth as a character who defies the stereotype of a conventional woman. This experience for characters and audience alike may be momentary and fragile. in the end she and Thomasina grow toward a genuinely spiritual domain that does not involve the rejection of the physical or a pseudo union of a regressive stage of development. Although Hannah rejects Romanticism. When her philos-
. Stoppard juxtaposes the dimensions of time and timelessness. In The Homecoming. In the 1809-12 setting. while Berenger exhibits an increased ethical discernment based on a greater purity of consciousness. The rationalists operate out of ordinary self-interested cravings. the thirteen-year-old genius Thomasina Coverly. the dream-like nature of reality. illogical argumentation and duplicitous wrangling between friends that swing their awareness between an ordinary state of mind and a more highly developed spiritual consciousness. The audience in Ionesco’s Rhinoceros gains an aesthetic experience (rasa) through devices such as absurdity. The duality set up by the opposition between classical and Gothic landscapes. the structure of the play dramatically juxtaposes two historical periods—1809-12 and the present—while also integrating two aspects of physics. the lead female character. an author doing research on the Coverly estate. reason and feeling. the leading female character. intuition and logic. transrational experience of freedom even from within the boundaries of time.Introduction
awareness per se and the world of duality by not clinging to the desire for the sensory pleasures of a specific Form. Taking us beyond the limits of time. Enlightenment and Romanticism. In the contemporary setting. In Arcadia. Isaac Newton’s theory and Chaos theory. represents a neoclassical attitude based on Newtonian physics and a denial of feelings. heart and mind. thereby inducing in the characters and audience a transpersonal.
Pirandello confronts the issue of finding truth or determining whether or not it exists. rather she achieves a trans-linguistic.
. that one can know truth by being form as part of an immediate experience. Like Stanley in The Birthday Party. but he resists the fixity of a form that traps him in a particular moment in life that can be judged by others. while being form implies an immutable (neverchanging) and eternal identity.28
opher husband Teddy brings her to his parental home in London to meet his father. Having form implies continual change in an impermanent world. her position in a demanding male world is not only ambiguous but violates every rule in the male book of female subservience. like ordinary people and actors in the play. like the other characters as opposed to the actors. In Six Characters in Search of an Author. Ruth does not represent a female ideology that will become the norm so much as a transcendence of all ideology in a world of rapid change. Six Character suggests. but to understand or narrate truth within the context of language and reason involves the process of having form. they try to sexually dominate her. on the basis of which each individual would interpret “the truth” differently. therefore. which they often don’t recognize or try to deny. uncle and two brothers. The Father. like the characters who feel compelled to find an author and thereby actualize their form. The audience of The Homecoming can sense that although the men seem to exploit Ruth. Although in the end Ruth abandons Teddy and remains in London with his family. Ruth transgresses the norms of a patriarchal society because of her inner strength of character. is form. but at the same time they have an innate. In ordinary cultural and social contexts. people may have no fixity of form. and being form.” Pirandello distinguishes between having form. not only tapping into pure awareness but also showing evidence of experiencing a coexistence of Emptiness and Form through her ability to remain detached while engaging the men in their pseudophilosophical debates. Truth no doubt exists but remains beyond the reach of the ordinary intellect. trans-logical dimension of identity. as Mark Musa spells out in the “Introduction. She establishes a self not in imitation of the male self tied to philosophical debate or the domination of others. achieving a level of unity within herself through which she can witness the world of Form represented by a male community. namely pure awareness. immutable form within the mind. she turns the tables on them by liberating herself from the force of their abuse.
. Although Genet’s The Balcony. Madame Irma’s women can not only make the men feel either good about themselves or undermine their illusions. can distance themselves from these fantasies and thereby witness them through a glimpse of the coexistence of the internal observer and all the roles that substitute for our true identity. the men glorify themselves. accept their performance as illusion because they sense that all activity is illusory. judges or generals and lording it over the prostitutes who play their opposites—a process through which they attempt to become desirable commodities. Martin Esslin argues that Genet is not condemning lawyers. but one can also reflect upon this experience afterwards through zone #2. the Directors and actors find it difficult to represent reality because they are lost in the field of change with no access to witnessing consciousness. but they have much less control over the situations they enact than do the women. As the play suggests. bishops and generals merely for lusting after power but is also dramatizing their sense of impotence within a social hierarchy. as well as the audience. In each of these minidramas. Wilber refers to this as a zone #1 experience. also in the upper left quadrant but outside the circle of zone #1 (2006: 39). The men who frequent Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony act out roles they aspire to as a means of gaining power and virility. while the only reality is that which never changes—the quality of witnessing that arises from being form. can experience a taste of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form by witnessing the social activity surrounding them. truth arises through our being form in the upper left quadrant. set during a revolution. therefore. The gap between members of different social strata and within the individuals themselves points toward a double awareness that underlies The Balcony and suggests a way of transcending both social phobia and the feeling of impotence. then. they can also witness what they do with the men because they remain nonattached to male fantasies. which is never-changing. trying to fulfill their fantasies of grandeur by donning outfits worn by either bishops. on the other hand. law and defense forces. The girls and audience.Introduction
In terms of the four quadrants. Yoruba metaphysics posits a transcendental reality. The characters. centers on social phobia and the attempt to escape it even within the church. subjugating the women for their own self-aggrandizement. The characters.
inside lighted. that of Sanskrit poetics. and the living—constitutes a coexistence of all spaces. as in the poststructuralist "privileging" of the signifier over the transcendental signified. unity and diversity. Outside lighted. a coexistence of opposites that provides a logical answer to postmodernist dilemmas. Nevertheless. raising it to cosmic proportions. Bonshek quotes Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s explanation of the silence and dynamism of this experience: “Now that state of Being [pure. His representation of the experience of unity in West African myth is complemented by analogous representations in another non-Western tradition. Soyinka's "fourth space. In the context of modern Africa. in Soyinka's ritual theatre. idealism and history meet in the very response of the audience. selfreferral consciousness] is both ways at the same time. which as Bonshek says simultaneously illuminates for awareness the inside and outside. but what do we mean by in and out in that state? In and out is the reality of dynamism and silence. which forms the basis for a glimpse by performer and spectator of a coexistence of Emptiness and Form. which the protagonists in A Dance of the Forests attempt to bridge. While West African metaphysics.30
Soyinka defines as "the fourth space." which he distinguishes from the three commonly acknowledged African worlds—that of the ancestors. experience and understanding. giving the audience a glimpse of cosmic consciousness. Soyinka in his plays does so on the basis of a coexistence of opposites and not by giving precedence to one alternative over the other. which can also be elucidated through the Sanksrit theory of the interdependence of consciousness and language. which also describes the structure of binary oppositions as being subsumed by a coexistence of opposites. the unborn. Soyinka explores the ritual form of drama not as an ahistorical ideal but as an examination of history. A Dance of the Forests dramatizes the integration of essence and materiality. Both traditions provide a means through which people gain direct experience of expanded awareness. one conveyed through Soyinka's portrayal of the Yoruba transitional abyss and its effects upon the audience." This space is separated from terrestrial life by an abyss or gulf. But if we take it to be in
. colonialism has complicated and corrupted the relationship between ritual and myth. The seven plays analyzed below all suggest an opportunity provided by a Lamp at the Door. like postmodernism. questions the principle of binary oppositions at the basis of transcendentality.
they may not reflect upon it immediately afterwards through zone #2. the effect of a taste of knowledge-by-identity after narrative discourse has run its course. it is in and out at the same time” (2007: 52). It’s a straight line representing silence and dynamism only when the dynamism is of infinite frequency—when at no time is it out or in. which underlies the basic nature of self-referral consciousness experienced in the upper left quadrant.
. The plays lead the characters and audience to an experience of silence and dynamism at the same time. but as each of the plays discussed here progresses by inducing a series of such glimpses. the audience then begins to a appreciate the innate bi-directional nature of higher states of awareness.Introduction
and out then it is with infinite speed in and out. however briefly. When an audience first glimpses an aesthetic experience (rasa) through zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. This bi-directional coexistence of silence and dynamism induced by the plays represents.
who have come to take him away. Petey comes home one morning and tells Meg that two men he met in town have asked about a vacancy. The Room.
Pinter brilliantly conveys the suggestion that the inquisitors are unreal beings.The Fall of Private Man in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party
The Two-Tiered Loss of the Public World Harold Pinter’s first three plays. In commenting on The Birthday Party. are not easily distinguishable: “The thing is not necessarily either true or false. without quite destroying the possibility of their being taken as real. In the first of three acts. are collectively known as “Comedies of Menace” because they dramatize the terrors that most individuals experience in confrontation with external forces. this is what makes them so alarming. and Meg says she has a room for them. When Stanley hears about the two men. (1986: 37)
Critics have argued that Goldberg and McCann represent agents of conformity who have come to apprehend Stanley for his nonconformist and even disrespectful attitude toward the Boles. a projection of Stanley’s obscure dread. his family. The Birthday Party and The Dumb Waiter. As Katherine Worth says. Goldberg and McCann. real and unreal. Goldberg and McCann. both in their 60s. Pinter says that the play dramatizes how the true and false.
. Stanley lives more or less peacefully in a modest boarding house in a town on the south coast of England run by Petey and Meg Boles. it can be both true and false” (quoted in Naismith 2000: 45). The main characters in The Birthday Party emerge out of a past that remains a mystery except for references to the possibility of earlier encounters between Stanley Webber and the two men. he suddenly for no apparent reason becomes highly anxious.
” it could also
be seen as an allegory of death—man snatched away from the home he has built himself.34
religion and society in general. This qualityless level of identity. who pose the question of which came first.” Steven Gale says it produces “the generalizing effect that allows the
. transverbal self. the chicken or the egg. transverbal aspect that remains unsayable. Pinter. and the transpersonal. by the dark angels of nothingness. ironically reconstructing Stanley and taking him to the unknown Monty. says. “The more acute the experience the less articulate the expression” (quoted in Naismith 2000: 43). Stanley’s complex emotional state. which makes immeasurable demands on him (the individual) from the kinds of directions which he chooses not to fulfill” (2000: 43). In Act One Meg organizes a birthday party for Stanley against his will. can be accessed only after language and interpretation have fulfilled their purpose. at least temporarily. from the warmth of love embodied by Meg’s mixture of motherliness and sexuality. who are Jewish and Irish outsiders themselves. moreover. however. Martin Esslin suggests that while the play “has been interpreted as an allegory of conformity. Throughout the play the mystery of Stanley’s background and the reason for Goldberg and McCann’s attempt to reconstruct him can only be speculated upon. an objectless awareness that underlies all human thought and activity and corresponds to Wilber’s zone #1 in the upper left quadrant. This quote suggests that any relationship between an individual and society or between an individual and deeper levels of the self involves two aspects of human identity: the socially constructed aspect that Stanley tries to abandon. and finally Act Three ends with Goldberg and McCann. while in Act Two Goldberg and McCann interrogate Stanley about the chicken and the egg and other such inanities. His fears concern the world outside. By the end of the play. Bill Naismith argues that “Stanley is guilty of being Stanley. with its multiple levels of association and allusions. Goldberg and McCann drive Stanley away from his nonconformist lifestyle in the boarding house. Regarding the theme of the threat to a person’s identity and security by “unknown outside forces. and in the process open the spectator’s awareness to the marginalized unsayable dimension of human identity. the allegory of death can also be interpreted as a transformation to the transpersonal. centers on his mysterious fear of the public world. (1991: 241)
As argued here.
Pinter’s The Birthday Party
meaning of the play to extend to all members of the audience. which the audience also glimpses through aesthetic experience (rasa). which contains within it the problem of identity” (2003: 183). The unanswered questions of the play refer not only to historical ambiguity but also to the trans-linguistic aspect of identity reflected by Stanley’s bearing toward social responsibility. Thirty years later. “To define one’s identity simply as ‘the fact of being who or what one is’ has never satisfied Pinter. not spiritual or existential but emphatically historical in character. a unity of the witnessing internal observer and the contents of the mind. especially in the case of Stanley. Stanley’s domination by the visitors symbolizes the way society interferes with the identity of individuals and thereby hinders their development. Furthermore. In The Birthday Party.’ (2005: 47. The unanswered questions concerning the background of the main characters. Some critics suggest that Stanley’s anxiety toward the visitors and his apparent guilt stem from having discarded his social accountability. but we can also interpret his anxious reaction to the visitors as caused by his sense that the public sphere has begun to encroach upon the private world he would rather inhabit. providing them with a glimpse of the sacred experience of pure consciousness as a void of conceptions in the upper left quadrant. which reveal an uncertainty about identity. a third of whose people were murdered before he was fifteen. Harold Bloom claimed that sensitivity to the Holocaust was ‘inevitable for a sensitive dramatist. can only be addressed indirectly. evinced a taste of the coexistence between Emptiness and Form. Only Stanley. the human context of historical catastrophe can be understood as having its roots in spiritual or existential plight. compelling them to neglect the potential of their inner dimension as a field of all possibilities and to adopt the socially acceptable roles of a specific community. This includes the idea of verification. Bloom 1987: 1)
Even so. he isn’t at all confident that we can even know ‘who we
. His whole theory of the way we use language is based on his belief that we do not wish to be ‘known’ and we don’t wish to know people. Pinter moves the characters and spectators toward the unsayable secret of theatre. however. As Naismith notes. Varun Begley argues that
The Birthday Party is animated by catastrophe.
Pinter’s play shifts the spectator’s awareness from the social world of phenomenological difference toward a sacred. Localism has thus led to the impersonality of the public world being replaced by the personality of a charismatic leader whose only qualification is the ability or skill to express emotions in public. nonpluralistic experience of the transpersonal self. on the other hand. polite behavior and effective government administration that upholds individual rights and freedom. objective rules. No track record of political activism counts for people today because they care less about political. has lost the ability to act effectively in the political arena because he places greater emphasis on personality and charisma than on the ability to interact with strangers on an impersonal level. motivations and ethnicity. a state beyond the boundaries of social responsibility that Stanley seems to have touched upon. or from the “We” and “It” quadrants to the “I” quadrant. and when necessary they modify these rules to create equality between younger and older kids playing together. Modern man. people in the twentieth-century retreated into local communities based on shared feelings. People for the past century have increasingly felt so alienated from the impersonality of the public world that they can only identify with a leader who inspires a sense of familiarity by expressing himself on clichéd issues they as a community have in common. As suggested here. economic or religious issues than about the personality of a leader
. Sennett argues that the theory and practice of intimacy in modern society has undermined the public domain based on impersonality. replacing this with an emphasis on personality and the identification of the self with class and professional status. In exposing the interrelationship between the inner and outer aspects of society and individual identity. as children do while playing games. Because the public sphere in industrial capitalist society has been stigmatized as evil and immoral due to its impersonal tone and political favoritism. Pinter is right insofar that language cannot reveal the core of human identity. In The Fall of Public Man. When children play games they learn how to make and follow rules. The Birthday Party reveals a complementarity between the inner and outer dimensions of human identity that parallel the inner and outer aspects of the contemporary world as described by sociologists such as Richard Sennett and Zygmunt Bauman.36
are’” (2000: 44). Sennett explains the fall of public man through an analogy between the games children play and the public sphere.
“a movement from the idea of natural character to that of personality” (314). which helps them focus on the rules of the game rather than on instant gratification. This attitude has undermined the public sphere and led to the globalization of local communities. the more they fantasize about a parochial collective life. however. as Sennett puts it.” such as the religious faith. you become a threat and therefore a potential scapegoat. The impersonal public world stems from a belief in human nature. mores and customs of that community (306). he feels trapped in his own refuge. everyone else in the group has to reflect yourself. these communities consist of people who have lost the capacity for dealing with the unknown or taking risks for the benefit of society as a whole. without sharing “the same in look. Without boundaries or barriers between members of a community. People in local communities share “the same outlook” on the basis of peer pressure. “Community has become both emotional withdrawal from society and a territorial barricade within the city” (1992: 301). he fears the coming of strangers. they become paranoid and even destructive. (1988: 29)
The external menace in The Birthday Party. The more people get involved in the passions of community. When children play together
. he looks in the mirror in quest of an identity for himself. does not end with the early plays but extend throughout Pinter’s work. special interests and material goals. which entails. Stanley complains he has sleepless nights.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
with whom they can identify. The more they fear impersonality. the more they avoid the impersonality of the social order. on the other hand. as Gale and Sakellaridou both observe. By emphasizing shared emotions. Sennett argues. your own personality as opposed to an impersonal set of interests. As Sennett says. while local communities promote a belief in human natures. localism does not lead to fraternity so much as fratricide because unless you conform to the common interests of the group. in The Birthday Party
ontological and existential questions take a concrete form. that people can be sociable with each other only if they have some protection from each other. Children’s play. In communities based on narcissism. As Elizabeth Sakellaridou argues. According to Sennett. allows children to associate with the rules of the game and thereby achieve an experience of self-distance.
or experientially on the groundless ground of human nature.38
they learn the kind of disinterested activity that adults used to be able to perform in public. Because it can no longer sustain these impersonal qualities. such as Monty. is the ability to access a transpersonal. As suggested by The Birthday Party. “requires a freedom from the self” (319). Although Jewish and Irish respectively. The public world was thus more integral in terms of the four quadrants. the public world as represented by Goldberg and McCann is no longer a place free of self-identity constructed by localized communities. in addition to the capacity for polite interaction with strangers through a general acceptance of meta-narratives or the rules of the game. people in postmodern society have stigmatized the contemporary public world as immoral and evil and supplanted it with the pseudo safety of local communities.
. transverbal dimension of experience. this world can no longer be an impersonal domain based either conceptually on meta-narratives. One is no longer allowed to live impersonally. his ability to live outside the boundaries of a local community. Goldberg and McCann have aligned themselves with an outside. non-ethnic community that apparently represents the public world. while localization restricts one to cultural or social allegiances by excluding integration with the upper left quadrant. Pinter presents a world no longer based on impersonal. To play. but instead has become a world that enforces conformity to specific attributes considered desirable by its members as represented by a charismatic leader. objective rules but rather on the localization of shared values often enforced through intimidation. becomes a threat to that community. what has been lost through the demise of the public world. in freedom from a self defined by special interest groups. however. As Pinter’s play suggests. specifically the socially constructed self from which Stanley has managed to distance himself. Stanley’s penchant for self-distance. and is now tied to the localization of community—so that one shares only as far as the mirror of self reflects” (1992: 326). the threat of ostracism and even fratricide. Sennett says. In a postmodern context. a field of all possibilities beyond the socially constructed human natures espoused by individual communities. Sennett says that “the sharing of impulses rather than the pursuit of a common activity began to define a peculiar sense of community at the end of the last [19th] century.
transpersonal direct experience. like samadhi or qualityless pure consciousness. it is like space where one knows no obstructions. Pinter’s characters and spectators cannot know this inner freedom. Goldberg and McCann.
No-mindness means having no mind (or thoughts) whatever [. . virtue. therefore. His freedom. . no stoppage.
. which comprises the sacred dimension of human nature. This experience of unbounded consciousness corresponds to the experience in Zen called “no-mind. It transcends both subject and object. Being. moreover. the Good and the Beautiful. is not a conceptual but an experiential phenomenon that he never tries to express through a narrative about his past. who he keeps at a distance through his mischievous banter. In the Western and Eastern philosophical traditions. through conceptuality or narrative accounts but only as a transverbal. self-sufficiency and freedom” (1990: 34). this level of experiential knowledge corresponds to Plato’s Forms. it has no forms. and through a series of climaxes in each of the three acts.” As described by Huang-po. The only community he belongs to is that of the boarding house of Meg and Petey.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
Stanley. fears not the outside world in itself but rather its replacement by a localized attitude that imposes boundaries on his freedom of thought and action. and the Beautiful are reached. through a “mental faculty distinct from ordinary intellect to ‘reverse’ the direction of attention within and produce experience of a transcendental ground of thought. Plato’s Forms.] inwardly it is like wood or stone. As Jonathan Shear notes. the Good. and to the Vedic state of Sat-ChitAnanda (transcendent Being. objectless state of awareness. the fourth level of his Divided Line. knowledge and awareness. just as Sat-ChitAnanda or pure consciousness is reached through a reversal of the direction of attention within through the transcendence of ordinary mental faculties to an abstract. (quoted by Suzuki 1956: 218)
As we shall see. as related to Being. it is immovable.” an experience associated “with gaining wisdom. Intelligence and Bliss). is reached through the faculty he calls the “dialectic” (Shear 1990: 11-29). it recognizes no points of orientation. Pinter’s play induces such a reversal in the mind of the spectator through the surreal uncertainly of the background of Stanley. outwardly. it knows neither gain nor loss. unshakable.
Regarding the uncertainty of Stanley’s past.] wants us to open a “third eye. . But then they locked the place up and he couldn’t get out” (1968: 32). As they try to transform Stanley back into a citizen of respectable society as they understand it. His father gave him champagne. “we are faced with the immense difficulty. Suzuki describes this mode of direct experience in terms of Zen:
Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s own being.40
Reversing Attention Just as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Sun. To the displeasure of his two subjugators. Meg has fabricated this story because we know that Stanley told her his father did not attend the concert. T. As the play suggests. nevertheless. of verifying the past. An added difficulty arises when the past consists of an experience beyond language. . this morning” (quoted in Naismith 2000: 46). such a transverbal phenomenon would characterize the empty state that Stanley may have tasted by abandoning his socially constructed identity. in Act One Meg tells Goldberg of Stanley’s successful piano concert: “In . . Stanley through a process of self-distancing has replaced his socially constructed identity with a non-learned or innate neuro-physiological condition capable of sustaining a trans-cognitive mode of freedom as direct experience. I don’t mean merely years ago. and it points the way from bondage to freedom. D. if not the impossibility. a big hall. so The Birthday Party has the effect of emptying the content of the spectator’s mind through the uncertainty surrounding the characters’ identities and backgrounds. we have no way of knowing whether Stanley himself told her the truth. Yoga and the Advaitan technique of meditation emphasize a reversal of attention inward toward pure awareness. [. When the cloud of ignorance disappears. . Zen. the infinity of the heavens is manifested.” as Buddhists call it. ] Zen [. but yesterday. Goldberg and McCann do not so much destroy his identity—namely. He may have first had this experience while engaging in creative activity. As Pinter has said. . the constructed self that Stanley has already discarded—as attempt to fill the void by re-imposing the attributes from which Stanley has begun to free himself. such as playing the
. where we see for the first time into the nature of our own being. . beyond the capacity for narrative exposition. to the hitherto undreamed-of region shut away from us through our own ignorance.
the act of concentration itself keeps the mind active and focused on the object being concentrated on. As argued here. Stanley does not talk about his past because the most important aspect of it for him is extra-linguistic and transpersonal. the self-awareness generated and communicated by means of narrative applies only to the linguistic. . The Birthday Party turns the direction of the spectator’s attention inward by preventing her from concentrating on the specific empirical qualities of the characters’ past.
pure consciousness can be defined uniquely as that experience which has absolutely no identifiable empirical qualities within it. The extra-linguistic experience of the self beyond the duality of attributes cannot be rendered through narrative. From a constructivist view. narrative constructs the self” (2003: 5). once again. the self consists of two aspects: linguistic and extra-linguistic. Hume and Kant. for in reflecting non-intentional consciousness. As Shear explains in his analysis of Descartes. containing absolutely no discernable empirical qualities. however. .] For if we identify the experience of pure consciousness with experience of the self. Shear notes that “if one concentrates on something. and examination. uniquely allows us to give experiential significance to Descartes’ characterization of self as simple and nonpicturable. and Kant’s characterization of it as pure consciousness independent of all spatio-temporal appearances. then this experience. as we have seen. that is. Gary Fireman notes that “Narrative does not merely capture aspects of the self for description. self-understanding and self-knowledge—are products of personal narratives” (4). Hume’s characterization of self as (supposedly) distinct from all impressions. According to Eastern and even Western philosophy. thus. which is devoid of identifiable spatio-temporal content. Fireman also claims that “the portions of human consciousness beyond the purely somatic—self-awareness. related to a level of creative intelligence beyond the conventional self-
. Goldberg and McCann unknown. Pinter prevents the spectator from concentrating on a particular narrative account of their lives with its phenomenal content.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
piano or even listening to music. communication. (1990: 104)
By keeping the backgrounds and identities of Stanley. it contains no objects to be related. preventing one from experiencing the completely non-active state of pure objectless consciousness (100). [. constructed aspect of the self.
Even before discarding his socially constructed self. I’m a self-made man? No! I sat where I was told to sit. All along the line. “You’re a bit of a washout. Work hard and play hard. moreover. [. This non-conformist tendency may have originated through his approach to art and then spilled over into his social behavior. suggesting instead they go away together. and you can’t go wrong. pertains primarily to the linguistic self. As real as this attitude may seem to Goldberg. Stanley implies that if Lulu wants to go somewhere with him. he replies. Even the question of whether or not Stanley is telling the truth about the nature of his performance has the effect of emptying the mental content of the spectators and other characters. (77-78)
Although Goldberg does not go into narrative detail about his past. “Nowhere. Stanley was already different in his style of musical performance—provided what he says is true.] And that’s why I’ve reached my position. Finding him impossible to deal with or even understand. When she asks where. therefore. by pointing to a non-place. Lulu tells Stanley. I kept my eye on the ball. “I had a unique touch.
Honour thy father and thy mother. as foreshadowed by his announce-
. asks him to go for a walk and “get a bit of air” (26). They came up to me and said they were grateful” (22-23). Follow the line. a friend of Meg in her early twenties who finds Stanley attractive. My motto. In contrast to Stanley. . we could go” (26). even Goldberg has doubts about his own narrative self-presentation. When Lulu. Indeed. the play suggests that it is not entirely real or unreal. Again. true or false. McCann.42
understanding acquired through ordinary mental faculties. What do you think. In describing his piano concert to Meg. The Birthday Party prevents the spectator from concentrating on the spatio-temporal dimension. Still. the line. Absolutely unique. even though what he refers to consists more of a localized system of values. aren’t you?” This remark further suggests how Stanley’s overall performance in the play has a decontingencing effect on characters and audience—in a sense washing out their world of familiar attributes. . McCann. Because I’ve always been as fit as a fiddle. Whatever its reality or truth may be. Stanley says. she will have to surrender her attachments to conventional behavior and everyday reality. he declines. Goldberg in a conversation with McCann narrates his own past in a way that extols conformity to established values and behavior. Not a day’s illness. he clearly presents an attitude of conformity to what he regards as the establishment.
It’s uncommon for me” (76). What’s the matter with you? I bring you down for a few days to the seaside. however. When they arrive at the boarding house. whether true of false. After all. in Act Three Goldberg tells Lulu that “He’s only been unfrocked six months. could be linked to a spiritual conflict within himself. McCann. I can assure you that the assignment will be carried out and the mission accomplished with no excessive aggravation to you or myself. . Goldberg says. Certain elements. McCann’s anxiety. might well approximate in points of procedure to some of your other activities. which seems to undermine Goldberg’s own self-confidence. comes from an ethnic minority and may have already had to surrender some of his own values to conform to a localized community led by Monty. Goldberg. like McCann. but I feel knocked out. Goldberg may be trying to counteract the effect of Stanley’s voided identity. The fact that Goldberg and McCann are vulnerable emerges when they first arrive at the boarding house. as suggested later in the play. I feel a bit . after he has ventured beyond the attributes of ordinary identity and computation into the trans-cultural realm of
. Having left the clergy only six months ago. Sit back. All is dependent on the attitude of our subject. In his narrative account of his past. McCann. McCann asks if it’s the right place. . Relax.” suggesting that McCann may share some of Stanley’s innocence and even an inclination for freedom from the narrative self. given that he himself may have realized that dogma alone does not constitute spirituality. This realization may have been one reason for his leaving the clergy. When they enter with their suitcases. Satisfied? (30)
Goldberg implies that their mission with Stanley consists of reincorporating him back into the Judeo-Christian fold. or you’ll never get anywhere” (27). which to McCann still remains unclear. Although McCann comes across like a gangster. back to social and religious orthodoxy. is not that different from his previous job. Learn to relax. Take a holiday. and Goldberg tries to calm him by saying that their present work. At all events.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
ment in Act Three: “I don’t know why. Do yourself a favor.
Goldberg: The main issue is a singular issue and quite distinct from your previous work. McCann. “We’ll both take a seat. McCann may feel uncomfortable coercing people into conforming to the Judaeo-Christian dogma of Western Civilization.
Stanley becomes defensive in an attempt to evade what he rightly perceives as the malign intention of McCann and Goldberg:
I suppose I have changed. to look at me really . McCann. that I was the sort of bloke to—to cause any trouble. Goldberg and McCann descend upon Stanley and begin their interrogation. McCann blocks his way. By setting up an opposition between the freedom pursued by Stanley and the conformism enforced by Goldberg and McCann. not really. and Stanley says no. “both the inner transcendental reality and the outer field of relative perception are experienced. Given that members of the most oppressed communities—the Jews and the Irish—have been assimilated into a quasi public orthodoxy and become the tormentors of those remaining beyond the pale suggests that they indeed represent the opposite extreme to the nothingness and nowhere that Stanley has fathomed by transcending the empirical qualities of mind toward pure awareness. he’s given it up. while at the same time witnessing the content of the play in a unity of Emptiness and Form. . Party Interrogation In Act Two. and therefore the visitors should leave him in peace. the lamp is ‘at the door’ illuminating inside and outside” (2007: 46). I mean. In this state.) Do you know what I mean? (40)
Stanley’s remarks suggest that his inner transformation remains invisible because it has nothing to do with his socially constructed self. Stanley hears Goldberg talking outside with Petey. but I’m still the same man that I always was. Further-
. Pinter sets up a framework through which spectators can move toward their own innate tendency for freedom in zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. . The subtext of his argument implies that because his inner change is undetectable. who says he has never been to Maidenhead. I mean. would you? (McCann looks at him. as Bonshek notes. you wouldn’t think. but when he tries to leave the room.44
direct experience. and then tells him that business calls and he plans to move back home. he should not be suspected as being a threat to anyone. but then divulges that he has a small private income. asks Stanley if he’s in business. Stanley meets McCann first and asks him if he has ever been to Maidenhead. the economic basis for his current lifestyle (40). which he has abandoned—although he admits to drinking a bit more than before.
Goldberg: You don’t know. as indicated by their reactions to him. When McCann and Petey leave to buy drinks for the birthday party. This move toward the inner dimension induces an anxiety of defamiliarization in Goldberg and McCann. “Don’t mess me about” (44). Goldberg: Where did you come from? Stanley: Somewhere else.” McCann acts confused and uncomfortable and tells him. . Goldberg: When did you come to this place? Stanley: Last year. Webber? McCann: Why did you betray us? Goldberg: You hurt me. Stanley’s level of being on the one hand complements the conceptual self. threatening to undermine the secure and familiar attributes of their constructed identities as well as the shared interests of their localized community. McCann displays anxiety and a lack of confidence from the beginning. while on the other hand has the effect of turning the visitors and audience inward toward the higher self. he says he’s the same man he always was. while Goldberg displays them later in the play. What’s happened to your memory. Stanley finds himself alone with Goldberg and tells him. Webber? When did you last have a bath? Stanley: I have one every— Goldberg: Don’t lie. “You needn’t be frightened of me. You’re playing a dirty game. Although Stanley tells McCann. not something learned and therefore not something that can ever be taken away. I’m flabbergasted with you” (42).
. Goldberg: Who does he think he is? McCann: Who do you think you are? Stanley: You’re on the wrong horse. Goldberg: Why did you come here? Stanley: My feet hurt! Goldberg: Why did you stay? Stanley: I had a headache! . “You know. which implies that the inner dimension beyond the discernable empirical qualities of his constructed identity is innate. McCann: That’s the Black and Tan fact. When McCann returns they force Stanley to sit down and begin their interrogation:
McCann: Why did you leave the organization? Goldberg: What would your old man say. . Webber.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
more. This non-pluralistic phenomenon also underpins the identities of McCann and Goldberg.
“McCann: You betrayed our land. and McCann snatches Stanley’s glasses and eventually breaks them. “It goes without saying” (61). they display an even greater anxiety about having the likes of Stanley on the loose. If Stanley displays anxiety about interference from the two visitors. (48-49)
As their questioning continues they accuse him of killing his wife. As the birthday party gets underway. “You’re the dead image of the first man I ever loved. a reference to their risqué banter—which represents the full extent of Stanley’s overt defiance. “Joe Soap” (50). Goldberg then asks: “Do you recognize an external force? Stanley: What? [. Their question about which came first—the chicken or the egg?—indicates that their motive in questioning Stanley is not intended to gain information or elicit logical answers but only to intimidate. Goldberg: You betray our breed” (ibid. which reflects the postmodern condition of multiple constructed identities. especially a bohemian artist who epitomizes the nonconformist threat to their paranoid “position”: “Goldberg: No society would touch you” (ibid. When Goldberg asks him his name. In answering the question about his trade. When it suits his purpose. indicate that the visitors are acting more out of self-preservation than any genuine interest in “saving” Stanley. hardly compares to Goldberg’s impudence toward Lulu. Although this question has religious overtones—McCann says. His interrogators look down on artists. although sometimes he’s bad” (55).). and McCann is called Dermot. as discussed below. Goldberg also has other names: Nat and Simey. Meg makes a toast to Stanley: “I think he’s a good boy.” to which he responds. Stanley says he plays the piano. suffering for you?” (50). suggesting that they have a subliminal fear of Stanley’s power.). This banter. she finds his discourse seductive and tells him. I know him! Stanley: You don’t Goldberg: What can you see without your glasses? Stanley: Anything. ] Goldberg: Do you recognize an external force. At this point Goldberg threatens: “We can sterilize you” (52). Goldberg: Take off his glasses. . During the party when Goldberg and Lulu become intimate. Goldberg openly accepts the attribution of multiple identities—a sign
Integral Drama McCann: You betrayed the organization. responsible for you. “You’re a traitor to the cloth” (51)—it also refers to the organization they accuse Stanley of having betrayed. Stanley says. moreover. . Comments like.
His inability to cope with the ambiguity of multiple selves suggests that he. As we can see. This decontingencing constitutes a move from their cultural or intersubjective and social or interobjective contexts toward pure. their multiple names indicating a diversity of masks. attenuate the mind’s conscious content.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
of the postmodernist saturated self (see Gergen). As we shall see. the ulterior motives of the interrogation. The uncertain background and identities of the characters. the result of an apparent assault that has led to the psychoanalytic interpretation of his venting a repressed psychic fear of the father and resentment for the mother (Naismith 2000: 52). the work of simulation. As Zygmunt Bauman says in Postmodernity and its Discontents. a move that subtly creates a more integral awareness in Stanley and the audience as they sense a unity of the silence of consciousness and the activity of the mind. Postmodern concealment consists of blurring or eliminating the distinction between truth and falsity. Stanley musical talent. therefore. is blind not only to the constructed nature of his own identity but also to that of Stanley. After the lights suddenly go off. and the insecurity experienced by the two visitors all lead to a decontingencing of the conscious content of characters and audience. forcing Stanley to play against his will and breaking his glasses. Stanley moves toward Lulu. The Unsayable in Theatre The unsayable inner dimension The Birthday Party points to through its decontingencing devices centers on what Jean Baudrillard calls postmodern simulacra. and intimate the move toward an experience of consciousness devoid of attributes. Stanley without his glasses may simply have confused Meg for Goldberg and mistaken Lulu for McCann. postmodern simulacra make
. he later balks when McCann calls him by a different name. who screams and faints. as distinct from feigning or pretending. The Birthday Party uses various dramatic devices to call into question socially constructed identity. During the climax of the party. From another perspective. however. they decide to play blind man’s bluff. non-intentional subjectivity in the upper left quadrant. When Stanley reaches Meg he begins to strangle her until Goldberg and McCann throw him off. and to a lesser extent McCann.
the community to which Goldberg and McCann belong has not succeeded in extending its experience beyond the finite. Art allows us to perceive the fabrication of the external world. in which only a few pass down their conception of the ideal to the masses. As Pinter shows. to a situation in which the masses have organized themselves into localized communities in which they formulate their own interpretation of meaning based on direct experience. The Birthday Party reveals how the modernist prophets of universal humanity are being challenged by postmodern communities. is more real than the “real” world of conventional interests.
