THE CAPTIVE PDF
The Captive. 2. About Proust: Proust was born in Auteuil (the southern sector of Paris's then-rustic 16th ar- rondissement) at the home of his great-uncle, two. The Captive Mind (Polish: Zniewolony umysł) is a work of nonfiction by Polish writer, academic and Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz, published in the English translation originally by Secker and Warburg. The work was written in Polish soon after the author received political. (c) - page 1 of 8 - Get Instant Access to PDF File: 85f4a The Captive By Marcel Proust EBOOK EPUB KINDLE PDF.
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I read it within 2 hours and the more I got into the story, the more devoted I became. I loved the fact that 3 people were murdered in or nearby the school but it is never really investigated. Even thinking about it now makes me laugh. Cassie makes some really senseless decisions.
Like when she goes to the churchyard in the middle of the night. Even though just a few hours earlier they saw a furtive and possibly dangerous ghost prowling around. I relished in this book flaws. I love it more because of its defects. The key character of this book, Cassie, did a complete turnaround regarding her attitude. In the last book she was immature and thankful for the kindness people showed her, and shy.
And for no reason, too. And now I want them to end up together, dammit! He no longer con sidered the approach of the Sino-Mongolian army as a tragedy for his own civilization. He lived in the Tbe Pill of Mu. More and more people took the Murti-Bing cure, and their resultant calm con trasted sharply with the nervousness of their environ ment.
The epilogue, in a few words: the outbreak of the war led to a meeting of the armies of the West with those of the East. In the decisive moment, j ust before the great battle, the leader of the Western army surrendered to the enemy; and in exchange, though with the greatest honors, he was beheaded. The Eastern army occupied the country and the new life, that of Murti-Bingism, began. The heroes of the novel, once tormented by philosophical "insatiety," now entered the service of the new society.
Instead of writing the dissonant music of former days, they composed marches and odes. Instead of painting ab stractions as before, they turned out socially use ful pictures. But since they could not rid them selves completely of their former personalities, they became schizophrenics. So much for the novel. Its author often ex pressed his belief that religion, philosophy, and art are living out their last days. Yet he found life with out them worthless.
On September 1 7 , 1 9 39, learning that the Red Army had crossed the eastern border of Poland, he committed suicide by taking verona! Today, Witkiewicz's vision is being fulfilled in the minutest detail throughout a large part of the European continent.
Perhaps sunlight, the smell of the earth, little everyday pleasures, and the forget fulness that work brings can ease somewhat the ten sions created by this process of fulfillment. But beneath the activity and bustle of daily life is the constant awareness of an irrevocable choice to be made. One must either die physically or spiritually , or else one must be reborn according to a prescribed method, namely, the taking of Murti-Bing pills.
Peo- 6 ple in the West are often inclined to consider the lot of converted countries in terms of might and coer cion.
That is wrong. There is an internal longing for harmony and happiness that lies deeper than or dinary fear or the desire to escape misery or physical destruction. The fate of completely consistent, non dialectical people like Witkiewicz is a warning for many an intellectual. All about him, in the city streets, he sees the frightening shadows of internal exiles, irreconcilable, non-participating, eroded by hatred. In order to understand the situation of a writer in a people's democracy, one must seek the reasons for his activity and ask how he maintains his equilib rium.
Whatever one may say, the New Faith affords great possibilities for an active and positive life.
And Murti-Bing is more tempting to an intellectual than to a peasant or laborer. For the intellectual, the New Faith is a candle that he circles like a moth. In the end, he throws himself into the flame for the glory of mankind. We must not treat this desire for self immolation lightly.
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Blood flowed freely in Europe during the religious wars, and he who j oins the New Faith today is paying off a debt to that European tra dition. We are concerned here with questions more significant than mere force. I shall try to grasp those profound human long ings and to speak about them as if one really could analyze what is the warm blood and the flesh, itself, of man.
If I should try to describe the reasons why a man becomes a revolutionary I would be neither elo quent nor restrained enough. I admit that I have too much admiration for those who fight evil, whether their choice of ends and means be right or wrong.
I draw the line, however, at those intellectuals who adapt themselves, although the fact that they are adapted and not genuine revolutionaries in no way diminishes their newly acquired zeal and enthusiasm. The society portrayed by Witkiewicz is distin guished by the fact that in it religion has ceased to exist as a force. And it is true that religion long ago lost its hold on men's minds not only in the people's democracies, but elsewhere as well.
