Methods of Literary Criticism

I have discovered some tools for the methodology of literary criticism. They are:
a) Philosophical Etymology
b) Cultural Anatomy
c) Psychological Pharmacology
d) Ontological Nebula

 
Philosophical Etymology
What is philosophical Etymology? Philosophical etymology is a cross examination of literary and cultural meanings in the light of Philosophy. It seeks to give newer shades of meaning to older thoughts. Let’s look at some examples. The school of structuralism coined that all language is made up of signs. A sign consists of the signifier and the signified. The signifier is a visual tangible thing and the signified is an idea. Let’s use an example: I blossomed in her garden. Here blossomed is figurative and an idea and hence it is the signified. Garden forms the signifier.

 
Postmodern Philosopher Derrida developed the idea of Binary Divide. A Binary Divide is a text that privileges some and marginalizes others. Let’s look at an example. It is said in an advert: Wanted only Native Speakers to Teach English. This narrative privileges Native Speakers over English spoken by the colonized people. Using the Binary Divide we can deconstruct texts.

 
From Derrida I have developed an idea called Binary Fusion. Binary fusion is a text that promotes equality. Let’s look at an advert. We do not discriminate people on the basis of gender, color or orientation. This text contains a Binary Fusion. Let’s look at another example. Black Culture, Black Gospel, Jazz and Blues are universally epitomized binary fusions of culture. A literary interpreter can analyze texts and bring out notions of marginalization and privilege and also write a narrative of Binary Fusion.

 
Then comes Kristeva’s texts of the semiotic and the symbolic. A semiotic text omits grammar and punctuation. Such a kind of text can be found in streams of consciousness narratives, in drama, film and music. A symbolic text on the other hand adheres to the strict conventions of language. Doing a literary analysis we can classify texts into semiotic and symbolic elements.

 
Form a Marxian point of view we can analyze texts by looking at class values like the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Do texts privilege the Blue Blood or monitor the interests of the working class. Does the text promote the interests of the Capitalist society? What is the dialectic materialism embedded in the text. This refers to political and historical problems created by Social tremors. The narrator can find out how various social institutions have contributed to the writing of literature.

 
Philosophical Etymology also takes a look at Feminist Theology. Do social, cultural, political and historical institutions promote gender equality and support Feminism. How are the roles of a working mother enacted in s society? Does the intrusion of masculinity affect the reading of texts? To what levels of subversion are meanings of the feminine in a text?

 
Psychological Pharmacology
Psychological Pharmacology looks at the theories of Freud, Lacan and Jung. From Freud we have the three states: ID (passion and the libido), Ego (language and culture assimilated from parents) and Super Ego (the laws of the society). While doing textual interpretation the author can find out how these mechanisms are working in a text. Texts can also be phallic and vaginal that is texts promoting the language of the feminine and the masculine. Is the language of the text phallic or vaginal?
Next I would like to take the theories of Lacan into consideration. Prominent are the Mirror Stage and the Gaze. The Mirror stage consists of the child’s entry into Language. Mirror stage can be a psychoanalytic tool to gauge level of subversion in a text. It’s an analysis of psychological symptoms in a work of literature. Gaze for Lacan has sexual connotations. What kind of gaze is present in a text? Gazes can be feminine, masculine and gay.
Next I would like to take Jung’s theories into account. Jung has classified the psyche into archetypes (personality types). Some archetypes are the Wizard, the Witch, the lover and many more. We can analyze how and why and for what these archetypes are created.

 
Ontological Nebula
Ontology a study of being comes from Existential Philosophy. Here I take the traditional ontology and the ontology created by me into consideration. Traditional Ontology, the one espoused by Sartre and Camus is destructive as it condemns life to be absurd and chaotic. Constructive Ontology created by me states that meaning of being lies in Valueblization (from Value and Realization). We can analyze texts and examine whether texts are favoring destructive ontology or constructive ontology.


Cultural Anatomy

What Cultural Functions does a text serve? For who is the narrative intended? Which cultural institutions are prominent? Is there a culture clash or a culture divide?

