Contextualizing Irony

In this essay, I would like to contextualize irony into various themes.
First of all I would like to trace the origins and etymology of irony. Irony originated in the Greek Language from Eiron the Greek underdog who outwitted his strong opponent. From Greek Irony came into Latin Ironia meaning dissimulation or feigned ignorance. From Latin irony became adapted in the English Language in the 16th century.

What are the types of irony? The types of irony are verbal irony (what is different from what is being said). An example is: how clean is the room meaning the room is very dirty. Then there comes dramatic irony, meaning, the audience knows more than the actors. For example, in the play Oedipus Rex, Rex does not know that he has married his mother and killed his father. Then again comes cosmic irony where Gods and Goddesses play with the fate of the humans in an undermining way. Then comes historical irony where the outcome is different from expectations. For example no one anticipated that the rise of Hitler would lead to the persecution of Jews. Then there is Socratic irony or pretended irony and it consists of posing rhetorical questions. Examples are: what is goodness? What is virtue? What is the soul and so on?

Now I would like to contextualize irony and examine it through the lens of literature, culture and philosophy.

What is irony’s place in Literature? Irony’s place in literature is highly possible as a conjecture. The place of irony in literature has been the decadence of religion and the growth of science and technology. Greek religion and culture portrayed Gods and Goddesses as being human and subject to fate and being far from perfect. It’s these legends through which the literature of irony has got root. Irony also grew up with existential philosophy which examines the quest for seeking the problems of the mind and body. The philosophy of nihilism was entirely an incubation of irony. Thus as Camus says we have to authenticate our existence to live a free life. What is the postmodern concept of irony? In postmodernism irony is a playfield of emotions. Woe, anxiety, angst, pessimism all are ingredients of human personality. Irony becomes an architect for the disintegration of personality.

What is irony’s place in culture? Irony occupies a primordial space in the literature of culture. Irony haunts the persona as being repeatedly human. The development of science and technology has changed the concept of human worth and dignity. The joy of life— the romanticization of life become imprisoned in vestiges of a culture wanting to prey on humans. Irony is marked by the troubled other, the troubled self, phobia and decadence. Irony began to question what is valued in culture.

What is irony’s worth in Philosophy? Irony became a weighing balance to weigh the worth of existence and essence. The questions of being and becoming became conjectural possibilities. Ambitious and lofty is irony’s plank on the knowledge of philosophy.

Tradition and Change in Literature

Literature existed somewhere in the beginning of civilization. The oldest known texts are the Vedas known as hymns for God. The consisted of reciting mantras and offering fire sacrifice to appease the Gods. Most of these texts contain poetic language. One of the texts deals with sorcery and black magic and is called the Atharva Veda. The texts perpetrated the heinous caste system according to which Brahmans were considered to be superior to all other castes. The Vedas assumed that Gods have to be placated to makes humans live-able on earth.

There were also other texts from India mainly the Ramayana and the Mahabartha: the twin epics which consist of fables relating to war between the forces of good and evil, where the forces of good triumph. Then there is also the Bhagvat Geeta, a text of moral scripture. The text speaks about man’s origin and man’s purpose in life. The texts emulate man to tide over the cycle of birth and rebirth and merge oneself to the eternal Brahman (God).

Then the most important text of literature, an all encompassing one is the sacred one, the Bible. The Bible is historical, literary, poetic and scriptural and also eschatological. Historically it represents the struggle of the Jews between exodus and Diaspora. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are noteworthy. The Jews are a nation which struggled a lot for existence and they needed supernatural force for appeasement and comfort. There are many books in the Bible which are poetic and literary. The Song of Songs celebrates the love between the husband and wife. The proverbs are instructional literature and form a collection of wisdom books. The Gospels are richly clad the robe of man’s relationship with God and the perfect way to be happy in Godliness and happiness. The Sermon on the Mount is a work of poetic prose. Notable is the verse: Blessed are the Meek: for they will inherit the earth. The proverbs are a text of scriptural wisdom and address the issue of how to lead a good life. Christian eschatology relates to death and final judgment and forms a part of apocalyptic literature.

Next I would like to comment on the Elizabethan school of literature of which Shakespeare is a giant. Most of Shakespearian dramas are written about courtly life, intrigues, political turmoil, and the establishment of justice on the earth. The dramas provoke the human mind and to engage the same in a state of catharsis.

