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The social organization of dialogue : search for a voice Thompson, Linda Marie 1982

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THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OP DIALOGUE: SEARCH FOR A VOICE fey LINDA MARIE THOMPSON B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1976 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1982 Q Linda Maria Thompson, 1982 In present ing th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f r ee l y ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying o f th i s thesis for scho la r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h is representat ives . It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is fo r f inanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permiss ion. The Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date <^)^/ SS~ r ABSTRACT This thesis makes two claims ahout dialogue. F i r s t i t claims that dialogue i s s o c i a l l y organized, and second, i t claims that the s e l f i s multivocal i n i t s need to speak. What i s the import of this for s o c i o l o g i c a l inquiry? Why i s i t good to write dialogue? What can we learn from doing i t ? These are the questions which the thesis asks the reader to consider. The dialogue, which i s conducted through the voice of science, the voice of skeptism, the voice of convention and the voice of inquiry, i s presented as an alternative to t r e a t i s e . Dialogue i s multi vocal i n i t s presentation whereas t r e a t i s e i s univocal. Treatise claims that the only voice to recognize i s the voice which represents science, where science i s the voice of authority. It i s the voice which transmits knowledge from the knowledgeable to the ignorant. It i s the voice which "knows-for-certain" taking as i t s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y the burden of ensuring that the ignorant become informed of the truth about "things". Sociology, although i t has joined the t r a d i t i o n of t r e a t i s e , has always permitted i t s e l f to stand back from science and treat i t as an object. It has taken as i t s task i i i the need to remind us, and i t s e l f , that science i s a voice but only one of many voices which we heed. Therefore, dialogue, because of i t s multivocality, c l e a r l y corresponds to an established s o c i o l o g i c a l point of view and deserves to be revived as a forgotten form of inquiry. Furthermore, multivocality i s an issue which i s i m p l i c i t l y recognized by sociology i n that i t allows that science must be addressed as i n s t i t u t i o n a l and thoroughly s o c i a l . Given t h i s i n t e r e s t , dialogue shows p o s s i b i l i t y i n that i t allows one voice to cry out when science (or convention) speaks, "Stop! Let's talk about t h i s . What i s knowledge? Where does i t come from? Who has i t ? Who controls i t ? " The dialogue form, because i t allows the expression of one's many voices, can liberate one from sil e n c e , from death. This i s the awareness this work intends. i v TABLE OP CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT i i TABLE OP CONTENTS i v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v INTRODUCTION 1 PART I Chapter 1. SEARCH FOR A VOICE 10 PART I I Book I . THE HOLLOW MEN 36 I I . THE LIFE OF CHATTER 60 I I I . IMMEDIACY 87 IV. DIALOGUE 108 CONCLUDING REMARKS 127 BIBLIOGRAPHY 132 V ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis could not have come into being without the patient understanding and t a c i t support of my committee throughout my long and changing journey i n graduate school. I am especially thankful for t h e i r understanding of my need to explore and to f i n d for myself a way to self-expression. To Professor Barbara Williamson I would l i k e to issue a special sense of gratitude for her thoughtful reading and h e l p f u l c r i t i c i s m of my work and for her f u l l support at the completion of the work when my doubts were, the strongest and the most unfounded. Dr. Ken Stoddart, who, unbeknownst to him, provided a strong impetus for t h i s work by warning me, ever so long ago, that when one did fieldwork one discovered more about the s e l f than about the f i e l d , deserves a special place i n this endeavour. This work would not have been possible without the continued support and collaboration of my friend and mentor, Dr. Roy Turner. Throughout my struggle he has always been there to offer resistence to what i t i s I had to say, had to write. His continued prodding through long periods of "non-writing" gave me the courage to continue on. His gentle reminder that i t was not that I COULD not write but vi that I WOULD not write allowed this thesis to take th i s s p e c i a l form. Over the past few years he has been both "gad-fly" and "midwife" i n my l i f e , and to him I owe this l i v e - b i r t h — a f t e r ever so many "wind-eggs". I would also l i k e to acknowledge my graduate student friends and colleagues. In particu l a r , Holly Gardner's c r i t i c a l resistence to the work needs to be acknowledged. And a special thanks goes to Noga Gayle and Joanne Richardson for t h e i r willingness to l i s t e n to what had just been written—no matter what the time of day or night. They, I am sure, experienced most acutely my moments of blind panic. A special thanks also goes to Melody Hessing who helped p u l l my world back into i t s proper place whenever i t began to s l i p . I w i l l always be grateful to Dr. Rodney Michalko who helped bring into focus what i t was I was t r y i n g to say. His not-so-gentle nudgings on his t r i p s back to the West Coast greatly assisted i n making this work come to l i f e . F i n a l l y , I would l i k e to thank my non-academic friends for t h e i r continued support throughout the writing of t h i s "paper". I needed and appreciated t h e i r confidence i n my a b i l i t y to " f i n a l l y f i n i s h " . A very special thanks go to my mother and my son for "just being there" when I needed them. v i i I would a l s o l i k e to thank my t y p i s t s , C a r e l l A l d e n and Wendy S a a r i , who both r e o r g a n i z e d t h e i r l i v e s , somewhat, i n order f o r me t o meet my d e a d l i n e s . We s h a l l not cease from e x p l o r a t i o n And the end of a l l our e x p l o r i n g W i l l be to a r r i v e where we s t a r t e d And know the p l a c e f o r the f i r s t t i m e . T . S . E l i o t 1 Introduction I "Whatever the p h i l o s o p h e r b e l i e v e s h i m s e l f to be d o i n g , there i s imminent w i t h i n h i s p r o f e s s i o n a l a c t i v i t y something antecedent to e i t h e r a u n i l a t e r a l or a b i l a t e r a l mode of procedure : there i s a m o n o - l a t e r a l or p r o t o - l a t e r a l a c t i v i t y . To t r a n s l a t e s i m p l y : the p h i l o s o p h e r i s t r y i n g to uncover something about h i m s e l f . P h i l o s o p h i c a l a c t i v i t y i s s e l f d i s c o v e r y . " Natanson (1965:152) The aim of t h i s t h e s i s i s to address Natanson's admiss ion of p h i l o s o p h i c a l d i s c o u r s e as a s o c i o l o g i c a l concern . I I D i a l o g u e , or c o n v e r s a t i o n , i s s o c i a l l y o r g a n i z e d . There have been s t u d i e s of c o n v e r s a t i o n , f o r example, J e f f e r s o n (1972), Sacks (1972), Scheglof f and Sacks (1973) and Turner (1972), e x p l i c a t i n g how c o n v e r s a t i o n i n our d a i l y l i v e s i s organized as a p r a c t i c a l a c t i v i t y . For the most part these works are concerned w i t h t e c h n i c a l s t r u c t u r e s i n c o n v e r s a t i o n . That i s , form r a t h e r than content , or form ra ther than p o s s i b i l i t y . These ana lys t s take as t h e i r main 2 concern how conversation i s a r t f u l l y and unconsciously organized by members, displaying for the reader such r s t r u c t u r a l features as how openings and closings are accomplished, or how t a l k i s sequentially organized. Thus the task of the analyst i s to make e x p l i c i t the methods members use and the resources they employ i n making t h e i r speech orderly, cohesive, understandable-by-all-parti cipants. The analyst i s not concerned with 'what the conversation i s about 1, whether or not i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g or of a concern to her/him. That i s , every piece of talk, every topic, i s awarded the same concern—be i t a transcribed recording of members conversation while playing bridge, a family dinner conversation, or conversation about the morality of c a p i t a l punishment. This, we could say, makes i t a t r u l y democratic concern. The analyst does not engage what has been said i n a way which would bring to l i g h t the version of the world the participants subscribe to or that the analyst subscribes to. In other words, what was said does not provide the analyst with the impulse to speak, to converse. Instead, how i t i s said, what rules are being used, provide the g r i s t for the analyst's m i l l . Another way to say this i s to say that the analyst takes as her/his concern sheerly the technical methods members employ i n producing, through their t a l k , an orderly world. 3 Readers are not asked to consider this world which i s offered through transcribed conversation and change because of t h e i r engagement with i t . The i n v i t a t i o n to become an inte r l o c u t o r i s never issued, i s never considered. Rather the analyst, as expert, provides a method for us as students or colleagues to follow so that we might, i n turn, "r e p l i c a t e and/or extend the analysis..." (Turner, 1972:11) . I l l In sociology the analyst's task, as we have seen, i s to analyze conversation; that i s , make conversation the topic for analysis. This i s not the only way, however, of orienting to conversation. In the past conversation or dialogue, i t s e l f , has been used as a vehicle for inquiry rather than merely a topic to be inquired i n t o . In other words the d i a l o g i c a l format has been, and s t i l l i s , responsive to writers need to express and explore. H i s t o r i c a l l y the dialogue form has been used by such thinkers as Plato and Hume, for example, to achieve a deeper understanding of the s e l f and i t s re l a t i o n to the world. For instance, Plato uses the dialogues to engage his interlocutors i n conversation about what i s important to them. Socrates searches for truth through the dialect by engaging others i n conversation about what i t i s to know. 4 He forces his in t e r l o c u t o r s , and u s — h i s r e a d e r s — t o be responsible and responsive to our speech, our l i v e s . Hence we need to question what i s the good of dialogue? Why did Plato write dialogue rather than t r e a t i s e ? Before addressing these questions of dialogue, let us think, for a moment, about t r e a t i s e . A r i s t o t l e wrote t r e a t i s e ; Descartes wrote t r e a t i s e . The t r e a t i s e , i t s e l f , makes claims about the world; i t i s the speech of the expert. It t e l l s us what we need to know about "things" i n the world. It brings us up to date; i t informs. And sociology has joined the t r a d i t i o n of t r e a t i s e . Sociology urges us, no, demands us, to write about something i n the world. Conversation Analysts, to use our on-going example, t e l l us about conversation—how i t i s accomplished; how i t i s structured. Yet what sociology, what the Soc i a l Sciences, have forgotten i s that there i s an alternative to t r e a t i s e and that i s dialogue. They (we) have forgotten that h i s t o r i c a l l y this i s a legitimate form of inquiry. Let us now return to the question raised of dialogue—what i s i t s good and why did Plato choose the dialogue form. Rosen ( I 9 6 8 : x i i i ) reminds us that by writing dialogues, "...Plato says nothing i n his own name, and second, whatever anyone says i s re l a t i v e to a s p e c i f i c dramatic s i t u a t i o n . " In other words, through his characters, Plato can say whatever he needs to say, at any 5 given time; moreover he can treat speech i n an i r o n i c way; he can, and does, engage i n d i a l e c t i c a l speech. Rosen ( l 9 6 8 : x v i i i ) also reminds us that the dialogue form i s a method of teaching which Plato subscribes to. He (Rosen) stat es: "Is i t not precisely the function of the dialogue form that i t forces the reader to engage i n the act of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , to f i l l i n missing l i n k s , to revise accomodated arguments, to discern the import of hints, to understand the significance of jokes?" Hence the dialogue form reminds us that to teach or to learn i s not merely to give or to receive information about the world. Rather i t i s to engage one's i n t e l l e c t i n one's own noetic a c t i v i t y . What, then, makes the dialogue format a suitable form of exposition for sociology? It i s my contention that the s e l f i s s o c i a l l y organized so as to have more than one voice. We have the voice of commonsense or the voice of the conventional l i f e . This voice speaks what i t perceives, what impinges on i t s eyeballs. This i s the voice of immediacy which refuses to engage or be engaged. For how can one argue about what one perceives? We merely perceive, and that i s how the world IS. Imbedded i n this s e l f i s also the voice of the expert. This i s the analyst; the one who i s ruled by science. This voice, i f allowed to rule, speaks i n monologue, i n t r e a t i s e , as one who "knows" the correct 6 a n s w e r , t h e c o r r e c t way. F i n a l l y , t h e r e i s t h e v o i c e o f t h e i n q u i r e r — t h e one who w i l l b r i n g i n t o q u e s t i o n what t h e o t h e r v o i c e s "know" f o r c e r t a i n . T h i s i s t h e v o i c e o f one who i s w i l l i n g t o r i s k , t o e n g a g e . How do we e x p l a i n t h i s t e n s i o n o f s e l f ? I t seems we must do as M a r x , K i e r k e g a a r d and S o c r a t e s , f o r e x a m p l e , s u g g e s t and t r e a t t h e s e l f d i a l e c t i c a l l y . Hence t h e d i a l o g i c a l f o r m a t i s an o r g a n i z a t i o n wh i ch i s r e s p o n s i v e t o t h e s e needs o f v o i c e . One way t o e x p l o r e t h e m u l t i v o c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n o f s e l f i s t o c o n d u c t a d i a l o g u e wh i ch w i l l a l l o w each v o i c e t o h a v e i t s t i m e t o s p e a k . 1 IV T h i s t h e s i s i s o r g a n i z e d i n t o two p a r t s . P a r t I i s an a t t e m p t t o meet t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s o f t r e a t i s e . I d i s c u s s t h e p r o b l e m o f s p e a k i n g , o f f i n d i n g a p l a c e t o s t a n d , a p l a c e f r o m w h i c h t o b e g i n . The p r o b l e m , o f c o u r s e , i s i n s o l u a b l e ; no t e c h n i c a l f i x e s a r e d i s c o v e r e d ; no p e r f e c t answer p r o p o s e d . L i k e E l i o t , w e — t h e r e a d e r s and I — " a r r i v e where we s t a r t e d " a n d , h o p e f u l l y , "know t h e p l a c e f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e " . But we do not " know" i n t h e way wh i ch meets t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s o f t r e a t i s e . P a r t I I s t a r t s a g a i n . I t seems n e c e s s a r y t o a l l o w t h e need t o s p e a k m u l t i v o c a l l y t o i n f l u e n c e t h e f o r m . 7 T h e r e f o r e t h e d i a l o g u e format i s r e c a l l e d as a way of s p e a k i n g about t h e m u l t i v o c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of s e l f as a s o c i o l o g i c a l c o n c e r n . This d i a l o g u e i s an attempt t o shed l i g h t on t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s of speech and s i l e n c e , and t o b r i n g us t o some degree of u n d e r s t a n d i n g of what i t i s t o speak i n a committed and r e s p o n s i v e way. 8 FOOTNOTES 1 . K i e r k e g a a r d a d d r e s s e s t h e p r o b l e m o f m u l t i v o c a l i s m by-w r i t i n g u n d e r p s e u d o n y m s . I n t h i s w a y e a c h w r i t e r i s a l l o w e d h i s s a y w i t h o u t b e i n g k i l l e d b y t h e e d i t o r i a l I . 9 PART 1 CHAPTER 1 SEARCH FOR A VOICE " I would r e a l l y l i k e to have s l i p p e d i m p e r c e p t i b l y i n t o the l e c t u r e , as i n a l l others I s h a l l be d e l i v e r i n g , perhaps over the years ahead. I would have preferred to be enveloped i n words, borne away beyond a l l p o s s i b l e beginnings. At the moment of speaking I would l i k e to have perceived a nameless v o i c e , long preceeding me, l e a v i n g me merely to enmesh myself i n i t , t a k i n g up i t s cadence, and to lodge myself, when no one was l o o k i n g , i n i t s i n t e r s t i c e s as i f i t had paused an i n s t a n t , i n suspense, to beckon me. There would have been no beginnings: i n s t e a d , speech would proceed from me, whi l e I stood i n i t s path a slender gap - the point of i t s p o s s i b l e disappearance." Poucault (1972:215) I Just as Poucault would l i k e to s l i p i m p e r c e p t i b l y i n t o l e c t u r e , I would l i k e t o s l i p i m p e r c e p t i b l y i n t o w r i t i n g . I , too, would prefer to be "...enveloped i n words, borne away beyond a l l p o s s i b l e beginnings". I, too, would l i k e t o f i n d myself merely enmeshed with a nameless voice which long preceded me. 1 0 Now why would Foucault and I perceive i t easier to s l i p unnoticed into a discourse already begun? And, why would we desire to be indistinguishable from voices past and from voices yet to come? Could i t be we are afraid to be heard? Afraid to make a difference? In order to understand th i s fear, this hesitancy to begin, we must inquire into the idea of beginning. And so begin we must. II What Foucault and I seem to have forgotten when we pick up our pens to write (open our mouths to speak) i s that we are not beginning a new conversation. The paradox for Foucault (and for me) i s that while we yearn to find ourselves i n the midst of speech we have forgotten that we a l l start h e r e — i n the midst of discourse. Just as i n conversation, i n discourse we are always addressing or responding to speech which has preceded us, whether i t be a s p e c i f i c text or mere opinion from everyday l i f e . This i s what i t i s to begin. When this i s forgotten and we treat our speech as perfect speech, as speech which speaks i t s grounds, as speech which has no history, then we orient to the need to begin at a place which can be seen by a l l as the "true 11 beginning". To begin, then, from this vantage point i s to commit oneself to a beginning place which i s f i r s t , which i s s e l f announcing. This desire for a true beginning speaks of the need to treat our speech as part of nature, as the d e f i n i t i v e t r u t h . Thus, i n this version of the world, the speaker can only start i f she i s secure i n the knowledge that she goes forth from a s o l i d , well-anchored position; therefore, the problem of beginning becomes a problem of locating a place to stand which w i l l give us some leverage on the world, and which w i l l allow us to be experts on this world. For Social S c i e n t i s t s this place from which to speak must be an elevated position, beyond the everyday, because to begin from within the everyday would be to begin with imperfect speech. Durkheim, for example, urges us to see t h i s world as an inadequate place to begin; as a place which needs to be s t e r i l i z e d and systemetized before speech can be secure, before i t can be well grounded i n science. "Since the word "suicide" recurs constantly i n the course of conversation, i t might be thought that i t s sense i s universally known and that d e f i n i t i o n i s superfluous. Actually the words of everyday language, l i k e the concepts they express, are always susceptible of more than one meaning, and the scholars employing them i n t h e i r accepted use without further d e f i n i t i o n would r i s k serious misunderstanding... and so the scholars cannot take as 12 s u b j e c t of t h i s r e s e a r c h r o u g h l y assembled groups of f a c t s c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o words of common usage. He h i m s e l f must e s t a b l i s h t h e groups he wishes t o s t u d y i n o r d e r t o g i v e them t h e homogeneity and the s p e c i f i c meaning n e c e s s a r y f o r them t o be s u s c e p t i b l e of s c i e n t i f i c t r e a t m e n t . " (Durkheim 1 951 :41 ) Durkheim's p r e d e c e s s o r f and o u r s , D e s c a r t e s a l s o warns us t h a t mere o p i n i o n i s not an adequate s t a r t i n g p l a c e . A c c o r d i n g t o D e s c a r t e s we s h o u l d endeavor t o sweep our minds c l e a n of mere o p i n i o n u n t i l we have something " b e t t e r " ( t r u e r ) t o t a k e i t s p l a c e . "But as regards a l l t h e o p i n i o n s which up t o t h i s t i m e I had embraced, I thought I c o u l d not do b e t t e r t h a n endeavour once and f o r a l l t o sweep them c o m p l e t e l y away, so t h a t t h e y might l a t e r be r e p l a c e d , e i t h e r by o t h e r s which would be b e t t e r , or by t h e same, when I had made them conform t o t h e u n i f o r m i t y of a r a t i o n a l scheme." ( D e s c a r t e s 1 969:11 5) Thus D e s c a r t e s , l i k e Durkheim a f t e r him, i s t e l l i n g us o p i n i o n i s not an adequate p l a c e t o s t a r t from. Both t h e s e t h i n k e r s advocate a pure and s y s t e m a t i z e d form of thought which i s a d m i r a b l e — but we must ask how t h i s i s a c h i eved? U n l i k e Durkheim and D e s c a r t e s , however, S o c r a t e s i s content t o s t a r t w i t h mere o p i n i o n . For example, when Menon (70) comes up t o S o c r a t e s , and s a y s , "Can you t e l l me, S o c r a t e s - can v i r t u e be t a u g h t ? " S o c r a t e s does not say t o 13 Menon, "We cannot f i n d out about virtue u n t i l we have gone out and done a survey to f i n d out what virtue among the majority of the population means." Nor does he say, " F i r s t do a l i t e r a t u r e review and t e l l me what has been said before. T e l l me what the texts say." No, Socrates s h i f t s Menon's question to one which w i l l examine or re-create the idea of virtue i t s e l f . Socrates does not f e e l compelled to look for an o r i g i n which i s outside mere opinion. Instead he starts from wherever he and his interlocutor happen to be, that i s with mere opinion, with whatever happens to be the concern of the moment and moves from there. At the clos i n g of the dialogue, Menon and we, the readers, do not have an answer to the question—"Can virtue be taught", but we do have a deeper understanding of virtue and i t s place i n our l i v e s . To r e i t e r a t e , the scholastic t r a d i t i o n which cites the l i t e r a t u r e , thereby showing loyalty to that which has already been written (the same t r a d i t i o n which grounds i t s speech i n science), i s asking for a secure home to move forward from. Here the beginning or the origins need not be reopened because what i s being proposed i s a move forward. Furthermore t h i s movement w i l l always be within the l i m i t s of the t r a d i t i o n . In other words, the one who wants to move forward needs a fortress as home, as a place to start from and as a place to come back to, because without a well-anchored beginning the movement forward can be 14 challenged or can be open to c r i t i c i s m . But i f one gave up the urge to move forward, one could give up t r e a t i n g the beginning as an o r i g i n and thereby be s a t i s f i e d simply to s t a r t . In some sense Socrates never did move forward. As I have already said, i t i s not as i f the question "Can virtue be taught" i s ever answered. On the contrary, the question of i t s being a teachable "thing" i s never addressed. Likewise, at the closing of the "Lysis" ( 2 2 3 ) Socrates admits, "...and as yet we have not been able to discover what i s a f r i e n d . " Yet he and his young interlocutors departed as friends, having spent the afternoon i n conversation about what i t i s to be a f r i e n d . Clearly, then, the doctrine of r e c o l l e c t i o n does not t e l l us to move forward from an already established position, rather i t seems that for Socrates no position i s "well established". Furthermore, unlike Descartes, Socrates feels no shame i n t h i s . He i s not embarrassed to subscribe to a doctrine which says, "Reflect, recollect what i t i s you already know. Examine your l i f e . " This doctrine of Socrates i s not concerned with advancement (as a linear concept), but rather, i t encourages us to open up beginnings, or as McHugh et a l (1974:11 ) advises, to treat beginnings as already achieved, as already accomplished. Remembering, of course, that those who treat beginnings as f i r s t forget that beginnings are grounded; therefore i t i s 15 the task of the analyst to d i s p l a y these grounds as best she can. I l l The tyranny of perfect speech t e l l s us i t i s be t t e r to remain s i l e n t than r i s k beginning. Perfect speech commands us, "Be s i l e n t u n t i l you have p e r f e c t i o n . " To begin, however, i s to r i s k breaking s i l e n c e , as i f s i l e n c e i t s e l f was not a r i s k , as i f s i l e n c e i t s e l f did not speak. In h i s e a r l y work, Wi t t g e n s t e i n (1961:151) urges us to f o l l o w the advice of perfect speech when he s t a t e s , "What we cannot speak about we must pass over i n s i l e n c e . " What i s W i t t g e n s t e i n t e l l i n g us i f not to keep our thoughts s i l e n t u n t i l we have perf e c t speech. He urges us t o keep s i l e n t u n t i l we "know" f o r c e r t a i n . W i t t g e n s t e i n presses us to r i s k s i l e n c e rather than r i s k speaking about things we do not know. He i s not sayi n g , "I know, I am the expert," he uses the p l u r a l form "we", i n c l u d i n g h i m s e l f i n t h i s u n i v e r s a l plea. In contrast Socrates t e l l s us i t our task to speak about these very t h i n g s of which we know nothing. He t e l l s us i t i s w i t h i n our power to r e c o l l e c t ; he asks us to draw on our own thoughts and enter the dialogue with a f r i e n d l y mind. It i s of these very t h i n g s , the things of which we know nothing; 16 but we must speak. This, for Socrates, and for us, i s the good of conversation. The voice which t e l l s us to remain s i l e n t u n t i l we "know" for certain i s saying, "do not risk dialogue u n t i l you are sure you w i l l come off well." "Do not r i s k , " , i t says, " s e l f exposure u n t i l the s e l f which i s to be exposed can be exposed as an expert." This voice i s saying, "Wait u n t i l you get there before you speak." From th i s perspective the destination i s expertise. This voice i s l i k e that of Descartes i n that i t holds out the promise that we a l l are capable of a r r i v i n g just as long as we follow the proper path (use the proper method). To t h i s we respond, "We have to begin to speak from wherever we are." Then this speech can be reformulated by a f r i e n d l y i n t e r l o c u t o r . The speech once spoken, the words once written, can be treated as something for collaboration, something for work. Thus when Wittgenstein says " l e t ' s not do that" i t can be an injunction against disclosure, a c a l l for n i h i l i s m , or we can respond to Wittgenstein i n a more f r i e n d l y way and say he urges us not to chatter. Wittgenstein speaks as though chatter i s the only alternative to speaking knowledgeably. Yet, i f we examine our souls we can say chatter i s worse than silence for chatter speaks not from ignorance but from no commitment, or rather from a commitment to chatter. 