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Ontological Meanings

Ontology: the study of being has the following categories of Truth. They are Reason, Passion, Emotion and Belief.

How can reason be a category of truth? Reason is the application of the mind to an experience of knowing. In other words it contains what is fathomable to the mind. All of scientific laws, mathematical axioms, and literary theories form the content of reason. Philosophers of the past have bifurcated reason into deductive (reasoning from the general to the particular [example: All men are mortal: Socrates is a Man and there Socrates is mortal]) and inductive truths (reasoning the particular to the general (Sugar dissolves in water). The form of the law exists eternally and belongs to the sensate world and the meaning of the law belongs to sensible world. I have introduced a new term to merge the deductive and the inductive and it is called as the Coigna

Passion is a state of the mind where the body’s needs are gratified. It can also be a figurative one Passion is catharsis for the soul.

Emotion is also another state of knowing. Emotion is a way on which we share the world through our inner experience. Through emotion—we experience a catharsis. Emotion is a state of being, valuable state for the purpose of knowing.

Belief is another state of knowing. Belief belongs to the sensible world and the transcendental world. We know Christ as messiah as a historic figure and that’s a sensible world of belief. Knowing him as God the creator is transcendental belief.

April 18th 2019

April 18, 2019
Morning roared to glory—a fiesta for the senses—grass lay like white pearls—mushrooms chirped— I thank God Jehovah for making my life beautiful.

I was able to complete the Autobiography My Story written by Kamala Das. I also finished another novel: The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. I have lovely little library with a collection of Books, ranging from Fiction, Philosophy and poetry. Since the school is closed I have no work to do. I am able to idle around like a Sultan.

What is there to write? I wonder at the very statement! How does writing occur? Let’s look at writing from a Freudian point of view. A writer has to balance the ID with Ego and the Super Ego. The ID (the body’s desires) is sensual and erotic and the ego (culture and language assimilated) and the Superego (laws of the society) are to be in balance. In short the writer is an acrobat, tight-rope-walking on these three poles. At an earlier point of time my world view was different. I maintained the view: glorify the ID, deify the ego and subvert the super ego. If one goes according to that worldview there would be chaos and anarchy. Such an anarchic worldview was the one propounded by the existential Philosophers like Sartre and Camus. I have converted their existential nihilism into existential positivism. Let me explain it. An existential positivist has a purpose in being and therefore s/he is a purposist (purpose and ism). Life for Purposist lies in Valueablization (value and realization). Existential positivism is a new post-post modern philosophy with its involvement as constructive positivism. Life for the purposist is no longer the Sisyphus who rolls a boulder uphill only to find that the Gods have rolled it down. Life is no drudgery. Existential positivism belongs to the Philosophy of Value Epistemology. Another theme for Valublelization is Globalization. Globalization has so far taken place in the economic and cultural spheres. The ultimate form of Globalization should be the spread of peace, the abolition of weapons, absence of war and all nations being engaged dialogic compassion. Such a kind of globalization can be called Christablization (Christ and abilization). The Christian ethic of don’t beggar your neighbor but enrich him or her should become a reality. Post Post modernism from an ontological point of view lies in the realm of Value epistemology.

I came across a verse in the Gospel of John: “you can live off his generosity—he will pour a gift, a gift and a gift”. Lord Jehovah Jesus, my finances are running low. Grab a grain full of granary and replenish my purse and my bank account.

Evening passed by with the clouds forming a grey impressionistic canvas. Thunder grumbled and I am waiting for rain to occur.

I was thinking about the Holy Communion. Christ called his disciples and took some bread and broke it and said to them: ‘this is my body so eat it’. He took some wine and said to them: ‘this is my blood and drink it.’ I am wondering if the Holy Communion should be done by the clergy. Should it! My answer is no. Every day I take some bread and water and offer it as libation to Christ the savior.

It was cloudy for a long time. It has started raining now. How beautiful are the wet showers. Rain is pouring gently on the earth. Are they the tears of the sky? Is the sky weeping in joy? If you are tuned to nature you get rid of worries and sorrows of this world. Nature is God’s Gift. The robes of nature are more beautiful than Solomon’s robes.

