THEORY BEYOND THE CODES
The Poetics of Salt
Theorizing Method and Madness
Dark Night of the body
remember, body, how they trembled for you in those voices.
To understand salt as a material discourse of resistance and a vehicle of social change is to embrace the body as the reality in which dwells the spirit. In one of the articles "Capital Punishment" from the Dispatches for the New York Tribune, Marx comments on Hegel's statement that "Punishment is the right of the criminal" which the criminal brings upon himself. While critiquing Hegel for not "looking upon the criminal as the mere object, the slave of justice," and raising him "to the position of a free and self-determined being," Marx attacks German idealism for giving "a transcendental sanction to the rules of existing society." The poetics of salt is an acknowledgement of the fact that the exploited body is not a being with freewill of its own but one whose genius of survival is guided by a need to resist. In recognizing that the existing rules of a social order are made by people, Marx places human choices in their material condition as the basis of spiritual or ideal interpretations of reality. Resistance is the salt that goes with the logic of "by any means necessary." In his preface to Weapons of the Weak James C. Scott observes that more important than large structural changes are "what we might call everyday forms of peasant resistance -- the prosaic but constant struggle between peasantry and those who seek to extract labor, food, taxes, rents and interest from them." The politics of salt is not about changes larger than life but restricted to the nature of living -- salt is inescapably an everyday thing like life itself. Salt never abandons life to enter the transcendental zone of idealism or idealists. Salt is thus both method because it resists in a thoughtful manner and madness because it rejects the transcendental dimension of the order.
Methods are not independent of contexts whether in the discourses of humanities or social sciences. Contexts are insane and refuse to obey logic because the voice of experience is strangely detached from the one who theorizes the experience. "Experience never errs," says Da Vinci, "it is only your judgment that errs in promising itself results as are not caused by your experiments." A judgment is context-based whether it is the context of the experiment or that of the experimenter. The errors of judgment are individual errors as much as historic. The history of errors needs to be documented. An error is not the same thing as a wrong. The magnitude of a wrong surpasses an error. Slavery and colonialism are the wrongs of history. An error can lead to a wrong but a wrong can only lead to a greater wrong. You rectify an error. You don't rectify a wrong; you change it. For Marx in "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte," "The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future." In the future is contained the poetry of the revolution. At any present point there is a future where the social revolution waits to fill the emptiness of the present. A social revolution is born in the madness of the future and rushes with the force of a tsunami into the fragile arms of the present. The revolutionary has to think one step ahead of the reactionary regimes she is fighting against. Therefore the poetic quality latent in the future. Therefore the suspicion and the accusations of madness heaped upon radical-thinking men and women. In the poetry of the revolution madness merges with method.
In the movie version of Gandhi (1982), we hear the Mahatma after his travels across India, speaking before the audience at the Congress session. "Here, we make speeches for each other and those English liberal magazines that may grant us a few lines. But the people of India are untouched. Their politics are confined to bread and salt. Illiterate they may be, but they're not blind. They see no reason to give their loyalty to rich and powerful men who simply want to take over the role of the British in the name of freedom." (my italics) In a way Gandhi defines the subaltern politics of survival. In a later scene in the movie, at the village of Dandi, Gujarat, in what has come down as the Salt Satyagraha March, Gandhi declares with his penchant for clarity: "Man needs salt as he needs air and water. This salt comes from the Indian Ocean. Let every Indian claim it as his right."
It is impossible that Gandhi was not echoing the line from the New Testament: "Ye are the salt of the earth" (St. Matthew 5:13). He knew what salt meant in the common imagination. Salt is rarely a symbol. Salt is the literal that is the basis of the symbolic. Just as bread needs salt, salt defines what the politics of bread is all about. Salt is the essence of bread. To Gandhi, salt is a method to fight the British. It's not logical to think of salt as a weapon of political struggle though it works as an image for the poorest of the poor to identity themselves with. Salt defines the spirit of a revolution. The poor may be "illiterate" but they're not "blind." Rich and powerful men constitute the order of third world, postcolonial societies. The poor have given their loyalty to these men but not without a pinch of salt. A character in Fellini's autobiographical 1973 movie Amarcord (I remember) says: "My grandfather made bricks,/ My father made bricks,/ I make bricks too,/ But, where is my house?" The knowledge of the poor is about salt. It's not absence of knowledge that makes the poor bear their oppression. The connection between salt and liberation is a subtle one. Ignazio Silone's novel Bread and Wine is a story of peasant resistance to fascism. Wine has an altogether different symbolism associated with it in the Christian Mediterranean context. Can wine be a "weapon of the weak" in the same sense that we associate with salt? A social revolution is about "salt" as much as it is about "wine." In a different context it could be about "bricks" as well.
Madness is the failure to invent a self. To discover method in salt is sheer madness. To be dispossessed of salt is to be dispossessed of a creative self. To experience madness as madness is the first step to liberation. The self that fights to invent itself is on the road to sanity though it is madness to fight. Resistance is madness where resistance seems futile and worse abnormal in the clinical sense of the term. The experience of life as living is how one enters a historical context. Salt is the force of history that will free men and women from oppressions that are historical. For the dispossessed, experience is the politics of salt. In any revolution the future will rewrite itself through the present. In the mad scheme of things the invisible is the visible. You have to be mad to see what cannot be seen. You have to be mad to believe the incredible. The salt in the brain transforms our understanding of commonplace situations. To theorize based on experience is to put a thought into action. Thoughts can be singularly deceitful and need to be constantly verified in the real world, real because people respond to situations with a notion of "reality" attached to them.
The dispossessed of history are guided not by method but madness. The madness of having been deprived of salt. Ideas are the outcome of labor; idealism is the outcome of thought. Ideas are creative whereas ideologies are not. Anything that originates in thought is ultimately a prejudice because it's not substantiated by experience. Experience cannot be separated from the language of experience. That's precisely what ideology does. That's the separation idealism needs in order to assert that knowledge is a neutral, apolitical discourse. Kwame Nkrumah makes the distinction in the context of decolonization: "On the philosophical level, too, it is materialism, not idealism, that in one form or another will give the firmest conceptual basis to the restitution of Africa's egalitarian and humanist principles. Idealism breeds an oligarchy, and its social implication...is obnoxious to African society. It is materialism, with its monistic and naturalistic account of nature, which will balk arbitrariness, inequality and injustice." Truth is another word for "liberation." To liberate the body from the clutches of the soul is the goal of the revolution.
