TODAY -

Literary aesthetics' representation of political violence
- The intrinsic-extrinsic dialogue of the significant form -
- Part 2 -

Dr. P. Milan Khangamcha *



This account may enable us to explain as to how the enigmas of significant form of highly tragic structure of symbolic representations of violence in their appropriate art works are to be understood. If violence here both in its concrete as well as in its symbolic representations is taken in its conceptual frameworks of life, society and reality at large in their given integrality to which a creative artist's response through his/her art work is an emotive but an impassionate expression or else of his/her whole being.

The necessary element of 'aesthetic distance' observable both on the level of the level of distinction between an artist and his/her work of art on the one hand and that of between the off-stage-persona and on-stage-persona being distinguished in the intra-personality of an actor during the process of characterisation on the other in a way explains this phenomenon.

In another words, characterisation and generalisation being studied in aesthetics as some of the important philosophical implications of artistic and literary works are interrelated to each other. In this sense, the aesthetic generalisation and its related process of characterisation have something to do with the 'subjective universality of art … (as) a product of response of the whole being(s) of great artists.'

The book, 'Knowing Art: Essays in Aesthetics and Epistemology [2006] discusses this problem at length in every chapter. This writer's thesis entitled, 'The Philosophical Significance of the Concept of Divine Love of Úrî Caitanya' had tackled this issue and accordingly as far as he could dwell he concluded that emotional states like hunch and premonition are some of the clues of the capacity of emotion in certain situation as a kind of precognition is capable of intuitively apprehend certain truth though, may be vague initially. The expression emotive knowing has been taken to be on the par with cognitive knowing.

In Caitany's theory of bhakti rasa, bhakti has been entirely interpreted to be a purely aesthetico-emotive state of unalloyed joy as summum bonum of existence. And it has been conceived entirely in the form of highly sensuous and aestheticised spiritual love-prema or prtii or rati of which the conceit of extra-marital loving relationship or parakiya bhava has been interpreted to be the highest.

Though, it is an inner and dynamic spiritual movement it remains as the perpetually objectified source of relish in the vira% predominant eternally alternating transcendental histrionics of saAbhoga and vira% where the spontaneous eternal play of aesthetico-amour of divine love between the damsels of Vrndavana and their dear Lord Krsna has been treated as the central motif or permanent emotion (sthayibhava). In all these acts of aestheticised bhakti rasa there is a sub-text of the transfiguration of traditional system of knowledge (jnana) in the highly sensuous and aesthetically conceived pure state of devotional love.

In this context the biographer of Caitanya Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja (elsewhere in the latter's biographical account named as Sri Caitanya-Caritam[ta) uses a peculiar word pramanetra – 'the eyes of love'. This has been corroborated by the system's legend as per the Upanicads that, in their former lives the Gopies were in fact the great Munies and Rsies who had desired to become the pure devotees of Lord Krsna, and to fulfill their wish they had appeared in the conceited mood of the Gopies as His femal lovers.

The outward appearance of Lord Krsna as their paramour (upapati) and the nature of their love as extra-marital are only the aesthetico-literary ploy of obstruction being designed only to heighten and deepen the cloistered and unmitigated loving passion of their love in the more superior form of love-in-seperation (vira%). The devotional worship in the feminine mood (Gopi bhava/Radha bhava) in its highest form of erotico-aesthetic devotional love in its form of extra-marital expression has been the best available option for revealing the highest state of spiritual communion in every religion.

Hence, The above issue may further be analysed in terms of the parallel connotation between the generalisation (sadharanikrta of classical Indian aesthetics: AlaAkara/Soundarya Œastra) in the creative production of the works of art and literature as the symbolic representation on the one hand and Husserl's epoché or transcendental/phenomenological reduction as a result of suspending natural attitude associated with the ordinary but concrete facts of life and reality. Husserl's purpose is somewhat different from what is being done in the act of generalisation through which art objects or art works comes to acquire their characteristic universal feature.

In this context David Carrier [2008: 38] in 'A world art history and its objects' cites Gombrich's view that, 'To define a tradition, it is not enough to observe that painters of different times painted in distinctive ways. What gives especial value to art that progresses is that 'the artist . . . is automatically taken out of the social nexus of buying and selling. His duty lies less with the customer than with Art. He must hand on the torch, make his contribution; he stands in the stream of history - and this is a stream which the historians set in motion.

The idea of progress brings in an entirely new element' This statement may be related to the generalisation of art in aesthetics. The difference between realism and expression is to be noted as it may be recontextualised in the regional level. The expression theory of art as the expression of the unconscious can very well be applicable to the local situation of multiculturalism where through the inevitable art works as expressions of a long subjugated and repressed rights and voices of a people.

The general structure of ontologico-linguistically constitutive human nature, the traits of self-consciousness and reflexivity takes the form of the faculty of highly refined, fertile, refined creative imagination and aesthetic consciousness. The phenomenological structure of acts of consciousness (Husserl) or the unitary structure of equipmental totality and totality of systematic assignments (Heidegger) may be resorted to explain the nature of the subsequent aesthetic language that is symbolically representational and non-discursive in nature.

Stated very briefly, for Husserl while the Descartian legacy of subject-object dichotomy is still retained, they are being held together in a life world by the ontological and descriptive psychologically discoverable given or a priori structure of intentionality of all acts including aesthetic consciousness.

Heidegger had avoided the Husserlian concepts of consciousness or subjects or acts or intentional acts, instead, and rather as paradigm shift, he had adopted the ontological non-subject-object-dichotomic model of Dasein as a being-in-the-world which is existentially continuous with its given context of worldhood-of-world.

When this ontological phenomenological model of Heidegger is recontextualised in the life of an artist and his/her works of art, he/she is not a human subject as one who is standing apart from objects, and as such he/she is forever in a state of forever trying to subjugate, dominate and manipulate objects. The notion of respective selfhood of Husserl and Heidegger are different in the sense that, in the case of the former, self is subject whose more primary importance as epoché revealed pure subjectivity needed the ontological structure of intentionality due to which a subject is always tending towards its objects.

The objects here are pure/symbolic forms/contents as objects in non-discursive aesthetic representations with their suggestive reference to a sense or meaning as non-cognitive truth but holistic in nature when it is seen vis-a-vis the objective truth of ordinary sciences which is being held responsible as a deeper ontological and epistemologically fractured pervasive bi-polarism that has affected right from the issues of man and nature relationship, gender relation, the problematic colonial and post colonial core-periphery relations be they International, national and regional in their expressed forms).

(To be continued) ...


* Dr. P. Milan Khangamcha wrote this article which was published at Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on December 24, 2018.



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