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chapter 6

Archetype and Entelechy

This essay is the second of two lectures delivered by Kenneth Burke at Clark University in 1971 as the Heinz Warner lecturer. Entelechy is an old friend in Burke,
going back, as it does, to the early fifties and his work on the dramatistic poetics and the original Symbolic of Motives. Burke borrowed the term from Aristotle and modified it to apply to literary texts, especially tragedy. Later, he expanded its application so that it applied to all symbolic action and became one
of the prime functions of language and central concepts of logology. Language,
or, perhaps, just the human mind, seeks perfection, is compelled to go to the
“end of the line” in its many endeavors. Burke calls this the “entelechial motive”
and studies it in text after text. One of the main arguments of his dramatistic poetics is that literature goes to the “end of the line” more often than other kinds
of verbal acts and hence is a valuable source of knowledge for the study of humans, the symbol-using animals.
The main argument of this essay is that archetypes are genetic and hence ahistorical. They occur over and over again everywhere in the human world without
any evidence anywhere that they have been transmitted from one culture to another. But entelechy, or the entelechial motive, is a function of language and is
rooted in history, in a verbal action by a human agent in a specific sociopolitical
scene. The entelechial motive is one of the most purely human motives in Burke.
In his definition of man, Burke says that we humans are “rotten with perfection.”
It is language—symbolic action—that makes this motive available to us because
the human mind and imagination can freely explore possibilities in the verbal
realm that are impossible to explore in the physical realm. This is also true of
other forms of symbolic activity—painting, films, music, sculpture, TV, drama—
in which reality is transformed into art to create something that never was, which
is free of the constraints of brute reality—the laws of physics, of matter, of the
time-space continuum.
To put it differently, language is an archetype that makes entelechy possible.
We do not know whether language developed simultaneously in different parts
of the globe or whether once developed, it was always transmitted and modified
as humans colonized the globe. What we do know, and what Burke makes a big
point of stressing, is that all normal humans are born with the capacity to learn
a language and do learn the language of their tribe in a fabulous feat of memory, which is even more fabulous if they also learn reading and writing. Once humans have language they have entelechy and what goes with it as part of their
This germinal, seminal essay provides Burke with many of the key terms and
concepts that make up his final, logological body of work.


and a book by the anthropologist George Thomson. throwing further light on the concept of “catharsis. or creative. On the assumption that Aristotle’s nomenclature is highly dramatistic in its essence. his nomenclature had equipped him in advance to “meet them halfway”—and in this sense the nature of his observations could in effect be deduced from the implications of his dramatistic terminology in general. one can in effect “prophesy after the event” by “generating” the nature of the observations from the nature of the terms by which those observations were guided. Freud. Suggestions from such varied sources as Nietzsche. that one could assume absolute determinism in the realm of physical or biological motion. and develop it a bit further. Then followed a survey of some methodological statements that I view as basic to the study of a text. the realms of sheer physical motion and symbolic action). But. it doesn’t exhaust the field (surely no human perspective ever will!). What. the particular selection being intended to serve as introduction to a quite different kind of summarization. then. while looking for the ground of “freedom” in the realm of “symbolic action. by turning our attention in this direction rather than that. So I excised a lot. however empirical Aristotle’s study of literary specimens had been. in the sense that they affect the nature of our observations. of the “ interdisciplinary”? At a time when I happened to be working on precisely that subject. there was an earlier draft of the first talk which became overly involved in the minutiae of a dramatistic attempt to “generate” the nomenclature of Aristotle’s Poetics. And this summarization led to the thought. In this respect. as dramatistic as Aristotle’s nomenclature is. We had considered the “autonomy” of the specialized sciences. in the dramatistic analogue. along somewhat Spinozistic lines. in the sense that both “archetype” and “entelechy” in themselves designate summarizing principles. and by having implicit in them ways of dividing up a field of inquiry. though leaving enough (let’s hope) to at least illustrate the proposition that.”2 I might revert to one other point as regards the first talk.122 Logology *** The previous talk attempted to survey some aspects of my “dramatistic” perspective in general. I attended a conference at which one speaker proposed that a certain kind of material should be .1 The logic (or logologic) underlying the first talk was this: Nomenclatures are formative.” added unruly considerations that involve ultimately the distinction between “body” and “mind” (or rather. Marx.