The poetry of revolutions unfortunately tends to be detached from prosaic daily life where "much is to be endured and little to be enjoyed." Experience is a prosaic state where the world impinges itself on one's sense of what one is. There cannot be a mistake in experience. The mistakes are in the judgment. Experience is to use a dubious cliché "in the nature of things." A judgment transcends the limitations of nature to decide the social direction of a people. The outcome of the judgment is a thing of the future. The judgment itself is a thing of the present. Human knowledge is a series of random judgments with relatively predictable outcomes. At any point however institutional knowledge gives the impression of being absolute. Courts of law and police stations don't go by the relativity of the context. Power carries with it a sense of absoluteness, which is what makes it power in the first place because it rejects the politics of accommodation. The thing about resistance is that it confronts power -- a monolithic entity -- with a fluid sense of reality. Resistance has the Taoist kind of fluid "feminine" strength that will ultimately wear out power. They are never equal and opposite because the strength of the resistance lies in defiance; and any program of defiance must offer an alternative that is more democratic and inclusive; something that power in its stasis is incapable of doing.
More than any other discourse the study of institutionalized religion with its need for power over the souls of men and women throws light on how money and control over the body of the believer are vital for its continued existence. Institutions replace institutions in preserving a modicum of continuity. You can't be stunned all the time without at some point being sedated. The sedation of ideology works to perpetuate institutionalized injustices which are as much about people in positions of power as they are about the institutions themselves. To separate the two is vain and foolhardy. You cannot separate a lawyer from law as an institution just as you cannot separate a doctor from the institution of medicine. A political order with enlightened laws and reactionary personnel is bound to make little difference in the long run. It will help those who already have a voice and are in a position to articulate their exclusion within the context of the law. The voiceless will be voiceless and repressed as ever. An order that excludes one single person needs to be deconstructed to accommodate that one person. What if it excludes millions and pushes them into a state of helplessness!
The body that is central to power is equally central to resistance. Institutions long for the ideal, subservient body. Humanities, social and natural sciences feel the need to occupy the space of the institutionalized body in order to claim legitimacy; legitimacy as institutions that keep social relations in tact. The radical body or the body that resists is an enemy of the institution. The body that is outside discourse but very much a part of a discourse that wouldn't exist but for the body, seething in its madness, lost in the darkness of nights without end, the body at the margins of knowledge, a body whose experience of meaning is limited to the salt of its nature, impoverished physically as much as morally, the body whose method is madness, the body of the subaltern whose language is immaterial but whose labor is the basis of every other institution, the bodies of those many times colonized over and again, the body that knows history as change, the body whose future is madder than its present, the body that is of no interest to a social order, the body that suspects every move of the institution to appear human and just, the tortured and humiliated body, a victim of betrayal, that sees treachery as a response to greater treachery, the body whose faith in the power of bread to sustain living is greater than its faith in the "good" intentions of a "liberal" few that subscribe to phrases such as "human decency," "life is fair" and "cosmic justice," it's the body experience uses as its base to challenge theory that attempts to systematize it in the name of method.
The genius of survival and the salt of subversion
These holy gifts of God to the priests are called 'a covenant of salt forever before the LORD' (v. 19). Salt is presented with all offerings (Lev 2:13); as a preservative it becomes a symbol for an everlasting covenant (see 2 Chr 13:5). This provision is God's commitment to the priests in perpetuity, for the Aaronides have no property.
When Macaulay in his infamous "Minute" dated 2nd February 1835 claimed that "a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia" he was basing his notion of "absolutely immeasurable" European superiority on another implied notion of genius peculiar to the "languages of western Europe." In the same colonial tone Macaulay adds that while Russia could be "civilized," "I cannot doubt that they will do for the Hindoo what they have done for the Tartar." The languages of India and Arabia have no space for the genius of the European kind to flower or blossom; therefore:
We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern,--a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.
Following the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 under the command of General Dyer, when Gandhi tells Lord Chelmsford, "Despite the best intentions of the best of you, you must, in the nature of things, humiliate us to control us" (movie version), he is referring to the "best intentions" of men like Macaulay who actually believed in what they were doing while reducing the genius of another people to a position of inferiority. Genius for Macaulay is the vastly superior body of the white European male. The cultural body of Europe is the high point of the genius of its peoples giving it the right to "civilize" the rest of the earth. To civilize is to desalinate -- to alienate the colonized from the bread and salt that constitute their being-in-the-world. Says Brecht in the poem "From the German War Primer" "Amongst the highly placed/ It is considered low to talk about food./ The fact is: they have/ Already eaten." To be civilized is to be "Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect". To be English in taste is to reject the salt of one's earth; to reject oneself as the salt of the earth; to reject the culture that produced one's beingness; to reject the "vernacular dialects" that construct who I am except in the desalinated terms set by the colonizer; to be me without being myself; to believe that it is low to talk about "food" because I've "already eaten." The association of salt with survival or basic needs makes it a metaphor of empowerment.
The notion of genius connected to survival and resistance is one built around subversion. Subaltern politics is creative because it fights from a position of seeming disadvantage where the waiting is almost endless and the struggles are about basic needs; the salt of subversion defines those struggles. Likewise the idea of genius that we popularly associate with unusual individuals is subversive owing to its marginal character. An idea threatens the status quo and reconfigures how institutions and individuals perceive who or what they are. The idea of salt is peculiarly true of individual genius as well because the creative struggle shares the drive that goes into the discourse of survival.