. or in the sense that Pinter’s theatre itself is postmodernist.] it does its best to cover up the traces. . what we take for reality is but an illusion. In other words. The unsayable. Their localized community represents not a postmodernist community in Bauman’s sense. It is reality itself which now needs the ‘suspension of disbelief. trans-rational dimension of human experience. .’ of sense and of meaning senseless and meaningless. by uncovering the illusion of reality. The postmodernist artist like Pinter seeks a new language that will become a consensual language again in a new public domain. (1997: 125-26)
As Baudrillard. the field of unbounded subjectivity upon which conventional reality as represented by Goldberg and McCann depends for its existence. demonstrates. the difference between truth and falsity derives not from the outer world but from the eyes of the beholder who can see beyond the sensory to the extra-linguistic. Art as fantasy. as Pinter and Stanley may have intuited through their own creative intelligence. corresponds to the state of pure objectless awareness. contemporary art challenges anything that has social acceptance. like Stanley.48
Integral Drama the issues of the ‘heart of the matter.’ once the preserve of art. Unfortunately. in which the impersonal public world to a certain extent still existed. in order to be grasped and treated and lived as reality. To quote Bauman. unlike Goldberg and McCann. sensory dimensions of the socially constructed self. Reality itself is now ‘make believe. therefore. tribal enclaves that attempt to achieve ideals similar to those of modernists but now through a more intimate degree of localized phenomenological experience.’ although [. The move from modernism. to postmodernism entails a move from an elite hierarchy.
and a tangible shape to the invisible” (105)—as Pinter does through Stanley. Postmodern artists. (1997: 104)
Bauman goes on to explain that the postmodern artist works without rules in order “to give voice to the ineffable. on the other hand. while Stanley points the spectator toward a state of awareness liberated from the authority of external “reality” as a supreme judge of truth. struggle to incorporate the non-representable into the presentation itself. Goldberg and McCann function like finite waves on an unbounded ocean or the localized position of a mirror in infinite space. although from a localized position and perspective. A wave is of course nothing but water. localized in activity and place. Pinter presents the image of Stanley. Shear explains the analogy found in Eastern philosophical traditions between pure consciousness on one hand and the ocean and a mirror on the other. as the meaning-maker insofar that it demonstrates that more than one interpretation of the real or true is possible. reflection) of the relevant overall unbounded field (ocean. as exemplified in The Birthday Party through the contrast between Stanley’s perspective and that of Goldberg and McCann. space). Thus in each of these images the content of the experience of the individual self is represented as nothing but a localized expression (wave.Pinter’s The Birthday Party As François Lyotard put it. if since the beginning of modernity arts sought the ways of representing the ‘sublime. and the ocean and space represent that of pure consciousness. in all its ambiguity. they posited the non-representable as an ‘absent content’ only. and the mirror is portrayed as reflecting nothing but space.’ that which by its nature defies representation—the modern artists’ search for the sublime formed a ‘nostalgic aesthetics’. (1990: 116)
Goldberg and McCann function like waves and mirrors through their fixation on the localized perspective of a community that no longer represents a trans-cultural. transpersonal ideal. while Stanley’s mystifying lifestyle gives tangible shape to the invisible and voice to the ineffable. it invites the spectator to engage in the process of interpretation through a taste of the unbounded ocean or the infinity
. The wave and mirror in these images represent experience of individual self. For centuries Eastern traditions
have used images such as a wave on the ocean. and a mirror in space to display the relation between pure consciousness and the individual self.
which as a transverbal state does not hinge on a conceptual formulation about the nature of reality. any meaning—whether stemming from the world itself or imputed by the artist—is always a product of human creative intelligence. manifest world is nothing but simulation or illusion. as that between the performers and spectators of Pinter’s theatre. consists of the ineffability of the self knowing itself. given that the play points the spectator toward an emptiness—the uncertainty of Stanley’s background and identity—that generates a taste of pure consciousness. Pinter demonstrates how postmodern artists recognize that the act of perception creates reality. Stanley’s choice of existence can be shared only through the intersubjective experience of a participatory presence. therefore. modernist artists and the avant-garde attempt to blaze trails to a new consensus. rendering sense and meaning senseless and meaningless in the context of the non-pluralistic experience of the non-localized. Because the material. which as argued here points ultimately to objectless pure awareness. while postmodern avant-gardism undermines any possibility of a future universal based on conceptuality (1997: 109). the art of Pinter’s play and the non-artistic “reality” of Goldberg and McCann operate on the same footing. As Shear writes. The Birthday Party adds to its content. As Bauman notes. combined with a ongoing awareness of the dramatic action itself. real and imaginary. This content. Instead of merely reflecting life. they still represent a localized position and perspective. The difference between the meaning generated by Goldberg and McCann and that suggested by Stanley’s invisible background and identity is that the former hinges on a localized position while the latter unlocks the boundless. at least for those not guilt ridden or clinging to the familiar world. however.50
of space beyond the confines of waves and mirrors. This is because two experiences of qualityless unboundedness cannot be phenomenologically different. non-pluralistic (or boundless) experience. In this sense.
the experience of pure unboundedness is phenomenologically unique. extra-linguistic self. postmodern simulation threatens the difference between true and false. It strangles agreement that does not lead to a non-localized. As Bauman argues and The Birthday Party dramatizes. Although a wave is nothing but water and a mirror reflects nothing but space. (1990: 136)
. since there is nothing in either to distinguish it from the other.
. qualityless state as represented by Stanley. By this time his sense of identity has been shaken up by Stanley’s emptiness to the point that when McCann calls him Simey. A passing fancy” (79-80). Mr. . but McCann refuses. Lulu interrupts their conversation by accusing Goldberg of taking advantage of her after the party: “Do you think I’m like all the other girls? [. You took all those liberties only to satisfy your appetite” (80). His reaction implies a false sense of security in the belief that the exclusion of other qualities would prevent his sliding into the void or indeterminacy of a nonlocalized. he explains: “(murderously): Don’t call me that! (He seizes McCann by the throat. having already been upstairs to return his glasses. only to launch into his speech about how he reached his position by respecting authority. but has no qualms about undermining or exploiting Lulu’s position. his outburst reveals a fixation on a particular quality of egocentric self-identity. Pure and Simple. Nervous breakdown” (71). in favor of phenomenological qualities that conform to their localized community. object awareness toward a non-intentional qualityless state of awareness and back. never able to fill the void of Stanley’s background and identity with locally acceptable conceptual content. Goldberg replies. but claims that “You didn’t appreciate me for myself. against sharing with Stanley a qualityless unboundedness. Yet both Stanley and the audience do retain an awareness of the self as Emptiness along with the world of Form. Boles. Goldberg fears the loss of his own socially constructed position. McCann notices that Goldberg appears to be out of sorts and asks him what’s wrong. In the aftermath of the birthday party in Act Three when Petey asks what came over Stanley. Although Goldberg gets annoyed. Petey offers to get a doctor. the spectators swing repeatedly from the concrete to the abstract. from an intentional. but Goldberg says they’ll take care of him: “I’ll take him to Monty” (74).Pinter’s The Birthday Party
Goldberg and McCann militate against such an experience. He tells McCann to go upstairs and bring Stanley down. he confesses he feels “knocked out” (76). Whatever else it may signify.] You used me for a night.) NEVER CALL ME THAT!” (76). Lulu felt an emotional attraction to Goldberg. Goldberg replies. Throughout the play. “What came over him? Breakdown. As the spectator sees. While he doesn’t mind her descending to a position that fulfils his
. Disingenuous as ever. “I’ve never touched another woman” (79).
who begin to woo him with the following platitudes:
Goldberg: You need a long convalescence. may think he is free because he can travel anywhere and be accepted. (82-83)
When they ask Stanley what he has to say for himself. free capital has freed individuals. But as Pinter shows through Goldberg and McCann. as Stanley
. ready to be abducted to Monty by the visitors. Of all the characters in The Birthday Party. McCann: A change of air. that as long as desire dominates. Goldberg: But we can save you. McCann: Rheumatic. McCann: You’ll be our pride and joy. and he especially abhors the possibility that Stanley may entirely exceed all social positions. but what happens when the money is gone? Even a vagabond. but is always postponed into the future. only Stanley comes close to transcending desire. Unlike Goldberg in his hankering to seduce women and convert outsiders. Goldberg: You’ll be adjusted. McCann: Epileptic. as the play suggests. Goldberg: Exactly.52
own appetites. . McCann: You’re a dead duck. . he does everything he can to prevent Stanley from escaping a position imposed by Monty’s orthodox community. Stanley alone recognizes that fulfillment comes through the absence of desire. which signifies his strong resistance to conforming to convention or the desires of others. just as the desire of a consumer in a capitalist society can never achieve gratification. Goldberg: Myopic. . Goldberg: You’re on the verge. Goldberg: Somewhere over the rainbow. McCann: Where angels fear to tread. As Bauman explains in Liquid Modernity. especially landlords. Goldberg’s desire to win over Stanley is doomed to failure. Goldberg: True. from the land as never before (2000: 149). McCann: You’re in a rut. as opposed to the vagabond. Goldberg: You’ll be a mensch. he can only stammer incoherently. McCann: From a worse fate. this freedom is illusory. Stanley finally comes downstairs dressed in “a dark well cut suit and white collar” (81). Goldberg: You look anaemic. The tourist. fulfillment will have to wait. In the long run.
Goldberg and McCann pursue the commodity of human conformity to their organization. (1998: 83. so a localized community depends on people who desire the security of shared interests and the personality of a charismatic leader. desire desires desire” (1998: 83). a prospect their limited. linguistic selves may long for. not-finding-it or more exactly not-finding-ityet is not a malaise. “desire does not desire satisfaction. not the gathering of wealth in its material. As Bauman says. For Bauman. by acquiring commodities or sensations. . [. Just as capital depends on consumers. localized communities based on waves and mirrors will lose their appeal. they are collectors of things only in a secondary and derivative sense. when individuals realize that fulfillment cannot be achieved within a spatio-temporal dimension. transpersonal selves would naturally shun. Consumers are first and foremost gatherers of sensations. They sense that the loss of new sensations.] Not so much the greed to acquire and possess. perhaps it is the bliss itself. To the contrary. it does not mean to be free of time and space. would confine them even more within the boundaries of time and space. tangible sense. The prospect of desire disappearing horrifies consumers like Goldberg and McCann. but this change is artificial
. Bauman’s analysis of the nature of consumerism also applies to the nature of localized communities in search of collective agreement:
For the consumers in the society of consumers. in this case associated with seducing women and pressuring others into complying with the arbitrary rules of a localized community. with their sensation or bliss consisting of depriving others of their independence and freedom. being on the move— searching. Theirs is the kind of traveling hopefully which makes arriving into a curse. freedom in liquid modernity means little more than to be free within time and space. as happened upon by Stanley. . capitalist society will be doomed. as desired by Goldberg and McCann. but which their extra-linguistic. as the excitement of a new and unprecedented sensation is the name of the consumer game. But as soon as consumers realize that desire cannot be satisfied by consumerism. The momentary fulfilling of desire gives the illusion of transcending space and time. but the promise of bliss. can achieve genuine freedom on the level of consciousness by overcoming desire. of a change of circumstances. Likewise. looking for.Pinter’s The Birthday Party
but simply with the momentary suspension of desire itself. The bizarre and improbable nature of their questions and accusations suggest that what needs to be reconstructed more than Stanley are the social and religious establishments that attempt to impose conformity to arbitrary rules. then fulfillment becomes an abiding state of mind. If that suspension can be prolonged. Unlike Goldberg. Stanley. McCann and Monty will be in reconstructing Stanley remains. Stanley’s desire and hope centers on being liberated from desire. and that ultimately they will be the ones to undergo a reconstruction. Members of a localized community such as that to which Goldberg and McCann belong fear such a suspension for it would undermine their very existence. as an example of integral theatre. Even within the naturalistic setting of the play. Stanley senses that fulfilling a desire has nothing to do with acquiring a tangible object or sensation.54
and transitory. not transcending them altogether. If anything. the visitors’ stylized language and unspecified mission add a surreal dimension to the play that implies a menace not only to Stanley but also to the conventional organization to which the visitors belong. his being called Simey. In Act Three Stanley appears to suffer a breakdown. which depends upon the need of individuals to find support and security in shared objects of desire. or in replacing his sense of nonattachment with a commitment toward the collective interests of its members. The Birthday Party. Even though tortured in the second and third acts. McCann and the organization are moving toward an emptiness like Stanley’s. represents an individual who finds greater fulfillment in the absence of desire than in its gratification. To whatever extent Stanley himself has overcome desire. The Birthday Party points to an existential state after desire has run its course. But the question about how successful Goldberg. and his sudden apprehension of feeling “knocked out” all suggest that Goldberg. It amounts to no more than shifting the boundaries of temporality. Stanley already left the organization once and could easily leave it again. reveals not only how a sensitive individual can fear the demands of an outside
. Goldberg’s furious reaction to McCann’s inexplicable paper tearing. who won’t even go for a walk with Lulu. in which each community pursues its own localized brand of sensations. on not being coerced into playing the game of consumer society. No evidence in Act Three suggests that an organization will succeed in dominating his non-identity with a socially constructed self.
Pinter’s The Birthday Party
world. While Meyer-Dinkgräfe notes that the material intellect cannot grasp immaterial consciousness (2003). Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. also takes the spectator toward an integral experience. but also how the public world as a collection of local communities can fear the inner dimension of nonconformists who follow their innate callings. which the audience also experiences through rasa. Similarly. the play suggests that Stanley provides us with a glimpse of the coexistence of both dimensions in his ability to remain nonattached to the content of the mind while simultaneously witnessing what goes on within and around him. by dramatizing the plight of an individual caught between conformity and defiance.
The play sets up a contrast between the necessity to consume in order to sustain biological existence within a certain standard of social decency. Conformity
Consumerism and the Anticipations of Joy Critics have pointed out that Rhinoceros dramatizes Ionesco’s aversion for the Fascist movement in Rumania when he left in 1938 (Esslin 1991: 181). . which is that of a real epidemic. I don’t know if you have noticed it. People allow themselves suddenly to be invaded by a new religion. a doctrine. by its rapid evolution.
As usual. In this contrast between self-sufficiency and overindulgence through gluttony and intemperance. and the extravagant desire to consume as a means of wish fulfillment. . . one has the impression of being confronted with monsters—rhinos. however.Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros: Defiance vs. Ionesco says of Rhinoceros. it also suggests how present-day consumer society can transmogrify an individual into a monster with an insatiable appetite. its power of contagion. as in the case of Fascism. In terms of conformity to public opinion. but when people no longer share your opinions. I went back to my personal obsessions. the play not only demonstrates how public opinion can pressure an individual into conformity. for example. From a 21st century perspective. At such moments we witness a veritable mental mutation. the play impels the audience to experience a gap between the basic needs of human existence on the one hand and on the other the desire to gratify the appetites in a bestial. And history has shown us during the last quarter of a century that people thus transformed not only
. when you can no longer make yourself understood by them. I remembered that in the course of my life I have been very much struck by what one might call the current of opinion. They would kill you with the best of consciences. uninhibited manner as symbolized by the rhinoceros. a fanaticism. They have that mixture of candor and ferocity.
As Deborah Gaensbauer says. Berenger defends his desire to resist becoming a rhino and live on as a human being. end up as the last remaining humans. thick-skinned pachyderms. watches as his friend Jean and then his colleague Dudard turn into rhinos. To his friends Jean and Dudard. the tragedy of the individualist who cannot join the happy throng of less sensitive people. Some conform to the herd of rhinos because they feel it’s the only way to learn how rhinos think in order to persuade them to revert back to their humanity. What the play conveys is the absurdity of defiance as much as the absurdity of conformism. As Esslin puts it. Left alone. is an instinctive resistance to ideology and propaganda for which. he reasserts his defiant preference for the qualities of humanity. according to Ionesco. hardy. while others like Mlle Daisy conform because they cannot resist kowtowing to the majority. even Daisy cannot resist the temptation of joining the majority in their insensitive and aggressive lifestyle.
Far from being a heroic last stand. (Esslin 1991: 181-82.58
Integral Drama resemble rhinos. Berenger rebelliously asserts that he will never capitulate. pale humanity and become vigorous. therefore. Sarrute 1960 interview)
Esslin notes that the characters in the play choose a pachydermatous existence because “they admire brute force and the simplicity that springs from the suppression of over-tender humanistic feelings” (1991: 182). but really become rhinoceroses.’ (1996: 104)
In the end. Ultimately. a colleague he’s in love with. a character who appears in several other Ionesco plays. Berenger. (1991: 183)
Berenger is an anti-hero whose immunity to rhinoceritis. having begun as the cloud of a hangover. ‘it is probably impossible to give any explanation. weak. though. he regrets being unable to change into a rhino himself. and the final meaning of the play is by no means as simple as some critics made it appear. a mysterious disease that makes them want to abandon their flabby. with more and more people converting until he and Daisy. Berenger’s defiance is farcical and tragicomic. but after everyone including Daisy has become non-human. yet not as some critics believe without a strong hint of the fox’s scorn for unattainable grapes. the artist’s feelings as an outcast. Everyone but Berenger and Daisy has been infected by rhinoceritis.
this indulgence becomes a factor of conformity. with the majority following their appetites because of an inability to resist the pressure from others to conform. even before their physical transformation the characters have already started to undergo an internal transformation. Humans.” Rhinos are characterized by the lack of that dimension of cognitive reflection that would allow them to be spontaneously aware of their indulgence. Ionesco creates a gap between what the audience feels intuitively as the true nature of its own humanity and the conditions that consumer society has imposed upon humanity. In addition to highlighting the absurdity of the human condition.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
Esslin goes on to compare Berenger to Kafka’s Gregor Samsa in Metamorphosis. in contrast. Berenger soon discovers that the definition of normalcy has undergone a radical modification: the conventional qualities of a human are no longer considered to be as normal as the attributes of a rhino. Today the pleasure principle
. may at times suffer from the sense of gluttony and bestial behavior found in rhinos. The pleasure principle. While Samsa finds himself transformed into a giant bug as everyone else remains normal. however. in which pleasure has to adjust itself to the limitations of reality. Ionesco both reacts against conformity and derides the individualist who flaunts his or her superiority as a sensitive human. which constitutes a gap between ordinary existential needs and extravagant desires based solely on the transitory nature of wish fulfillment—as if Freud’s “reality principle” were being replaced by the “pleasure principle. but the play induces self-awareness in them of the excessive nature of this indulgence and the fact that they can manage without it. Bauman argues that consumer society has created a new relation between Freud’s reality and pleasure principles. the audience would generally resist identification with the rhinos because they would appreciate the gap between humans and beasts. the play suggests that consumer society has artificially induced this ambivalence as a way to insure its success in the production of consumers. Although Berenger’s final stand emphasizes the ambivalence of our need to conform while simultaneously preserving our individuality. Unlike the characters who transform into rhinos. Indeed. has undergone a radical transformation. as we shall see. for. not because of any inherent satisfaction or pleasure derived from their indulgence.
in which pleasure has been “miraculously transmogrified into the mainstay of reality. (2002: 154. . that rational strategies may not always be the most effective in dealing with the irrational passions of consumerism and the pleasure principle. The joy of shopping is greater than any joy the purchased product. Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. brought home. Although he finds it impossible to renounce his humanity and become a rhino.] Pleasures are at their best. [. As Bauman notes. In other words. which was previously held to be the basis of social reality. however. as anticipations of joy. Iones-
. . while originally based on the greed for possessions. original emphasis)
He concludes that capitalist market society. the fluidity of moving from one new pleasurable beginning to another has become the “ultimate solidity—the most stable of conceivable conditions” (ibid.). Berenger realizes that he needs to respond sensibly to the conditions of an irrational society. It is the shopping that counts. as evidenced by Berenger’s dilemma when at the end of the play his will to save humanity weakens and he feels tempted to conform to the irrationality of the rhinos. Ionesco’s rhinos live for the pleasurable experience of sheer bestiality. Ionesco’s play suggests that the universal condition of rational thought and action is being replaced in today’s market society by the free reign of irrational pleasure as represented by the rhinos. In this scenario. They represent a society. does not wholeheartedly embrace the rational strategies of a solid modernist society. On the basis of the substitution of the reality principle by pleasure. as Bauman puts it. the reality principle must now sustain pleasure by way of privileging instant as opposed to delayed gratification. may bring.” and the search for pleasure has become “the major (and sufficient) instrument of pattern maintenance” (187). most alluring and most exhilarating when encapsulated. “under certain conditions irrational behavior may carry a trapping of rational strategy and even offer the most immediately obvious rational option among those available” (2002: 189). has paradoxically “ended up denigrating material possessions and replacing the value of ‘having’ with that of living through a pleasurable (yet volatile and fast evaporating) experience” (155). Bauman observes in Society Under Siege that
Consumer life is a never-ending sequence of new beginnings. in the exhibits on display.60
has itself become the ultimate reality. not for acquiring possessions.
shocking everybody but Berenger. no interest in culture and no sense of purpose—when a second rhinoceros runs through the square and tramples a woman’s cat. constitutes the bases for a taste of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form conveyed to Berenger and the audience throughout the play. in the debate with Jean and his colleague Dudard about the reasons for choosing rhinoceritis over humanity. Berenger meets Jean at a café when suddenly a rhinoceros runs by through the town square (off-stage). Jean begins to lecture Berenger on a list of failings—his being a semi-alcoholic with no will-power. As he says in Present Past Past Present. every motion. and in Berenger’s amorous relation with Daisy and their tentative decision to resist relinquishing their humanity. Throughout the play he finds himself oscillating in and out of conceptual gaps as he grapples with the mystery of his friends and fellow citizens turning into beasts. a euphoria. I was sometimes overcome by a sort of grace. apathetic Everyman who drinks too much and suspects life to be a dream to a morally strong individual who even in the face of absurdity refuses to surrender his human identity. alienated. but rather finds itself in a gap between them. every reality was emptied of its content. I become one with the one essential reality when along with an immense serene joy. logical analysis does not help characters or spectators in coping with a situation in which a growing number of people become rhinos. The gaps occur at several points during the play: in Berenger’s discussions on logic with his friend Jean and the Logician. that qualityless state of pure consciousness beyond thought found in the upper left quadrant. (1971: 150-51)
This experience. based on knowledge-by-identity. I was overcome by what I might call the stupefaction of being. Berenger as we shall see undergoes a transformation in the play from an aimless. After this. it was as if I found myself suddenly at the center of pure ineffable existence. It was as if.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
co’s audience does not have a clear option in choosing one side of the equation or the other. This gap arguably represents and indeed constitutes a taste of the void of conceptions. Ionesco himself also had such experiences in his life:
Once long ago. As the play demonstrates. the certainty of being. The Will to Power In Act One. As Jean harangues
. first of all.
Ionesco reveals that the Logician. With the ineffectual logic of the Logician. moreover. He accuses Berenger of being irresponsible yet arrives late for their meeting and refuses to take Berenger out for a day of culture because he want to snooze before going out drinking with his friends. The rhinos thus symbolize a prior inner transformation of humans who believe that brute force can render them super-men and place them above the laws of nature. These men succumb to the fascist rhinos through an attraction to their strength and a primal state of nature beyond morality. Jean rationalizes his lapses in moral conduct to his lackadaisical friend and resists accepting that the universe is not logical but rather absurd. as recognized by Berenger. Ionesco suggests that the collective consciousness of the rhino-men gives them a false sense of security through the illusion of power. their transformation is merely physical. however. proving that logic doesn’t explain everything. who represents the rationalist characters of the play—namely Jean.” a powerful being standing beyond human morality. Jean comes across as hypocritical and full of contradictions like the Logician. Dudard. I think with all due modesty I may say I’m better. This will to power also prompts the other rationalists to transmogrify into rhinos. Jean claims.62
Berenger on will power. Jean symbolizes the “will to power” of Nietzsche’s “super-man. By emphasizing his rational intellect and strength of will. reminiscent of the totalitarian governments of WW II. This power. The superior man is the man who fulfils his duty” (1962: 13). when in fact the only power they have is their strength in numbers. for on the level of moral values they were already savage and vicious animals. Nevertheless. While Jean and the rationalist metamorphose into rhinos. including the Logician. the Logician on a related note explains the concept of syllogisms to the Old Gentleman as he attempts to account logically for the rhinoceros and whether the two that ran through the square were the same or different. While berating Berenger. which foreshadows his metamorphosis into a savage rhinoceros that violently attacks Berenger when he tries to save him. “I’m just as good as you are. Botard and Dudard— comically fails in his logical analysis. which derives not only from the pleasure principle but also from wielding
. and whether they came from Asia or Africa. Berenger’s skeptic colleague who initially dismisses the newspaper story about the rhinos as pure fantasy. and Botard. is also associated with pleasure. considering that this power is only that of collective violence.
Although indecisive at times. Berenger feels guilty that he may have pushed his friends including Daisy out toward becoming rhinos. but as the play suggests they would have metamorphosed into savages even without him. The world of rhinos therefore represents a reality in which the pleasure principle has usurped the reality principle by replacing logic. a selfless kind of love that indicates an unconditional caring for all humanity. then. Jean and the others become rhinos not so much because they want to conform. the audience glimpses a state of wholeness beyond duality by bridging the gap in ordinary waking consciousness between the three elements of knowledge: a separate object of experience. As R. Through the rhinos’ pseudo power and pleasure.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
control over others. and all material objects are no longer just localized physical matter. reason and delayed gratification with their polar opposites. but a sense of responsibility for her wellbeing. given that rhinos are solitary creatures
. but rather are also more abstract but real nonlocal processes in a subtler underlying field of existence. because brains. The real freedom of a unified. comes in two forms: physical and metaphysical. (2006b: 4)
Only Berenger demonstrates a connection to this underlying field of existence through his sense of responsibility for humanity at large. Rhinoceros produces a conceptual gap that attenuates the audience’s attachment to any particular concept or thesis—a gap between the physical power/pleasure of the rhinos based on personal desire on the one hand. transpersonal self approached by Berenger and the spectators thus derives from a sense of the connection between the local field of matter and action and an underlying nonlocal field of mind and consciousness. minds.”
Brain and mind are no longer just in the head. W. The rhinos achieve the former while Berenger and through him the audience achieve the latter by seeing beyond physical attachments. Through a taste of the void of conceptions beyond cultural constructs as suggested by Berenger’s selfless support of the best interest and wellbeing of others. Boyer puts it in “The Whole Creates the Parts. a process of experience and the experiencer. his love for Daisy suggests not only an emotional desire for somebody. Instant gratification. however. and the spiritual power/bliss awakened within the audience and Berenger based on a transpersonal freedom from the bondage of desire on the other.
Subtle levels of nature don’t necessarily require spatial dimensions in addition to the ordinary three dimensions. even though in their pre-metamorphosed state. As discussed below in terms of Samkhya Yoga. ideology and materialism—or the collective life and power-mongering of the rhino fascists. Berenger not only questions the power of thought but also suggests a modification of the formula in existentialist philosophy. Berenger’s selfless love. physical birth as a human being comes before acquiring any essential meaning in life. gross is a limitation of subtle. Through its nonlocality and interconnectedness. 24. In conforming to fascism.” “I don’t even know if I am me. Berenger on the other hand doubts his own existence. dualism does not consist of a mind/body opposition. they have already
. but rather be a phenomenal limitation of eternity and infinity. they are limited phenomenal manifestations within infinity. “existence precedes essence. As Boyer puts it:
From the holistic perspective of levels of phenomenal nature. In the holistic perspective. 26. With respect to the entire cosmos. but rather of an opposition between mind/body and consciousness. In other words. original emphasis). (2006b: 7.” and “I sometimes wonder if I exist myself” (20. subsumes existence as well as essence. The big bang would not create time and space. the big bang thus could be considered not an explosion but an implosion or condensation— because everything resulting from the big bang remains inside the unified field. contradicting Descartes’ claim. dimensions of space and time in addition to the ordinary four dimensions may not be necessary to account for nonlocality. “I think.64
to begin with. like Jean in his hypocrisy toward Berenger. Berenger’s search extends beyond both physical and mental existence toward that subtler underlying field of existence associated with his love for humanity. original emphasis)
Berenger remains the only character who plumbs the depths of the unified field of consciousness beyond essence and existence. and subtle is a limitation of the unified field. as a field of unity consciousness. Berenger goes beyond thought to a level underlying both existence and essence. which are both considered physical. therefore I am.” Through statements such as “Life is a dream. this unified field creates all the parts of human existence. but rather because of the desire for power and mindless pleasure.” According to this principle. the rationalists have all fallen for a rhino’s existence.
adopted the rhino’s essence in what Botard in Act Two refers to as “An example of collective psychosis” (54). in the face of any reference to differentiating content. (1990: 136)
Shear goes on to say that. it may well be that this “I” is merely a “schematic convenience.) is also superfluous.” we neither need nor want to postulate any separate “It” doing the raining. However. For example. the notion of “I” often works as a linguistic fiction. being a nonpluralistic state of intercomnectedness that everyone would experience in the same way.” etc.” required by ordinary grammar but not representing any real thing.
the experience of pure unboundedness is phenomenologically unique.
it appears reasonable. if despite careful introspection we cannot locate anything that could properly correspond to the term “I. This is because two experiences of qualityless unboundedness cannot be phenomenologically different. moreover. Recall that as Jonathan Shear says. (137)
Berenger’s role in Rhinoceros serves to take the audience beyond the realm of finite self-identity to a more subtle underlying human identity devoid of ego. Similarly. does not comprise an essence in the existential sense of having a conceptual significance.
Simply put. As Shear says. moreover. the fact that verbs such as “think” require a grammatical subject naturally suggests that there is some “I” (in the first person case) doing the thinking. even where [. (1990: 108)
. constitutes a state beyond finite meanings and interpretations. given the overall correlation between accounts of a void of conceptions experienced through a phenomenon such as selfless love. to think that the unbounded components of the various experiences are also the same. unless we have reason to think otherwise. it is quite possible that the “I” (in “I think. it is argued.” we should recognize that this “I” is nothing but a logical “place-holder” (a mere “schematic convenience”) and not be misled into improperly inferring the existence of any real thing corresponding to it. since there is nothing in either to distinguish it from the other.] such components are not explicitly identified as qualityless. . and that statements such as “Thoughts are occurring” may reflect facts of mind more accurately than those using the term “I. Love for humanity. Berenger’s experience of selfless love.” Thus. . According to “logical fiction” theories. when we say “It is raining.
the first two are vaikhari and madhyama. ranging from the spoken word in ordinary waking consciousness to the subtlest form of thought in pure consciousness (Coward 1980). . name and form increases. while his infinite better Self as pure consciousness. Human in this sense refers to the phenomenologically unbounded state of nonpluralistic being. . As we move from the ordinary waking state toward pure consciousness (turiya or the fourth state). Most Western philosophers. time and the duality of subject and object. What oppresses you—solitude. Ionesco dramatizes Berenger’s resistance to the self-interest of parts in favor of the selfless whole. through a glimpse of the subtlest nonlocal level of human identity. argue that consciousness always has an intentional object. (1999: 99.] from something like a releasing of experience from language. “You contradict yourself.] but rather from an un-constructing of language and belief [. Evidence of Berenger’s penchant for wholeness emerges frequently in his non-logical remarks.” to which Jean replies. “Solitude seems to oppress me. mystical or sacred experiences
don’t result from a process of building or constructing mystical experiences [. In conversation with Jean. As Robert Forman argues. Berenger assimilates to the wholeness of both/and. Of the four levels of language. yet you’re devoid of logic” (25). which belong to the ordinary
. and about the logical arguments of becoming a rhino all suggest that he has transcended the conceptual dimension of the finite “I” and taken his stand. about the world being anything but a dream.66
Berenger’s doubts about his existence. . To wonder if he exists implies that he both does and does not exist: his finite socially constructed self is a dream. . he says. particularly constructivists like Steven Katz (1978) and others. even though devoid of qualities. In going beyond the logic of non-contradiction and either/or. And so does the company of other people. original emphasis)
By language he implies what the Rig-Veda and Indian grammarians such as Bhartrhari call the lower levels of language that involve space. language consists of four levels corresponding to different levels of consciousness. Throughout Rhinoceros. and that even mystical experience is constructed by language and culture. the unity of sound and meaning. exists as the ultimate real. however. together with the audience. or the company of others? You consider yourself a thinker. As Bhartrhari notes.