True. You pick from different fields items that you like. But at least. so far as the methodology of your choice is concerned. If. when confronting this problem of the interdisciplinary: One thing common to all the specialized sciences is the fact that each specialist uses some kind of terminology. On the other hand. is it possible to justify one interdisciplinary combination rather than another on a methodological basis. or vice versa. and without reference to the fact that often you would have to choose between them. as though interdisciplinary decisions were not much different from shopping at a department store—and that’s about what it amounts to. and if one justifies picking a certain aspect of Freud rather than Jung. and justify his decision in terms of that. if one does have an overall nomenclature. Since each of these three special sciences is marked by much internal controversy among specialists within that field. The thought may help clarify what I mean by the self-appointed task of prophesying after the event. or theory of terminology in general. and sociology. I say this quite tentatively. but here is the only methodological approach that a dramatistic perspective (with its strongly logological emphasis) would deem possible. then. as regards the “generating” of a choice. as with my article “The First Three Chapters of Genesis” (reprinted in The . But which anthropology. the choice is in effect as though one’s particular perspective had “generated” that observation which one actually owes to someone else.Archetype and Entelechy 123 treated by combining insights derived from the sciences of anthropology. so far as I can see. but which in principle is “derived” from the perspective on the grounds of which the borrowing took place. which sociology? For instance. psychology. then let him propound or subscribe to some other perspective. the speaker recommended borrowings from Freud and Jung. as though they were quite the same thing. specific methodological grounds for that decision have been offered.” or in principle “generating” a text. you specifically subscribe to some one overall nomenclature. any choice you make from among competing specialists outside your field can be methodologically justified in terms of your particular overall terministic perspective. And if he would reject it by proper methodological procedure. on what methodological grounds can someone outside any such particular field justify his choice among rival experts within the field? Usually. Only thus. an opponent may not subscribe to the particular model in terms of which the given decision is rationalized. the problem is “solved” by not even being considered. which psychology.

or a son his mother—either kills. it’s worth remembering that the prime instance of the sacrificial motive in the Old Testament is the story of Abraham’s pious willingness to sacrifice Isaac.” Jumping into the very middle of the issue. And the entire logic of the New Testament is built about the story of a divine father who deliberately sent his son on a mission to be crucified. with relation to the great emphasis Freud placed upon one of Aristotle’s situations (in which son kills father).” It is hard to find an exact translation of the word I have translated as “intimates. a kind of dynastic “original sin” descending from a ruse whereby a father unknowingly (“unconsciously”?) ate the hearts of his two sons. though all the examples there given happen to concern intimacy among males. The tragic calamity. it is interesting to note that Aristotle omitted from his list the theme of father killing son. out of the several combinations that Aristotle mentions as ideal conditions for tragic victimage Freud’s stress upon one Sophoclean tragedy. whereas the basic lines of Western thought come to a focus in variations on the theme of son.” The word is etymologically of the same root as the word for “love” in the Rhetoric. Freud never (to my knowledge) commented on the passage I have quoted with regard to Aristotle’s variations on the theme of tragic killing. Oedipus Rex (to which Aristotle also was highly partial. “Archetype and Entelechy. or a son kills his father. rather than father. Also. Regrettably. let us consider the matter of the “entelechy” with reference to the “archetype” or “prototype” of the “primal crime” which Freud associates with his concept of the Oedipus complex. or a mother her son. where in effect I “derive” the text dramatistically from a “Cycle of Terms Implicit in the Idea of ‘Order. should involve conflicts among intimates. . Yet the very tragedies he was dealing with were especially partial to myths deriving from the curse on the house of Atreus. though for quite different reasons) deflected our attention from both the sheer poetics of the case and the infanticidal implications in other tragic recipes. or intends to kill. Recall in the Poetics the passage where Aristotle is discussing the kinds of situation best suited to serve as a theme for tragedy. he says.’ ” These were afterthoughts concerned with the previous talk.” Butcher’s version is “someone near and dear. For all Freud’s emphasis on the fatherkill. To this extent. “When brother kills brother. For instance. But let’s turn now to the topic scheduled for this evening. as prime sacrificial figure.” The Loeb edition uses “friends.124 Logology Rhetoric of Religion [1961]).

I am far from disputing the likelihood of such a tendency.Archetype and Entelechy 125 In The Rhetoric of Religion I consider reasons why the sacrificial principle itself is integral to the social order. by comparison and contrast (and here at last I’m jumping in medias res!) I would quote a passage from my “Definition of Man” (reprinted in Language as Symbolic Action. which has brought him to his present heights of intellectual prowess and sublimation. Whereupon. we encounter here some tangled relationships among the actual. we find him saying.” But are not these two sentences mutually contradictory? For what could more clearly represent an “impulse to perfection” than a “striving” after “complete satisfaction”? (17) The alternative that Freud offers is his concept of the “repetition compulsion. Thus where Aristotle had asked what would be the perfect kinds of character for tragedy as a literary mode. Be that as it may. what kind of characters and what kind of style. one might rephrase the question by asking. The thought suggests why the poetic imitation of imaginary pitiable situations involves in itself a certain degree of “purgation. 1966): In Beyond the Pleasure Principle (near the end of Chapter 5) Freud explicitly calls upon us “to abandon our belief that in man there dwells an impulse towards perfection. the issue comes to a focus in questions about the recipe for perfect victimage—and by “entelechy” I refer to such use of symbolic resources that potentialities can be said to attain their perfect fulfillment. “What would be the ‘perfect imitated victim’?” The distinction between the tragic imitation of victimage as a source of poetic pleasure and the engrossment with actual victimage would be the difference between the Athenian theater and the Roman gladiatorial contest. We shall come upon this notion by various routes. and the artistic imitation.” It is decidedly not within my competence to dispute Freud’s concept itself. asking what form of plot would best fulfill the tragic telos. the documentary copy.” which he also calls a “destiny compulsion.” All told. Newspapers and documentary broadcasts appeal in a kind of intermediate realm by a record (thus a symbolizing) of real victimage. “The repressive instinct never ceases to strive after its complete satisfaction. as viewed in the light of an “entelechial” principle having wider functions than the manifestations . I am but proposing to consider how it looks. what kind of situation. as designation for a psychopathic tendency to relive some prior traumatic situation by so confronting a totally different set of later circumstances that they are interpreted by the sufferer in terms of the original painfully formative situation. Aristotle’s Poetics is a handy benchmark for our survey since it proceeds in this spirit.” Yet a few sentences later in that same closing paragraph.

of a drive to make one’s life “perfect. in their nature as “key terms. when organizing a play designed to embody such an attitude. “once burned. as developed in Hitler’s Mein Kampf. to endow wholly different people with imputed roles corresponding to the actual roles that other persons had played in the original inflicting of the psychic wound. twice shy”) might thenceforth so expect betrayal as in effect to invite betrayal.” in the sense that a dramatist. as when we speak of a ‘perfect fool’ or a ‘perfect villain.” would act as a “repetition com- . And such an attitude can also function as a kind of “generating principle. would develop a cast of characters so related to one another that. Turn now to a corresponding situation in real life. or temptation. And all the main characters would be what we could call “key terms” involved in the forming of the summational attitude. though strongly similar trends keep manifesting themselves in current controversies between ‘East’ and ‘West. as these relationships unfolded in the development of the plot. Simplest example: An overly trusting person who was rudely betrayed. we could view such a compulsion as an “entelechial” or “perfectionist” motive if we but “widen the concept of perfection to the point where we can also use the term ironically. one particular character who came close to standing for the author himself could end in the attitude of embitterment which I have called a “generating principle” behind the relationships among such a cast of characters. and who (in line with the proverb. is the most thorough-going instance of such ironic ‘perfection’ in recent times. one would add considerations of this sort: A traumatic experience can. as it were. endow a person with a key terminology.’ ” By adopting a general logological approach to a “compulsive” situation which Freud confronts from his specifically psychoanalytic point of view. The cast of characters. so shaping his relations to people in later years that they will conform perfectly to an emotional or psychological pattern already established in some earlier formative situation? What more thorough illustration could one want. in terms of which he frames his attitude towards life—and the terminology can shape what he comes to expect of people in keeping with the tenor of that attitude.” despite the fact that such efforts at perfection might cause the unconscious striver great suffering? Without casting the slightest doubt upon Freud’s concept of a psychopathic tendency.’ ” Thus: “The Nazi version of the Jew. If I may give myself another chance to make my point.126 Logology with which Freud is here concerned. please let me quote this further statement of the case: Is not the sufferer exerting almost superhuman efforts in the attempt to give his life a certain form.