The "genius" which is a product of European individualism is not the genius we associate with creativity. The former is a definition that fits into an undefined prejudice while the latter is a process converging and diverging through the spiritual life of a people. Genius is resistance to everything that comes in the way of survival. The genius of a people is its ability to resist and transform. Politicizing salt is about politicizing survival. Survival preserves the body at the same time that the body fights for its survival. Either way the reality of the body is recognized -- the reality of those Macaulay views as being "ignorant and barbarous" because they do not subscribe to what Gandhi called "western civilization" -- a "good idea"
Macaulay's interpretation of the creative genius of Europe in terms of "a single shelf" of European books versus the "whole native literature of India and Arabia" is a statement that hangs in the air. Colonial ideologues do not recognize the reality of the body. No discourse of oppression ever does that. To the oppressed the genius of living is what the body is all about. The body is an interpreter of the world that the mind must accommodate. The body is the word that is interpreted. It's the body's word that goes as evidence against every other word. "Bodily decrepitude is wisdom," says Yeats in the poem "After Long Silence."
Oppression needs to subjugate the body that it cannot do without. Resistance is the mad genius of the body that thinks of ways and means to fight back. Every act of defiance is an act of genius because it is madness to embark on it. There's no greater deviant on earth than the one who thinks that slavery, class oppression, gender violence and exploitation will come to an end. They will not come to an end; they will be brought to an end.
The erratic and the erotic
Gabija Fire goddess. Pre-Christian Lithuanian. She was invoked by tossing salt on to a sacred flame.
Huixtocihuatl (lady of Huixtorin) Goddess of salt-makers. Aztec (classical Mesoamerican) [Mexico] . One of the group classed as the TLALOC complex, generally involved with rain, agriculture and fertility.
The madness behind Newton's method, a method he famously talked about through the use of a metaphor of a boy at play! To himself Newton was always an exploring child. How else could he have indulged in his madness so freely without fear of restriction except as existing in a state of perpetual boyhood where time is erased that humanity may relive the first days of creation! The weight of the metaphor fell on Einstein who also saw the madness in asking childlike questions:
Not long before his passing he remarked, "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." Strangely, Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist since Newton, also pictured himself as a child asking childlike questions: "What would the world look like if I could ride on a beam of light?" It was Einstein who wrote of Sir Isaac, "Fortunate Newton, happy child of science. Nature to him was an open book, whose letters he could read without effort.
What is the language of childlikeness? What is the madness in the language of the child that the adult must internalize in order to be creative? What is the relationship between childhood, madness and genius? What makes childhood the missing link between the obsession of genius and the obsession of madness -- the "wellspring" as Montague termed "obsession" connecting both genius and madness? In the book A mouth sweeter than salt: an African memoir Toyin Falola sees the worlds of his past through the eyes of a boy in Yorubaland. In his pursuit of trains at some point in the book the boy ends up in another city Ilorin and thus describes the people of the city who love to talk more than anything else:
So much do they love to talk at Ilorin that the city's poem eulogizes the power of words.
Ilorin, the city of Afonja
The mouth is much sweeter than salt
Only the person with two mouths can live in Lagos
One needs four mouths to live at Oyo
At Ilorin, the city of Afonja
Only the person with eighteen mouths can survive.
As the poet affirms, to doublespeak is not enough at Ilorin; a sentence must have about eighteen different meanings...So famous has Ilorin become in the art of doublespeak that people are advised to go there for lessons in jamba (havoc making and multispeaking).
As Falola affirms, the art of "multispeaking" defines Ilorin. To survive in Ilorin, you need to have "eighteen mouths" and by extension each one has to be sweeter than salt. The paradox of something being "sweeter than salt" is for the English speaker. For the Yoruba it makes perfect sense to attribute sweetness to salt. Yet salt is the metaphor that dominates the discourse of multispeaking and those from Ilorin are only too familiar with the strategy of giving more meanings than one to a statement. At Lagos two mouths will do and at Oyo you need four. It's madness to think in so many different terms from the perspective of another language speaker. But in a context where the mouths are sweeter than salt the madness is logical and perfectly sane.
Socrates -- the multispeaker of sorts in Plato's Dialogues -- means it when in Phaedrus he says: "If madness were simply an evil, it would be right, but in fact some of our greatest blessings come from madness." What then are the "blessings" of madness? Is it an unmixed blessing for someone like Socrates himself, the son of a mid-wife, who saw himself as a mid-wife of sorts as he says in Theaetetus "those who associate with me are like women in child-birth. They suffer the pains of labor, and are filled day and night with distress; indeed they suffer far more than women. And this pain my art is able to bring on, and also to allay." Yet at the point of his death in Phaedo he does not want his friends to weep and in fact rebukes them when he says: "you strange fellows. It is mainly for this reason that I sent the women away, to avoid such unseemliness, for I am told one he should die in good-omened silence. So keep quiet and control yourselves." What is this feminineness that Socrates who does not hesitate to see himself as a mid-wife will not accept it when it comes to "tears?" He would rather go by a superstition and die in "good omened" silence.
The madness of Socrates is the madness of the Socratic Method where each one defends his point of view in an argument. The result of it is a bit like what Johnson says: "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test." The martyrdom of Socrates is an outcome of the method to which we attach his name. The madness of Socrates is the madness of Plato whose name is strangely attached to something as deviant as "Platonic love." It is salt that has come to terms with its saltiness as in the African poem "Woman" by Tijan M. Sallah: "Woman, you are Timbuktu./ Salt rides every part of your aura." The poet has no hesitation in giving a feminine character to the city; more than that the woman is the city itself; that the woman is Timbuktu is a material fact, but, salt gives it a Platonic dimension because it "rides every part of your aura."
Nothing in the works of Plato indicates he had a clue that his name would be attached to a discourse as reductive as Platonic love, a "virtual invention" in the Christian mind of Marsilio Ficino who short of any ideas in the highly repressive atmosphere of the Renaissance arbitrarily misread a pagan philosopher.
For Ficino, Plato stood as first among philosophical equals, with special insight into religious truth. One of Ficino's most enduring contributions to Renaissance literature was his virtual invention of the concept of 'Platonic love' in his commentary on Plato's Symposium. By reinterpreting the implicit pederasty of Plato's dialogue as amatory idealism, Ficino obliterated the unacceptable face of Greek social practices, opening the way to the creative adaptations of Platonic love popularized by dialoghi de' amore, and central to the vocabulary of subjectivity in Renaissance love poetry.