” which we gain through direct sensory experience (see Barnard 1994: 123-34. . The two higher levels of language are pashyanti and para. he intuits a nonlocal underlying real Self through knowledge-by-identity. I know my consciousness and I know that I am and have been conscious simply because I am it. When Berenger transcends his socially constructed identity by doubting its existence. and “knowledge-by-acquaintance. It is a reflexive or self-referential form of knowing.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
waking state and in Saussurean terms correspond to the general field of parole and langue. original emphasis)
As a truly direct or immediate form of knowledge. non-intentional pure consciousness is devoid of the dualism of the subject-perceivingobject and subject-thinking-thought (Forman 1999: 125). then. Harold Coward notes that the main difference between the two higher levels is that pashyanti consists of an impulse toward expression because it lies at the juncture between Brahman and maya (illusion or expressed form).” which we gain by thinking about something. . (1999: 118. The notion of intentionality in ordinary waking consciousness from which Berenger begins entails a subject being conscious of an object.” in which. which can only be experienced through non-intentional pure consciousness. Both of these levels. William James classifies this into two kinds of knowledge: “knowledge-about. which consist of a temporal/spatial gap between sound and meaning. . Berenger and the audience also glimpse the coexistence of both Emptiness and external Form—the effect of The Lamp at the Door
. In Derrida and Indian Philosophy. recall. are conveyed in theatre through the power of suggestion. They are transverbal in the sense of being without a temporal sequence between sound and meaning. while para.
the subject knows something by virtue of being it. and in the process induces a move toward the same experience in the spectator. there is no subject/object duality. which has no impulse toward expression. Forman 1999: 109-27). lies within Brahman itself (1990: 90). Forman refers to the pure consciousness event suggested by Berenger’s experience as a non-intentional experience or “knowledge-by-identity. event or other qualia. While glimpsing this state of awareness. however.
illuminating for their awareness both inside and outside simultaneously. Berenger’s reliance on alcohol, although detrimental to his health, is a form of escape that serves as a trope for his metamorphosis from a finite socially induced identity based on knowledge-about and knowledge-by-acquaintance to a knowledge-by-identity of the big Self liberated from the ennui of a deadening routine. This knowledge-byidentity, as a field of all possibilities, is intimated by Botard who in Act Two says Berenger has “got such a vivid imagination! Anything’s possible with him!” (53). Jean and the other rationalists also try to escape their oppressive jobs through their metamorphosis into rhinos, but however powerful their new identities may appear on a physical dimension, Berenger alone becomes a true super-man by establishing his identity on a selfless love for his fellow humans. Although the rhinos become more beautiful as the play progresses while humans become more ugly, their beauty derives only from brute physical strength, but as we know from modern physics,
matter doesn’t have a material basis. [. . .] the paradigmatic belief in materialism—a core feature of much of modern scientific history—is untenable at more fundamental levels of nature. (Boyer 2006b: 3, original emphasis)
By the end of the play, Berenger demonstrates that true strength and beauty depend not on the material but rather on the immaterial essence of nonpluralistic being, the basis of all love and compassion. The Source of Resolve and Responsibility The fact that Berenger exhibits willpower in the face of strong opposition from his friends and colleagues not only indicates that he has committed himself to a significant cause but also suggests that he acts spontaneously from a self-referral level of awareness beyond the boundaries of conceptual meaning. Working within the theatre of the absurd, Ionesco reflects this subjective self-referral through the structural self-referral of Rhinoceros being aware of itself as a play. Throughout the production, for instance, the rhinoceros heads back-lit on stage produce an alienation effect among the spectators by making them conscious of the fact they’re watching an atypical drama. More explicitly, Jean tries to reform Berenger by suggesting that, “Instead of squandering all your spare money on drink, isn’t it better to buy a
ticket for an interesting play? Do you know anything about the avantgarde theatre there’s so much to talk about? Have you seen Ionesco’s plays?” (30). This formal self-referral of the stage drama mirrors the self-referral of the characters themselves as they reflect upon their self-identity in the upper left quadrant. While the rationalists such as Jean, the Logician and Dudard examine themselves on the ordinary level of language and thought, Berenger operates from a more subtle self-referral level that goes beyond ordinary language and interpretation. Self-referral here signifies the self knowing itself as pure unbounded consciousness through knowledge-by-identity, or as the Upanishadic text says, of knowing “That which is non-thought, [yet] which stands in the midst of thought.” In the Advaitan tradition it also means that pure consciousness (Atman) is fully awake to itself, undifferentiated and self-shining, beyond space and time, “aware only of the Oneness of being” (Deutsch 1973: 48). As we shall see, Berenger’s self-identity and social reactions are often trans-conceptual, based on a self-referral connectedness with deeper levels of the Self beyond the ideologies of socially induced identity or the thinking mind. Michael Goldman analyzes the Brechtian process of recognition and identification in theatre in terms of “making or doing identity” (2000: 18). Although Goldman defines identity as an aspect of mind, his model touches on my analysis of the self through its emphasis on the “most inward” part of mind (77)—or pure consciousness in Vedic psychology. Theatre, as the performance of Jean and the other rationalists demonstrates, portrays the confusions of self-identity. Berenger, on the other hand, displays a self-referral that establishes what Goldman calls “a self that in some way transcends the normal confusions of self” (18). Contrary to the popular poststructuralist view, Goldman defines “subtext,” or the “mutual permeability of actor and script,” as not reducible to text (49). An actor’s performance can always be treated semiotically,
But in drama one finds inevitably an element in excess of what can be semiotically extracted—something that is also neither irrelevant to nor [. . .] completely independent of the text. No matter how exhaustively one tries to translate what an actor does with a script into a kind of writeable commentary on it, there will always also remain the doing of it—the bodily life of the actor moving into the world, at a specific moment in time, to set in motion these words, these gestures, these
Integral Drama writeable ideas, this other identity. And, if the doing were itself to be reduced to a text, there would still remain the doing of the doing. The actor enters the text. (50, original emphasis)
Berenger performs the script self-reflexively in excess of the text, while through him the spectator receives a taste of non-intentional consciousness in excess of the play’s constructed identities, going from zone #2 to zone #1 in upper left quadrant. If the actor’s physical entry into the text as subtext exceeds what can be extracted semiotically, then his entry as self-reflexive consciousness must exceed it to an even greater extent. This phenomenon leads to aesthetic experience (rasa), which involves Berenger and the audience experiencing a coexistence of Emptiness and Form, an inner silence on the basis of which the internal observer perceives itself as well as thought and the surrounding world. In addition, not only does Berenger’s entry into the text exceed what can be extracted semiotically; the rationalists also exceed the text through their metamorphosis into rhinos. Although operating on a physical level, both the back-lit heads of the rhinos on stage and the actual transformation of the characters into rhinos exceed what the text can semiotically extract, just as Berenger’s self-referral exceeds it by pointing toward the nonlocal level of the unified field of consciousness underlying material existence. This self-referentiality of the text, by highlighting the absence of a physical referent, causes the audience to experience a corresponding self-referral on the level of consciousness. This self-referral has the effect of swinging the spectator’s attention from the concrete to the abstract, from referentiality to selfreferral; that is, the spectator’s vision moves from looking at the concrete dimensions of the stage drama toward looking into its abstract dimensions of a more subtle nonlocal level of reality behind the surface. This distinction between looking at stage drama as opposed to looking into its structural features corresponds to Colin McGinn’s theory developed in The Power of Movies of looking into rather than at the images projected on a screen. McGinn argues that unlike cinema, theatre requires no more looking into than do people sitting in a room, except in terms of looking into the actor’s eyes. Watching a film entails seeing an object embedded as a referent in the image, so that in seeing the image we actually look through it to the embedded object. Unlike the actors in a stage drama, the images in
movies are transparent insofar that they invite us to look into them and not at them as in the case of actors on a stage. functionally integrated faculties or levels of mind” (1990: 290). there is no analogue of the screen as a traversable medium standing between eyes and objects. the stage wants to hold your attention on itself. the unsayable (as well as the language used to convey it) has clear affinities with the Brahman-Atman of Advaita Vedanta.” as in the case of the Logician’s reasoning and Berenger’s
.] We could say that visually speaking. In Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive definition. but not necessarily in terms of the mind’s eye. The term “mind. The screen confronts you with something it wants you to ignore. As Charles Alexander notes. . [. the visual system is differently engaged in the two cases. Shear. not through them. through the actors on stage to an abstract nonlocal level of experience evoked through knowledgeby-identity. original emphasis)
McGinn’s argument holds for theatre in terms of physical sight. distinguish between mind and consciousness. So the visual relation we have to the staged play is of a very different nature from that which obtains between the viewer and the cinema screen. despite the fact that both at some point involve actors moving through space. which focuses more on what is absent than what is present. Ionesco employs this self-referral strategy of looking into rather than at because Berenger’s experience of an underlying nonlocal truth. moreover. not through ordinary language and interpretation. The cinema screen is there to be transcended. Forman. the stage is the primary object of attention. Advaita and Samkhya-Yoga. (2005: 34. perhaps. The audience looks at these things. Deikman and others have explained the Advaitan definition of consciousness and its derivative in perennial psychology in terms of higher states of consciousness. but the objects before the eyes—props and human bodies—are not in any way transparent entities that we look through. there is the space of the stage. theatre can induce the spectator to look not merely at the stage drama but also into it: that is. theatre is a present medium while cinema is an absent medium. It belongs to a trans-conceptual level of knowledge that can be shared intersubjectively only by being it in zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. . although describable as a commitment to a significant cause. Through the experience of self-referral. Vedic psychology proposes “an architecture of increasingly abstract. is essentially unsayable. As McGinn explains:
This accusation suggests that Berenger indeed responds to the world from a level deeper than the thinking mind. As Shear notes. or self as internal observer as suggested by Berenger’s self-referral experience. .] Berenger: You really can be obstinate. and dreaming. . Jean implies that Berenger transcends the logical boundaries of the mind:
Jean: If you think you’re being witty.72
humanitarian rationale. to pure transcendental consciousness. you’re very much mistaken! You’re just being a bore with . with your stupid paradoxes. What enters Berenger’s mind enters from a more subtle level of consciousness within through knowledge-by-identity. sleeping. . . then. As mentioned earlier in terms of the existentialist notion that existence (body) precedes essence (mind). Jean: And now you’re calling me a mule into the bargain. the aim in Advaita Vedanta is to establish the oneness of reality and to lead us to a realization of it (Deutsch 1973: 47). intellect. transrational self. which is physiologically distinct from the three ordinary states of waking. desire. and ego. feelings. sometimes. not from thought or senses through which the rationalists are mesmerized into an emulation of the brute strength of the rhinos. Like the subtext of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. Jean: There are certain things that enter the mind even of people without one. During their arguments in Act One. is immanent within yet transcendent to the individual ego and thinking mind. This realization comes through the "experience" of consciousness as qualityless Being or Atman (turiya). such an experience corresponds to what Plato intends by his fourth level. Jean: You have no mind! Berenger: All the more reason why it would never enter it. derives from the latter of the two following uses in Vedic psychology: “It [mind] refers to the overall multilevel functioning of consciousness as well as to the specific level of thinking [buddhi] (apprehending and comparing) within that overall structure” (Alexander 1989: 291). the faculty that leads the rationalist to give up their humanity and metamorphose into rhinos. Berenger: It would never have entered my mind. Berenger exceeds both through a taste of the nonlocal. the “Forms. You’re incapable of talking seriously! [. The levels of the overall functioning of mind in Vedic psychology extend from the senses. Pure consciousness (turiya).” as reached through the
Krishnamoorthy as “wild tranquility” or “passionless passion” (1968: 26). By remaining detached from any specific emotion through aesthetic rapture. As aesthetic experience. a theatre audience will appreciate the whole range of possible responses to a play without being overshadowed by any one in particular. those levels of awareness associated with pashyanti and para. but a poetic sentiment (rasa). In Sanskrit Poetics. As S. In terms of the connection between consciousness and language. It invokes the emotional states latent within the mind through direct intuition and thus provides an experience of the subtler. this expansion of the mind toward an experience beyond duality is not unlike the way a deconstructive reader moves toward the unsayable in literature. As such. Given that by definition the mind consists of thoughts. the spectator’s experience of this taste is known as rasa or aesthetic rapture. the taste of rasa involves an idealized flavor and not a specific transitory state of mind associated with zone #2 of the upper left quadrant. The theory of rasa is comparable to the notion of defamiliarization in Russian formalism and to the alienation effect in Bertolt Brecht. or the way Berenger and the spectator undergo the rites of passage in the transformation of identity. in dispensing with the thoughts that obsess the rationalists.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
“dialectic. transcending the limitations of the personal
. Riding on the Back of Rhinos The notion of suggestion (dhvani) in Sanskrit Poetics operates in connection with aesthetic rapture (rasa). which occurs in zone #1 of the upper left quadrant.
an ordinary emotion (bhava) may be pleasurable or painful. K. which Tony Bennett describes as a way “to dislocate our habitual perception of the real world so as to make it the object of renewed attentiveness” (1979: 20).” a faculty which is “radically different from thinking and reasoning as we find them in mathematics and science” (1990: 14). from vaikhari and madhyama toward pashyanti and para. Berenger moves toward attenuating thought and thereby in stages emptying the mind to produce a taste of consciousness in its pure form. Arguably. De says. Rasa allows consciousness to experience the unbounded bliss inherent within itself. more unified levels of the mind itself. rasa culminates in a spiritual joy (santa) described by K. rasa moves awareness from the temporal to the unified levels of language.
] even in the absence of external aids to happiness’” (2005: 95. . As Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe notes. . [. .] Berenger: Utter nonsense. is lifted above such pain and pleasure into pure joy. For instance. In Rhinoceros. with other characters interjecting their own observations between their insults. . his quarrel because of its absurd dimension has the opposite effect of directing them toward the essential nature of humanity through rasa as a taste of the void of conceptions. we hardly even saw it” (36).] Berenger: Yes.
Jean: I don’t have to grope my way through a fog. after the second rhino kills the Housewife’s cat in Act One. . For spectators. We see this happening in Berenger’s arguments with Jean. How could you possibly tell about the horns? The animal flashed past at such speed.] Berenger: But it had its head down. Jean claims that the first one was an Asiatic rhino with two horns while the second was an African rhino with only one horn. .74
Integral Drama attitude.]
. the essence of which is its relish itself. one could see all the better. . Berenger later regrets his enraged verbal assault. . Jean and Berenger argue over whether it had one horn or two. Aesthetic rapture as argued here can be induced in a manner unrelated to the notion of the sublime understood as a quality of conscious content.] Jean: What me? You dare to accuse me of talking nonsense? [. Berenger moves the audience from specific thoughts and emotions associated with conformity to a collective psychosis toward a release from specific emotional attachments in the self-referral experience of rasa. “You’re talking nonsense . [. this experience is the nearest realization through theatre and the other arts of the Absolute or moksa (liberation). Rhagavan 1988). Ultimately rasa emerges from the qualityless gap between thoughts as the awareness transcends mental content. . . my mind is clear! [. . . Bereger replies. “The spiritual aspect of the meaning of rasa is emphasized in Shankara’s commentary of the Upanishadic use of the term: ‘Rasa is here used to mean such bliss as is innate in oneself and manifests itself [. [. . however. I can calculate quickly. Dudard and Daisy as he tries to prevent them from changing into rhinos under the false pretext of enhancing their power and beauty. . blithering nonsense! [. . .] Jean: Precisely. absolute. which he suspects may have pushed Jean over into becoming a rhino himself. (1963: 13)
As described in Indian literary theory.
What this dispute foreshadows and confirms in retrospect is that Jean is indeed full of nonsense and that Berenger is the only one who will remain hornless. and how many more of them might appear to the risk of not only pet cats but the entire population.] Berenger: You’re just a pretentious show-off—(Raising his voice. the audience experiences aesthetic rapture (rasa) not through the sublime as a qualitative conscious content of the mind. but they would also be hard-pressed to answer these questions for themselves. but rather through a process that transports them beyond the mind toward a void in thought. as mentioned earlier.]. this argument like all the absurd arguments of the play serves to shift the spectator’s awareness from the level of thought toward the void of conceptions in the manner of a Zen koan. and all material objects are no longer just localized physical matter. says that
Brain and mind are no longer just in the head. .) a pedant! [. minds. The difficulty of solving an absurd paradox. you have!” (38).” to which Jean retorts. Jean says that if anyone has two horns it’s Berenger. And never will have. Spectators may feel superior to the characters who engage in such an absurd argument. abstract underlying field of existence where conventional logic no longer obtains. the audience would no doubt finds this question absurd in light of the more critical issue of where the rhinos came from in the first place. This
. . what causes them to multiply in a small provincial French town. would preclude not only a logical solution but also the possibility of the audience piecing together a meaningful life based on the intellect absorbed in the finite material values of daily life as opposed to the nonlocal experience of pure awareness. who he calls an “Asiatic Mongol!” Berenger replies: “I’ve got no horns. “Oh yes. . . (2006b: 4)
Ionesco’s play through the device of rasa allows the audience to swing from the concrete thinking (apprehending and comparing) level of mind to a more subtle. As Berenger and Jean argue about whether a rhino has one horn or two. because brains. (37-38)
As they continue arguing. In addition. Boyer.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros Jean: I’ve never talked nonsense in my life! [. In other words. one that becomes even more absurd as the characters begin changing into rhinos. but rather are also more abstract but real nonlocal processes in a subtler underlying field of existence.
when humans transform into rhinos they will take all these negative attributes and situations with them. I don’t believe in your friendship” (74-75).” and instead of abandoning him she jumps from the window landing to join him and by implication become a rhino herself. Mrs. I’m just indifferent to them—or rather. say. She tells her husband’s office mates. Oh Boeuf. including Berenger. Jean says. Boeuf says. The play suggests that no matter how morally weak and disgusting the human race.76
void constitutes the source of Berenger’s intuition of the moral superiority of retaining his humanity in the face of pressure to conform to a collective psychosis. Ionesco combines absurdity with humor when he has Papillon. “Well! That’s the last straw. Suddenly she recognizes the rhino as her husband: “It’s my husband. I recognize him!” (61). with his breathing becoming boorishly heavy. [. arrives at the office to announce that her husband is ill. Berenger finds Jean undergoing a distinct transformation. To his amazement. or I’ll run them down” (75-76). After all. “You always see the black side of everything. “I recognize him. and apologizes for their quarrel. their boss. they disgust me. Boeuf. and they’d better keep out of my way. Mrs. .). a bump growing on his forehead and his skin turning green. that she was chased all the way to the office by a rhinoceros. In defending Boeuf’s transformation into a rhino against Berenger’s feeling that it won’t improve his life or enhance his pleasure. scene two. Berenger visits Jean. She exclaims that “He’s calling me.” Jean displays a change of attitude indicating a transformation on the level of body that reflects a pre-existing state of mind: “It’s not that I hate people. who is ill at home with a headache. rhinoceroses are living
. Obviously turning into a rhino. Later in Act Two. my poor Boeuf. . This time he’s fired for good!” (ibid. Jean accuses Berenger of “scrutinizing me as if I were some strange animal. how boring and empty the life of the bourgeois working world. When Berenger comments on Jean’s “misanthropic mood. what’s happened to you?” When questioned by Daisy. “There’s no such thing as friendship.] I tell you it’s not as bad as all that. and how susceptible the human race is to conforming to collective psychosis. explaining that “in our different ways we were both right” (71).” and then begins to distance himself from his friend psychologically. In Act Two we first learn that humans are metamorphosing into rhinos when the wife of one of Berenger’s colleagues.
Again. human civilization has evolved a philosophy of life. As Berenger puts it. In terms of aesthetic response to this dramatic turn of events. with the mind including the intellect. 2. emotions. but Jean rejects the value of this idea: “Humanism is all washed up! You’re a ridiculous old sentimentalist” (80). and independent realities in our universe of experience: 1. which as we have seen belong to the same category. the only character who transcends the physical mind/body component of life through a transformation based on knowledge-by-identity. Changing existence on a physical level does not differ from changing essence on a psychological level in the sense that both mind and body constitute a physical element as opposed to consciousness. nonlocal underlying dimension of the human condition. which includes the thinking mind. consciousness itself (purusha). the audience will find itself in a dilemma.). which comprises the only nonphysical. Samkhya-Yoga (the third system of Indian philosophy). which does not extend beyond the ordinary levels of language and conceptuality. Although in one sense Jean is right in wanting to replace morality with nature.” would only leave humans in the same benighted condition. Through rasa. (Pflueger 1998: 48)
Advaita Vedanta and Samkhya-Yoga elaborate on this distinction between mind and consciousness. and all the qualities (qualia) of phenomenal experience:
. his interpretation of nature. As mentioned earlier. they’ve got as much right to life as we have!” (78-79). Ionesco suggests that any material change in life. states
there are two irreducible. innate. primordial materiality (prakrti). which applies to both aspects of the formula “existence precedes essence. Jean goes for “the law of the jungle” (ibid. but the alternative provided by a new philosophy based on a different set of laws associated with rhinoceritis proves ineffectual in lifting humanity out of the jungle.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
creatures the same as us. whether of the natural or concrete urban variety. Ionesco’s play alters the level of consciousness of the audience through the change undergone by Berenger. Berenger observes that unlike animals. on a purely conceptual level Jean has a point. Berenger reiterates his innate sense that “we have our own moral standards which I consider incompatible with the standards of these animals” (79). consists of no more than extending morality from mental to physical laws.
feeling and perception like those adhered to by the rhino/rationalists comprise different forms of nonconscious matter. We find the integral aspect of Ionesco's theater. mind. which like The Lamp at the Door illuminates both inside and outside. as Meyer-Dinkgräfe says. is not attached in the conventional sense that derives from intellectual self reflection. He also repeats Jean’s allegation that he can see only the dark side of things. he unlike the other characters can operate from a level beyond the division of mind. The material content of experience related to the intellect. over-nervous and has no sense of humor. The mind/consciousness distinction. consciousness (purusha) is distinct from primordial materiality (prakrti) with its twenty-three components. Ionesco's theatrical devices—the absurdity. body and consciousness. etc. and ego (ahamkara) (Pflueger ibid. Having had a taste of pure consciousness through knowledge-by-identity. including mind (manas). and unpredicatability—serve to heighten the sense of a distinction between mind and consciousness. In contrast. humor. all of which make up the content of witnessing consciousness (purusha). moods. like that of Pinter’s. memories. Berenger calls this metamorphosis a nervous disease that one can avoid. mahat). in which both mind and body are unequivocally material. then. Spectators are encouraged to leapfrog into a trans-conceptual space after language has run its course. This tradition underlies the model for theatrical experience presented in The Natyashastra. sensations. intellect (buddhi.
perceptions. to witness the mind reflexively as it plays with logical conundrums. disidentification. inducing a glimpse of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. accuses him of playing Don Quixote and tries to persuade him to be more detached. In this state of unity. in its pointing away from the agitated mind toward the joys of unbounded consciousness. and ego comprises only part of experience. In Act Three.). Intellect. as the play suggests. But Berenger. but Dudard tells him he’s overreacting. if only subliminally. differs as mentioned earlier from the garden variety of mind/body dualism in Western thought (Pflueger 1998: 49). who in the end also decides to metamorphose into a rhino. Berenger has a similar confrontation with Dudard. mind. and ego along with thought. which is made whole through the experience of pure consciousness. who says he “can’t be indifferent” (92).
being awake. consciousness. by going beyond the intellect Berenger achieves a level of nonattachment that characterizes knowledgeby-identity. without impediment. but so does Berenger. object and their relationship. This three-in-one structure of knower.
. however. As Bonshek explains. knows itself as subject. a pragmatic field of existence beyond the duality of subject and object. known and process of knowing. Berenger uses the example of practicality versus reason to make his point that logic doesn’t prove anything: “It’s all gibberish. (2005: 89)
Dudard tells Berenger that Papillon has also become a rhino and claims that because he had a good position as their boss “his metamorphosis was sincere” (95). Berenger and through him the spectator taste a unity of the knower. known and process of knowing.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros self-reflection is no longer needed and will automatically subside. a unity devoid of an object of observation divorced from the self to which one can become enthralled—like the desire to become a rhinoceros. Mind and body are functioning together as a unit. Dudard like the other rationalists confuses the issue by indiscriminately lumping all levels of the mind together. As the play suggests. Dudard in his obsession with mental constructs is the one who fails to be detached. Ultimately. not only do Jean and Dudard undergo transformations. In response. social status or intellectual prowess provides no protection from the foibles of the human condition. energies can flow freely. there are three values or shades of consciousness within one field of consciousness. utter lunacy” (99). who “changes from a listless slouch to an ardent defender of ‘an irreplaceable set of human values’” (1996: 102). when in fact freedom from ignorance and conceptual boundaries comes only from transcending the mind or conceptuality altogether. On the other hand. As Gaensbauer says. Claiming the high ground on the basis on the mind. as when he tells Berenger “one has to keep an open mind— that’s essential to a scientific mentality” (97).
Maharishi refers to this self-referral move of Atma (the Self) as a big fish of self-referral coming up under the water—the ocean of consciousness. Thus. “Can you personally define these conceptions of normality and abnormality?” (98). Consequently. ensnared as he is by the conceptual boundaries of knowledge-about and knowledge-byacquaintance. he asks Berenger.
On the one hand. too. never! (124). he slaps her. abandoning him to a life of solitude. this male weakness. ultimately his intuitive sense of a void in thought helps him to hold his ground as a human being. At this point in the play. and she leaves to become a rhino herself. intuitive” (99). which by the end has reached a level through which he can experience both Emptiness and Form. original emphasis)
Never having studied. we have the rationalists who operate out of ordinary self-interested cravings. then. These identities consist of thoughts that hold us to the world of wish fulfillment and material desires.80
Integral Drama within consciousness. “I feel it instinctively—no. His momentary wavering suggests that even though he may not have entirely liberated himself from the attachments of his mind. the audience shares in Berenger’s un-
. Berenger vacillates between seeing himself as an ugly monster and wishing he could become a rhino. but rather leads the audience beyond conceptuality toward a taste of the gap between socially constructed identities. It doesn’t compare with the ardour and the tremendous energy emanating from all these creatures around us” (120). saying. (2007: 13-14. They argue. “I don’t want to have children—it’s a bore” (119). He knows that the rationalists can run circles around him. Maharishi describes as the structure of pure knowledge. Berenger catches himself using the wrong word when he says. His will power is severely put to the test at the end of the play when he and Daisy are the last remaining humans. never. yes. is not confined to the realm of ideas. illogical argumentation and duplicitous wrangling between friends that swing the awareness between ordinary day-to-day psychological consciousness. it’s the rhinoceros which has instinct—I feel it intuitively. but she rejects him. and she claims to be ashamed of their love—“this morbid feeling. that’s the word. Ionesco’s Rhinoceros induces in the audience an aesthetic experience (rasa) through devices such as absurdity. And female. and on the other hand Berenger who exhibits an increased ethical discernment based on a purity of consciousness. the inner silence of Atman along with his own ethical values and emotions. and then finally reasserts his conviction to remain human: “Now I’ll never become a rhinoceros. that’s not what I mean. but on the basis of his intuition he still holds his ground against becoming a rhino. the dream-like nature of reality. Through rasa. and a more highly developed spiritual consciousness. He tries to persuade her to help him “regenerate the human race” (118). The main field of play in Ionesco’s Rhinoceros.
. pure awareness and the mind’s qualia. Tom Stoppard produces a similar effect through the juxtaposition of a series of temporal and conceptual oppositions that ultimately lead to an experience of unity.Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
conditional love. In Arcadia. purity of compassion and even in the taste of an experience beyond the knowledge-by-acquaintance of socially induced identities toward a coexistence of inside and outside.
but also to a painting by Nicolas Poussin in the Louvre (1638-9). the “proper name is ‘deterministic chaos’” (1985: 438). This transcendence suggests the transformation to a higher stage of development through the notion of Thanatos and Eros. who idealized the life of shepherds and shepherdesses. “Even in Arcadia. In addition to its literal meaning of dropping the body. death also symbolizes the transcenddence of sensory perception or the conscious content of the mind. which as James Gleick says.Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia: Orderly Disorder
Enlightenment and Romanticism Stoppard’s Arcadia juxtaposes the dimensions of time and timelessness. transrational experience of freedom even from within the boundaries of time. With both time frames set in a room facing the garden of Sidley Park. which conveys the both/and paradigm that interrelates the two concepts in a nonhierarchical manner. as the science writer David Porush says.” Critics have suggested that this ambiguous line refers not only to the notion that “I too am in Arcadia. however. a country estate
. “cuts away at the tenets of Newton’s physics” (1988: 6). With its title alluding to the imaginary “Arcadia” of Virgil. heart and mind in a way that paradoxically induces in the characters and audience a transpersonal. This painting has a line inscribed on a tomb which implies that death also resides in Arcadia: “I too lived in Arcadia once. The structure of the play takes us beyond the limits of time by dramatically juxtaposing two historical periods—1809-12 and the present—while also integrating two aspects of physics. The term chaos is misleading.” referring to the aristocratic Coverly family. I am here” (Arcadia 18.” or. the play also makes several references to the Latin line. and Chaos theory. intuition and logic. Hunter 2000: 156). “Et in Arcadia ego. Isaac Newton’s theory of a “universal system of mathematical reason and order divinely created and administered” (Audi 1995: 530).
Hannah Jarvis. The duality set up by the opposition between classical and Gothic landscapes.] Deterministic chaos is only part of the science that informs Arcadia. reason and feeling. the lead female character. scaling. Septimus educates Thomasina on the mid-eighteenth-century Enlightenment. iterated algorithms. on an empty shore” (126)—suggesting the wholeness of a unity-amidst-diversity. “When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning. (2001: 193-94)
Although this science points to the increasing disorder in the universe. Newtonian determinism and the chaos of Eros ultimately leads the characters and audience to a taste of unity as embodied by love. the Age of Reason. In the 1809-12 scenes. has against her will employed Richard Noakes to redesign the landscape from a geometrically styled eighteenth-century Enlightenment garden to a Romantic wilderness in the Gothic style of untamed nature with ruins. John Fleming writes that
Deterministic chaos deals with systems of unpredictable determinism. the irreversibility of time. . Stoppard highlights those aspects of deterministic chaos that reveal an underlying order found not only in random events but also in the nature of higher consciousness. Like Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and Pinter’s The Birthday Party. Enlightenment and Romanticism. we will be all alone. a bestselling author doing research on the Coverly estate. [. but the uncertainty does not result in pure randomness but rather in complex patterns. the leading female character. In the 1809-12 setting. which
. represents Romanticism in her scientific outlook and growing affection for her tutor Septimus Hodge. represents a neoclassical attitude based on Newtonian physics and a denial of feelings.84
in Derbyshire. on the other hand. and population biology. Other concepts include entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. the head of Sidley Park and the Coverly family. . Lady Croom’s husband Lord Croom. the thirteenyear-old genius Thomasina Coverly. the play begins as Sidley Park itself undergoes a transformation. rationality and nonrationality. Clarifying this dichotomy. hermitage and artificial crags representing the unpredictability of Eros. in the contemporary setting. As Septimus says toward the end of the play. fractals. Stoppard’s Arcadia takes the awareness of characters and spectators toward a void of conceptions through an intimation that presents the unified field of consciousness as the source of all duality.
. She questions his explanation of the rules by which God has allegedly created an orderly universe based on a regular and reversible order. Throughout the play. who asks “Is God a Newtonian?” (6). on the other hand. Hannah. In scene three. Thomasina. [. Bernard! It’s what happened to the Enlightenment.Stoppard’s Arcadia
focuses on regular “Classical” forms derived from Newtonian physics. isn’t it? A century of intellectual rigour turned in on itself. cannot be excluded from but rather complements the order of the universe. In a setting of cheap thrills and false emotion. a major component of unpredictability in the play.” but Thomasina rejects this idea:
What a faint-heart! We must look outward from the middle of the maze. Thomasina pokes holes in Newtonian science when she discovers that once having stirred jam into her pudding. A post-graduate student at Oxford. “You cannot stir things apart” (6). In scene one. she says. In scene two. which as Valentine explains shows that the orderly system is gradually running down through entropy. A mind in chaos suspected of genius. which alludes both to the Eros of Eden (Romanticism) and to Newton’s discovery of gravity (Enlightenment). attempts to deny emotions and rejects Romanticism. challenges the notion that Newton has sorted out the mystery of the universe. We will start with something simple. therefore. Randomness. moreover. Septimus responds that Newton “has mastery of equations which lead into infinities where we cannot follow. . she complains to Septimus that the way he teaches geometry confines it to simple forms that are limited and predictable rather than something like an apple leaf.] The decline of thinking into feeling. relates to the second law of thermodynamics. Thomasina challenges the assumptions of the Enlightenment through Romanticism in her pursuit of nonrationality and the study of irregular landscapes of nature in the wild. Her ideas are supported by her modern relative in the present.) I will plot this leaf and deduce its equations. or randomness and disorder.
a whole Romantic sham. . (She picks up the apple leaf. Valentine argues that chaos. Valentine Coverly. You will be famous for being my tutor when Lord Byron is dead and forgotten. (49)
The apple also refers to free will as associated with romantic Eros.
). As Fleming puts it. on an empty shore” (126). These opposites are represented in Arcadia by the emotional attachment encouraged by Romanticism and the inevitability of change. however. yet lurking underneath is a tightly ordered dramatic structure” (195). “Some regularity lay beneath the turbulent surface” (1988: 172). Stoppard dramatizes how the mind undergoes a transformation through which the discovery of the mystery of life does not lead to meaning or rationality. He also notes that the term fractal means “self-similar. which leads ultimately to the void of conceptions. characters. situations. emotion duality toward the unified experience of pure consciousness as opposed to the multiplicity of the mind’s conscious content—the qualia or qualities of phenomenal experience. In literature. therefore. In Gleick’s words. we will be alone. these two scientific positions lead characters and audience toward a condition of unity. suggests undergoing a transformation beyond the Romanticism vs. Ken Wilber in The Marriage of Sense and Soul describes this development in terms of the world’s contemplative traditions that entail the Great
. costumes. “All this similarity across scales is significant because in dynamic systems it signifies that some quality is preserved while everything else changes” (196). This process gradually leads to a greater sense of the unity of opposites that characterizes an integral experience. death or Thanatos as mentioned earlier also symbolizes going beyond the sentience of the physical world by turning inward toward self-reflexiveness.86
As Arcadia progresses. To be alone as Septimus says. and musical accompaniment” across the scenes covering two historical periods (ibid. reason vs. This transformation in Arcadia occurs in part through an oscillation between Eros and Thanatos.” as in the “Selfsimilarity of dialogue. suggested by Septimus in the lines quoted above: “When we have found all the mysteries and lost all the meaning. In breaking attachments to the familiar world. but rather toward the transcendence of meaning in the source of thought where we can taste the boundless unity of nonpluralistic consciousness. Fleming notes that Stoppard constructs Arcadia through a “nonlinear bouncing between time periods [that] suggests disorder. Enlightenment. As we shall see. as exemplified in Thomasina’s untimely demise by fire on the eve of her 17th birthday. the individual undergoes a series of transformations toward higher stages of development. props.
. . or the study of science—they discover that life is not so easily confined and defined. mind. archetypal.
Whenever the characters try to fix and understand reality—whether it be through the use of language. (2005: 5)
While Septimus begins by upholding the hierarchy of patriarchal knowledge (not to mention behavior) and favors objectivity. there are four correlative modes of knowing (sensory. as Arcadia illustrates. soul. As the play suggests. there are levels of both being and knowing. until quite recently handed down orally and unrecorded in the histories written by men. As Fleming observes. Thomasina foresees that to predict the future through a geometry that explains regular shapes would preclude irregular shapes. The knowledge hierarchy was identified as a patriarchy. and mystical). cognition. He quotes Houston Smith. If we picture the Great Chain as composed of four levels (body. excludes free will as well as the irregular forms associated with the vagaries of emotion that Septimus refers to as “the attraction that Newton left out” (97). the eye of mind (rationalism). imper-
.” That is. subsumes both empiricism and rationalism while simultaneously transcending both. who says that
“Reality is graded. [. Newtonian science as a way of knowing on its own in the absence of chaos cuts out the bonding power of the human heart that facilitates the move toward the unity of an integral experience. mental. Newtonian physics. (1988a: 35)
The eye of contemplation.
Below the rulers of the power/knowledge hierarchy there persisted what Foucault termed ‘subjugated ways of knowing.Stoppard’s Arcadia
Chain of Being and the corresponding belief in epistemological pluralism. As Chris Clarke says. (2001: 196-97)
This difficulty applies especially to knowledge-about and knowledgeby-acquaintance. Trained in Newton’s physics. and with it. and the eye of contemplation (mysticism). the use of narratives designed to control and explain their experiences. thereby presaging through her genius what today is called fractal geometry. then. which I usually shorten to the three eyes of knowing: the eye of flesh (empiricism).’ including the practical and spiritual knowing of women. and spirit).] This was the most malevolent of all hierarchies.
or as Paul Davies says. original emphasis). If all natural activity produces more disorder (measured in some appropriate way) then the world must change irreversibly. after which nothing further of interest will happen. which contradicts the second law. Stoppard metaphorically suggests that both positions contribute toward an understanding of truth.88
sonal logic and scientific evidence.
In its widest sense this law states that every day the universe becomes more and more disordered. mountains and shorelines are eroded. the world is moving from order to increasing disorder. An orderly paradise as represented by the universe before the big bang transforms into a disorderly world. subjectivity. not merely the subject of interest. Examples of the second law are found everywhere: buildings fall down.
. In the end. Physicists call this depressing prospect ‘the heat death’” (1983: 199). from the concrete predictability of all events to the mystery of spontaneous activity that leads all bodies to generate heat. According to the second law of thermodynamics intuited by Thomasina. . (1983: 10. and many careful experiments verify that the total entropy in a system never decreases. Metaphorically speaking. New structures grow. however. There is a sort of gradual but inexorable descent into chaos. for to restore the universe to yesterday’s condition would mean somehow reducing the disorder to its previous level. Yet at first sight there might seem to be many counterexamples of this law. . As Davies says regarding the second law of thermodynamics. runs “down towards a state of thermodynamic equilibrium and maximum disorder. Isn’t every new-born baby an example of order out of disorder? In these cases you have to be sure you are looking at the total system. [. New buildings are erected. Predictability vs. natural resources are depleted. heat death also implies a phenomenological state of unity. people grow old. Free Will Stoppard’s Arcadia dramatizes how the opposition between Newtonian determinism and the chaos theory intuited by Thomasina over a hundred years before its scientific formulation produces a swing of awareness from the known to the unknown. for similarities inevitably lie beneath external differences. Thomasina rebels against this repressive authority and favors being. emotion and associative ways of knowing that lead to knowledge-by-identity.] Physicists have invented a mathematical quantity called entropy to quantify disorder.
who with his wife are guests of Lady Croom’s brother. one way this reversal may occur within a local context is through the concentration of energy through love. Valentine’s argument against reversal includes the example of a ball falling through the air. reduced to ashes by fire. however. Chater as illustrated by the arrival of her husband. At this point Lady Croom and Captain Brice enter the room and discuss the parts of the landscape they fear Noakes intends to ruin on Lord Croom’s request.Stoppard’s Arcadia
Thomasina leaves clues both on thermodynamics and chaos theory in her lesson book and primer. sir!” (11). Yes. As Davies suggests. but finally gives her a graphic description in the context of an explanation of Fermat’s theorem. which Septimus reads. even though this emotion may also result in the entropy of body heat. Thomasina then turns her attention from a discussion of God and Fermat to the irreversibility of the jam stirred into her rice pudding. Another reversal suggested by the play. “Carnal embrace is the practice of throwing one’s arms around a side of beef” (2). After Thomasina’s death. As revealed later. moving as the play progresses toward a coexistence of the void and the mind’s content. involves integral experience. Hearing this. a field of perfect orderliness found in zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. by God. Noakes. Newtonian physics and chaos. subjugated by patriarchal logic. “There is nothing that woman would not do for me! Now you have an insight to her character. The chaos of the rice pudding and jam parallels that of Septimus and Mrs. the landscape gardener. saw Septimus in the gazebo in carnal embrace with Mrs. Captain Brice. the characters and audience arguably transcend the chaos of thought into the void of conceptions. Septimus and Chater mistakenly believe they are referring to the places in the garden Septimus
. Mr. which is partially induced by the unity of love. Mr. At first he tries to evade the question by jesting. Through emotional attraction. Scene one opens with Thomasina asking Septimus for a definition of carnal embrace. she is a wife to me. and the play itself suggests the irreversibility of death in the case of Thomasina. gloats. by showing how the running down of the world could reverse itself. Septimus placates Ezra Chater by falsely praising his poetry and claiming that he told Mrs. Chater. Septimus goes mad not only from the remorse of losing her but also from trying to reconcile the two laws. Chater. Chater of its merit before their carnal embrace.
Chater and then with Lady Croom represents the emotional attraction that leads to entropy and characterizes the second law. Her attitude points from a literal to a symbolic transformation induced by death as Thanatos. a confusion that draws another parallel between Romanticism and the entropy of body heat. and then asks. gunshots are heard out in the park. as Septimus at one point reminds Thomasina” (2001: 189). then. “Oh. Yet it also signifies the profane attachments of the characters that are destined to be short lived as they undergo a transformation through Thanatos to a higher level of Eros. the only certainty is death—even in Arcadia. to which Thomasian retorts. Lady Croom praises the Classical landscape of Sidley Park and says. The Eros of Septimus’s affair with Mrs. Chater met in sexual congress. “in a chaotically uncertain world. In scene one.
. Septimus!” (18). Death thus refers both to the transformation that Septimus and Thomasina set themselves up for through their relationship in scene one. the emotional attraction between characters has the effect of shifting the attention of the audience through negentropy from reason or the surface level of the mind toward more refined levels of consciousness. That is. there am I!”. Even within the context of entropy. a more unified state of being as demonstrated through the final attraction at the end of the play between Septimus and Thomasina. with the audience sensing amidst all the romantic chaos among the other characters the emergence of a budding love between Septimus and Thomasina. Shortly afterward. or the transcendence of chaos through negative entropy. as well as to Thomasina’s tragic death by fire when she goes to bed alone with a lit candle in 1812 after Septimus prudishly declines her offer to sleep together. ‘Even in Arcadia. to which Septimus comments. Stoppard presents an opposition between the intellect associated with Newtonian physics and the emotions associated with the second law. indicative of his own choice of free will over determinism. This attraction will evolve through a transformation from a lower level of Eros to a more integrated level by means of Thanatos. then. “’Et in Arcadia ego!’ ‘Here I am in Arcadia. “A calendar of slaughter. As Hersh Zeifman says.90
and Mrs. the spectator’s awareness swings between two states of mind created through the production of order even within the context of disorder—a subtle shift from chaos toward the void of conceptions. phooey to Death!” (18). “Are you in love with my mother.’ Thomasina” (16).
Hannah. he kisses her on the cheek just as Chloe enters the
. “You absolute shit” (39). believing mistakenly that Byron killed Mr. also discuss the change in landscape gardening that represents the shift from Enlightenment to Romanticism. I mean. “was off his head. but also stable. who they believe to be Septimus. He wants to do research on Byron as well as Chater. Bernard wants to collaborate with Hannah. When Hannah returns. and learns that the room they occupy has been cleared for a public dance that evening. She says the hermit. When Bernard learns from Chloe that the Miss Jarvis he is about to meet is actually Hannah Jarvis. just as Septimus praised Mr. isn’t it? A perfect symbol. in doing research on their predecessors. and says he has come to do research on the poet Chater. “life can be chaotic. These present day characters. Bernard deceptively praises her book on Lady Caroline Lamb. Hannah considers Romanticism to be a sham. which parallels the shift from rationality to nonrationality and its effect on the spectator. In spite of her resentment. a few bright stars of negentropic Eros continue to shine. and within chaos there are windows of order” (2001: 200). It’s perfect. who reveals her dislike for academics. who invited him to meet Hannah. Chloe exits and her fifteen-year-old brother Gus and older brother Valentine enter. with the latter coming and going throughout the scene. Scene two bring us up to the present day with the same oppositional structure between chaos and order found in scene one. and Lady Croom are doing research on the gardens of the Park and on Thomasina’s sketch of a hermit.” referring to the decline “from thinking to feeling” (36-37). Bernard speaks with Valentine. Hannah says. Chater’s poetry. and when Hannah informs him that Byron and Chater attended university together. The scene opens with Hannah on stage looking through Noakes’s sketch book and then leaving as the eighteen-year-old Chloe Coverly enters with Bernard. Nevertheless. he asks her not to reveal his surname. Chater in a duel. As mentioned earlier.Stoppard’s Arcadia
But Thomasina doesn’t need reminding because she intuits that the entire universe is moving toward an entropic dead end as heat converts to cold. When Chloe returns and blurts out Bernard’s surname. As Fleming puts it. whose book he had reviewed disparagingly. Arcadia reveals that even within the dark night of entropy. He covered every sheet with cabalistic proofs that the world was coming to an end.
but in scene two the pain of deception begins to extend its reach to include other characters. either because of a past disappointment or a conscious decision to focus on her intellectual pursuits. Chater and Lady Croom commit adultery with Septimus and Byron. she copes with life by trying to deny her feelings. Gus (“in his customary silent awkwardness” (45)). Chater to encompass the narrative representation of the past based on research that relies on inference based on secondary resources. At this point. Septimus and Valentine. unpredictability and determinism. As a guardian of the dispassionate intellect. so Chloe asserts. Is he married? (44). But at this stage Hannah shows resistance to Eros. Chater in a duel. enters with an apple for Hannah—another allusion to the Eros of Eden (Romanticism) and to Newton’s discovery of gravity (Enlightenment). The bio-
. Although they represent the arts and humanities. That is. but Hannah has no interest. who thinks she’s referring to Valentine when she really means her younger brother Gus. Stoppard’s characters thus integrate both freewill and fate. I’ll have him. Hannah and Bernard are more scientific in their attempts to interpret the past than the three scientists. “If you don’t want him. Hannah has difficulty determining the truth of documents about the hermit. who tend to be less Newtonian and more intuitive in their approach. As the scene closes. Septimus.92
room and he exits. as did Septimus toward Thomasina. and all of the characters underestimate the extent to which entropy has saturated their lives. Byron and Mr. the disorder caused by deception and misunderstanding has expanded from the direct relationships between individuals such as Lady Croom. didn’t you?”. Bernard is mistaken about Byron having killed Mr. Hannah sees emotion as an undesirable irregularity. and Mrs. Thomasina. Chloe says of Bernard. In scene one both Mrs. The Pre/Trans Fallacy The tension between the Enlightenment and Romanticism continues from scenes one and two until the end of the play. Chloe says that her brother is secretly in love with Hannah. “I thought there was a lot of sexual energy there. but in proving her theory about the Enlightenment and Septimus as the hermit she ultimately resorts to intuition like Thomasina. experiencing a level of unity that goes beyond knowledge-about and knowledge-by-acquaintance linked to Wilber’s three quadrants outside the upper left. In her aversion for sentimentality.
original emphasis). self-understanding and self-knowledge—are products of personal narratives” (2003: 4-5). and even primitive autism. one needs to take a transrational. one can then regain the Divine union. but one can never actually lose that union itself. one then loses this unconscious union. language and interpretation suffice to yield knowledge-about the socially constructed self. but now in a higher and conscious fashion” (1998b: 95. not to the integral experience of the void of conceptions. narrative self-awareness applies only to the verbal. the pre/trans fallacy discussed by Wilber needs to be avoided to reach higher nonrational levels of development suggested by the oscillation between Eros and Thanatos. for example. In growing up we experience more misery and alienation because of a lack of awareness of the
. Hannah condemns the “whole Romantic sham” (36) because she senses its regressive tendency for a prerational state. “one starts out in unconscious Heaven [as a child]. Hannah believes that the emphasis on feeling in Romanticism tends to undermine the intellect by taking one backwards toward a more primitive state of development. transverbal. In the division between Romanticism and Enlightenment. and thus plunges into conscious hell. He further argues that childhood is not really an unconscious Heaven but rather an unconscious Hell. constructed aspect of identity. This is. in the overall Romantic view. precisely the route taken by Freud in The Future of an Illusion” (1998b: 88).Stoppard’s Arcadia
graphical narratives the characters pursue do not reveal the whole truth about their research subjects. whereas the Enlightenment serves to advance humanity by promoting a higher level of development based on reason. As Wilber explains. “or you would cease to be” (96). a prerational regression entails an “oceanic adualism. As discussed in relation to Pinter’s The Birthday Party. not a progressive transformation into a transpersonal state. According to Wilber. But as argued here. he adds that “the portions of human consciousness beyond the purely somatic—self-awareness. which suggests a throwback to an infantile union. While reason. As Wilber explains. transpersonal approach to access the self as pure awareness. indissociation. free will and determinism. Fireman argues that narrative captures aspects of the self for description and examination and thereby helps to construct the self. which through the growing awareness of adulthood becomes a conscious Hell. an unconscious union with the Divine. one can be conscious or unconscious of one’s union with the Divine.
feeling and idealistic love. prepersonal. who represents an Enlightenment stance on the validity of Newtonian physics. mindless passion engaged in by Chater and Septimus. but rather out of a heightened awareness of a desire-ridden world that an infant lives unconsciously. As Wilber argues. under-mental emotional state that she herself attempts to counteract through a denial of feelings and an emphasis on her intellectual pursuits. it is pre-egoic And the course of human development—and evolution at large—is from subconscious to self-conscious to superconscious. intellectually rejects much of the Romantic theory on nature. who is discussed by the other characters but never appears on stage. a sequence Stoppard dramatizes through his characters. demonstrates that not all Romantics suffer from such a regression. although unconscious.94
Divine. it is basically prepersonal. (1998b: 97-98)
Hannah believes that Romanticism involves a regression to a subconscious. This union or oneness. As Hannah and especially Thomasina demonstrate. It is not transverbal. Thomasina—through a transrational. by any other name: eternal. Furthermore. through her own intellectual pursuits and intuition. Septimus. It is not trans-egoic. On the one hand. from under-mental to mental to over-mental. it is prerational. which would undermine the basis of our existence. however. humans develop from an unconscious Hell to a conscious Hell and ultimately to a conscious Heaven (1998b: 97). On the contrary. from pretemporal to temporal to transtemporal. is never absent in the infant self. preverbal. It is not transrational. As Wilber says. transpersonal process— surpasses the intellectual acuity of her tutor. not because of the loss of a prerational union.
the infantile state is not unconscious transpersonal. Septimus himself exhibits the same vulnerability to regression toward a prerational. Byron. But Thomasina. from prepersonal to personal to transpersonal. the self even within the context of Romanticism can grow in spirituality by transcending its sense of separateness and becoming more conscious of the Divine. but in practice he succumbs to the same kind of infantile. transverbal. as adults we grow in awareness of the pain of existence not out of an unquenchable desire that was absent to the infant self.
. If anything. prepersonal state as do Romantics such as Byron. Both characters and audience develop from an unconscious duality to a conscious duality and ultimately toward a conscious unity. it is preverbal.
on the other hand. Bernard: Yes. from confusing the transrational with a prerational. No.
Earlier. suffers a mental and emotional block toward a sense of union. the intimacy between one’s constructed narrative identity and one’s “superlative degree of inwardness. perhaps the need to achieve a superlative degree of inwardness. (2000: 77.
Intimacy comes from the Latin superlative intimus. a union with the Divine. You should let yourself go a bit. Like two marbles rolling around a pudding basin. . This fear may stem in part from her committing the pre/trans fallacy. Thanks .
. has haunted European thought since whoknows-when.Stoppard’s Arcadia
Throughout the play Thomasina intuits a deeper level of the laws of nature than Septimus. haven’t you. intimacy between self and other therefore depends on the degree of intimacy between two aspects of the self: that is. Or at any rate the right book. infantile dependence on the other. transverbal. verbal. Literature and sex. you have. which implies that unlike him she also remembers. personal dimension of the narrative self necessary to attain the transrational. When Bernard entices her to have carnal embrace. ‘most inward. the desire. she protests:
Hannah: Oh . Hannah: Sex and literature.’ and the impulse. original italics)
In the context of a Divine or integral experience. Stoppard contextualizes it within culture through an integral drama that attempts to create a new consciousness. transpersonal with the prerational. Stoppard creates a “total” theatre where both levels of intimacy are present simultaneously—thus intimating and promoting the experience among characters and audience of a transcendental reality beyond the pre/trans fallacy. (84). . . (then. transverbal. left to itself. Hannah: Nothing against it. however vaguely. Hannah’s fear of intimacy suggests a fear of letting go of the rational. preverbal. You might have written a better book. protesting) Bernard! Bernard: You should try it. Far from under-mining transcendental awareness. Chloe also accuses Hannah of resisting the offer of intimacy: “You’ve been deeply wounded in the past. doesn’t have many places to go. prepersonal. It’s very understated. Your conversation. . as if confusing the transrational. Hannah. Hannah?” (75).” In Arcadia. transpersonal self. One of them is always sex. As Michael Goldman says.
Hannah resists this transformation while Thomasina embraces it. is the trans-narrative knower as internal observer. without which the process of knowing an object of knowledge remains incomplete. claiming that different types of mystical. and thus largely the same in any theatre that demonstrates the integral experience of zone #1 in the upper left quadrant. Katz (1978) and others question the likelihood of unmediated experience. Functionalists like Dennett (1991). as demonstrated through a different way of knowing in the plays of Stoppard. but what Stoppard renders through his characters. “Arcadia is a celebration of the human struggle to obtain knowledge. It involves going beyond the duality of one’s socially constructed identity. the subjective “experience” of a void of conceptions. illustrates that while all contentful experiences are context related. but merely reflect different cultural traditions. pure consciousness or a void in thought is knowable not indirectly through language or ideas. allowing for a greater intimacy with no-mind or a void in thought— which is one reason the transformations of character and spectator may seem “never wholly clear” in terms of logical discourse. Stoppard’s play. although by the end of the play Hannah comes around to an acceptance of intimacy. Intimacy with our superlative degree of inwardness arguably forms the basis for all other types of intimacy. Pinter and Ionesco. on the other hand. beyond the intentional knowledge of the other in a subject/object dualism toward knowledgeby-identity. are nevertheless in and of themselves context-free (see Almond 1990:
This transformation involves the decontingencing of actor and spectator from the boundaries of ordinary language and identity. Gnostic. while also providing a glimpse through aesthetic experience (rasa) of the coexistence of an awareness of Emptiness and Form. transpersonal noncontingent Being after language and ideas have run their course. or aesthetic experience do not point to a shareable transcendent source. transpersonal. As Fleming puts it. What he omits. it is not inconsistent to assume that contentless Gnostic or aesthetic experiences. but only through the immediacy (or knowledge-by-identity) of transcognitive. is trans-cultural. as does Septimus. In the early scenes of Arcadia. As an unidentifiable emptiness. especially Thomasina. however. with meaning arriving as much out of the process as the product” (2001: 200). objective theory we use to describe it. even though arising out of appropriate contexts. although belatedly. Whatever third-person.
216). Differences in the expression of aesthetic experience, as Stoppard illustrates, occur only through the cultural contexts in which transpersonal, mythic encounters with superlative inwardness are evoked. Stoppard questions the unified concept of self as a function of the mind, but in the process opens up a theatrical space in which performers and spectators share an intimacy with the self as a function of consciousness without qualities (see Deutsch 1973: 62-65). The fact that we can know the internal observer only by being it and not by observing it (Deikman 1996: 355) precludes the possibility of infinite regress through which the self-reflexive subject becomes the object of another subject in an endless chain of subject/object duality. Moreover, as Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe shows, immaterial consciousness cannot be thought about by the material intellect (2003). As Thomasina demonstrates, immaterial pure consciousness as experienced through transrational insights such as her intuition of chaos theory exceeds the rational mind, just as the actor in entering a dramatic text exceeds the text by rendering intimate for the audience the presence of a new life that the text does not exhaust (see Goldman 50). As Zeifman says,
The problem with Hannah’s attempt to inhabit her own private version of “Arcadia,” a paradise of rationality and predictability, is that God ultimately is not a Newtonian; there is a “serpent” in the garden, and that serpent, as always, is the irrational and seductive power of Eros. (2001: 187, original emphasis)
This Eros has a carnal as well as a spiritual dimension; and to achieve the transrational requires an integration of both mind/body and consciousness, not an exclusive emphasis on the mind/body. Aesthetic Rapture and the Transrational In scene three, Thomasina describes her mother flirting with Byron, a friend of Septimus. As the play unfolds, she also makes advances in her theory of chaos and laments the loss of all the knowledge of antiquity by fire in ancient Egypt. Septimus, however, says that “Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again” (51). But Thomasina refers not only to science but also to the arts:
Integral Drama Oh, Septimus!—can you bear it? All the lost plays of the Athenians! Two hundred at least by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripedes—thousands of poems—Aristotle’s own library brought to Egypt by the noodle’s ancestors? How can we sleep for grief? (50)
Modern scientists can recover losses in the sciences, a field of rationality and empirical observation, but only the arts as a different way of knowing can provide phenomenological experiences of the sort that lead to the transrational, transverbal state associated with knowledge-by-identity, an experience of rasa or aesthetic rapture. As discussed in The Natyashastra, the notion of suggestion (dhvani) evolved to explain how the artist’s emotion (bhava) gives rise to the experience of rasa (aesthetic rapture). Anandavardhana says that dhvani is the suggested meaning that “flashes into the minds of sympathetic appreciators who perceive the true import (of poetry) when they have turned away from conventional meaning” (1974: 75). In theatre, the presence of integral experience can only be evoked through the power of suggestion as a form of rasa, given that the ineffable cannot be rendered directly, and especially not through logical discourse. The plays of Stoppard, Pinter and Ionesco discussed here render sacred events allegorically by suggestion, which brings about what The Natyashastra describes as a “pacification of mind” (Tarlekar 1975: 54), or a move toward a void of conceptions. As The Natyashastra says, “Drama was meant to evoke Rasa. Rasa is so called because it is relished. Its meaning can be accepted as ‘aesthetic delight’” (ibid.). Rasa is the relish of “the permanent mood,” or sentiments that “are not in the worldly experience” (Tarlekar 1975: 56). In Arcadia, Stoppard points us beyond the worldly experience of Eros and Thanatos toward the source of all thought and emotions, the transpersonal self, and then back again to provide a glimpse of both dimensions simultaneously. The Natyashastra describes eight basic sentiments or emotional modes, each of which has its basis in pure consciousness: the comic, erotic, pathetic, furious, heroic, terrible, odious, and marvelous (ibid.). Drama employs suggestion because the idealized flavor of these sentiments, being outside of worldly experience, can only be apprehended “by that cognition which is free from obstacles [like ego consciousness] and which is of the nature of bliss” (Ramachandran 1980: 101). From this perspective, the suggestive power of art pacifies the thinking mind by taking us toward a level of language (pash-
yanti/para) and consciousness (turiya) where we can relish a void of conceptions, which is ultimately nothing other than the self as bliss consciousness (sat-chit-ananda) knowing itself. The emotion associated with rasa, therefore, does not cause a regression to a preverbal, prerational, prepersonal state. Rather it induces a transverbal, transrational, transpersonal transformation, such as that suggested by Thomasina’s realization that although she can entertain a prerational, infantile dream of marrying Byron, she knows transrationally that she is falling in love with Septimus. Even though Septimus is skeptical of Thomasina’s intuition of the second law of thermodynamics, she does not let this theoretical difference interfere with her emotional attraction to him. Indeed, her mind in relation to Septimus exhibits a form of self-transcendence, as if she were the true artist in the play. As Giorgio Agamben says, “The artist is the man without content, who has no other identity than a perpetual emerging out of the nothingness of expression” (1999: 55). Thomasina is like an artist who can experience the no content of a void in thought, while at the same time experiencing the forms of thought. Agamben adds that
Artistic subjectivity without content is now the pure force of negation that everywhere and at all times affirms only itself as absolute freedom that mirrors itself in pure self-consciousness. (56)
Stoppard’s Arcadia until almost the end produces this effect on the audience primarily through Thomasina, whose mathematical intuition reflects the no content of an artist, a state of mind open to the freedom of natural law as opposed to the normative conventions of either Classical or Romantic culture. Hannah also toward the end of the play embodies the notion that classical and romantic dispositions are not mutually exclusive, thereby illustrating the coexistence of opposites pervading the performance. In scene four, Valentine confirms Thomasina’s genius when he tells Hannah how with pencil and paper she improvised mathematical techniques that he can only calculate on a computer. He elaborates on the analogy between Romanticism and chaos, explaining how Thomasina was on the right track by renouncing Classical science.
Then maths left the real world behind, just like modern art, really. Nature was classical, maths was suddenly Picassos. But now nature is
But we can see
. Bernard defends art and philosophy as providing greater access to the self. dismisses Bernard’s narrative biographies dealing with personalities. Bernard defends art with the argument that art and artistic genius exceed scientific understanding: “Parameters! You can’t stick Byron’s head in your laptop. His attraction for Hannah appears nonrational. Bernard’s argument that art is timeless relies on his mechanistic view of the universe. but unlike Thomasina’s nonrational attraction for Septimus it veers toward the prerational instead of the transrational. It’s like arguing who got there first with the calculus. Genius isn’t like your average grouse” (80). Chater in a duel over his wife. . moreover. The freaky stuff is turning out to be the mathematics of the natural world. but not everything nonrational (like the prerational) deserves to be glorified as a route to the Divine. But it doesn’t matter. mate. . original emphasis). “If knowledge isn’t self-knowledge it isn’t doing much. Bernard. the Germans say Leibnitz. From a psychological standpoint. though. Valentine. Scientific progress. thereby confirming the argument mentioned earlier that narratives cannot access the transpersonal self: “The questions you’re asking don’t matter. revealing his regressive predisposition rather than a form of spiritual transcendence.100
Integral Drama having the last laugh. Reminiscent of Agamben. Classical math before Thomasina was part of nature. you see. Knowledge” (80. I can expand my universe without you” (81). As we have seen. The English say Newton. What matters is the calculus. his claim that Newtonian laws surpass the limits of time. puts Hannah off because he seems to have regressive tendencies. Hannah warns him that his theory will lead to his disgrace. He says. an exaggerated emotionalism that is merely infantile and regressive. conventional reason sometimes appears absurd. In one sense Hannah’s skepticism derives from her intellectual stance that sometimes what appears to be transrational may in fact only be prerational. In scene five Bernard reads out his mistaken theory that Byron killed Mr. While Valentine advocates a scientific approach that privileges the object of knowledge and its context. Is the universe expanding? Is it contracting? [. (59)
Through deterministic chaos Thomasina intuits that irregularity triggers the emergence of life. who in scene four continues to do research on Byron. but then through the perspective of the second law nature becomes freaky as Thomasina predicted. Personalities. again showing the interdependence of unpredictability and determinism.] Leave me out.
autonomous entity which constitutes itself as a Cartesian ego. Bernard analyzes Byron’s identity only on the basis of narrative. Nevertheless.Stoppard’s Arcadia
in his attempt to develop a narrative theory of Byron not for its literary value but rather to enhance his own fame and fortune that his intuition doesn’t match that of Thomasiana or Hannah. . but the changeable nature of these views exposes a background of non-intentional consciousness through which these identities are held together. Similarly. . and integrating the contents of the cultural environment. In other words. culture and romance. by promoting knowledge attained through art. even Bernard points to the suggestive power of rasa as opposed to logical discourse as a means to enrich human consciousness through knowledge-by-identity. Teichert continues that
The self does not exist as an isolated. Dieter Teichert writes that
Identity as selfhood is not simply there like an objective fact. To possess an identity as selfhood means to be the subject of dynamic experience. interpreting. Nor is the self a mere passive product of a society.
narrative identity is not a stable and seamless identity. narrative identity emerges from intentional consciousness. either that of ourselves. the dynamic. (2004: 185-86)
As Ricoeur says. is a man without content. Bernard’s theory of Byron’s identity cannot fathom the essence of Byron. unstable and fragile identities of the characters are woven into their opposing views on science. again illustrating his contradictory nature. (1988: 248)
Although flexible and open. Hannah and
. In analyzing Paul Ricoeur’s concept of discursive or narrative identity. as in autobiography. Just as it is possible to compose several plots on the subject of the same incidents . and fragility. Selves are built up in the process of assimilating. instability. even opposed. plots about our lives. Ricoeur’s position takes a middle path between these extreme positions. as Agamben says. so it is always possible to weave different. or of society in the case of our constructed roles. who as an artist. (2004: 186)
In Stoppard’s theatre. Nevertheless.
when Valentine produces the computer iterations of Thomasina’s equations of the second law. by all means. the spirit. reveals the truth about the co-presence of the rational and the emotional. which serves as a metaphor of self-transformation through Thanatos. (100)
This argument implies that she has yet to grasp the nature of Thanatos as a transformation to an intersubjective community in part based on emotional bonds. transrational experience of rasa. Stoppard shows that we can reach the no content of the transpersonal self only through the power of suggestion. but without understanding his true identity. the soul. The characters in the present doing research on the characters of the past through the study of narrative demonstrate the fallibility of narrative. I mean it’s trying to be. But scene seven. but Thomasina’s equations on the second law and chaos intrigue her. but the only thing going wrong is people fancying people who aren’t supposed to be in that part of the plan. The universe is deterministic all right. Death in Stoppard’s theatre points metaphorically
. At the beginning of the scene. the infinite. Chloe discovers from Valentine that the deterministic universe doesn’t work and concludes that
it’s all because of sex [. (97)
Evidence of this recurs when Valentine tries to flirt with Hannah by asking. . but not the life. tells Hannah that the sketch on her book jacket of “Lord Byron and Caroline Lamb at the Royal Academy” is a fake. Believe in God. Hannah says. who they discover to be Septimus. moreover. foreshadowing her own impending acceptance of feeling at the end of the play. . just like Newton said. Hannah finds them beautiful.
Believe in the after.102
Bernard find a narrative reference to the Sidley Park hermit. Hannah rejects Romanticism and denies her emotions. Bernard. believe in angels if you like.] That’s what I think. by bringing all the characters together in the same time frame. but he turns out to be wrong about this too. “Can’t we have a trial marriage and I’ll call it off in the morning?” (99). for Byron was in Italy at the time of the sketch. In discussing the afterlife with Valentine. but not in the great celestial get-together for an exchange of views. Although she turns down the offer. These erroneous narratives suggest that for spectators to access any truth about identity they have to go beyond language and interpretation through a transverbal.
while Valentine like the other men are subjugated by disembodied abstractions and the regressive actions of their bodies in heat. [. she could also be referring to Byron when. heart/mind. Even though she has an ephemeral fantasy of marrying Byron. or as Thomasina puts it. during her discussion of him with Septimus and Lady Croom. Indeed. mount the stairs to her bedroom and be
.] the night before her seventeenth birthday” (101). Thomasina considers him unpredictable and unreliable compared to Septimus. But the audience knows that “tomorrow” or “tonight. “The Emperor of Irregularity!” (113) just as Noakes enters the room. As Hannah tells Valentine. dance alongside Thomasina and Septimus to the tune of a waltz. When Thomasina tells Noakes that his steam pump “can never get out of it what you put in. Thomasina “died in the fire [. they do not care which way. which on one level symbolizes her undergoing a transformation to a higher state of Eros. “The action of bodies in heat” (111). Newtonian/chaotic. on the other hand. . order/disorder. The men. As Paul Edwards says. Thomasina tells her brother Augustus that Septimus kissed her to seal his promise to teach her how to waltz. intuition /logic. each trying to seduce any number of women out of promiscuity rather than love. time overcome through the copresence of past and present as the modern couple Hannah and the new.
The final scene of the play shows us an image of perfect harmony. . Septimus and the other men has the effect of accelerating entropy.Stoppard’s Arcadia
beyond our subjected-ness to a rebirth of the memory of consciousness—which embodies an experience beyond space/time and the play’s dichotomies—classical/romantic. remain largely trapped in the heat of sexual passion. by the end of the play Thomasina and Hannah manage to reverse this regression in part and recover a semblance of order. . on the other hand. silent genius of the Coverly family.] Newton’s equations go forwards and backwards.” Thomasina will take a candle. Thomasina and Hannah. But the heat equation cares very much. Gus. she exclaims. Stoppard alludes to the possibility that because of their unpredictable passion men are the main victims of entropy. . viii). Thomasina’s lifestyle embodies her understanding. it goes only one way ” (115). at least socially. experience negentropy in their move away from regressive prerational obsessions toward knowledge-by-identity of the transrational “better self” (Grinshpon 2003. Although ignorance on the part of Byron.
She cannot be brought back—certainly not by algebra. transverbal experience. But having fallen in love with Thomasina on the eve of her death.as opposed to a pre-unified experience
puts us on the road to realizing and actualizing who we really are in our ultimate being. fragile. regressive stage of development. does not involve the rejection of the physical or the pseudo union of the preverbal. The overcoming of time at the conclusion of Arcadia is a triumph of art. Enlightenment is the awakening to our identity as boundless awareness. like Thomasina’s. “None of us is tidy”. sensitivity. Similarly. Even the facility to perceive and define two ideas such as the classical and romantic in opposition to each other indicates that one shares a little bit of each” (quoted by Zeifman 2001: 190). (1999: 77)
. her biography on Byron’s lover Caroline Lamb is entitled Caro.104
Integral Drama burnt to death. this journey toward a trans. and like all such triumphs it is momentary. but rather a transcending of the separate-self sense to a transrational. Transpersonal love as represented by Thomasina and eventually by Hannah and Septimus starts from the field of duality and transcends to a divine love. Hannah undergoes a transformation toward emotional commitment when she finally accepts Gus’s request for a dance. which they move toward transcending through the rasa of the transrational self. Although Hannah rejects carnality. although it takes him twenty-two years of reiterating Thomasina’s equations after she dies and leads to his becoming a mad hermit. and love are similarly awakened and actualized in our lives and relationships. The classical and romantic thus represent the duality of human existence. which is short for Caroline but also a pun on “flesh” (Zeifman 191). but rather of mind/body on one side and consciousness on the other. Her growth toward a genuinely spiritual domain. Septimus comes closest to emulating Thomasina and Hannah. and all the more poignant for being quite useless. Septimus has finally become a non-regressive Romantic through his devotion. not that of mind and body. This experience for characters and audience alike may be momentary and fragile. but hardly useless—except for the mind/body side of duality. not of science. but it is incomplete unless our compassion. As Stoppard says. as Edwards claims. As Wayne Teasdale says. a love based on the union of knowledgeby-identity. “none of us is classifiable. prerational. (2001: 182-83)
Of all the men.
having tasted the void in thought. but also the embodiment of love as knowledge-by-identity through a unity of the rational and transrational. (2005: 193)
This dance represents not the innocence of infantile prerational existence but rather a contentful experience that is context related. The ineffable loss endured by Septimus.
is an experience that combines pure consciousness with the specific contents of a given performance in which rasa is created by the actors in conjunction with music and various aspects of scenography. One of the mysteries of Arcadia concerns why Gus doesn’t speak. Thomasina and the audience. also manage to maintain it along with an awareness of their worldly experiences. Stoppard presents this
. transrational character that an understanding of truth does not hinge on the use of language and interpretation but rather on a knowledge-by-identity achieved through a pure consciousness event. the two partners dancing simultaneously on stage—Hannah and Gus in the present and Thomasina and Septimus in the past—symbolize not simply the restoration of a semblance of order. moreover. As Fleming says. (2001: 207)
Arguably. symbolizes a transformation from one level of Eros based on duality to a higher level of spiritual development characterized by a unity-amidst-diversity. As the play suggests. an integral aesthetic experience that. Stoppard suggests through Gus’s transverbal. Hannah agrees to dance with him after he provides her with the evidence she needs to prove her theory about Septimus. psychic-like abilities to suggest that the universe has a deeper mystery to it than that available through a mechanistic description.Stoppard’s Arcadia
As the play closes. but Gus’s “natural genius” has more to do with his transverbal. which the audience glimpses through a coexistence of Emptiness and Form. as Meyer-Dinkgräfe says. of mind/body and consciousness.
In Jumpers Stoppard’s moral philosopher declares that ‘there is more in [humans] than meets the microscope.’ and Gus seems to be an embodiment of that metaphysical belief. yet nevertheless yields a contentless Gnostic or aesthetic experience—one that arises out of appropriate contexts but remains in and of itself context-free. Both the characters and spectators achieve a taste of wholeness and diversity. or rather of orderly disorder.
. the combination of an awareness of inner silence and the temporality of experience that the spectators of Arcadia. like those of Pinter’s The Homecoming. gain through a taste of rasa.106
event as the basis for a glimpse of cosmic consciousness.
as it means today. “We move and are bound to keep moving not so much because of the ‘delay of gratification. Her husband Teddy. and his brothers Lenny. This restlessness. is not only physical. which critics say lends itself to numerous interpretations. her position in a demanding male world is not only ambiguous but violates every rule in the male book of female subservience.’ as Max Weber suggested. a pimp. the tough old family patriarch and retired butcher. Ruth never comes to rest on a particular ideology. supposedly to replace the dead matriarch Jessie. As Zygmunt Bauman says. the finishing line of effort and the moment of restful self-congrat-
. and Joey. heightens their mystery and allure. brings her to his parental home in London to meet his father. a philosophy professor at an American University. are male chauvinists who abuse and try to sexually dominate women. Ruth does not necessarily represent a female ideology that will become the norm so much as a transcendence of all ideology in a world of rapid change. especially Ruth’s. As Bauman says. Harold Pinter portrays Ruth as a character who critics argue does not reflect the stereotype of a conventional woman but rather a new female ideology. Max. a boxer. like that of Stanley in The Birthday Party. Speaking with authority and self-confidence. as because of the impossibility of ever being gratified: the horizon of satisfaction.Discovering Happiness in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming
Liquid Life and Nondual Identity beyond Speech In The Homecoming. uncle and two brothers. which often surprises Pinter’s audience with the incongruity of what they expect and what actually transpires. being unable to stop and even less able to stand still” (2000: 28). The ambiguity of the backgrounds of all the characters. Although in the end Ruth abandons Teddy and stays in London with his family. “Being modern came to mean. never seeks satisfaction in anything but her own freedom.
her speech tends not only to be unconditioned by external influence but also to undermine that influence by exposing its futility. . which moves with me .