17 What i s f o r g o t t e n by tho s e who t a k e t h e vow of s i l e n c e i s t h a t s i l e n c e i t s e l f i s a r i s k : the r i s k of de a t h . S i l e n c e d i s o r i e n t s . I t i s p e r c e i v e d as s a f e ; i t g i v e s n o t h i n g t o be c h a l l e n g e d , except s i l e n c e i t s e l f . I t t h i n k s i t r i s k s n o t h i n g . I t l e a r n s n o t h i n g . I t i s as though s i l e n c e ought t o be q u i e t l y and s e c r e t l y a c c u m u l a t i n g t h i n g s t o s e c u r e i t s b e g i n n i n g s . F u r t h e r m o r e , i t w i l l not t r u s t any i n t e r l o c u t o r , or more c o r r e c t l y any p o t e n t i a l i n t e r l o c u t o r , u n t i l i t i s s u r e of i t s e l f . Sure i t w i l l , i n some sense, win t h e c o n t e s t . Thus s i l e n c e f i n d s i t s home i n a community of a d v e r s a r i e s , not i n a community of c o l l a b o r a t o r s . What does t h i s say about i n t e r l o c u t o r s ? I t says t h e y are not t o be t r u s t e d t o engage i n d i a l o g u e ; they have n o t h i n g t o o f f e r . They are not c o l l a b o r a t o r s . A l s o , s i l e n c e i s s a y i n g , " I have chosen t o work i n i s o l a t i o n u n t i l I have p e r f e c t i o n , u n t i l I am t h e e x p e r t . Up u n t i l t h i s p o i n t I w i l l remain s i l e n t . I w i l l remain s i l e n t u n t i l I have a s e c u r e b e g i n n i n g . " Of c o u r s e , i f we choose t o remain s i l e n t u n t i l we have a s e c u r e b e g i n n i n g , we have a l r e a d y d e c i d e d t h e speech produced w i l l be p e r f e c t speech; i t w i l l not be i n need of c o l l a b o r a t i o n ; i t w i l l not be i n need of an i n t e r l o c u t o r , an a l t e r t o our ego. I t w i l l merely need an a u d i e n c e , f o r t h e d e c i s i o n w i l l have been made t o speak i n monologue. 18 We could, however, parody Wittgenstein and claim "of that which we have knowledge, there i s not need to speak because we already know". In this way speech demands silence on both counts. That i s , that i t commands us to keep s i l e n t on that of which we know nothing, and of things of which we have knowledge i t says "Why bother?". IV What i s i t we risk by beginning to write? If we conceive of writing as a display of s e l f , then we risk self-exposure. We open our-selves to r i d i c u l e , assessment, judgement from others, and, perhaps, more deadly, from our s e l f . We take the risk of others saying, "So this i s where she begins; t h i s i s what she takes as the beginning." They then can pass judgement and say, "This i s not the true begi nni ng. " But t h i s can be the case only i f we set up our i n t e r l o c u t o r as the judge who assesses rather than as an i n t e r l o c u t o r who collaborates. The judge stands outside the dialogue. The judge does not have to be part of the dialogue, i n f a c t , she cannot be because she i s the only one who holds the correct answers. A collaborator she i s not; rather she i s the one who w i l l assess whether a speaker i s right or wrong; the implication being that the judge i s i n a 19 superior position to the writer, to the producer. The judge holds the power; she i s the expert who speaks i n monologue. By proclaiming, "You are right or you are wrong," the judge condemns us to s i l e n c e . Thus, just as the judges work within the security of the code of t h e i r i n s t i t u t i o n s , so the one who judges discourse works within the security of a s o l i d , well-anchored beginning. She treats discourse as i f she "knows" the method, the treatment, the l i t e r a t u r e , the modes of arguments. She "knows" why you began where you did, whether i t was the correct beginning or whether you f a i l e d — had a f a l s e s t a r t ; she knows what you are aiming at; she knows what your destination should be. Moreover she must speak from secure method then a l l she has to do i s to see i f what you have said i s i n accord with this method. She assigns a match—either i t matches, or i t doesn't; either you succeed or you f a i l . Prom this we can say the judge i s the expert who knows the t r a d i t i o n and safeguards that t r a d i t i o n . The judge does not need to learn; she only needs to review. She searches for a correspondence between your speech and the t r a d i t i o n , where the t r a d i t i o n i s a corpus of knowledge which must be adhered to and respected i n some coherent way. Furthermore, the work must be additive; that i s , i t must have secured i t s beginning and moved forward. It 20 cannot be purely i m i t a t i v e ; although i t i s r e p e t i t i v e . It i s more of the same, only better. That i s i t s aim. It i s l i k e Melletus, from the Apology, who sees the good as that which meets the norms of commonsense, of science, of the everyday world and i s content with that. And judges everything by that. Repetition of method i s a reaffirmation of membership. By repeating, the s e l f displays i t s orientation to membership; i t displays i t s s e l f as belonging to the t r a d i t i o n which gives the s e l f l i f e . It i s not, however, the s e l f who produces the work who decides whether or not the work belongs to the t r a d i t i o n , rather i t i s the judging s e l f making t h i s decision. In other words, the s e l f who produces the work i s not the judge of that work, even though, concretely, they might be one and the same person. Another way to say this i s to say that the ego produces and the superego judges, where a n a l y t i c a l l y , the producer and judge are d i s t i n c t e n t i t i e s . By understanding the s e l f i n this way we can see how the s e l f silences the s e l f by setting up one side as judge over the soul. This need not be the case, however. An alternative to this arrangement i s to engage i n dialogue with the soul where the aim of writing i s not to convince or to l i v e up to some t r a d i t i o n , on the contrary, the aim i s to 21 discover something about the s e l f . This arrangement requires a certain kind of courage for the s e l f always runs the r i s k of bringing to lig h t something negative about the s e l f ; something the s e l f does not l i k e about the s e l f . Then, at thi s point, the s e l f w i l l struggle with i t s e l f . One side w i l l say "Think r e f l e c t i v e l y " while the other side c r i e s , "Do not risk i t ; you cannot do i t . Why bother—you might be wrong!" The danger i n this battle i s the judging s e l f might pre-decide f a i l u r e ; i t might formulate the s e l f (the i n t e r l o c u t o r ) as enemy. And i n this way w i l l silence i t s e l f . After a l l who wants to t a l k with the i r enemy? V Let us return to Foucault. When he says, "...at the moment of speaking I would l i k e to have perceived a nameless voice, long preceding me, leaving me merely to enmesh myself i n i t , taking up i t s cadence, and to lodge myself, when no one was looking, i n i t s i n t e r s t i c e s as i f i t had paused an instant,... There would have been no beginnings; instead speech would proceed from me,...", Foucault i s attempting to address the problem of beginning. In the above passage Foucault's way of avoiding the risk of beginning i s to plead non-responsibility. That i s , Foucault, by expressing his desire to be merely enmeshed 22 i n the d i s c o u r s e a l r e a d y begun, to take up speech when no one i s l o o k i n g , hopes to escape the burden of a p p r o p r i a t i n g the b e g i n n i n g , the speech, as h i s own. This enmeshment would enable F o u c a u l t , i f he could a c t u a l l y achieve i t , t o s a y , " T h i s i s someone e l s e ' s b e g i n n i n g ; I am s imply c o n t i n u i n g on; the words are merely coming from my mouth. I am s i m p l y the mouthpiece. The words do not belong to me, t h e r e f o r e I am not r e s p o n s i b l e . " C l e a r l y t h e n , Foucaul t and I—because we must remember Foucault i s not alone i n t h i s yearn ing—are a f r a i d of a s t a r t i n g place which i s not a b e g i n n i n g , and t h i s i s why we want the d i s c o u r s e to have a l ready begun. In t h i s way we can s t a r t without h a v i n g to take the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r b e g i n n i n g . By t r a n s f e r r i n g the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r our speech to t r a d i t i o n we can abdica te the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to b e g i n . This i s to say , Foucault and I would l i k e to g ive t r a d i t i o n the a u t h o r i t y to speak on our b e h a l f . We i s s u e a d i s c l a i m e r by s t a t i n g that i t i s not r e a l l y our s e l v e s which speak but the v o i c e of t r a d i t i o n . Hence we can l i k e n our d e s i r e , F o u c a u l t ' s and mine, to Marx 's man " . . . w h o l i v e s by the grace of a n o t h e r . . . " (Marx 1978:191 ) . In t h i s s t a t e of d e s i r e we can say that t r a d i t i o n not only creates our l i f e but a l s o gives us l i f e , s u s t a i n s us i n l i f e . To t h i s , of course , we must ask jus t what k i n d of l i f e are we a s k i n g f o r . 23 Granted Poucault and I are hoping to relate to t r a d i t i o n i n a f a i r l y t r i v i a l way. We are asking t r a d i t i o n to do the work for us, take the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for us. We ask t r a d i t i o n to grant us anonymity, although we are w i l l i n g to lend i t our voice. And what are we asking for when we ask for anonymity? We are asking that our-selves remain secret, disguised i n and by t r a d i t i o n . But by choosing to expose th i s anonymous s e l f who says, "I am merely walking i n some others' well-established footsteps", we display a timid s e l f , a s e l f that has allowed i t s e l f to be sustained and created by the t r a d i t i o n . This s e l f , who i s not w i l l i n g to take the risk or the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for beginning, suffers f a i l u r e of nerve, and therefore has to search for a nameless voice i n a discourse already begun. This s e l f i s asking to be indistinguishable from any other speaker. She i s asking that no one know who i s speaking. She i s asking that one voice mesh with the other; Then, at any time i n the discourse, the s e l f can be replaced by any-self. The hope revealed i s that the s e l f w i l l be lost or at least concealed. The schol a s t i c t r a d i t i o n which grounds t h i s yearning of Foucault's (and we must see i t as yearning because i f he were committed to this position he would move forward from i t rather than anguish over i t ) i s the 2 4 t r a d i t i o n which says, "Cite the l i t e r a t u r e . T e l l us where your speech i s coming from. Where i t i s moving forward from. Be f a i t h f u l to the text! Systematize your knowledge!". This voice provides an e f f i c i e n t solution to the problem of beginning because i t commands a beginning which i s not a beginning. It does not want to authorize i t s own speech; i t compels the t r a d i t i o n to be the authority. "I am not beginning; I am merely following the footsteps already made. What I am about to say has already been authorized. So judge them, not me." cries this timid s e l f . To be sure, this form of scholarship beseeches one to f i n d footsteps already made, to walk carefully i n them and to show others how to walk i n them, being heedful a l l the while not to make footsteps of one's own. What we forget, however, i s that by deciding to walk i n pre-formed footprints we have made our own; only we have concealed a l l traces of them by hiding i n the footsteps of our predecessors. In effect what we are saying i s we abdicate our r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to begin. Consequently we make our selves slave to discourse already begun. Thus, we are ultimately saying that our masters, our forefathers, had the right and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to begin but we do not. We must be slaves to our predecessors and treat t h e i r work with slavish f a i t h f u l n e s s . Now i f the s e l f i s t r y i n g to be i t s e l f , i f i t i s 25 t r y i n g to discover and disclose, i t would simply say what i t has to say. On the other hand the one who does not want to r i s k anything, the one who needs a secure beginning, i s the once who does not want a beginning which can be seen as diagnostic about the s e l f . Thus by following the "scholastic t r a d i t i o n " rather than the "philosophic t r a d i t i o n " , which urges us to know our s e l f , we do not need to be diagnostic about the s e l f . By displaying a s e l f which has chosen to be interchangeable with any-one i n a t r a d i t i o n , no information about the s e l f need be given. Whereas simply saying what i t i s one has to say i s giving others grounds for assessing the s e l f or for having information about the s e l f rather than assessing competence i n method. Saying what i t i s you have to say i s exposing your commitment and displaying what i t i s you are w i l l i n g to r i s k . Assuredly then, to choose the scholastic method described above, i s to choose anonymity. For example, we need only to look i n the journals to see millions of faceless s c i e n t i f i c a r t i c l e s . As beginnings they are r i s k l e s s ; they do not say who the author i s , rather they say, "This i s science writing." Yet, within the s c i e n t i f i c community a certain amount of whimsey i s allowed by someone who i s distinguished, by someone who has proven herself to be an expert. It i s as i f the reward for greatness i n this 26 community i s the allowance of small disclosures of s e l f . But t h i s i s allowed only to those who are great. In t h i s way the community reaffirms i t s commitment to anonymity by occasionally allowing a "great person" to break with the t r a d i t i o n a l s t y l e . This serves as a marker, as a l i m i t to the rest of the community. It says, "We cannot a l l do that." Those who have not yet established themselves as great must attend to the format of t h e i r community. When we treat Sociology l i k e one of the sciences i t becomes a community of de s c r i p t i v i s t s . This i s the task, and t h i s i s the commitment, hence, by necessity, the s e l f must be l e f t out. The work must be work which anyone i n that t r a d i t i o n could r e p l i c a t e , provided the stated method was followed. For example, anyone should be able to go into the f i e l d and describe as you have described. This i s how v a l i d i t y i s checked. Hence this t r a d i t i o n demands that the s e l f be a faceless s e l f , and t h i s i s what the s e l f has chosen to be - anonymous, faceless, wearing the mask of t r a d i t i o n . Furthermore, this s e l f accepts the limits of the t r a d i t i o n as her l i m i t s , as her boundaries. As a "good" s c i e n t i s t she reveres the t r a d i t i o n and i s f a i t h f u l to i t . What we forget, however, when we choose the anonymous beginning i s that t h i s , too, i s a display of s e l f . There i s no speech which i s not a display of s e l f . To be sure, the one who chooses anonymous beginnings as her 27 orientation displays an unreflective commitment as well as a secretive s e l f . In other words, by choosing to be anonymous and wear the mask of t r a d i t i o n , the s e l f i s formulated as a s e l f - i n - s e c r e t , as one who needs to keep the secret s e l f s a f e l y hidden behind the form of t r a d i t i o n . For this s e l f the beginning i s joining the t r a d i t i o n as one who i s not going to make a difference, as one who w i l l i n g l y , i n the name of science, grounds herself i n i t ; as one who i s f a i t h f u l to i t and who gives i t the authority for her speech and, consequently, for her very being. To restate, as I said e a r l i e r , the t r a d i t i o n creates and sustains this one and i s responsible for her. In t h i s way beginnings display an attachment to the community; we begin as the community requires us to begin. VI We s t i l l have not, however, come to terms with the idea of beginning. Why i s i t so d i f f i c u l t to begin? Why i s i t so painful to f i n d a voice with which to speak? What are the consequences for the one who consciously reveals the s e l f ? And, f i n a l l y , why would one choose death (silence) instead of l i f e (speech)? Certainly i t does not seem to be the case that the problem of beginning to write i s sheerly a technical 28 trouble. Although this i s not to say that technical troubles are not rea l troubles that can and do plague us. But rather, t h i s i s not the task at hand, to illuminate t e c h n i c a l troubles and to develop techniques for overcoming them. Because i f i t i s the case that beginnings are mere tec h n i c a l problems then, empirically, a solution could be found. For example, we could go to writing school; we could h i r e someone to edit our work, or whatever. (The handy thing about technical troubles i s that sooner or later a tech n i c a l solution can be found.) Every problem has a solution i n this technical world, but I suspect the problem of beginning would s t i l l plague us, even after applying the tech n i c a l fixes suggested above. Hence, i t appears that the idea of beginning i s related to ideas of risk and commitment. Conceivably, one might ask, "What i s i t we risk by beginning?". E a r l i e r we talked about the ri s k of s e l f exposure and undoubtedly one of the consequences of writing i s i t does expose our thoughts. And we do fear our thoughts w i l l be found def i c i ent. For instance, i t i s commonly said, "I cannot get my thoughts down on paper." As I have stated, one way to understand this statement i s to treat i t concretely as a tech n i c a l trouble, and therefore a problem with language rather than a problem with s e l f . 29 That i s , we can techni c a l i z e i t and say, "Well, I guess i t is my misfortune that words have not yet been invented to match my thoughts. Therefore, I w i l l just wait u n t i l this happens, or u n t i l I can think thoughts which conform to the words I have command of." But this i s not the only way to deal with the trouble. An alternative would be to address the problem of thinking and ask whether or not we think i n words. This, i n turn, raises the question of the inherency of language, or the innateness of language. In some very real sense these questions are unanswerable and, therefore, I w i l l parrot the early Wittgenstein and say what we cannot speak about we must pass over i n sile n c e . That i s , I see these questions as unanswerable and leading to silence, to ni h i l i s m . In either case we run into a "dead end" since we cannot think about thought without thought i t s e l f . Furthermore, we must ask what good does th i s do i n a s s i s t i n g us to understand the problem of not being able to get our thoughts down on paper. Clearly, what needs to be addressed i s the fear of putting our thoughts down on paper. Somehow there i s a sense that our writing should mirror our thoughts. But how could t h i s be? It i s not as though we can hold our thoughts i n abeyance while we write, and then, when we have written something, go back to our thoughts and check one against the other i n order to see i f our writing measures up to our 30 thoughts. To see i f there i s a correct correspondence between our writing and the thoughts we are attempting to write about. Rather i t seems to be something deeper. It seems we do not want to take the risk of discovering that our concretized thoughts do not measure up to our i n t e r n a l thoughts. Somehow our thoughts always seem more magnificent i n the head than on the paper. It i s as i f they evaporate somewhere between the mind and the paper, between the thought and the concrete production of that thought. Thus the fear i s that writing w i l l expose a defective version of our thoughts, and by implication our s e l f as fraudulent. The writing may reveal our thoughts as t r i v i a l , as incomplete, as ambiguous; where i f they remain i n our head they can be fantasized as i n t e l l e c t u a l , complete, unambiguous. In other words, they can be certainty i f they remain as thoughts i n our head which, because of the l i m i t a t i o n of language, we are unable to express. To be sure our thoughts are essential to us, and, therefore, as long as they remain i n our minds they are our secret, and we can be pleased with them. This i s why we fear self-exposure; i f exposed or concretized we w i l l no longer be able to be e g o t i s t i c a l about our thoughts, our s e l f . In t h i s way the mind holds a sense of power as well as a sense of su p e r i o r i t y over thoughts expressed on paper 31 which th i s mind sees as the t r i v i a l workings out of i t s thoughts. Assuredly writing never measures up to what we suspect our thoughts to be. This, at least, i s the fear. This i s the assessment the s e l f i n f l i c t s upon the s e l f . And th i s keeps us from beginning. Perhaps we should heed M i l l e r ' s (1 965:27) reminder that writings "...are but crude hieroglyphs c h i s e l l e d i n pain and sorrow to commemorate an event which i s unt ransmissible. " But we s t i l l - h a v e t h i s compulsion to write, to begin. What I am saying i s that our thoughts cannot be assessed, judged, c r i t i c i z e d or censored as long as they remain our secret. By not speaking, by not writing, we can maintain our secret s e l f . We need not be impeded by the s o c i a l world. Like Henry James' John Marcher we can l i v e our l i f e disguised as an ordinary person, where our secret i s that we have these marvellous thoughts but we cannot bring our s e l f to share them with the rest of the world. In his own way Descartes echoes these doubts when he resolves: "...That I should not consent to th e i r (his written work) being published during my l i f e t i m e , so that neither the contradictions and controversies to which they might possibly give r i s e , nor even the reputation, such as i t might be, which they would bring to me, should give me any occasion to lose the time which I meant to set aside for my own i nstruction." (Descartes 1969:145) 32 Descartes i s t e l l i n g us that, for the sake of expediency, he wishes to keep his s e l f , his writings, secret u n t i l after his death. We can say this i s the trouble with work which claims certainty as i t s god, i t cannot face the thought of contradiction. Is the s e l f too f r a g i l e to be engaged? Is i t that Descartes would crumble i f , i n his l i f e t i m e , he discovered that his work, l i k e others before him, was b u i l t on s h i f t i n g sand? It seems that Descartes does not want to face this p o s s i b i l i t y . Although, i m p l i c i t l y , he knows that i t i s a p o s s i b i l i t y . Hence, by maintaining the s e l f as secret, we and Descartes can hold our selves independent of a l l possible assessments and judgements because the thoughts to be assessed have been withheld. We have refused to make them public property. By r e l a t i n g to potential assessors i n t h i s way the s e l f i s able to maintain a sense of power, a sense of independence and a sense of superiority. It says to a l l potential assessors i f only you could gain entrance to my head you would see how marvellous I am. But, sadly, the s e l f i s so f r a g i l e i t cannot survive this scrutiny or any kind of c r i t i c i s m . It chooses "no-risk". There i s another sense i n which the s e l f i s also s e l f i s h . It claims that i t s work i s so important that i t cannot be delayed by the assessment of others. Although one would have to wonder at the good of i t i f i t never became 33 public. If i t i s important would not i t s aim be to become public, to benefit a l l ? Descartes does not address th i s problem. The only power that the s e l f has i s that teasing, t a n t a l i z i n g power which says, "Catch me i f you can!" It i s as i f the s e l f can only remain a s e l f i f i t remains a secret. But the one who decides to take a risk and expose he r s e l f to judgement, to argument, and does this i n a serious way, i s the one who i s w i l l i n g to know he r s e l f . She i s a s e l f who i s w i l l i n g to change, to expand. She i s a s e l f who wants to be trusted and who, i n turn, i s able to t r u s t . This s e l f takes herself and others seriously. Dialogue, not monologue i s her commitment. This s e l f relates to others not as judge but as collaborator or i n t e r l o c u t o r . This s e l f decides to do the work of becoming he r - s e l f and i s committed to doing the work of dialogue. In contrast the s e l f who chooses to remain secret i s able to maintain the i l l u s i o n of being a s e l f who has the p o s s i b i l i t y of becoming anything i t desires. This s e l f l i v e s i n the realm of p o s s i b i l i t y and therefore never has to face f a i l u r e i n any ac t u a l i t y because she never faces a c t u a l i t y . And f a i l u r e i s a p o s s i b i l i t y once the s e l f is exposed. Once embodied, once made actual, the s e l f immediately becomes prey to imperfections l i k e a l l other 34 mortals. In other words any a c t u a l i t y , compared to any p o s s i b i l i t y , comes off as "poor cousin". Thus the writer who i s always i n the process of preparing to write the great novel or the history of the world, (remember, dear reader, Casubbon of Middlemarch?), or the student who i s preparing to write the perfect thesis, never has to expose herself to f a i l u r e . Yet not to write i s certain f a i l u r e , and t h i s i s what i s forgotten. Hence to prepare to write, yet never to summon up enough courage to write, i s l i k e spending one's l i f e i n preparation for l i v i n g and a l l the while forgetting, as Kierkegaard so often reminds us, that the task of l i f e i s l i f e i t s e l f . What, then, i s the tragedy of the secret s e l f ? It i s self-condemned, by i t s own choice, to silence, to chatter. It i s a s e l f who chooses to hide i n silence (death) rather than risk speech ( l i f e ) . 