According to Semitic religions like Judaism and Islam it is customary for males to get circumcised. One Muslim friend of mine told me to get circumcised. I did it for his satisfaction. Am I better off or worse? I don’t know. It was the Apostle Paul who said that the gentiles need not be circumcised.

Elections are round the corner. There are three major parties contesting elections. They are left, the Congress and the far right. The far right want to make India into religious country. The left party is a party with fallen ideals and who won’t get a majority. Which party should a secular person vote for? We should vote for a party promoting liberal, secular ideals.

Analysis of Heidegger’s Philosophy

Heidegger defines being is Dasien or standing out. Heidegger goes on to question the meaning of being in an incoherent way. The meaning of being lies in three states—catharsis, ecstasy and angst. These are primarily ego states and the meaning of being is related to processual ontology. Meaning of being is always in the state of being processed.

Heidegger connects being to time. How does time be a source of generic references? The historicity of being lies in its connectedness with temporality. All sensory phenomenon enter the realm of consciousness through time. The meaning of being, its historicity is revealed in the structure of time.

Next Heidegger makes an explication of truth. He tries to paint a picture of truth and posit it with its relationship to the meaning of being. I would like to propose a twofold dictum for truth. Truth consists of facts and emotions. Facts can be scientific, fictional, legal or medicinal, linguistic or mathematical. Emotions are bottled up in the three ego states of the mind—catharsis, angst and ecstasy. Truth is temporal and the meaning of truth changes over time.

Heidegger does not formulate and adequate answer to the meaning of metaphysics. How does being occupy a transcendent structure? The meaning of being in processed in three ego states—Catharsis, angst and ecstasy. These states of the mind become conceptual as transcendental ontology.

Next Heidegger proceeds to define art. First of all art is processual ontology. The art of being has three ego states—angst, catharsis and ecstasy. Being exists as an epic in these three states. Next definition of art lies in creation. Art can be painting, music or literature. The creator is God when she or he creates a work of art. The artist while creating attains the structure of transcendental ontology. Next definition of art lies in cognition and interpretation. When we cognize with our consciousness we are creating a structure of art. Similarly art awakens when we are in the process of interpretation.

Next I would like to interpret Heidegger’s concept of Humanism. Humanism as a philosophy is defined as a concern for the human being. For me, as a philosophy, I would like to envision humanism as dialectical humanism. In the economy of wants and needs, labor is also a product and the product of labor lies in valuablelization. Dialectical humanism proposes a society to be established on the basis of justice and peace. There are no borders as nations and the world is one as a democracy. Dialectical humanism paves the way for the establishment of a single monetary currency and one world government.

Philosophies which have fascinated me

I have been an avid reader of Philosophy and Literary theory. Here I would like to explicate some philosophies which have fascinated me.

I am fond of Plato especially his theory of forms. There is a dark cave and in it lot of people and they can see light emanating from a wall obstructing the cave. What Plato meant was there was an ideal world apart from the physical world.

Next is the Philosopher Hegel who said there is a thesis, synthesis and antithesis. Let’s use an example to illustrate his idea. The end of World War I brought the harsh treaty of Versailles on Germany a thesis and this gave rise to the rise of Nazi rule in Germany an antithesis and brought forth the persecution of Jews synthesis.

Next I would like to take up the Philosophy of Marx. Marxian theory follows upon the modality of dialectical materialism. Everything starts from production and in a society there is the proletariat or the working class who form the base of the society and then there is the bourgeoisie the capitalists and the various ideological apparatuses like police, govt., law media etc. Workers are exploited class and one day by revolution they will seize the reins of power and establish a got based on equality and justice. However Marxism is a failed theory.

Next I would like to meander into literary theory and I would like to take up the Philosopher Derrida and his idea of deconstruction. Texts privilege some and marginalize others. Through a process of deconstructive reading we attain an interpretative mode of how privilege and marginalization occur.