Ruth: Don’t be too sure though. Why don’t you restrict . . Her interjection suggests the priority of subjective existence on the level of consciousness over ideological essences exploited mainly for the sake of dominating others. . is ultimately untrue” (1973: 12). . . captures your attention. It’s a leg . . In Act two when Ruth listens to Lenny teasing Teddy’s supposed intellectual superiority with abstract questions. move my leg. “whatever is expressed is ultimately non-Brahman.108
ulation move faster than the fastest of the runners. it . Her speech. in mind. That’s all it is. Although her behavior is influenced by the patriarchal constraints of her environment. You must bear that . your observations to that? Perhaps the fact that they move is more significant . . according to Advaita Vedanta. . . . You’ve forgotten something. . beyond language through observation to a more subtle state of consciousness in the direction of the void of conceptions. . As Elizabeth Sakellaridou says. she manages to avoid clinging to any internal subjective or external intersubjective images of her identity. As Deutsch notes. as if realizing that through the play of the signifier or differance any stable meaning is infinitely deferred. But I wear . . Perhaps you misinterpret. Fulfillment is always in the future. she senses the absurdity and irrelevance of these abstractions and points the men back to their concrete state of subjectivity. Unlike the men. underwear . original emphasis). and achievements lose their attraction and satisfying potential at the moment of their attainment. From her past experiences—the earlier stage of sexuality and the later stage of being a mother and a subservient wife—Ruth in the end comes to sense that the only way to reach fulfillment as a harmoniously integrated person is to give up attachments to these various roles and live openly in the present. .. My lips move. having stabilized herself to a greater extent than the men in zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. . Look at me. . if not before” (ibid. suggests an attempt to go beyond thought. possibility . . The action is simple. . . I . moving. . than the words which come through them. (85)
Ruth does not seek gratification in words or ideas. moreover. Ruth’s speech
But eventually she comes back at them with a whip” (Hewes 1967. As Bauman says. . will make us think. Max and Teddy cling to their individual interpretations of words. She achieves this level of independence by never clinging to the meaning of any label ascribed to her by Teddy’s family. cannot humiliate a level of identity that transcends the verbal. In this case. however. The men do this in part due to their identification of Ruth with the dead mother. The self she establishes. but it needs no explanation. as Nietzsche says. Joey. She begins to liberate herself from linguistic determination by approaching a level of the self beyond language. the self in the upper left quadrant of subjectivity. but it is being human that makes us think. is not an imitation of the male self based on philosophical debate or the domination of others. being an Ubermensch allows you to transcend the influence of language by witnessing thoughts flowing through the mind without being subjugated by them. Ruth not only taps into pure awareness but also shows evidence of experiencing a coexistence of Emptiness and Form through her ability to remain detached while engaging the men in their disputes. in Sakellaridou 1988: 110). moreover. qtd. This self. Thinking cannot be explained. as Wilber puts it. the self she achieves in the play cannot be defined through language because it suggests a trans-linguistic. (2000: 41)
While being human or a Mensch. Ruth remains playful with the use of language. takes her beyond social criticism because the notion of whoredom. speaking her own language. indeed. achieves a state of turiya or pure awareness beyond duality. Thinking needs no justification. . As Pinter says. . Martin Esslin observes that “the more helpless a male the more he will tend to dream of women as obedient slaves-prostitutes” (1982: 160). which she goes along
. setting up her terms. Ruth forces her way into it. establishing her real self” (1988: 109).
Thinking makes us human. demanding her rights. trans-logical dimension of human identity. not identifying with the labels imposed on her by men. but it would not be justified even if one tried.Pinter’s The Homecoming
interrupts the “male-to-male philosophical debate” as “an arbitrary invasion of the men’s territory. where “Divine Emptiness and relative Form are not two” (Integral 76). she’s “used by the family. While Lenny. to which she admits.
Mark Taylor explains this patriarchal condition of competition and fear in a quote on Clifford Geertz’s definition of culture: culture. but not because she exploits them so much as because she liberates herself from the essence of their abuse. Geertz 1968: 641). more specifically. Dad. perpetuate. (1999: 86. Daddy. please. As Varun Begley says. Lenny’s castration anxiety underlies his relationship with Ruth and may have inspired him to become a pimp. such as the divorce narrative. Dad. “What have you done with the scissors?” (3). “The menacing thrust of the question alerts us to a powerful process of cathexis. after some disrespectful banter with Max. No. The Homecoming has several narrative components.110
with. Later in the first scene. the scissors announce a castration threat that looms over the play” (2005: 67).
. It wasn’t my fault.
Oh. who grips his walking stick and tells Lenny to leave the house. though inwardly she remains free of these verbal associations. you’re not going to use your stick on me. The audience of The Homecoming begins to sense that although the men seem to exploit Ruth. the prostitution narrative. it was one of the others. The Patriarchal Logos and Distortion of Womanhood Viewed as a family tale.
denotes an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols. Geertz. all of which have a powerful influence on the men. argues. the bargaining or business narrative and the Oedipal narrative. The play opens with the Oedipal narrative when Max enters the room from the kitchen and asks Lenny. and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life. as a phallic symbol. While at the end of the play Max rather than Lenny gets symbolically castrated when he falls on his knees before Ruth and pleads for a kiss. Lenny asks in mock seriousness. the tables gradually turn. Ruth on the other hand manages to rise above these narratives as a result of their being deconstructed. honest. and. (9)
Max’s stick. supports his role as the patriarch. I haven’t done anything wrong. but doesn’t prevent Lenny from being disrespectful in their verbal debates. are you? Eh? Don’t use your stick on me Daddy. Don’t clout me with that stick. a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate.
. . in a shop. In one of his stories to Ruth. he tells her about a hat he bought for a lovely girl. I want to know the real facts about my background. patricide and the debates between the men in general. that Max responds to Lenny’s question as if it were an act of primal insurrection. ultimately deconstructing them by undermining the conventional roles of men and women by the end of the play. the night you got me . . . Lenny provocatively asks Max.Pinter’s The Homecoming
Ruth refuses to be subjugated by these symbols and their cultural meanings. and then it was covered with a cloche of black veiling. (71)
In terms of Wilber’s four quadrants. tied with a black satin bow. is it a fact that you had me in mind all the time. .
Lenny: I bought a girl a hat once. This secret parental knowledge is associated with incest. Lenny has a tendency to conceptualize women in stereotypical ways. that night with Mum. It is not surprising. What was it like? What was the background to it? I mean. for instance. you know . Lenny tries to gain power in the intersubjective. preoccupation with the primal scene represents a regressive incestuous fixation. what was it like? Eh? When I was just a glint in your eye. I mean. Lenny violates the taboos in Freud’s Totem and Taboo that underlie the narrative attacks among the characters throughout the play. one that defies the father’s proprietary authority and interferes with the “civilizing” deferral and displacement of desire. cultural (lower left) and the interobjective social (lower right) quadrants because he feels insecure within himself subjectively. stability and sovereignty than him. It had a bunch of daffodils on it. as if they have no existence of their own but only essences imposed by men.
In Oedipal patriarchy. then. or it is a fact that I was the last thing you had in mind? (55-56)
In mocking his father by trying to gain knowledge of parental sexuality. not having stabilized himself in the upper left quadrant.
That night . it provides the basis for self-confidence and inner stability. Throughout Lenny’s interactions with Ruth. A
. Although the subjective quadrant is certainly influenced by the other three quadrants. As Begley puts it. I tell you what it had. We saw it in a glass case. . Later in act one. we see that she has far greater inner strength.
rather than conforming to a man’s idea of how a woman should behave. . Wilber’s upper right or objective quadrant. she is not fighting “philosophical thought philosophically. I’m telling you. In rejecting abstract thought and moving to a physical or existential knowledge of the world. He can only feel he’s a man by challenging. a field of all possibilities far exceeding the social possibilities available to her as a women defined by man. which the audience also glimpses through aesthetic experience (rasa). The audience. but rather fighting it by transcending even the most abstract level of thought through a dimension of subjectivity that goes beyond conceptuality altogether. I was a model for the body. sees beyond this to her inner dimension. and points toward the higher levels of language. Max and Joey. A photographic model for the body. the ordinary waking state of consciousness. (92)
While Lenny attempts to define women in terms of how he interprets commodities they’re expected to own and display. the wholeness she achieves goes beyond these identities toward a level of pure awareness. pashyanti and para as
. Lenny thus tries to assert his masculinity by using tactics not only against his father but also against women. the only aspect of her nature that Lenny recognizes. Although Ruth experiences the different stages and aspects of her socially constructed identity. She was made for it. This empty state comprises the true home or basis of her identity. controlling or subjugating others instead of living an intersubjective life in harmony based on an integral model of balance and completeness. His Oedipal anxiety arises from his lack of a natural identity beyond the roles he’s expected to play within the patriarchy.112
Integral Drama cloche. however. The play suggests this by her not adhering to any ideological or philosophical position. . Ruth denies this interpretation with an emphatic “No. In this way she implicitly criticizes the inadequacy of language associated with duality. Ruth: No . an Emptiness that in her case also encompasses a witnessing of the world of Form.” She then turns his attention to the reality of her physical being.” as Sakellaridou argues (1988: 111). even while observing them from a position of non-attachment. Soon after this discussion Lenny dances with Ruth and then kisses her in the presence of Teddy. the basis for her continual rejection of the conceptual associations of women that the men try to impose on her. Ruth’s behavior reasserts her existential freedom as a woman.
polite behavior formed by objective rules. parallel to Ruth’s. Lenny. Pinter correctly intuits that ordinary language cannot reveal the core of human identity. The Social and Cultural Contexts of Identity As we saw above in Pinter’s The Birthday Party. that the public sphere has intruded on the inner world he’d rather be living in. as Forman notes. showing a coexistence of Emptiness and Form of zone #1 in Wilber’s upper left quadrant. Joey and Max have lost their ability to act effectively in both the domestic and political arenas
. have replaced the objective public sphere that at one time gave greater freedom to our subjective identities. ethnicity and shared feelings. As discussed above. critics suggest that Stanley felt guilty and anxious toward the visitors because he discarded his social accountability. Sakellaridou and others praise Ruth for her intellectual capacities. and instead emphasizes personality and our identification with class. The local communities people have retreated into based on motivations. only through knowledge-byidentity. a state of awareness beyond the boundaries of social conventions as discerned by both Ruth and Stanley. Teddy. a trans-linguistic level of knowledge unavailable to ordinary thought.Pinter’s The Homecoming
discussed above in the context of the plays by Ionesco and Stoppard. As discussed above. as in Max’s family. One can know oneself. In dramatizing the interplay between the inner and outer aspects of society and individual identity. While some critics like Begley. the true strength of her character hinges on her ability to intuit a level of Being beyond the intellect. Naismith says that Pinter rejected the idea that we use language to reveal ourselves or to know others (2000: 44). but his anxious reaction to the visitors really stems from a sense. The Birthday Party and The Homecoming both exhibit a complementarity between the inner and outer dimensions of human identity—the subjective and intersubjective/interobjective—which parallel the inner and outer aspects of the contemporary world as defined by Richard Sennett and Zygmunt Bauman. Sennett in The Fall of Public Man demonstrates how intimacy in modern society has undermined the public domain based on impersonality. Pinter’s theatre takes the spectator’s awareness from the social world of phenomenological difference toward a nonpluralistic experience of the transpersonal self. gender and professional status.
the more they fantasize about a parochial collective life. Ruth and the spectators of The Homecoming approach this inner freedom. The more they fear impersonality. therefore. transverbal dimension of experience. because of their conceptual dependence on meta-narratives. Her freedom. Pinter presents a world no longer founded on the upper left quadrant but rather on the distorted principles of a patriarchal society that threaten to ostracize others. they have lost the ability to access a transpersonal. This domestic localism leads not to harmony but rather to pseudophilosophical debate and strife. moreover.114
because they place greater emphasis on personality. increasingly alienated from their natural identities. a field of all possibilities beyond the socially constructed human natures imposed by patriarchal communities. Their localism has replaced the impersonality of culture or society that at one time fostered subjective freedom and enhanced social harmony. the integral dimension
. Ruth’s penchant for living outside the meta-narrative boundaries of the patriarchy bewilders her husband’s family and ultimately frees her from their constraints. Max and his sons. becoming paranoid and even destructive. especially women. unlike Teddy and his brothers. except in Ruth. gender and charisma than on the ability to interact with others on an impersonal level. are forced to conform to specific attributes that preclude an integral knowledge of themselves and others that would enhance their freedom. In both The Birthday Party and The Homecoming. can now only identify with their Oedipal or patriarchal clichés. They emphasize their own shared emotions and special interests instead of dealing with the unknown or taking risks for the benefit of society as a whole. As noted above. Sennett says that local community “has become both emotional withdrawal from society and a territorial barricade within the city” (1992: 301). The inner self as represented in The Homecoming is no longer free of narrative constructs enforced by ideological communities. This attitude has undermined their ability to comprehend others on an intersubjective level. which has an unsayable dimension. has no fear of the external quadrants because of her inner strength and freedom. The more Max and his sons surrender to their anxieties and passions. on the other hand. Ruth. The men. Unlike Ruth. is not a conceptual but an experiential phenomenon that she never tries to express through a narrative about her inner self. the further they slide from their natural identities. ideological preconceptions.
how certain people can maintain . in essence. To see. it is thought of as profoundly trans-rational and transpersonal—it is the highest levels in any of the lines” or states of mind (2006: 101. . As Jonathan Shear would say. . while pure
. transpersonal direct experience. however. to balance the two. original emphasis). not through conceptuality or narrative accounts but only as a transverbal. for the “intellectual equilibrium” he defends remains within the context of things insofar that mind/thought and body are physical. Deutsch points out. I mean it’s a question of your capacity to ally the two. You’re just objects. . Wilber states that the transpersonal is “not usually thought of as personal or rational.
It’s a question of how far you can operate on things and not in things. (1973: 11)
Through his two plays discussed here. knowledge and awareness. to relate the two. to be able to see! I’m the one who can see.Pinter’s The Homecoming
of human nature. . virtue. . intellectual equilibrium. selfsufficiency and freedom” (1990: 34). That’s why I can write my critical works. As we have seen. The Real is thus unthinkable: thought can be brought to it only through negations of what is thinkable.” an experience associated “with gaining wisdom. . Intelligence and Bliss). Her husband Teddy distinguishes himself from his brothers by arguing that he has a more effective way of looking at the world. Pinter induces this reversal in the mind of the spectator toward the nonvervbal source of thought through the surreal uncertainly of Stanley’s background as well as Ruth’s ability to toy with the men around her and their conceptual obsessions. . Might do you good . further-more. . Teddy is just an object like his brothers. things . have a look at them . that
The Real is without internal difference and. this level of experiential knowledge corresponds to the Platonic Forms and to the Vedic state of Sat-Chit-Ananda (transcendent Being. . and see how certain people can view . is unrelated to the content of any form of experience. Ruth approaches a state of qualityless pure consciousness through a “mental faculty distinct from ordinary intellect to ‘reverse’ the direction of attention within and produce experience of a transcendental ground of thought. (100)
an artist’s creative inspiration is not a fantasy. (2004: 163)
Ruth’s creative stability in the upper left quadrant. outsmarting them when it comes to their believing they’re deciding her fate as a prostitute. intellect. which range from sense. meaning—as well as high level creativity. but rather mirrors the process of cosmic creation on the level of the individual’s experience of pure consciousness. It pervades nearly every mental operation.
the imagination is a ubiquitous and central feature of mental life. does not render her helpless in the other three quadrants. . As The Natyashastra explains. Ruth. refined cosmic consciousness. dreaming. just as Ruth’s intuition is not a fantasy. represents a regressive world or primitive concepts about many aspects of life including women.] It plays a constitutive role in memory. On the contrary. As we have seen. ego and pure consciousness. on the other hand. she’s quite capable of excelling in culture and society. as Colin McGinn writes. pure consciousness. The men. The male world she finds herself in. moreover. These levels also correspond to the increasingly subtle states of consciousness. Although Sakellaridou says that “Ruth is simply a misfit” (1988: 115).116
awareness is the true dimension of the nondual where equilibrium actually exists. dreaming. and unity consciousness. . Meyer-Dinkgräfe cites The Natyashastra and Advaita Vedanta as describing the levels of the mind. sleep. intuition. with each of the latter being associated with different modes of perception. largely without the men realizing it. this claim is true only in the sense that she doesn’t fit into the sociopathic male world of her husband and his family. [. cosmic consciousness. desire. which range from waking. but rather
. believing. she runs circles around the men. In fact. as evidenced by her ability to negotiate with the men through her knowledge of financial transactions and a mastery of contractual language. feeling. During their negotiations. because she has a taste of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. perception (seeing-as). don’t see themselves as comprising a whole such as that suggested by Ruth’s existential identity. moreover. mind. Even in the ordinary waking state. doesn’t go for Teddy’s reductionist rhetoric that eliminates the more subtle emotional and subjective aspects of human identity. she not only overthrows the men’s intentions but even manages to execute her own ends. which dominates the external quadrants.
.Pinter’s The Homecoming
as parts of a whole. from access to pure awareness. he makes no effort to resist them as a husband but turns his back and leaves. Teddy’s position is equally unemotional because he has lost any sense of compassion and tenderness for Ruth and his family. This fragmentation prevents them from reconciling their subjective intuition with the objective rational side of their identities. pacified by his aloof and superior world of the intellect. He’s rationalized his aggressions. their feelings operate on a grosser. stems from his inability to decipher his own inner self. not in any way a victim or a martyr” (Lahr 20).” he himself focuses on the conceptual or rational by operating “on things. which stems from the fact that they have excluded themselves from the upper left subjective quadrant in their obsession with social power and cultural domination. . . She’s got lots of friends. he gives his own stereotypical rendition based on his intellectual preconceptions about the role of a wife and mother:
She’s a great help to me over there. . even someone as intimate as his own wife. It’s a great life. but underneath he’s Eichmann” (Hewes 1967: 96). at the University . he has immersed himself in the world of philosophical abstractions to such an extent that his only understanding of the world derives from knowledge-about and knowledgeby-acquaintance. The reason Teddy has such difficulty understanding Ruth or predicting her reactions. While Teddy accuses his family of focusing on the physical. as we see by his nervousness when they first appear on stage. instead of presenting a true portrait of her.
. As an intellectual.” which is also physical in terms of consciousness as proposed by Samkhya-Yoga. Peter Hall says that Teddy was “the biggest bastard of the lot . Based on Teddy’s attitude toward Ruth. Once he sees that his brothers want to keep Ruth in London. of operating “in things. . When he interrupts her account to his family of their life in America. Teddy. Moreover. you know . it’s a very good life. Being estranged from his own subjectivity undermines his facility for intersubjective interactions with others. . animalistic level of physical obsessions rather than with any sensitivity for others. Although his brothers may seem to be more emotional. She’s a wonderful wife and mother. She’s a very popular woman. These criticisms suggest that Teddy is probably the character most alienated from his subjective upper left quadrant. Michael Craig says that “He’s an awful man. the void of conceptions derived through knowledgeby-identity.
modernism and postmodernism are themselves monological and do not draw upon an integration of the four quadrants in defending their interpretations of truth. even amidst the cultural and social crisis of the play—which in fact promotes the taste of an integration of Emptiness and Form. Teddy gives his point of view on their marriage. (80)
Obviously. including the upper left subjective and lower left intersubjective phenomenological quadrants. It’s a very stimulating environment. . and postmodernism on the cultural lower left quadrant. Teddy has no recourse but to surrender to her choice by pretending to give her the freedom to do as she pleases. although modernity and postmodernity rejected the upper left quadrant truths of the Great Wisdom Traditions by demanding empirical evidence. we can see the effects of these traditions throughout fiction and drama. we’ve got all . Even though. and spiritual experience” (Wilber 2006: 44).118
Integral Drama We’ve got a lovely house . when in fact he simply lacks the emotional commitment to draw her back to him. Modernism tends to focus on the upper right objective exterior quadrant. the interior of the individual with all the stages “of consciousness. all he can do is hide his wounded pride and pretend to be liberal minded. all perceptions are embedded in bodies situated in cultural contexts and social systems. . Because he lacks the inner strength to deal with her on a positive intersubjective level. As we have seen. When Ruth eventually destroys Teddy’s image of her through her scandalous behavior with Lenny and Joey. the lower left and right quadrants respectively. without considering that of Ruth. . Ruth’s inner freedom may not be accessible to ordinary third person observation. but the play’s audience can intuit her state through an intersubjective presence with her based on aesthetic experience (rasa). realization. we’ve got everything we want. but the Great Wisdom Traditions have always specialized in the upper left quadrant. Ruth does not exist as an independent woman with her own natural identity but only as a woman who satisfies him and their kids as a wife and mother. For him. Pinter’s plays reveal the significance of the upper left subjective quadrant in spite of its being inaccessible to ordinary third person observation. as modernists argue. Every epistemological occasion has four quadrants. While the phenomenological core of these contemplative Traditions were savaged by modern epistemologies. .
and even the objectivity of science is qualified by relativity and uncertainty. which means we can’t know what he really thinks or feels. People like Teddy who are destabilized within themselves would remain shadowy characters until they achieve integration with their identity as the internal observer.Pinter’s The Homecoming
Consciousness and the Psychology of Non-Attachment As David Lodge points out. in which transcendental belief has been undermined by scientific materialism. so while Teddy can operate “on things. on the other hand. which is immaterial. Although some critics may find Teddy enigmatic.). It captures the density of experienced events by its rhetoric. we can know the internal observer only by being it and not by observing it (Deikman 1996: 355). “The woman in The Homecoming is not
. He argues that “In a world where nothing is certain. all literature
creates fictional models of what it is like to be a human being.” he cannot operate on himself. and it shows the connectedness of events through the devices of plot. Lodge argues that “Human consciousness is self-consciousness” (ibid. we see only externally. as implied by comments such as. which makes communicating verbally separate mental worlds difficult. the single human voice. As discussed above. moving through time and space. (2002: 14)
Quoting Antonio Demasio. Meyer-Dinkgräfe also shows that immaterial consciousness cannot be thought about by the material intellect (2003). Although Pinter seems to conceptualize intently on Ruth. Pinter’s dramatization of Ruth creates an illusion of reality that commands the willing suspension of the audience’s disbelief. can seem the only authentic way of rendering consciousness” (87). He shows that although in the modern world the construction of the real occurs in the individual’s consciousness. having lost touch with his own self awareness. the only true mystery about him consists of the entropy of his character caused by his inability to quell the chaos of his life through an integration of his natural identity and his cultural and social contexts. Teddy. telling its own story. according to Lodge. Literature. has throughout history provided the most direct access into the consciousness of others. the connectedness of two subjectivities through the development of the upper left quadrant helps us transcend the limits of human interpersonal understanding through a transverbal knowledge-by-identity.
the more refined subjective qualities he attributes to her can also be achieved by men. as Wilber argues. concern the forces that constitute the self at the same time as they constitute society. As William Mikulas argues in “Buddhism and Western Psychology.
Pinter’s screenplays. at least for a while. [and] Stanley in The Birthday Party. In The Homecoming. The fact that only Ruth achieves a sense of self-awareness in The Homecoming does not mean that the men couldn’t also achieve this state. more integrated states of consciousness are available to anyone who develops the upper left quadrant and integrates his or her identity within a cultural and social context. Had she not achieved a level of wholeness within herself. (2005: 144)
Although Teddy doesn’t come close to a real escape. and even allows one to witness this world. Sociologists believe that because we can’t avoid being drawn into a community or society. the intrusion of the outer world into the realms of the self produces a traumatic effect on the men. He continues that “Clearly it is a psychology. as does Ruth when she outwits the men and remains non-attached from the social restrictions they try to impose on her. Stanley does. indeed. Stanley tries to avoid this by becoming a recluse. from various forms of imprisonment: a wish shared by characters such as Teddy in The Homecoming. as Sennett argues. on the other hand. Running through the plays is the dream—usually frustrated—of escape from a conflict-ridden world or. As Charles Grimes puts it. but has a considerably diminished effect on Ruth. being stabilized in the natural self protects one from the intrusiveness of the outer world. but Ruth has little difficulty transgressing the norms of a patriarchal society because of her inner strength of character.120
a nymphomaniac and if she is playing some kind of game she’s doing it for a very practical reason” (Tynan 1968: 8). as Wilber points out. Pinter shows that. Women. The men. her identity would be as fragmentary as that of Teddy and his father and brothers. no less than his plays. already reside in a world less contaminated by the patriarchy and thus find it easier to enjoy life on an existential level. who are mostly responsible for creating the outer world. for it deals
.” essential Buddhism is not a religion but a psychology” (2007: 8). find it too difficult to escape because it is already part of their identities. In fact. as exemplified by Stanley in The Birthday Party. we find ourselves constantly observed and judged in an often painful way.
g. perception. rituals. Joey and Max causes suffering. emotion. mind. Ruth. and models of reality” (10). and the Dalai Lama continually stresses that his approach to Buddhism is about increasing happiness” (ibid. images of the self. Whereas the men in the play tend to cling to the contents of their minds.. opinions. as we see in Lenny. Joey.). Ruth shows a mindfulness that involves an awareness of
. clinging to beliefs and models of reality can distort perception and impair thinking. one’s youth). or unsatisfactoriness. by training the mind to avoid the tendency “to crave for and cling to certain sensations. unlike the men. Her speech is also proper insofar that she attempts to be constructive and helpful and avoids trying to fulfill her cravings. In the case of Ruth. but suffer in the process when they discover a discrepancy between the two. and consciousness. a restaurant or vacation place. she evinces clarity of thought by challenging the men’s philosophical and patriarchal theories of superiority and dominance. even though changing would make life more effective and increase happiness. although these come to her naturally because of the men’s weakness caused by their delusive clinging to distorted perceptions. but has not become apathetic or unemotional. then one will suffer dukkha when it changes. cognition. In addition. as do Teddy. expec-tations. she has stopped clinging to her husband. Teddy and Max. craving or clinging to beliefs or sensations etc. allow a relationship to evolve. motivation. As Mikulas puts it. beliefs.g. find a new vacation place. one’s relationship to child or spouse. there is no dukkha and one can go along with the change and perhaps influence it (e.
If one clings to something as it is at some time (e. Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta train one to avoid clinging to the “marks of existence” that constantly change because of the world’s impermanence. (2007: 11)
He goes on to show how clinging causes psychological inertia that results in resistance to change. The men continually compare their present situation to an ideal self based on ideology. If one doesn’t cling. Buddhist psychology reduces suffering. The Buddha says his primary work was to reduce suffering (‘dukkha’). perceptions. family and reputation. She still has preferences and shows a degree of compassion for the men rather than a quest for power and sensation.Pinter’s The Homecoming
with topics such as sensation. In the process. age gracefully). understands the situation she’s in and tries to do something about it. As Ruth clearly intuits. Lenny.
what . When they negotiate with Ruth to stay in London. she’ll make use of us. do you think she understands . Obviously. He like Lenny and Joey use sex as a way to gain control.122
her mind and its contents. not on any craving to dominate the men. Their objective throughout the play centers on the attempt to keep women in their place. and not the men. .) I don’t think she’s got it clear. Ruth uses Lenny’s fear of sex as a way to undermine his dominance. what . (137)
But of course Ruth does have it clear. he has not aged gracefully. on the other hand. . . I can tell you! I can smell it! You want to bet? (138)
.) Wait . What she agrees to do for them does not constitute a commitment in her mind but rather a misconception in theirs regarding the extent to which they think they can control her. He asks. Max and his sons. “You think I’m too old for you?” (137). . . has gained control. which reduces her attachments. as she also does at the end of the play. Ruth demonstrates an equanimity through which she is equally accepting and receptive toward the objects of her consciousness. When Max questions Ruth at the end of the play. In the first scene of the play. . Max begins to realize that Ruth. allowing her to witness these contents as an internal observer from a non-attached perspective that prevents her from clinging to them. have become lost in a personal level of being and confuse the contents of their minds with an assumed concrete reality. however. Max continues:
You understand what I mean? Listen. he identifies with a personal level of himself as a functional young man. we’re getting at? What . . I’ve got a funny idea she’ll do dirty on us. the whole family of men make the assumption that as a woman Ruth is there to be exploited. She alone has the capacity of insightful seeing of the world’s impermanence. More than any of the other characters. you want to bet? She’ll use us. . as we see throughout the play and especially at the end. we’ve got in mind? Do you think she’s got that clear?” (Pause. . fully aware that the men are trying to take advantage of her. She does not display a greater interest or attraction to some objects of consciousness more than others. escapes her dead marriage and takes control of the business relations by demanding a contract based on economic principles. Her power stems from her ability to stand back and witness the situation without craving for a particular outcome. Ruth. .
Lenny. (He begins to stammer.
integration over deintegration has led to models of self and society that are repressive and authoritarian. says. she effectively rejects the knowledge hierarchy that empowers and sanctions the distorted perceptions of the patriarchy. Ruth attains a transpersonal level of identity that transcends her self-centered reality but gives her and the audience a taste of witnessing the world.Pinter’s The Homecoming
At this point Max falls on his knees groaning and clutching his stick. and the father is reduced to begging for her favors. her subjectivity remains non-attached. and the curtain falls. the transpersonal level focuses on consciousness itself as a trans-conceptual state of Being.
the pursuit of order over chaos.
Max’s final pleading for some scraps of Ruth’s favor completes the sons’ Oedipal dream: now the roles of father and son are reversed. (Pause. Lenny stands up at this point. Max clings to an image of his personal identity that no longer exists. Rather she moves toward the quieter levels of the mind associated with reduced attachments and increased freedom. (She continues to touch Joey’s head. The valuing of diversity and deintegration as a necessary part of self and society enable organic change and cultural and personal creativity. In The Theatre of the Absurd. (257)
But Ruth as we have seen does not link herself to the sons’ characterization to her as having a personal identity—whether as their mother or a prostitute. While the men try to dominate Ruth by imposing on her what Foucault termed “subjugated ways of knowing” (1980: 81). Ruth does not cling as the men do to an illusionary self constituted by the contents of the mind. While the personal level of identity as experienced by the men focuses on the contents of the mind.) Do you hear me? (He raises his face to her. Martin Esslin.) Kiss me. light over darkness. As The Homecoming suggests. now the sons are in proud possession of the mother’s sexuality. lightly)” (138). even though situated within a patriarchal society dominated by cultural or intersubjective misconceptions about human relationships. As June Boyce-Tillman says. Having thus established herself in the upper left quadrant. who considers Ruth a duplicate of Jessie the mother. “I’m not an old man. (2005: 16)
By deintegration, Boyce-Tillman does not imply a lack of integral knowledge associated with the integration of the four quadrants, but rather an ability to disentangle the transpersonal self from the distorted conceptions of reality associated with an authoritative form of subjugating knowledge that has as its ultimate purpose not the expansion of truth or happiness but the domination of others. Max and his sons have handed their transpersonal imaginative capacities over to patriarchal authority, which they delude themselves into thinking they control, but which victimizes them even more so than it does Ruth. While Max and sons base their understanding of the world on distorted knowledge from the limited viewpoint of a personal self, Ruth does not confine herself within but rather deconstructs the small box in a small world that excludes visionary experience. As Jennifer Elam notes, “some researchers estimate that those in Western cultures who have had what might be called a mystical experience is somewhere between 40 and 90 percent” (2005: 52). Elam goes on to say that many people are shutting down their visionary experiences for fear of being labeled mentally ill. Max has an intuition at the end of the play regarding Ruth, but he depends on his sons to confirm it for him out of fear of appearing irrational or pathological. This attachment to the rationality of the ordinary waking state of the personal self, therefore, ironically end up leading to a pathological condition. As Bonshek notes, in the move toward a coexistence of Form and Emptiness as experienced by Ruth and the audience,
the full value of the outer comes into focus. [. . .] [O]n the basis of a clear inner screen of consciousness, outer perception is refined and sharp, seen in its full glory. [. . .] [T]he inner Self or Atma becomes the only inner experience and permeates all conditions of perception, thought, speech and action. [. . .] The inner is never overshadowed but the distinct values of the outer are appreciated. (2007: 46)
Like Pirandello in Six Characters in Search of an Author, Pinter achieves this in Ruth, Stanley and the audience through aesthetic rapture (rasa), providing all with a taste of cosmic consciousness, however briefly.
Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author: Being vs. having Form
Distinctions of Identity Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author weaves together three levels of drama, as Mark Musa explains in the “Introduction.” On one level, the six characters, after being refused by the author who conceived them, struggle to realize themselves and their family drama in a play written by another author. On another level, the play shows the suffering of the six characters as their human drama unfolds. In addition, Pirandello attempts to represent his own fantasy on the nature of human identity in an act of creation. In Six Characters, as Musa spells out, Pirandello makes a distinction among the performers between having form, like ordinary people and actors, and being form, like the characters themselves who feel compelled to actualize their form. To have form means to be condemned to continual change in an impermanent world, which usually ends up destroying that form. To be form means to be immutable (neverchanging) and eternal both in time and space. For Pirandello, every character in a work of art created by an author through language is form, while any ordinary human who changes from day to day merely has form, although they also have the potential to be form. Like the other characters as opposed to the actors in the play, the Father is form, but he rebels against the fixity of the existential form that traps him in a particular moment in life through which he is subject to external judgment. In ordinary life, people have no fixity of form, no eternal immutability, yet as representations or symbols or ordinary humans they can’t avoid having an unchanging form within the mind, which they often attempt to deny. As Musa explains, Pirandello confronts the issue of reaching truth or determining whether or not truth even exists. “Truth must
exist, Pirandello seems to say, but finding it is beyond human capability. Truth appears behind a thick black veil and reveals itself as that which each one of us desires to be. Truth, then, is relative. That which is true for one person may not be true for another. Each person sees, through an impenetrable veil, a vague phantasm which he or she gives the name of truth, but it is only his or her truth” (1995: xiv). What Six Character suggests, therefore, is that one can experience truth by being form as part of an immediate experience, but to understand or narrate truth within the context of language and reason involves the process of having form. In terms of Wilber’s four quadrants, truth emerges only through our being form in the upper left quadrant, a phenomenological experience of subjectivity based on knowledge-by-identity. As we have seen, Wilber calls this a zone #1 experience in the upper left quadrant, but one can also reflect upon this experience afterwards through zone #2, which is also in the upper left quadrant but outside the circle of zone #1 (2006: 39). To understand or express this truth through language and reason, therefore, requires one to leave the nondual inner circle and re-enter the outer circle of duality, both of which exist within the upper left quadrant of subjectivity—the first being a field of unity and the second a field of difference. In Six Characters, Pirandello blurs the distinction between real life and stage illusion by making the play seem more realistic, thereby challenging the spectators who come to the theatre expecting to watch an illusion through the “willing suspension of their disbelief.” One of the themes of the play concerns the habit most people have of taking the illusion of the stage for granted, while also in everyday life mistaking illusions for reality without realizing they could be deceived. Given the arbitrariness of how most people interpret reality, Pirandello questions our ability to distinguish reality from illusion by having the characters claim when they appear on stage that they are more real than the actors, even though they themselves are also actors. As Francis Fergusson notes,
Pirandello was quite right to think of his characters as being like Dante’s Francesca. They too are caught and confined in the timeless moment of realizing their individual nature and destiny, and so imprisoned, damned as she is. (1989: 11)
which are illusory. thus making the interpretation of that truth appear to be relative. Aureliu Weiss (1966). (1990: 136)
So while any two people like the Father and his Stepdaughter can have the same qualityless experience of unbounded non-duality. Pirandello suggests a distinction between socially constructed identities. which as part of duality is also influenced by the other three quadrants. even through the experiencer/narrator may be established in Being. Pirandello’s Six Characters revolutionized drama by liberating the imagination from the limitations of reason and logic and expanding our definition of reality beyond what most people take for granted. Umberto Mariani (1989). transpersonal identity defined as pure consciousness. while having form belongs to zone #2. which is neverchanging and thus real according to the world’s contemplative traditions. This is because two experiences of qualityless unboundedness cannot be phenomenologically different. In these outer three quadrants—the intersubjective. also in the upper left quadrant. As Shear has pointed out. and the natural. as Musa describes. People change so much from day to day and year to year that they are never the same person over a period of time in terms of their social identities. Pirandello takes the characters and audience beyond the ordinary waking state altogether by pointing to a trans-rational. but simultaneously they do have an inner dimension of qualityless pure consciousness on the basis of which they can observe their changing lives and identities through self-reflection. Being form thus occurs to zone #1. the non-pluralistic experience of the nonlocalized. will differ.Pirandello’s Six Characters
But Pirandello also takes his characters beyond the ego-centric level of individuality. Renato Poggioli (1958) and John Gassner (1954) interpret the play as freeing the mind from the limits of rationality. By incorporating surrealism.
