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 site PDF.

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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.

The Captive

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. 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. 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.

The captive

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. But what about the harbinger of the Springtime of Nations, and Karl Marx, and the visions of the brotherhood of mankind? And what about this Master? A great Polish poet, describing his j ourney to the East-where he went in as a political prisoner of the Tsar-compared the soul of the Russian nation to a chrysalis. He wondered anxiously what would emerge when the sun of freedom shone: "Then will a shining butterfly take flight, or a moth, a sombre creature of the night?

The writer, in his fury and frustration, turns his thought to Western Communists. What fools they are. He can forgive their oratory if it is necessary as propaganda. But they believe most of what they pro claim about the sacred Center, and that is unforgiv able. Nothing can compare to the contempt he feels for these sentimental fools. Nevertheless, despite his resistance and despair, the crisis approaches. It can come in the middle of the night, at his breakfast table, or on the street.

It comes with a metallic click as of engaged gears. But there is no other way. That much is clear. There is no other salvation on the face of the earth. This rev elation lasts a second ; but from that second on, the patient begins to recover. For the first time in a long while, he eats with relish, his movements take on vigor, his color returns. He sits down and writes a "positive" article, marveling at the ease with which he writes it. In the last analysis, there was no reason for raising such a fuss.

Everything is in order. He is past the "crisis. The aftereffects manifest themselves in a particular kind of extinguishment that is often perceptible in the twist of his lips. His face expresses the peaceful sad ness of one who has tasted the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, of one who knows he lies and who feels compassion for those who have been spared full knowledge. He has al- 20 ready gone through what still awaits so many others. In 1 , an eminent Soviet journalist came to Poland.

He was an elderly gentleman, who looked like a middle-class lawyer. That he was an extremely clever and rather unscrupulous person was evidenced by the tenacity with which he had maintained his position-and by his advanced years. After his re turn to Warsaw from a tour of several provincial Polish towns, he laughingly recounted an incident that had occurred in Silesia.

Someone had spread the report that a delegation of foreigners from the West had arrived. The journalist whose round belly and honest expression were inducive to such effusive manifestations of confidence was seized and em braced on the street by a man crying: "The English have come.

This recurrence of sterile hopes amused him and he was flattered to be the representative of a country ruled according to infallible predictions; for nation after nation had indeed become part of its Empire, according to schedule. I am not sure that there wasn't in his smile something of the compas sionate superiority that a housewife feels for a mouse caught in her trap.

Annual Forms and Filing Requirements

The "post-crisis" writer may well expect one day to be sent on a similar journalistic mission to some newly acquired Western country. Such a pro s p e c t is not altogether distasteful. To observe people who know nothing, who still have everything to learn, must undoubtedly afford moments of unadulterated sweetness. The master knows that the trap in which the mouse has been caught is not an entirely agree able place to live in.

For the moment, however, the citizens of these newly converted countries will un derstand little of their new situation.

They will be exhilarated at first by the flutter of national banners, the blare of marching bands, and the proclamations of long-awaited reforms. Only he, the observer, will The Pill of Murti-Bing 21 see into the future like a god, and know it to be hard, necessarily hard, for such are the laws of His tory.

In the epilogue of Witkiewicz's novel, his he roes, who have gone over to the service of Murti Bing, become schizophrenics. The events of today bear out his vision, even in this respect. One can sur vive the "crisis" and function perfectly, writing or painting as one must, but the old moral and aesthetic standards continue to exist on some deep inner plane. Out of this arises a split within the individual that makes for many difficulties in his daily life.

It facili tates the task of ferreting out heretical thoughts and inclinations; for thanks to it, the Murti-Bingist can feel himself into his opponent with great acuteness. The new phase and the old phase exist simultane ously in him, and together they render him an exper enced psychologist, a keeper of his brother's conscience.