Next I would like to take plunge into existentialism and the ideas of John Paul Sartre. Sartre introduces the concept of angst and he also introduces a notion of being which occurs in three processes, being in itself, being for itself and being for others. All this he assimilates as ego states. Being for in itself is a state of primary consciousness. Being for itself is an experiential context of being where the being traverses between angst, ecstasy and catharsis. Being for others is an eleemosynary state of being where the being is being empathetic.

Next I would like to explain Julia Kristeva’s semiotic and the symbolic realm. The semiotic realm is a structure of language where there is absence of grammar and punctuation. The semiotic realm occurs in streams of consciousness narratives, in music and dance. The symbolic realm is a structure where texts contain a coherent ideological structure of language. Medicinal and legal texts are symbolic structures. Literary texts contain both semiotic and symbolic realms.

Next I would like to explain the thought of the structuralists. Structuralism divides the language into signs. A sign is made up of the signifier and the signified. The signifier is a visual tangible thing belonging to the realm of the senses. The signified is an idea. For example if I say Rose is Passion: Rose is the signifier and passion the signified.

Next I would like to make intrusions into Freudian theory. Freudian theory proposes the ID the Ego and the Super Ego. The ID is the primary seat of passion, the Ego the language and culture that is assimilated and the Super Ego the laws of the society. An individual has to do a tight-rope-walking between these three states to hold life in equilibrium. Next I would like to explain the Oedipus complex where a child develops a love towards the mother and hatred and desire to kill the father. Freud is mistaken in his view and it is only at the onset of puberty that sexuality awakens. Emotional and empathetic bonding will make childhood into a wholesome being.

Next I would like to take up the Lacanian gaze and the mirror stage. The mirror stage is a stage of childhood where the child attains the maturity of gazing upon oneself as a mirror. Here language enters into the realm of consciousness of the child and world of the child traverses from plenitude to lack. The mirror stage has been used in film studies and critical theory. Next I would like to introduce the concept of the gaze. The gaze has strong sexual connotations. Feminists have developed the concept feminine gaze. And there in today’s word there exists lesbian and gay gaze.

I would like to take up some ideas of the Philosopher Camus. Camus says that we should authenticate our existence and we should avoid suicide. For Camus life is meaningless and absurd. In his book the myth of the Sisyphus, man is condemned to roll a boulder uphill only to find that it is pushed down by the Gods and he has to roll it up all the away. Camus is famous for atheistic nihilism.

Next I would like to explain Nietzsche’s theory of ART. For Nietzsche art was the combination of the Dionysian and the Apollonian. The Dionysian includes rhythm and beat and the apollonian includes melody and harmony. When the Dionysian and the Apollonian elements merge there occurs art. The Dionysian element stands for altered states and ecstasy and Apollonian element stands for catharsis and angst.

It was the Philosopher Aristotle who introduced the idea of Catharsis by which he meant the purification of the soul while watching tragedy. All art is made up of Catharsis, Angst and Ecstasy. Life is a celebration of these three states of being.

PresenceUation

PresenceUation is a new word I coined from presence and affirmation and it belongs to the realm of processual (being is a part of being processed) ontology (being). Presenceuation or Presensuality is another emotion apart from catharsis, angstuality and ecstasy which is boasted loud by existential philosophers. It is a joy which is experienced when one in Christ, all consuming joy and peace which the world can’t give. May all of you be filled with Presenceuation this Christmas and New Year 2019.

Reading Albert Camus’ Rebel from Christian Apologetics

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ravi

(This article is dedicated to the famous and dear Christian Apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias )

What is a Rebel? Camus contradicts by saying that a rebel is a person who affirms and denies existence. Camus is being vague when he says what is meant to be a rebel? What can we rebel? Why should we rebel? Is it God—the Society—other people?