35 PART I I THE DIALOGUE INTRODUCTION The e n s u i n g c o n v e r s a t i o n takes p l a c e among the f o l l o w i n g c h a r a c t e r s ; each c h a r a c t e r ' s v o i c e r e p r e s e n t s i t s own v e r s i o n of the w o r l d . Athena A n t i gone B y s t a n d e r C a s s a n d r a T a n t a l u s 36 BOOK I THE HOLLOW MEN Athena: The time has come, Tantalus, to address t h i s condition of silence which plagues you. Are you w i l l i n g to have silence impede your l i f e because i t has impeded i t , hasn't i t ? It has constructed boundaries for you; boundaries which silence proclaims are necessary - not only necessary but natural. Silence orders you not to engage i n the world of ideas. She condemns you to the concrete, to the l i f e of chatter. Your task now, through t h i s dialogue, i s to decide i f this i s the way you wish to lead your l i f e . W i l l you venture out of your shelter and join us i n the search for truth, for our relationship to truth? Tantalus: I r e a l l y f e l t that once I had summoned up the courage to begin I would simply continue speaking. Instead I fi n d myself once more i n silence, once more i n doubt, once more i n fear. And, more to the point, I f e e l deceived by beginnings. I thought beginnings held the promise of eternal speech, but i t turns out to be a promise which, i n and of i t s e l f , holds no guarantees. It's l i k e the mirage which disappears just as you are about to reach i t . 37 Athena: What was the promise, what did you expect beginning to accomplish, and what has i t f a i l e d to do so as to f i n d yourself once more i n silence? Tantalus: I hoped, which according to Camus i s "that most dreadful of a l l humanities i l l s . . . " , that once the beginning was accomplished the rest would follow naturally; the story once begun would unfold of i t s own accord. And i t hasn't. Thus the promise which beginning l e f t u n f u l l f i l l e d i s that of an easy l i f e . I had hoped, and perhaps s t i l l hope, that the beginning would provide a clear path for the rest to follow, naturally - of i t s own accord. And I could be hero for the results obtained. Athena: In other words you expected beginning to be i n s t i l l e d with a l i f e of i t s own. You expected i t to be s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t hence allowing you "time o f f " . Is i t that you hoped there would be no labour after b i r t h , no labour after the beginning was accomplished? And, yet, you s t i l l want to claim hero status for the results and forget the beginning? You were asking, are asking, beginning to take over the work of your soul so you w i l l merely be the mouthpiece for beginning. You expect beginning to provide you with the necessary leverage on the world, to lead you to the end, the re s u l t s , where the end i s s o l i d , 38 concrete, external. And thus you risk nothing. It seems to me, Tantalus, you are abdicating your r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to speech, to l i f e . You want beginning to be responsible for what-comes-next. You want beginnings to do a l l the work; then a l l that i s l e f t for you to do i s to f i l l i n the form, or follow the blueprint provided by this beginning. But, and this i s where your disappointment l i e s , beginning refuses to do th i s work for you, for any of us. And you, my friend, are refusing to do the work of speech. For some reason the s i l e n t voice which rules, orders your s e l f to be non-expressive, non-responsive, secretive. That i s why we can see i t as a refusal to speak rather than incapacity, i n a b i l i t y or laziness. You are timid, Tantalus, af r a i d to r i s k the p o s s i b i l i t y of self-knowledge. The time has come to address those troubles, and to question i f this i s the l i f e you wish to lead, i f thi s timid r i s k l e s s l i f e i s what you aim for as the good. Bystander: It seems you are addressing the need to speak. Can you present a good case for speech? Can you t e l l us why we should take the trouble to speak as you want us to speak? Athena: I cannot t e l l you why you should take the trouble to speak; that i s , I don't have a l i s t of rules which 39 c l e a r l y states why one should speak. Its not something you can " t e l l " another, although I w i l l do my best to persuade you of the good of speech. Rather than t e l l you how to speak, I suggest we explore together the need for speech as committed speech. Together we can investigate the need to be self-expressive, i n the most serious sense. Tantalus: Why should we express ourselves? Why should we expose ourselves? Athena: Are you saying we should not take i t for granted that self-expression or speech i s the good? Tantalus: I'm questioning that, yes. Sometimes i t s better to be the one who s i t s back and l i s t e n s rather than contributing to the conversation i f you are unsure of where i t i s going, unsure of what your meager contribution could be. I mean, sometimes you just don't know anything and i t seems that everybody else does, so what could you possibly contribute? I mean I sure do not want to put myself down as a f o o l or an i d i o t . Bystander: Perhaps you could c l a r i f y what you mean by speech. I have a sense that speech and "talk", for you,are not the same thing. Athena: When I t a l k about speech I am re f e r r i n g to responsible speech, committed speech, i f you w i l l . Speech i s not speech which w i l l find the "answer" or 40 which w i l l resolve differences, rather i t i s speech which w i l l bring to l i g h t the tensions and complexities of our l i v e s . We have to care about what we speak of. It has to be important to our l i v e s . Let's go back to your idea, Tantalus, of being a l i s t e n e r rather than a speaker. By l i s t e n e r do you refer to one who s i t s back and sheerly hears? The one who i s merely audience; who assesses whether you are right or whether you are wrong? Tantalus: That i s a rather crass version of i t . I think about students, for example, who s i t back and l i s t e n to the professor or other speaker, and take notes so that they may remember what was said and then paraphrase i t at a la t e r date. These are the good students, are they not? Athena: Are they? Is what we want out of education— replica t i o n ? Do we only want to replicate our knowledge, and r e p l i c a t e i t i n a t r i v i a l way so that we w i l l a l l know the same things? Antigone: But don't we need that common base to work from? By l i s t e n i n g to what you say as a teacher, we can learn what you know; you can teach us what you know. Athena: Again I question your aims. Is i t "parrot wisdom", to use Kierkegaard's expressive term, that you desire? Is a l l you expect from education the a b i l i t y to paraphrase what others have thought? Where i s the s e l f 41 i n r e l a t i o n to such knowledge? The s e l f i s l i k e Kierkegaard's "walking s t i c k with a voice box implanted i n i t s throat" (1974:175); that i s , the s e l f has forgotten i t i s a s e l f ; that i t needs to be a s e l f . Of course, the temptation i s to become an expert on world his t o r y and to forget the s e l f because this i s r i s k l e s s . Tantalus: Are you saying to forget learning? Antigone: Or are you suggesting, or t r y i n g to persuade us that perhaps there i s another way of learning? Athena: Not another way, Antigone, rather I am suggesting that we can relate our-selves to teaching and learning d i f f e r e n t l y . Perhaps the time has come to remember Socrates. If you r e c a l l i n the Menon, Menon comes up to Socrates and asks him i f virtue can be taught. As a student Menon i s honoring Socrates. He i s saying, "You are wise; you must know". He i s asking Socrates to t e l l him "how". Socrates, however, does not relate to knowledge or education i n this way. He sees the task of the teacher as one of drawing out what i t i s the student knows. His task i s to promote thoughtfulness i n his students by engaging them i n argument. Tantalus: But that was Socrates. That was i n the days of the Ancients! It's different now. We are not s i t t i n g i n the streets or i n a courtyard having conversation. We are usually students i n a classroom, i n a university. We 42 take notes and are graded on what we know. Which we a l l know means how well we paraphrase or how well we learn to apply a theory or a method on the world. Athena: And so we should relate to learning d i f f e r e n t l y ? Are you saying Socrates has nothing to say to us because he was a l i v e i n a different time, i n a different place? Tantalus: Well, that's true, i s i t not? He died centuries ago; he l i v e d i n a very different society! Athena: Assuredly, but are we to allow the concrete death of someone to silence our conversation with them? I think not. Neither should we refuse to engage speech simply because i t comes to us from another time i n history, from another society. Surely the Socratic method of inquiry i s as relevant for u s — i n our time and our p l a c e — a s i t was for Socrates himself; as i t was for Kierkegaard (1974), or as i t i s , for example, for McHugh et a l (1974) or Michalko (1980)—to bring us to the present date. Let us go back to what you said a few minutes ago, Tantalus, when you talked about being s i l e n t for fear of exposing yourself i n class as an i d i o t . This i s a student's fear; i t i s everyone's fear. But i s i t to silence you? Let's think about students i n class who w i l l not speak. Why i s i t ? Antigone: Tantalus seemed to capture i t for me. It i s the fear of being exposed as a f o o l . I become afraid that 43 what I say w i l l not he relevant, w i l l not be "deep" enough or w i l l be too obvious. A l l these fears keep me s i l e n t . Athena: So you are afr a i d to take the r i s k . You say i t i s fear of exposure to others. I wonder i f we can take i t a bit further and say i t i s fear of finding out something about the s e l f . As long as our thoughts remain secret, they can remain magnificent inside the head; we can remain e g o t i s t i c a l about the s e l f and what i t might become. But don't you think that i t would be more b e n e f i c i a l , perhaps, to attempt engaging i n dialogue? Are you afr a i d to discover the s e l f ? Are you afr a i d to discover your relationship to the world? Antigone: But don't we f i r s t have to discover what that world i s ? Athena: And just how do you propose to do that without engaging i n conversation? Antigone: As I said a moment ago — we l i s t e n and remember what i s relayed to us through you or others i n the teaching role! Athena: That has the ring of death; of l i f e l e s s souls — the epitome of "hollow men", to quote E l i o t 44 We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece f i l l e d with straw. Alas! ( E l i o t , T.S.) Antigone: Are you suggesting we are the "hollow men"? Tantalus: But our heads aren't f i l l e d with straw — we know about things! Athena: Surely, but the operative word i s "know about". Your relationship to learning must be questioned. The things you know about are captured by the metaphor "straw" i f you don't develop a relationship to them, i f you don't think about them i n your own l i f e , i f you don't make moral decisions about them. Are you an empty vessel, s i t t i n g there waiting to be f i l l e d , waiting for more "things" to be poured into you u n t i l saturation i s reached? Is that what you are? Or, can you be a l i t t l e more human? That i s , can you think, argue, make decisions? Are you to be cultivated and cared about rather than sheerly f i l l e d ? Antigone: Are we to answer? Athena: Think about i t ; i t ' s c r u c i a l to our understanding of what i t i s to be human. Antigone: If we are merely empty states we do not have to take any r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for what i s i n our "hollow" heads. Indeed, i t would be a safer l i f e . Athena: If you wanted to c a l l i t l i f e . You seem to be 45 speaking of l i f e without dialogue; l i f e without d i a l e c t i c . And to that I have to say — i s i t l i f e or i s i t death? Let's think about what kind of mind i t i s which refuses to engage i n conversation. For the student, to use your example, who refuses to speak i n class, p r e f e r r i n g instead to s i t and take down notes so that they may be parrotted back, a regurgitated mess, the mind i s closed. It i s unwilling to be engaged. It i s unwilling to change. Johnstone (1 965:3) reminds us that t h i s mind "...cuts himself off from the human race." Although he also reminds us that we cannot take up every-thing we hear, nor argue through everything that i s presented to us i n argument. But we cannot refuse to engage for that i s what we have been c a l l i n g death. So students who refuse to engage are closed; they are dead. Moreover, they relate to a l l l i f e as dead. No respect i s t r u l y given to the teacher by refusing to engage, by eagerly taking down notes, by attempting to replicate the other's mind. Antigone: Are you saying that what we i n i t i a l l y thought of as respect for another's mind i s actually a disregard for i t ? Athena: Yes. It i s saying your mind i s not worth the trouble of engagement. It i s also r e l a t i n g closed-mind to closed-mind. It i s saying, of the teacher's mind, 46 that i t must also be closed, unready to change, concretized. And t h i s , my friends, i s t r u l y d i s r e s p e c t f u l . It also says, "Whatever you have to say i s not important to our l i v e s , our real l i v e s , out-of-school l i v e s , therefore we need only remember enough to get a passing grade. And what a sad and dismal way to look at l i f e , at speech. It i s as i f you can divide your l i f e i nto compartments — each compartment being water-tight to the next. No leakage through the barriers we've constructed and then forgotten we've constructed! Antigone: But so much of what we learn i n school cannot be readily integrated into the rest of our l i v e s ! Athena: That may be so; but you also have to r e f l e c t and think i f i t i s you who refuses to do the work of the conversation, of making i t part of your l i f e . Is i t that you choose the s p l i t l i f e ? It's safer, isn't i t ? It allows you to say, "This belongs to people I study — not to me." And as long as you perceive i t this way, you cannot be argued with; you cannot be engaged with. You do not have to examine your own l i f e i f you spend your l i f e examining others. You can keep your l i f e distant, separate from those you study. Sociology i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s separation by c a l l i n g the people i t studies subjects or respondents; even the category "informants", which gives the person under study some dignity, some 47 recognition as a person, separates, none-the-less, the investigator from those she i s investigating. Tantalus: But i t s them we're studying, not us. Athena: Just as i n l i t e r a t u r e i t s the f i c t i o n a l characters we study, not the s e l f ? What i s i t you study, Tantalus? Tantalus: The conventions of our s o c i a l world, how people produce t h e i r world. Athena: Do you ever think of your relationship to the conventional? Or, to go hack to our e a r l i e r question, do you ever examine your relationship to speech? Do you go through l i f e , Tantalus, i n the same way you go through class, never speaking, s i l e n t l y retaining, l i k e a computer terminal, a l l that goes on around you but never entering into the argument? Tantalus: But arguing or f i g h t i n g over things doesn't seem to get you anywhere. It just ends i n one person overpowering the other. The weaker acquiesces to the stronger. Athena: So you're saying one gives i n . There i s a winner and a loser? Tantalus: Right! Athena: Then we wouldn't r e a l l y want to c a l l that argument, minimally i t i s a degenerate form of argument. Neither side e s s e n t i a l l y changes through the engagement. The loser merely becomes more secretive, more hidden, more 48 s i l e n t . And t h i s , i n and of i t s e l f , i s power. It i s a coercive, sub-human power which refuses engagement. Tantalus: To me i t seems more human to remain s i l e n t rather than engage i n endless bickerings. Athena: Is there another way of responding to speech other than f i g h t i n g or silence? Bystander: Remember Ivan Ilych and his nagging wife? In his meager family l i f e whenever he t r i e d to speak of things which were important to him a fight ensued. So rather than fight he allowed silence to reign. Not concrete silen c e , of course, but silence a l l the same. He used to bring guests home so "company t a l k " could be done. This served several purposes. For one thing speech about what was important to the relationship could be avoided, time could be f i l l e d and, most importantly for Ivan Ilych and for us, the image of a proper and nice household could be maintained. This i s of prime importance i n a society where images are mistaken for that which i s r e a l . Athena: Assuredly, Ilych organizes his l i f e around the conventions of his society. We can say that convention ruled Ivan Ilych just as surely as i t does his colleagues and us, for we must remember that Ilych isn't simply some marvellous creation of Tolstoy's but that Tolstoy uses Ilych as a way of t a l k i n g about human l i v e s . We use i t 49 as a way of t a l k i n g about our l i v e s . Now going back to Ilych, we can say that he f i l l s his speech with speech about "things". For him and his colleagues t h i s i s what speech i s , you ta l k about things you are going to do, things you have done, things that are happening as concrete e n t i t i e s i n your l i f e . Ilych i s , as you sometimes are, concerned with fashion rather than truth. Tantalus: What do you mean fashion rather than truth? I'm uncertain what you mean by fashion. Athena: Fashion i s what i s of public concern — for the moment, be i t clothes, education, p o l i t i c s . Fashion doesn't speak deeply, fashion merely makes reference to the conventional. And this i s what Ilych and his colleagues are concerned with when they talk about things, and not just concretely talk about, but l i v e . They, i n t h e i r sleep of i l l u s i o n , become exemplars of the conventional l i f e . Bystander: But wait a minute. If we wanted to be kind to Ivan we could say he i s making the best of a bad relationship. We could see him f u l f i l l i n g his re s p o n s i b i l i t e s as best he can i n the circumstances he finds himself i n . We could say that he finds himself married to a woman who i s a nag, something he did not suspect when he married her. We could say that Ivan i s 50 rather clever i n discovering t h i s technique for keeping peace i n the house. Athena: Hold on a moment, there are several different issues i n what you are saying. F i r s t l e t ' s think about the idea of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Are you suggesting that Ilych i s a passive actor i n his l i f e ? That i s what i t sounds l i k e when you state "he finds himself", and to th i s you have to ask what version of being human do you have when a person i s seen as determined? After a l l , we a l l have choices i n how we interact with a s i t u a t i o n ; Ilych i s no d i f f e r e n t . The other idea which I just can't let pass i s the idea of seeing a person's l i f e as technique. You must ask yourselves i f a l l you are i s a bundle of strategies and techniques? Is that what makes us human; i s i t only our strategies and techniques which make us complex creatures? The implication of t h i s , of course, i s that once we have uncovered the strategies and techniques we possess for creatively getting through our world, our world w i l l be simple and clear, the complexity w i l l have dissolved. Do you r e a l l y want to say that? I suspect not. Lastly you need to ask i s i t peace at any cost that you want? Is a l l you seek from l i f e comfort, comfort on a small scale? Surely, you want more than that! 51 Tantalus: I can see Ivan's dilemma, i f he speaks about what i s troubling him there w i l l be a f i g h t , i f he doesn't speak at a l l she w i l l nag, so what else can he do except f i l l the space with other kind of t a l k — work ta l k , company talk? Cassandra: What about his wife? Does she nag because she i s a bad person, or i s she too a victim? Athena: Victim i n what sense? In the sense that something external makes her victim, just as was suggested e a r l i e r but i n different words, that the environment makes Ivan victim? We don't get very far when we think about i t i n t h i s way, but we can say that both are t r u l y t r a g i c victims. That i s , they are what they are through t h e i r own making. And th i s i s what they forget. This i s what you forget. Mrs. Ilych, l i k e her husband, l i k e you, works to keep things small. She, too, avoids t a l k i n g about what i s of deep concern to her. She, too, i s silenced by convention. And you, Tantalus, are w i l l i n g to be silenced by the fear that others w i l l see you as a nag. Tantalus: In a way, yes. But i t i s more than fear of being seen as a nag, i t i s that once you say something you cannot take i t back, and you might not r e a l l y mean what you said. For example Ilych's wife may speak out of f r u s t r a t i o n . She may nag because she sees her husband 52 having a l l the good things i n l i f e . He i s the one with the i n t e r e s t i n g job. He i s the one who goes to play poker with his friend's at night. What did she have? So perhaps she does not mean what she says but that i t i s the only way she can speak her f r u s t r a t i o n , and once said she can't re t r a c t . Athena: You need to ask " i s i t simply a choice between nagging and s i l e n c e . " A n a l y t i c a l l y they are the same, they are both chatter, remembering of course that a n a l y t i c a l silence i s not the same as concrete s i l e n c e . Antigone: Maybe i t i s the way i n which one addresses the s i t u a t i o n that allows others to see her as a nag. Suppose when something bothers her she merely says "don't do t h i s " or "don't do that". Constant orders and complaints are just as oppressive as the sile n c e . Athena: A n a l y t i c a l l y you would have to say they are the same as si l e n c e . Bystander: But maybe there i s a better way to t a l k . Maybe saying something l i k e "I r e a l i z e this i s a small matter but your not putting the napkin i n i t s napkin ring r e a l l y bothers me. I f i n d i t annoying to have to replace i t after every meal". This then allows the two people to ta l k about i t , figure out a solution agreeable to both. Athena: What you are saying, then, i s there i s a good way to t a l k and a bad way to talk, but the idea of talk, i n 53 and of i t s e l f , i s not bad. When you talk of working things through, are you saying that the good of conversation i s that "next" speech readdresses prior speech? Antigone: I see you reminding us that one way we have of working things through i s to t a l k them over. Athena: Yes, but t a l k about them i n a serious way which gets beyond querulous grumblings because, as we've said before, Ivan and his wife talked but i n such a way as to keep everything small and ordinary as well as maintaining the appearance of peacefulness. Tantalus: But t h i s stance Ivan adopts, of what you are c a l l i n g chatter, works. In Tolstoy's words i t "rendered him almost impervious to her grumblings." Bystander: He does what many of us do when we want peace at any cost. He holds himself aloof from his wife and his colleagues; he avoids i n t e r a c t i o n of a serious kind. Athena: Right and we must see this avoidance as r e f u s a l . Refusal to enter into dialogue with his wife and colleagues. Also, we mustn't think that Ivan i s unusual i n t h i s refusal to engage but rather he l i v e s i n a society where dialogue i s not the aim. The t e r r i b l e power of this story i s i t s reminder of, i n Tolstoy's words, "the most simple and the most ordinary and therefore the most t e r r i b l e . " We must remember that this 54 l i f e does not belong e x c l u s i v e l y to Ivan I l y c h or e x c l u s i v e l y t o Russia at t h i s p a r t i c u l a r time i n h i s t o r y . I t belongs to us. Tolstoy, i n the most powerful of ways, i s t e l l i n g us to look inward, r e f l e c t on our l i v e s and p o s s i b l y , gust p o s s i b l y , be touched enough to change our r e l a t i o n to the world. Tantalus: But I can understand the s i l e n c e and the aloofness i n that household. Ivan i s a f r a i d to speak t o h i s wife because he might say something he doesn't mean and once s a i d i t cannot be taken back. Athena: Aah, we come back to the old f e a r ! I see your f r u s t r a t i o n or f e a r of not wanting to say something you do not mean, but sometimes we do not know what we mean to say u n t i l we say i t , u n t i l we attempt to formulate that which i s i n our mind. I t i s , however, the very speaking which enables us to reformulate what i t i s we t h i n k , what i t i s we f e e l . Bystander: We might even f e e l d i f f e r e n t l y a f t e r we have opened our thoughts to others. We might even change our t h i n k i n g ! Athena: And what would be wrong with that? It i s not, a f t e r a l l , as i f we are concrete forms, unchangeable lumps. I t does say that being human i s to be able to t h i n k and r e t h i n k , to change rather than remain s t a t i c . Antigone: I cannot help but t h i n k that i f