Exactly how. this is the kind of culmination that would be the perfect representative expression of the tensions he viewed as intrinsic to the family structure. But if you viewed family tensions in principle. culminative. On the contrary. patriarchal family as you conceive of it.Archetype and Entelechy 127 pulsion” insofar as the sufferer experienced his embittered attitude in terms of precisely such figures (which had originally worked together so “perfectly” towards the traumatic forming of the attitude). and took possession of the women. trying to sum up the nature of the monogamistic. the culminative principle represented in the hypothesis of the fatherkill is transferred to the prehistoric past. with implications corresponding to their roles in connection with the original (and originating) traumatic experience involved in their selection as key terms. These tensions would strike you as being of such a nature that they would attain perfect representative fruition in a kind of development and fulfillment whereby the sons joined forces. and the like. This entelechial. let us say. with regard to the Freudian archetype of the “primal crime”? You are. along with subsequent corrective ambiguities whereby one is left a bit uncertain as to whether such a convulsion in the “primal horde” actually did take place. which will then act as a basic nomenclature. A traumatic experience can serve to select such a set of key terms. even if one is not working formally or deliberately with such structures of interrelated terms as is the case with philosophers. . A “repetition compulsion” would be manifest in any subsequent tendency to view new circumstances and persons in terms of the original dramatic personae (hence assigning roles whereby the sufferer unconsciously so imagines or interprets wholly different people as to make them fit the pattern of his original and originating distress). summational. The same process would be “entelechial” or “perfectionist” in the ironic sense of the term. insofar as the sufferer was in effect striving to impose a “perfect” form by using the key terms of his formative wound as a paradigm. or paradigmatic version of what is ultimately implied in the nature of family tensions is not viewed as a state to be fulfilled in time. murdered their father. Freud would be the first to recognize that so perfect a pattern of family outbursts was never found in any single one of his cases. There is no attempt to postulate that so thoroughgoing an outcome will actually happen to families. would the entelechial principle figure here. dramatists. If you are a Freud your summational paradigm will be formed in terms of the tensions that you consider intrinsic to the family structure. One necessarily forms one’s experience and expectations in terms of something or other. then.

respectively. as Marx says about “ideology. in its actual temporal variants as recorded and analyzed in case histories.) Myth (story) translates statements about principles into archetypal. fell far short of such paradigmatic clarity. order makes man in principle subject to temptation. . quasi-temporal terms. mythically. (Otherwise put: Saint Paul said that the law made sin. was defended by Freud as a “hypothesis” which might still be deemed “creditable” insofar as it “proves able to bring coherence and understanding into more and more new regions. Hence. “Given such-and-such a family structure. perfect in its simplicity.” whereas etymologically the derivation was exactly the reverse. Thus.” where the process operates along these lines: By the very fact of setting up an order. you make men potentially transgressors.” But my fullest treatment of it is in The Rhetoric of Religion.” Thus. This process gets things reversed. Entelechially. mean “beginning” in the sense of both temporal priority and logical priority (or “first principles”).” In this respect “archetypes” or “prototypes” can be mythic ways of formulating entelechial implications (or possible summings-up in principle) by translating them into terms of a vaguely hypothetical past. the mythic or narrative or archetypally quasi-historical ways of saying that “the setting up of an order makes man in principle subject to temptation” is to tell how the first man said no to the first thou-shalt-not imposed upon him by the first and foremost authority.128 Logology thereby leaving “indestructible traces upon the history of human descent. but was the idealizing or the imaginative and conceptual perfecting of a situation that. what was really not temporal at all. And these tensions would so add up that. “Romulus” was the eponymous founder of “Rome. you can expect to find such-and-such tensions.” For when anthropologists objected that they found no evidence of such an event. Here was an area where nineteenth-century evolutionary historicism led to quasi-scientific derivations that were in form much like primitive creation myths. This is a process that in my Grammar of Motives (1945) I call the “temporizing of essence. if they were perfectly expressed in all simplicity. they would culminate in the outburst which Freud epitomizes in his archetype of the ‘primal crime. you might say. got vaguely attributed to the prehistoric past. the section entitled “The First Three Chapters of Genesis. mythic ancestral past. the formulation of this design. quite as the Latin and Greek words principium and arché.’ ” Thus. For you give orders only to the kind of being who might possibly disobey them. Jeremy Bentham said that the law makes crime. as when a tribe derives its present nature from some primal.

one can readily imagine a Platonic dialogue in which Socrates. for instance. a missionary or explorer or fieldworker who formulates such a structure begins with the language as he hears it spoken. but even of tribal tongues that anthropologists codify though the natives themselves have no such compilations. then gradually codifies the grammatical and syntactical rules that are implicit in the conventions of its usage. And by adroit questioning. Insofar as the verbs of his language were reducible to several conjugations. whereby each such principle can first be formulated as a title or class name under which endless individual examples. In actual practice. did this “innate” knowledge of such grammatical “archetypes” come from? If such principles are logically “prior” in the sense that any such classification of rules can be viewed grammatically as “preceding” all possible examples of usages classifiable under that given head. For they are at a level of generalization. Along those lines. then it follows that this unconscious grammarian. or abstraction. who knew more than he knew he knew. then. some actually recorded. Socrates is helping him to “remember” when he had experienced them in their “pure” state (which any particular examples partake of “imperfectly”). However.Archetype and Entelechy 129 This quasi-temporal nature of “archetypes” is to be seen in a halfway stage as regards the Platonic doctrine of “anamnesis. how its forms should end if active. in but properly abiding by the conventions of his given dialect he is at heart an expert grammarian without knowing it. a given verb was to be conjugated. must have experienced such “pure” forms (or archetypes) in a stage of temporally prior existence. mere questioning could establish the fact that the speaker knew by which paradigm. consider this dialectical distortion in Norman . could be included. and the speaker spontaneously exemplified the rules to which a grammarian has reduced all such conjugations. how it should be modified if changed from past to future. proves that no matter how naive a member of the tribe might be.” Many primitive languages arose. As a current instance of how readily an uncritical use of the archetypal can get things backwards. by adept questioning. or from first person to second person. flourished. if passive. once he has built up such paradigms. there is a sense in which they are formally “prior” to their application in particular cases. and so on. Where. and if this purely technical kind of “priority” is stated in temporal terms. or set of rules. others possible. and died without ever being formally reduced to such principles of grammar and syntax as we expect not only in studies of classical idioms like Latin and Greek.

generalization and specification). and sky. earth. two sexes. But give Brown his way with the archetypes (or prototypes. To say that “sex is dialectical” would pass well enough. “Doing and Saying. an act of love. A related temptation is to be seen in Freud’s comments on “condensation” and “displacement” as exemplified in the symbolism of dreams. a little magazine published under the aegis of Skidmore College. . and you let yourself in for total obfuscation. “sex is dialectical” gets archetypally transformed into “dialectics is sexual. And any step to a higher level of generalization involves a kind of condensation. Yet such resources of substitution are by no means confined to the language of dreams or neurosis. please take a glance at my article. as “siblings” includes both “brother” and “sister. and things get reversed whereby dialectics is sexual. duality. specifically. There is a kind of displacement if I use a symbol for an equation in mathematics. Dual organization is sexual organization.” Thus in effect a quite viable proposition. Love’s Body (1966): Dialectics involves the two principles of composition and division (unity and plurality. . rather than seeing in dream-symbols special applications of these wider symbolic resources. the primal parents.” And whereas it would be reasonable enough to say that sex relations can be discussed in terms of unity and division.” There are times when such “normal” resources of symbolization can raise trouble. If you ever run across the winter 1971 issue of Salmagundi. . Brown’s ideological reversal gives us what would amount to saying that the principles of unity and division (applications of which are available to all language systems) are but special cases of sex. . Freud shows clearly enough how such operations take place in dreamsymbols. The prototype of all opposition or contrariety is sex. “Every sentence is dialectics.130 Logology O. . The prototype of the division into two sexes is the separation of earth and sky. “Prototype” here does the trick. An instance of division would be terms for distinguishing between the sexes. in the sense that an act of copulation in effect “unifies” the duality of the sexual partners. . Mother Earth and Father Sky. he uses both words).” and “parents” condenses “mother” and “father.” concerned with a process of . Go along with such maneuvers. But here’s how quickly Brown can twist that normal resource of terminology into quasi-vatic nonsense: Division. or translate a German sentence into French. Brown’s book. But we’d get things backwards if we derived displacement and condensation from dreams. or a distinction between earth and sky viewed as distinct motivational realms.