The medieval period is also significant in the work of Cervantes: Don Quixote. Don Quixote was in medieval times a lampoon on courtly traditions. How far is her relevant now? In the period of postmodernism, he rated as tragic hero who made the soul of life a rich trigger of passion

Next comes the tradition of the Realist Novel. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are its finest exponents. Man began to be portrayed with the essence of humanism. The essence of the soul was to be not perfection but being fallible. The realist tradition paid a rich homage to the physical surroundings. The characters were put in the furnace of being smelted with a soul.

Next type of fiction that emerged was the psychological novel. This type of fiction was influenced with the psychology of Freud and Jung. The minds became an array of Jungian archetypes. The novelist experimented with the Freudian Oedipus complex and the Electra complex. The vices and virtuosity were balanced on balancing pan.

The novel which emerged during the war period was the surrealist novel. A surrealist novel took shape as a rebellion from established forms of fiction writing. Surrealism is juxtaposition between fantasy and reality. Art became escapism and forged identities which rebel with human consciousness.

The contemporary novel is based on a philosophy of Magic Realism where fictional elements are real and absurdly phantasmagorical. The postmodern novel is also characteristic of extreme irony, a manifestation of consciousness as streams of consciousness, the unreliable narrator, lampooning and pastiche. There is a tendency to paint words and plentiful play with figures of speech.

Looking at Foucault through Apologetics

foucault,

Foucault is the most widely read Philosopher belonging to the school of post structuralism. Notorious is his path breaking views known for his inter-disciplinary approach. Sad to say fate got hold of him lock stock and barrel and he became an innocent victim of the dreaded aids.
Here I would like to analyze the thoughts of Foucault from an apologetic point of view.

Foucault makes the assertion that the study of truth is inseparable from History. Let’s look at the statement from a Christian ontological point of view. Jesus is the most famous historical personality known in civilization for his ideologies of love, peace, tolerance and compassion. Jesus as a historical personality forms a realist paradigm of being a referential historical model. His ideology has been abundantly revealed in the gospels. However Christianity goes afar from Historical validation when we come across the divine nature of Christ. The divine nature of Christ is an inseparable mystery. The Philosophy of Christ is enmeshed in CHRISTABILIZATION, a new way of looking at Globalization. So far Globalization has a historicity of being that of economy driven countries. Globalization viewed as CHRISTABILIZATION (Christ and Able) is compassionate theology. There is a dialogic and creative intercourse between nations, a better love of the neighbor, a Greenomics (Green and Economics) for a compassionate and caring environment. The humanity of Christ merges with the divinity and that makes poignant part of History.

The next Foucault perspective calls into an issue the binary divide of madness and sanity. Foucault described madness as alienation produced by the capitalist society. Sanity (reason) is privileged over madness (unreason). Let’s view the life of Christ and his way of looking at madness. Christian approach to madness was one of compassion. It is borne out of the theology of love. When the madman at Gadarene encountered Christ: the legion in him cried out: Son of God why have you come before the appointed time? Jesus admonished the demons and they entered a herd of swine which rushed headlong and plunged into the sea. I would like to ask Foucault whether Madness is a psychiatric symptom. A Christian view holds that madness is cause by malignant demons. A medicinal cure is only partial. A cure of madness made through Christian prayer can be total in healing madness. Asylums now like regimented Prisons should become reservoirs of love and compassion.

Foucault again expounds a compassionate theology in Discipline and Punish wanting prisons to change to institutions of love and tolerance. Foucault criticizes Prisons which renege prisoners into recidivism. Prisoners can be made to do Socially Productive Work and also get their jail spans reduced.
Foucault makes a discourse on knowledge and power. In a postmodern society knowledge is the key to power. Power is both an institution and a concept. As an institution it lies with the government, the police and the big Moguls of industry. As a concept it lies with thinkers and scientists. Power has to become an organism for benefiting all citizens. With increasing surveillance made by the employers on the employees we find a democracy being infiltrated with the pandemic of suspicion.

Foucault’s view on Sexuality is rather idiosyncratic. Foucault claims that we are sexually repressed. This can be called the Foucault complex. Sex is a natural instinct of the body hence it is a valuable artifact. Sex lies beyond the oedipal complex. All come to a knowing of sexuality at puberty. I think that Foucault was confused about his own homosexuality. What does the Bible say about it? ‘They gave over to their lusts: men lying with men and women with women: God gave them over to their reprobate ways.’ Biblically speaking homosexuality is a sin. But again God is compassionate and he is there to forgive and all we need to do is to repent.