Ivan I l y c h cared 55 enough about h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s w i f e , or w i t h h i s c o l l e a g u e s f o r t h a t m a t t e r , he would have put the work i n t o t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p which i s n e c e s s a r y f o r t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p t o be good. Together he and h i s w i f e c o u l d re-examine t h e i r m arriage and make some deep changes. I n s t e a d both of them have d e c i d e d t o a v o i d c o n v e r s a t i o n . Both of them have d e c i d e d t o a v o i d t h e r i s k of s p e a k i n g . Athena: Once more t h e q u e s t i o n i s r a i s e d . Where i s t h e commitment? Is i t t o k e e p i n g l i f e s t a t i c , i s i t t o merely b e t t e r arrangements as was t h e case of I l y c h , or are you committed t o changing your r e l a t i o n s h i p t o your w o r l d . The q u e s t i o n you're r a i s i n g throughout t h i s d i s c u s s i o n i s one of speech, th e urge t o c h a t t e r or t h e commitment t o a s t r o n g v e r s i o n of speech, committed speech. B y s t a n d e r : That's why i t i s s t r a n g e t o t a l k w i t h someone who i s c o n t i n u a l l y s a y i n g , " I t a k e t h a t back." I keep t h i n k i n g , a f t e r a w h i l e , t h a t he/she i s a l i a r or m i n i m a l l y a c h a t t e r e r . Athena: We have t o remember t h a t t a k i n g back one's speech i s d i f f e r e n t from r e a d d r e s s i n g i t . T a k i n g i t back says we want t o k i l l i t , a n n h i l a t e i t , f o r g e t t h o s e words were ever spoken. Sometimes we do wish we c o u l d t a k e back words spoken, r e - l i v e our h i s t o r y i n a d i f f e r e n t way. but t h i s i s i m p o s s i b l e , the moments past are j u s t t h a t -56 the moments past. We have to accept this and come to terms with what we've l i v e d , what we've said. Re-think i t , readdress i t , maybe even apologize for i t but don't l i v e a doomed l i f e because of i t . Bystander: Speaking i s not l i k e making a f i l m where the director can reshoot a scene, nor i s i t l i k e writing where the author can read the words, the chapters and rewrite before the work becomes public property. On the contrary, speech once i t i s said and received by an audience of hearers i s public and cannot be taken back. Athena: But we must remember that the good of conversation i s that the speech can be readdressed by s e l f and other. If we relate to speech as something other than perfect speech then the idea of readdressing, s h i f t i n g positions or whatever i s a good idea; i t i s not seen as threatening. You must decide what your commitment i s to, i s i t to speaking perfect speech or i s i t speaking i n order to discover what grounds your speech? And the other thing you must ask i s , are you under any obligation to remain i n conversation with those who are unwilling to engage? Tantalus: Are you r e f e r r i n g to the one who needs to take back her speech? Athena: Yes, why must we spend time with one who i s unwilling to treat speech i n a serious way? Why expend 5 7 energy on one who i s u n w i l l i n g to r i s k , to work? T a n t a l u s : But maybe that i s what has happened i n the I l y c h h o u s e h o l d . Maybe Ivan has decided not to t a l k wi th h i s w i f e at a t ime when she wanted to t a l k . What i f she attempted to t a l k about what was b o t h e r i n g h e r , what i f she r e a l l y s t a r t e d to t a l k about t h e i r marr iage , about the l i f e s t y l e they have chosen to l i v e , what i f she r e a l l y began to explore her discontentedness and Ivan re fused to l i s t e n ? That i s the f i n a l r e b u f f , to expose her deepest thoughts and f e e l i n g s to her husband and f i n d he w i l l not l i s t e n , that he has a l ready dismissed her as unworthy to t a l k t o . Athena : Then we would have to ask i f she should t r o u b l e h e r s e l f any longer w i t h Ivan i f he i s u n w i l l i n g t o engage, u n w i l l i n g to come to terms wi th t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . T a n t a l u s : I t h i n k maybe these t h i n g s are l e f t b e t t e r u n d i s t u r b e d . I t i s too r i s k y to expose the s e l f and then have that s e l f ignored or t r i v i a l i z e d . I mean we are p r e t t y t i m i d c r e a t u r e s ; we are f r a g i l e . Maybe the t a l k about thoughts and f e e l i n g s i s b e t t e r l e f t submerged. Maybe that i s the only way the s e l f can s u r v i v e . Athena: Are you s a y i n g , t h e n , that you choose cha t te r over speech, death over l i f e ? Bys tander : I t h i n k she i s s a y i n g she would choose s u r v i v a l 58 over death . The q u e s t i o n I need to ask i s about the r e l a t i o n s h i p . Is s u r v i v a l a l l we ask of a r e l a t i o n s h i p . We're back to the ques t ion of peace at any c o s t . T a n t a l u s : S u r v i v a l i s i m p o r t a n t . When you look around i n s o c i e t y i t i s couples you see. This i s why i t i s easy f o r me t o understand both Ivan and h i s w i f e ' s w i l l i n g n e s s t o s tay i n what T o l s t o y presents as a d e a t h - l i k e r e l a t i o n s h i p . Athena: And not even r e c o g n i z i n g the d e a t h - l i k e s t a t u s . T a n t a l u s : R i g h t ! But l e t ' s look at h i s w o r l d . I t i s a young p r o f e s s i o n a l w o r l d ; people i n t h i s s o c i e t y , when they reach a c e r t a i n age and s t a t i o n i n l i f e , get m a r r i e d , buy a house and have c h i l d r e n . Perhaps d i s c a r d i n g a l l of t h i s would be d i s a s t r o u s f o r h i s career and f o r her p lace i n s o c i e t y . For example, I l y c h may not be accepted i n t o s o c i e t y i f he i s d i v o r c e d ; he may not get h i s promot ion ; he may not s i t as a judge on the bench. And to him t h i s i s very i m p o r t a n t . Cassandra : But i n a t r i v i a l way. Athena: But the q u e s t i o n we must keep address ing i s " Is the c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e a l l that there i s ? In other words, i s c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y the good. Does i t g ive us what we need i n order to lead the good l i f e ? S o c r a t e s , f o r one, would t e l l us no. He would t e l l us to p u l l i n t o q u e s t i o n convent ion to see what grounds that convent ion . 59 Antigone: Convention, however, i s c e r t a i n l y enough f o r Ivan and h i s f r i e n d s , at l e a s t u n t i l he l i e s dying. At t h i s point Ivan r e f l e c t s on h i s l i f e and glimpses at what a t e r r o r and waste i t i s to lead such a l i f e . He sees the h o r r o r of what i t i s to have made the t r i v i a l i n c i d e n t s , the t r i v i a l circumstances of one's l i f e important. Athena: We could say that he d i s c o v e r s , at death, that the l i f e of convention or the l i f e of c h a t t e r , to b r i n g us back to where we s t a r t e d , i s not enough. That h i s constant quest f o r f i v e hundred more roubles was a wasted quest. It did not ease h i s pain; there i s always a new pain to take i t s place. And never, u n t i l the end of h i s l i f e , d id he manage to t u r n that pain i n t o s u f f e r i n g . He, l i k e h i s colleagues, never engaged i n dialogue. He never examined h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p to the world except i n the most t r i v i a l way. 60 BOOK I I THE LIFE OF CHATTER Athena: Let me t r y another t r a c k . At v a r i o u s times i n our l i v e s we have a l l h e a r d " i t i s good t o get i t o u t " . Ps y c h o t h e r a p y embodies t h i s n o t i o n — t h e r e l i e f or cure i s a c c o m p l i s h e d through t a l k . In t r a d i t i o n a l p s y c h o t h e r a p y t h e p a t i e n t t a l k s , t h e p s y c h r i a t r i s t l i s t e n s and e v e n t u a l l y h e l p s t h e p a t i e n t reach some u n d e r s t a n d i n g of h e r problems. Group t h e r a p y i s s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t . The t h e r a p i s t d i r e c t s and the c l i e n t s t a l k among them s e l v e s t o h e l p one another f i g u r e t h i n g s out. A n t i g o n e : T h i s sometimes happens i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s t o o , as one s e l f a i d s t h e o t h e r by l i s t e n i n g and r e s p o n d i n g . Athena: Yes, and i f we t h i n k about s i l e n c e , as we can see i n a r e l a t i o n s h i p , s i l e n c e speaks of r e f u s a l t o j o i n . I t speaks of i s o l a t i n g t he s e l f . I t speaks of u n c a r i n g n e s s and noncommitment. A n t i g o n e : We have v a r i o u s methods f o r managing s i l e n c e . We can c a j o l e t h e s i l e n t one out of s i l e n c e , or i g n o r e t h e s i l e n c e and w a i t p a t i e n t l y f o r the v o i c e t o r e t u r n , or more d e a d l y , not even r e c o g n i z e t h e v o i d as s i l e n c e . Then g o i n g back t o your example of t h e r a p y where 61 s i l e n c e i s seen as a p o t e n t i a l t r o u b l e , we see t h a t s i l e n c e gets a t t e n d e d t o . I t i s not i g n o r e d . The mute c l i e n t i s e v e n t u a l l y made t o account f o r her s i l e n c e . In t h i s s e t t i n g s i l e n c e i s seen as an escape r o u t e f o r t h e c l i e n t from something-too r i s k y t o h a n d l e - at t h e moment - and she i s g i v e n t i m e . But i f she remains s i l e n t , w ithdraws t o t a l l y i n t o s i l e n c e , t h e r a p y f a i l s because t o speak i s t o work t h i n g s out. Athena: So h e r e s i l e n c e i s seen as r e f u s a l . And what happens - t h e c l i e n t i s e i t h e r h o s p i t a l i z e d as a c a t a t o n i c or d i s m i s s e d as u n s u i t a b l e f o r t h e r a p y ; t h i s i s r e m i n i s c e n t of our e a r l i e r t a l k when we q u e s t i o n e d why we s h o u l d t a l k w i t h one who r e f u s e s t o engage. One t h i n g , A n t i g o n e , we need t o keep c l e a r i n our minds i s t h a t a n a l y t i c s i l e n c e and c o n c r e t e s i l e n c e are not one and t h e same. Perhaps i t was t h e a n a l y t i c s i l e n c e you were a l l u d i n g t o when you s t a t e d t h a t t h e v o i d i s sometimes not even r e c o g n i z e d as s i l e n c e . I t a k e i t the v o i d i s c h a t t e r . Thus f a r we have t a l k e d about s i l e n c e as a t r o u b l e or as u n d e s i r a b l e i n our l i v e s , a decadent l i f e e p i t o m i z e d by s i l e n c e . But we a l s o must see s i l e n c e as p o l i t i c a l . I t i s a dangerous response t o t h e w o r l d . By m a i n t a i n i n g s i l e n c e we f a l l v i c t i m t o our own o p p r e s s i o n . Remember t h e o f t h eard phrase of t h e Women's 62 Movement when i t was f i r s t emerging, "We've been s i l e n t t o o l o n g . I t i s t i m e t o speak up". Women urged each o t h e r t o t e l l t h e i r s t o r i e s . What does "been s i l e n t t o l o n g " mean? Can we a l l agree t h a t we, as women, are undoubtedly b e i n g reminded t h a t we have some r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r our l i v e s and t h a t f o r some t i m e now we have abrogated t h a t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r our c o n d i t i o n by r e m a i n i n g s i l e n t ? The i m p l i c a t i o n , of c o u r s e , i s t h a t we are t h e v i c t i m s of our own demise, t o use an o f t r e p e a t e d phrase. How do you r e l a t e t o t h i s ? B y s t a n d e r : That's r a t h e r a h a r s h t h i n g t o say i s n ' t i t ? A f t e r a l l we know t h a t s o c i e t y i s o r g a n i z e d i n such a way i t g i v e s women l i t t l e c h o i c e i n how t o a c t . We were brought up t o b e l i e v e we must be s i l e n t , i n f a c t we were l e d t o b e l i e v e t h a t we had n o t h i n g t o say. We d i d not know what t o t a l k about. We thought i t was s i m p l y t h e way t h e w o r l d was o r g a n i z e d ; t h e r e was n o t h i n g we c o u l d do about i t . Hence we remained s i l e n t ; t h i n k i n g i f we spoke we would be seen as c r a z y , as t r o u b l e s o m e , as merely d i s c o n t e n t . Athena: From what you are s a y i n g I g a t h e r you saw t h e w o r l d as preformed, as s t a t i c , and y o u r s e l v e s as p a s s i v e a c t o r s who j u s t happened t o be born women and thus d e t e r m i n e d , i s t h a t r i g h t ? 63 T a n t a l u s : What c o u l d we do? The arrangements were a l r e a d y i n p l a c e b e f o r e our t i m e . We merely s l i p p e d i n t o t h e e x i s t i n g form. Men d i d t o o , by t h e way. Athena: But you can o n l y say t h i s i f you r e l a t e d t o t h e w o r l d i n an immediate way. A n t i g o n e : Yet we d i d t a l k ; i t i s not as though we never spoke a l l t h o s e y e a r s . We t a l k e d about our c h i l d r e n , our r e c i p e s , our f a s h i o n , how t o grow our f i n g e r n a i l s l o n g , how t o dres s w e l l on a minimal budget, how t o e n t e r t a i n . Indeed our w o r l d was v e r y f i l l e d . There were so many t h i n g s t o know. There were so many t h i n g s we needed t o know i n o r d e r t o be competent women i n our s o c i e t y . Athena: Oh dear A n t i g o n e , do you hear t h e r e f r a i n s of Ivan I l y c h i n your l i f e ? Do you t h i n k perhaps t h a t you were c h a t t e r i n g a l l t h i s t i m e ; d i d you ever t a l k about what was d e e p l y i m p o r t a n t t o you? Did you ever a n a l y z e your w o r l d or s e a r c h f o r your s e l f i n t h i s w o r l d ? B y s t a n d e r : We thought we d i d . We t r u l y b e l i e v e d t h a t r e c i p e s , c h i l d r e n , homes and bo d i e s were t h e i m p o r t a n t t h i n g s . That was our l i f e ! How c o u l d we not t h i n k them i m p o r t a n t ? Athena: I'm not meaning t o suggest those t h i n g s are not i m p o r t a n t , but you must q u e s t i o n i f t h e y are a l l t h a t i s 6 4 needed i n o r d e r t o l i v e your l i f e w e l l . You need t o q u e s t i o n your r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h o s e t h i n g s and ask i f t h e r e i s more t h a n t h e r e c i p e s . I f i t i s j u s t t h e r e c i p e s , c o m p l i c a t e d though t h e y may be, I would have t o say t h a t i t s t r i k e s me as a ve r y r o b o t i c s o r t of l i f e , where o n e s e l f i s i d e n t i c a l t o any o t h e r s e l f . T a n t a l u s : I f we wanted t o f i t i n we had t o know t h e s e t h i n g s . We had t o know how t o a s s i m i l a t e o u r s e l v e s i n t o t h e r e s t of our w o r l d . Athena: The l i f e of c o n v e n t i o n no matter what the c o s t ? B y s t a n d e r : We d i d n ' t r e a l i z e t h e r e was a c o s t , we d i d n ' t c o n s i d e r t h i n g s c o u l d be o t h e r w i s e . Athena: Because you d i d n ' t a n a l y z e . But s u r e l y you must have t a l k e d of t h i n g s o t h e r t h a n the mundane arrangements of your l i v e s . S u r e l y you must have t a l k e d about how you r e l a t e d t o t h e s e " t h i n g s " , about what was r e a l l y i m p o r t a n t t o you, about how you f e l t towards your l i f e , about how you f e l t t h i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and d i d not r e a l l y know why? A n t i g o n e : No, as you p o i n t e d out, we were l i k e I v a n I l y c h , c o n t i n u a l l y t h i n k i n g i f we had another f i v e hundred r o u b l e s a y e a r we would be happy. Athena: I n o t h e r words, what you are s a y i n g i s t h a t i f o n l y your c i r c u m s t a n c e s were b e t t e r , f o r example i f o n l y you had a b e t t e r house, b e t t e r c l o t h e s , more c h i l d r e n or l e s s 6 5 c h i l d r e n your l i f e would be good. Is t h a t r i g h t ? A n t i g o n e : I n t h e c o l d l i g h t of day i t sounds so a c q u i s i t i v e , but t h a t ' s how we f e l t . That's what we thought t o be i m p o r t a n t . B y s t a n d e r : Sure, we bought i n t o t h e c o n v e n t i o n s of s o c i e t y as t h e good. A n t i g o n e : And i f we l i v e d t h e p r e s c r i b e d l i f e s t y l e how c o u l d we admit t o d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n ? How c o u l d we t a l k about t h a t w e l l - h i d d e n f e e l i n g of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n which would s w e l l up i n s i d e of us and c r y t o be r e l e a s e d ? We f e l t t h i s f e e l i n g was our own p e r s o n a l i d i o s y n c r a s y . We assumed we were somehow d e f e c t i v e f o r f e e l i n g t h i s way. B y s t a n d e r : R i g h t . I f we f e l t unhappy we a l s o f e l t i t was our own f a u l t . T h e r e f o r e when t h e Women's Movement came a l o n g we were r e l i e v e d because, through c o n v e r s a t i o n s w i t h o t h e r women, we came t o see our c o n d i t i o n as shared r a t h e r t h a n i d i o s y n c r a t i c . Athena: R i g h t , i t was s i l e n c e which s t r e n g t h e n e d the n o t i o n of i d i o s y n c r a s y . I t was s i l e n c e who r e i n f o r c e d i t s r e i gn. T a n t a l u s : But we had our p r i d e ! That i s why we were s i l e n t . We needed our s e c r e t , our i d i o s y n c r a s y — i t gave us a sense of i n d i v i d u a l i t y . A n t i g o n e : Sometimes i d i o s y n c r a s y i s the o n l y way t o r e t a i n any sense of your s e l f as an i n d i v i d u a l , as apart from 66 t h e t e r r i b l e mass of o t h e r s who l o o k j u s t l i k e you! Athena: And i s t h a t t h e good - t o s t a n d apart and i s o l a t e d f r o m your s o c i e t y ? A n t i g o n e : W e l l i f you were s e c r e t l y not t o o proud of your l i f e , not s a t i s f i e d w i t h your l i f e , t h e n t h i s f e e l i n g of i d i o s y n c r a s y a l l o w e d you t o say t o y o u r s e l f , "At l e a s t I'm not l i k e them." Athena: L i k e Marcher i n Henry James Beast i n t h e J u n g l e (1958), — i s he your h ero? L e t ' s t h i n k about what i d i o s y n c r a s y does. I t keeps us s e p a r a t e by e n s u r i n g t h a t each one of us p e r c e i v e s t h i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n t o b e l o n g t o us a l o n e , p e r s o n a l l y . I t says t h a t we are odd, p e c u l i a r and t h e r e f o r e we must s u f f e r i n s i l e n c e because no one e l s e would u n d e r s t a n d t h i s p e c u l i a r i t y . I t i s a d e v a s t a t i n g n o t i o n ; i t i s p r e c i s e l y not t o be a c l a s s or not t o be a group. I t m a i n t a i n s each of us as s e p a r a t e , and t h u s i t i s " d i v i d e and r u l e . " I d i o s y n c r a s y asks t h a t you be s t i l l about the s e l f ; i n o t h e r words i t asks f o r no a n a l y s i s . I t demands the s e l f t o be u n r e f l e c t i v e . I t commands the s e l f not t o know i t s e l f . Thus the thoughts of t h i s s e l f are banished b e f o r e t h e y i n t e r r u p t t h e s l e e p . They are b a n i s h e d by c o n v e n t i o n , a r i s i n g o n l y i n our dreams as though t h e y c o u l d not f a c e t h e c h a l l e n g e of d a y l i g h t . These dream-thoughts are not a l l o w e d t o f a c e t h e r e s i s t e n c e of 67 d i a l o g u e as d i a l o g u e would d e s t r o y the i d e a of i d i o s y n c r a s y . I n t h a t each of us thought our problem t o be i d i o s y n c r a t i c , i t i s t r u e we were asked t o r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d i n t h e same way. But because i d i o s y n c r a s y says " I t s you", you can a l l be s i t t i n g t h e r e as i d i o s y n c r a t i c and not see t h a t you had a common problem. Because i d i o s y n c r a s y s a y s , "Do not c o n s i d e r i t a common problem". T h i s i s t h e b i n d ; t h i s i s t h e paradox. A n t i g o n e : I n some sense, t h e n , t h e Women's Movement broke t h e s p e l l of i d i o s y n c r a s y . I t demanded we see t h e w o r l d t h r o u g h d i a l o g u e . This h e l p e d us t o see our d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n as common, as s h a r e d . We c o u l d now t a l k about i t ; do something about i t . Athena: C e r t a i n l y , i t was a n a l y s i s and d i a l o g u e which d e s t r o y e d t h i s sense of o d d i t y and gave us a p l a c e t o work from. D i d t h i s h e l p you? D i d i t h e l p you t o b e g i n t o r e f o r m u l a t e your w o r l d , t o get some b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of how you were oppressed and how t o l i f t t h i s o p p r e s s i o n ? B y s t a n d e r : I t h i n k i t h e l p e d , t o some extent at l e a s t . I t a l l o w e d , no urged, us t o make some demands, t o change t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s of our l i v e s . R e l a t i o n s h i p s became b e t t e r i n some way, more f a i r , t h a t i s , the p a r t n e r shared i n 68 t h e h o u s e h o l d t a s k s , t o o k some r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r what were t r a d i t i o n a l l y female t a s k s . Our l i v e s d i d improve. Athena: D id not t h e movement ask f o r more? C e r t a i n l y we can a l l agree t h a t our l i v e s became e a s i e r i n a v e r y mundane sense of e a s i e r . We had more c h o i c e s , more o p p o r t u n i t i e s , r e l a t i o n s h i p s became more e q u a l — i n some c a s e s , not a l l ; but now i s not t h e p l a c e f o r a d i s c u s s i o n on pre and post movement r e l a t i o n s h i p s . What you r e a l l y need t o ask i s " d i d t h i n g s e s s e n t i a l l y change?". Were a few meager changes i n t h e arrangements a l l t h a t women needed? Somehow t h i s sounds s u s p i c i o u s l y l i k e 500 more r o u b l e s . T a n t a l u s : Come on now, you are b e i n g a l i t t l e b i t hard on us. We d i d make changes i n our l i v e s , we too k more c o n t r o l over them. You've j u s t a d m i t t e d t h a t our l i v e s became somewhat e a s i e r ? We d i d become a l i t t l e more e q u a l t o men, and, more i m p o r t a n t l y , we t a l k e d w i t h each o t h e r . Athena: To be s u r e , f o r many of us our c i r c u m s t a n c e s changed. The arrangements of our l i v e s improved. I am not d e n y i n g t h a t , nor i s i t my i n t e n t i o n t o downgrade t h o s e changes. However, what I am s a y i n g i s " t h i n k , i s t h a t what you needed?", and i f so, you c e r t a i n l y d i d n ' t need much. You s t i l l need t o ask i f t h a t i s a l l t h a t i s needed 69 t o l e a d a good l i f e - a change i n the arrangements. And you must s e r i o u s l y q u e s t i o n i f t h e r e has been any e s s e n t i a l change i n t h e way you r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d . Have you merely exchanged your former w o r l d of women f o r t h e w o r l d of men w i t h o u t a s k i n g i f t h i s i s t h e w o r l d you wanted. Could i t be you have s i m p l y changed t o p i c s ? Could i t be you are s t i l l r e f u s i n g t o a n a l y s e ? T a n t a l u s : What do you mean by t h a t ? Of course we've changed t o p i c s . We no l o n g e r t a l k about k i d s , r e c i p e s , f a s h i o n s , p a r t i e s or whatever, at l e a s t not e x c l u s i v e l y , and some of us wouldn't be caught dead t a l k i n g about t h o s e o l d t h i n g s . We t a l k about our f e e l i n g s , about p o l i t i c s , about g e t t i n g ahead on our own, about our r e l a t i o n s h i p s , even about t h e s t o c k market! So what do you mean " s i m p l y " t o p i c s ? Athena: I mean you s t i l l speak, T a n t a l u s , i n a t o p i c o r i e n t e d way. I t h i n k i t i s a c r a s s v e r s i o n of t h e Women's Movement t o i m p l y t h a t i t i s f o r b i d d e n t o speak about c h i l d r e n , r e c i p e s , f a s h i o n s . I t i s t h e way you speak about t h e s e t h i n g s t h a t i s degenerate. A l s o what do you mean when you say you t a l k about p o l i t i c s ? T a n t a l u s : I mean we t a l k about which p a r t y i s i n power, what t h e new p o l i c i e s a r e , who's g o i n g t o get e l e c t e d , who b e n e f i t s by c e r t a i n l e g i s l a t i o n , t h i n g s l i k e t h a t . 70 Athena: I s e e , i t ' s p o l i t i c s on a p a r t i s a n l e v e l ? T a n t a l u s : Of c o u r s e . These are t h i n g s the w e l l i n f o r m e d c i t i z e n s h o u l d know ah o u t . These are t h e t h i n g s we, as women, were e x c l u d e d from p r e v i o u s l y . T h i s was t h e domain of t h e " c i g a r and d rawing room". We have moved i t away from t h a t sphere so i t i s no l o n g e r t h e e x c l u s i v e p r o p e r t y of men. Athena: I s u s p e c t , t h e n , t h a t you d i d n ' t see r e l a t i o n s h i p s as p o l i t i c a l ? T a n t a l u s : In a way t h e y can be seen as p o l i t i c a l t o be s u r e . I t i s , a f t e r a l l , a q u e s t i o n of who has t h e power. Athena: R i g h t now I don't want t o get i n t o a d i s c u s s i o n of what i s p o l i t i c a l ; I j u s t wanted t o remind you t h a t t h e r e i s more t h a n one way of t h i n k i n g about p o l i t i c s and t h e p a r t i s a n way i s not always t h e most a n a l y t i c a l . A g a i n we can see i t as t o p i c . A n t i g o n e : You keep t a l k i n g about our attachment t o t o p i c . What do you mean? Athena: Aah, how t o e x p l a i n i t ? L e t ' s see i f t h i s works. Your co n c e r n w i t h t o p i c s l i m i t s you or r e s t r i c t s you. You can o n l y speak what t o p i c w i l l a l l o w you t o speak. T o p i c r u l e s . You do not remind y o u r s e l f how i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r you t o speak, you are s e a r c h i n g f o r t h e c o r r e c t n e s s of t o p i c . I t ' s not t h a t we can speak w i t h o u t t o p i c , though. We need t o p i c i n order t o speak, we use 71 t o p i c as a way of s p e a k i n g , t h i n k i n g about what i s i m p o r t a n t t o our l i v e s . T h i s needs f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n . L e t ' s t h i n k about i t t h i s way. B e f o r e t h e Women's Movement took h o l d you were concerned w i t h f u l f i l l i n g t h e r o l e of t h e good w i f e . You s t u d i e d and found out how t o p l a y t h e pa r t of w i f e and mother, and committee member. A f t e r l i b e r a t i o n you became super woman or at l e a s t a s p i r e d t o t h a t s t a n c e . That i s , you had a c a r e e r o u t s i d e t h e home, yet i n t h e home you s t i l l had t h e r o l e of supermom, f r i e n d , l o v e r and companion t o spouse. I t was a huge b i l l t o f i l l , a l l t h e s e v a r i o u s r o l e s , not much d i f f e r e n t , we might s a y, t h a n d u r i n g t h e p r e - l i b e r a t i o n days. T a n t a l u s : But i t was d i f f e r e n t . We were t a k i n g c o n t r o l of our l i v e s . Athena: Were you now? Do you not t h i n k t h a t perhaps you were j u s t as ensconced i n t h e l i f e of r o l e s , o r , as we have been c a l l i n g i t , t he l i f e of c o n v e n t i o n , a l b e i t p e r h a p s , a c o n c r e t e l y " b e t t e r " c o n v e n t i o n ? Maybe you j u s t became entr e n c h e d i n the l i f e of r o l e s i n a d i f f e r e n t way? T a n t a l u s : But we a l l p l a y c e r t a i n r o l e s i n t h i s s o c i e t y ! Athena: Do we now? Is t h a t how you wish t o see your l i f e ? As c o m p a r t m e n t a l i z e d and r u l e d ? When r o l e r u l e s i t does so i n t h e same way as t o p i c r u l e s . I t i s a p a r t i c u l a r 72 r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e w o r l d , hence I am not s u g g e s t i n g t h a t we l i v e w i t h o u t r o l e s but t h a t we see them f o r what t h e y are - r o l e s - and not l e t them r u l e or not f a l l back on them as a way of j u s t i f y i n g some a c t i o n . To draw t h i s back t o our c o n v e r s a t i o n , we can say t h a t t h e l i f e of r o l e s or t h e l i f e of c o n v e n t i o n i s t h e l i f e of c h a t t e r . R o l e determines speech. The s e l f i s l o s t , and as K i e r k e g a a r d so f r e q u e n t l y reminds us, t h i s l o s s goes u n n o t i c e d . T h i s , my f r i e n d , i s the t e r r o r . A n t i g o n e : I seem t o be m i s s i n g something h e r e . The way I see i t i s t h a t i f we are i n a c e r t a i n r o l e we a l l o w t h a t r o l e t o d i c t a t e our speech. Athena: E x a c t l y , and I am s a y i n g we have t o q u e s t i o n t h a t form of speech. I f we t h i n k back t o how you were t a l k i n g e a r l i e r about t h e Women's Movement maybe what I mean w i l l become c l e a r e r . For example, i n what I w i l l c a l l pre-movement days, you f e l t compelled t o speak about k i d s , f a s h i o n s and t h e l i k e and i n the movement days you c l a i m e d you wouldn't be caught dead t a l k i n g about t h e s e v e r y t h i n g s . Why? Because i t d i d n ' t f i t the image of a f e m i n i s t ! Am I r i g h t ? I n both cases your s e l f i s s p e a k i n g from n e c e s s i t y . A n t i g o n e : There you go a g a i n . What do you mean by " N e c e s s i t y " and w h i l e you're at i t c o u l d you p l e a s e e x p l a i n a l i t t l e what i t i s you mean by c h a t t e r ? 73 Athena: K i e r k e g a a r d speaks of p o s s i b i l i t y and n e c e s s i t y as d i a l e c t i c a l i d e a s . To l i v e i n p o s s i b i l i t y i s t o l i v e i n t h e realm of t h o u g h t , where a n y t h i n g i s p o s s i b l e , w h i l e t o l i v e i n n e c e s s i t y i s t o l i v e a determined l i f e or an immediate l i f e , as i f what you d i d , how you r e l a t e d t o t h e w o r l d , was through n e c e s s i t y , as i f i t c o u l d not be o t h e r w i s e . A moment ago when I charged you w i t h s p e a k i n g from n e c e s s i t y I was c h a r g i n g you w i t h s p e a k i n g as i f your speech were determined. Another way t o say t h i s i s t o say t h e r o l e i s what determines speech. And t h i s i s t o say t h a t t h e s o u l i s l o s t , t h e s e l f i s l o s t . T h i s l e a d s us t o t h e o t h e r h a l f of your q u e s t i o n , A n t i g o n e , what i s c h a t t e r ? C h a t t e r i s r e d u c i n g e v e r y t h i n g t o t h e t r i v i a l . I t i s uncommitted t a l k . I t i s t h e speech of r o l e s where t h e u t t e r e n c e of words i s committed t o d i s p l a y of r o l e r a t h e r than r e v e l a t i o n of s e l f . L e t ' s c a s t our minds back t o I v a n I l y c h . I f you remember e a r l i e r i n our c o n v e r s a t i o n we t a l k e d about h i s d o i n g "company t a l k " , he spoke what was a p p r o p r i a t e t o h i s s t a t i o n i n l i f e i n a s e r i o u s way. As we s a i d e a r l i e r , he and h i s w i f e worked t o keep e v e r y t h i n g s m a l l or t r i v i a l . F o r Ivan the h o r r o r beset him when he came t o r e c o g n i z e t h i s . We must remember when T o l s t o y d e s c r i b e s I l y c h ' s l i f e as the "most s i m p l e and the most o r d i n a r y and t h e r e f o r e t h e most t e r r i b l e " he does not 74 i n t e n d us t o u n d e r s t a n d t h i s as c o n c r e t e l y s i m p l e or c o n c r e t e l y o r d i n a r y but t h a t i t i s s i m p l e and o r d i n a r y because I v a n r e l a t e s t o l i f e i n a s i m p l e and o r d i n a r y way, i n a t r i v i a l way. I n o t h e r words, i t i s not t h e c o n c r e t e arrangements of one's l i f e which make i t s i m p l e and o r d i n a r y , but i n s t e a d i t i s t h e way we have of a d d r e s s i n g t h i s w o r l d as n a t u r a l , as immediate, as n e c e s s a r y . And t a l k , i n t h i s w o r l d , i s mere words, mere words which o n l y m i r r o r t h e w o r l d as i t i s . T h i s i s t h e most s i m p l e and t h e r e f o r e t h e most t e r r i b l e . C h a t t e r i s o l a t e s or i n s u l a t e s the c h a t t e r e r from t h e w o r l d . The c h a t t e r e r i s o f t e n audience but never l i s t e n s s i n c e b e i n g l i s t e n e r demands a commitment, an engagement. The c h a t t e r e r t a k e s no more r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of engaging a n o t h e r ' s speech t h a n do I l y c h ' s f a m i l y and c o l l e a g u e s when he i s d y i n g and needs t o t a l k about h i s d y i n g and about h i s l i v i n g . T a n t a l u s : What about th e one who wants t o t a k e back e v e r y t h i n g she s a y s ? Athena: Goodness, T a n t a l u s , you cannot seem t o get r i d of t h a t i d e a . L e t ' s r e t h i n k i t . I f t h e person needs t o t a k e back e v e r y t h i n g she s a y s , t h e n we have t o say t h a t t h i s p e r s o n i s not committed t o what she speaks. More s t r o n g l y , she i s not committed t o t h e i d e a of speech, she 75 p o s s e s s e s a degenerate v e r s i o n of speech. T h i s i n t e r l o c u t o r cannot be t r u s t e d t o say a n y t h i n g she i s committed t o s i n c e h er aim i s t o keep t h e s e l f s e c r e t . T h i s one i s e a s i l y swayed by p u b l i c o p i n i o n and hence w i l l change what she u t t e r s as soon as she i s c h a l l e n g e d or as soon as a d i f f e r e n t p o s i t i o n i s p r e s e n t e d t o h e r . She does not own h e r t h i n k i n g ; she i s ready and w i l l i n g t o t a k e anyone e l s e s t h i n k i n g as her own, she i s a r e g u r g i t a t o r , she i s K i e r k e g a a r d ' s w a l k i n g s t i c k — because n o t h i n g m a t t e r s t o h e r . In t h i s way she i s l i k e M e r s e a u l t , Camus's hero i n The S t r a n g e r (1958), i s n ' t she? M e r s e a u l t i s l i k e t he chameleon who changes i d e a s , goes a l o n g w i t h whatever i s p r e s e n t e d t o him at t h e moment. M e r s e a u l t , l i k e t h i s s e l f , i s committed t o n o t h i n g , except perhaps t h a t which impinges on h i s e y e b a l l s . He l i k e s p l e a s u r e but on a s m a l l s c a l e . M e r s e a u l t i s a c h a t t e r e r . L e t ' s go back t o c h a t t e r . C h a t t e r i s n o n e s s e n t i a l speech; i t speaks about t h i n g s i n a t r i v i a l way. C h a t t e r t r e a t s speech as c o n c r e t e , as s e c u r e , as n a t u r a l , as she e r r e p o r t a g e on t h e w o r l d . C h a t t e r t o p i c a l i z e s . I t i s not i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of speech; i t merely s p e a k s . I t sees no need t o a n a l y z e and i t sees no need t o r e f o r m u l a t e i t s w o r l d . Because t h e w o r l d needs no a n a l y s i s - i t i s s h e e r l y t h e r e . 76 A n t i g o n e : So t h a t i s what we were d o i n g when we t a l k e d about our r e c i p e s , our n a i l s , our f a s h i o n s and a l l t h o s e o t h e r b a n a l c o n v e r s a t i o n s which c o n s t i t u t e d our w o r l d . Is t h a t a l l we were doing? Were we s i m p l y f i l l i n g i n t h e t i m e ? W a i t i n g ? S t a v i n g o f f boredom, i s o l a t i o n and a c e r t a i n brand of c r a z i n e s s ? C assandra: Except what we d i d was ensure our i s o l a t i o n and make boredom p a r t of our l i f e . Athena: To be s u r e t h a t i s what you were d o i n g , f i l l i n g t i m e , f i l l i n g space w i t h words. But you were d o i n g more t h a n t h a t . By t a l k i n g about t h e s e everyday concerns you were e n s u r i n g consensus about how the w o r l d was. You were a c t i v e l y s t a b i l i z i n g your w o r l d . You knew what c o u l d be t a l k e d about and what had t o remain h i d d e n , c o n c e a l e d , e l i m i n a t e d - not o n l y from your c o n v e r s a t i o n but a l s o from your t h o u g h t s . Things of deep concern t o you were t h e v e r y t h i n g s t h a t you dared o n l y t o dream about. I t was t h e s e t h o u g h t s , t h e s e f e e l i n g s t h a t t h e Women's Movement urged you t o make p u b l i c . Not o n l y t o make p u b l i c but t o a n a l y z e . A n t i g o n e : We l i s t e n e d , we spoke t o each o t h e r , we l e t our views be known p u b l i c l y . We raged at t h e w o r l d , f o r a l i t t l e w h i l e , u n t i l t h e w o r l d s t a r t e d t o l i s t e n . B y s t a n d e r : Do you t h i n k perhaps t h a t the committed s t i l l rage? That t h e committed see what has improved i n our 77 l i f e s as mere to k e n ? Cassandra: But i n t h e end we were s t i l l s i l e n t . T a n t a l u s : What do you mean s i l e n t ? We t a l k e d , raged, we got p r e s s coverage! How can you suggest we were s t i l l s i l e n t ? B y s t a n d e r : We d i d speak. I n t h e b e g i n n i n g we were so angry and our speech was so compelled t h a t we were d i s m i s s e d as c r a z y , as " b a l l b r e a k i n g b i t c h e s " , as s u b v e r s i v e s . But we spoke anyway, we r i s k e d and some of us changed our r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e w o r l d . We emerged from b e i n g p a s s i v e c r e a t u r e s c o n t r o l l e d by men i n t o women who knew how t h e w o r l d was put t o g e t h e r , and we were g o i n g t o do something about i t . We were g o i n g t o change t h e c o n t r o l l i n g s t r u c t u r e s . Athena: The q u e s t i o n you must ask y o u r s e l v e s i s " d i d you r e a l l y change or d i d you merely exchange one set of r h e t o r i c f o r a n o t h e r " ? What do you c o n s i d e r c o n v e r s a t i o n t o be? These are t h e q u e s t i o n s you must ask y o u r s e l v e s . I f we t h i n k of c o n v e r s a t i o n , of d i a l o g u e , as S o c r a t e s t h i n k s of d i a l o g u e , t h e n we can see t h a t what we are s t i l l m i s s i n g , as we pass through t h e s e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s , i s a sense of d i a l o g u e . A n t i g o n e : E a r l i e r you brought us t o see t h a t c h a t t e r wasn't committed speech; so I can see t h a t t h a t wasn't d i a l o g u e , t h a t wasn't a good way t o t a l k . 78 T a n t a l u s : But how can you say t h i s wasn't a good way t o t a l k ? C assandra: Maybe we c o u l d c o n s i d e r i t a good b e g i n n i n g . Athena: Yes, i t i s a good b e g i n n i n g , but now you have t o engage i t . You have t o answer i t , q u e s t i o n i t . A f t e r a l l , i f your aim i s d i a l o g u e , i n t h e S o c r a t i c sense of d i a l o g u e , t h e n you must be d i a l e c t i c a l . C o n v e r s a t i o n f o r S o c r a t e s , and f o r us, engages t h e d i a l e c t i c , i t r e a d d r e s s e s i t s e l f ; t h e i n t e r l o c u t o r i n t r o d u c e s t e n s i o n or r e s i s t a n c e i n t o t h e speech of the o t h e r . Hence, r a t h e r t h a n s h e e r l y a g r e e i n g w i t h t h e o t h e r , t h e i n t e r l o c u t o r , i n Blum's terms, speaks t h a t which t h e o t h e r has f o r g o t t e n i n o r d e r t o make h e r speech. I f we t h i n k back on what we were t a l k i n g about e a r l i e r w i t h t h e Women's Movement perhaps we can see t h a t a l t h o u g h you t a l k e d w i t h each o t h e r when you exchanged s t o r i e s and when you l i s t e n e d and developed a new way of s e e i n g t h e w o r l d , what you were a l s o d o i n g was s e e k i n g consensus about how the w o r l d i s put t o g e t h e r . This i s what you were s e a r c h i n g f o r , w hich, i n some e s s e n t i a l s e n s e , i s t h e same as what you accomplished t h r o u g h t a l k b e f o r e our e n l i g h t e n m e n t . T a n t a l u s : Are you s a y i n g we never moved? Athena: I'm s a y i n g t h a t your t a l k was d i f f e r e n t , your t a l k of your o p p r e s s i o n was more r e f l e c t i v e t h a n your t a l k 79 about f a s h i o n and f i n g e r n a i l s , but e s s e n t i a l l y t h e aim was t h e same. The aim or g o a l was, and i s , consensus. And t h i s has deep i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r how you r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d . What I am a l s o s a y i n g i s t h a t you have begun; you have found a new s t a r t i n g p l a c e , a p l a c e from which t o speak. But now you must t u r n back on y o u r s e l v e s and ask i f i t i s enough t o move from c h a t t e r t o - what s h a l l we c a l l i t ? R h e t o r i c f o r want of a b e t t e r word. What I am s u g g e s t i n g i s t h a t you ask y o u s e l v e s i f a l l you d i d was exchange one s e t or r h e t o r i c f o r a n o t h e r . In o t h e r words, you need t o ask y o u r s e l v e s i f we a c q u i r e d a d i f f e r e n t method f o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d or d i d we merely s u b s c r i b e t o a d i f f e r e n t f o r m u l a ? B y s t a n d e r : Maybe we d i d a t t a c h o u r s e l v e s t o another way of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d , but i t was a b e t t e r way; we were more a n a l y t i c a l . We now, at l e a s t , have a p o l i t i c a l s ense of t h e w o r l d . Athena: I agree t h a t you are more p o l i t i c a l , i n some sense of p o l i t i c a l — a p a r t i s a n sense — b u t you must ask y o u r s e l v e s i f a l l you need i s t h i s p o l i t i c a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e w o r l d . And now t h a t you have i t are you s i m p l y t o t a k e i t as n a t u r a l , as g i v e n , as the same f o r a l l s i t u a t i o n s ? Is i t t h a t you now need o n l y adhere t o t h a t r e c i p e , t o t h a t f o r m u l a f o r r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d ? 80 C a s s a n d r a : Are you s a y i n g t h a t our view of t h e w o r l d i s wrong and t h a t we s h o u l d r e - t h i n k i t so as t o f i n a l l y f i n d t h e t r u e v e r s i o n of t h e w o r l d ? Athena: No! I am a s k i n g t h a t you r e - t h i n k your way of r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d and ask y o u r s e l v e s i f i t i s method you are committed t o as a way of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d . B y s t a n d e r : But we need a way of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d and t h e f e m i n i s t s gave us t h a t method. They taught us what i t meant t o be concerned w i t h l o n g f i n g e r n a i l s and l o o k i n g p r e t t y . They encouraged us t o a n a l y z e our w o r l d i n terms of dominant power s t r u c t u r e s and i n terms of o p p r e s s i on. Athena: I am not q u e s t i o n i n g t h e t e a c h i n g s of the f e m i n i s t s or t h e s p e c i f i c s of what you l e a r n e d . Our t a s k here i s not t o a s s e s s t h e d i f f e r e n t methods of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d but t o i n q u i r e i n t o t h e i d e a of method i t s e l f . I f we o r i e n t t o l i v i n g our l i v e s through method t h e n we have a b d i c a t e d our r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o t h i n k about how we are b e s t t o l i v e our l i v e s . We are l i k e D e s c a r t e s ' i d e a l s c h o l a r ; we assume our p r e d e c e s s o r s ' t h i n k i n g . In d o i n g t h i s we c l a i m our a n c e s t o r s had t h e r i g h t and t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o q u e s t i o n , t o doubt t h e i r w o r l d , but we do n o t . I f we f o l l o w t h e C a r t e s i a n model we can say t h e y d i d our t h i n k i n g f o r us. They have a l r e a d y brought i n t o doubt t h a t which needed t o be doubted, no need f o r us t o 81 do so a g a i n . Method t e l l s us t o march on. I t says " F o l l o w me, move f o r w a r d , don't lo o k back. P r o g r e s s ! " But most i m p o r t a n t l y i t says " F o l l o w me", f o l l o w t h e s t r a i g h t path and maybe you w i l l p r o g r e s s t o the c r y s t a l p a l a c e . T h i s i s the message of method. I t i s so u n l i k e N e i t z c h e who w i s e l y s a i d " F o l l o w you, don't f o l l o w me" or words t o t h a t e f f e c t . Moreover, we have t o ask what i s t h e good of a "p r o p e r " p o l i t i c a l a n a l y s i s . I t i s good i n t h a t i t p r o v i d e s consensus, but i s consensus what we r e a l l y want? Is consensus what we r e a l l y need? What does consensus g i v e us? A n t i g o n e : I t g i v e s us a sense of community. I t g i v e s us a sense of b e l o n g i n g i n peace w i t h o t h e r s . Athena: I t g i v e s you a sense of community but a v e r y weak sense of community. We need t o ask o u r s e l v e s what v e r s i o n of community we have i f i t i s b u i l t on consensus. Consensus means t h a t a l l must agree, t h o s e who d i s a g r e e are c a s t o ut. Is a good community one which i s so f r a g i l e t h a t i t cannot w i t h s t a n d d i f f e r e n c e ? T h i s gets a l i t t l e b i t t r i c k y because we have t o now t h i n k of consensus, d i f f e r e n c e , m u l t i p l i c i t y and u n i t y . L e t ' s t a k e a moment and t h i n k about consensus and u n i t y . To have a sense of u n i t y i s good. I t i s what we aim f o r . 82 B y s t a n d e r : How i s t h i s d i f f e r e n t from consensus, i f we have consensus do we not have a u n i f i e d f r o n t t o p r e s e n t t o t h e w o r l d ? Athena: I t h i n k consensus i s d i f f e r e n t from u n i t y . U n i t y i s not n e c e s s a r i l y p r e s e n t i n g a u n i t e d f r o n t , I t h i n k t h e y are two s e p a r a t e i s s u e s . L e t ' s s t a y w i t h t h e consensus. Consensus i m p l i e s agreement about t h i n g s , about t o p i c , whereas u n i t y i s an agreement t o r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d i n a c e r t a i n way. Can you see t h i s d i f f e r e n c e ? A n t i g o n e : I'm not s u r e I see t h e d i f f e r e n c e . I f we go back t o t h e Women's Movement, d i d n ' t we agree t o r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d i n a c e r t a i n way, d i d n ' t I l y c h and h i s comrades agree t o r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d i n a c e r t a i n way? Athena: L e t ' s t r y t o get at t h i s another way. As I s a i d e a r l i e r consensus means t o agree about some-thing, i t i s t o p i c c e n t e r e d ; we t a l k about a g e n e r a l consensus on a t o p i c . But when we t h i n k about u n i t y we t h i n k about wholeness, completeness. T h i s i s removed from t o p i c a l t h o u g h t o p i c s are our usage. They are how we b e g i n our q u e s t . U n i t y speaks of commitment, a commitment t o get beyond t h e m u l t i p l i c i t y of t o p i c s , t o get beyond speech about t h i n g s . Perhaps our s e a r c h f o r u n i t y i s conducted t h r o u g h d i a l o g u e . But t h i s does not i m p l y t h a t we must agree on e v e r y t h i n g we d i s c u s s . Agreement i s not what we need, i t i s not our aim. We need commitment, a 83 commitment t o t a l k i n g about what i s of deep concern t o us. We can s u f f e r d i f f e r e n c e and we w i l l always be plagued w i t h m u l t i p l i c i t y . A n t i g o n e : I'm s t i l l p u z z l e d . I f i t i s a good a n a l y s i s and i f i t works, why s h o u l d we not use i t ? What do you expect o f us? Do you expect each of us t o s t a r t f r e s h , c l e a n , as i f no work, no thought about t h e w o r l d has ever been done? Are we not t o l i s t e n t o anyone e l s e , do our p r e d e c e s s o r s have n o t h i n g t o say t o us? What i s t h e good of anyone's speech i f no one i s t o l i s t e n , i f each of us s t a r t s w i t h "new" speech? Athena: I am not s a y i n g "Don't l i s t e n t o your p r e d e c e s s o r s , t h e y have n o t h i n g t o say t o you". Rather I want you t o t h i n k about what your a n c e s t o r s have s a i d , engage t h e i r s p e ech, examine i t , but do not f a l l i n t o t h e t r a p of t h i n k i n g t h a t t h e y have done your t h i n k i n g f o r you and, t h e r e f o r e , your t a s k i s d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r s . Each of us must do t h e work of a n a l y s i s f o r o u r s e l v e s . Our f o r e f a t h e r s c o u l d not have done i t f o r us anymore t h a n we can do i t f o r f u t u r e g e n e r a t i o n s . Let me read a s h o r t quote from K i e r k e g a a r d where he reminds us of t h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . "Whatever one g e n e r a t i o n may l e a r n f rom t h e o t h e r , t h a t which i s g e n u i n e l y human no g e n e r a t i o n b e g i n s p r i m i t i v e l y , has no d i f f e r e n t t a s k from t h a t of every p r e v i o u s g e n e r a t i o n , nor does i t get 84 f u r t h e r except i n so f a r as the p r e c e d i n g g e n e r a t i o n s h i r k e d i t s t a s k and deluded i t s e l f . T h i s a u t h e n t i c a l l y human f a c t o r i s p a s s i o n , i n which a l s o t h e one g e n e r a t i o n p e r f e c t l y understands t h e o t h e r and understands i t s e l f . Thus no g e n e r a t i o n has l e a r n e d from another t o l o v e , no g e n e r a t i o n begins at any o t h e r p o i n t t h a n at t h e b e g i n n i n g , no g e n e r a t i o n has a s h o r t e r t a s k a s s i g n e d t o i t t h a n had t h e p r e c e d i n g g e n e r a t i o n , and i f h ere one i s not w i l l i n g l i k e t h e p r e v i o u s g e n e r a t i o n s t o s t o p w i t h l o v e but would go f u r t h e r , t h i s i s but i d l e and f o o l i s h t a l k " . ( K i e r k e g a a r d , 1974:13) T a n t a l u s : But he's t a l k i n g about l o v e , he's not s a y i n g a n y t h i n g about a n a l y s i s or d i a l o g u e or commitment! A n t i g o n e : Are you s u g g e s t i n g t h e n t h a t he has n o t h i n g t o say t o us, t h a t h i s words a p p l y t o someone e l s e , t o ano t h e r p l a c e , another t i m e ? T a n t a l u s : No, I ' l l grant t h a t he p r o b a b l y has something t o say t o u s , but not now. Athena: C o n c r e t e l y , perhaps, he's not t a l k i n g about speech, commitment or d i a l o g u e , b u t , and t h i s i s a s l i g h t d i v e r s i o n , and w e ' l l have t o come back t o t h i s at another t i m e , i t has t o do w i t h how we re a d , and you, T a n t a l u s , read c o n c r e t e l y . You don't seem t o t a k e what K i e r k e g a a r d has s a i d and l o o k f o r what grounds t h e speech, you t a k e t h e speech, t h e words, as s e l f - e v i d e n t i n and of t h e m s e l v e s . T h i s a l l o w s you t o d i s m i s s the words as h a v i n g n o t h i n g p a r t i c u l a r t o say t o you, at t h i s moment, 85 on t h i s t o p i c . You are g u i l t y of a t o p i c - c e n t e r e d way of s e e i n g t h e w o r l d . This i s a l i t t l e h a r s h , but i t i s so c e n t r a l t o our argument. You r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d i n a c o n c r e t e way, T a n t a l u s , and t h i s i s l i m i t i n g . I t i s a l s o s a f e . I'm h a r d on you but o n l y because I know so w e l l t h a t way of r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d . You are not a l o n e ; we a l l accompany you at v a r i o u s times i n our l i v e s . W e ' l l come back t o t h i s a g a i n and a g a i n I am s u r e . But l e t ' s r e t u r n t o K i e r k e g a a r d ' s reminder b e f o r e we go any f u r t h e r . A n t i g o n e : I have a sense K i e r k e g a a r d i s t r y i n g t o remind us of what i t i s t o be human. He i s a s k i n g t h a t we r e c o n s i d e r our r e l a t i o n s h i p t o our h i s t o r y , does t h a t make any sense? Athena: That's good. I t h i n k you're r i g h t . K i e r k e g a a r d i s a s k i n g t h a t we c o n s i d e r what i s e s s e n t i a l f o r each one of us , f o r each i n d i v i d u a l . He i s s a y i n g t h a t one g e n e r a t i o n cannot do t h e work f o r the n e x t . A n t i g o n e : So i f we t h i n k back t o Women's Movement as an example, we can say t h a t a l t h o u g h we have c o n c r e t e l y b e n e f i t t e d from t h e changes i n c i r c u m s t a n c e s which t h e Movement i n i t i a t e d , we can not r e s t and s h e e r l y t a k e what t h e y gave us. Athena: And you have t o t h i n k of what you mean when you say "gave u s " . Do you mean t h e changed c i r c u m s t a n c e s or do 86 you mean t h e way of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d ? A n t i g o n e : I guess I mean b o t h , i n a way. They d i d g i v e us changed c i r c u m s t a n c e s , and t h e y d i d g i v e us a method of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e w o r l d . Athena: But what we are s a y i n g i s t h a t i s not enough! We cannot delude o u r s e l v e s i n t o t h i n k i n g t h a t t h e y have done a l l t h e work f o r us. I t i s not t h a t we want t o be u n g r a t e f u l t o our p r e d e c e s s o r s w i t h r e g a r d t o the work t h a t t h e y d i d on our b e h a l f , but we must remember t h a t , as K i e r k e g a a r d s a y s , each g e n e r a t i o n , has the same t a s k as t h e p r e v i o u s g e n e r a t i o n — t h a t of u n d e r s t a n d i n g what i t i s t o be g e n u i n e l y human. Thus our a n c e s t o r s cannot do our t h i n k i n g f o r us anymore th a n we w i l l be a b l e t o t h i n k f o r t h e upcoming g e n e r a t i o n . So al t h o u g h t h e Women's Movement and s c i e n c e , f o r example, may have made our l i f e c o n c r e t e l y e a s i e r we s t i l l have t o l e a d our l i v e s . We s t i l l have t o make sense of our w o r l d , come t o terms w i t h our p a r t i c u l a r c i r c u m s t a n c e s , and method i s not n e c e s s a r i l y g o i n g t o h e l p us a c h i e v e t h i s . What you need i s an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of how we r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d , and one way we have i s t o r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d as n a t u r a l , as i n e v i t a b l e , as immediate. 