Archetype and Entelechy 131 “mythic doubling. regardless of what they variously might be. insofar as no important incident in our lives seems quite complete (that is. or perfectionist. being an expert in the ways of symbolic action.” in principle. they are being considered from the standpoint of one particular absolute principle. an account of its historical development is a wholly proper inquiry. True.” It begins with a hypothetical distinction between one man who is going through the material operations of harvesting a crop. provides a ritual counterpart by singing a harvest song. and thereafter in effect “derives” his analysis by working out the kind of observations that were implicit in that definition. viewed as a species of symbolic action. in effect classifying a whole group of initiates under the same head. In one sense we are all myth-men. and another who. since any given ritual has developed through time. along with the possible history of a ritual’s development. with appropriate choreography. as defined in Chapter 6. entelechially perfected) unless some expert in the resources of mythopoeia has rounded things out with a mythic counterpart. but what they add up to symbolically. The important consideration is not where such mythic completions come from geographically. It can also come to a focus in the symbolizing of an attitude. Similarly. as in the case of a ceremony that. There we see the rudiments of what I mean by the entelechial principle. namely. as initiates. In all likelihood this entelechial aspect of the case will show up in terms of a myth relating the incident to some imputed primal past. Perhaps it should also be pointed out that the culminative aspect of the entelechial principle is not confined to symbolic structures that have the quality of summaries and paradigms. Thus Aristotle’s early chapters in his Poetics are concerned with the incunabula of tragedy prior to the era when it attained its “finished” form. By the ceremony they are “perfected” in the sense that. where he gives his definition. thereby transcends their nature as individuals. their identity and corresponding reidentification. For instance. insofar as it in effect includes many different temporal events under the same head. we might generate it “ nontemporally. And it becomes entelechial. from the dramatistic analysis of mythopoeia itself. but by depicting a thoroughgoing response to it. any recurrent ritual is a narrative prephilosophic mode of classification. Similarly an attitude towards a situation can be developed in terms of a narrative that sums up a situation not by discussing the situation as such. since attitudes possess a summarizing quality. One can discern this element by thinking of the contrast between a discussion of .

satire as a stylistic strategy can so turn . But one person whom the sufferer still inclined to trust broke the perfect symmetry. And my claim is. “I am the master of my fate. Make all the characters involved even more egregiously a set of monsters than you now think them to be. lo! this person died—and immediately the sufferer began putting new light on certain things that had been said. I told the ardent system-builder: “In the first place. satire can exemplify a strongly entelechial bent. then all the more I’ll be mine own begetter. I began by an ironic exemplifying of the entelechial principle before the principle itself had been discussed. I am sure that your whole scheme is all wrong. In this regard. In the second place. Adversity shall be my universe. entelechial principle is an important motivational ingredient in system-building types of insanity. Whereas certain ills that beset our society can become so depressing that we would gladly close our minds to them. I know of one case where an almost “air-tight” fantasy of deception. on the basis of what I know about the deceased I think you must be misremembering—for I believe that. Surely the purely formal. of course. involving many members of a family. Modify the details in a fiction that deliberately perfects the conspiracy. So don’t abandon it. making me free to act to make things worse. The person who has built up an elaborate structure of persecution has a kind of psychic treasure which could not be renounced without a sense of great impoverishment. However. you have built up such a case. despite the suffering that may be connected with it. And since you are a writer.132 Logology family tensions as such and Freud’s dramatic anecdote about the “primal crime” that he proposed as the archetype of family tension. In one draft of these talks. / The captain of my soul”) I proposed to give such thoughts of invincibility this turn: If things are bad.” I won’t flatter myself with the assumption that my advice was taken—but there is a vast amount of writing that gets done exactly thus. Then. remarks that came to be interpreted as a kind of deathbed confession about the suspected plottings of all the others. had been worked out. and I can’t make them better. write it up. that Freud’s dramatic “archetypal” fulfillment of family tensions in terms of a quasi-prehistoric criminal outburst is so to be entelechially understood. the deceased is not the kind of person who would have told you. even if all this were true. I realize how empty the world would seem if you abandoned it. Borrowing the title of William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” (the poem that rings out so challengingly.

Meanwhile. it is now apparently considering an adverse report by an authority that it itself had appointed. Later I shall say a few more words on this point. grounded in ancient Greek and Latin texts. after having done much havoc as regards the Tocks Island project on the Delaware. “Humanism” has been defined by a close relation to different adversaries or partners. it seems to me. Or there was the Humanism of Neoclassicism. our quandaries sum up as the need for a kind of Humanism that would be defined as antithetical to “Technologism.” “Technologism” itself would be a term provided by its Humanistic opponent. Land developers whose prowess as promoters is a national disaster where considerations of ecology are concerned would be on the dismal end of such a hierarchy. surely an entelechial pursuit. That blithe spirit. and of a sort that allows for the sheer accent of “accentuating the positive” atop implications quite negative. the Army Corps of Engineers has been desolatingly Technologistic in its policies and practices—but things are changing somewhat. The satirist can set up a situation whereby his text can ironically advocate the very ills that are depressing us—nay more. so that our only choice would be between welcoming despair and seeking distraction). Some brands of Humanism. It would seem that. As regards the ultimate philosophic problems imposed upon us by the high development of technology. the more depressed we’d be. “Technologism” would be built upon the assumption that the remedy for the problems arising from technology is to be sought in the development of ever more and more technology. without a twist. for instance. That is. Marxist Humanism is integrally associated with secular socialism. Humanism. satire can so change the rules that we have a quite different out. For instance.” At various times in the history of Western thought. but related. As distinct from mere technology. would be one of its high priests. others have contended that human personality must be grounded in a transcendent principle of personality. For satire can find ways of making reductions to absurdity look like logical conclusions.Archetype and Entelechy 133 things around that we get a smiling variant of the essentially grotesque perversity embodied in my “Invictus” lines. Buckminster Fuller. he can “perfect” his presentation by a fantastic rationale that calls for still more of the maladjustments now besetting us. whereas we might. Today. mode of summarization. as so conceived. they seem now to culminate in some kind of confrontation between “Humanism” and “Technologism. let us consider a different. would look especially askance at the typ- . write a catalogue of our society’s ills (and the more thorough it was. until quite recently. have been antithetical to Supernaturalism.

