Saturday, October 29, 2011

Avatars of Pan

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” - - Krishnamurti


A 'profoundly sick society' is a dystopia. If being well adjusted to dystopia is not a measure of health, then it could be said that being maladjusted to dystopia might be a measure of health. 

There's a literary figure called Oskar Matzerath in Günter Grass's The Tin Drum (German: Die Blechtrommel, Ralph Manheim trans. (1959)), who stops growing by his own will during WWII in Poland, because his ""spiritual development is complete at birth and only needs to affirm itself"; the book is in Oskar's first-person narrative, which begins with his being in a mental hospital.

Not-growing-old is seen in such cases to be a defiance against normative expectations of society, i.e., society and a world that kept getting "profoundly sicker" by the day.  This character Oskar seems to have emerged from Pan's labyrinth of the author's unconscious, as a supernatural trickster.  Not only does he have power over his own physiological development, he has the power of resonance; he can make a shriek (reminiscent of E. Munch's "The Scream") strong enough to shatter glass.  And he plays the drum, another aspect of his resonance, which is rife with symbolism.       
      
There's another noteworthy, literary social-morphic-field examples of Krishnamurti's idea. J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan is trickster Pan who is the boy who "never grows old," who perpetually remains the boy who adventures in Neverland, which is a Lord-of-the-Flies-like dystopia of ruffians, brigands, and danger. He is perpetually in the dream-world interzone, adapting to neither "society."  

Pan leads with resonance of music, shocks-awake with screams of wrath; this particular trickster, the perpetual youth, will always be encountered in the journey of involution-evolution; it is an aspect, ironically, of inner development that departs from the demands and constraints  of collective chreodes and Habits.  It's the artful, teleological preservation of imagination full of potential and possibility.