87 BOOK I I I IMMEDIACY A n t i g o n e : You have mentioned t h i s b e f o r e . What do you mean by r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d as n a t u r a l , as immediate? I mean t h e w o r l d i s t h e r e , we are born i n t o an a l r e a d y ongoing p r o c e s s , d i s c o v e r i e s have been made, l e g i s l a t i o n has been p a s t , c u l t u r e has been developed. We are j u s t one more " t h i n g " , l i k e many o t h e r " t h i n g s " . We j u s t s l i p i n u n n o t i c e d somehow and l e a d our l i v e s i n the same " u n n o t i c e d " s o r t of way. Cassandra: That i s c e r t a i n l y one v e r s i o n of l i f e and of a way t o l e a d ones l i f e but i t somehow makes me c r i n g e . I t makes me f e e l v e r y uneasy. A n t i g o n e : Maybe because we are a l l a f r a i d t o v o i c e t h i s v e r s i o n of our l i f e , maybe i t i s e a s i e r not t o address t h e q u e s t i o n of how t o l e a d ones l i f e . Maybe we s h o u l d j u s t l i v e l i f e or l e t l i f e l i v e u s. Athena: Hold on now, I he a r you s a y i n g a couple of t h i n g s . F i r s t i t seems t h a t you a r e s u g g e s t i n g t h a t t h e w o r l d i s det e r m i n e d , we are determined and t h e r e f o r e we do n o t h i n g but l e a d our l i v e s i n a pre-programmed s o r t of way. Then, and perhaps t h i s f o l l o w s from s e e i n g t h e w o r l d as 88 d e t e r m i n e d , you are t e l l i n g us t h a t i t may be b e t t e r t o l i v e t h e unexamined l i f e . S e r i o u s l y A n t i g o n e , I cannot b e l i e v e you r e a l l y mean t h a t . I have t o say t o you as S o c r a t e s would, " i s t h e unexamined l i f e worth l i v i n g ? " I f you t h i n k t h a t t h e examined l i f e i s not worth l i v i n g t h e n I r e a l l y must q u e s t i o n why you are h e r e , why we are h a v i n g t h i s d i a l o g u e ? A n t i g o n e : You're r i g h t , I s u s p e c t I don't s e r i o u s l y c o n s i d e r t h e unexamined l i f e worth l i v i n g . I t i s j u s t t h a t sometimes I wonder about how we l e a d our l i v e s and t h i n k how much e a s i e r i t would be i f we d i d n ' t t h i n k , i f we went th r o u g h l i f e as "happy r o b o t s " . And you're r i g h t , at t i m e s I do see t h e w o r l d as determined, as d e t e r m i n i n g us. A f t e r a l l we don't choose t o be born, we don't choose our p l a c e i n t h e p r o c e s s . Athena: R i g h t , but we don't have t o be determined or l i m i t e d by t h a t p r o c e s s , a l t h o u g h we do have t o l i v e w i t h our f a t e . B y s t a n d e r : Are not t h o s e two thoughts c o n t r a d i c t o r y ? On t h e one hand you are s a y i n g "do not be determined" and on t h e o t h e r hand you are s a y i n g " l i v e w i t h you f a t e " , which t o me means accept your f a t e , be determined by your f a t e . And we are l i m i t e d . Athena: To l i v e your f a t e and t o be determined by your f a t e are two q u i t e d i f f e r e n t ways of r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d . 89 When I say " l i v e w i t h your f a t e " , or as Blum (1980) reminds u s , "Love your f a t e " , I mean we have t o accept as our b e g i n n i n g p o i n t , as where we a r e , j u s t what i t i s we e s s e n t i a l l y a r e . That i s , we are born male or f e m a l e , we are born t o p a r t i c u l a r p a r e n t s , i n a p a r t i c u l a r p a r t of t h e w o r l d and i n a s p e c i f i c t i m e i n h i s t o r y . These t h i n g s we cannot change. T h e r e f o r e i t i s not f r u i t f u l t o spend one's l i f e w i s h i n g t h a t one had been born male i n s t e a d of f e m a l e , t o r i c h p a r e n t s r a t h e r t h a n t o poor p a r e n t s , i n one c o u n t r y i n s t e a d of a n o t h e r . We have t o accept what we a r e . As Hathaway (1981) p o i n t e d out, we are a l r e a d y a some-body by t h e time we become c o n s c i o u s of o u r s e l f as a s e l f . We a l r e a d y are t h e m a t e r i a l t h a t we have t o work w i t h . And, i n o r d e r t o work w i t h t h i s m a t e r i a l , we must know t h e m a t e r i a l and know i t i n a k i n d l y way. For example, i t would be a s i g n of a wasted l i f e i f one threw up one's hands i n d e s p a i r because one was o n l y f i v e f e e t t a l l and of o r d i n a r y countenance r a t h e r t h a n b e i n g f i v e f e e t e i g h t and gorgeous. I n t h i s case i t would be f o o l i s h t o be i n d e s p a i r because one c o u l d not become a w o r l d famous f a s h i o n model because of one's s i z e . We have t o be a b l e t o come t o terms w i t h t h i n g s l i k e s i z e and accept t h a t t h e r e w i l l be a c t i v i t i e s i n t h e w o r l d which we w i l l be unable t o do because of our s i z e , 90 because of our p a r t i c u l a r g e n e t i c make-up. But we can't g i v e up on l i f e because of t h i s ; a f t e r a l l we are a l l b o r n w i t h a p a r t i c u l a r g e n e t i c make-up which i s not of our own c h o o s i n g . I t i s l i k e p l a y i n g H e a r t s . You're d e a l t c e r t a i n c a r d s from t h e deck, and you p l a y as best you can. A n t i g o n e : Of course t h i s metaphor doesn't work too w e l l s i n c e i n c a r d games the r u l e s are f i x e d and each p l a y e r knows ahead of time j u s t what t h o s e r u l e s a r e . And I g a t h e r you would not want t o see the s o c i a l i n t h i s way. Athena: Touche! But we mustn't get t o o c o n c r e t e about our metaphors. L e t ' s go back t o your e a r l i e r q u e s t i o n , A n t i g o n e , you asked what I meant by an immediate w o r l d . The immediate w o r l d i s not a d e s c r i b a b l e w o r l d , t h a t i s i t i s not some c o n c r e t e e n t i t y i n t h e w o r l d t h a t we can come up a g a i n s t and say t h a t i s "immediate". Rather immediacy i s a way of r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d , i t i s a r e f u s a l t o a n a l y z e , i t i s a way of s e e i n g , s e e i n g t h e w o r l d i n s h e e r l y d e s c r i b a b l e ways i s t o see t h e w o r l d i m m e d i a t e l y . Thus, when McHugh et a l (1974) t r a v e l l e r s go t o c o u n t r i e s and s h e e r l y d e s c r i b e , f o r example, "the beaches at Mombasa are w h i t e r and s a n d i e r t h a n t h e beaches at Dakar" t h e y are r e l a t i n g t o t h e i r w o r l d i n an immediate way. To t r e a t t h e w o r l d i m m e d i a t e l y i s t o t r e a t i s as i f i t i s j u s t t h e r e . 91 I t ' s a d i f f i c u l t i d e a . We come back t o what I was t r y i n g t o say e a r l i e r , T a n t a l u s , when I s a i d you r e l a t e d t o t h e w o r l d i n a t o p i c - c e n t e r e d way. I t i s somewhat t h e same i s s u e i n t h a t t o t r e a t t h e w o r l d as t o p i c a l i s t o t r e a t t h e w o r l d as knowable. L e t ' s e n l i s t t h e h e l p of B a r t h e s ' (1972) B o u r g e o i s i e t o get a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h i s r e l a t i o n t o t h e w o r l d . B a r t h e s ' b o u r g e o i s i e o f f e r us a v e r s i o n of t h e immediate l i f e i n t h a t t h e y r e l a t e t o t h e w o r l d as n a t u r a l , as g i v e n . They l i v e i n a w o r l d of myths, which t h e y t r a n s m i t and yet r e f u s e t o a n a l y z e . I t i s t h i s m y t h i c a l language which m a i n t a i n s t h e i r w o r l d as n a t u r a l as e t e r n a l . For t h e b o u r g e o i s , language i s t r e a t e d as mere words which are c o n c r e t e and p u r e l y d e s c r i p t i v e about t h e w o r l d . They r e p r e s e n t t h e w o r l d as f a c t . The s e l f - a p p o i n t e d t a s k f o r the b o u r g e o i s i s t o d e s c r i b e t h e w o r l d and t h r o u g h t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n reach some consensus about how t h e w o r l d i s . T a n t a l u s : I know you i m p l i e d t h a t consensus was bad a few minutes ago but I can't h e l p but t h i n k i t i s good. Is i t not good t o have consensus w i t h i n a community? Is t h i s not how we a c h i e v e a s t a b l e , c o h e s i v e community? Athena: Remember we are not s a y i n g t h a t consensus i n and of i t s e l f i s bad but t h a t how we a r r i v e at t h i s consensus needs t o be t a l k e d about. We a l s o need t o q u e s t i o n a 92 " s t a b l e c o h e s i v e community", but we cannot go i n t o i t at t h i s t i m e . J u s t t r y and ask y o u r s e l f , as we asked of Iva n I l y c h , do we want s t a b i l i t y and c o h e s i v e n e s s at any c o s t ? But l e t ' s get back t o consensus. Consensus, f o r t h e b o u r g e o i s , i s a r r i v e d at by s e e i n g t h a t t h e w o r l d i s n a t u r a l and i n e v i t a b l e ; t h u s each man can say t o t h e o t h e r , "You must see t h e w o r l d as I see i t s i n c e t h e w o r l d i s s h e e r l y t h e r e , i f I see i t t h i s way t h e n you must a l s o " . S i m i l a r l y , i t a l l o w s the B a r t h i a n c r i t i c , who cannot u n d e r s t a n d t h e works of Marx or K i e r k e g a a r d , t o p r o c l a i m , " I don't u n d e r s t a n d t h e r e f o r e you must be s t u p i d . " However t h e r e i s another way t o t h i n k about a l i f e which d e s i r e s s t a b i l i t y and c o h e s i v e n e s s i n i t s community. T h i s i s t o t h i n k about c o l l a b o r a t i o n r a t h e r t h a n consensus. Cassandra: How are t h e y d i f f e r e n t ? Athena: When we t a l k e d about consensus we t a l k e d about agreement, maybe we have t o go a l i t t l e f u r t h e r t h a n t h i s . When we t h i n k of coming t o a consensus, as we s a i d e a r l i e r , we come t o a g e n e r a l agreement on some t o p i c . Consensus i m p l i e s a g i v i n g up of an i d e a i n order t o agree w i t h o t h e r s . So i n a community of consensus one can say t h a t each member gave up something she was p o s s i b l y a t t a c h e d t o , and d i d not g i v e up because she was 93 changed "but gave up f o r t h e sake of expediency. So consensus speaks of agreement and expediency. Whereas c o l l a b o r a t i o n speaks of a w o r k i n g t h r o u g h , j o i n t l y . I t comes from a s h a r i n g of thou g h t , from a w i l l i n g n e s s t o engage and a w i l l i n g n e s s t o change. I t does not speak of g i v i n g up a s i n c e r e attachment or p u t t i n g i t a s i d e f o r now. Consensus, f o r t h e immediate man, i s a r e f u s a l t o work t h r o u g h ; i t i s acceptance f o r what everyone agrees appears. I t r e q u i r e s no work, a l t h o u g h i t can be a l a b o u r i o u s t a s k . T h i s consensus can o n l y be m a i n t a i n e d i f no q u e s t i o n s a re asked, no r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t a k e n , no c h a l l e n g e g i v e n . L e t ' s l e a v e t h e i d e a of c o l l a b o r a t i o n f o r t h e moment, i t w i l l come up a g a i n i n our t a l k I'm s u r e , and go back t o t h i n k about the b o u r g e o i s and language. As I s a i d e a r l i e r t h e b o u r g e o i s i e t r e a t t h e w o r l d as d e s c r i b a b l e ; t h e y t r e a t s o c i e t y as form. Now we have t o say t h a t t o see s o c i e t y i n t h i s way i s t o t r i v i a l i z e i t . I t i s t o reduce s o c i e t y , us, t o mundaneity. As w e l l , i t i s t o m i s u n d e r s t a n d language. I t t r e a t s language as merely words which come w i t h o u t h i s t o r y , w i t h o u t concepts a t t a c h e d t o them. The b o u r g e o i s and t h e immediate man t r e a t language as i f i t had no h i s t o r y , as i f i t c o u l d s t a n d on i t s own, t h e same f o r a l l . And because 94 l a n g u a g e , f o r t h e s e c o n v e r s a n t s , i s seen as s t a n d i n g on i t s own, t h e y have no i n t e r e s t i n g o i n g beyond t h e c o n c r e t e t o see how t h e i r language i s grounded, t o see how i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r them t o say t h e t h i n g s they say, t o see t h e w o r l d t h e way t h e y do and thus t o r e l a t e t o i t i n an immediate way. R a t h e r t h e b o u r g e o i s w i l l d i s m i s s t h e d i s c o u r s e of p h i l o s o p h y as "mere t a l k " , t h a t i s , as unimportant t o t h e d a i l y l i f e of s o c i e t y . The more s o p h i s t i c a t e d of t h e b o u r g e o i s i e might p o s s i b l y agree w i t h C a l l i c l e s (484.d) who r e c o g n i z e d t h e n e c e s s i t y of p h i l o s o p h y but f e l t i t belonged o n l y t o s t u d e n t s , and once out i n the s e r i o u s w o r l d i t s h o u l d be put away, s t o r e d as a s t u d e n t s ' i n d u l g e n c e r a t h e r t h a n t h i n k i n g of i t as a way of b e i n g i n t h e w o r l d . What t h e b o u r g e o i s i e f o r g e t i s t h a t t h e i r w o r l d r e v o l v e s around t a l k , i n f a c t t h e i r w o r l d i s m a i n t a i n e d by t h e i r t a l k - remember Iv a n I l y c h and us i n our " p r e - l i b e r a t i o n " days? C h a t t e r d i c t a t e s , i t r e a f f i r m s the way the w o r l d i s . The w o r l d i s r e a f f i r m e d as n a t u r a l , as g e n e r a l f o r everyone, as c l e a r - not ambiguous and complex. T a n t a l u s : I am s t i l l not c l e a r on how t h e myths work. You mentioned e a r l i e r t h a t t h e b o u r g e o i s i e l i v e i n a w o r l d of myths. I , f o r one, don't see people wandering around 95 t e l l i n g myths i n t h e way t h a t we t h i n k of myths. I mean I see myths as s t o r i e s b e l o n g i n g t o t h e a n c i e n t s who used s t o r i e s of t h e gods as ways of making sense of t h e w o r l d and at t h e same t i m e t e a c h i n g moral l e s s o n s . This seems t o me q u i t e a complex form of t h o u g h t , u s u a l l y r e s e r v e d f o r t e a c h i n g c h i l d r e n . Athena: I t i s a complex form of t h o u g h t , you are r i g h t , T a n t a l u s . C e r t a i n l y i t i s o p p o s i t e t o c o n c r e t e d e s c r i p t i v e speech. Perhaps i t reminds us t h a t t h e r e are some " t h i n g s " i n t h i s w o r l d which we cannot speak about d i r e c t l y . B a r t h e s , however, t a l k s about myths i n a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t way. He sees the b o u r g e o i s i e as l i v i n g a m y t h i c a l l i f e and t a k i n g t h a t l i f e f o r r e a l ; t h e a l l - i n c l u s i v e myth b e i n g t h a t t h i n g s j u s t are t h e way t h e y appear t o be. What impinges on our e y e b a l l s i s t r u t h and has no need t o be a n a l y z e d . B a r t h e s c l a i m s t h a t t h e myths "do not deny t h i n g s " ; r a t h e r , t h r o u g h t a l k , t h e myth p u r i f i e s and makes i n n o c e n t t h a t which i t speaks about. The myths s i m p l i f y l i f e f o r t h e b o u r g e o i s i e , i t a l l o w s them t o t r e a t whatever meets the eye as g i v e n , as s h e e r l y t h e r e . B a r t h e s c l a i m s , " . . . i t g i v e s them c l a r i t y which i s not t h a t of an e x p l a n a t i o n but t h a t of a statement of f ElC"b • • • • Another way t o say t h i s i s t o say t h a t t h e 96 b o u r g e o i s i e want o n l y f a c t s , t h e y see t h e w o r l d i n a f a c t u a l , c o n c r e t e way. They do not want u n d e r s t a n d i n g . They do not want d i a l o g u e . For them t h e w o r l d i s s e l f - e v i d e n t ; human a c t s are robbed of t h e i r c o m p l e x i t y and t h e i r a m b i g u i t y . B a r t h e s ' b o u r g e o i s i e o p e r a t e i n a w o r l d which i s made s i m p l e by i t s myths; i t i s a w o r l d which has no i d e a of t h e d i a l e c t i c . T h is w o r l d i s s h a l l o w , "wide open and w a l l o w i n g i n the e v i d e n t , " i s how B a r t h e s e x p l a i n s i t . I t i s a w o r l d p o p u l a t e d by " t h i n g s " which have meaning i n and of t h e m s e l v e s , meaning i s not p r o v i d e d f o r by t h e s e l f ; no a n a l y s i s i s r e q u i r e d . A n t i g o n e : I'm a f r a i d you've l o s t me. I'm not sure what you mean by " t h i n g s " . Do you mean c o n c r e t e items l i k e t a b l e s and c h a i r s and books? Athena: When we t a l k about a " t h i n g " we t a l k about some o b j e c t as i f i t had some i n h e r e n t q u a l i t i e s which made i t t h a t o b j e c t , as i f i t was t h e same f o r a l l times and f o r a l l p e o p l e . What we f o r g e t when we t h i n k of it e m s i n t h i s " t h i n g n e s s " k i n d of way i s t h a t o b j e c t s a re c o n s t i t u t e d by t h e a c t i v i t i e s of p e o p l e . That i s , t o use your example, a c h a i r i s o n l y a c h a i r i f i s r e l a t e d t o as a c h a i r by t h e members. And, we can say t h e same about t h o u g h t s and i d e a s — t h e y are ac c o m p l i s h e d by people t h e y do not s i m p l y appear from n a t u r e . Another way t o say 97 t h i s i s t o say t h a t o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n or t h i n g n e s s of t h e w o r l d speaks of no th o u g h t , no a n a l y s i s , o r , more p o w e r f u l l y p ut, no a n a l y s i s i s p o s s i b l e because t h e r e i s n o t h i n g t o a n a l y z e i n a w o r l d which i s n a t u r a l , which i s e t e r n a l . L e t ' s r e t u r n t o t h e d i s c u s s i o n of myths and maybe t h i s w i l l make i t c l e a r e r . Myths f o r B a r t h e s are not merely c o n c r e t e s t o r i e s which are passed on from one g e n e r a t i o n t o ano t h e r ; t h e y are more p e r v a s i v e t h a t t h i s . They are a way of l i f e , a way of s e e i n g t h e w o r l d . Myths p r o v i d e a b u f f e r between us and t h e w o r l d . They a l l o w us t o f o r g e t we have some r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r c o n s t r u c t i n g t h e w o r l d , they a l l o w us t o t r e a t t h e w o r l d as " t h i n g " . Thus when a photograph of women n o v e l i s t s appears i n t h e magazine " E l l e " what i s seen i s s i m p l y a photograph of n o v e l i s t s w i t h a c a p t i o n underneath i d e n t i f y i n g t h e women p l u s t h e i r accomplishments - number of c h i l d r e n , number of n o v e l s . What i s f o r g o t t e n , as Ba r t h e s reminds us, i s t h a t t h i s w o r l d i s " c o n s t i t u t e d by t h e gaze of man" and i t i s a " J e s u i t i c m o r a l i t y " which u n d e r l i e s t h i s w o r l d . A n t i g o n e : What c o u l d he mean by J e s u i t i c m o r a l i t y ? Athena: By t h i s I t a k e i t he means t h a t i t i s a l l r i g h t f o r us t o change t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s or t h e arrangements of our 98 l i v e s as l o n g as t h e u n d e r l y i n g premises or dogmas which ground our l i v e s are not compromised. In o t h e r words i t i s good f o r women t o w r i t e but we must not f o r g e t t h a t f i r s t and foremost we are women, which can be read as synonomous f o r wives and mothers. This i s our p r i m a r y c o n c e r n and our p r i m a r y r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . T a n t a l u s : Are you s u g g e s t i n g a p a r a n o i d v e r s i o n of t h e wo r l d ? A w o r l d where a s p e c i f i c s et of people p r o p a g a n d i z e t h e r e s t of us i n t o s e e i n g t h e w o r l d t h i s way? Athena: I t sounds as i f you want t o d i v i d e t h e w o r l d i n t o two c a t e g o r i e s t h e r u l e r s and t h e r u l e d . What we are t a l k i n g about i s an immediate view of t h e w o r l d which i s more p e r v a s i v e and l e s s c l e a r t h a n what you a r e s u g g e s t i n g . What you have done, once more, i s t o c a t e g o r i z e . T h i s i s t h e same as making something t o p i c a l . And what I am s a y i n g i s t h e w o r l d j u s t i s n ' t put t o g e t h e r i n t h a t f a s h i o n . We cannot j u s t s l o t people i n t o c a t e g o r i e s and t h e n be done w i t h them, as i f t h a t p a r t i c u l a r c a t e g o r y c o u l d o f f e r up an e x p l a n a t i o n f o r what t h a t person was, a l t h o u g h t h i s i s an e x c e l l e n t v e r s i o n of r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d i n an immediate way. I'm not s t a n d i n g i n judgement over you, T a n t a l u s , I un d e r s t a n d about c a t e g o r i z i n g f e l l o w humans and I un d e r s t a n d B a r t h e s * b o u r g e o i s i e . I t i s not as i f some of 99 us l i v e i m m e d i a t e l y and o t h e r s do n o t , hut t h a t we a l l are s u s c e p t i b l e t o r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d i n an u n r e f l e c t i v e way. We a l l , at t i m e s , l i v e our l i f e i m m e d i a t e l y as i f i t were de t e r m i n e d . Why? Because i t keeps us s a f e i n what we know; i t a l l o w s us t o r e p l i c a t e each o t h e r . We know what t o expect from each o t h e r — t h e r e w i l l be no s u r p r i s e s . B y s t a n d e r : What do you mean by r e p l i c a t i o n , i s i t l i k e m i m i c r y where we copy one ano t h e r ? Athena: At t h i s p o i n t I don't t h i n k we s h o u l d get i n t o comparing what mimicry i s v e r s u s what r e p l i c a t i o n i s and whether t h e y a re t h e same or are th e y d i f f e r e n t . L e t ' s , i n s t e a d , l o o k at another one of b o u r g e o i s myths. For example i n one of t h e s e myths B a r t h e s t a l k s about c h i l d r e n ' s t o y s . He reminds us t h a t t h e s e t o y s are not merely t o y s but r a t h e r t h e y are r e p l i c a s of the a d u l t w o r l d which t r a i n our c h i l d r e n t o be u s e r s r a t h e r t h a n c r e a t o r s of t h e i r w o r l d . In o t h e r words t h e y are s h a p i n g t h e c h i l d ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e w o r l d by g i v i n g h er/him a s m a l l v e r s i o n of t h e a d u l t w o r l d t o p l a y w i t h , t o r e l a t e t o and use. We, t h e a d u l t s , t h rough t h e p r o v i s i o n of t o y s , a re t r a i n i n g t h e c h i l d t o see the w o r l d as n a t u r a l , as s h e e r l y t h e r e . We are not a l l o w i n g t h e c h i l d t o see t h a t t h e w o r l d i s c o n s t r u c t e d by t h e a c t i v i t i e s of people i n s t e a d we encourage them t o see t h e w o r l d as " t h i n g " . 100 C r e a t i v i t y i s s t i f l e d . And we must remember one of the t e r r i b l e r e p e r c u s s i o n s of t h i s k i n d of o r i e n t a t i o n t o l i f e i s t h a t i t does not a l l o w c h i l d r e n t o c r e a t e a w o r l d which c o u l d be o t h e r w i s e . The t o y i s s a y i n g " t h i s i s t h e way t h e w o r l d i s , i t i s n a t u r a l , i t i s preformed f o r your use " . C a ssandra: So t h e c h i l d l e a r n s t o be i n t h e w o r l d i n t h e same way as h e r / h i s a n c e s t o r s . Is t h i s what you meant by r e p l i c a t i on? Athena: Yes, i t i s r e p l i c a t i o n , and i t a l s o g i v e s us a n o t h e r way t o t a l k about consensus. Another way t o speak about i t i s t o say t h a t myths aim f o r r e p l i c a t i o n and consensus, and t h i s i s what t h e y got. As I've s a i d e a r l i e r , myths permit a c l e a r n e s s , a sameness, a s i m p l i c i t y which d i s s o l v e s i f we open o u r s e l v e s t o a n a l y s i s . A n a l y s i s d e s t r o y s t h e f i c t i o n a l i z e d s i m p l i c i t y of human a c t s by a t t e m p t i n g t o uncover what grounds t h a t l i f e . I t d i s s o l v e s consensus by opening up the d i a l e c t i c o f c o n v e r s a t i o n . A n a l y s i s s u b v e r t s c h a t t e r , i t r e v e a l s myth as myth. For example, c a l l i n g on B a r t h e s a g a i n , our need f o r r e p l i c a t i o n or sameness i s demonstrated i n h i s essay on e l e c t o r a l photographs, and what remains s i l e n t i n t h i s e l e c t o r a l p r o c e s s i s our need f o r sameness. I t i s obscured by t h e i d e a t h a t we v o t e f o r change. And a l l t h i s i s done t h r o u g h a photograph of t h e c a n d i d a t e and 101 h i s f a m i l y . The c a n d i d a t e s are photographed i n such a way as t o a l l o w t h e v i e w e r t o p e r c e i v e t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s between h i m s e l f and t h e c a n d i d a t e . This sameness i s p r a i s e d ; t h e statement can t h e n be made "he i s j u s t l i k e me t h e r e f o r e he must be good". I n t h i s way t h e p o l i t i c i a n poses no t h r e a t . He promises a w o r l d which w i l l remain t h e same; t h i n g s w i l l s t a y t h e way t h e y a r e , p o p u l a r o p i n i o n w i l l r u l e ; t h e n a t u r a l n e s s of t h e s t a t e w i l l be p r e s e r v e d and democracy i s r e i f i e d . The p o l i t i c i a n thus a l l o w s the c i t i z e n s t o remain i n t h e i r s l e e p . He r e a f f i r m s t h e n a t u r a l n e s s of t h e i r w o r l d . T a n t a l u s : I s n ' t t h e r e a c o n t r a d i c t i o n h ere? You seem t o be t e l l i n g me t h a t t h e myth i s t h a t we v o t e f o r change, yet you a l s o t e l l me t h a t we v o t e f o r sameness. Or am I m i s s i n g something? I t seems t o me t h a t p o l i t i c i a n s , d u r i n g e l e c t i o n campaigns, o f f e r d i f f e r e n c e — not sameness. Athena: T h i s i s e x a c t l y t h e myth Ba r t h e s and I are t r y i n g t o u n c o v e r . The c o n c r e t e words of t h e p o l i t i c i a n may speak of change, but we would have t o q u e s t i o n what he meant by change. You see i t i s not as i f t h e w o r l d of immediacy i s s t a t i c w i t h one phase of our h i s t o r y m i r r o r i n g t h e phase j u s t p a s t . Rather the i d e a of change which we o r i e n t t o i s t r i v i a l . N o t h i n g e s s e n t i a l l y gets 102 changed except the arrangements. We swap one s e t of c i r c u m s t a n c e s f o r another but what grounds t h e s e arrangements or c i r c u m s t a n c e s remains t h e same. Th i s i s what B a r t h e s i s a s k i n g us t o t h i n k about when he p r e s e n t s us w i t h t h e e l e c t o r a l photograph. He c l a i m s t h e photographs a s s u r e us u n c o n s c i o u s l y of no change. The c r a f t y p o l i t i c i a n appears t o be t h e same as h i s e l e c t o r a l v o t e r s . He works t o produce a sameness, knowing t h a t t h i s i s what produces c o n f i d e n c e . T h i s produces vot e s i n h i s f a v o u r ; i t a l l o w s f o r consensus. A n t i g o n e : Ah-ha! So i t i s consensus which grounds our d e m o c r a t i c v o t i n g p r a c t i c e s ! Athena: That c e r t a i n l y deserves some t h i n k i n g t h r o u g h , but we w i l l have t o put t h a t a s i d e f o r another t i m e . We need t o r e t h i n k t h e i d e a of sameness and how c h a t t e r s u s t a i n s i t . As I s a i d e a r l i e r , t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d i n not a s i l e n t w o r l d , we c h a t t e r , we t a l k about t h i n g s , and n e i t h e r i s i t a s u r f a c e l y unchanging w o r l d . We've seen how myths t a l k about " t h i n g e d n e s s " . But i t i s t a l k which shrouds t h e o b j e c t , c o v e r s i t over, d r e s s e s i t up, "makes them i n n o c e n t , i t g i v e s them a n a t u r a l and e t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n . . . " a c c o r d i n g t o B a r t h e s . Myths reduce t h e c o m p l e x i t y of t h e human w o r l d and t u r n i t i n t o something t e c h n i c a l . T h i s a l l o w s t h e new p o l i t i c i a n , Ivan I l y c h ' s 103 m a r r i a g e c o u n s e l l o r ( i f t h e s t o r y was a p p l y i n g a t e c h n i c a l f i x t o r e l a t i o n s h i p s ) or t h e f e m i n i s t s t o come i n t o our l i v e s w i t h a t e c h n i c a l f i x . The p o l i t i c i a n would o f f e r us new ro a d s , new h o s p i t a l s ; t h e c o u n s e l l o r would show t h e I l y c h s (us) how t o s h a r e , how not t o nag, and t h e f e m i n i s t s would s e c u r e us, as women, a more e q u a l p l a c e i n t h e s o c i a l system (where, i f we're not c a r e f u l , e q u a l i t y would mean sameness). B y s t a n d e r : Are you s a y i n g t h a t t h e s e are had t h i n g s f o r them t o do or un n e c e s s a r y ? Athena: Not at a l l , but I'm s a y i n g we have t o r e c o g n i z e them as t e c h n i c a l f i x e s not deep-seated change. No c o n v e r s i o n of the s o u l i s o f f e r e d h e r e . Even t h e p o l i t i c i a n who o f f e r s t o c a n c e l a l l d e b t s , d i s p e n s e c o m p l e t e l y w i t h t h e i d e a of p r i v a t e p r o p e r t y , have everyone c o n t r i b u t e what t h e y do b e s t , on an u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d b a s i s , i s not a s k i n g f o r c o n v e r s i o n of t h e s o u l . A l t h o u g h t h e c o n c r e t e changes he/she r e q u e s t s are g r e a t and aim at i m p r o v i n g l i f e i n t h e s o c i e t y by a s k i n g f o r an a n a l y s i s of t h e w o r l d and a commitment t o s e e i n g t h a t t h e w o r l d c o u l d be o r g a n i z e d i n another way, t h e y a re s t i l l t e c h n i c a l f i x e s . A n t i g o n e : Are you s u g g e s t i n g t h a t i f we made t h e s e deep r o o t e d changes our l i f e would be f i n e , t h a t no more work would be r e q u i r e d ? 104 Athena: I t does have r e f r a i n s from Marx doesn't i t ? Where a l l w i l l be w e l l once communism f i n a l l y a r r i v e s . But we wouldn't want t o say t h a t because no matter what t h e e x t e r n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s of our l i v e s are we s t i l l have t o l i v e them. Communism cannot promise us a l i f e w i t h o u t d e a t h , a l i f e w i t h o u t s u f f e r i n g , a l i f e w i t h o u t a sense of l o s s . These are a l l p a r t of t h e human c o n d i t i o n and each i n d i v i d u a l must come t o terms w i t h t h e s e as best she can. What u n d e r l i e s my t a l k i s t h e i d e a t h a t no system can p r o v i d e one w i t h a guarantee of l i v i n g a good l i f e even though we a p p l y many t e c h n i c a l f i x e s . I n o t h e r words we are not a b l e t o l i v e our l i v e s through a computer t e r m i n a l - p l u g i n our problem and get our r e s o l u t i o n . The computer can o n l y s u p p l y us w i t h s p e c i f i c i n f o r m a t i o n on how t o l e a d our l i v e s . A l t h o u g h t h e b o u r g e o i s i e (us) would l i k e t o have i t d i f f e r e n t l y , l i f e i s not c l e a r , s i m p l e , f u l l y u n d e r s t a n d a b l e at a g l a n c e . L e t ' s r e t u r n t o t h e b o u r g e o i s i e and t h e i r concern w i t h t h e i n e s s e n t i a l . L i k e Blum's and McHugh's (1979:8) ' m u l t i s ' t h e y are d i s p e r s e d ; t h e y are concerned w i t h r e c o r d i n g t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n s o c i e t y , but they work t o make t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s s m a l l . And, a l t h o u g h t h e y r e c o r d t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s , t h e y s e a r c h out the s i m i l a r i t i e s t h e r e b y d e s t r o y i n g c o m p l e x i t i e s . 105 Thus an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s d i s c o v e r s s i m i l a r i t i e s among p e o p l e . We a l l e a t , d r i n k , c l o t h e o u r s e l v e s , l o v e , f i g h t , speak, u s i n g d i f f e r e n t methods, perhaps, but e s s e n t i a l l y we are the same. Where sameness i s r e f e r r e d t o i n s m a l l ways and o n l y gets a t t e n d e d t o i n s m a l l ways. T h i s i s how t h e b o u r g e o i s i e o r g a n i z e a s h a l l o w w o r l d , a w o r l d w i t h o u t c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , a w o r l d where d i f f e r e n c e s can be t r e a t e d as i n e s s e n t i a l but e x o t i c . I t d i s p l a y s a l i b e r a l n e s s which says " e s s e n t i a l l y we are a l l t h e same" where t h e e s s e n t i a l i s t r i t e , s h a l l o w , speaks of mere s u r v i v a l . T a n t a l u s : But we need t o s u r v i v e ! Athena: S u r e l y , but can s u r v i v a l be t a k e n as a g i v e n , as a t a k e n f o r g r a n t e d ? T a l k of t h e i n e s s e n t i a l , t a l k of s u r v i v a l i f you l i k e , reduces t h e w o r l d t o t r i v i a . And what i s t h e aim of t h i s t a l k ? S i n c e commonality i s t h e g o a l t h e n t h a t which i s out of t h e o r d i n a r y , t h a t which cannot be u n d e r s t o o d w i t h commonsense t h i n k i n g i s d e c l a r e d wrong, i n v a l i d , s t u p i d . Remember B a r t h e s ' statement from the mouths of t h e b o u r g e o i s i e c r i t i c , " I don't understand t h e r e f o r e you must be s t u p i d " . T h i s i s t h e way the b o u r g e o i s i e have of s i l e n c i n g or d i s c r e d i t i n g speech which i s out of t h e o r d i n a r y , speech which i s r e f l e c t i v e , speech which r e q u i r e s t h e work of t h i n k i n g . 106 Take f o r i n s t a n c e t h e works of t h i n k e r s such as Marx or K i e r k e g a a r d where t h e d i a l e c t i c i s p r e s e n t , and t h e w o r l d i s uncovered as a complex and sometimes c o n t r a d i c t o r y p l a c e . I t i s not c l e a r ; i t i s open f o r d i a l o g u e and d i s c u s s i o n . T h i s v e r s i o n of t h e w o r l d does not ask t o be reduced t o i t s most s i m p l i s t i c form; i t does not announce i t s e l f as s h e e r l y t h e r e , as n a t u r a l . I t asks t h a t t h e s e l f do t h e work of coming t o terms w i t h t h e w o r l d i n a l l i t s c o m p l e x i t i e s . T h i s i s t h e w o r l d which asks f o r d i a l o g u e — not p e r f e c t speech. T h i s v e r s i o n of t h e w o r l d denies t h a t commons ens e i s a l l t h a t i s n e c e s s a r y f o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g the w o r l d , and t h i s i s why t h e b o u r g e o i s i e wish t o s i l e n c e i t . T h i s i s why our f r i e n d S o c r a t e s was k i l l e d - because he c o u l d not s u b s c r i b e t o t h e i d e a t h a t commonsense t h i n k i n g was t h e good, t h a t c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y was what was t o be aimed f o r . S o c r a t e s , r a t h e r , c o n s t a n t l y q u e s t i o n e d and encourage t h e youth of Athens t o q u e s t i o n t h e t h i n k i n g of the s o c i e t y i n o r d e r t o u n d e r s t a n d i t , i n o r d e r t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e s e l f . T a n t a l u s : But l o o k what happened t o S o c r a t e s ! You wonder why I choose t o remain s i l e n t ! I am not s u r e I want S o c r a t e s ' f a t e . Athena: But by r e m a i n i n g s i l e n t you t a k e p a r t i n your own o p p r e s s i o n . You a l l o w t h i n g s t o happen t o you - some 107 good and some bad. And you a l l o w events l i k e t h e death of S o c r a t e s , t h e r i s e of t h e Nazi p a r t y t o happen. By r e m a i n i n g s i l e n t you condone what happens i n s o c i e t y , you condone e v i l as w e l l as the commonplace. T a n t a l u s : But why s h o u l d we t a l k when no one w i l l l i s t e n ? Why s h o u l d we t a l k and r i s k c o n c r e t e death? 108 BOOK IV DIALOGUE Athena: Why do we need t o speak, why do we need a s t r o n g v e r s i o n of c o n v e r s a t i o n ? We need i t because t h e w o r l d i s complex and ambiguous. We need a s t r o n g v e r s i o n of speech so t h a t we can u n d e r s t a n d o u r s e l v e s , know o u r s e l v e s . The b o u r g e o i s i e , on the o t h e r hand, can l i v e w i t h s i l e n c e because i f t h e w o r l d i s p e r c e i v e d of as n a t u r a l , as i n e v i t a b l e why would we need a s t r o n g v e r s i o n of speech? T a n t a l u s : Here you are c r i t i c i z i n g how people speak and y e t you s t i l l expect us t o speak? I , f o r one, f i n d you i n t i m i d a t i n g and a r r o g a n t ! Athena: Why see our t a l k as c r i t i c i s m T a n t a l u s ? I n s t e a d , why not r e l a t e t o i t as d i a l o g u e ? Why not see i t as an attempt t o uncover t h e a m b i g u i t i e s of our wo r l d ? You must ask y o u r s e l f t h i s i f you are so f r a g i l e you cannot engage o t h e r s i n t h i s way. T a n t a l u s : But you never agree w i t h what I say. You a r e always c h a l l e n g i n g ! So why s h o u l d I speak? Who says speech i s n e c e s s a r y ? K e e p i n g s i l e n t i s s a f e . There i s n o t h i n g t o be c h a l l e n g e d . 109 Athena: E x c e p t , of c o u r s e , s i l e n c e i t s e l f . Of s i l e n c e we can ask why t h i s f e a r of speech? And j u s t t o make t h i n g s c l e a r , are you r e f e r r i n g here t o s i l e n c e as c o n c r e t e s i l e n c e ? T a n t a l u s : I t h i n k so. Athena: L e t ' s go back t o t h e i d e a of agreement t h a t you mentioned a minute ago. Why i s agreement i n speech n e c e s s a r y ? Why cannot speech meet w i t h r e s i s t a n c e ? T a n t a l u s : I f you r e a l l y cared about us you would be more a g r e e a b l e , you would have more empathy f o r ,our p o s i t i o n s , you wouldn't always be c h a l l e n g i n g us. Not i f you were a f r i e n d , you w ouldn't. Athena: What do you mean by a f r i e n d ? You seem t o be p l e a d i n g f o r u n q u e s t i o n e d a c c e p t a n c e . Your v e r s i o n of f r i e n d i s one who a c c e p t s w i t h o u t q u e s t i o n what you say. T h i s f r i e n d i s t h e one who w i l l s ympathize w i t h you, s u p p o r t you i n whatever you have deci d e d t o do because she i s your f r i e n d . T h i s f r i e n d i s your c o m f o r t e r , one you can t u r n t o when times are rough. But i s t h i s t h e f r i e n d we need at t h i s t i m e ? I t i s not t o say t h a t t h i s v e r s i o n of f r i e n d s h i p i s i n c i d e n t a l t o our l i v e s and i f we were s t r o n g or i n t e l l e c t u a l we wouldn't need t h i s f r i e n d . That i s not t h e p o i n t . We a l l need t h i s f r i e n d . But t h a t i s not the o n l y v e r s i o n of f r i e n d t h a t we need. 110 J u s t as t h e r e are ti m e s when we need a c c e p t a n c e , t h e r e are t i m e s when we need r e s i s t e n c e . For i n s t a n c e when we are t r y i n g t o u n d e r s t a n d our w o r l d we need another speaker t o c h a l l e n g e what i t i s we say. And we must not t a k e i t t o mean c r i t i c i s m . We are a l l f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e n o t i o n of our work b e i n g judged, b e i n g t h o s e who sha r e t h e same commitment t o d i a l o g u e . Those who are w i l l i n g , or s t r o n g e r y e t , r e q u i r e us t o be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r our speech. T h i s T a n t a l u s , i s my aim, and I am s o r r y you f i n d i t d i s q u i e t i n g . T a n t a l u s : I s t i l l say "why s h o u l d I speak"? What do I have t o say t h a t would be of i n t e r e s t t o you? Why s h o u l d I h o l d m y s e l f up as a c a n d i d a t e f o r r i d i c u l e from you? Who says you are worth t a l k i n g t o ? Why s h o u l d I add one more b o r i n g p i e c e of d e t a i l t o t h e w o r l d which can t h e n be h a g g l e d over b r i e f l y and f o r g o t t e n ? Athena: Who i s t h e a r r o g a n t one now? I am t r u l y p u z z l e d as t o why you h o l d speech i n such contempt because I s u s p e c t t h a t i s what i s beh i n d your r e f u s a l t o j o i n t h e c o n v e r s a t i on. T a n t a l u s : T h i s contempt, as you c a l l i t , a l l o w s me t o be s u p e r i o r t o o t h e r s . I am s u p e r i o r ! I w i l l not w r i t e t r i v i a . A n t i g o n e : I , l i k e T a n t a l u s , would r a t h e r remain s i l e n t t h a n expose myse l f as one who merely c h a t t e r s . W r i t i n g , 111 "because of i t s permanency, must be p e r f e c t . I t must say e x a c t l y what i t i s I want i t t o say. C l e a r l y , t h e n one must remain s i l e n t u n t i l t h i s p e r f e c t i o n i s reached. Athena: Aah, t h e same o l d f e a r . I t i s the same i s s u e t h a t we t a l k e d about e a r l i e r when, I t h i n k i t was you, T a n t a l u s , r a i s e d t h e concern of not b e i n g a b l e t o t a k e back t h e words once t h e y were spoken. I t i s the i s s u e of permanency, perhaps, t h a t needs a d d r e s s i n g . C a s s a n d r a : J u s t a moment, p l e a s e . I thought we were t a l k i n g about s p e a k i n g , not w r i t i n g . Athena: A n a l y t i c a l l y , f o r t h e purpose at hand, we can t r e a t w r i t i n g and speech as i n t e r c h a n g e a b l e . For example, t h e i s s u e of permanency seems t o be t h e same, the i s s u e of s e l f exposure i s p r e s e n t i n b o t h . So I don't t h i n k , at t h i s moment at l e a s t , we ought t o concern o u r s e l v e s w i t h how t h e y are d i f f e r e n t . But, n a t u r a l l y , t h a t i s not t o say t h a t t h i s c o u l d not become an i s s u e at some ot h e r p o i n t . Permanancy, however, i s t h e i s s u e which needs a t t e n t i o n . Why i s t h i s a f e a r ? Is i t because, T a n t a l u s and A n t i g o n e , you r e l a t e t o speech as p e r f e c t speech? A n t i g o n e : W i l l you say a l i t t l e more? Athena: You are s a y i n g t h a t once you have spoken something, once you have w r i t t e n something i t i s on r e c o r d , so t o speak, as you h a v i n g s a i d t h a t or w r i t t e n t h a t . 11 2 A n t i g o n e : R i g h t , and one has t o be c a r e f u l about what one puts on r e c o r d . I t can haunt you f o r the r e s t of your days . Athena: I u n d e r s t a n d . The f e a r b e i n g t h a t you might not want t o own t h o s e t h o u g h t s or i d e a s f o r e v e r , and t h e r e t h e y would be - down i n b l a c k and w h i t e , w r i t t e n i n s t o n e . A n t i gone: R i g h t . Athena: Do you t h i n k you c o u l d r e l a t e t o t h i s d i f f e r e n t l y . P o s s i b l y you c o u l d say " w e l l , I used t o t h i n k t h a t but a f t e r t a l k i n g about i t , e x amining i t , t h i n k i n g about i t a l i t t l e b i t d i f f e r e n t l y , I now t h i n k about i t t h i s way". Peop l e do change; where you s t a r t from i s not n e c e s s a r i l y where you end up. You can't l e t t h e f e a r t h a t you might change your mind about something h o l d you back. I wonder i f i t i s more, i f you are not l i k e the s t u d e n t s who w i l l not w r i t e , who w i l l not speak up i n c l a s s - remember we t a l k e d about them e a r l i e r on - I wonder i f , i n f a c t , you are w o r r i e d about your r e p u t a t i o n . Hence what grounds your sense of s u p e r i o r i t y i s a sense of f e a r . Pear of f a i l u r e , f e a r of inadequacy, f e a r of e x p o s i n g t h e s e l f as n o t h i n g o t h e r than t h o s e the s e l f i s c r i t i c a l o f . The f e a r of l o s i n g your r e p u t a t i o n , o r , e q u a l l y t h e f e a r of a c q u i r i n g a r e p u t a t i o n you don't d e s i r e i s t h e r e a l f e a r . You are a f r a i d of b e i n g exposed 113 as a f r a u d , as no b e t t e r t h a n anybody e l s e . T a n t a l u s : But i f I remain s i l e n t I can r e t a i n a sense of s e l f as " b e t t e r " t h a n anyone e l s e , as h a v i n g t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of d o i n g g r e a t work. Athena: But t h e n you would never have t o c o n f r o n t t h e work because i t i s always s h e e r l y a p o s s i b i l i t y . I n the realm of t h e p o s s i b l e you can dream, envisage many a l t e r n a t e l i v e s f o r y o u r s e l f . I n your s i l e n c e you can be smug about y o u r s e l f and about what you might produce i n t h e f u t u r e , when you are ready, when you have your w r i t i n g p e r f e c t e d , your t h o u g h t s p e r f e c t e d — i n your head, not he r e on paper or i n o t h e r s ' memories! Cassandra: I get v e r y upset by t h e i d e a t h a t you t h i n k you are b e t t e r t h a n anyone e l s e , and t h a t you seem t o f e e l you have a r i g h t t o see y o u r s e l f as b e t t e r . That i s t h e h e i g h t of e g o t i s m ! Athena: I n s t e a d of g e t t i n g angry w i t h T a n t a l u s maybe we s h o u l d t r y t o t h i n k of how we can have t h i s i d e a of b e i n g b e t t e r , s t a n d i n g a p a r t from t h e r e s t of t h e s o c i e t y . A s s u r e d l y T a n t a l u s i s not t h e o n l y one who e x p e r i e n c e s , y e a r n s even f o r t h i s f e e l i n g of s u p e r i o r i t y . Perhaps i t comes from our p r o p e n s i t y t o judge, t o c r i t i c i z e , t o say t h i s i s r i g h t and t h a t i s wrong! We f o r g e t t o engage o t h e r s i n c o n v e r s a t i o n , r a t h e r we engage i n c o m p e t i t i o n . T h i s way t h e r e can be a winner and a l o s e r . I t w i l l be 114 c l e a r who won t h e b a t t l e . A n t i g o n e : I agree w i t h what you're s a y i n g ; we do e n t e r i n t o c o n v e r s a t i o n as i f i t were a b a t t l e . The a d v e r s a r i a l system runs deep i n our v e i n s . But another b a t t l e a l s o r a g e s . I t i s t h e b a t t l e w i t h t h e s e l f . I c a l l i t t h e s u p e r i o r / i n f e r i o r b a t t l e or s t r u g g l e . I know I am not as good as K i e r k e g a a r d or S o c r a t e s , t h e r e f o r e I have made th e d e c i s i o n t o remain s i l e n t u n t i l I can be l i k e them. Athena: To admire and wish t o copy or mimic e i t h e r of t h e s e two t h i n k e r s i s t r u l y c o m i c a l . Remember t h e message t h e y both g i v e out ve r y s t r o n g l y i s "know t h y s e l f " . T h i s i s what i s i m p o r t a n t ; they do not say "Be l i k e u s". On t h e c o n t r a r y t h e y both beseech us t o be o u r s e l v e s , t o d i s c o v e r o u r - s e l f , t o know what i s i m p o r t a n t t o us, what we need t o l e a d a good and moral l i f e . T a n t a l u s : What i f the s e l f I d i s c o v e r i s not l i k e a b l e ? What i f i t i s c o n t r a d i c t o r y t o what I want t o be? Athena: Do you t h i n k perhaps i t i s good t o f i n d out t h e n e g a t i v e as w e l l as t h e p o s i t i v e aspects of t h e s e l f ? A f t e r a l l i f we d i s c l o s e t o our s e l f our l i t t l e h i d d e n " n a s t i e s " t h e n we can make some e f f o r t t o change the s e l f i n t o what we have t h e p o t e n t i a l t o be. A n t i g o n e : Yet even i f what you say makes sense, and i t does i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , p a r t of me c r i e s t o remain s i l e n t . By 11 5 k e e p i n g s i l e n t I can keep my s e c r e t s a f e . No one need know i f I do not speak who I am. I , t h e r e f o r e , w i l l w a i t . I w i l l w a i t u n t i l I have p e r f e c t i o n - by m y s e l f ! I am u n l i k e o t h e r m o r t a l s ; I s h o u l d not have t o a c h i e v e m y s e l f . I s h o u l d emerge f u l l y formed and w i t h knowledge of who I am, what I can do, what I w i l l do. I s h o u l d not have t o attempt t o a c h i e v e m y - s e l f . I s h o u l d not have t o be c o n s t a n t l y a c h i e v i n g s e l f - h o o d . L i k e o t h e r s . I guess what I am s a y i n g i s t h a t I want t o be l i k e J e s u s C h r i s t . He came i n t o t h e w o r l d knowing what he was, knowing t h a t he was t h e Son of God. He came i n w i t h a m i s s i o n , he knew what he had t o do i n t h e w o r l d , and he knew t h a t i t would be a l i f e of s u f f e r i n g , t h a t he would be a martyr so t h e r e s t of us c o u l d be saved. Jesus knew t h i s from t h e b e g i n n i n g ; he d i d not have t o go on a voyage of d i s c o v e r i n g what he was. He d i d not have t o be c o n s t a n t l y i n t h e p r o c e s s of becoming. Athena: But t h i s d i d not prevent J e s u s from s u f f e r i n g or g o i n g i n t o t h e w i l d e r n e s s , or q u e s t i o n i n g . He s u f f e r e d t h r o u g h o u t h i s l i f e . So i t can't be t o a v o i d s u f f e r i n g t h a t i s your aim. I t ' s a d m i r a b l e t o want t o be G o d - l i k e . God i s our r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the Good. Thus, t o want t o emulate him i s t o want t h e Good. A n t i g o n e : I'm t r y i n g t o r e c o l l e c t where t h i s v o i c e comes 116 from. I s u s p e c t i t comes from a G o d l i k e p l a c e i n s i d e me. But I don't seem t o possess a k i n d l y god. Athena: I t e n d t o agree w i t h you. Your v o i c e seems t o come from a d i s p a s s i o n a t e god who judges. Your god has s e t up c e r t a i n c r i t e r i a , unknown t o t h e r e s t of us m o r t a l s . Y e t , t h e c r i t e r i a a re i n t h e name of t h e Good. The aim i s f o r t h e Good, however, i t does not a i d i n b r i n g i n g t h e Good i n t o b e i n g . A n t i g o n e : God's always a set ahead of us. He has t h e advantage of knowing what i s good and what i s e v i l , and he always does t h e Good even though he might s u f f e r more. He does not have t o l i v e i n t h i s i n t e r m i n a b l e ambi gui t y! Athena: P a r t of what you have t o come t o terms w i t h , A n t i g o n e , i s t h e t a s k of b e i n g human. To be human i s t o l i v e w i t h a m b i g u i t i e s . God gave us f r e e w i l l , He gave us t h e a b i l i t y t o make d e c i s i o n s and be t h o u g h t f u l and s e l f - e x p r e s s i v e . He gave us t h e a b i l i t y t o make t h e r i g h t c h o i c e or t h e wrong c h o i c e . I t i s up t o us. Are t h e s e not t h e Good t h a t God might want f o r us? Could t h i s not be our t a s k - t o l i v e l i f e ? T a n t a l u s : Granted He gave us mere m o r t a l s t h e s e q u a l i t i e s but He doesn't want them f o r H i m s e l f , t h i s form of Good! Athena: Are you a s k i n g t h a t we be d e termined, t h a t we no l o n g e r have c h o i c e ? Are you a s k i n g f o r a v e r s i o n of the 117 w o r l d which i s n a t u r a l , which i s immediate? Is t h i s what a l l o w s you t o c l a i m s i l e n c e as t h e good? Both you and A n t i g o n e are s e a r c h i n g f o r a p e r f e c t w o r l d — as i f i t i s t h e r e t o be found c o n c r e t e l y . This must come from an immediate v e r s i o n of t h e w o r l d . T a n t a l u s : But t h e r e i s a c o r r e c t v e r s i o n of t h e w o r l d , a c o r r e c t way t o t h i n k , t o w r i t e . I t ' s j u s t t h a t I , T a n t a l u s , have not found i t - y e t . But I am c e r t a i n t h a t i t i s t h e r e t o be found, j u s t as D e s c a r t e s was c e r t a i n . I , f o r one, w i l l c o n t i n u e t h e s e a r c h u n t i l I d i s c o v e r p e r f e c t speech. Athena: Have you asked y o u r s e l f j u s t how t h i s s e a r c h i s t o be conducted? And how you w i l l know when you have made t h e d i s c o v e r y ? T a n t a l u s : I ' l l j u s t know, I'm s u r e of t h a t . So o f t e n you t a l k about our need t o be s e l f - e x p r e s s i v e . That's f i n e f o r you but b e f o r e I v e n t u r e t h a t I must have a s e l f t h a t i s worthy of b e i n g e x p r e s s e d . At the p r e s e n t time t h i s s e l f i s not worthy of e x p r e s s i o n ; i t has n o t h i n g t o say. I t i s i n c o m p e t e n t ; i t i s c o n t r a d i c t o r y , and even worse i t i s i n d e c i s i v e and cannot t h i n k a worthy thought l e t alone w r i t e one. The s e l f i s dead or as yet unborn. Yet t h e r e i s a s e l f under h e r e which keeps t r y i n g t o get out, but f o r t u n a t e l y I can keep i t s u b m e r g e d — u n t i l p e r f e c t i o n i s reached.. 