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Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning
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Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning

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Fourteenth lecture for my students in English 165EW, "Life After the End of the World," winter 2013 at UC Santa Barbara. …

Fourteenth lecture for my students in English 165EW, "Life After the End of the World," winter 2013 at UC Santa Barbara.

Course website: http://patrickbrianmooney.nfshost.com/~patrick/ta/w13/

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  • 1. Lecture 14: The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning English 165EW Winter 2013 27 February 2013 “And you are right. There will be pain for us all, but it will not be all pain, nor will this pain be the last. We […] will have to pass through the bitter water before we reach the sweet.” — Abraham Van Helsing in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)
  • 2. The Great Flood11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them, and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6)
  • 3. 17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered.20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. […]23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. (Genesis 7)
  • 4. 8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:9 “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you,10 “and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.11 “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”12 And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:13 “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9)
  • 5. The purifying ritual“there was such an abundance of water, all ofit purifying.” (307; ch. 16)“she searched in the kitchen for soap anddetergents, scrubbing brushes, anything thatmight be used to clean a little, at least a little,of this unbearable filth of the soul. Of the body,she said, as if to correct the metaphysicalthought, then she added, It’s all the same.”(279; ch. 15)
  • 6. “He made lather so that the cleaning processshould be extended […] he was a man offoam, white in the middle of an immense whiteblindness where nobody could find him.” (284;ch. 15)“If only the rain would last, in this situationsunshine would be the worst that couldhappen to us, said the doctor’s wife.” (286; ch.15)“But you wrote books and those books carryyour name, said the doctor’s wife, Nownobody can read them, it is as if they did notexist.” (290; ch. 15)
  • 7. To complete a sorites …The girl with the dark glasses: “in my opinionwe’re already dead, we’re blind because we’redead, or if you would prefer me to put it anotherway, we’re dead because we’re blind, it comes tothe same thing.” (251; ch. 14)The writer: “Blind people do not need a name, Iam my voice, nothing else matters.” (290; ch. 15)The doctor: “the human body is also an organisedsystem, it lives as long as it keeps organised, anddeath is only the effect of a disorganisation.” (296;ch. 16)
  • 8. “We are already half dead, said the doctor, Weare still half alive too, answered his wife.”(303; ch. 16)“And then the doctor’s wife said, What timeswe live in, we find the order of things inverted,a symbol that nearly always signified deathhas become a sign of life, There are handscapable of these and greater wonders, saidthe doctor.” (304; ch. 16)
  • 9. Blindspace“we are in an old building and badly designed at that, […]doorways so narrow that they look more like bottlenecks,corridors as crazy as the other inmates of the asylum,opening for no clear reason and closing who knowswhere, and no one is ever likely to find out.” (144; ch. 9)“We may observe in the flesh how badly planned andorganized these human communities in orphanages,hospitals and mental asylums have been, note how eachbed, in itself, with his framework of pointed metal bars,can be transformed into a lethal trap, look at the terribleconsequences of of having only one door to wardsoccupied by forty people, not counting those asleep onthe floor, if the fire gets there first and blocks their exit, noone will escape.” (213, ch. 12)
  • 10. “The Groping City”*“the fact is that there is no comparison betweenliving in a rational labyrinth, which is, by definition,a mental asylum and venturing forth, without aguiding hand or a dog-leash, into the dementedlabyrinth of the city, where memory will serve nopurpose, for it will merely be able to recall theimages of places but not the paths whereby wemight get there.” (217; ch. 13)the doctor’s wife: “There’s no diference betweeninside and outside, between here and there,between the many and the few, between whatwe’re living through and what we shall have to livethrough.” (242; ch. 14) * Wyndham, ch. 3
  • 11. “new ways of living are being invented”* “everyone is blind, the whole city, the entire country […] it was not the same as before, when blind people could always count on the assistance of some passerby, whether to cross the street, or to get back on to the right path in the case of having inadvertently strayed from the usual route.” (222; ch. 13) the doctor’s wife: “life exists, because your four senses say so.” (242; ch. 14) “the whole banking system collapsed, blown over like a house of cards” (267; ch. 14) * the doctor, 256 (ch. 14)
  • 12. The doctor’s wife and the girl with dark glasses: “thefeelings with which we have lived and which allowed usto live as we were, depended on our having the eyeswe were born with. […] Before, when we could still see,there were also blind people, Few in comparison, thefeelings we use were those of someone who could see,therefore blind people felt with the feelings of others,not as the blind people they were, now, certainly, whatis emerging are the real feelings of the blind.” (252; ch.14)The doctor’s wife: “You are a writer, you have, as yousaid a moment ago, an obligation to know words,therefore you know that adjectives are of no use to us,if a person kills another, for example, it would be betterto state this fact openly, directly, and to trust that thehorror of the act, in itself, is so shocking that there is noneed for us to say it was horrible.” (292; ch. 15)
  • 13. New forms of identity“Were we not trying to reduce her [the girl with the darkglasses] to some primary definition, we should finally sayof her, in the broad sense, that she lives as she pleasesand moreover gets all the pleasure she can from life.”(23; ch. 2)The doctor’s wife: “should I turn blind, if after turningblind I should no longer be the person I was, how would Ithen be able to go on loving him, and with what love”?(252; ch. 14)The doctor’s wife: “Perhaps humanity will manage to livewithout eyes, but then it will cease to be humanity, theresult is obvious, which of us think of ourselves as beingas human as we believed ourselves to be before”? (255)
  • 14. The doctor’s wife: “now we are all equalregarding good and evil, please, don’t ask mewhat good and what evil are, we knew what itwas each time we had to act when blindnesswas an exception, what is right and what iswrong are simply different ways ofunderstanding our relationships with theothers […] forgive this moralising speech, youdo not know, you cannot know, what it meansto have eyes in a world in which everyone elseis blind.” (276; ch. 15)The girl with the dark glasses: “inside us thereis something that has no name, thatsomething is what we are.” (276)
  • 15. “I have no explanation, there may not be one”*“She looked at them, her eyes filled with tears, therethey were, as dependent on her as little children ontheir mother. If I should let them down—she thought.It did not occur to her that all around her the peoplewere blind yet managed to live.” (225; ch. 13)The old man with the eyepatch: “let’s be glad of ourgood fortune at still having a pair of seeing eyes withus here, the last pair left, if they are extinguished oneday, I don’t even want to think about it, then thethread which links us to that human mankind wouldbe broken.” (305; ch. 15) * the doctor’s wife, 293 (ch. 16)
  • 16. “for the first time since the onset of blindness,it was the doctor who guided his wife.” (313;ch. 17)“Why did we become blind, I don’t know,perhaps one day we’ll find out. Do you wantme to tell you what I think, Yes, do, I don’tthink we did go blind, I think we are blind,Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see,but do not see.” (326; ch. 17)“It is my turn, she thought. Fear made herquickly lower her eyes. The city was stillthere.” (326)

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