As long as a so ciety's best minds were occupied by theological ques tions, it was possible to speak of a given religion as the way of thinking of the whole social organism. All the matters which most actively concerned the people were referred to it and discussed in its terms. But that belongs to a dying era. We have come by easy stages to a lack of a common system of thought that could unite the peasant cutting his hay, the stu dent poring over formal logic, and the mechanic working in an automobile factory.
Out of this lack arises the painful sense of detachment or abstraction that oppresses the "creators of culture. The discussions of Husser! Music, painting, and poetry be came something completely foreign to the great maj ority of people. A theory developed that art should become a substitute for religion: "Metaphysical feel ings" were to be expressed in the "compression of pure form" ; and so form soon came to dominate content.
To belong to the masses is the great longing of the "alienated" intellectual. It is such a powerful longing that, in trying to appease it, a great many of 8 them who once looked to Germany or Italy for in spiration have now become converted to the New Faith.
Actually, the rightist totalitarian program was exceptionally poor. The only gratification it offered came from collective warmth: crowds, red faces, mouths open in a shout, marches, arms bran dishing sticks; but little rational satisfaction.
Neither racist doctrines, nor hatred of foreigners, nor the glo rification of one's own national traditions could efface the feeling that the entire program was im provised to deal with problems of the moment. But Murti-Bing is different. It lays scientific foundations. At the same time, it scraps all vesriges of the past.
Post-Kantian philosophy, fallen into disrepute be cause of its remoteness from the life of men; art designed for those who, having no religion, dare not admit that to seek the "absolute" through a juxtaposi tion of colors and sounds is cowardly and incon clusive thinking; and the semi-magic, semi-religious mentality of the peasants-these are replaced by a single system, a single language of ideas. The truck driver and elevator operator employed by a publish ing firm now read the same Marxist classics as its di rector or staff writers.
A day laborer and a historian can reach an understanding on this basis of common reading. Obviously, the difference that may exist between them in mental level is no smaller than that which separated a theologian from a village black smith in the middle ages. But the fundamental principles are universal; the great spiritual schism has been obliterated.
Dia lectical materialism has united everyone, and p hi losophy i. It is beginning to be regarded with a respect one reserves only for a force on which im portant things depend: bread and milk for one's children, one's own happiness and safety. The intel lectual has once more become useful. He who may once have done his thinking and writing in his free The Pill of Murti-Bing 9 moments away from a paying job in a bank or post office, has now found his rightful place on earth.
He has been restored to society, whereas the business men, aristocrats, and tradespeople who once con sidered him a harmless blunderer have now been dis possessed. They are indeed delighted to find work as cloakroom attendants and to hold the coat of a for mer employee of whom they said, in pre-war days, "It seems he writes. Even though one seldom speaks about metaphys ical motives that can lead to a complete change of people's political opinions, such motives do exist and can be observed in some of the most sensitive and intelligent men.
Let us imagine a spring day in a city situated in some country similar to that described in Witkiewicz's novel. One of his heroes is taking a walk. He is tormented by what we may call the suc tion of the absurd.
What is the significance of the lives of the people he passes, of the senseless bustle, the laughter, the pursuit of money, the stupid animal diversions? By using a little intelligence he can easily classify the passers-by according to type; he can guess their social status, their habits and their preoc cupations. A fleeting moment reveals their childhood, manhood, and old age, and then they vanish. A purely physiological study of one particular passer-by in preference to another is meaningless.
If one penetrates into the minds of these people, one dis covers utter nonsense. They are totally unaware of the fact that nothing is their own, that everything is part ot their historical formation-their occupations, their clothes, their gestures and expressions, their be liefs and ideas. They are the force of inertia person- 10 ified, victims of the delusion that each individual ex ists as a self.
If at least these were souls, as the Church taught, or the monads of Leibnitz! But these beliefs have perished. What remains is an aversion to an atomized vision of life, to the mentality that isolates every phenomenon, such as eating, drinking, dressing, earning money, fornicating. And what is there be yond these things? Should such a state of affairs continue? Why should it continue? Such questions are almost synonymous with what is known as hatred of the bourgeoisie.
Let a new man arise, one who, instead of sub mitting to the world, will transform it. Let him create a historical formation, instead of yielding to its bond age. Only thus can he redeem the absurdity of his physiological existence. Man must be made to under stand this, by force and by suffering. Why shouldn't he suffer? He ought to suffer.