118 Athena: But do you not see that by keeping the s e l f submerged you are robbing i t of i t s chance to f i n d i t s e l f ? Tantalus: Listen, I know I have two selves. Both of them creep out occasionally; both of them need to be annhilated. One i s the s e l f that yearns for the conventional and natural and the other i s the judge who can concretely silence this meek and passive voice which i s grounded i n the conventional world. Athena: It sounds l i k e war, Tantalus. And a war that no one p r o f i t s from. It's good to recognize these two voices as constituting the s e l f but why annhilate them? Perhaps i t i s t h i s very advocacy which constitutes the search? Tantalus: I hate t h i s passive s e l f . She i s disgusting. She's weak, she allows things to happen to her; she i s controlled by moods and rages. They silence her. Athena: And the judge, who never makes public any speech i s strong, active? Is the judge one whom you can be proud of? Is i t your aim to silence the conventional and allow the judger to reign? It seems to me that the judge i s just as passive. She risks nothing by remaining s i l e n t . She can afford to s i t i n silence and judge because she gives nothing. And worst of a l l she can s i t back i n p r i d e f u l arrogance and claim she i s "better". Why not 11 9 g i v e t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l p a r t of you i t s say. Why not r i s k o p e n ing up t h e d i a l o g u e ? What has the c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e t o o f f e r t h a t i s so s e d u c t i v e ? Because, remember, you are not t h e o n l y p e r s o n who needs t o l i v e i n c o n v e n t i o n . We a l l do! But we do not have t o r e l a t e t o i t as i f i t i s a l l t h a t t h e r e i s . We can change our r e l a t i o n s h i p t o i t . A n t i g o n e : The c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e o f f e r s peace and a sense of o r d e r . Athena: Is i t peace or i s i t merely a semblance of peace? Is i t t h e l i f e of appearances? A n t i g o n e : Maybe i t i s a f a l s e sense of peace. But i f I s t a y w i t h i n t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e I am eased of s u f f e r i n g , n o t h i n g can touch me i n a s i g n i f i c a n t way. T a n t a l u s c a l l e d t h i s a weak and p a s s i v e s e l f and y e t , I f e e l t h i s s e l f has g r e a t powers. This l i f e of c o n v e n t i o n i s t a n t a l i z i n g ; i t i s s e d u c t i v e ; i t i s t h e succubus from t h e Garden of Eden s a y i n g "take one b i t e and a l l w i l l be w e l l " . C assandra: But t h e b i t e was knowledge! And knowledge or t h e s e a r c h f o r knowledge i s what b r i n g s us s u f f e r i n g . Athena: Yes, t h e b i t e made us human; i t opened us t o p o s s i b i l i t y , s u f f e r i n g . I t gave us t h e a b i l i t y t o t h i n k , t o make d e c i s i o n s . A n t i g o n e : But t h e succubus d i d n ' t warn us of t h a t , d i d she? 120 R a t h e r she h e l d out a promise, i n t h e same way as does c o n v e n t i o n . I t promises s a f e t y and anonomity. I t promises a l i f e of ease and a l i f e of non-thought. When we see i t as t h i s why wouldn't we be drawn t o i t ; why wouldn't we, l i k e M e l e t u s , t r y t o d e s t r o y any o t h e r form of l i f e which aimed at b r e a k i n g down t h i s l i f e ? I f we f o l l o w t h i s l i f e we do not have t o work, we do not have t o s t r u g g l e . Our t a s k i s merely t o f o l l o w t h a t which has been l a i d down b e f o r e us and f o l l o w i t u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y . Why wouldn't we want t h i s ? Aah, I dream of i t . I dream of t h e b i g house, the s a i l i n g s h i p s , t h e t r a v e l , t h e o r d e r l i n e s s which someone e l s e has l a i d out f o r me. Why do you ask us t o p u l l t h i s i n t o q u e s t i o n ; why not j u s t accept t h i s l i f e ? Some say i t i s h e d o n i s t i c , and I s t i l l say "why not"? Athena: I t ' s not t h a t I am a g a i n s t the dream of t h e Garden of E d e n — t h e b i g house and s a i l i n g s h i p s . We a l l , u n d o u b t e d l y would l i k e t o l i v e i n t h a t way, but n e v e r t h e l e s s we must ask at what c o s t ? And are t h e s e t h e t h i n g s which g i v e us t h e good l i f e ? Is i t t h i n g s which we need? Are you l i k e I v a n I l y c h ? I keep h e a r i n g t h e same r e f r a i n ! Is i t t h e l i f e of no work which you are p r o c l a i m i n g as t h e good? T a n t a l u s : I wouldn't say t h e r e was no work. I t ' s not a l a z y l i f e , t h i n g s have t o be done i f you are t o m a i n t a i n 121 your p o s i t i o n . I t ' s no easy task. You have to know what s o c i e t y expects from you, you have to know what things the task r e q u i r e s . Bystander: I can see that i t i s a seductive l i f e , easy f o r one to s l i p i n t o and to have f o r g o t t e n that i s what one has done. Athena: Let's go back to what Tantalus was saying. I t sounds s u s p i c i o u s l y l i k e things are what i s important. That i s where your commitment l i e s , to t h i n g s . I t seems a shallow l i f e , l i k e the l i f e of t r a v e l i n some ways. Trav e l reminds us that somewhere can be anywhere. We are not committed and we are not re s p o n s i b l e . We see the world as s h e e r l y there. Travel refuses to analyze i n the same way as the l i f e of things refuses to analyze. In some concrete sense of work we can say sure you work. But do we want to c a l l that work? Should we, perhaps, c a l l i t labour? I t seems the s e l f i s n ' t required to do much. The s e l f i s n ' t required to t h i n k , t o change. The s e l f i s merely asked to mimic, to f o l l o w the convention. This s e l f has f o r g o t t e n i t i s a s e l f , so concerned i s she with r e p u t a t i o n . Bystander: What i s work; how does i t d i f f e r from labour? Athena: Work asks f o r the involvement of the s e l f . I t asks f o r the s e l f to be responsible and committed as w e l l as w i l l i n g to change. Labour merely asks that the task get 122 done. We might a l s o say t h a t work i n v o l v e s r i s k where l a b o u r i n v o l v e s c o m p l e t i o n of t a s k . Labour knows t h a t t h e r e i s an end t o t h e t a s k . I t w i l l be f i n i s h e d t h e n t h e l a b o u r e r can r e s t . Work does not a l l o w t h a t r e s p i t e . Work i s not t a s k o r i e n t e d . L i f e i s i t s t a s k ; work i s not f i n i s h e d , we c o u l d say, u n t i l l i f e has f i n i s h e d . B y s t a n d e r : Can we go back t o the c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e ? T a n t a l u s you p r o f e s s e d great s c o r n or f e a r of t h i s l i f e y e t you seem t o l e t i t c o n t r o l you. T a n t a l u s : You are wrong! I am i n c o n t r o l . I w i l l speak but not as c o n v e n t i o n . What can c o n v e n t i o n say about speech or w r i t i n g ? She cannot w r i t e . We have a l l seen t h e workings out of t h i s c o n v e n t i o n a l mind. I t i s t i m i d . I t i s d u l l , l e a v i n g one w i t h a sense of t r i v i a , w i t h a sense of empti ness. Athena: True, as a t t r a c t e d as we are t o t h i s w c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e we want t o deny t h a t i t e x i s t s i n us. But don't we a l l f a l l p r ey t o i t ? Not t o the c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e per se but t o r e l a t i n g t o t h e w o r l d i n a c o n v e n t i o n a l way? And why don't we s t a y i n t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p ? Perhaps because t h e l a b o u r i n t h i s c o n v e n t i o n a l l i f e has no s o u l ; i t has no s t r u g g l e . No s u f f e r i n g i s a t t a c h e d t o i t . A n t i g o n e : That's a l l . I t hangs suspended i n t h e a i r l i k e 123 minute p a r t i c l e s of d u s t , b e l o n g i n g t o no one and unconcerned w i t h i t s o r i g i n s . L i k e the dust p a r t i c l e s t h i s w r i t i n g i s i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l t o most i n h a b i t a n t s except t h o s e who de v e l o p an a l l e r g y t o the p a r t i c l e s . These poor s u f f e r e r s can e x p e r i e n c e t h i s r e a c t i o n as e i t h e r a minor i n t e r f e r e n c e which they can put up w i t h , s h e e r l y an i r r i t a n t which can be i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o t h e i r l i v e s w i t h l i t t l e or no d i f f i c u l t y - p a y i n g a l i t t l e but not r e a l l y s u f f e r i n g . Or some can e x p e r i e n c e t h e d e b i l i t a t i n g c h a r a c t e r of t h i s i r r i t a n t and t r y t o r i d t h e a i r of i t , t h a t i s t o t r a n s f o r m t h e p o l l u t e d a i r i n t o s t e r i l e a i r . Moreover, i f we c a r r y t h i s metaphor a l i t t l e f u r t h e r , we can see t h a t s t i l l o t h e r s , t a k i n g t h e s u g g e s t i o n from s c i e n c e , go th r o u g h a s e r i e s of i n j e c t i o n s i n o r d e r t o d e s e n s i t i z e t h e i r b o d i e s , t h e i r mi nds. Athena: And t h e s e are t h e t r u l y f r i g h t e n i n g ones; t h e s e a re t h e ones who, at one t i m e , knew t h e danger of dust and now no l o n g e r r e c o g n i z e i t . They no l o n g e r e x p e r i e n c e i t . They merely t a k e i t f o r g r a n t e d as p a r t of t h e i r everyday w o r l d . I t i s t h e r e , but no l o n g e r need t r o u b l e them. No l o n g e r need be a danger t o anyone i f t h e y w i l l t a k e advantage of s c i e n c e . A n t i g o n e : What i s more t h e s e zombies d i s g u i s e themselves as 124 t h e good, as t h a t which s h o u l d be l o o k e d up t o , r e p l i c a t e d . B y s t a n d e r : R i g h t . We c o u l d say t h a t t h e s e c o n v e n t i o n a l s o u l s are l i k e K i e r k e g a a r d ' s c u n n i n g l y c o n t r i v e d w a l k i n g s t i c k ( s ) i n which a t a l k i n g machine has been c o n c e a l e d . To update t h e imagery, t h e s e zombies, t h e s e w a l k i n g s t i c k s d i s g u i s e d , as o r d i n a r y man, have cameras i m p l a n t e d i n t h e i r e y e b a l l s . And the camera i s p o i n t e d outwards; "the camera cannot l i e " t h e y c r y . "We t e l l i t l i k e i t i s , n o t h i n g i s h i d d e n from t h i s camera's eye". Athena: Is a l l t h e w o r l d so s h e e r l y v i s i b l e ? A n t i g o n e : They would say "of c o u r s e . " And what I r e a l i z e t h e n i s I am t a l k i n g t o t h e t r u l y modern man, t h e one who has a t a l k i n g machine f o r a v o i c e , a camera f o r t h e eye and a computer t e r m i n a l f o r t h e b r a i n . T h i s i s t h e one who need not worry. Athena: These are t h e ones who never l o o k i n w a r d . These are t h e ones f o r whom r e c o l l e c t i o n i s s i m p l y p u s h i n g t h e r e p l a y b u t t o n on t h e machines. R e c o l l e c t i o n i s merely t h e p r o c e s s of r e - l i v i n g , i n exact d e t a i l , t h a t which has gone b e f o r e . I seem t o be a l i t t l e c o n f u s e d , however. Is i t t h e c o n t r i v e d w a l k i n g s t i c k s who are p r o d u c i n g t h e dust p a r t i c l e s and t h e n f o r g e t t i n g t h e y have produced them? Or i s i t something e l s e ? Is i t t h a t they produce t h e s e dust p a r t i c l e s and f a i l t o r e c o g n i z e them f o r what 125 t h e y a r e , namely dust p a r t i c l e s ? T a n t a l u s : There, you see! That i s why I don't w r i t e . When someone's th o u g h t s come t u m b l i n g out t h e y are not c l e a r . They can be ambiguous, o t h e r s can c h a l l e n g e them, r i d i c u l e them, judge them t o be impetuous, immature, c r a z y or c y n i c a l . And you do c h a l l e n g e , don't you? How, t h e n , can I expose a s e l f t h a t opens i t s e l f t o judgement i n t h i s way? No thank you. I ' l l keep t h i s t o m y s e l f ! Athena: Who i s j u d g i n g T a n t a l u s , I or you? Remember we t a l k e d about j u d g i n g and r e s i s t e n c e e a r l i e r . Why can you not see what I am d o i n g as s u p p l y i n g r e s i s t a n c e t o your speech so t h a t we may a l l come t o a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of our speech? You are h a r d on y o u r s e l f . You judge y o u r s e l f t o be l e s s t h a n p e r f e c t . You judge y o u r s e l f as i n c o m p l e t e . You l e t your f e a r of what " o t h e r s might say" t y r a n n i z e you - t h e o l d f e a r of r e p u t a t i o n , j u s t as you, i n your s i l e n c e , t y r a n n i z e o t h e r s . L e t ' s t h i n k f o r a moment about the v e r s i o n of w r i t i n g and t h i n k i n g t h a t ' s becoming apparent. I t seems t h a t i n order t o h o l d y o u r s e l f i n s i l e n c e , i n f e a r of b e i n g judged you must see the w r i t t e n work as a once-and-f o r - a l l - t h i n g i n t h e w o r l d . T h i s becomes apparent t h r o u g h your d e s i r e f o r permanency. I f we c o n c e i v e of w r i t i n g i n a d i f f e r e n t way, however, i t i s p o s s i b l e we 126 can r e l a t e t o i t d i f f e r e n t l y . S u r e l y i f we can envisage w r i t i n g or s p e a k i n g as t h e w o r k i n g out of one's t h o u g h t s r a t h e r t h a n as t h e f i n a l v e r s i o n of t h o u g h t , we can l i b e r a t e o u r s e l v e s . For example, T a n t a l u s , t h i s would a l l o w you t o have your v o i c e , t o express your thoughts as t h e y come p o u r i n g t h r o u g h your head. Yet we would not h o l d t h e s e thoughts as t h e f i n a l v e r s i o n . I n s t e a d we c o u l d r e c o g n i z e them f o r what t h e y are - th o u g h t s t h a t have come p o u r i n g out of your head. They are our p l a c e t o b e g i n but not our p l a c e t o end. Th i s i s h a r d f o r us t o do because we have a l l been brought up i n a t r a d i t i o n which says the w r i t t e n word must be p e r f e c t i o n ; u n t i l something newer, more e n l i g h t e n e d comes a l o n g . Then t h i s w r i t i n g , i n t h e t r a d i t i o n we have been brought up i n , can be c r i t i c i z e d as b e i n g i n c o m p l e t e or wrong. In t h i s t r a d i t i o n speech needn't be h e l p e d , i t needn't be re a d d r e s s e d d i a l e c t i c a l l y , i n a f r i e n d l y way. 127 I u n d e r s t a n d t h e n why t h e d o c t r i n e s t h a t e x p l a i n e v e r y t h i n g t o me a l s o d e b i l i t a t e me at t h e same t i m e . They r e l i e v e me of t h e weight of my own l i f e , and y e t I must c a r r y i t a l o n e . (Camus, An Absurd Reasoning) Concluding Remarks I Now t h a t I have conducted the d i a l o g u e as an e x p e r i m e n t a l form of e x p o s i t i o n , l e t us s t e p back from i t and see what has come out of i t . The i n t r o d u c t i o n makes two c l a i m s about d i a l o g u e ; f i r s t t h a t d i a l o g u e i s s o c i a l l y o r g a n i z e d , and second, t h a t t h e s e l f i s m u l t i v o c a l . What import does t h i s have f o r i n q u i r y ? Why was i t good t o have w r i t t e n a d i a l o g u e , and what can we l e a r n from h a v i n g done i t ? In o r d e r t o address t h e s e q u e s t i o n s l e t us b r i e f l y r e c o n s i d e r t r e a t i s e . As was mentioned i n t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n , t r e a t i s e i s u n i v o c a l . I t says t h e o n l y v o i c e we w i l l r e c o g n i z e i s t h e v o i c e which r e p r e s e n t s s c i e n c e . S c i e n c e i s the v o i c e of a u t h o r i t y ; i t i s t h e v o i c e which t r a n s m i t s 128 knowledge from th e knowledgeable, the s c i e n t i s t , t o the i g n o r a n t . I t i s t h e v o i c e which "knows" f o r c e r t a i n , t a k i n g as i t s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t h e burden of e n s u r i n g t h a t the i g n o r a n t be i n f o r m e d of the t r u t h about t h i n g s . S o c i o l o g y , a l t h o u g h i t has j o i n e d t h e t r a d i t i o n of t r e a t i s e , has always p e r m i t t e d i t s e l f t o s t a n d back from s c i e n c e and t r e a t i t as an o b j e c t ( f o r example S o c i o l o g y of Knowledge and S o c i o l o g y of S c i e n c e ) and i t has reminded us t h a t s c i e n c e i s a v o i c e but o n l y one of many v o i c e s which we heed. D i a l o g u e , t h e r e f o r e , c l e a r l y corresponds t o an e s t a b l i s h e d s o c i o l o g i c a l view p o i n t , and deserves t o be r e v i v e d as a f o r g o t t e n form of i n q u i r y . I I S o c i o l o g y , t h e n , asks t h a t we s t a n d back from th e v o i c e of s c i e n c e and remember t h a t i t i s a v o i c e , and a v o i c e which c u r r e n t l y commands a t t e n t i o n . S o c i o l o g y asks a l s o t h a t we remember the s e l f i s m u l t i v o c a l , and, from t h i s p o i n t of view, we cannot a l l o w s c i e n c e t o e x t i n g u i s h our o t h e r v o i c e s . Yet s c i e n c e cannot be s a n c t i o n e d when i t a t t e m p t s t o speak over t h e s e o t h e r v o i c e s as though t o deny them speech. U n i v o c a l i t y must be reminded t h a t i t i s not s i n g u l a r ; t h i s i s what t r e a t i s e f o r g e t s , and t h i s i s what d i a l o g u e r e c a l l s us t o remember. 129 That i s , d i a l o g u e reminds us t h a t t h e r e are o t h e r v o i c e s , and t h a t t h e y have the r i g h t , no the o b l i g a t i o n , t o sa y , "What about s c i e n c e ? Where does i t come from? For whom does i t speak?" S o c i o l o g y asks us t o remember t h a t s c i e n c e i s a human v o i c e , but i t i s not the o n l y human v o i c e (whereas s c i e n c e i t s e l f f o r g e t s i t s humanity and r e f u s e s t o engage). I l l Thus m u l t i v o c a l i t y i s an i s s u e which i s i m p l i c i t l y r e c o g n i z e d by s o c i o l o g y i n t h a t i t a l l o w s t h a t s c i e n c e must be a d d r e s s e d as i n s t i t u t i o n a l and t h o r o u g h l y s o c i a l . G i v e n t h i s i n t e r e s t , t h e d i a l o g u e shows p o s s i b i l i t y . I f we c a s t our minds back t o the d i a l o g u e we w i l l r e c a l l t h a t we have v o i c e s of A n t i g o n e and By s t a n d e r who c l a i m e x p e r t i s e , t h a t i s , speak i n the v o i c e of s c i e n c e . We a l s o have T a n t a l u s who d e s i r e s e x p e r t i s e but i s t h o r o u g h l y immersed i n t h e v o i c e of c o n v e n t i o n . F i n a l l y , we have Athena who t a k e s i t as her t a s k t o remind us t h a t s c i e n c e or e x p e r t i s e has t o have i t s o r i g i n s i n d a i l y l i f e , i n human co n c e r n s . The s o c i a l can never l e a v e behind t h e concerns of everyday l i f e . Athena reminds us t h a t i n q u i r y i s a way of removing t h e i n h i b i t i o n s so t h a t t h e s e v o i c e s can t a l k amongst t h e m s e l v e s . The d i a l o g u e , t h e n , demonstrates what 130 i t i s t h a t s c i e n c e need remember i n a way which s c i e n c e i t s e l f cannot t e l l . The d i a l o g u e a l s o reminds us t h a t c o n v e n t i o n , the v o i c e of commonsense, i s merely another v o i c e w i t h which we speak and which we h e e d — b u t i t reminds us t h a t we must remember t h a t i t , t o o , i s o n l y one v o i c e of many. IV By g i v i n g t h e microphone t o s c i e n c e (or t o c o n v e n t i o n ) o t h e r v o i c e s become l o s t or suppressed as though t h e r e were no o t h e r v o i c e s t o speak. S o c i o l o g y cannot, and has not, t a k e n t h e p o s i t i o n t h a t t h e s e l f i s u n i v o c a l . S o c i o l o g y of Knowledge, f o r example, v e r y c l e a r l y t a k e s t h e p o s i t i o n t h a t s c i e n c e (and commonsense) can be addressed i n an o t h e r t h a n c o r r e c t a b l e way. They are not s i m p l y t o be espoused a c c o r d i n g t o the l a t e s t n o t i o n of what i s c o r r e c t , " t r u e " . Thus, t h e r e are f o r c e s w i t h i n s o c i o l o g y which c a l l out f o r t h i s d i a l o g u e form, so when s c i e n c e speaks of p e r f e c t knowledge, or when c o n v e n t i o n speaks i m m e d i a t e l y , s o c i o l o g y can c a l l a h a l t and s a y , "Stop! L e t ' s t a l k about t h i s . What i s knowledge? Where does i t come from? Who has i t ? Who c o n t r o l s i t ? " The v o i c e of s e l f c o r r e s p o n d s t o t h e v o i c e s of s o c i e t y — t h e v o i c e of s c i e n c e , as a p r e v a i l i n g and p e r v a s i v e 131 i n s t i t u t i o n , the voice of skeptism (Cassandra) and the deadly voice of convention. In this way, then, we can see the dialogue not as an autobiographical account of this writer's tension, but rather as voices which get i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d i n society and need to be expressed. The dialogue form, therefore, can liberate one from silence, from death. 132 BIBLIOGRAPHY B a r t h e s , R o l a n d . " B l i n d and Dumb C r i t i c i s . " M y t h o l o g i es. t r a n s . A n n e t t e L a v e r s . New York: H i l l and Wang, 1 9 7 9 • p . 3 4 - 3 5 . . "Novels and C h i l d r e n . " M y t h o l o g i es. t r a n s . A n n e t t e L a v e r s . New York: H i l l and Wang, 1979. p. 5 0 - 5 2 . . "Toys." M y t h o l o g i e s . t r a n s . A n n e tte L a v e r s . New York: H i l l and Wang, 1 9 7 9 . p. 5 3 - 5 5 -Blum, A l a n . P r i v a t e Communication. 1 9 8 0 . Blum, A l a n and P e t e r McHugh. " I n t r o d u c t i o n . " F r i e n d s , Enemies, and S t r a n g e r s : T h e o r i z i n g i n A r t , S c i e n c e , and Everyday L i f e . ed. A l a n Blum and P e t e r McHugh. Norwood, N.J.: A b l e x P u b l i s h i n g C o r p o r a t i o n , 1 9 7 9 . Camus, A l b e r t . "An Absurd R e a s o n i n g . " Myth of Sis y p h u s and  Other E s s a y s , t r a n s . J u s t i n O ' B r i e n . New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, I n c . , 1 9 5 5 . p. 3 - 4 8 . . "Summer i n A l g i e r s . " Myth of Sis y p h u s and Other E s s a y s , t r a n s . J u s t i n O'Brien. New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, I n c . , 1955. p. 104-113-. "The S t r a n g e r . " Ten Modern Short N o v e l s . ed. Leo Hamalian and Edmond L. V o l p e . New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1 9 5 8 p. 5 6 1 - 6 4 0 . D e s c a r t e , Rene. " D i s c o u r s e on t h e Method." The E s s e n t i a l  D e s c a r t e s , ed. Margaret D. W i l s o n . New York: Mentor, 1 9 6 9 . p. 1 0 6 - 1 5 3 . Durkheim, E m i l e . S u i c i d e : A Study i n S o c i o l o g y , t r a n s . John A. S p a u l d i n g and George Simpson. New York: The Fre e P r e s s , 1 9 5 1 . E l i o t , T.S. " L i t t l e G i d d i n g . " Four Q u a r t e t s . London: Faber and F a b e r , 1 9 6 6 . p. 4 9 - 5 9 -. "The Hollow Men." The Complete Poems and P l a y s . New York: H a r c o u r t , Brace & World, I n c . , 1 9 7 1 -p . 5 6 - 5 9 . 133 P o u c a u l t , M i c h e l . The A r c h a e a l o g y of Knowledge & The D i s c o u r s e on Language. t r a n s . A.M. S h e r i d a n S m i t h . New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1972. James, Henry. "Beast i n t h e J u n g l e " . Ten Modern Short N o v e l s , ed. Leo Hamalian and Edmond L. V o l p e . New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1958. p. 61-103-J e f f e r s o n , G a i l . " Side Sequences." S t u d i e s i n S o c i a l  I n t e r a c t i on, ed. Dav i d Sudnow. New York: The Free P r e s s , 1972. p. 294-338. J o h n s t o n e , Henry W. J r . "Some R e f l e c t i o n s on Arg u m e n t a t i o n . " P h i l o s o p h y , R h e t o r i c and Argume n t a t i o n , ed. Maur i c e Natanson and Henry W. J o h n s t o n e , J r . P e n n s y l v a n i a : The P e n n s y l v a n i a S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 965- p. 1-9-K i e r k e g a a r d , Soren. C o n c l u d i n g U n s c i e n t i f i c P o s t s c r i p t , t r a n s . David W. Swenson and W. L o w r i e . P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1974-K i e r k e g a a r d , Soren. Fear and T r e m b l i n g & S i c k n e s s Unto  Death. t r a n s . W. L o w r i e . P r i n c e t o n , New J e r s e y : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1974. Marx, K a r l . 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P l a t o ' s Symposium. New Haven: Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 968. S a c k s , Harvey. "An I n i t i a l I n v e s t i g a t i o n of the U s a b i l i t y of C o n v e r s a t i o n Data f o r D o i n g S o c i o l o g y . " S t u d i e s i n  S o c i a l I n t e r a c t i o n , ed. David Sudnow. New York: The Free P r e s s , 1972. p. 31-74-S c h g l o f f E. and Sacks H. "Opening Up C l o s i n g s . " E t h n o m i t h o d o l o g y , ed. Roy Turner. M i d d l e s e x , England: Penguin Books, I n c . , 1975- p. 233-264-T o l s t o y , Leo. "The Death of I v a n I l y c h . " Ten Modern Short N o v e l s , ed. Leo Hamalian and Edmond L. V o l p e . New York: G-.P. Putnam's Sons, 1958. p. 1-60. T u r n e r , Roy. " I n t r o d u c t i o n . " Ethnomethodology, ed. Roy Tu r n e r . M i d d l e s e x , England: Penguin Books I n c . , 1975. p- 7-12. Turner, Roy. "Some Formal P r o p e r t i e s of Therapy T a l k . " S t u d i e s i n S o c i a l I n t e r a c t i o n , ed. David Sudnow. New York: The F r e e P r e s s , 1972. p. 367-396. W i t t g e n s t e i n , Ludwig. T r a c t a t u s L o g i c o - P h i l o s o p h i c u s , London: Rut l e d g e & Kegan Paul7 1961. 

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