The "implicit pederasty" was translated into "amatory idealism" to suit the times. Built into the fear of the erotic is a fear of the erratic. The social roots of fear and what the dominating group of a given society is willing to consider as values at a definite point in time is what makes for the "erratic." The erratic disturbs and is therefore synonymous with the uncanny. Freud begins the chapter "Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence" with a definition of the word "Taboo". "The meaning of 'taboo', as we see it, diverges in two contrary directions. To us it means, on the one hand, 'sacred', 'consecrated', and on the other 'uncanny', 'dangerous', 'forbidden', 'unclean'." The latter terms: uncanny, dangerous, forbidden and unclean apply to any person who would dare to shatter the illusions of a political order; in the 1928 trial of Antonio Gramsci under the fascist regime of Mussolini the prosecutor wasn't being ironic when he "demanded that the law 'must prevent this brain from functioning for 20 years'."
Revolutionary thinkers are much more dangerous as breakers of taboos than any criminal because they dare to transform the basis of the order to which they belong. Engels in a moving tribute to his friend and mentor Karl Marx during the funeral at Highgate Cemetery notes that "Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc." This is an exact paraphrase of Gandhian understanding of the politics of poor being about bread and salt. In showing that bread and salt are the basis of human history the revolutionary thinker unmasks the true nature of ideology which is that it is a bunch of ideas stitched together to give a semblance of reality.
In the essay "The Political Thought of Patrice Lumumba" Sartre speaks of how Lumumba "experienced the full extent of the contradictions of his class: he knew that it had been artificially created by the necessities of colonization, had been cut off from the masses by Belgian capitalist companies, and had a future only in the colonial system...he had finally discovered the rigidity of the system which had created him the better to exploit him." In other words, "Lumumba brought his own class to power and set about governing against its interests." While "the assassination of Lumumba sealed an unholy alliance between the black bourgeoisie and imperialism," the dangers he posed this unholy alliance shows in his captivity. "A prisoner who was once idolized by the crowds continues to be the naked possibility of praxis; his very existence transforms regrets into hope; because he remains faithful to his principles, they are much more than a purely theoretical view for new opponents; they are alive, they are current, humanized by the man who, as people know, is their guardian in his cell. They become an object of fascinated meditation for everyone."
Both in the case of Gramsci and Lumumba the "erratic" is the political. It speaks however in a childlike idiom. The need to change the world cannot but be a childlike feeling -- "like a boy, playing on the seashore." There is betrayal in it because you betray what home and school have taught you to take for granted but what life teaches you to challenge. You're a traitor to the class you belong to and the values you've internalized all along. You're driven by a desire bordering lust, a powerful insatiable libido, a madness without cure, a death that gives meaning to the action more than the actor, the erotic that frustrates "reality" as much as it is frustrated by that reality. Norman Brown observes: "The riddle of history is not in Reason but in Desire; not in labor, but in love." The struggle that defines the erratic is a labor born of love as much as it is a desire guided by reason.
The description of Moriarty by Holmes in the classic "The Adventure of the Final Problem," "an antagonist who was my intellectual equal," summarizes what the erratic means in a social context:
He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed -- the word is passed to the professor, the matter is organized and carried out. The agent may be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defense. But the central power which uses the agent is never caught -- never so much as suspected. This was the organization which I deduced, Watson, and which I devoted my whole energy to exposing and breaking up.
At the beginning of the story Watson, recently married, confesses not having enough time for Holmes. "It may be remembered that after my marriage, and my subsequent start in private practice, the very intimate relations which had existed between Holmes and myself became to some extent modified...It was with some surprise, therefore, that I saw him walk into my consulting-room upon the evening of April 24th. It struck me that he was looking even paler and thinner than usual." The homoerotic nature of the friendship between the uncannily smart Holmes and Watson a witness to the genius of the former is open to Freudean speculation. Holmes, lonely and without a companion to document his consummate approach to unraveling the ways of crime, is more than ready to die. The reason for his death is a conventional one; to destroy Moriarty who inspires admiration more than "horror at his crimes." No mention of the serious absence of Watson in his life.
In the case of Holmes with all the makings of someone who should resist a cruel establishment, we see a reactionary who, like the prosecutor that sent Gramsci to prison, has nothing but contempt for "a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker...a brain of the first order". The erotic in Holmes does not reach the point of the erratic; it is willing to be suppressed and die for the larger cause of preserving a social order for the greatest good of the greatest number ?rather than as John Stuart Mill says: "In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality." Freud regrets the fact that after "the most violent struggles to reconcile the instinctual demands of the individual with the claims of the community" and submitting to the Tsar, the Christian God and narrow "Russian nationalism" "Dostoevsky threw away the chance of becoming a teacher and liberator of humanity and made himself one with their jailers." The same can be said of a fictional character such as Holmes.
Given his genius he could have instead of preserving the status quo worked to expose the greater crimes of a system that crushes human beings and robs them of their innate dignity; he could've broke open the doors of repression and allowed for the flourishing of the instinct in its creative forms; he could have seen through the violence of a law that in the end used him to serve its own purpose; by allowing his madness to be effectively controlled through a method called deductive reasoning and owing to his tremendous fear of the erotic, Holmes allowed his neurosis to take the form of logic thus disregarding the power of the erratic to inspire him to explore, like the boy in Newton playing on the seashore, "the great ocean of truth" lying before him.
The nervous body born to greatness
You must not be offended by the comparison, Madame, for that man who dared not turn his neck for fear of catching a chill is the greatest poet of our day. That poor lunatic is the most lofty intellect that I know. Submit to being called a neurotic. You belong to that splendid and pitiable family which is the salt of the earth.
