chapter  12
Indefinition of a Man
Pages 14

InhisbookOnDisobedience,ErichFrommwrites:'humanhistorybeganwithanact ofdisobedience,anditisnotunlikelythatitwillbeterminatedbyanactofobedience11 • Hearguesthat'Manhascontinuedtoevolvethroughactsofdisobedience'and thatbothHebrewandGreekmythscontaintheproposalthathumanhistorycommences,whetherthroughtheagenciesofAdamandEveorPrometheus,when mandisobeys,andisnotcorruptedbysin,butrather'freedfromthefettersof pre-humanharmony'2•Insociallife:

ThusFrommcharacterizesdisobedienceas'affirmationofreasonandwill...not primarilyanattitudedirectedagainstsomething,butforsomething:forman's capacitytosee,tosaywhathesees,andtorefusetosaywhathedoesnotsee'4• InhiscriticalstudyofJohnCowperPowys,JeremyHookeralsoidentifiesthat writer'sbeliefintheunpredictabilitiesofthehumanimagination,nottheimpositionsofpseudo-divinedeterminism,asbeingtheprimarysourceofindividual andsocialcreativity.'PowysstressestheparallelbetweentheDarkAgesandthe mid-twentiethcentury:Astheoldgodsweredepartingthen,sotheoldgodsaredepartingnow.Now,asthen,isatimeofflux:thefuturedependsonthegodswecreate, ifany.Theonlyenemyisdeterminism...AsMyrddinsays[inPowys'snovel Porius],"theDeviliseverygodwhoexactsobedience",andinresponsetoNeb'squestion"Whatturnsagodintoadevil,master?'":

HookerdeducesofPorius'ThisisnottheChristianstoryconcerningthemysteriesofanall-powerfulGod,norisittheFreudianone,whichreducespersonality tothere-enactmentofacommonpattern.Thisisthestoryofamagicianwhose magicisafacultyofhispowerlessness,wholiberatesindividualsbyinitiating themintothechaosofthemultiverse,wheretheirfuturesaredependentonthe storiestheychoosetotellthemselves.So,ifthisstorychoosestousesomeofthe motifsofotherstories-whyshouldn'tit?ItdoesnothavetoendlikeFreud's story,fortheendistheimaginationwhichtellsit.Italldependsonthestoryteller's personality:anythingmighthappen'5•

Theaffinitiesbetweenthesepropheticinjunctionstoindividuationand thoseIlocateinRudkin'sworkshould,bynow,beapparent-asshouldtheir consequencesintermsofKearney'scallfora(post-?)postmodernpoetics,which proposesawayoutofthecrisisofmeaningpositedbypostmodernistdeterminism,throughthepoetical-ethicalimagination,itsnarrativemethodsand hermeneutictasks(asexplainedinmyChapterOne).