Why can't he be used as manure, as long as he remains evil and stupid? I f the intellectual must know the agony of thought, why should he spare others this pain? Why should he shield those who until now drank, guffawed, gorged themselves, cracked inane j okes, and found life beau tiful?
The intellectual's eyes twinkle with delight at the persecution of the bourgeoisie, and of the bourgeois mentality. It is a rich reward for the deg radation he felt when he had to be part of the mid dle class, and when there seemed to be no way out of the cycle of birth and death. Now he has moments of sheer intoxication when he sees the intelligentsia, unaccustomed to rigorously tough thinking, caught in the snare of the revolution.
The peasants, burying hoarded gold and listening to foreign broadcasts in the hope that a war will save them from collectiviza tion, certainly have no ally in him. Yet he is warm hearted and good; he is a friend of mankind.
Not mankind as it is, but as it should be. He is not unlike the inquisitor of the middle ages; but whereas the lat- The Pill of Murti-Bing 11 ter tortured the flesh in the belief that he was saving the individual soul, the intellectual of the New Faith is working for the salvation of the human species in general.
His chief characteristic is his fear of thinking for himself. It is not merely that he is afraid to arrive at dangerous conclusions. His is a fear of sterility, of what Marx called the misery of philosophy.
Let us admit that a man is no more than an instrument in an orchestra directed by the muse of History. It is only in this context that the notes he produces have any significance.
Otherwise even his most brilliant solos become simply a highbrow's diversions. We are not concerned with the question of how one finds the courage to oppose the majority.
In stead we are concerned with a much more poignant question: can one write well outside that one real stream whose vitality springs from its harmony with historical laws and the dynamics of reality? Rilke's poems may be very good, but if they are, that means there must have been some reason for them in his day.
Contemplative poems, such as his, could never appear in a people's democracy, not only because it would be difficult to publish them, but because the writer's impulse to write them would be destroyed at its very root. The obj ective conditions for such poetry have disappeared, and the intellectual of whom I speak is not one who believes in writing for the bureau drawer.
He curses and despairs over the censorship and demands of the publishing trusts. Yet at the same time, he is profoundly suspicious of un licensed literature.
The publishing license he himself receives does not mean that the editor appreciates the artistic merits of his book, nor that he expects it to be popular with the public. That license is simply a sign that its author reflects the transformation of realitv with scientific exactness. Dialectical materialism i 12 the Stalinist version both reflects and directs this transfonnation.
It creates social and political condi tions in which a man ceases to think and write other wise than as necessary. He accepts this "must" be cause nothing worth while can exist outside its limits. Herein lie the claws of dialectics. The writer does not surrender to this "must" merely because he fears for his own skin.
He fears for something much more pre cious-the significance of his work. He believes that the by-ways of "philosophizing" lead to a greater or lesser degree of graphomania. Anyone gripped in the claws of dialectics is forced to admit that the thinking of private philosophers, unsupported by citations from authorities, is sheer nonsense.
If this is so, then one's total effort must be directed toward following the line, and there is no point at which one can stop. The pressure of the state machine is nothing compared with the pressure of a convincing argu ment. I attended the artists' congresses in Poland in which the theories of socialist realism were first discussed. The attitude of the audience toward the speakers delivering the required reports was de cidedly hostile.
Everyone considered socialist realism an officially imposed theory that would have, as Rus sian art demonstrates, deplorable results. Attempts to provoke discussion failed. The listeners remained silent. Usually, however, one daring artist would launch an attack, full of restrained sarcasm, with the silent but obvious support of the entire audience. He would invariably be crushed by superior reason ing plus practicable threats against the future career of an undisciplined individual.
Given the conditions of convincing argument plus such threats, the neces sary conversion will take place. That is mathemati cally certain. The faces of the listeners at these congresses were not completely legible, for the art of masking one's feelings had already been perfected to a con- The Pill of Murti-Bing 13 siderable degree. Still one was aware of successive waves of emotion: anger, fear, amazement, distrust, and finally thoughtfulness.
I had the impression that I was participating in a demonstration of mass hyp nosis. These people could laugh and j oke after wards in the corridors. But the harpoon had hit its mark, and henceforth wherever they may go, they will always carry it with them. Do I believe that the dialectic of the speakers was unanswerable? Yes, as long as there was no fundamental discussion of meth odology. No one among those present was prepared for such a discussion. It would probably have been a debate on Hegel, whose reading public was not made up of painters and writers.