. objective and interobjective—experience remains relative whenever narrated. By showing how in real life people often take illusions for reality. extra-linguistic self in the nondual zone #1 of the upper left quadrant is an
experience of pure unboundedness [which] is phenomenologically unique. since there is nothing in either to distinguish it from the other. logic and aesthetic conventions. While many critics such as Robert Brustein (1962). the narrative accounts of this experience in zone #2.
immutable and eternal truth. As we shall see. transpersonal self. the characters consist of the Father. The play not only includes the marvelous and the fantastic. As the characters demonstrate. does not only take us beyond the ordinary standards of reason and logic to a field of relativism. themselves illusory. nature and pure presence: “As created characters they are stable. The Mother. the Mother. Pirandello accentuates the uncertainty associated with rationality and logic through which we understand reality based on knowledge-about and knowledge-by-acquaintance. Ironically. Pirandello. therefore. Being spirit equates with being form. The play thereby creates a sense of uncertainty about which of the interpretations of the events narrated by the six characters is true. Daughter and Son are realized as ‘spirit. As Musa notes. but also suggests a dimension of experience which is absolute insofar that it’s a field of unity. Pirandello creates a new perspective on characters which includes spirit. the Young Boy and the Child. on the other hand. as human figures they are unstable. focussing instead on taking care of her children. the “Father. lacks the same level of awareness of being form and therefore corresponds more to nature. the only truth in the play is the unsayable truth of knowledge-by-identity associated with the internal observer knowing the self. a knowledge-by-identity of the non-dual.’ while the Mother is realized as ‘nature’” (1995: x). which would equate with zone #2. In Six Characters in Search of an Author. the Stepdaughter. but also goes further by undermining the certainty of the three ordinary states of waking.
transverbal dimension of experience.” Pirandello points to a deeper reality. and pointing toward the ultimate reality of unbounded consciousness. this field according to the Great Wisdom Traditions is also a unity-amidst-diversity because the characters interpret “reality” as a field of duality. sleep and dream. the Son. while all the narrative accounts by the different characters of what happens in their lives are relative interpretations after the fact. the ultra-realism of the witness or internal observer that never changes. As Musa says. which they simultaneously witness while experiencing the reality of the internal observer as a field of unity. She arrives on stage following her family without a clear awareness of their purpose. which oppose realism. by undermining the illusion of everyday “reality. which belong to the ever-changing field of thought as opposed to “the void in thought” as defined by Antonin Artaud (1958: 71). moreover.
Pirandello plays with the swing of awareness from the concrete to the abstract. In other words. with the actors representing duality and the characters nonduality. shared feelings and values—which we can only get to from a third-person
. deals with the relation between the relative and absolute. drama is “properly linked to the basic make-up of our species. This coexistence of opposite. the “holy actor” appears in performances that have a ritual function
to discover human essence beneath the influence of culture. these interpretations depend on one’s state of awareness as the basis for interpretation. both of which belong to the field of first-person experience. Six Characters. As Simon Shepherd and Mick Wallis note. What may appear illogical at one level of experience will appear perfectly right at a more expanded transverbal. Some of the actors shout “Reality.Pirandello’s Six Characters
changeable and ephemeral reality. The experience of pure consciousness or the fourth state consists of a coexistence of opposites when this state coincides with thought and perception and other mental activities in the fifth state of cosmic consciousness (Meyer-Dinkgräfe 2005: 39-46).” whereas the Father says “Reality.” while others shout “Make-believe. . [. represent the idea of the “holy actor” developed by the Polish director Jerzy Grotowski. transrational level. As Esslin put it.] The assumption is that drama can put us in contact with basic humanity itself. like the Director and the actors” (xi). informs the interpretation of the ending of the play when the Young Boy appears to commit suicide. The characters. the play suggests that every individual has the capacity to transcend thought and exist as form. duality and nonduality. . Pirandello leads the spectator from a cultural to a firstperson experience at the core of human identity by taking him or her through the inside of collective awareness—its worldview. With these categories. Shepherd and Wallis 2004: 59)
As the intersubjective aspect of society—group or collective consciousness—culture expresses what subjectivity looks like from the outside.” (1976: 20. which consists of a play within a play. from the duality of the ordinary waking state toward the unity of pure consciousness and back. as we shall see. furthermore. and to re-enter the realm of conceptuality and therefore to have form.” As we shall see.
bold-faced as they may be. But the Director counters that as actors. in their condition of being form. The Father. do not even have to appear plausible. In other words. depending on their quality. The Father says. on the other hand. points to a dimension of life beyond logic and reason.130
perspective. As the most developed state of awareness. Both views. The Father goes on to say that “life is full of endless absurdities which. for all objects in the real world undergo changes that eventually destroy them. madness is the only justification for performance as a profession. Six Characters begins with the Father and his family entering a theatre where a Director and actors are rehearsing for a performance. a qualityless phenomenon the spectators share after the exterior tokens of culture and language have run their course. “An author? What author?” (1995: 11). namely Pirandello’s own Rules of the Game. humans subsist in culture and society in the condition of having form. The Father suggests that theatre. Their search for an author centers in part on the desire to manifest the transpersonal dimension of the self through performance. the Director replies. When the Father invites the Director to be their author. however. What Pirandello’s play conveys to the audience here relates to the way the mind can embody two different states simultaneously. In another dimension of their mental existence. which means they undergo continuous change throughout their lives. which will also take the audience beyond having form toward a taste of the experience of being form. the core of subjectivity constitutes a non-dual experience of pure unboundedness. which suggests that his purpose of entering the theatre is to actualize on stage in a more direct and immediate way that level of Being represented by him and his family. In one dimension of their mental existence. The Director’s claim that he produces immortal works describes the aesthetic effect that actors have on spectators.” to which the Director asks. imply that fantasy is more real than reality. wants “to pursue creation at a higher level” (12). by expressing the senselessness of the human condition and the inadequacy of discursive thought and the rational approach to life. the six characters have transcended their personal selves and exist largely as post-egoic identities. since they are true” (12). For him. “You people must be joking” (11). “We are here in search of an author. they “can still boast of having given life to immortal works of art here on these very boards! (12). while theatre and the arts in essence change only seldom. humans have the capacity to witness this
of perceiving everything as unified or “One. early in the play the Stepdaughter tells the Director that the Father sent the Mother away with another man. The non-rational. the six characters understand the intrinsic sacredness of the ability to witness their activity from within. they need to actively engage in worldly activity. When the play begins. For example. which they now wish to combine with the temporal spatial parameters of a concrete everyday experience that characterizes the dramatic narrative created by the author who abandoned them. At higher states of consciousness. without the ability to actually put the structure of this form into action and thereby make it an object of observation for their internal observer.” The six characters arrive after a protracted period of having lived in a “timeless” and “spaceless” condition. however. which is not merely subjective in a personal sense but also intersubjectively. In other words.Pirandello’s Six Characters
change from a state of Being. the six characters have access to the state of pure consciousness. As the play suggests. Unlike the actors in the play. For the spectators. they can appreciate the feeling of mystery. perception. the six characters cannot fulfill their potential by living a co-existence of opposites—Being and activity. that of the Mother’s four children she
. this coexistence of opposites entails gaining a taste of their own Being. this witnessing quality of the internal observer co-exists with the activity of change in the exterior world. insightful experience of their state of Being. a state in which they experience unbounded silence within while simultaneously experiencing thought. for the six characters to develop from being form in the fourth state of pure consciousness toward the fifth state of cosmic consciousness. Latently. sensations and memory etc. which defines the true nature of consciousness. the six characters arrive having lived in a state of being for so long after having been abandoned by their author that they are stuck in the dimension of non-change without the active manifestation of their lives to witness. awe and reverence associated with being form. as well as witnessing their Being and activity in the same way the six characters do.. intuitive. By being form. a state that once stabilized allows one to experience the diversity of the world of change while simultaneously experiencing the unity of diversity. needs to be activated through drama in order for them and the audience to witness their transpersonal identities. they will remain trapped within a world of inactivity.
against his Stepdaughter’s objection. sir. you know” (19). Although the Father rejects his family’s interpretation of what happened at Madame Pace’s. although he starts off by saying. “Ah. we never understand one another. he asserts that no human identity can be understood as consistent or defined by a particular event. The Father. The Father pities the Mother and children. each of us his own world of things. who went there in search of a pleasure woman. and then bursts out laughing. (19)
Pirandello puts his performers and audience in a state of uncertainty because he realizes that uncertainty is the natural condition of life in the ordinary waking state immersed in the context of a changing world where everything is either illusory or escapes the grasp of reason.
. And how can we understand one another. explains how he interprets what happened by telling the story from his perspective. The Stepdaughter says. . He then elaborates on how any first-person experience when rendered after the fact through language is open to a variety of interpretations. the meaning of that inner world will invariably alter according to the other person’s interpretive strategy as influenced by the other three quadrants. while the one who listens inevitably takes them according to the meaning and the value which he has in himself of the world he has inside himself. which led his family to accuse him of being incestuous. it also has a comic element displayed by the resilience of the characters on the level of consciousness when they confront the mystery of human existence. but we were on the verge of doing it. but they see the situation differently from their own perspectives and accuse him of having abandoned them and being incestuous. if in the words I speak I put the meaning and the value of things as I myself see them. The Father. While the play has a tragic element. “I’m not narrating! I want to explain to him” (19). almost mistook his Stepdaughter for one of them. when this world is narrated and made available intersubjectively to others in a cultural context. Although each of the six characters lives in a world within. which belongs to zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. the Director. and that the Father came to Madame Pace’s brothel in a tailor shop where the Stepdaughter was working.132
had three by that other man. .
All of us have a world full of things inside of us. We think we understand each other.
He felt that the Mother was more compatible with the other man
. In this way. there was no effort required. She witnesses her activity. they can witness their activity to a greater extent than the actors in the play. my body was loose and very light. for she has established a “stable internal frame of reference from which the changing phases” of her states of consciousness are silently observed (Alexander and Boyer 1989: 342). there’s a step beyond that which I experienced. different states of consciousness are expressed in drama. The remarkable aspect of the six characters who are form and can still engage in activity within a context of having form concerns the nature of pure consciousness when stabilized during activity. I was no longer acting actively. It was a wonderful thing of leaving not only the character. an effect of performance both on the performer and the audience:
There are two stages of having the audience in your hand. the Father explains to the Director why he allowed his wife to leave with his secretary. but only two or three times. cannot be overshadowed in everyday experience by the content of the individual’s psyche. a subordinate of mine” (20). The actor Ray Reinhardt describes this kind of witnessing experience. but also this person who calls himself Ray Reinhardt. you make them laugh through sheer skill—they laughed at that. although things were happening: my arms moved independently. “a poor man. The first one is the one in which you bring them along. It was the closest I’ve ever come in a waking state to a mystical experience. which has the quality of bliss. which as we have seen is called cosmic consciousness. now watch me top it with this one. For example.Pirandello’s Six Characters
Tragedy or Actualization Although Six Characters comes across as a tragedy in terms of what happens to the family. In a way. as evidenced by the Stepdaughter bursting out in laughter after accusing the Father of nearly propositioning her. to which the spectator is also directed through aesthetic experience (rasa). who constantly make judgments based on the content of their minds rather than observing them from a stable internal frame of reference. (Richards 1977: 43)
Because the six character act from a level of Being. It is the most—how can you use words like satisfying? It’s more ultimate than ultimate: I seemed to be part of a presence that stood behind myself and the audience. But. the positive aspect of their story resides in the actual witnessing of this drama from the perspective of the internal observer. Being form in this sense.
” sir. the activity they engage in has the
. hooked and suspended for our entire existence. the internal observer. “one” with that—all very different! So we have the illusion of always being at the same time “one for everyone” and always “this one” that we believe we are in everything we do. I mean to say. lies all in this: in the conscience I have. therefore. literature. When the Director asks how this passion can be played out.” The Son replies. Although they share a unity on the level of witnessing consciousness. under very unfortunate circumstances. It is not true! It is not true! We see this clearly whenever. “Now. sir. “Of course. it is “many. that all of our self is not in that act. The Director wants to go beyond mere discussion and get to the events themselves. we realize. “But all this is narrative. as if our existence were all summed up in this one act! (26)
The Father implies many things by this statement regarding both the state of being form among the six characters and the nature of observing the activity performed by them after the fact. Although the six characters are one in terms of their state of being form. “many” according to all the possibilities of being that are in us: “one” with this. In order for it to stand up. which every one of us has—you see—we think we are “one” with “one” conscience. we are all of a sudden caught.” But the Father insists. then. After hearing the story. yes sir! But the event is like a sack: when empty it will not stand up. ‘literature!’ This is life. consists of background information given by the Father to convince the Director to take them on so they can perform their drama. the Director says. “What do you mean. The Father says. Much of Six Characters. It’s literature. as if suspended on a hook. they are not one in terms of their conscience when observing the activity they perform. comes the drama: new and complex” (23). During the debate between the Father on the one hand and the Mother and Stepdaughter on the other regarding what happened in their lives—his abandoning them and then coming back as a friend—the Father finally says. but it is not true.134
and permitted them to create a family: “I became attracted towards that little family of hers which due to me had come into being” (22). the Father says that so far he has only been giving them the background that leads up to the drama. sir. dear sirs.
The drama for me. in something we do. one must first fill it with reason and feelings which are the cause of its existence” (25). sir! Passion” (23). and that. it would be an atrocious injustice to pass judgment on us by that single action: to hold us fixed. “Of course.
is for us. the other five characters) have no other reality besides illusion! . cannot be incriminated. She also insists that the Mother take part. hooked or suspended by a particular act that others may judge in a negative light. our only reality. with the active performance being an illusion and the act of witnessing a reality. In Act two the Director plans for the characters to perform the brothel scene.Pirandello’s Six Characters
potential to be interpreted in a variety of different ways. who gradually begins to appreciate their story and accept its reality and potential for commercial success. When the actors perform the roles of the Father and Stepdaughter in the brother scene. and the Father even entices Madame Pace into being for the performance. Moreover. telling him that his entire past is an illusion:
. The Director. the Director is pleased. Although the performance is an illusion. at least not until that person is fully realized in a state of unity consciousness where no discrepancy occurs between consciousness and activity. instead. which leads her to accuse him of collaborating with the Father. however. the Director forbids the Stepdaughter from using the line about disrobing. When the Father and Stepdaughter resume their performance. this act does not encompass the entirety of the unbounded self as observer or witness. What for you is an illusion that must be created.
Now. which pleases the Director. The Father thus explains that being form. being pure consciousness. summarily. insists that the actors perform the scene even though the characters argue they can act it out more authentically. (54)
For this illusion to transform into reality depends on the six characters’ acting it out while simultaneously witnessing their performance. even when the Father or one of the other characters engages in a particular act. The Father uses this explanation to exonerate himself of his Stepdaughter’s accusation of wickedness in his behavior at the tailor shop where she worked. if you consider that we as we are (indicates himself and. but the Stepdaughter can’t help but laugh at the discrepancy between the actors’ performance and how the characters envision it. The Father then goes on to analyze the Director’s identity. . toward the end of Act two the Father tells the Director that the actors are just playing a game. .
the Directors and actors have a more difficult time representing reality because they are lost in the field of change with no access to witnessing consciousness. “Make-believe! Reality! You can all go to Hell.136
Integral Drama if you think back to those illusions which now you no longer have. He is just pretending! Don’t believe it. “What make-believe! Reality. sir reality!” (65). because—like that of yesterday—it is destined to reveal itself as an illusion tomorrow” (55-56). As Pirandello suggests. the boy having shot himself. At this point the infuriated Director explodes. which is never-changing.” The other actors agree: “No. The Leading Lady exclaims. At the end of the play. with a crazy look in his eyes staring into the pool at his little sister. the one you breathe and feel today within yourself. Mother and Son left up on the stage. The basis for the Father’s argument is that the Director’s reality “can change from one day to the next. while the only reality is that which never changes— the quality of witnessing that arises from being form. both claims carry a degree of
The Director asks. it would be also a good idea for you not to trust in your own realty. “He’s dead! Poor boy! He’s dead! Oh. make-believe. Then a shot rings out from the revolver. . the boy standing over there fixed. The characters accept that their performance is illusion because they understand that all activity as a form of change is indeed illusory.” while the characters’ reality as internal observers does not change.? (55). the very ground beneath your feet give way . the Son describes how he saw the Little Boy standing in the garden with a revolver in his pocket. laughing. the Stepdaughter “burst into shrill laughter. It’s make-believe. then rushes down the stairway” and looks back still laughing at the Father. to all those things which now no longer ‘seem’ to be for you what they ‘were’ at one time. He continues: “I saw something that made my blood run cold: the boy. and the Father continues: “It was merely to show you that if we have no other reality beyond illusion. how awful!” The Leading Man responds. So who is right? Was it make-believe or reality? For Pirandello. dead? It’s make believe. “What. drowned” (65). so what?. The Director finally apprehends what the Father implies: “You actually would go so far as to say that this play that you have come to act out here is more true and more real than I am!” (56).” But the Father says. don’t you feel—not necessarily the boards of this stage—but the ground. . every last one of you! Lights! Lights!” While the Director exclaims that they lost a whole day of rehearsal.
but as the play demonstrates. while the actors refer to the manifest drama as a field of illusion. Similarly. nor a stable scene of human life like the Greek or Elizabethan cosmos. not to their state of being form. not to the state of Being. while the witnessing quality of being form is characterized by bliss. Francis Fergusson agrees that Pirandello has captured a new level of reality:
One might justly say that his attitude is more ‘realistic’—more disillusioned and disbelieving—than simple-minded positivism itself. moreover. (1989: 10)
.Pirandello’s Six Characters
truth. this claim only applies to that aspect of their identity which has form. they still represent the quality of being form. Robert Brustein. not objective reality. but again this applies only to the state of having form. But he is left. namely a universe of certainties through which they can affirm themselves (1989: 1-9). Renato Poggioli recognizes that Pirandello shows how reason and logic have no absolute or transcendent value (1958: 19-47). Similarly. with neither an artistic convention like the Baroque. On the other hand. for he does not have to believe in the photograph of the parlor. but one can only surmount this impasse through knowledge-by-identity. John Gassner notes that Pirandello’s work questions the intellect’s ability to solve the problem of illusion and certainty (1954: 424-45). for as the play reveals they function as tools to defend illusion. making reality less concrete does not enhance illusion so much as expand the audience’s consciousness and thereby heighten their awareness that illusion belongs to the ordinary waking state. Aureliu Weiss argues that Pirandello derides certainty and criticizes truth as fragile (1966: 345). Although Umberto Mariani asserts that the characters cannot attain what they need. not as a means to transcend the intellect. believes that for Pirandello the subjective mind only has access to illusions. Pirandello would see their death as make-believe insofar that all activity in a world of change constitutes illusion. and he can accept the actual stage for the two boards it is. The Father in exclaiming “Reality” refers to this aspect of their fate. and that humans fear anything formless (1962: 281317). by achieving a state of Being. like Ibsen and Chekkov. Although the Little Boy and his sister were underdeveloped as characters. or witnessing awareness. while the never-changing quality of their Being persists as a form of Reality.
the white screen upon which the drama of life plays itself out. As we have seen. Jean Genet adds a new twist to his characters’ identities by having them transform themselves into commodities. In The Balcony. The characters themselves in Pirandello’s play represent such an experience of the three-in-one structure of knower. which gives the audience an epiphany or taste of what it’s like to enter a transpersonal state of mind that entails a coexistence of Emptiness and Form. aesthetic experience (rasa) stands for the quintessence of self-luminous consciousness. although a taste of this state can be conveyed even if the audience doesn’t have a full-fledged experience of self-luminous consciousness.
. to the knower as pure awareness. known and process of knowing.138
Pirandello thus induces an epiphany in the audience by having them transcend the duality of conceptuality to a void beyond logic and reason.
the police and the military. set during a revolution. which he soon abandoned. Genet started writing plays. Genet also served in the French Foreign Legion. but was caught stealing and labeled a thief and a juvenile delinquent by the time he became a teenager. (2007b: 86)
Although the characters of The Balcony. Genet believed that social hierarchies fulfill a lust for power. Genet undoubtedly felt powerless.The Reality of Illusion in Jean Genet’s The Balcony
Power vs. confront this mixophobia and attempt to escape it even within the church. became commercially successful. Impotence As the illegitimate son of a prostitute. becoming a vagabond and continuing to engage in criminal activities. alienated and helpless in a world that to him appeared absurd. As a social outcast. which Bauman defines as
a higher predictable and widespread reaction to the mind-bogging. the church. which he also associated with lust itself. a world that considered him in turn a perpetual menace to institutions such as the law. Jean Genet grew up in a state-run orphanage and then later with foster parents.
. homelessness and prison. Familiar not only with crime. He was often arrested. two of which.” but in their “ordinary” (read: unprotected by “interdictory spaces”) living areas. But his attitude toward society did not hinge on simplistic interpretations of power-mongering so much as on an awareness that the world was becoming mixophobic. spine-chilling and nerve-breaking variety of human types and lifestyles that meet and rub elbows and shoulders in the streets of contemporary cities not only in the officially proclaimed (and for that reason avoided) “rough districts” or “mean streets. In the mid-1940s. The Balcony (1956) and The Blacks (1957). imprisoned and expelled from European countries.
the bishop says. enjoying his role and insisting on continuing to play it as long as possible. you know.
. he is dramatizing the often suppressed and subconscious rage of the ‘I. In explaining the outcome of their drama to Madame Irma afterwards. “What do you mean. the Grand Balcony. this gap between members of different social strata and within the consciousness of individuals themselves points toward a double awareness that underlies The Balcony and suggests a way of transcending both mixophobia and the feeling of impotence. who can either make the men feel good about themselves or undermine their illusions. the men glorify themselves. The girl in Scene One placates the bishop by complying with his demands. the main venue of the play. The Balcony opens with a series of ritualistic events in Madame Irma’s brothel.” To which the girl replies. This girl in Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony obviously plays an important role in enhancing the bishop’s ego. but he refuses to comply. only six! They were deadly sins. also referred to as the Grand Illusion or hall of mirrors. The men who frequent the brothel act out various roles they aspire to as a means of gaining power and virility. trying to fulfill their fantasies of grandeur by donning outfits worn by either bishops.’ alone and terrified by the anonymous weight of the nebulous ‘they’” (1991: 220). using exaggerated clerical language and being meticulous about her admitting the truthfulness of her sins for him to absolve. In each of these minidramas. Only six sins. Madame Irma tries to hurry him out the door because he has over stayed his welcome. As we shall see. Martin Esslin argues that Genet is not condemning lawyers.140
law and defense forces. And I had a hell of a job finding those” (1991: 3). Scene One opens with a gasman playing the role of a bishop and taking confession from the woman who serviced him. subjugating the women for their own self-aggrandizement. for had she not come up with her deadly sins the bishop would have suffered a serious let down. but they have much less control over the situations they enact than do the women. bishops and generals merely for lusting after power but is also “projecting a feeling of impotence of the individual caught up in the meshes of society. “We didn’t exactly strain ourselves. judges or generals and lording it over the prostitutes who play their opposites. and far from my favorite ones.
. The bishop displays his confusion here about the true nature of being. Do I come here to find innocence and evil? In your gilded glass. I swear—I have never. . (5)
He goes on to clarify that if he had “become a bishop for sake of being one. (5)
The mirror on the one hand represents a prop for the recurring fantasies in Madame Irma’s brothel. to rise in the hierarchy—whether by virtue or vice—would have meant my becoming further and further removed from the ultimate dignity of being a bishop. Let me explain. in the sight of God. ] a function is only a function. he explains:
To become a bishop. but into acting in the sort of way that would have led to my becoming one. mirror. he curses them and then throws them out of the room and turns to address the mirror:
Now answer me. not to himself on a level of expanded awareness associated with the subjective upper left quadrant that would
. ] if I had wanted to become a bishop. in order fully to fulfill my function. who function like finite waves on an unbounded ocean or the localized position of a mirror in infinite space. all the men who visit Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony reflect Goldberg and McCann.). for once established in a state of being as his true identity.” he would have had “to remember my being one. It isn’t a mode of being” (ibid. what am I? Here. for as a bishop he would only be fulfilling a function. a function is no longer merely a function but also a reflection of being. In comparison to Pinter’s The Birthday Party. He speculates that becoming a real bishop would entail entering a hierarchy in which power replaces dignity. On the other hand.Genet’s The Balcony
Later when Madame Irma tries to send him away. . he speaks to himself as a physical object in Wilber’s upper right objective quadrant. [. When the bishop goes on talking to the mirror. When the bishop speaks to the mirror. answer me. thus serving not only as a metaphor for theatre but also as a representation for how people conduct themselves in everyday life. the mirrors symbolize a partial reflection of the self. never aspired to the Episcopal throne. which in his understanding does not reflect a mode of being but rather a finite level of mind. [. . I should have had to put all my energy not into being one.
that illuminate me. which does not represent a transcultural. (1990: 116)
The bishop and the other men who frequent Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony function like waves and mirrors through their fixation on a limited perception of themselves. by heaven!—the majesty. the dignity. do not emanate from my function—nor from my personal merits. space). (6)
Although he refers to a “mysterious source. and the ocean and space represent that of pure consciousness.
The majesty. evincing a greater awareness of the fetishistic nature of the games these rituals constitute at the Grand Balcony. and dignity. He then implies the death of his
. and a mirror in space [. does indeed emit a torrent of foul gas when he claims to have laid “siege to an ancient fortress. . . As we have seen. irradiate from a more mysterious source: from the Bishop in me taking precedence over me. mirror? Golden image! Ornate Mexican cigar box—and I want to be Bishop in solitude. The bishop. The wave and mirror in these images represent experience of individual self. . . . Have I made myself clear.142
open his awareness to an immediate experience of spiritual truth associated with being a bishop. transpersonal identity. As opposed to the men. therefore. in appearance only .] Thus in each of these images the content of the experience of the individual self is represented as nothing but a localized expression (wave. He says.” he has no access to that source as an immediate experience beyond the conceptual level of the mind. but rather an attempt to enhance their power and virility. The gasman as bishop. And in order to destroy every vestige of function. reflection) of the relevant overall unbounded field (ocean. Madame Irma’s girls stand outside the reflection of the mirrors in terms of their own subjectivity. . [. that illuminate my person. Jonathan Shear explains that Eastern philosophical traditions use the analogy between pure consciousness on one hand and the ocean and a mirror on the other:
a wave on the ocean. confuses the vestments and lace he dons as a pseudo bishop with the actual person that may to a certain extent offer him protection from his fears regarding his inferior status in the world. I’m going to create a scandal. however. from which I was expelled” (6).] display the relation between pure consciousness and the individual self. moreover.
. Nevertheless. he will find neither evil nor innocence. without access to his inner self as a witnessing internal observer: “Mirror. the police and the military do serve a function other than allowing its representatives an opportunity to lust after power. “Reality frightens you. however. . then. he may have a degree of nonattachment that allows him momentarily to observe his obsessive behavior. however. [. mirror. not the expansion of awareness to a greater state of wholeness. Even a real bishop would have difficulty determining the degree of truth in a confession. She even asks him. They can only perceive them from the outside on a conceptual level. involves all of Wilber’s quadrants except the upper left that would lead him to a taste of knowledge-by-identity. Even the knowledge he thinks he has about the girl’s sins would be a form of knowledge-about. she has greater control over the bishop’s sense of power and virility than he does over her.] My loving kindness. which suggests that to a certain extent. on the wall . . men like the gasman and the criminal though not the artistic side of Genet himself have no access to the inner dimension of those involved in these institutions. and therefore when the bishop tries to imitate people in a position of power he can only replicate their most superficial attributes. suggests that she understands the game more clearly. doesn’t it?” (4). . the law. the bishop does have an ambiguous attitude toward the church. The process of having the girl confess her sins. The fact that the bishop asks questions of the mirror rather than of himself regarding his function and purpose at Irma’s Grand Balcony suggests that he’s locked within a state of ordinary waking consciousness. The gasman’s experience of his role as a bishop. for in acting out a repentance to satisfy the bishop and asking him is he’d “go to the police” to report her. only his deluded fantasies about them.Genet’s The Balcony
former self by referring to suicide and suggests a rebirth to a better position where his vestments will “protect me from the world. merely implies exchanging one socially constructed identity for another. from a social or cultural perspective. He fails to realize that in the house of Grand illusions. . Why do I come here? To find evil? To find innocence?” (4). on the level of ordinary waking consciousness. which in this minidrama remains a fantasy. Although the church. a socially constructed conceptual framework. which is destined to inundate the world—it was distilled under your carapace” (7). This transformation to another self.
Scene One of Genet’s play has the effect. the performers and audience can perceive the roles being performed as separate from the witnessing faculty of the performers themselves.. In terms of Wilber’s quadrants. and get you to open up to the world more immediately. As Meyer-Dinkgräfe says. creating a gap within their awareness that allows them to witness what they perceive rather than being completely absorbed by the object of observation. Bertolt Brecht and others. Nevertheless.” etc. as discussed by drama theorists such as Denis Diderot. Vsevolod Meyerhold. while they also reflect on this experience through zone #2. via negativa language serves this very particular cognitive function. of deautomatizing and thus weakening the link in the audience between the bishop’s performance on stage and how a bishop behaves in the real world.
In general. the performers and spectators can sense this gap through a glimpse of knowledge-by-identity by occupying zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. conditioning the mind and body to function in higher states of consciousness. Constantin Stanislavsky. . or between the concrete and the abstract.144
stem more from a sense of guilt than the actual commitment of a sin. which causes one to perceive the habitual in a new light. like most of the other scenes.
. The Natyashastra. performance and spectatorship induce a self-reflexive state of consciousness:
The means of histrionic representation described in the classical Indian treatise on drama and theatre. ‘put to rest objects of sense and [. This process can be understood in terms of what Forman calls the decontrolling utterances that use the via negativa approach. . As Forman says.” “lay your expectations down. In our Upanishadic text. such as “cease looking. It is designed to get you to cease applying your automatized expectations. the gap between the ability to act out emotions as opposed to actually embodying them through knowledgeby-identity. The play thereby avoids lending conventional content to the perceptions of the audience. (2005: 91)
Although Genet’s characters may not reveal a great deal of selfawareness. in The Balcony the performers and audience both find themselves in a position to perceive the gap between the roles being performed on a physical level and the internal observer.] continue void of conceptions’ is also couched in the via negativa. might be interpreted as functioning as yogic techniques.
. desires and wants. All the men do not only consume what Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony has to offer but also attempt to convert themselves into commodities that other men would envy. (1999: 100. perhaps the decisive purpose of consumption in the society of consumers (even if it is seldom spelled out in so many words and still less frequently publicly debated) is not the satisfaction of needs. All the other men. Madame Irma’s clients attempt to convert themselves into desirable commodities. the Chief of Police. “The crucial. By de-linking the bishop’s behavior from that of a priest in the everyday world. a phenomenon Bauman discusses in Consuming Life. original emphasis). As Bauman says. original emphasis)
The via negativa of language would also apply to the behavior of the bishop in the first scene and Madame Irma’s other clients throughout the play. As Bauman says. as we shall see. It is ultimately for that reason that the passing of the consumer test is a non-negotiable condition of admission to the society that has been reshaped in the likeness of the market-place. however. The passing of that test is a noncontractual precondition of all the contractual relations that weave and are woven into the web of relationships called ‘the society of consumers’” (2007a: 57. creating a gap through which they transcend the conventional cognitive content of their minds and glimpse the void of conceptions. Throughout the play.Genet’s The Balcony And it does seem intended to serve more as a deconstructive than as a constructive instruction. is the most obsessed with Bauman’s dictum that “Members of the society of consumers are themselves consumer commodities” (ibid. This reaction would also apply to the girls in the Grand Balcony who have to contend with the different styles used by the men acting out their roles in the minidramas designed to enhance their power.. for while the other clients crave to become commodities by emulating others. but the commoditization or recommoditization of the consumer: raising the status of consumers to that of sellable commodities. he is the only character who craves that other clients try to emulate him as a desirable commodity. original emphasis). the via negativa of the play projects the audience beyond the limits of their ordinary perceptual system. George. feel trapped by their positions in society and wish to escape.
Oh! The power of tears! I want to be drenched in them” (ibid. From forth your lovely eyes. the passage from the society of producers and soldiers to the society of consumers. The torturer wants her to deny her crime now and confess later. then admit it. Obviously the judge like the bishop revels in his power over women. that passage is painted as the final triumph of the individual’s right to self-assertion.). “No!” (ibid.146
Integral Drama Its latest stage. they focus more on superficial appearances than on any significant transformation of the self associated with the upper left quadrant. In short. not their true identities. that passage is portrayed as another. Their move from having “no choice” or a “limited choice” to the “right of selfassertion” continues within the constraints of the mirrors or finite waves.” but the torturer says. leap from the world of constraints and unfreedom towards individual autonomy and self-mastery. “Are you a thief or a strangler? (Very softly. a purely conceptual dimension. By converting themselves into commodities. without ever leading to individual autonomy and self-mastery based on knowledge-by-identity. a judge. The judge then says. Unlike the bishop’s girl. tell me you’re a thief” (8). I await the gush of warm springs. More often than not.). “Precisely. non-negotiable bonds and from compulsory or at least unchallengeable behavioral patterns. the leap from a “world of constraints and unfreedom” remains a temporary illusion. the judge also savors his role but gets unnerved by the gunfire outside from the ongoing revolution. and then repent. however. my child. You have to deny it first. reinforcing his sense of
. appealing to her) Tell me. my child: you’ll get hit. I implore you. possibly the conclusive. thus undermining his pleasure. only altering their appearance. is commonly portrayed as a process of gradual. As the scene opens. the judge’s girl and Arthur end up humiliating him. The thief replies. Like the bishop. ultimately to be complete. emancipation of individuals from the original conditions of ‘no choice’ and later ‘limited choice. whose girl plays a thief about to be punished by the torturer. a sovereignty which tends in turn to be interpreted as the individual’s right to free choice. played by one of Madame Irma’s employees named Arthur. the judge asks the woman. from preordained and prescribed. tell me. Scene Two of The Balcony introduces another client. understood primarily as the indivisible sovereignty of the unencumbered subject.’ from pre-scripted scenarios and obligatory routines. (2007a: 61)
But in the case of Madame Irma’s clients. my Lord. but she worries that she’ll get hit again. “OK.
Genet’s The Balcony
domination and virility. they would prefer discovering their real identities. who include those who refuse or lack the means to become commodities. (2007a: 129)
By scheming to become commodities. Judge! I am going to be the judge of your actions! The scales of justice hang balanced from my hands. (2007a: 129)
. to make the daily reality endurable.” the subversive forces trying to replace the extant state-managed order with another state-managed order. the judge pontificates. Later when the thief confesses. The world is my apple: I cut it in two—good people and bad people. The danger to the “order-building and orderobsessed modern state presiding over the society of producers and soldiers. a counter-order reversing each and every principle by which the present order lived or aimed to live. the more safe and prosperous is consumer society.
was that of revolution. the more effective is the market seduction of prospective customers). you reconcile me to the world. very own ‘inner demons’: the suppressed. rather. the “hot-headed. As Genet and Bauman both indicate. As Bauman says of revolutionaries. the
higher consumer demand is (that is. (ibid. Madame Irma’s clients attempt to distinguish and protect themselves from the revolutionaries who lay siege to the city walls. all-too-radical reformists.