One can expect that the new generation, raised from the start in the new society will be free of this split. But that cannot be brought about quickly. One would have to eradicate the Church completely, which is a difficult matter and one that demands pa tience and tact. And even if one could eliminate this reverenced mainstay of irrational impulses, national literatures would remain to exert their malignant in fluence.

For example, the works of the greatest Polish poets are marked by a dislike of Russia, and the dose of Catholic philosophy one finds in them is alarming. Yet the state must publish certain of these poets and must teach them in its schools for they are the clas sics, the creators of the literary language, and are considered the forerunners of the Revolution. To place them on the index would be to think non dialectically and to fall into the sin of "leftism. Probably, therefore, the schizophrenic as a type will not dis appear in the near future.

Someone might contend that Murti-Bing is a medicine that is incompatible with human nature. That is not a very strong argument. The Aztecs' cus tom of offering human sacrifices to their gods, or the mortification of the flesh practiced by the early Christian hermits scarcely seem praiseworthy. The worship of gold has become a motive power second to none in its brutality. Seen from this perspective, Murti-Bing does not violate the nature of human kind.

Whether a man who has taken the Murti-Bing cure attains internal peace , and harmony is another question. He attains a relative degree of harmony, just enough to render him active.

Rules and Laws

It is preferable to the torment of pointless rebellion and groundless hope. The peasants, who are incorrigible in their petty bourgeois attachments, assert that "a change must come, because this can't go on. A tour ist, as an anecdote tells us, wanted to go up into the mountains, but it had been raining for a week. He met a mountaineer walking by a stream, and asked him if it would continue to pour.

The mountaineer looked at the rising waters and voiced the opinion that it would not. When asked on what basis he had made his prediction, he said, "Because the stream would overflow. The "new" is striving to overcome the "old," but the "old" can not be eliminated all at once. The one thing that seems to deny the perfection ot Murti-Bing is the apathy that is born in people, and that lives on in spite of their feverish activity.

It is hard to define, and at times one might suppose it to be a mere optical illusion. After all, people bestir themselves, work, go to the theater, applaud The Pill of Murti-Bing 23 speakers, take excursions, fall in love, and have chil dren. Yet there is something impalpable and unpleas ant in the human climate of such cities as Warsaw or Prague. The collective atmosphere, resulting from an exchange and a re-combination of individual fluids, is bad. It is an aura of strength and unhap piness, of internal paralysis and external mobility.

Whatever we may call it, this much is certain : if Hell should guarantee its lodgers magnificent quarters, beautiful clothes, the tastiest food, and all possible amusements, but condemn them to breathe in this aura forever, that would be punishment enough.

No propaganda, either pro or con, can capture so elusive and little-known a phenomenon. It escapes all calculations. It cannot exist on paper. Admitting, in whispered conversation, that something of the sort does exist, one must seek a rational explanation for it.

Undoubtedly the "old," fearful and oppressed, is taking its vengeance by spilling forth its inky fluid like a wounded octopus. But surely the socialist or ganism, in its growth toward a future of guaranteed prosperity, is already strong enough to counteract this poison; or perhaps it is too early for that.

When the younger generation, free from the malevolent influence of the "old," arises, everything will change. Only, whoever has observed the younger generation in the Center is reluctant to cast such a horoscope. Then we must postpone our hopes to the remote fu ture, to a time when the Center and every dependent state will supply its citizens with refrigerators and automobiles, with white bread and a handsome ration of butter.

I also happen to think L. Smith is a good narrator. Most of all, though, I love witches. I am not overstating when I say this book blew me away. The Captive rocked my socks! It has now become one of my favorite books of all time.

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.Out of this arises a split within the individual that makes for many difficulties in his daily life. The man of the East cannot take Americans seriously because they have never undergone the experiences that teach men how relative their judg ments and thinking habits are. Let us imagine a spring day in a city situated in some country similar to that described in Witkiewicz's novel.

AN OLD. Yet at the same time, he is profoundly suspicious of un licensed literature. In official terminology this is known as a transition from the stage of critical realism to that of socialist realism.

DORETHA from Vancouver
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