In the classic essay "Art and Neurosis," Lionel Trilling goes into the "myth of the sick artist" made popular during the Romantic Movement. To be considered "mad" in a more general sense suggesting difference is not the same as being considered mad in terms of a sickness. Proust is parodying the myth in The Guermantes Way, when he celebrates neurotics in the much-quoted passage: "We enjoy fine music, beautiful pictures, a thousand exquisite things, but we do not know what they cost those who wrought them in insomnia, tears, spasmodic laughter, urticaria, asthma, epilepsy, a terror of death which is worse than any of these." Yet, a couple of lines later he adds: "Neurosis has a genius for mimicry. There is no illness which it cannot counterfeit perfectly." The ability to counterfeit illness is the genius of the neurotic. Proust recognizes the performative ability of genius; the illness is a performance; you can't only be a neurotic; you must be able to exhaust all the performances associated with neurosis; the neurosis itself must be one grand performance. "Everything we think of as great has come to us from neurotics. It is they and they alone who found religions and create great works of art." Creation is the active dimension of genius. They "found" religion and "create" works of art. Madness in itself cannot be creative unless it is a performance at the point that it borders insanity. Therefore the ironic lament that "The world will never realise how much it owes to them, and what they have suffered in order to bestow their gifts on it."
To be sick and to be able to watch yourself in a state of sickness, to understand that your sickness has the potential for interpretation, to be able to interpret the sickness for the sake of an imagined audience -- that's the marriage of genius to neurosis. Neurosis is the infinite space of performance that genius needs to unleash its creative powers. In the chapter "Diagnosing Genius" Felluga points out that toward the end of the 18th century, "The figure of the masturbator was particularly important for the emergent doctor, who pathologized this figure for the first time in the eighteenth century as a way to attack not just the sexual act but also the textual act of imaginative creation and reception." Masturbation as a way of losing one's power is a euphemism for losing one's masculinity; ironically to this effeminization through masturbation the romantic genius owes his power and his weakness. Romeo in Shakespeare's play at the point that his friend Mercutio dies in the hands of Tybalt suddenly becomes conscious of his weakness. He complains, not without a patriarchal context to the statement: "O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate." As Felluga notes: "Women had for centuries been seen as a weaker version of the male body, which helped to give authority to the new science's attribution of nervous susceptibility to women."
The ease of the explanation of "loss" through masturbation is what gives it a popular character because for one it is logical and for two it is based on deductive reasoning the way Sherlock Holmes takes a premise for a constant and derives the rest of the argument based on the constancy of the premise. It cannot be anything but the "nerves" which serves as the unchanging premise for what the rest of the body is like and consequentially the mind as well. The nervous constitution is a productive one in an artistic sense while it is also a creature of loss. You cannot be normal in the normal sense of the term. "The reason why it was so easy for anti-onanist rhetoric to pinpoint the imagination as primary culprit is because, according to the medical tracts, the real danger came not simply from the loss of semen but from the loss of one's "nervous energy" or "vital power." Nietzsche a prototypically 19th century thinker is not free of this thought that semen in some way is power and must be preserved therefore: "The reabsorption of semen by the blood is the strongest nourishment and, perhaps more than any other factor, it prompts the stimulus of power, the unrest of all forces toward the overcoming of resistances, the thirst for contradiction and resistance. The feeling of power has so far mounted highest in abstinent priests and hermits (for example, among the Brahmins)." Real power is about the "reabsorption of the semen by the blood." A profoundly unscientific statement but one that logically sustains the basis of a nervous body that suffers being born to greatness. Felluga again: "The nervous system provided medical writers with a central metaphorical model that allowed them to treat of the human body, mind, and even soul as a single system of forces or energies."
To be aware of one's madness is an act of sanity. That's where the artist triumphs over the neurotic; the creator triumphs over the mad person; madness becomes its own method as much as its own reason for being what it is; it is impossible to deny that there is an intrinsic logic to creation; it is not a logic that goes by a given premise; it's a logic that invents premises and leads to conclusions that the eye of the reader is free to decode in the contexts of social and political changes that impinge upon the times. Trilling's understanding of genius is the most acceptable one because it neither reduces the artist nor does it reduce the neurosis and somehow sees a symbiotic relationship between the two. The artist preys on her neurosis; the neurosis serves as a reservoir of floating signifiers that acquire form on the pages of a text. "We are all ill: but even a universal sickness implies an idea of health. Of the artist we must say that whatever elements of neurosis he has in common with his fellow mortals, the one part of him that is healthy, by any conceivable definition of health, is that which gives him the power to conceive, to plan, to work, and to bring his work to a conclusion."
The "salt of the earth" Proust calls neurotics. The same salt that Gandhi uses as a symbol to define his revolutionary politics. According to Cirlot's Dictionary of Symbols, prime matter is identified with salt along with a "host of names:" "quicksilver, lead, salt, sulphur, water, air, fire, earth, blood, lapis, poison, spirit, sky, dew, shade, mother, sea, moon, dragon, chaos, microcosm, etc." In the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, salt is literally a metaphor for everyone because it refers to "you." In Time and the Other Levinas finds a way of knowing you as you or that which is not-I: "How can the ego that I am remain myself in a you, without being nonetheless the ego that I am in my present -- that is to say, an ego that inevitably returns to itself? How can the ego become other to itself? This can happen only in one way: through paternity. Paternity is the relationship with a stranger who, entirely while being Other, is myself, the relationship of the ego with a myself who is nonetheless a stranger to me." To Christ, Gandhi and Proust -- the "weak" and yet creative you "are the salt of the earth." "A father is not just a word" says a character to the protagonist in the poignant Tunisian movie "The Silences of the Palace" depicting a male-dominated society that thrives under colonialism and has to face the new reality of a woman fighting for her voice in a post-colonial society. Paternity is the other of a patriarchal society where "father" and "fatherhood" are words and women are instruments who make sure that the "father's property" is kept in tact through the so-called "natural heirs" or just sons. "The son, in effect, is not simply my work, like a poem or an artifact, neither is he my property. Neither the categories of power nor those of having can indicate the relationship with the child. Neither the notion of cause nor the notion of ownership permit one to grasp the fact of fecundity. I do not have my child; I am in some way my child." The love produced by the nerves that we see in artists, revolutionaries, lovers and prophets exists where possession is not an issue. You don't need to have a child if you're your own child. Neurosis is anti-property and the great performers of history have always challenged identity that comes with possession.