Moreover, even if some one had wanted to start it, he would have been si lenced, for such discussions are permitted-and even then, fearfully-only in the upper circles of the Party. These artists' congresses reveal the inequality between the weapons of the dialectician and those of his adversary. A match between the two is like a duel between a foot soldier and a tank. Not that every dialectician is so very intelligent or so very well educated, but all his statements are enriched by the cumulated thought of the masters and their com mentators.
If every sentence he speaks is compact and effective, that is not due to his own merits, but to those of the classics he has studied. His listeners are defenseless. They could, it is true, resort to argu ments derived from their observations of life, but such arguments are just as badly countenanced as any questioning of fundamental methodology.
The dia lectician rubs up against his public at innumerable meetings of professional organizations and youth groups in clubs, factories, office buildings, and village huts throughout the entire converted area of Europe. And there is no doubt that he emerges the victor in these encounters. It is no wonder that a writer or painter doubts 14 the wisdom o f resistance. I f h e were sure that art op posed to the official line could have a lasting value, he probably would not hesitate. He would earn his living through some more menial j ob within his pro fession, write or paint in his spare time, and never worry about publishing or exhibiting his work.
He believes, however, that in most cases such work would be artistically poor, and he is not far wrong. As we have already said, the obj ective conditions he once knew have disappeared. The objective condi tions necessary to the realization of a work of art are, as we know, a highly complex phenomenon, involv ing one's public, the possibility of contact with it, the general atmosphere, and above all freedom from involuntary subjective control.
I get halfway through a phrase, and already I submit it to Marxist criticism. I imagine what X or Y will say about it, and I change the ending. Everything proves it is right. Dia lectics : I predict the house will burn; then I pour gasoline over the stove. The house burns; my pre diction is fulfilled. Dialectics: I predict that a work of art incompatible with socialist realism will be worthless. Then I place the artist in conditions in which such a work is worthless.
My prediction is ful filled.
The Captive Mind.pdf -
Let us take poetry as an example. Obviously, there is poetry of political significance. Lyric poetry is pern1itted to exist on certain conditions. It must be: 1 serene; 2 free of any elements of thought that might trespass against the universally accepted principles in practice, this comes down to descrip tions of nature and of one's feelings for friends and The Pill of Murti-Bing 15 family ; 3 understandable.
Since a poet who i s not allowed to think in his verse automatically tends to perfect his form, he is accused of formalism. It is not only the literature and painting of the people's democracies that prove to the intellectual that things cannot be different.
He is strengthened in this belief by the news that seeps through from the West. The Western world is the world of Witkie wicz's novel. The number of its aesthetic and philosophical aberrations is myriad. Disciples imitate disciples; the past imitates the past. This world lives as if there had never been a Second World War. In tellectual clans in Eastern Europe know this life, but know it as a stage of the past that isn't worth look ing back on.
Even if the new problems are so oppres sive that they can break a great many people, at least they are contemporary. And mental discipline and the obligation to be clear are undoubtedly precious. The only new names that are known are those of "democrats"-a delicate circumlocution for a non-pagan.
In short, the recompense for all pain is the certainty that one belongs to the new and conquering world, even though it is not nearly so comfortable and joyous a world as its propaganda would have one think. Mystery shrouds the political moves determined on high in the distant Center, Moscow. People speak about prominent figures in hushed voices. In the vast expanses of Euro-Asia, whole nations can van ish without leaving a trace.
Armies number into the millions. Terror becomes socially useful and effec tive. Philosophers rule the state--o bviously not phi losophers in the traditional sense of the word, but dialecticians. The conviction grows that the whole world will be conquered. Great hordes of followers appear on all the continents. Lies are concocted 16 from seeds o f truth.
NC Captive Law
The philosophically uneducated bourgeois enemy is despised for his inherited inabil ity to think. Classes condemned by the laws of his tory perish because their minds are paralyzed. The boundaries of the Empire move steadily and system atically westward. Unparalleled sums of money are spent on scientific research. One prepares to rule all the people of the earth. Is all this too little? Surely this is enough to fascinate the intellectual. As he beholds these things, historical fatalism takes root in him.
In a rare moment of sincerity he may con fess cynically, "I bet on this horse. He's good. He'll carry me far. He becomes such a nervous wreck that he may actually fall ill. He knows it means a definitive parting with his former self, his former ties and hab its. If he is a writer, he cannot hold a pencil in his hand. The whole world seems dark and hopeless. Un til now, he paid a minimal tribute: in his articles and novels, he described the evils of capitalist society.