the Ultimate Culmination. and up! appendix a To guard against a possible misunderstanding. In the winter 1971 issue of The Sewanee Review I tried an exercise of that sort. not back.134 Logology ical promoter’s ideal of a constant rapid increase in the consumption of “energy” (though perhaps it is a trend that the whole “logic” of investment comes close to making imperative). or even some one particular pebble viewed as being moved to fulfill the potentialities peculiar to its kind. place in the totality of the natural order. far from boasting of some privileged human status. And I had my ending. while building a Perfectly AirConditioned Culture-Bubble on the Moon. Invictus! “Adversity shall be my universe.” On one of the all-night radio programs with which I sometimes while away insomniac hours.” such as an amoeba or a tree. but a succession of three. Eden and the Tower in one. Or no turning inward. making me free to act to make things worse. too. as with my “finalizing” lines: Let there be no turning back of the clock. onward. I heard an ardent proponent of Technologism (an anima naturaliter Technologistica) ridiculing reactionary idealists who kept asking whether it might be possible to clear up the pollution in Lake Erie. and maybe even humiliating. outward. he said—and rather than trying to clean up Lake Erie. perorating words: “Crucified on a Cross of Gold. made possible by man’s momentous advances in technology—hence. it would never disregard our humble. He had the angle. they should pollute it ten times as much. I might point out: Both Aristotle’s concept of the entelechy and its modified role in Leibnizian “monadology” use the term in ways that could be applied to any being or “substance. And an anti-Technologistic Humanism would be “animalistic” in the sense that. They should look forward. But I spoke of “entelechies” in the satiric sense. where he ended on a posture befitting his final.” I saw a way of ending my exercise (which I also used in a public talk) on not just one posture. You recall William Jennings Bryan’s famous speech in behalf of free silver.” We now have the resources to let loose and freely pollute the entire world. And the idea started from the subject of “energy. We want affirmation— towards helhaven. then find a way to extract from its wastes a new kind of energy. Our VicePresident has rightly cautioned: No negativism. An ideal Womb-Heaven (I called it “Helhaven”). .

And as we must be on guard lest the “temporizing of essence” in the term “archetype” gets tied up with notions of a quasi-historical past. by reason of the fact that the potentialities of a perfected symbol-system can be made to seem too “clearly” like the proclaiming of a predestined era still to come.” 6. A mean man. and the expression “perfect bread” is a secular counterpart of such dialectical resources. or a dyspeptic.” it is in its way as dramatistic as the term “entelechy. and it is already with us “in principle” whenever promoters. with no trouble at all I can make up the expression. . If it does figure in the realm of sheer motion. There is the corresponding word. We may disagree as to which bread could properly be called “perfect. bread.” 4. whatever may be our objections to an uncritical use of the term “archetype.Archetype and Entelechy 135 In these pages no such universal metaphysical application of the term is considered. élitist Utopianism of the Helhaven project. appendix b The dialectical design underlying the entelechial principle (in our strictly “logological” sense of the term) can be summed up thus: 1. We are concerned solely with a “logological” tendency intrinsic to the resources of symbolic action.” The terms are allies. and in this respect the areas they cover greatly overlap. the discussion of it in that respect would require quite different modes of observation and analysis. “bread. or a philosopher might even deny that in this world there can be such a thing as “perfect bread. which alas! comes close to being technologically feasible. in their antithetical relation to behavioristic reductionism. theologians can speak of God as the ens perfectissimum. Nevertheless. so there are risks that the concept of the entelechy may take on quasifuturistic assumptions.” 3. Also. There is the thing. Such “millenarian” possibilities are exploited rhetorically in the burlesqued.” 5. by projects that are disastrous to some aspect of the world’s ecological balance. Language being such as it is. “perfect bread. can buy themselves an estate in an area not yet thus ravaged. 2.