Foucault deals with the epistemic rupture that occurred in the 20th century. The major shifts in epistemology were the Darwinian Evolution, the mechanization of medicine, the Big Bang and changes in the structure of language. Does the development of knowledge change our worldviews on Christ? No, not at all! The historicity of Christ is epistemology and the divinity of Christ is biblical.
Foucault in dealing with language develops a fourfold explication of a statement. The statement is Philosophical (Socrates said Know thy self), cultural (Palestine is a hot volcano), and linguistic (all language is made up of signs).

Philosophical Fiction

Philosophical Fiction
I have started a new genre of writing called as Philosophical Fiction. Philosophical Fiction represents the savory Biryani (rice mixed with meat and vegetables. Philosophical Fiction aims to created an art-novel with dissemination of ideas. In one sense, it is a written painting with the splurge of colors that a encompassed by a maverick novelist it. Tropes in the novel bear a highest degree of art. Some tropes used are metaphors, similes, metonyms, synecdoche, oxymoron, zeugma, rhetorical question and many others forms. Some examples are: Picasso howls on a Cubist canvas. Beethoven melodies electric sandwiches. Beauty thy figure is a trope. The students filtered out of the classroom in hullaballoo. Marx’s religion is dead. The sea is tranquil and violent. Pearls twinkled in the sky. Both James and his religion died. The warlock’s earrings twinkled like a bell. Oh Democracy: what crimes are committed in thy name. Shame is fractured in a skin that’s repentant.

Again Philosophical Fiction distills ideas. Here I am starting from the Existential Philosophy of atheistic nihilism. For them life has no meaning and living is a chaotic absurdity. I am creating in my fiction a philosophy called as value ontology. I affirm that life has a meaning and purpose and we are living and leading our lives as purposists with a philosophy of Valeuablization. I shift my ontological perspectives to a constructivism. I adhere to the view of life being preciousness.

Again Philosophical encompasses character sketches. Character sketches are resonances of the soul. Yes, Characters indulge in the libidinal beauty of the soul. Characters leave ashes of existential fetishes. Characters are liberated narcissists. In Philosophical fiction character’s inner consciousness is given more importance and purpose. Characters dance in the eclecticism of the pen. Little value is given to physical looks.

Plot in fiction belongs to the old genre of fiction the who -done -it novels. There are only two plots in fiction, one a narrative plot and the other a symbolic plot. In a narrative plot the reader knows what is happening but the characters don’t. In a symbolic plot, the readers are kept in the dark and learn to identify the plot in the end

The narrative device which is popular in Philosophical Fiction is the streams of consciousness dialogue. Everyday incidents and trivialities are narrated with the style of epiphany. Here is an example: Oh Psyche—your wings are in celestial rhythm—how you dance, a soul come alive—you are a monument of beauty—you are a symphony come true—there now you perch on tree—what profound thoughts of beauty, you generate—you dance for the soul to delight—you offspring of poems—you music of prose—you are angel forming a pulchritude to the eyes—I am gazing at you— I am filled with joy and my passions running high.

Epistemic Fusion

Epistemic Fusion gave birth out of my own thinking and my interactions with 8th 9th and 10th graders. Their science and social science textbooks depict an onslaught of a mechanistic, scientific and rationalistic worldview. All these world views are presented as half baked formulas. I wondered how to maneuver and not ruffle the feathers of their already established Theo-centric worldview. I became a tight-rope-walker not disturbing their water of faith and let them adjust to both the worldviews. This I call as Epistemic Fusion a term I got from Foucault’s epistemic rupture.

Forms of Poetry

In this essay, I would like to focus on the various forms of poetry and not the types about which there is plenty of narratives.

The forms of poetry are nature poems, sentimental poems and cathartic poems.
What are nature poems? Poems describing the soul of nature are nature poems. The emotion of the poet penetrates into the inanimate world and re-echoes nature as a personification. Visual imagery of nature is transmuted as an echo of the poet’s soul. Objects are rendered with beatific nuances. Here are some examples. Stones breathe with a soul. The brook murmurs with passion. Flowers blossom in the nectar of verse. Mountains echo a music in pulchritude. Rivers wander into erotic depths. The sky resonates as a twinkling ornament. Butterflies dance as a musical symphony. Thunder roars with rage. Waves frolic in mirth. Oceans shudder in orgasmic ecstasy. The flower that blossomed is a delicate heart. Lightning streaks pink with desire. Ecstasy you are a gorgeous fruit. Wind has the soul of art. Mist is a mystic’s beard. Birds are gay when they are dancing with nature’s tunes. Trees radiate sparkling voices in splendor. Radiance you are a twinkling eye of the night. Green trees are a banquet of nature. Birds sing in good cheer. Honey is the nectar of music. The chorus of rain is heavenly music.