I shall have all that to judge. or. hare-brained. without acknowledging at the moment that it’s all an act and the world remains a threat. my child. ambient fears which permeate its daily life. Oh. the judge bolsters his confidence by taking the woman’s fate into his hands.)
These revolutionaries oppose the obsession with consumerism in the sense that rather than constantly shifting their identities from one socially constructed commodity to another. (11)
Frightened by the revolution outside the Grand Balcony.’ yet which.” as Bauman puts it. The enemies were the revolutionaries.
The enemies who lay siege to the walls are its own. its ‘normality. must be squashed and squeezed out of the lived-through quotidianity and moulded into an alien body.
The judge admits to the torturer and the thief that
I wouldn’t exist without you . as if they’re the jury:
Ladies and gentlemen. . for she replies. Again. After reprimanding the girl.. . . I beg of you—waiting to be a judge” (ibid. the client’s everyday role. but the true self toward which you aspire can’t be garnered through another person’s perception of you based on how you look. an “inner demon. To pronounce every sentence with the gravity it deserves would cost me my life. They’ll undoubtedly help you construct roles to perform in public. therefore. You are my two perfect complements” (12). “Don’t leave me like this. He beseeches her. the girls wield greater power than the men. before your very eyes—with nothing up my sleeve. In a sense. or one who refuses to become a commodity and thereby help to sustain consumerism. This is the region.)
Death here symbolizes a transition from one socially constructed identity. the judge addresses the audience. . only in this case denying the image the client hopes to attain.” in this scene fulfills the role of the mirror. Which is why I am dead. “Well . you never know . the girl brandishes her power over the judge by hesitating and making him lick her shoes before she agrees to play the thief again. to that of a pseudo judge wielding power over a thief. (ibid. a commodity based on
. speak or behave.148
Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony serves to provide consumers like the bishop and judge with a sense of security by sustaining the illusion of fulfillment through their becoming commodities. He then pleads to the girl acting as a thief. this situation demonstrates that you can’t find your true identity through an intersubjective relationship with others. “You won’t refuse to be a thief? (13). As the scene comes to a close. those I weigh in the balance are. An identity dependent on others ends up as nothing more than a social construct.
He knows that without her his new identity as a powerful commodity would be undermined. that region of total freedom that I inhabit. As an analogy of everyday life. nothing in my hands—I separate the rottenness and throw it away. . like me.). King of Infernal Regions. (To the thief) Nor without you my child. dead. the girl as a revolutionary. original emphasis). But this is a painful process.” (ibid. .
however fleetingly. This experience involves a taste of cosmic consciousness. . They more than the men benefit from these rotating roles that free awareness from becoming
.] If we identify with these changing processes. seeks a secure identity in the wrong place. As Robert Boyer notes. we ride the waves of change. . an interpersonal relationship found in all the quadrants except the upper left. wherein his true self resides. The relative field of existence is ever-changing. This second scene adds an element of humiliation to the client’s image. The irony of these first two scenes centers on the fact that while the revolution instills fear in the clients. on the other hand. part of their work in the Grand Balcony and even similar to the roles they play outside Madame Irma’s establishment. The judge. don’t strive to identify with another role but find themselves compelled to act out roles they recognize as being unreal and transitory. thereby accentuating his failure to fulfill his dreams as a powerful and sexually dominant male in a society going through a revolution. striving for a peak experience. and on this basis simultaneously witness the minidrama involving a deluded judge. development of this
fifth state of consciousness spontaneously establishes complete inner freedom from being overshadowed by the inevitable ups and downs of individual life characteristic of various degrees of suffering. [. sometimes the peak and sometimes the trough. (2006a: 444)
The bishop and judge identify themselves with commodity roles in the ever-changing relative field of existence.Genet’s The Balcony
knowledge-about or knowledge-by-acquaintance. The women. in this case a surrogate mirror found in the girl. Individual experiences of suffering or happiness are associated with what we identify ourselves to be. like the bishop. The girl playing the thief and the audience again enter a zone of awareness where through behavioral via negativa they de-identify themselves with socially constructed roles and instead have a glimpse of awareness by itself. If anything. which however pleasurable remains transitory and results in their soon returning to the trough of another in a long series of socially constructed identities. this scenario would further jeopardize a judge responsible for convicting people like a rebel. they continue playing the roles of elite commodities against whom the revolutionaries are fighting.
In the third scene. They anticipate the war by talking about death and his soldiers. . the general turns to his girl and asks. Oh. (17)
He then forces her to kneel in front of him and whinny like a circus horse. . (19)
. if I have risen from the ranks without dying. With no contingent at my back. aren’t you? Smiling at your rider? Hm? Do you recognize this hand—firm but gentle (He strokes her. helps him take off his cloths and don his uniform. Madame Irma has his room prepared before he arrives. The general then hears a woman’s scream and wants to rescue her. Behold me in my pure appearance. giving you your rank already” (15). “It’s coming. General— it’s coming” (18). Then he asks “Where’s the war?” She replies. she refuses. He also worries about leaving the Grand Balcony late and possibly getting shot by revolutionaries. half naked herself.) My fiery steed! My beautiful mare—Ah. but he can’t see any blood on his boots that would make his minidrama illusion appear more real. in full dress. there I go. and they discuss the danger he encountered outside and how he had to take detours to avoid the revolution.
Not just yet. through suffering without dying. especially since his girl/horse has yet to arrive. Afterwards when he tries to put the bit in her mouth.” (16)
The general’s girl finally arrives a half hour late with his uniform. I’m sorry. When Madame Irma leaves. another client in the Grand Balcony plays out his fantasy of being a general with his girl acting as his horse. then he looks into the mirror:
Waterloo! General! Man of war. Simply myself—I appear. it was only to reach this minute just before dying. At this stage she complies and. He wants to ring for her: “I like ringing.
Didn’t you get your oats? You’re smiling.150
attached to any particular one in the hopes of riding the waves of change to a peak experience. what lovely gallops we’ve had together. but Irma tells him it’s “a bit of involuntary improvisation” and that he should “cool it. doing everything he can to convince himself of his power in the midst of a ritualistic fantasy. It’s authoritative—ringing the charge!” But Madame Irma counters. If I have gone through wars without dying. General .
eternal. The idea that he presents one image for the sake of another image suggests that his new identity consists of a series of images in infinite regress. that for a dead man he speaks quite eloquently. “Hang your head. not open to infinity or immortality. however. and hide your eyes. In short. instead of knowing himself through knowledge-by-identity—as a unity of knower. he tells her. As the scene closes. But the girl realizes that the path he has chosen will not provide him with any lasting security or happiness. is Transcendental Consciousness. that indeed he may eventually get killed by the revolutionaries on his way to and from the Grand Balcony. Not for my sake. Our moods. This fate
. (2007: 20. [. and my image for the sake of its image. we shall be the image of each other” (20). Madame Irma’s clients. As in the previous two scenes. What they don’t realize is. which in this case is nothing more than a self as a commodity constructed through an illusory minidrama in which a girl and a mirror convince him of the death of his old identity and the birth of a new one. In Cosmic Consciousness the unchanging reality is maintained along with the changing states of waking. perceptions and experiences change from day to day. Here the structure of pure knowledge is open to awareness. but for the sake of my image. which must always be updated to maintain their saleability. and so on.] The only state where consciousness is unchanging. Then finally. dreaming and sleep states is unreliable. be gained.
Knowledge in waking. Only at that level can reliable knowledge. “Tell them I died with my boots on!” (21). unbounded. as Bonshek notes. therefore. dreaming and sleeping. known and process of knowing—he knows himself only in the field of duality as an object of observation. . locked within a field of finitude. the general would be slumped in the trough of a field of change with no avenue for escape. Without her and Madame Irma. I want to be General in solitude.Genet’s The Balcony
The girl then tells him he’s been dead in their fantasy since yesterday. Death in the play symbolizes immortality. Madame Irma’s clients remain trapped within the field of duality and change. mind you. original emphasis)
By striving to become commodities. but this also presents a contradiction. . or absolute knowledge. That is. seek fulfillment but have not developed unbounded awareness or self-referral consciousness from which it derives. the girl in this scene also manifests greater insight and awareness of the general’s charade.
. Their visions. his speech is cut short by a bullet that smashes through the window and kills him. George arrives and also reports that the situation outside “is deteriorating every minute—it isn’t desperate yet. information he tries to obtain from Carmen: “Has there or has there not been a simulacrum?” Bewildered. setting up an opposition between two socially constructed identities instead of closing the gap between all identities and the natural self as pure awareness. George’s greatest concern centers on whether or not a client of the Grand Balcony has tried to emulate him as the Chief of Police. both for himself and others. While the men focus on various Forms they try to identify with through the conceptual mind. Madame Irma also worries about her lover George. but Irma refuses to let her go. therefore. but it soon will be—thank God! The Palace is surrounded” (40). Madame Irma and George In Scene Six. for they have no desire to identify with the Forms imposed on them by men. Their conversation is interrupted by Arthur. Carmen reports about one of the girls. of the internal observer perceiving but not being overshadowed through identification with the objects of observation. the girls focus more on Emptiness through the nonconceptual mind. Chantal. the Chief of Police. When Arthur returns and reports on the violence outside. Like the bishop and the judge. however. Unlike the male clients. his main interest. she asks. who played the torturer in the scene with the judge. who left the Grand Balcony to join the revolution. who wants to leave the Grand Balcony to see her young daughter. who has yet to make an appearance. the general tries to overcome his sense of impotence and helplessness through the illusions of myths and daydreams—the basis of all commodities. the girls and through aesthetic experience (rasa) the audience have a greater affinity for the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. which provides them with a taste of cosmic consciousness. Before this event. the longest scene of the play. the witnessing internal observer that alone can provide security and bliss. Madame Irma talks with her accountant Carmen. although the context would of course fall far short of the image of immortality he hoped to portray. He comes to collect his money. point in the wrong direction. however.152
would ironically fulfill his desire to die in battle and become a war hero. but Madame Irma says she will pay only if he finds George at his headquarters.
). my image is growing every day. it can’t easily be stretched beyond the level of the satisfaction of the
. as the Chief of Police. But George disagrees and feels that his stature in the revolution grows more prominent by the day. George doesn’t depend on emulating others for his self-esteem but rather feels compelled to establish himself as a commodity for others to desire. The capacity of consumption to enhance happiness is fairly limited. He announces. George hankers for the status of a commodity that everyone would crave. It’s becoming colossal. interobjective and objective consumer representations that have nothing to do with the true nature of the self and will never provide him with the confidence. Your function isn’t noble enough yet to offer dreamers a consoling image that would enshrine them” (ibid.Genet’s The Balcony
which he furiously retorts. especially in this case the Chief of Police. As Bauman says. his awareness of himself depends on intersubjective. “Yes! Idiot! A simulacrum of the Chief of Police?” (41). All individuals who aspire to become consumer commodities. my dear. And you stand there and tell me you’ve never seen it represented here. to have the appeal that would keep them in demand. that even the identities of those being impersonated by Madame Irma’s clients do not provide them with power and virility on a permanent basis. must constantly upgrade themselves to remain sellable. To maintain his saleability he not only attempts to enhance his status by enticing the desires of other but also by building a tomb that would insure his immortality. Genet suggests. I see it reflected in everything around me. Interestingly. George still feels inadequate enough to insist that others should want to impersonate him as the ultimate symbol of admiration. (42)
The fact that George claims to see his image reflected in everything around him suggests that his identity is contingent on Wilber’s three quadrants outside the upper left. Even as the police chief and lover of Madame Irma. moreover. Madame Irma responds. As a member of the hierarchy. a position already endowed with power. “The time isn’t ripe.
Consumption viewed in Layard’s terminology as a ‘hedonic treadmill’ fails to increase the sum total of satisfaction among its practitioners. security and inner peace he so strongly craves.
to increase and multiply” (ibid. that he depends entirely for his prestige on an intersubjective representation of his image by other men. In this way. to be reflected. George finds himself trapped in a world of mixophobia. What the men fail to realize is that beneath its veneer as a cultural construct aspiring to become a commodity. especially during a revolution. (2007a: 45)
Nevertheless. that nothing will be able to stop him. Real and Fantasy Images In the eleventh and twelfth scenes when the revolution has been defeated. in consuming to become a desirable commodity.). to violate your studios. to penetrate. even though he already embodies a role that these men would crave to imitate through their minidramas. They bow solemnly to the crowd. Madame Irma simulates the Queen on her balcony where she stands with the clients who play the bishop. Again we see with George. Wanting others to simulate his role centers on a desire to create a “we” feeling among Madame Irma’s clients and himself. He has no awareness of himself through an innate knowledge-by-identity of his inner Being. also appears on the balcony but gets shot and then carried
. then. all of whom are being photographed and advised by the envoy on how to behave. For the Chief of Police. unlike the girls. George argues. Because he fights against the revolutionaries and has yet to be simulated by others. as Bauman says. He believes that when he crushes the revolution. now a symbol of the revolution. the clients who might simulate his position of authority would serve the same purpose as mirrors for the other men. this identity is in fact endowed with unbounded potential. judge and general had closer ties with their inner identities of the upper left quadrant. “perhaps one could at least secure for oneself. but rather relies on the superficial attributes of his role as a commodity that he hopes others will admire and attempt to impersonate. “I shall force my image to detach itself from me. they would undoubtedly experience less mixophobia and more mixophilia even in a diverse cultural and social context. Chantal.154
Integral Drama basic ‘needs of existence’ (in distinction from the ‘needs of being’ as defined by Abraham Maslow). If George and the bishop.’ a territory free from that jumble and mess that irredeemably afflicts” society (2007b: 87). a finite representation of identity. the Queen will call on him. judge and general. for one’s kith and kin and other ‘people like oneself. a little hesitant about acting out their fantasies in the real world.
It’s true that at a decisive moment.Genet’s The Balcony
away by the general and the Queen. The Queen says. sad smile. The bishop says he had turned her into one of their saints. Chief of Police:
Gentlemen. though weary of the revolution. yet reveals that Chantal had come to the Grand Balcony to visit her boss.
Thank you. but they feel drained because they’d rather imitate a commodity than attempt to be one.
. (Pause. They long to return to acting out their fantasies in the privacy of the Grand Balcony. and I intend it to remain so. then. Madame Irma. The three clients. gentlemen. at a time of certain conjunctures.) If only you hadn’t had the abominable idea of having Chantal murdered. my Lord Bishop. You seem to be showing signs of wanting to act. who are becoming the spokesman. your role was merely one of appearance. I don’t quite follow you. On the balcony. but the Queen complains that it should have been their image and not Chantal’s. (With a benevolent. No no.” to which the bishop replies. for people always assume different roles in life even spontaneously when they find themselves in unfamiliar contexts. “(Pretending to be frightened) A stray bullet! (77)
Madame Irma as the simulated Queen has her doubts about whether Chantal was killed by a stray bullet or not. (80)
This assessment of their roles reconfirms the fact that all roles acted out even in the everyday world constitute little more that appearances. but the Chief of Police quickly renders them ineffectual by reasserting his authority as the chief commodity. It is well that leadership should emanate from the highest spirituality. thereby revealing a desire for emulation as a commodity similar to that of George. their performance resembles any role they would normally put across. gentlemen. judge and general reluctantly appear in public. feel privileged to stand on the balcony with Madame Irma the Queen as evidenced by their understanding that they could be consulted on political issues.) We notice it is you. thank you. The three clients agree to stand beside the Queen on the balcony to rally support among the loyalists and make them believe the Queen is still alive. the bishop. I had to appeal to you in order to impose upon the rebellious people. judge and general have to exercise their simulated powers in the real world. don’t deny it. I acknowledge the fact that you one and all rose magnificently to the situation but. emblazoning her image on their flag. Although the bishop.
the Chief of Police lives his entire life as a fantasy that he takes for real. If you are what you are. Be logical.” Chief of Police “Not to consult you—to give you my orders. I who organize everything. Judge. whose role is no less transitory and superficial than theirs. It is I who command. The social hierarchy implied here drove Madame Irma’s clients to engage in their fantasies of power and virility to begin with.” General: “You mean you don’t want us to take part in your decisions?” Chief of Police: “In no way. but the Chief of Police debunks this quality as being “as inhuman as crystal. a Judge or a General.” (80)
The three men object to this interpretation because they feel that even though they played their roles for glory. One quality they aspire for is dignity. don’t perceive the superficiality of the roles they play and feel offended by the Chief of Police.
Bishop: “You brought us together because you wanted to consult us. These roles constantly change. and more sublime than you. needs to be invested with greater nobility and self-esteem by having other men embrace it as an erotic dream. he feels that his function as an authority figure.156
minidramas like the fantasies in the Grand Balcony of pretending to be commodities even without the ability to achieve them. these roles still symbolized the qualities they craved to embody. however. and what you wanted people to know you had become. stability and truth derives from the internal observer witnessing our socially constructed identities. The bishop. judge and general. that renders you unfit to govern men. it’s because that was what you wanted to become. is the Queen” (81). whether performed as fantasies or in the everyday world. in aspiring to become a commodity. but while they act out these illusions as if they were real during their minidramas. General or Bishop. As the play suggests.” for ultimately “Above you. a symbol of power and authority that through their imaginations will compensate for the Chief of Police’s own sense of inadequacy. So you have never done anything for its own sake: whatever you have done has always been a link in your becoming a Bishop. Right?” General: “More or less. suggesting their insubstantial nature and thereby reminding the audience that the only function beyond appearance with lasting significance.” Chief of Police: “Good. Because all the men who haunt Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony live their lives primarily in the ever-changing social and cultural domains instead of the never-changing upper left quadrant of pure
.) . In her final speech on the survival of her institution. or lose any of its vigor in the course of city renewal and the refurbishment of city space. . .
Any minute now we’ll have to start all over again . . many and different opportunities and chances of adventure in places that are smaller and less tolerant of idiosyncrasy and more close-fisted in the liberties they offer or indeed tolerate. to which the Chief of Police and Queen reply. you must first recognize that we have some power over you. the only power the men seem to understand. remain illusions. When the Chief of Police tells the bishop. oh. is a selfpropelling. just like mixophobia.] I’m going to prepare my costumes and studios for tomorrow. . she says. (A cock crows. . . All that we take for real in the field of duality constitutes illusion because it’s always changing and getting replaced or destroyed in an impermanent world. . . .” a world where the variety of the men’s costumes and roles
is a promise of opportunities. The Chief of Police wants “to symbolize the nation . . “You have absolutely no power. . the Grand Illusion of all commodities. (96)
Her world is one which Bauman calls “mixophilia. . . . (The three men look thunderstruck)” (85). all these disguises! [. . It seems that mixophilia. put all the lights on . “I’ve won” (95). . George feels jealous of his lover Madame Irma and needs to over-ride her with his tomb. judge and general. get dressed . self-propagating and self-invigorating tendency.” the bishop responds. This attitude he confirms by constructing an immense mausoleum: “I should appear as a giant phallus . “Never!” (82)
And yet. which allows him in the end to say. For us to have power over them.” which he interprets purely in terms of sex. Neither of the two is likely to exhaust itself. . Madame Irma’s main concern has always been with money and the survival of her Grand Balcony.
But you want us to have some power over people.Genet’s The Balcony
awareness—the world of immediate experience based on knowledgeby-identity beyond duality—they have a sense that all their roles and identities. get dressed . whether acted out in fantasies or everyday reality. he assigns them power to bolster his own image through their erotic dreams.
As a result. The Balcony renders a vision of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. Madame Irma controls the inside. Throughout the play. threats from the world outside and inside the Grand Balcony will always remain and require containment. therefore.158
Although the revolution has been defeated.
. which provides the girls and audience with a glimpse of cosmic consciousness through which the internal observer remains free from identification with the objects of desire—even while perceiving them. but the outside will always inspire fear in the men and bring them back to Madame Irma’s Grand Balcony to play out their fantasies of security and power by becoming commodities. the girls and through aesthetic experience (rasa) the audience see through the façade of the consumerist syndrome and recognize that underlying all Forms of commodities resides an Emptiness that provides the only true fulfillment.
involves a process of self-discovery through which the gulf between mortality and immortality. He also demonstrates the continuity of a violent and infamous past into the present. which accounts for the play’s pessimism regarding his country’s future as well as that of humanity in general. Literature and the African World. because it is the entity to which I immediately identify. has an autonomous. What distinguishes Soyinka's early plays is their success in revealing subtler states of mind in which discursive logic no longer precludes a vision of the underlying unity of life—a postulate that is upheld as a fundamental truth by the Yoruba tradition to which he belongs. Soyinka believed that Nigeria’s image of itself differed from reality. European literature. Soyinka for the first time integrates English language drama with traditional theatrical techniques. The potential for selfregeneration in Nigerian society. Beyond that. as portrayed in Soyinka's A Dance of the Forests and The Road.Soyinka’s Integral Drama: Unity and the Mistake of the Intellect
Introduction: Unity and Postmodernism Soyinka wrote A Dance of the Forests for the Nigerian independence celebrations (October 1960) and stated that
The immediate humanity for whom I speak is the humanity that geographically demarcated is called Nigeria. he argues. and European literary
. the play ends on a note of personal regeneration that will lead the Nigerian community and nation as a whole toward a constructive future. In Myth. the self and other is momentarily crossed. Nevertheless. I think one also speaks for humanity in general. objective existence. Soyinka distinguishes between the European and African notions of ideology and literature. In A Dance of the Forests.). (quoted in Katrak 1987: 138)
He also said in this play he “was thinking of national consciousness and national myth-making” (ibid.
In contrast. regarding the so-called “death of the subject. Through a process that dissolves and reintegrates the self. the status of the subject. For Soyinka. This vision as we have seen can also be elucidated by the major principles of Vedanta and Sanskrit poetics. which resulted in what Warren Montag describes "as a once existing past that has given way to the present as one historical totality to another" (1988: 88). European literature at the time Soyinka wrote A Dance of the Forests involved a debate on postmodernism and its dilemmas regarding the nature of meaning and representation. this impulse leads not merely to a Western style literary ideology but to a “literature of social vision” (ibid. premodern age. Fredric Jameson notes that. He contends that. The threatening reality of the gulf that separates a fragmentary society from an ideal state of communal integration and psychic unity is diminished by means of dramatic rituals. which are mystical and visionary by tradition. sacrifices. serve to support the “imaginative impulse to a re-examination of the propositions on which man.). and the structure of binary oppositions.160
theories generally comprise ideologies cut off from human experience. the audience participates in the dramatic conflict and undergoes a cathartic transformation parallel to that of the hero. While Soyinka claims that contemporary African literature is also "consciously guided by concepts of an ideological nature" (1976a: 64). which ultimately leads to a taste of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. these concepts. but that in today's world of corporate capitalism the “older bourgeois individual subject
. it attempts to implement the traditional function of Yoruba myth by actualizing the ritual transition of a metaphysical gulf. and the subject through their absence. Yoruba drama is representational and visionary.” there are two contemporary positions. the protagonist enters what Soyinka calls the “abyss of transition” or “the fourth stage” (26). and ceremonies. Proponents of the first assert that. As Soyinka describes it. African literature not only reflects human experience but also extends this experience through the social vision of the author. Poststructuralism displaced truth. representation. in West African ritual theatre. On the other hand. there was once a species known as the human subject. in the classical. The human world is separated from a divine unity by an abyss or gulf. transcendentality. nature and society are posited or interpreted at any point in history” (66).
undialectical” (73). “the flux of social transformation stays unrelieved in the crisis of ritual” (1982: 72).] never really existed in the first place. the “victory” of “Ogun's timeless ahistoricism belongs in that realm of thought in which imagined beings and relationships have absolute. but in Soyinka's plays it does so on the basis of a coexistence of opposites and not by giving precedence to one alternative over the other. . Hence it is easy victory. Yoruba metaphysics posits a transcendental reality. however. The traditional context of West African metaphysics. The postmodern era presents a similar challenge to West African myth and ritual. thereby taking the performers and audience toward a glimpse of cosmic consciousness. that simultaneity of the witnessing internal observer and mental
. Soyinka's “fourth space. autonomous existence. A Dance of the Forests dramatizes the mechanics of integration between essence and materiality. which also describes the structure of binary oppositions as being subsumed by a coexistence of opposites. original emphasis). postmodernism questions the very principle of binary oppositions at the basis of transcendentality. On the one hand. which the protagonists in A Dance of the Forests attempt to bridge. raising the historic to cosmic proportions.” This space is separated from terrestrial life by an abyss or gulf. His representation of the experience of unity in West African myth is complemented by analogous representations in another non-Western tradition.. and the living—constitutes a coexistence of all spaces. He quotes Biodun Jeyifo as having said that Soyinka's "universal idiom" of ritual. unity and diversity. . Advocates of the second or radical poststructuralist position argue that "the bourgeois individual subject [.Soyinka’s Integral Drama
no longer exists” (1983: 115). As Femi Osofisan observes. also questions the structure of binary oppositions. the unborn.” which he distinguishes from the three commonly acknowledged African worlds—that of the ancestors. that of Vedanta and Sanskrit poetics. as in the poststructuralist “privileging” of the signifier over the transcendental signified. there have never been individual subjects of that type” (ibid. Soyinka explores the ritual form not as an ahistorical ideal but as an examination of history. which Soyinka defines as “the fourth space. a “continuum of transition where occurs the inter-transmutation of essence-ideal and materiality” (1976a: 26). illusory. On the other hand.
namely. one's experience of ritual determines one’s interpretation of myth.” as Joel Adedeji writes. Soyinka's ritual drama is based largely on his definition of Yoruba mythology in his wellknown Myth. to set a riddle. “the purpose of theatre is to impart experience. . but it is no less valid for its greater subjectivity associated with zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. Even an individual’s reading of a dramatic text can also have a transcendental effect. or what Soyinka calls the "metaphysical self” (1976a: 40). the experience of expanded consciousness. not to tell a story” (1987: 105). In the relationship of ritual to myth. This coexistence of opposites provides a logical answer to postmodernist dilemmas. Ann Davis writes that all three are concerned with audience affect and the metaphysical link between ritual and drama:
[Soyinka's] theory is [. “man's economic separation from nature” (caused by colonialism) has led to the disintegration of the animist metaphysics that underlies Soyinka's rituals (1982: 75). colonialism has complicated and corrupted the relationship between ritual and myth. It may not have the social impact and power of a collective experience.” In comparing Soyinka's dramatic theory with those of Nietzsche and G. Nevertheless. which in Sanskrit poetics as we have seen is called rasa or “aesthetic rapture. . theatrical performance involves collective experiences that lead the performers and audience to a higher state of spiritual insight. in Soyinka's ritual theatre. Literature and the African World. Emptiness and Form. “For Soyinka. Wilson Knight. Soyinka's Ritual Theatre The ritual experience of theatre is a collective interaction between performers and audience. In the context of modern Africa.162
content.] unique in that it focuses on the dynamics of social and psychological processes within the dramatic experience. meet in the very response of the audience. Soyinka conveys this through the Yoruba transitional abyss and its effects upon the audience. Like the religious rituals from which it originates. idealism and history. where he delineates the structural paradigm of all metaphysics. experience and understanding. As Osofisan notes. and among members of the audience itself. explainable through the Sanksrit theory of the interdependence of consciousness and language. not to provide 'meaning' or 'moral'. whereas the theories of Nietzsche and Knight are concerned with the dramatic experience only in terms of individual psychological
As Katrak points out. social consciousness. by real proportions. As Soyinka himself writes. The lack of a one-to-one correspondence between Soyinka's representation of ritual and the traditional event results both from Soyinka's awareness of the crisis of ritual in modern Africa and from his metaphorical.] or one level of awareness to another” (150). Martin Esslin says that one can “look at ritual as a dramatic.). Soyinka sees drama as incorporating ritual in order to develop social consciousness through “the passage from one area of existence to another [.] Soyinka is equally concerned with defining the experience of drama in relationship to revolutionary. “Metaphysical quest is not of itself a static theme. Because Soyinka equates ritual and dramatic forms. and psychological but also structural. experience the joy of community. In “Drama and the Revolutionary Ideal. involving the actual experience of “mythic awareness”—an example of cosmic consciousness or the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. ritual forms
. .Soyinka’s Integral Drama processes. treatment of ritual as a dialectical process of social transformation. which is structurally equivalent in individual and collective experience. .
This is Soyinka’s only play in which Ogun is anthropomorphized as a dramatic character and the only drama in which the god takes full responsibility for the human crime of his devotee. social. thereby confirming the way Edmund Leach uses the term ritual interchangeably with the term “custom” (Davis 1980: 149).” he states that “ritual is the language of the masses” (87). . into the individual or social patterns of life” (1966: 55). In “The Fourth Stage. a theatrical event—and one can look at drama as ritual” (1976: 27). . not when it is integrated. For Soyinka. In defining modern-day ritual theatre. ritual experience provides a means for the individual to become integrated into the community and to attain “a renewed mythic awareness” (ibid. (1986: 146)
The “audience affect” of Soyinka's ritual drama is not only historical. they can best be understood in terms of their transcendental effect. rather than historical. and recreate the self through dance and poetry (Davis 1980: 140-47).” he describes the ritual experience as being parallel to that of the deity Ogun in the “fourth world”—“the area of transition” in which the participants surrender their individuation. [. or liberating. Like dramatic forms. (1980: 148)
As Davis goes on to show.
Obatala. More than the other deities. portraying. “the sense of the repetitive futility. Interpreting the ritual archetypes of West African drama in Myth. or “subjective experience objectified” (Krishnamoorthy 1968: 53).164
aim to expand individual and collective consciousness and to provide the community with an experience of its own identity. an explorer into territories of 'essence-ideal' around whose edges man fearfully skirts” (1976a: 1). linked to the upper left quadrant. Despite the modern context of Soyinka's ritual theatre. Ogun. Africa has. the Yoruba god of war. Without the spiritual heritage necessary to maintain its purity and growth. searching for new patterns of ritual experience. Ogun. both the characters and the audience of A Dance of the Forests move back and forth across this ontological gap toward an experience of psychic wholeness. This integration is less an expressed formal property of the plays than their suggested content. the numinous fourth stage of existence through which the ideal and material. for Soyinka. iron. Africa. in its self-alienation. Ngugi 1969). fallen easy prey to the worst vices of its former colonizers. among other themes. less objective than subjective (rasa). and craftsmanship. The successful integration of unity and diversity in Soyinka's plays is a function of ritual experience. but that its mythology provides a means of self-purification. folly and waste of human history. A Dance of the Forests is a ritual drama in that it achieves both objectives. He does not suggest that Africa has a glorious past worthy of repetition. Like many African writers (e. an integration of the witnessing self and what it perceives. But even as objective mediums. abstract and concrete. is opposed not only to the other of Europe but also to the other of its own ancestral past. Soyinka's dramatic forms skillfully enhance reception and suggest the movement of the reader/audience toward an experience of the unity of the inter-nal observer and the mind’s qualia or content. are integrated for
. the “conflict between the values of the old society and the new” (Laurence 1968: 74). and Sango: "their symbolic roles are identified by man as the role of an intermediary quester.. Soyinka satirizes postmodern African society for its lack of unity and coherence. Soyinka focuses on three hero-gods of the rites of passage. a means of crossing the gulf between the historical and the mythical self.g. Soyinka skillfully integrates old mythologies into a modem context. Literature and the African World.” and the need for redemption (Jones 1973: 11). corresponds to the abyss of transition.
this experience is not a subjective fantasy but a mimetic rite that incorporates poetry and dance. the gods feel the need to unite with humans.: 33). For Soyinka he represents the “Promethean instinct in man. it conveys the “primal reality” of the coexistence of opposites. 28). In the resulting diversity of social functions.” “the explorer through primordial chaos” (ibid. Ogun is the only deity who “sought the way” that would lead the Yoruba people to the essence of lfa wisdom (1976a: 27). one that fosters a wide range of spiritual insights and critical interpretations (see Jones 1980: 11). once solitary and whole. In spite of postmodemism.: 35). communicating a new strength for action” (ibid. As Soyinka sees it. a coexistence of waking and pure awareness. He becomes the key figure in the constant attempt by gods and humans to bridge the gulf between them through the rites of passage. was smashed into a thousand fragments by his rebellious slave. the experience of the transitional abyss engages African psychic archetypes within both an historical and mythical African context. Jung describes the primal mentality in terms of archetypes cut off from the world of concrete experience. The original god. This experience integrates the concrete and abstract elements that characterize the cosmic context of the coexistence of opposites. the cumulative history and empirical observations of the community” (ibid. rather “his consciousness is stretched to embrace another and primal reality” (ibid.. In a decontextualized. But as Soyinka points out. Anguished by a sense of incompleteness. when the protagonist of drama enters the gulf and transcends conflict to experience the fourth stage.). or dhvani in Sanskrit poetics.: 30). As evidenced by Soyinka's plays. the mythic inner world is “both the psychic substructure and temporal subsidence. Soyinka's characters and audience can be seen as moving toward a glimpse of
. Form and Emptiness. non-ritualized European approach to mythical states. Ogun came to embody the destructive-creative impulse. an event that became the analogue to mankind's recurring experience of birth followed by the dissolution of consciousness at the time of death (ibid.Soyinka’s Integral Drama
the performers and audience of ritual drama. This experience involves “the withdrawal of the individual into an inner world from which he returns. Atunda. the Yoruba traditional religious system. As “Lord of the road” of lfa. Through the power of suggestion. The “communicant” does not withdraw from conscious reality.
sound. the three-in-one structure of the knower (1). timeless or visionary moments. whereas the field of unity belongs to a more subtle and powerful level of language corresponding to transcendental consciousness. But these unities belong to more subtle dimensions of natural law and remain vague abstractions until approached through direct experience in zone #1 of
. privileged moments.166
turiya or unbounded awareness combined with ordinary mental activity. and knowledge (language) is the essence of both subject and object. peak experiences. Hence. Similarly. The universal experience of unboundedness or transcendental consciousness has been called by various names: epiphanies. turiya. Discursive logic can be used to build arguments either for or against the unity of the self or language. Sanskrit poetics recognizes that the field of difference belongs to a level of language corresponding to ordinary waking consciousness and the phenomenal universe. transcendent ritual experiences. and so forth. attempting to expand the reader's experience through what Ulmer calls a “picto-ideo-phonographic Writing” (1987: 3-125). in the mimetic rite of passage. Derrida's philosophy of otherness can be said to harmonize with the “equiprimordiality” (Gasche 1986: 91) of pure consciousness. When understood through the medium of transcendental consciousness. Several characters in A Dance of the Forests approach the state of turiya or self-referral consciousness by confronting their past. Yoruba metaphysics as represented by Soyinka recognizes the integral nature of name and form. the patron god of carvers. but logic by itself can provide no effective means for verifying its conclusions on the more subtle level of direct experience in zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. this experience belies the complexity of philosophical systems. the abyss of transition. Unlike post-Saussurean linguistics. and constitutes the basis for their unification. poetry and dance. Murano in The Road also tastes this state while in possession by Ogun. in works such as The Postcard and Glas. As a taste of the simplest form of awareness. Derrida employs a trans-logical antic verbalism. known (Me). In this way. logic alone cannot lead to the concrete experience of pure consciousness itself. When Soyinka's characters cross the abyss they move from the senses toward the unbounded Self that underlies all metaphysical experience. As we have seen in the other plays discussed above and in Wilber’s four quadrant theory. self and other. therefore. and meaning in the pashyanti level of language.