”) In effect. middle. this bread represents perfect bread in principle. or 9. this bread I am offering you is a dismal substitute”. a Study of Delphic Myth and its Origins (1959). is like Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. “As compared with perfect bread.” Whereupon I confront these quite different alternatives: 8. But it might be mentioned here because of its concern with the “origins” of what the author called the “combat myth. Poetry. But he would consider any particular case as but a partial instance of such a pattern. It is the ideally culminative exemplar of the monogamistic situation he would analyze (or in terms of which he would analyze his patients). but is essentially concerned with such purely formal principles as the first of these two talks discussed with reference to Aristotle’s Poetics.136 Logology 7. and which all the many versions of the myth are said to exemplify somewhat but not totally. My essay was designed to show how this second kind of origin has nothing to do with temporal succession. In an essay. in its nature as a story with beginning.” (It “stands for the spirit of perfect bread. (2) a paradigm summarizing the main themes of the combat myth. appendix c We might throw further light on the subject by considering how the issue looks. In effect the paradigm which Fontenrose sets up.” For the discussion obviously involves two quite different kinds of origin: (1) the possible transformations of the myth in the course of time. Nay more. “Myth. or paradigm. “I can assure you that. along with the likely steps of its geographic diffusion. Even if there is no such thing as perfect bread in actuality. and Philosophy” (reprinted in Language as Symbolic Action). as regards Joseph Fontenrose’s book Python. or 10. humble as it is. For it considers all cases in the summarizing terms of a “per- . and end. “Here is some perfect bread”. I can consider bread from the standpoint of perfect bread “in principle. Freud’s “Just-So Story” of the primalkill combines clauses 6 and 10. I use this book as a point of departure for several lines of speculation not directly germane to our present concerns.

We’d here confront the difference between the combat myth’s “perfection” sheerly as a form of story. summer in the summertime. regardless of the fact that no one “perfect” instance of the pattern need be offered as justification for all the clauses and subdivisions (amounting to forty-three in all) that are included in Fontenrose’s all-inclusive list. without having this added “Darwinian” kind of aptitude that happened to endow it with summationally cosmic connotations of authority. besides observations analogous to Aristotle’s concern with the perfection of tragedy as a form. For instance. 1972). 1. “causing” spring to return in the springtime. and its nature as a contribution to the sanctioning of the offices performed by the specific priesthood with which one version or another of the myth happened to be identified. Mass: Clark University Press. with corresponding rules. and the gradually accumulating lore about the recurrent configurations of the heavens. whatever its origins. Dramatism and Development consists of two essays. A myth could be perfectly formed as regards poetic tests of perfection.” In this regard. 33–62.Archetype and Entelechy 137 fect” combat myth which must be conceptualized. as distinct from asking just what might be the principles of a “perfect” combat myth (in the sense that Fontenrose’s paradigm embodies Aristotle’s preference for a “complex” plot with peripety). by asking exactly how a combat myth. a myth might have special survival value if it was associated with a cult which had perfected rituals for. However. notes This essay originally appeared in Dramatism and Development (Barr. and built a temple for himself. and thus with the annually repeated cycle of the seasons. or idealized. ritual. a paradigm of this sort is obviously at a much lower level of generalization than the definition of tragedy in the Poetics. I felt the need to introduce a kind of Darwinian speculation. The title of the first . might happen to be a “perfect” candidate for survival in connection with a cult. festival. That is. and so on. a somewhat adventitious scenic (or “environmentalist”) test of “perfection” had to be introduced when we consider the fact that the champion of the combat is said to have “instituted cult. the best conditions for establishing the authority of a priesthood’s magic would be those involving the regularities rather than the uncertainties of nature. And such conditions would be fulfilled insofar as a cult and its corresponding myth became associated with sky-gods. Also. as it were.

In the Journal of Social Issues for October 1962 there is an article. 58–62. Words. “The Image of Man. which led to a controversy ideal for our purposes. Psychology.138 Logology is “Biology. Dr. 2. The subject is summed up in my Language as Symbolic Action (1966). thereby totally overlooking the states of passivity to which this “active” being is prone (as per the many pages “On Human Bondage” in Spinoza’s Ethics).” The essay reprinted here is the second of the two.” by Isidor Chein. . Chein’s overurgent aim to celebrate the dignity of Man as an “active” being tricks him into using but half a dialectic.