In Quest of Matthew Bondsman:
Some Cultural Notes on the Jamesian Journey
from Urgent Tasks - Number 12
by Sylvia Wynter
I. What Do Men Live By? From the National to the Popular-Aesthetic Question
He, Garfield Sobers (the West Indian batsman), does not need the half-volley of a fast or a fast-medium bowler to be able to drive. From a very high backlift he watches the ball that is barely over the good length, takes it on the rise and sends it shooting between mid-off and mid-off. . . . The West Indian crowd has a favorite phrase for that stroke, Not a man move. (Beyond A Boundary)
In the fine points of Marxist thought, confronting the work ethic is an esthetic of non-work or play. . . . This realm beyond political economy called play, non-work or non-alienated labor . . . remains an esthetic, in the extremely Kantian sense, with all the bourgeois ideological connotations which that implies. Although Marx's thought settled accounts with bourgeois morality, it remains defenseless before its esthetic, whose ambiguity is more subtle but whose complicity with, the general system of political economy is just as profound. (Baudrillard, The Mirror of Production)
It took England to reveal to me the hidden aspects of Constantine's personality. . . . (He) was the same man on the cricket field as he was in our private and public life. The difference was that there, or rather in the Lancashire League, he was able to give his powers full play. (Beyond A Boundary)
We are still in the flower garden of the gay, the spontaneous, tropical West Indians. We need some astringent spray. (Beyond A Boundary)
In the autosociographical system of Beyond A Boundary, James places his act of separation from Trotskyism within a larger question, which is the structuring motif of the book. In posing the fundamental Tolstoy an question "What do men live by?" the system of Beyond A Boundary displaces at one thrust the bourgeois "mirror of the natural" and its related ''mirror of production."1
The presuppositions of both "mirrors," i.e. .of man as a "natural being," of man as identified by the labor with which he produces his "material life," his means of physical subsistence,2 represses the awareness that these definitions are cultural representations. That, like the feudal definition of man as a spiritual being, they are context-bound and historical, and become a "mythology" when they are spread over the expanse of human life; made into a teleology.
Beyond A Boundary relativizes and deabsolutizes the "material representation" of man's identity when it asks the question central to the cultural life of man: What do men live by? The answer to this question moves the Jamesian poeisis beyond the national, the class question, into the contemporary dimensions of the popular question.
"Fiction writing," James writes, chronicling another stage on his journey, "drained out of me and was replaced by politics. I became a Marxist, a Trotskyist. . . . In 1938, a lecture tour took me to the United States and I stayed there for fifteen years. The war came . . .
It did not bring Soviets and proletarian power, instead the bureaucratic totalitarian monster grew stronger and spread. As early as 1941, I had begun to question the premises of Trotskyism. It took a decade of incessant labor and collaboration to break with it, and recognize my Marxist ideas so as to cope with the post-war world. . . . That was a matter of doctrine, of history, of economics and politics.
In my private mind, however, I was increasingly aware of large areas of human existence that my history and my politics did not seem to uncover. What did men live by? What did they want? What did history show they had wanted?
A glance at the world showed that when the common people were not at work, one thing they wanted was organized sports and games. They wanted them greedily, passionately.
The pattern of Beyond A Boundary, working out the logic of its own motifs, uncovers "large areas of human existence," as James points out, that his "history, economics, politics" had left unaccounted for. Here it reveals that a separation, a gap appeared between the mode of popular desire, i.e., what the masses wanted to "live" by and what the "ruling elements" wanted them to live by. In other words, what is at issue here in a struggle between two modes of desire that of the bourgeoisie and that of the popular forces: the bourgeoisie for whom sports were "mere entertainment", for whom play served as "recuperation" from the real work of labor, rather than as an alternative life-activity in its own right, for whom the aesthetic was a luxury or even in the case of bourgeois aesthetes, for whom the "fine arts" split off from the popular arts were the high culture used to cultivate individual sensibilities to mark off the differential value of bourgeois concerns, to be guarded from the hoi polloi, as the sacred animal in the sacred pool (in Levi-Strauss's term) that canonized the middle-class mode of desire as a desire for the "higher things" whilst stigmatizing all non middle class desire as crass.