Sucking the salt of "life"
The question posed here was the one we have already referred to, namely this : is a philosophical movement properly so called when it is devoted to creating a specialized culture among restricted intellectual groups, or rather when, and only when, in the process of elaborating a form of thought superior to "common sense" and coherent on a scientific plane, it never forgets to remain in contact with the "simple" and indeed finds in this contact the source of the problems it sets out to study and to resolve ? Only by this contact does a philosophy become "historical", purify itself of intellectualistic elements of an individual character and become "life".
There is no other to the mad self because it is its own child in the Levinasean sense. The Rumi-persona declares threateningly in the poem "O Beloved, Be Like That to Me:" "The day your love touches me/ I'll become so mad that lunatics will run away." The neurosis of the persona is blatant as ever when in the poem, "From self to Self" he adds: "what madness now keeps me/ from becoming totally mad?" In the process of discovering his childlikeness through creativity, the persona will destroy the self that owns the child; the child is free to wander along the seashore and divert himself "in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary"; the mad child and the mad self that defines the child; the joy of play that transcends the weariness of being. Says the lover in Rumi: "You have made me weary/ yet the bitterness of your torment/ is nectar to my heart." The lover -- who in a state of madness is his own child -- rejects being reduced to a definition. In the utmost pain it is a life dedicated to an illogical joy that comes when you own nothing -- least of all the creative child in you.
To define is to reduce the other to the self -- to be sane, normal, commonsensical, rational, meaningful, prosaic, arrogant and malicious. To define is madness where no definition is possible. Definition restricts the overflow of meanings. The sanity of definition as opposed to the insanity of the indefinable. The madness of the indefinable is what Socrates is proclaiming when he says:
we should not be afraid of madness, and should not be alarmed by the argument, designed to frighten us, that we should prefer a sane man over a passionate one as our friend. This argument can win the day only if it can also show that love is not sent by the gods to benefit the lover and his beloved. Meanwhile, it is up to us to prove, on the contrary, that this kind of madness is given by the gods to help us achieve the greatest happiness -- a proof which will be believed by the wise, if not the clever.
The happiness of those who are mad is a gift. For Socrates it is the "gods" who complete the picture -- madness wouldn't have its creative value but for the gods. We need to prove though that madness comes from the gods and transcends human effort. You can't be mad for the sake of being mad in the same way that you can't be a genius by choice. The obsession behind both genius and madness is a gift of the gods. To prove is to invent an explanation. That's a perfectly logical thing to do. That madness is a source of happiness is beyond doubt. "Who will believe my verse in time to come," begins the seventeenth sonnet of Shakespeare. It is the "wise" who will "believe" and not the "clever." The clever are destined to perish in the dustbins of history. The wise shall prevail since "only the gods deserve that label."
Just as the gift cannot be separated from the giver of the gift, salt cannot be separated from saltiness, joy cannot be separated from the bringer of joy, the song from the singer, the lover from the beloved and the child from the adult. The madness of the other is what defines the self. There is no other self for Levinas except for the child who cannot be owned. Therefore, paternity. A father cannot be just a word. Otherwise he cannot be a father. He must transcend the limitations of a definition -- the limitations imposed on his role -- and turn into a creative performer because paternity is a performance since all love is so in a state of otherness. The father is a space of otherness filled with the madness of the child.
Discipline that cannot exist without punish is the enemy of the child whose love is for pebbles on a seashore. The schoolboy asks in Blake's poem "How can the bird that is born for joy/ Sit in a cage and sing?" He might as well have asked: How can the child born for play/ Sit in a classroom and learn? I use "play" as synonymous with spontaneity and the act of creation. In Education and the Social Order Russell warns that: "The killing of spontaneity is especially disastrous in artistic directions. Children who are taught literature or painting or music to excess, or with a view to correctness rather than to self-expression, become progressively less interested in the aesthetic side of life."
In the "banking" concept of education that Paulo Freire is deeply critical of: "knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing...The teacher presents himself to his students as their necessary opposite; by considering their ignorance absolute, he -- justifies his own existence. The students, alienated like the slave in the Hegelian dialectic, accept their ignorance as justifying the teacher's existence?but, unlike the slave, they never discover that they educate the teacher." In a patriarchal, class society, education reproduces the Hegelian master-slave dialectic that is extended to justify or treat as normal all forms of oppression. The education that puts method above madness is the most dangerous kind of education and a precursor to what Adorno et al term as the "authoritarian personality."
We cannot dissociate a study of method without speaking about the role of prejudice in interpretation. As the authors in the "Foreword to Studies in Prejudice" point out: "Prejudice is one of the problems of our times for which everyone has a theory but no one an answer. Every man, in a sense, believes that he is his own social scientist, for social science is the stuff of everyday living." The "banking concept of education" through the use of authority-figures reinforces prejudice under the umbrella of "common sense." Where the premise will not change the method is an extension of what you already are certain of. Most of the time it is the premise that needs to be brought to book. In Prayers for Dark People by W. E. B. Du Bois, one particular prayer is interesting for the light it throws on the social reality of black people trapped in a system of segregation:
We pray, O Lord, tonight for the cause of education in this land. Open Thou the door of opportunity to little children of every race and condition and let them know the world they live in and its possibilities. Inspire those in authority to deal largely and abundantly with the public funds that support instruction. Teach parents to strive and sacrifice, that their children may not grow up in ignorance and sin because of darkness, and finally inspire in us some appreciation of the vast meaning and infinite good of a school like this. Amen.
There's a sense of immediacy to the prayer that needs to be appreciated because it comes as a voice of social exclusion. It's a prayer in response to a prejudice called racism. The experience of being a victim of racism is written into the prayer. The title of the book -- prayers -- but prayers for "Dark People" who are most in need of it in a racist order of things; methodologies collapse under the weight of experience. Buffy Sainte-Marie's song 'Soldier Blue' from the 1970 film with the same title begins with the lines: "I'll tell you a story, and it's a true one, and I'll tell it like you'll understand/ And I ain't gonna talk like some history man." The "history man" is perfect as far as the facts at fingertips and the methodology is concerned; what he does not know is the pain of dispossession; the language of the pain which is also the language in which the dispossessed communicate with one another; the humanity of the language, its hopes and its strategies to subvert power.