Soyinka's characters accomplish this coexistence of opposites by entering the transitional fourth space. The physicist John Hagelin has argued that
the notion of diversity disconnected from unity is a fundamental misconception. As a transcendental signified. now the Court Orator and then Court Historian. (1989: 23)
As if aware of this mistake. integrating terrestrial life with unbounded awareness. In the aesthetic response to A Dance of the Forests. between himself and the ancestors. at both times
. a whore immortally nicknamed Madame Tortoise. this level constitutes the unity-amidst-diversity of sound and meaning. and Agboreko.” received permission from the Forest Head Obaniji to select instead “two (obscure) spirits of the restless dead. mortals. now a carver and then a poet. and rituals (1976a: 144).” But the god Aroni. they transport the audience from the expressed levels of language to the inner silence of pashyanti.” Integral Awareness in A Dance of the Forests Through a complex interplay between gods. “the lame one. which Aroni hopes can be expiated through revelation. a captain and his wife from the army of the ancient Emperor Mata Kharibu. This unity (between self and other) that Soyinka's characters and audience approach also includes the difference of language. Demoke. ceremonies. the audience repeats this experience of “cosmogony in reverse. The choice is significant because “in previous life they were linked in violence and blood with four of the living generation” (1970: 1). thus providing a taste of the unity of name and form at the ground of language. the Yoruba gods feel the need to come to man.” the Dead Man and the Dead Woman. as by Soyinka's characters and audience. and the dead. Selected on the basis of this past debauchery. This misconception is known [in the Vedic tradition] as pragya aparadha. or 'mistake of the intellect.Soyinka’s Integral Drama
the upper left quadrant. Adenebi. the living in A Dance of the Forests invite two glorious forefathers to participate in the “Gathering of the Tribes. While these characters communicate through the suggestive power of ritual drama. who in turn feels the need to diminish the gulf between “himself and the deities. between the unborn and his reality” by means of sacrifices. these four are Rola.
but the play does suggest that. whether political. . or academic. warns that the living are greatly influence by the dead (or the past): “The world is big. concerns the object of Soyinka's commitment:
it is the religious tendency in his work. (1981: 190)
Soyinka's ideological commitments may not be explicit in A Dance of the Forests." who sets the spiritual standard. “but the dead are bigger. Thus. which they use for destructive and selfish ends. to the worship of death and nihilistic gesture. the four mortals refuse to “hear their case. The gap between them cannot be crossed by merely treating the symptoms. Demoke. difficulty.” which is tantamount to refusing to acknowledge and thereby expiate their ignominious backgrounds. love and eloquence respectively. they initially refuse to cross the gulf between self and other. economic. the quest for [. But the Dead Woman. have not been pointed out often enough. critics still find the play unsettling because in the process of giving individuals a glimpse of possible redemption it does not explain what this state might consist of. She implies that destiny cannot be controlled by free will unless the entire range of human experience is taken into account—the experience of the relative as well as of the absolute. . Although invited to participate in the welcome dance for the Dead Man and the Dead Woman. its citizens must be individually transformed on the level of consciousness. before society can undergo a political transformation. The question. as Lewis Nkosi points out. and ostensible danger of Soy-
. Rola and Adenebi as the three living characters embody art.” she says. which as the reservoir of infinite dynamism is the source of all historical change. which is a disturbing and dangerous element in Soyinka's work. who is pregnant. We've been dying since the beginning” (4). unmanifest field of pure consciousness. given Soyinka's extra-political viewpoints. The Dead can be said to represent the coexistence of opposites such as mortality and immortality.] some metaphysical scheme of things. Soyinka depicts “an opposition between a messianic individual. They symbolize the non-changing. of difference as well as unity. its link to elitism.168
the Elder of Sealed Lips. and "an indifferent humanity” (Nkosi 1981: 190-91) content to live by the mistake of the intellect. Although Soyinka explores the "role of the spiritually elect in a human community" (Ogunba 1971: 16). The ambiguity.
In Demoke's passionate and poetic account of his crime. After a bantering session with the Poet. the questioning of the dead couple. the chained warrior (the Dead Man) is brought before Mata Kharibu on charges of treason. and the call becomes urgent: “the gap always widens” (5). and the welcoming dance for the dead couple. The ceremony for the Self-discovery of the four mortals. sat on the shoulders of the tree. The Court Physician tries to reason with
. For Mata Kharibu. back into alliance with the government of nature through an integration of ritual and history. which propels him toward redemption: “I plucked him down!! . Instead of going himself. Rola (Madame Tortoise—the queen).Soyinka’s Integral Drama
inka's drama derive from its exploration of the depths of consciousness beyond the limits of logic and reason. as evidenced by the slow progress made by Soyinka's characters.. the captain had fought against a fellow chief and robbed his queen. Jeyifo demythologizes rituals as being inappropriate or atrophied in the context of modern Africa (Osofisan 1982: 73). who falls and breaks his arm. Demoke becomes aware of his capacity for destruction. Eventually./My spirit set free and singing” (28). The mortals in A Dance of the Forests must confront the whole range of life before transition into the self is possible. then. By killing his apprentice Oremole. Suddenly the scene retrogresses about eight centuries to the court of the emperor Mata Kharibu. and Adenebi (Court Historian) all enact the paradigm of his or her recurrent crime. the poet sends his pupil. but this solution involves a gradual process. each of the four mortals reveals a secret past. As discussed earlier. At this point. When nurtured back to its self-referral state. but now refuses to risk his men for another frivolous battle in an attempt to obtain her forgotten dowry.. whom he pulls off the top to the araba tree they were carving together for the occasion. this atrophy is a reflection of consciousness restricted to a madhyama (inward speech or thought) perspective on the part of society and its critics. Madame Tortoise. I /Demoke. the negative aspect of creation couples with a feeling more appropriate to the positive aspect. the piqued Madame Tortoise dispatches him to fetch her canary from the dangerously steep roof of the palace. consciousness can solve the problems caused by the world of difference. consists of three parts: the reliving of the ancient prototype of their present crime. In terms of Sanskrit poetics. Demoke (Court Poet).
This process of self-referral swings the awareness from the concrete to the abstract. a synthesis that allows for the dialogue between change and non-change. “where everything is historical the idea of history itself has seemed to empty of content” (1972: xi). After the welcoming of the dead couple. and Adenebi. who confronts authority on the battlefield of his own conscience: “Physician: Was ever a man so bent on his own destruction? Warrior: Mata Kharibu is leader. Form and Emptiness. and causality that find expression in the phenomenal world. the Dance of Welcome is performed by the spirits of the Forest. As defined in Sanskrit poetics. dreaming. this transcendental state is omnipresent and differs physiologically from the waking. The mortals and the dead pair symbolize. the internal observer. time. Rola. who anticipate the future while momentarily possessed. and sleep states. Soyinka's drama portrays this horizon as the cosmic context of mythic or expanded consciousness. the primal reality of Soyinka's transitional realm contains the essence of all space. the unity of mortality and immortality.
. from mental content to the witnessing internal observer. Let him turn the unnatural pattern of men always eating up one another” (56). It can thus be located in the gaps between the other states. Through an historical process of self-referral. at the basis of historical change. From the perspective of Sanskrit poetics. from the finite historical present to the field of all possibilities. Each of them wears a mask: “The mask-motif is as their state of mind—resigned passivity” (73). represented by Demoke. As Jameson says in The Prison House of Language. He later adds that "history is the science of the permanent" (97). the dead pair take the mortals beyond ideological closure and toward an integration of transcendental consciousness and history. They represent a synthesis between history (or waking consciousness) and structure (or transcendental consciousness). not merely of soldiers but of men. time and eternity. the mortals reveal the functioning of non-changing pure consciousness. By reliving the previous incidents of their present crimes. While Jameson in The Political Unconscious defines the “untranscendable horizon” as the totalizing historical context or “Necessity” underlying conceptual systems (1981: 10). which does not underlie historical change as much as it permeates it. through their multiple lives. This trance-like state represents the settled state of mind and body associated with the transitional abyss.170
who demands vengeance against Demoke for killing his apprentice Oremole.” Demoke's attempt to free the Half-Child has been interpreted in many ways (Wilkinson 1980: 69-73). He cannot intervene directly in someone else's fate. one not susceptible to infinite deferral by the play of différance. Yet even though Demoke cannot free the Half-Child. as in Demoke's ritual
. the patron god of carvers. Rather. sets fire to Demoke's tree. consists of the unity of sound and meaning that characterizes pashyanti as available only in expanded awareness. the disguised god Eshuoro who seeks revenge against Demoke for having killed Oremole. but rather the total embodiment of knowledge through physiological renewal. but he prefers to create a setting conducive to the mortal's self-discovery. which occurs immediately after an experience of the fourth stage or expanded consciousness. a process that strengthens their facility for a glimpse of cosmic consciousness. any attempt to free oneself through self-purification increases the coherence of the social collective. lies in the fact that it represents his first tangible step toward his own redemption. but the deeper significance of his intervention. During the welcoming dance the Dead Woman's Half-Child walks away from his mother's side. the integration of apparent opposites into a primal wholeness. which are limited to the field of phenomenalization. This coexistence of opposites cannot be understood in terms of vaikhari or madhyama. The Forest Head could intervene if he desired. At this point Demoke finally comes to his senses and tries to rescue the Half-Child from the fate of being continually “born dead. Soyinka's characters are continually passing through these gaps as they move back and forth between waking and dreaming. from which he falls into the arms of Ogun. De-moke's integration of self and community stems from an integration on the level of consciousness achieved through his “rapport with the realm of infinity” (Soyinka 1976a: 2). But how do Soyinka's characters achieve this experience? At the end of the play the god Eshuoro. The dead pair listens in suspense to whether or not the future will be more auspicious than the past or present. Abstract conceptual knowledge does not redeem. Demoke's rebirth is symbolized not so much with words as with ritual dance and music. mortality and immortality. He is followed by a Figure in Red.Soyinka’s Integral Drama
which are the fluctuations of ordinary consciousness.
known. As Soyinka's characters move toward the unity of self-referral consciousness. and the process of knowing are perceived as one in terms of consciousness. Obaniji is not only the Forest Head. In his being. The gap between Demoke's present and past lives allows the audience to turn inward. This gap underlies all other historical differences. but also from within each mortal. and knowledge. One such device is the play's use of formal and thematic gaps such as those between the self and other. and the object of knowledge (the past self) is dispelled through the process of knowing provided by the deities. When the knower. but this unity can only be stabilized in the awareness by means of a self-referral process that unites the knower. The impulse toward unity originates not only from the Forest Dwellers per se or from the outside. physiologically based) difference between the finite waking state of consciousness and unbounded pure consciousness. the most fundamental gap being the historical and material (that is. although aesthetic or formal.172
experience. and ceremonies that Soyinka dramatizes. In a psychological sense. from his or her inner god as personified by the Forest. Another aesthetic device related to the gap is Soyinka's figura-
. to refer back to the self and to settle momentarily into the realm of infinity. gods and mortals strive for the unity that is always latent. mortality and immortality. from madhyama toward pashyanti. The apparent opposition here between the knower (the present self). These devices cause the awareness of the characters and audience to swing from the concrete to the abstract. such as that between the Soyinka's characters and their deities. this unity can be said to characterize the self-referral experience of the transitional fourth space. are nevertheless historically based. the audience also moves towards this experience by way of devices which. as well as that between the various levels of language. the position of the other in this play is occupied by the past lives of the four characters who are compelled by the Forest Head to undergo the process of self-discovery. past and present. Throughout the play. or zone #1 of the upper left quadrant. he is also a mortal. he synthesizes mortality and immortality. the known. One could even claim that all knowledge has its source in the structure of the gap. from the sensory and intellectual boundaries of ordinary consciousness toward a coexistence with the unboundedness of transcendental consciousness. rituals.
an integral part of ritual drama:
The drama would be non-existent except within and against this symbolic representation of earth and cosmos. as Soyinka says. which implies the transcending of temporal/spatial boundaries. is corrected through the memory of samhita or the three-in-one dynamics of consciousness. This movement allows the awareness of both audience and characters to expand from the temporality and difference of madhyama toward the "difference-cum-identity" of pashyanti (Chakrabarti 1971: 81).Soyinka’s Integral Drama
tive language. Richard Harland makes the analogy between the trace and Eastern meditation (1987: 150-51). The spatial/temporal apparatus of
. which is also the ground for the unity of sound and meaning in pashyantl that the characters and audience in A Dance of the Forests approach through the process of self-discovery . to the abstract concept of that image. except within this communal compact whose choric essence supplies the collective energy for the challenger of chthonic realms. in its projection toward ever more complex diversity.). but reference as an act of pointing. His use of Yoruba symbolism is significant in that it swings the awareness of the audience from the immediate concrete image. What matters in Soyinka's use of metaphor is not the referent itself. Even Derrida's theory of the trace suggests how the awareness swings from the concrete to the abstract. While apparently deferring meaning “ad infinitum. (1976a: 39)
Soyinka says that the "ritualistic sense of space" that encompasses the audience is a medium (ibid. By giving spiritual power to the protagonist through its choric support. the audience is. The mistake of the intellect. such as that of Rola reliving her past crimes as Madame Tortoise. which he employs as a key to the self. In Superstructuralism. Both the trace and meditation spontaneously expand the awareness by means of the empty signifier in its move toward a general meaningfulness—defined as the negation or absence of temporal boundaries—thereby swinging the awareness from the concrete to the abstract. Reference in this sense has the effect of shifting the awareness from concrete rhetorical boundaries to an abstract unboundedness through which consciousness is stretched. from the finite to the infinite.” the notion of the trace in fact expands awareness toward transcendental consciousness.
In a process of mutual reciprocity. Nkosi criticizes such nonattachment in what
. For both the protagonist and the audience. and the “cosmic envelope” contracts to a dimension manageable by the community (ibid.: 43). the objective medium of Soyinka's ritual drama evokes from the audience a self-referral response. For the individual reader of the play. Soyinka's themes of individual quest and self-discovery and their corresponding devices serve as vehicles to induce the self-referral experience of freedom from any one emotional response. rational realm of vaikhari and madhyama toward the abstract. whose metaphysical dimension is in turn concretized in the life and consciousness of the audience. holistic realm of pashyanti and para. Through its power of suggestion. the flavor of rasa itself.174
this dramatic medium. and brought into existence by. and thus a taste of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form in the upper left quadrant.
parallel[s] [. the experience of expansion only lacks the resonance of group coherence glimpsed by the spectators.: 41).: 42). the communal presence of the audience (ibid. entering this microcosm involves a “loss of individuation. emptiness or infinity. a self-submergence in universal essence” (ibid. name and form. the awareness of both the reader and audience moves from the sensory. Soyinka's method of stretching the consciousness of the characters and audience through a ritual process of mutual reciprocity or dialogue can be elucidated by the Indian theories of rasa and dhvani. (ibid. . the awareness of the audience moves from the concrete condition of its terrestrial existence to the spiritual essence suggested by the dramatic medium.” and the medium or stage of this cosmic struggle is created for. . The physical and symbolic enactment of Soyinka's ritual theatre re-presents “the archetypal struggle of the mortal being against exterior forces.] the experiences or intuitions of man in that far more disturbing environment which he defines variously as void. or dhvani in Sanskrit poetics. Soyinka's plays elicit the experience of rasa or aesthetic bliss by means of images and other devices intended to produce the loss of individuation and the resulting flavor of unboundedness or bliss—or.: 39-40)
The enactment of Soyinka's drama establishes a spatial medium in which the metaphysical self is materialized through a unity of poetry and dance. one might say. In terms of language. which affects all the senses.
an integration of unity and diversity that combines pure consciousness and the forms of thought. constitutes the experience of pure awareness or the self (the knower).
. Soyinka resolves the paradox of destructiveness and creativity in Ogun. known. In A Dance of the Forests. Soyinka himself claims that the play is most popular among stewards and cooks (Akarogun 1966: 19). Because the freedom of knowing the whole gamut of possible responses (the known). Hence. Soyinka represents Yoruba mythology not as an isolated ahistorical ideal. and knowledge—a process analogous to the experience of the fourth stage of Soyinka's ritual drama. but as a cultural system enmeshed in the conflicted environments of modern Africa that gives the audience a taste of the coexistence of Emptiness and Form. Though accused of being elitist. Soyinka's ritual drama portrays how literature is always implicated in the process of change. A Dance of the Forests produces an effect that goes beyond the intellect and moves toward the simplest form of awareness. As elucidated by his view of Yoruba mythology and the notion of language and consciousness in Vedic poetics. the experience of the fourth stage is one of silence and dynamism.Soyinka’s Integral Drama
he regards as Soyinka's lack of ideological commitment—which in terms of Sanskrit poetics is really a commitment to the silent source of ideology. and the structural paradox of “the stasis of tragedy and the dynamism of the rebellious spirit” (Gurr 1980: 143). rasa produces the experience of the three-fold unity of the knower. Through the ritual experience of transcending binary oppositions.
Toronto Buffalo London: University of Toronto Press. New York: Grove Press. General Ed. Bennett. Philip. Giorgio.4: 324-71. Perspectives of Human Growth. Barnard. Society Under Siege. G. MA: Polity Press. MA: Polity Press. Richards. Alexander. Cambridge: Polity. Almond. UK: Polity. Antoni. 1998. Exploring Unseen Worlds: William James and the Philosophy of Mysticism. Charles N. New York: Columbia University Press. Boyer.” The Problem of Pure Consciousness. New York: New York University Press. Robert K. Bauman. Cambridge. 1987. Nigeria: Spectrum. 2007b. ---. C. 1999. 2007a. Tony. Malden. UK. Langer. Alexander and Ellen J. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2002. 1990. and R. W. Unfolding the Full Potential of the Cosmic Psyche in Individual Life through Maharishi’s Vedic Psychology. 1979.” Spear Magazine. India: Karnatak University Press. 1995. 1994. Akarogan. “Mysticism and Its Contexts. Trans. Postmodernity and its Discontents. Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty. “Growth of Higher Stages of Consciousness: Maharishi’s Vedic Psychology of Human Development.” Before Our Very Eyes: Tribute to Wole Soyinka. Consuming Life. “Seven States of Consciousness. London: Routledge. “Aesthetics of Soyinka’s Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dhvanyaloka. Dharwar. Robert. Liquid Modernity. “Interview with Wole Soyinka. Eds. Artaud. Agamben. 2005. Dissertation. 2. Varun. And trans. Anandavardhana. Alexander. K. Ed. UK. Dapo Adelugba. Olu. 1974. Zygmunt. William. Cambridge. Joel. Charles N. 1997. 1989. Formalism and Marxism. ---. Harold Pinter and the Twilight of Modernism. Stanford: Stanford University Press.” Higher Stages of Human Development. 1990.” Modern Science and Vedic Science. Ibadan. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ---. Malden. Begley. Krishnamoorthy. N. 1966.
. Forman. Georgia Albert. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Mary C. Globalization: The Human Consequences. Ed. The University of Chicago. Trans. Audi. (Lagos) May: 18-20. ---. 1958 The Theatre and Its Double. C. Cambridge. Ed.Bibliography
Adedeji. The Man Without Content. ---. et al. 2000.
Eliot. Alan Bass. Ann B. “The Social Context. Glas. Tarapada. 1991.” Conference Presentation. UK: Imprint Academic. London: Temple Smith. Harold. Martin. Ed. Bridge to Unity: Consciousness-Based Science. 1982. Deutsch. Pinter the Playwright. Diderot. Albany: State University of New York Press. Ed. 1974. Paul. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.4 : 350-56. R. K. 1990. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Derrida. 1980. An Approach to Modern Drama. ---. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2006b. “Luigi Pirandello. Indian Aesthetics and the Power of Language. 2006a. 1973. 1976. Daniel. “Soul’s Sanctuary: Mystical Experience as a Way of Knowing. New York: Little. London and New York: Penguin. James Gibbs. Bonshek. Davies. W. 1962. Chris Clarke. Unpublished manuscript.” Ways of Knowing: Science and Mysticism Today. Body and Space. Deikman. Consciousness Explained. Katherine E. 1983. “’I’ = Awareness. Trans. Chris.” The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard. 2001. The Theatre of the Absurd. Harold G. Davis. ---. Advaita Vedanta: A Philosophical Reconstruction. Sphota Theory of Language.” Critical Perspectives on Wole Soyinka. The Big Fish: Consciousness as Structure.178
. Chris Clark. “Dramatic Theory of Wole Soyinka. Boyce-Tillman. 3. The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. London: Penguin. Dennett.” The Theatre of Revolt. 1980. Brown. 1991. “Science in Hapgood and Arcadia.: The Three Continents Press. Ed. Coward. Ed. Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetics. July 8-10. New York: Chelsea. Exeter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1996. Robert. Missouri: South Asia Books. Kelly. UK: Imprint Academic. New York: Hill and Wang. Boyer. Denis. New York. 2005. ---. Harold Bloom. June. Paul. London and Toronto: Touchstone. God and the New Physics. Esslin. Houston. The Paradox of Acting. Washington. Calcutta: Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar. “Subjugated Ways of Knowing. Exeter.” Harold Pinter. Derrida and Indian Philosophy. ---. Arthur. 1987. An Anatomy of Drama. Religion and Spirituality.C. “The Whole Creates the Parts: Debunking Modern Science of Reductive Materialism. ---. Anna. 1987. 2007. Simon and Shuster. 1971. London: Methuen. 1-6. S. Edwards. Brustein. Chakrabarti.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. Exeter. 1955. D.” Ways of Knowing: Science and Mysticism Today.” Ways of Knowing: Science and Mysticism Today. Ed. Jacques. De. Clarke. 2005. Columbia. Inc. 1963. Elam. 2005. Paris: Galilee. Jennifer. UK: Academic Imprint. “Introduction.
Colin Gordon. “Restructuring Physics From its Foundation in the Light of Maharishi’s Vedic Science. 1999. 2003. Fireman. 1989. On Drama: Boundaries of Genre. Cyberculture. “Introduction: Mystical Consciousness. Consciousness. Madison and Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 1980. Genet.” Modern Critical Views: Luigi Pirandello.C. 1996. Ed. Exeter: UK & Charlottesville. Foucault. John. The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. Mysticism. Gaensbauer. Hewes. 1989. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977. C.” Critical Perspectives on Wole Soyinka. Cyborgs and Science Fiction: Consciousness and the Posthuman. Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press.” Masters of Modern Drama. “Probing Pinter’s Plays. Ted E.. Goldman. “Introduction. C. Kenneth J. New York: Oxford University Press. Harold Bloom. 2005. Owen J. the InnateCapacity. Psychology. Harland. 1991. Ed. Robert K. Rodolphe. Washington. and Philosophy. Gassner. Sharp Cut: Harold Pinter’s Screenplays and the Artistic Process. 1987. William II. John. Grassroots Spirituality: What it is. Andrew. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. New York: Dover. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ---.” The Innate Capacity: Mysticism. Haney. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Stoppard’s Theatre: Finding Order amid Chaos. Hagelin. Fleming.” Modern Science and Vedic Science. and the Perennial Psychology. New York: BasicBooks. Michel. London: Faber and Faber. Chaos: Making a New Science. Francis. Gurr. Where it is going. Freud. 1999. Why it is here. 3rd ed. “Third-World Drama: Soyinka and Tragedy. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. Henry. Clifford. VA: Academic Imprint. Trans. “Action as Theatrical: Six Characters in Search of an Author. and the Brain. 1980. New York: Twayne Publishers. Gary D. Grimes. eds. Gergen. John. Austin: University of Texas Press. Mind. New York and London: Norton. Forman. 1986. “Latin Postscripts—Benavente and Pirandello. Geertz. Gasche. Gale. James Strachey et al. Deborah B.. 2000. and Flanagan. 2001.. Sigmund. Steven H. Harold Pinter’s Politics: A Silence Beyond Echo. Charles. 1954.” Narrative and Consciousness: Literature. 1967. Jean. 1988. McVa Jr. 2003. London: Metheun. New York: SUNY Press. New York: Pantheon Books. Ed. Gleick. 1998.1989. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Totem and Taboo.” Saturday Review. Borders of Self. D. Superstructuralism: The Philosophy of Structuralism and Post-Structuralism. New York: Penguin. 2004. New York & Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers. 2006. Psychology. 1968. 3:3: 74. 2003. The Religious Situation. ---. James.Bibliography
Fergusson. Crisis and Knowledge: The Upanishadic Experience and Storytelling. The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection. Richard. Eugène Ionesco Revisited. The Balcony. Yohanan. 8 April.
. Boston: Beacon Press.: Three Continents Press. Forman. Robert K. Michael. Grinshpon.
Mark. Ed.” Consciousness. Fredric. Present Past Past Present: A Personal Memoir. 4. 1978. London: Longman Group. 1968. Consciousness and the Novel: Connected Essay. Port Townsend. Umberto. 4: 4-49. London: Verso. Jameson. 1971. The Writing of Wole Soyinka. 2000.ed. Musa. 1980. Lodge. Montage. Bill.” Postmodernism and its Discontents: Theories. New York: Grove Press. Tasks and Masks: Themes and Styles of African Literature. and Mysticism. Dream.ac. Daniel. Krishnamoorthy. 1995. James. ed. ---.” Canadian Journal of Italian Studies. “Buddhism and Western Psychology. MA. London: Faber and Faber. Vol. 2 (July). Literature and the Arts. 2005. “Staging Consciousness: Updating Demastes. “Satire in Nigeria. 2007. --. “Language. Washington: Bay Press. New York: Grove Press. The Chairs. 1981. A Casebook on Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. New York: Heinemann. London: Harvard University Press. Ketu H. S. New York: Africana Publishing. 1989. Meaning. 1969. Naismith. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ---. Hal Foster. 1988. 2004. Katz.38-39:1-9. Laurence. The Lesson. McGinn. 1973. ---. Mass: Harvard University Press. Steven T. http://www. Wole Soyinka and Modern Tragedy: A Study of Dramatic Theory and Practice. London: Penguin Books. The Power of Movies. Ann Kaplan. India: University of Mysore Press. Mariani.” Protest and “Conflict” in African Literature.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. New York: African Publishing. Eldred D. Tom Stoppard: A Faber Critical Guide. Mindsight: Image.” Six Characters in Search of an Author and Other Plays. Nkosi.” The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Modern Culture. K. Faber Critical Guides: Harold Pinter.180
Hunter. Mikulas. 1981. ---. Margaret. William L. London: Faber and Faber. Warren. Portland. Bristol. ---. Eugène. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Cambridge. UK. The Political Unconscious. Prasaranga. Jim. Cambridge. 1972. 1962. Theatre and Consciousness: Explanatory Scope and Future Potential. London: Penguin. “Postmodernism and Consumer Society. New York & London: Greenwood Press. Rhinoceros. Lahr. John. “Introduction. OR: Intellect. The Prison House of Language.aber. 2002. Colin. Ionesco.uk/~drawww/journal/. 2005. Ngugi. 14. 1971. Luigi Pirandello. 2000. Myth and History. Some Thoughts on Indian Aesthetics and Literary Criticism. Katz. 1983. “The ‘Pirandellian’ Character. “What is at Stake in the Debate on Postmodernism. Epistemology. Jones. David. Lewis. Long Drums and Cannons. Practices. 1968. Katrak.” Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis. No. Meyer-Dinkgräfe.
. African Literature Today: II. 1986. London: Mcmillan. 2003. Ed. E. 12. New York: Pantheon Books. Ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
1949. 2004. D. Psychology. A Dance of the Forests. The Fall of Public Man. Shepherd.
. “The World a Stage: A Conversation with Ray Reinhardt. “And After the Narcissist. ---. Ed. The Inner Dimension. Pellauer.” Appendix in Myth. “Ritual and the Revolutionary Ethos: The Humanistic Dilemma in Contemporary Nigerian Theatre. Richard.” Italian Quarterly. Simon and Wallis. Karen Morell. London: Cambridge University Press. Essays in Zen Buddhism. Lloyd W. Time and Narrative III. Constantin. Il: University of Chicago Press. First Series. Literature and the African World. Stanislavsky. 2004. London: Penguin Books. Ramachandran. “Discriminating the Innate Capacity: Salvation Mysticism of Classical Samkhya-Yoga. T. 1992. New York: Africana Publishing. “The Fourth Stage. and Philosophy. Seattle: University of Washington African Studies Program. Winter.” The Innate Capacity: Mysticism. Luigi. The Concept of the Beautiful in Sanskrit Literature. Porush.” Okike 22 (Sept. London: Faber and Faber.):72-81. C. 1958. K. New York: Norton. Pflueger. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Awoonor. London: Faber and Faber. Tom. Six Characters in Search of an Author and Other Plays. Toronto. “Pirandello in Retrospect. Rhagavan. Soyinka. 1988. Richards. Chicago. 1971.” Perspectives on African Literature. Renato.” African Forum 1. “The Birthday Party” and “The Room”: Two Plays by Harold Pinter. 46. Harold.” In Person: Achebe. Pirandello.Bibliography
Ogunba. David. London: Oxford University Press. London: Cambridge University Press. 1975. Sakellaridou. ---. London: Oxford University Press. Drama/Theatre/Performance. New York: Peter Lang. Sharma. 1980. Shear. Elizabeth. The Road. Cambridge: Methuen. Myth. Ed.4: 51-62. The Homecoming. 1991. T. Trans. P. 1986. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Hapgood. ---. Sennett. “Drama and the Revolutionary Idea. 1988. 1990. Arcadia. Trans. Ricoeur. Winter: 19-47. Robert K. 1982. Forman. Blame and D. 1966. 1993. V. Pinter’s Female Portraits: A Study of Female Characters in the Plays of Harold Pinter. London: Methuem. 1998. 1995.” San Francisco Theater Magazine. “Modern Drama in West Africa. G. 1968. Wole. Literature and the African World. Paul. The Indian Philosophy of Beauty. The Soft Machine: Cybernetic Fiction. Advaita Vedanta: An Introduction. ---. An Actor Prepares. 1988. Arvind. 1976b. Poggioli. ---. 1977. and Soyinka at the University of Washington. 1967. London and New York: Rutledge. Pinter. Part Two. Madras: U of Madras Press. New Jersey: Barnes and Noble. New York: Grove Press. 1985. Femi. Mick. Stoppard. Osofisan. Suzuki. 1976. 1970. E. New York: Harper and Brothers. ---. Jonathan. 1976a. Oyin. R. Madras: The Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute.
Integral Books: Boston and London. Applied Grammatology: Post(e)-Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys. 2001. Zeifman. 1966.” “The Caretaker” and “The Homecoming”: A Casebook. 1968. Tarlekar. 11. Studies in The Natyashastra. Spring: 30-45. 1993. p. Fairfield. Simone. Wilber. G. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Tynan. 1980. Kelly. Ken. Wayne. Gregory.” Evening Standard. Teichert. Zen Buddhism. Dieter. Robert Keith. CA: New World Library. Ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Suzuki. 1999. Wallace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1956. London: Macmillan. ---. Michael Scott. Wilkenson.10-11: 175-91. The Physiology of Consciousness. Ulmer. Ed. 26 April. Garden City. Worth. Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard. Harold Pinter: “The Birthday Party. 1998a. The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion. William Barrett. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. “In Search of Harold Pinter. Washington. 2004. “Narrative. 2006.: Three Continents Press. James Gibbs. Teasdale. and Trans. 1998b.” Critical Perspectives on Wole Soyinka.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. NY: Doubleday. Novato. “The Remorseless Rush of Time. Part II. “The Comedy of Eros: Stoppard in Love. About Religion: Economics of Faith in Virtual Culture. Selected Writings of D. 1986. Katherine. Ed.C.182
---. Kathleen. ---. The Tulane Drama Review. Dublin: Newleaf. H.” Ed. Nick. Hersh. IA: MIU Press. Sanzenback. Aureliu. The Mystic Heart. Katherine E. “Demoke’s Choice in Soyinka’s A Dance of the Forests. D. T. 1975. 1999. The Essential Ken Wilber: An Introductory Reader. Mark C. Boston: Shambhala.
. Weiss. Identity and the Self. Ed. 1985. Taylor. 8.
Clifford 110 Genet. 157 Begley. 147. 97. 50. Joel 162. 59. 96 Krishnamoorthy 73. William 67 Bauman. 153. Daniel 14. 19. Eldred 164. 60. 48. Denis 9 Elam. 113. 77. Anna 8. Fredric 160. 71. 107. Eliot 7. 89 Davis. 129. 166 Deutsch. 87. 79 Gale. 151 Boyce-Tillman. Kenneth 45 Gleick. 108. 11. Henry 109. 93 Fleming. Sigmund 11. 59 . G. 140. Colin 70. 66. 29. 63. 117 Hunter. Boyer 133 Alexander. Steven 34. 86. 18. 143. 97. 123 Freud. Michel 87. 71. 140. Jim 83 Ionesco. Eugène 57. Zygmunt 36. 58. 59. 116 Meyer-Dinkgräfe. Ketu 159. 53. K. 137 McGinn. 111 Gaensbauer. David 119 Mariani. 183 Agamben. Deborah B. 37 Gassner. 139. Yohanan 103 Gurr. 128 Audi. 61. 79. 21. 96 Derrida. 47. John 167 Haney. Paul 88. 129. 110. 113 Bennett. 68. 59. June 123. William II 13 Harland. 163 Fergusson. 137. Steven 20. Antonin 12. Michael 69. 69. 116. Andrew 175 Hagelin. Charles N.Index of Names
Adedeji. 144. 21. 71. 98. 109. 137 Geertz. 64. Jacques 67. 66. 57. 97. Tony 73 Bloom. 105. N. 145. 164 Lahr. John 117 Laurence. 22. 124 Boyer. Richard 173 Hewes. 167 Deikman. 149 Brustein. James 83 Goldman. 30. 62. 119. 149 Chakrabarti. 133. Giorgio 99 Alexander. Jean 7. Jennifer 124 Esslin. 163 Katz. W. John 84. 71 Foucault. Arthur 71. Gary 41. 115 Diderot. 147. 58. 105 Forman. 72. 93. John 127. 139. 137 Fireman. Chris 87 Coward. 119 Dennett. 52. Margaret 164 Lodge. 76. 95. R. 20. Umberto 127. 78. 153 Gergen. Daniel 9. 67 Davies. 97 Grimes. 111. 34. 8. 58. 124. Robert 127. S. 157 Katrak. 66. Harold 66. 19. 163 De. 67. 14. 20. Ann 162. 154. C. 10. and R. 91. Martin 29. W. Francis 126. 138. Philip 96 Anandavardhana 98 Artaud. Varun 35. 44. 24. 96. 72 Almond. 144
. 113 Jameson. 12. 49. 74. 55. Harold 35 Bonshek. Robert 83 Barnard. Tarapada 173 Clarke. 123. Charles 120 Grinshpon. 109 . Robert 13. 165 Jones.
127. 112. 40 Tarlekar. 142 Shepherd. Katherine 33 Zeifman. 12. 47. 93. 67. 133 Ricoeur. 166 Worth. 115. 126. William 120. 109. Harold 25. 65. 109. Mick 129 Soyinka. Constantin 9. 40. 107 Pirandello. 97. Kathleen 120 Ulmer. Hersh 90. 29. 111. G. 128 Naismith. 28. Wayne 104 Teichert. 12. 104
Mikulas. 153. 81. 116 Sennett. 10. 160-167 Stanislavsky. 74 Richards. Renato 127. 127. 128 Poggioli. D. V. 108. David 83 Ramachandran. 71. Simon and Wallis. 113. 113 Sharma. 83-107 Suzuki. Ken 8. 141.144. 27. G. 27. 113 Ngugi. Bill 33. 124. Aureliu 127. Wole 7. 127. 175 Ogunba. 112126. Lloyd 77 Pinter. 13. Paul 101 Sakellaridou. 143. 28. 137 Wilber. 25. Jonathan 13. 41. 94. 121 Musa. 14. 39. Richard 36. 38. 137 Porush. 33. 169 Pflueger. 92. 49. 98 Taylor. Robert Keith 8 Weiss. 98 Rhagavan. Elizabeth 37. 125. P. 39. Oyin 168 Osofisan. Femi 161. Lewis 168.184
Integral Drama Shear. Mark 110 Teasdale. 37. 162. 14. 125. Dieter 101 Tynan. 24. T. Mark 28. 50. Tom 7. Luigi 7. T. 35. James 164 Nkosi. 144 Stoppard. Gregory 166 Wallace. 35. 34. H. Arvind 9