James first analyses the reflex stigmatization of the masses' desire for sports, by a middle-class eye's view.
They wanted them greedily, passionately. So much so, that the politicians who devoted themselves to the improvement of the condition of the people, the disciples of culture, the aesthetes, all deplored the expenditure of so much time, energy, attention and money on sports and games instead of on the higher things. Well, presumably it could not be helped. It had always been so and was likely to continue for a long time. (Beyond A Boundary)
He then reverses the stigmatization, revealing the "mythology" of the middle-class eye's view.
But that was quite untrue. Organized games had been part and parcel of the civilization of Ancient Greece. With the decline of that civilization they disappeared from Europe for some 1,500 years. People ran and jumped and kicked balls about and competed with one another; they went to see the knights jousting. But games and sports, organized as the Greeks had organized them, there were none. (Beyond A Boundary)
And, although James does not mention this, the intervening ages were not to miss organized games, because the great festival-complex common to pagan traditional societies (the dominant element in the imperatively popular cultures of Africa), incorporated by the Catholic church, had provided the macro-institution of Carnival. That institution, as Mikhail Bakhtin points out, had functioned in pre-capitalist Europe, as it functioned in traditional Africa, as it functions in the Afro-Euro-derived Trinidadian, New Orleans and Brazilian Carnivals, to provide the great "dramatic spectacle" that the Greek games, and its successor, Greek tragic drama, as James notes, had provided. The same dramatic spectacle of which organized sports were to be the contemporary modality of industrial society.
Carnival is not a spectacle seen by the people; they live in it, and everyone participates because its very ideal embraces all the people. During carnival time life is subject only to its own laws, that is, the laws of its own freedom. It has a universal spirit; it is a special condition of the entire world, of the world's revival and renewal in which all take part.3
Thus the grace and style of Bondsman's batting, the innovative genius of W. G. Grace, the "ferocious" wit and inventiveness of a Mighty Sparrow, all derive finally from the same source the overwhelming vitality of the exclusive nature of the popular arts popular in the sense of being both the "common people" and the "whole body of the people."
With the rise of the bourgeoisie, Bakhtin points out, Carnival, the dramatic spectacle of the whole body of the people, disappeared from Europe. The categories of blood and birth had enabled the aristocracy to mingle with the peasantry, at least during the Carnival period. The bourgeoisie, like the Jamesian clan, had no such permanent and "inherent" mode of status-differentiation. The "class-body" had to be kept from "physical" contact if it were to signify and thereby realize its "differential value." Both the categories of the bourgeois code of knowledge, and as Bakhtin points out in his study of Rabelais, the canons of bourgeois aesthetics were to reflect this setting apart. The "fine arts" separated themselves off from the "popular arts," establishing a categorization into higher and lower. The aesthetics was the politics. The new mode of social relations in which an absolute breach occurred between the two groupings was reflected and constituted by the aesthetics of the bourgeoisie, an aesthetic which now redefined the mode of co-existence in what was now not the polis of the whole body of the people, but the polis of the bourgeoisie in which the popular forces, transformed in the bourgeoisie's definition, into the mass, came to serve the same signifying role of the "Negroes," i.e., as the symbolic inversion of the bourgeoisie, the memento of all that they were not.
The categorizing of art into higher and lower reveals that the bourgeois aesthetics replicates within the structure of its own aesthetic system, the same bimodal Head/Body, Reason/Instinct categories that subtend both the categories of bourgeois thought; and of its global polis.
