History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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The issue of the tragic genre

November 8th, 2015 · No Comments


The idea of reviving the tragic genre invokes the near impossible, so it is a great idea to ponder, in practice the idea may not work, in the original form of a blank verse tragedy. The issue is bound up in a larger mystery, and has a mysterious signature going back to antiquity. It is no accident the genre revives in the early modern and then disappears again. None of the Romantic poetes could quite figure out why. George Steiner struggles with the question in The Death of Tragedy but doesn’t fully solve the enigma.
We should be aware of this decline, but perhaps not expect to create a new tragic genre. It could happen at any time, in principle, however/maybe…

I think that the eonic muses have moved on to something else, for the nonce, and without that boost the genre will stay in limbo. I think however the exercise indicated is one of many that is useful as a substitute: the study of the early modern and the current modern. We don’t need to succeed at creating a blank verse tragedy (there is no public theatre for such a thing): rather we can study the question and its curious enigma, that is enough, along with a warning that our linguistic resources are constantly redoing. The ancient click languages such as ‘San’, or in the example below Xoo, we see langauges with 128 consonant phonemes, including click sounds (83).

One has to wonder if human language hasn’t declined in the ages since the dawn of man. Studying the eonic effect reminds us that languages often show a peak poet/linguistic state at the dawn of their transitions.
And this is related to the issue of consciousness and its various grades or octanes. Man is now beset with a default mechanical consciousness, but we have to wonder, in all the confusion over the question of consciousness and ‘enlightenment’, if early man didn’t show all states of consciousness quite frequently. That enlightenment is really man’s natural state is a suspicion one gets from seeing how achieving it is so frequently futile: it can’t be sought for, it is already there…

The contrary idea is that entities start with low consciousness and evolve to higher, but while that might be true at the level of the progression of species, it seems that the dawn of homo sapiens shows the ‘evolution’ or jump to the final state, and it is not the genetic evolution we are used to. That could be the result of consciousness being an enigma of another kind, something related to the non-dual puzzle of ‘consciousness’ and quantum physics, now the subject of much new age speculation,… etc…more later…

The issue of tragedy is perhaps a wild goose chase: when the moment is ripe, it is all very easy, and just happens.

In any case, the new age idea of ‘spiritual evolution’ is misleading, I suspect. We are already fully evolved buddhas in embryo, complete with ‘enlightenment’. We seem to have fallen into mechanization of consciousness created by historical misfortune, social conditioning, or what?


No, my cat didn’t just walk over the keyboard, it’s a language indeed, of the Taa family, spoken in Botswana and Namibia. It belongs to the Khoisan group of languages, a lose group of partly unrelated languages in southern Africa, known otherwise as “click languages”. Almost extinct, though. !Xóõ (pronounced roughly like *click*khowng) is described as having 128 different consonant phonemes (Chinese and Abkhaz suddenly appear really easy, don’t they?), 83 of them being different kinds of click-sounds. If you know the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy”, they bushmen use a similar language there. In addition to the incredible number of – for Europeans totally exotic – click sounds, they also have other exotic consonants, like ejectives and uvular sounds, which also appear in Abkhaz and Adyghe, but they have more vowels, too, and length distinction, and nasalized vowels, and tone as well, sometimes also features like breathy voice or creaky voice or pharyngealized vowels. So the name of the language is pronounced with a click sound, followed by a velar fricative as in Scottish loch, and ends with a long high-tone nasalized o-vowel, in IPA: [k??x????] or something like that. So it’s really hard to pronounce and to hear for the untrained ear. And the grammar? They have perhaps one or two dozen of nominal classes (similar to genders) for their nouns, and verbs agree with the nouns, they have quite a complex sentence structure with loads of particles marking this and that, etc. So all in all, these Khoisan languages, spoken in the cradle of all mankind, sound totally alien to us! You might want to search for Nama or Khoekhoe (the largest “click” language, and official language of Namibia) on YouTube.

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