Again Camus says that rebellion is an assertion of the Ego. Camus forgets that there is the Freudian ID, Ego and Super Ego. ID is the sea of passion what Freud incarnated as the Libido. Ego is the values and culture accumulated from the family and society. Super Ego is the law of the society. I raise my fist at Freud, a left hook for not integrating these states. From Freudian perspective we have to tight-rope-walk on these states to hold it in a balance. Viewed from a Christian perspective we have a consciousness known as CHRISTANONSCIOUNESS in which the balance is kept intact. I would dare to ask Freud the Question did Christ want to separate these states? In Christanonsciousness we are whole beings in Christ.

Camus postulates that man’s solidarity is found in rebellion. What is solidarity? It is the feeling of human oneness and the showing of empathy. How can solidarity be birthed out of rebellion. The Indian freedom struggle birthed out non violence against British imperialism by Mahatma Gandhi was a solidarity revolution. Solidarity bears allegiance to the Christian maxim: Love: your enemy. If your enemy thrashes you on the right cheek, show him also your left one.

Camus reiterates the idea of the Absurd in Rebel. Absurdism derived from nihilism points out that life has no meaning and it is chaotically absurd. Absurdism is self-negating and defeats the very purpose of life. We are living in reality that is being-processed. And that is processual ontology. Processual ontology posits existence to be angstual, cathartic and ecstacyual.
Camus again explains metaphysical rebellion which he defines as a rebellion against God and an utter blasphemy. To be pejoratively speaking, does Camus want whore in front of a Christian altar? From an apologetic viewpoint, Christ as God the Father’s Son came to us as our own being and we did not have to go to him. Man is an emotional being and we simply cannot do away with metaphysics. We can’t calculate the meaning of life in equations. What about the questions of ethics? Ethics and values of the society lie in the metaphysical realm. How can we explain murder, incest, rape and pedophilia? Camus fails to explain how we get our inner-conscience? During the beginning of creation we were made whole and sin has fragmented into the various Freudian psychological states.
Camus is overwhelmingly sympathetic to Sade. Talking from a moral perspective, can Sadism be justified? Is it hunky dory to commit rape, murder, suicide, incest and pedophilia? Even Freud has said that committing these acts won’t lead to the growth of civilization. If we follow Sade’s ingenuous ideas, it will lead to the disintegration of society, and anarchy.

Again Camus goes on to negate Salvation. Sartre the great nihilist and existentialist said that man is condemned to be free. Christ on the other hand said that there is only freedom in me. Both types of freedoms are paradoxical. Christian freedom is a state where your are neither free nor bound. You are in a state of Freeatharsis, coined from freedom and catharsis. Camus philosophy is one of rejectionism. Can an anarchic state where no morals exist be conceived? Is the philosophy each according to his will and each according to his ability be justified? As a Christian apologist, I would like to say we are free to accept Christ and his blood shed on the cross. The human heart has a peculiar ideological symptom and that is the acceptance of Christ. Being in Christ is joy. Death is only physical as far as the body is concerned. The soul and spirit are anchored to Christ. A being’s monumental realization of eternity and eternal life comes with Christ. Let’s look at Christ’s attitude to the prostitute Mary Magdalene. Christ said: ‘sin no more’. ‘Who ever in this crowd has no blemish raise a stone against her’? Christ acted out creative-empathy.
I would like to explain the contours of Camus nihilism. a) It involves the rejection of God and Metaphysics. b) It idealizes anarchy. Being in Christ gives a value, purpose and meaning to life. A Civil society does not exist in anarchy. c) It involves a rebellion with the self. I would like to define the self as an organic—automation, with a free will to choose Christ and be a whole person. The self in this world owing to Adamite sin has to maneuver between ecstasy and angstuality.

Again Camus expostulates Rousseau’s Social Contract. The social contract is a legitimate document for establishing a democratic society. Can the Social Contract be borne out on Nihilism? Why does Camus a self proclaimed Nihilist and Anarchist want to emphasize the Social Contract? Isn’t Camus subversively justifying the need for values in Society? Christian Freedom implies a justice based on responsibility.

I would like to develop an antonym for nihilism and that is purposuality (purpose and reality). A purposist exists in realization of life or in a state of valuableization (valuable and realization). Life is valuablelization derived from value and jubilation.