Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Ghalib's rosary of carnelians vs. Indra's net of perarls

Which Universe do we live in?
Everyone knows the story of Indra's net of pearls- each of which reflects every other- to be a metaphor of the interconnectedness of the cosmos which actually doesn't exist save momentarily and that too only as a topos for this lightning flash of a metaphor.
But how about another monadology- based on not a necklace of pearls but a rosary of carnelians?

Not haughty, nor naughty, 'tis love of the knotty makes prayer, not prosody, such a bore
And our hundred hearts to her henna'd hand- a rosary of carnelians, nothing more

Not for heartless is her each luckless wight, but that Hope Hearts knotted sore
Her dexterous digits to unknot delight but render naught our core

 If she, a turn in the garden, proposes- the breezes to her mirror- or adore
Make such a massacre of the roses as to mire her soles in gore!
(see Prof Frances Pritchett’s site- ‘desertful of roses’ for commentary)

In a surpassingly beautiful passage in his book 'The secret mirror'- Prof. S.R. Faruqi writes 'the beloved out of sheer love-of-difficulty suggests her love of stealing a hundred hearts by the metaphorical act of holding a rosary in her hands. Thus, the red beads of the rosary assume the place of hearts, and just as the beads find warmth and motion by the touch of beloved's fingers, so do the hearts of the lovers; just as as each bead, though remaining tied to the same string, travels up and down with the motion of her fingers, so do lovers' hearts remain, despite all their madness, despite also the interplay of hope and fear, nearness and remoteness, tied to the same place. The beloved's henna painted, fair and tapering fingers have the same realtion with the red beads of the rosary as does dawn to dusk; no matter how bloodshot the dusk is, not a shred of whiteness is subtracted from the dawn. Thus holding a rosary in the hand, a metaphor, and carrying away hearts, the actuality, become one.'

Faruqi Sahib holds that 'Metaphor outweighs the Reality for which it stands. Thus the reality it represents gains over and above its ordinary dimension, or a hither to unknown dimension is added to it.'
In particular, 'two mutually exclusive (i.e. incompossible) realities can be expressed in a way that makes them appear one.'

This suggests an ontology very different from that of Leibniz's windowless monads (which reflect the best of all possible worlds by a mysterious pre-established harmony) or the (Buddhist) Avatamsaka Sutra's metaphor of Indra's net of pearls- each of which reflects every other.
Ghalib's rosary of carnelians- in Prof. Faruqi's hands- becomes truly (as he puts it) six dimensional, in the sense of stringing together incompossible  worlds constructed by precisely the sort of impossible subjects we, in the metaphor's secret mirror (vide the ghazal 'safaa-e-hairat-e-aainah'), now recognize ourselves to be.
Indeed, such necessarily are we- if Heidegger's notion of alethia, truth, as primordial unhiddeness is at all meaningful- and the only valid starting point of hermeneutics is not the closing off of possible meanings- or, indeed, pre-meanings- but the unhiding, the restoration of what paradigmatic, or indeed syntagmatic, analysis shaves away.
Which aint to say Heidi wasn't a great lump of shite.
Indeed, the problem for phenomenology, especially or even if recast as a critique of onto-theology, or, in Messianic mode, the call to Ethics as first philosophy, or any other such silliness is that the life or death of a mode of consciousness presents itself as a datum by a total severing of connection to the physical body- instead, depending wholly on its relation to other consciousnesses, in whose sight only is their life or death, repetition, or their varieties of congress. Since those consciousnesses are only figuratively speaking embodied and since nothing known from the physical or somatic world accounts for more than a fraction (misleads for more than a fraction) of that life, that death, that coupling, that rape and repair of the continuum- it therefore fellows there is no Being, no Face of the Other, nothing to which a once and for all attitude can be taken, no Insha (deontics) that is not radically trivialized as Khabar (alethics)- and though no consciousness but hungers for and is the destruction of every other consciousness- Ethics is postponed as slayer and slain interchange places, everything is resurrected including Death as final- there is nothing but that nothing and that but.
Wait- did I mention Heidi was a great lump of shite?
I did?
Well, okay then.

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