A method without madness is salt that has lost its saltiness. It's a world without strangers and there is no place for the imagination to exist. Says Blake: "The world of imagination is the world of eternity." Imagination is the stranger who disturbs the death-like calm of bourgeois society and its fragile institutions. She provokes you to think and feel. She forces you to confront with that part of you which is more you than you could possibly have imagined. In some sense that is the real you. Until that point you know yourself as the world knows you. The world of the stranger is the world of eternity. As Levinas tells us: "The Infinite orders to me the neighbor as a face, without being exposed to me, and does so the more imperiously that proximity narrows. The order has not been the cause of my response, nor even a question that would have preceded it in a dialogue. I find the order in my response itself, which, as a sign given to the neighbor, as a "here I am," brings me out of invisibility, out of the shadow in which my responsibility could have been evaded."
The neighbor brings me out of the invisibility of a "self" in which I'm always already locked. The love of a stranger, the responsibility toward a face that is registered in memory the way my "own" can never be, I'm ordered to come out of myself, my "response" is a sign of the Infinite, the eternal quality in "true goodness" Proust unforgettably describes in Swann's way: "whenever in the course of my life I have come across, in convents for instance, truly saintly embodiments of practical charity, they have generally had the cheerful, practical, brusque and unemotioned air of a busy surgeon, the sort of face in which one can discern no commiseration, no tenderness at the sight of suffering humanity, no fear of hurting it, the impassive, unsympathetic, sublime face of true goodness."
With the entry of the stranger you know the person you really are. Madness is the strangeness of the stranger. Education is how we relate to the stranger -- the person lying on the streets of the world, used, exploited and left with no choice but to resort to violence and extremism of the most inhuman kind. Joseph Ratzinger whom history will better remember as Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth movingly talks about the plight of the "man fallen among robbers". In a way it is a condemnation of ideologies such as globalization which are just euphemisms for robbery of the most disgraceful kind.
The topical relevance of the parable (of the Good Samaritan from the gospel of Saint Luke) is evident. When we transpose it into the dimensions of world society, we see how the peoples of Africa, lying robbed and plundered, matter to us. Then we see how deeply they are our neighbors; that our lifestyle, the history in which we are involved, has plundered them and continues to do so. This is true above all in the sense that we have wounded their souls. Instead of giving them God, the God who has come close to us in Christ, which would have integrated and brought to completion all that is precious and great in their own traditions, we have given them the cynicism of a world without God, in which all that counts is power and profit, a world that destroys moral standards so that corruption and unscrupulous will to power are taken for granted. And that applies not only to Africa...The victims of drugs, of human trafficking, of sex tourism, inwardly devastated people who sit empty in the midst of material abundance...Karl Marx painted a graphic picture of the 'alienation' of man; even though he did not arrive at the real essence of alienation, because he thought only in material terms, he did leave us with a vivid image of man fallen among robbers.
The salt of resistance is as important as power that has become tasteless. The victim who realizes she is an accomplice to her suffering by allowing it to happen is dangerous to a system that thrives on the indoctrination of the exploited. Meredith Gadsby begins her book Sucking Salt: Caribbean Women Writers, Migration, and Survival by defining what it means to "suck salt". "For my mother and my aunts, to "suck salt" is to survive on the bare minimum, when one has nothing but salt, sweat, and tears to feed oneself and one's children?no meat, no bread, no water, no food." This is not Winston Churchill in a speech before the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 declaring "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." In the same speech he talks about waging "war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime." Obviously this does not include the "lamentable catalogue of human crime" of the British Empire in the colonies. When the oppressor uses the language of the oppressed it is to reinforce a reactionary position. The rhetoric of salt is the rhetoric of the poor; it may give the impression of being subdued, but every word is carefully weighed and bears the strength of reality. The man who claims to have nothing to offer has no qualms about going to war. To the "suckers" of salt one day is barely different from another and one oppressor is fundamentally as same as the other. The memory of food can be the basis of identity. Alienation makes it difficult for memory to form association with fast food joints. The cultural dimension of food is based on labor. It is the time and effort that goes into the making of food that translates into memory as taste.
To interpret a social order is to examine the taste of a people. An idiomatic expression such as "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" is a euphemism for what means nothing in fact. The rhetoric of power does not need to be backed by reality. It just needs to constantly remind you that it is "power." Resistance needs the creativity of real life because it seeks to preserve the right to imagine. Gadsby further examines what "sucking salt" means as a research methodology.
I foreground the discussion of salt and "sucking salt" as a new conceptual environment for the evaluation of Caribbean women's writing. "Sucking salt" is a metaphor for hardship that implies mobilization against further suffering. To "suck salt" is to be in a situation of scarcity, when one has almost nothing to ensure survival. Literally, when one has no food, "sucking salt" encourages thirst, causing one to drink water, which makes the stomach full. "Sucking salt" allows one to survive and live to survive again. At the level of diaspora, the term connotes transcendence of adversity and creative resistance. "Sucking salt," indeed, is a metaphor for diaspora, particularly in relationship to the Middle Passage that links the history and culture of Africans in diaspora and the continent as well.
What is the methodology behind the truth of salt? What is the truth of salt? Salt is the other of the mad self. I could as well have been speaking about the madness of salt. The economist Jagdish Bhagwati in his book In Defense of Globalization makes a pretty elaborate methodically articulated defense of globalization. What particularly caught my interest is when he says, "The anti-capitalist sentiments are particularly virulent among the young who arrive at their social awakening on campuses in fields other than economics. English, comparative literature, and sociology are fertile breeding grounds." Statements like this are salt that has lost its saltiness. It gives academic justification to the "cynicism" of a world where there are no neighbors. It's a world that has declared a war on the stranger backed by an "unscrupulous will to power." Salt is the antidote to such cynicism.
 C.P.Cavafy, "Body, Remember...," The Collected Poems. trans. Evangelos Sachperoglou (Oxford: OUP, 2007), 107.
 Karl Marx, Dispatches for the New York Tribune (London: Penguin, 2007), 121.
 James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1985), xvi.
 Leonardo Da Vinci, Notebooks. ed. Thereza Wells (Oxford: OUP, 2008), 6.
 The Marx-Engels Reader. ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York & London: Norton, 1978), 597.
 Gandhi. Dir. Richard Attenborough. Perf. Ben Kingsley. Columbia Pictures, 1982. Film.
 Amarcord. Dir. Federico Fellini. New World Pictures, 1973. Film.
 Decolonization: Perspectives from now and then. ed. Prasenjit Duara (London & New York: Routledge, 2004), 74.
 Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas Prince of Abbisinia (Oxford: OUP, 2009), 32.
 Terence E. Fretheim, "Numbers," The Oxford Bible Commentary. eds. John Barton and John Muddiman (Oxford: OUP, 2007), 123.
 Lord Macaulay, "Minute dated 2nd February 1835." http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txt_minute_education_1835.html
 Bertolt Brecht, Poems (PoemHunter.com -- The World's Poetry Archive), 4.
 "Gandhi on Western Civilization." http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/will/CPP/gandhi.html
 W. B. Yeats, "After Long Silence." http://plagiarist.com/poetry/3332/
 Michael Jordan, Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses (New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2004), 100.
 Ibid, 130.
 Isaac Newton, Philosophical Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 127.
 Toyin Falola, A Mouth Sweeter than Salt -- An African Memoir (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2004), 64-65.
 Plato, Phaedrus. trans. Robin Waterfield (Oxford: OUP, 2002), 25.
 Plato. Complete Works. ed. John. M. Cooper (Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett, 1997), 168.
 Ibid, 99.
 James Boswell, Life of Johnson (London: Penguin Books, 2008), 769.
 Tijan M. Sallah, "Woman," Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry. ed. Frank M. Chipasula (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press, 2009), 237.
 Hattaway, 49.
 Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo. trans. J. Strachey. (London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2004), 21.
 Steve Jones, Antonio Gramsci (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), 24.
 "Karl Marx's Funeral." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/death/dersoz1.htm
 Jean-Paul Sartre, Colonialism and Neocolonialism (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 92.
 Ibid, xxiii.
 Ibid, xxiii.
 Ibid, 110-111.
 Newton, 127.
 Norman O. Brown, Life against Death -- The psychoanalytical meaning of history (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1989), 16.
 Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Final Problem." http://sherlock-holmes.classic-literature.co.uk/the-final-problem/
 JS Mill, Utilitarianism and On Liberty (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), 194.
 Sigmund Freud, "Dostoevsky and Parricide," Complete Works (Ivan Smith 2000, 2007, 2010. All Rights Reserved), 4553 http://www.kickasstorrents.com/the-complete-works-of-sigmund-freud-pdf-ebook-t4114994.html
 Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way. trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/proust/marcel/p96g/chapter1.html
 Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination -- Essays on Literature and Society (New York: The Viking Press, 1950), 165.
 The Guermantes Way.
 Dino Franco Felluga, The Perversity of Poetry -- Romantic ideology and the Popular Male Poet of Genius (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 14.
 Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act II, Scene I). http://shakespeare.mit.edu/romeo_juliet/full.html
 Felluga, 15.
 Ibid, 24.
 The portable Nietzsche. ed. and trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York and London: Penguin, 1988), 74.
 Felluga, 20.
 Trilling, 181.
 Jacques Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols trans. Jack Sage. (London: Routledge, 2001), 263.
 Emmanuel Levinas. Time and the Other (Pittsburgh: Duquesne Press, 1982), 91.
 The Silences of the Palace. Dir. Moufida Tlatli. Perf. Amel Hedhili, Hend Sabri, Najia Ouerghi, Kamel Fazaa, Fatima Ben Saïdane, Kamal Twatti. Amorces Diffusion Capitol Entertainment, 1994. Film.
 Time and the Other, 91.
 Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks. eds. and trans. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. (New York: International Publishers, 1992), 330.
 Rumi -- In the arms of the beloved. trans. Jonathan Star (New York: Penguin, 1997), 27.
 Ibid, 72.
 Ibid, 110.
 Phaedrus, 27.
 William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 17," http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-sonnet-17.htm
 Phaedrus, 74.
 William Blake, Collected Poems (London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 82.
 Bertrand Russell, Education and the Social Order (London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2010), 18.
 Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: continuum, 2005), 72.
 Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D. J., & Sanford, R. N. (1950). The authoritarian personality. Studies in Prejudice Series, Volume 1. http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=6490
 W.E.B. Dubois, Prayers for Dark People (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980), 37.
 Soldier Blue. Dir. Ralph Nelson. Perf. Candice Bergen. AVCO Embassy Pictures, 1970. Film.
 Blake, 231.
 Emmanuel Levinas. Otherwise than being or Beyond essence. trans. Alphonso Lingis, (The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994), 150.
 Marcel Proust, Swann's Way. trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/proust/marcel/p96s/
 Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Doubleday Religion, 2007), 198.
 Meredith M. Gadsby, Sucking salt -- Caribbean women writers, Migration and Survival. (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006), 2.
 Winston Churchill, "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat," May 13, 1940. First Speech as Prime Minister to House of Commons. Selected Speeches of Winston Churchill. http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill
 Gadsby, 174.
 Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization (New York: OUP, 2004), 15.
Prakash Kona is an Indian novelist, essayist, poet and theorist. He lives in Hyderdad, India where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU). He is the author of Nunc Stans [Creative Non-fiction: 2009, Crossing Chaos enigmatic ink, Ontario, Canada], Pearls of an Unstrung Necklace [Fiction: 2005, Fugue State Press, New York], Streets that Smell of Dying Roses [Experimental Fiction: 2003, Fugue State Press, New York]. His areas of interest include: Marxism with special emphasis on Gramsci and Rosa Luxemburg, history of Anarchism, Avant-garde poetry, Third World Resistance Writing, Autobiography as a form of fiction, Peasant cultures, Anti-state politics, Debates on violence and extremism, Eastern and Western Philosophy, Feminist theory especially French and American, Working-class and marginalized subcultures, Revolutionary art forms, and Mass-centered movements.
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