Friday, December 14, 2012
Wobbly times number 160
Of course, we all end up dead. What's the point?
Well, the point sure as hell isn't the way Samuel Beckett's Molloy and Moran go about living their lives. Both protagonists insist on a kind of castration of sensuous existence, as living beings--subjects, to use the language of philosophy. Molloy and Moran are both 'subjects' and the essential question in philosophy is how the subject relates to that which is outside of themselves, including the objects they create and produce. All of this is intertwined with how the subject achieves freedom within the realm of necessities which prevail.
But onward with the particular cases of Molloy and Moran. Both share a strong preference for the asexual, indeed; they seem capable of little else in that department. They describe monkish living patterns to the point where you have no doubts about how stunted their libidos are or their social relations for that matter.
Consciously/unconsciously (as usual, he forgets which), Molloy makes himself into a physical cripple--a real 'mind over matter' Idealist. One discovers this through a close reading of how Molloy sleepwalked one night, having no physical difficulties at all doing tasks he would 'normally' find physically impossible. Molloy's mind also is dying, of short term memory loss combined with long term amnesia. This could be related to his incessant focus on the mundane. And, while having a sometimes extraordinary command (breadth and depth) of the English language, Molloy and Moran concern themselves mostly with the minutia of their lives, which many, many times turn into black comedic scripts or, on a larger canvass, demonstrations of bourgeois culture's utter vacuity. Surprisingly though, at other times, genuine poetic bursts emerge from Molloy's observations!
Molloy lives his life as the anticipation of his death. Molloy operates under the assumption that we live in the best of all possible worlds--there is no alternative. One gets the impression that Molloy would think the same way in Occupied France. His failing memory affects his logic and vice versa. And so, we follow Molloy's monologue as he journeys to find his mother, to return to the womb and fall in his grave or ditch. I can't remember which.
While Molloy literally pushes himself toward a complete surrender to the worms, 'Part II' of MOLLOY begins with Moran being given orders by his employers to find said Molloy. Ah Moron...I mean, Moran. The good petit bourgeois minder is under the illusion that by going to church and tending his own garden, he'll be right with his masters and safe in his home. The cultural/ideological domination of the bourgeoisie is complete in the world of Moran and really, much of the world around him. His extremely narrow individualism serves to sever him from almost every human being, except his son and within that social relationship, we continue to see Moran as, the 'hollow man, the stuffed man' vainly nurturing his son on empty.
'Men'? You caught me. Yes, I could just as easily written, 'men'. Like most of his fellow subalterns-for-tiny-lives, Moran will follow orders; but he will not be any the wiser in his decision making capacities. He will never be happy because, he cannot be anything--he cannot connect his being with what he does. Methinks his employer reports to Godot.
BTW, this is actually a very funny novel. Excuse me, if I laugh now and again. I really can't help it, no matter how many times I read it.
And now, I'll read you some passages from MOLLOY: