A Calm and Quiet Paganish Paradigm (WPMY 124)

“The Martians discovered the secret of life among the animals. The animal does not question life. It lives. Its very reason for living is life; it enjoys and relishes life. You see—the statuary, the animal symbols, again and again.”

“It looks pagan.”

“On the contrary, those are God symbols, symbols of life. Man had become too much man and not enough animal on Mars too. And the men of Mars realized that in order to survive they would have to forgo asking that one question: Why live? Life was its own answer. Life was the propagation of more life and the living of as good a life as possible. The Martians realized that they asked the question ‘Why live at all?’ at the height of some period of war and despair, when there was no answer. But once the civilization calmed, quieted, and wars ceased, the question became senseless in a new way. Life was good now and needed no arguments.”

“It sounds as if the Martians were quite naïve.”

“Only when it paid to be naïve. They quit trying too hard to destroy everything, to humble everything. They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle. They never let science crush the aesthetic and the beautiful. It’s all simply a matter of degree. An Earth Man thinks: ‘In that picture, color does not exist, really. A scientist can prove that color is only the way the cells are placed in a certain material to reflect light. Therefore, color is not really an actual part of things I happen to see.’ A Martian, far cleverer, would say: ‘This is a fine picture. It came from the hand and the mind of a man inspired. Its idea and its color are from life. This thing is good.'”

The Martian Chronicles

Bradbury          1950

The Planting of a New Dream (L vs S 226)

He tried to picture himself living in an ideal world with the young woman from the dream. He sees Tereza walking past the open windows of their ideal house. She is alone and stops to look in at him with an infinitely sad expression in her eyes. He cannot with stand her glance. Again, he feels her pain in his heart. Again, he falls prey to compassion and sinks deep into her soul. He leaps out of the window, but she tells him bitterly to stay where he feels happy, making those abrupt, angular movements that so annoyed and displeased him. Her grabs her nervous hands and presses them between his own to calm them. And he knows that time and again he will abandon the house of his happiness, time and again abandon his paradise and the woman from his dream and betray the “Es muss sein!“* of his love to go off with Tereza, the woman born of six laughable fortuities.

All this time he was sitting up in bed and looking at the woman who was lying beside him and holding his hand in her sleep. He felt an ineffable love for her. Her sleep must have been very light at the moment because she opened her eyes and gazed up at him questioningly.

“What are you looking at?” she asked.

He knew that instead of waking her he should lull her back to sleep, so he tried to come up with an answer that would plant the image of a new dream in her mind.

“I’m looking at the stars,” he said.

“Don’t say you’re looking at the stars. That’s a lie. You’re looking down.”

“That’s because we’re in an airplane. The stars are below us.”

“Oh, in an airplane,” said Tereza, squeezing his hand even tighter, and falling asleep again. And Tomas knew that Tereza was looking out of the round window of an airplane flying high above the stars.

*It must be

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Milan Kundera          1984

Cribb Comment: The passage above is a convergence of awakenings (from old dreams and to new ones) for both of the characters, Tomas and Tereza. As in all relationships, the catalytic reaction and yield is unavoidably a result of the combined elements or forces of both of the individual variables. Sadly, it seems we most often project all of the responsibility and outcome onto the reaction, understanding, and appreciation of our partner of ourselves. In the first paragraph, Tomas arrives at the epiphany that he has been chasing some sort of false idol or dream all of his life, looking for a distorted perfection of a woman that never was and never will be. His previous focus upon such had remained hidden in the depths of his subconsciousness and this is a common defense mechanism oft utilized by both sexes, to “dream” or live focused in the future, so that he (they) may ignore the reality of the present. Es muss sein further identifies his previous obsessiveness (addiction) towards some false construct of achievement or future existence. Again, an elaborate tool of distraction to withdraw and avoid the present. In this passage, Tomas finally achieves full awareness of this demon which allows him to cast it out of his soul forevermore.

Tereza, suffering in her own right from insecurity tied to her past, has always projected onto to Tomas a condescension in regards to herself. Thus “You’re looking down.” Note the isolated “you” and the “down.”

And finally love beckons love, as both characters escape the past and the future to enter into the present together. With the planting of a new dream (these words coupled with his actions within the novel), confidence within Tereza is birthed and nurtured; Tomas lifts Tereza’s soul out of her perpetual doubt and up above the stars, to be with him, as his chosen equal, forevermore.

2016

Crippling and yet, still Clutching (L vs S 225)

It was no sigh, no moan; it was a real scream. She screamed so hard that Tomas had to turn his head away from her face, afraid that her voice so close to his ear would rupture his eardrum. The scream was not an expression of sensuality. Sensuality is the total mobilization of the senses: an individual observes his partner intently, straining to catch every sound. But her scream aimed at crippling the senses, preventing all seeing and hearing. What was screaming in fact was the naive idealism of her love trying to banish all contradictions, banish the duality of body and soul, banish perhaps even time.

Were her eyes closed? No, but they were not looking anywhere. She kept them fixed on the void of the ceiling. At times, she twisted her head violently from side to side.

When the scream died down, she fell asleep at his side, clutching his hand. She held his hand all night.

Even at the age of eight she would fall asleep by pressing one hand into the other and making believe she was holding the hand of the man whom she loved, the man of her life. So if in her sleep she pressed Tomas’s hand with such tenacity, we can understand why: she had been training for it since childhood.

The Unbelievable Lightness of Being

Milan Kundera          1984

Making the World Safe for Animals and Spirits (WPMY 123)

“If you want to make the world safe for animals and spirits, you must have a system that reduces the amount of fear and greed and hatred and domineering to their minimum, which means that you must have enough economic security to get rid at least of that source of worry. Enough personal responsibility to prevent people from wallowing in sloth. Enough property to protect them from being bullied by the rich, but not enough to permit them to bully. And the same thing with political rights and authority—enough of the first for the protection of the many, too little of the second for domination by the few.”

“Sounds like peasants to me,” said Pete dubiously.

“Peasants plus small machines and power. Which means that they’re no longer peasants, except insofar as they’re largely self-sufficient.”

“And who makes the machines? More peasants?”

“No; the same sort of people that make them now. What can’t be made satisfactorily except by mass production methods, obviously has to go on being made that way. About a third of all production—that’s what it seems to amount to. The other two-thirds are more economically produced at home or in a small workshop. The immediate, practical problem is to work out the technique of that small-scale production. At present, all the research is going to the discovery of new fields of mass production.”

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

Aldous Huxley          1939

Somnambulistic Love (L vs S 224)

Once, when he had just lulled her to sleep but she had gone no farther than dream’s antechamber and was therefore still responsive to him, he said to her, “Good-bye, I’m going now.” “Where?” she asked in her sleep. “Away,” he answered sternly. “Then I’m going with you,” she said, sitting up in bed. “No, you can’t. I’m going away for good,” he said, going out into the hall. She stood up and followed him out, squinting. She was naked beneath her short nightdress. Her face was blank, expressionless, but she moved energetically. He walked through the hall of the flat into the hall of the building (the hall shared by all the occupants), closing the door in her face. She flung it open and continued to follow him, convinced in her sleep that he meant to leave her for good and she had to stop him. He walked down the stairs to the first landing and waited for her there. She went down after him, took him by the hand, and led him back to bed.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Milan Kundera          1984