But after all, it isn't difficult to criticize capitalism, and it can be done honestly. The charlatans of the stock exchange, feudal barons, self-deluding artists, and the instigators of nationalistic wars are figures who lend themselves readily to his pen. But now he must begin to approve. In official terminology this is known as a transition from the stage of critical realism to that of socialist realism.
It occurred in the newly established people's democracies about the year 1 The operation he must perform on him self is one that some of his friends have already un dergone, more or less painfully. They shake their heads sympathetically, knowing the process and its outcome.
He sits at home all day with his head in his hands. No matter what his convictions, every man in the countries of which I speak is a part of an ancient civilization.
His parents were attached to religion, or at least regarded it with respect. In school, much attention was devoted to his religious upbringing. Some emotional traces of this early training necessar ily remain. In any case, he believes that injury to one's fellow-man, lies, murder, and the encourage ment of hatred are evil, even if they serve to accom plish sublime ends.
Obviously, too, he studied the history of his country. He read its former poets and philosophers with pleasure and pride. He was proud of its century-long battle to defend its frontiers and of its struggle for independence in the dark peri ods of foreign occupation. Consciously or uncon sciously, he feels a certain loyalty to his forefathers because of the history of toil and sacrifice on their part.
Moreover, from earliest childhood, he has been taught that his country belongs to a civilization that has been derived from Rome rather than Byzantium. Now, knowing that he must enter a gate through which he can never return, he feels he is doing some thing W1 ong.
He explains to himself that he must destroy this irrational and childish feeling. He can become free only by weeding out the roots of what is irretrievably past. Still the battle continues. A cruel battle-a battle between an angel and a demon.
True, but which is the angel and which the demon? One has a bright face he has known since his child h ood th i s must be the angel.
No, for this face bears - hideous scars. It is the face of the old order, of stu pid college fraternities, of the senile imbecility of politicians, of the decrepitude of vVestern Europe. This is death and decadence.
The other face is strong and self-contained, the face of a tomorrow that beck ons. That is doubtful. There is a great deal of talk about patriotism, about fine, progressive, national traditions, about veneration of the past. But no one is so naive as to 18 take such talk seriously.
The reconstruction o f a few historical monuments, or a re-editing of the works of former writers cannot change certain revealing and important facts. Each people's democracy be comes a province of the Empire, ruled by edicts from the Center. It retains some autonomy, but to an ever diminishing degree. Perhaps the era of independent states is over, perhaps they are no more than museum pieces.
Yet it is saddening to say good-bye to one's dreams of a federation of equal nations, of a United States of Europe in which differing languages and differing cultures would have equal status.
It isn't pleasant to surrender to the hegemony of a nation which is still wild and primitive, and to concede the absolute superiority of its customs and institutions, science and technology, literature and art. Must one sacrifice so much in the name of the unity of man kind?
The nations of Western Europe will pass through this phase of integration later, and perhaps more gently. It is possible that they will be more suc cessful in preserving their native language and cul ture. By that time, however, all of Eastern Europe will be using the one universal tongue, Russian. And the principle of a "culture that is national in form, socialist in content" will be consummated in a culture of monolithic uniformity.
Everything will be shaped by the Center, though individual countries will re tain a few local ornaments in the way of folklore. The Universal City will be realized when a son of the Kirghiz steppes waters his horses in the Loire, and a Sicilian peasant plants cotton in Turkmen val leys.
Small wonder the writer smiles at propaganda that cries for a freeing of colonies from the grasp of imperialistic powers. Oh, how cunning dialectics can be, and how artfully it can accomplish its ends, de gree by degree! All this is bitter.It lays scientific foundations.
Everything will be shaped by the Center, though individual countries will re tain a few local ornaments in the way of folklore. The vision of the cobblestones is unquestionably real, and poetry based on an equally naked experience could survive triumphantly that judgment day of man's illusions. My own decision proceeded, not from the functioning of the reasoning mind, but from a revolt of the stomach. Because they were born and raised in a given social order and in a given sys tem of values, they believe that any other order must be "unnatural," and that it cannot last because it is incompatible with human nature.
Brutal de scriptions of erotic scenes alternated with whole pages of discussions on Husser! During the last few years, the West has given these people a number of reasons to despair politi cally. Philosophers rule the state--o bviously not phi losophers in the traditional sense of the word, but dialecticians. And let it be remembered that in the people's democracies indoctrination is en forced by the whole power of the State.