Posted in Hermeneutic, Interpretation, Literary Analysis, Literary Theory, Literature

Portrayal of Women in Bataille’s Blue at Noon

Blue at Noon by Georges Bataille is a fascinating avant garde novel. In this essay I would like to deconstruct the way in which women are portrayed. Most of the Women except his wife and Desire are sluts. The prominent whores featured in his novel are dirty (Dorothea) and Xenia. The entanglements of the protagonist with these women are symptomatically pathological. The protagonist betrays devastating hidden oedipal fantasies. The relationships with these women are more intricate and denser than remuneration for occupying the pleasures of the bed. The protagonist takes great pleasure in the disgusting and the revolting. For example: Dirty is drunk and puking and at the same time she exposes herself nude. Sometimes the protagonist becomes an archetypal feminine. For example he sobs: when he gets a letter from his wife. All his relationships with sluts are erotic a melancholia, a fantasy of longing which ceases to be fulfilled. He portrays whores as tender, loving oedipal objects on which he can gratify his emptiness, his angst. The novel takes places in three places, England, France and Spain. In France he encounters Xenia. He is very ill at that time. Xenia though a whore goes to a great extent of nursing him back. The amazing thing is that he does not feel grateful but treats her with intense repulsion. In Spain he encounters Desire. The Spanish revolution is going on there and she has intense communist views. Though he becomes close to Desire, he treats her like a wretch. He has no interest in her intellectual proclivities. There are no scenes in the novel which are sexually graphic. Drunkenness, puking and nudeness become orgies for the mind of the protagonist. Though the novel is experimental, the narrative is straight forward and goes on from the beginning to the end. The protagonist is an erotic Sisyphus who is tormented by the weight of his sexual entanglements and finds release of his emotion through sheer repugnance. The pleasure of the bed has become a narcotic stone which is rolled down by him in mental stupor. The protagonist is always in state of psychological fornication. As a work of Art he is Picasso’s bull who is limpid and strangulated by his own emotions. The author creates whores who are fond of him. The creation represents a maternal, oedipal reaching out. Is it a kind of oedipal narcissism that the author suffers from? There is no political consciousness for the protagonist. He maintains a stormy silence when Desire discusses ideas about communism. The creation of the psychology for the whores in his novel is a dystopian archetype. The women are his ideal and yet they are repugnant to him. Eroticism for the narrator is one of morbid loathing and ironically a state of ecstatic pleasure. I as a reader, I am totally ignorant how whores interact or behave. Of course I have had my chances but I have failed to follow upon them. Yes in the end, I feel whores are humane and can have genuine feelings.

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Posted in Literary Theory, Literature, Philosophy, Postmodernism

Truth a Discourse

Problematizing truth is a methodological problem. Philosophy always asks the question: what is truth. Socrates used to play with truth, by probing his students with an endless play of questions and answers and finally shedding of the ritual of the question itself in sheer sophistry. But again the question remains: what is truth: is this the truth: what ought to be the truth. Instead of posing truth as a discourse, I would like to dialogue with truth.

Religions amalgamate truth into a cauldron of value, a relation to the supernatural. They make it out that truth is essential for salvation, eternal life, and all the metaphysical attributes, that separate the divine from the human. Now what can this type of truth be defined? Truth is separated from reason and undergoes the ritual, an enigma of the supernatural. For a non believer truth makes no sense. Theistic truth can’t be defined but only experienced as proclaimed by the mystics. Such a concept of truth can be delusional. Truth in the religious sense can be described as theistic-mania. However religious truth has been dismantled by structuralism and postmodernism. Truth for them is a play of signs, a playful connection between the signifier and the signified. Theology from a metaphysical frame work has been deconstructed, that is the Logos of Presence is an empty sign. But still believers of theism regard it as something fundamental.

How can we portray truth in the scientific realm? There are conjectural truths. For example the idea of the Big Bang is conjectural. But the concept of DNA is verifiable through the experimental. So also is the existence of subatomic particles. There are also other types of scientific truths, the inductive and the deductive. The inductive truth stems from premises that are true and leading to conclusions. For example: All men are mortal. Socrates is a Man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. This is an inductive truth. For deductive truth: the premises can be true or false. If they are true, they lead to the right conclusions. For example sugar dissolves in water and metal does not dissolve in water.

Next I would like to take the Hegelian concept of truth and that being, arriving at a thesis, then an antithesis and finally a synthesis. The problem of Hegel’s truth is that there might not be a synthesis. Let’s take communism as an example. The domination, corruption and violence attached to communism shifted its crux from the synthesis that Communism is right to an antithesis. The synthesis today at the level of political praxis is leanings of political philosophy to the dialectics of production and profit. Dialectical materialism has grown in its stature to opportunistic capitalism. The ideological apparatuses of the state control and monitor the individual secretly. Capitalism has shed its tentacles and has united societies into global corporations. Global corporations go even to the extent of funding democratic elections and bringing to victory candidates of their choice. Here truth becomes a choice of being a value as an economic entity. Truth becomes manipulated for affluent economic consumption.

Next I would like to explain truth from an ontological, phenomenological, psychoanalytic perspective. I am also going to incorporate postmodernism into my narrative. Ontology explains the structure of being, the presence of making the meaning of being. Postmodern philosophy has challenged the existence of presence of being. What I would like to say is that meaning is always being made. The processing of meaning through contents consciousness (phenomenology) is a dialectical process. We can call the making of meaning as processual ontology. Let’s take the concept of meaning psychoanalytically. The Philosopher Sartre has given the status of being  as unlimited freedom. But psychoanalytically meaning of being remains conditioned to the ID, EGO and Super Ego. Raw passions are controlled by the EGO, family moorings, and the Super EGO, the laws of the society, what Lacan calls as: In the Name of the Law of the Father. A being has to tight rope walk on these three psychological attributes the ID, EGO and the Super Ego. A Nietzsche’s follower would in post-modern sense would say: sublimate the ID, transcend the Ego and the Subvert the Super Ego. By doing so, man can become the Übermensch or the over-man. Truth in the post modern sense depends on how well, you can sublimate the ID, transcend the Ego and subvert the Super Ego.