The next classes of poems are sentimental poems. They are resonances of the soul. They speak with beatitudes of the heart. Sentiments can be happy or sad. The wellness of my soul is like the waves the heart. She has a sculpture of adorable music. Soul bursts with joy. Her body is a fountain of music. I adorn her body with a fountain of poems. Desire is a gladiator of the body. Poems are spoken with love. It is angst that plagues the heart. Worms have eaten my body up. I am contaminated with poison of hate. Misery weaves an ornament of poison around me. Profligacy falls on me as a dirty object. Let the dead sleep serene. Death is a bitter pill to taste. Dawn is rising in my sentiment of faith. Hope, you are a rock that stands firm. My heart is a shady tree. Leaves, you are clothes of the body. The body is a fountain of joy. God gives pardon the humble soul. Please cling on to the harvest of achievement. Loose not hope as it comes to you like a running brook. Soul is thrilled with cosmic wonder. Pain, you are an enemy cast into hell. Angst, you are a diabolic fiend. Rage, plunder not the mind.

The Third Class of Poems are cathartic poems. They can be visceral or cerebral or both. Some examples are given here. Reading the Sermon on the Mount is a beatific experience. Watching Macbeth cleanses the soul. The mirror that lies in the heart is one of stained glass. Feelings rebound with hope. Faith is a sun that never sets. The mind thinks like a sword. I want to let my heart speak true words of hope. My heart is a mystic wandering in the ocean of faith. Cruel words are opium for the soul. I have found a ray of hope in God Christ. Passion should not abide in adultery and fornication. Satan is a thief of the heart. Envy you are a poisonous fang. I have a mind that does not fear death. God—Jesus, I am your adored devotee. Unleash your feelings with gusto. I would like to live an art of poetry. God will eradicate from my mind, ill will and sloth. God make me temperate in my desires.

Post Post Modern Ontology

I have created a new branch of knowledge called Value epistemology. Value epistemology has its mirroring in an ontology (Being) that is constructive. There are two types of ontology: one being constructive ontology and the other being destructive ontology.

Camus and Sartre are philosophers who have espoused a philosophy of ontological destruction. For them life is chaotic and absurd and having no meaning. They also celebrate a being going into a fallen pit of anarchy. Let’s take Camus Myth of the Sisyphus. In it a man is condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder all the way uphill only to find that it rolls down. The man is forced to repeat this meaningless chore again and again. I would like to ask Camus: is life absurd? Is it chaotic! Camus’ philosophy is an incoherent one. If we follow Camus philosophy we won’t be able to live a life meaningfully. Aren’t we living in a society where we celebrate the meaning of life? We are not beings living in isolation. We are living in a community of shared meanings— or should be live as egotistic individuals. Is life marked the absence of reason and passion? We are beings living in three states—Catharsis, Angst and Ecstasy. Meaning of life is existentially realized.

What does Sartre have to say of Ontological Existentialism? Sartre’s Philosophy also celebrates the meaning of the absurd. Life for him is coherent mass of nothingness. We navigate our life by negating the meaning of existence. Is life chaotic and absurd? Is the choice we make to free ourselves meaningless one? Sartre goes on to say that: we are condemned to be free. How can we say that freedom is our condemnation? Was Sartre a psychological victim of World War II? Why is there so much negative theology in ontological philosophy?

I have read and reread existential Philosophers like Camus and Sartre and I have developed a new branch of existential ontology called constructive ontology. Constructive Ontology creates a new meaning that life is creative and having a purpose. We have to live a life in Valueblelization (from Value and Realization). Valueblelization means a creative living with celebration of sharing meanings in empathic harmony. For Valueblelization to occur an individual is a purposeist from (Purpose and ist). We have to authenticate ourselves in a democratic empathy of sharing meanings.
Summarizing I can say that the Philosophy of Camus and Sartre is destructive and rereading them I have made ontology a constructive one.