The separation of the class-body, representationally constituted itself in the languages of the arts, of their critical canons, as Bakhtin points out:
The Renaissance saw the body in quite a different light than the Middle Ages, in a different. . . relation to the exterior non-bodily world. As conceived by these canons, the body was first of all a strictly completed, finished product. Furthermore, it was isolated alone, fenced off from all other bodies. . . . The accent was placed on the completed, self-sufficient individuality of the given body. Corporal acts were shown only when the borderlines dividing the body from the outline world were sharply defined. . .. The individual body was presented apart from the ancestral body of the people. Such was the fundamental tendencies of the classical canons. . . . [From] the point of view of these canons the body of grotesque realism was hideous and formless. It did not fit the framework of the aesthetics of the beautiful as conceived by the Renaissance.4
The popular forces desired "organized sports and games" because they, unlike the middle classes, had no other institutional framework which could provide in modern contemporary terms what Carnival and rural life had originally provided before their disruption into industrial civilization; into the stresses and trauma of the factory-system and industrial colonization. Organized sports provided what Carnival and the rural ethos had provided in another form. As James reveals, the act of watching is a participatory act. When the West Indian crowd shouts "Not a man move!" as they do after a stroke by Sobers so escapes the trap both of bowler and of the set field that neither bowler nor fieldsman could react fast enough, the game is no longer a spectacle, seen by the people. Rather, as in Carnival, they live in it, and everyone participates because its very idea embraces all the people. Like Carnival too, the game is "subject only to its own laws," which are the laws of freedom.5
Thus if for the bourgeoisie the condition of the realization of its powers is an imperatively individual and class-restricted realization (brilliant in its own way yet incapable, as in the great ages of transition i.e., of a Rabelais, a Cervantes, a Shakespeare, a Chaplin of drawing on the multiple resources of a cross-fertilization of aesthetics for the popular imperative), then the realization of its powers, the aesthetics of its participatory art, depends precisely on its ability to enact and incorporate and give image to the "whole body of the people."
The people wanted organized sports because these sports and games were institutions that they helped to found and continue, institutions that they had helped to found as surely as their working class struggles led to the formation of trade unions, as their struggles for the right to vote to control the conditions of their life-activities had also led to the founding of modern mass-political parties; to the grounding of the concept of democracy. However much when wearing bourgeois masks on their popular skins, they would be led to negate their own imperative.
Cricket as a national sport, with universal elements, as James chronicles it, was to be a re-organization of the contributions of the different elements in the social order, under the hegemony of the middle classes. In other words, cricket was to be a fusion of three different aesthetic canons, three different imperatives:
The world-wide renaissance of organized games and sports as an integral part of modern civilization was on its way. Of this renaissance, the elevation of cricket and football to the place that they soon held in English life was a part, historically speaking, the most important part. The system as finally adopted was not an invention but a discovery, or rather a rediscovery. . . . Cricket and football provided a meeting place for the moral outlook of the dissenting middle classes and the athletic instincts of the aristocracy. Finally, cricket was one of the most complete products of that previous age to which a man like Dickens always looked back with such nostalgia. It had been formed by rural and artisan Englishmen who had aimed at nothing but the creation of an activity which would disinterestedly express their native artistic instincts. If it could so rapidly be elevated to the status of a moral discipline it was because it had been born and grew in an atmosphere and in circumstances untainted by any serious corruption. The only word that I know for this is culture. . . . The proof of its validity is its success, first of all at home and then almost as rapidly abroad, in the most diverse places and among peoples living lives which were poles removed from that whence it originally came. This signifies, as so often in any deeply national movement, that it contained elements of universality that went beyond the bounds of the originating nation. (Beyond A Boundary)
Cricket, then, was very much the invention and creation of the "whole body of the people," even where it was to be expressed in a middle-class form.6 The middle class was to contribute, as James points out, the least, yet due to their gift for rationalization and organization they were to appropriate the game and convert it into a national institution. (Ibid.)
Yet, if the struggle was not as obviously political as in Trinidad, the middle classes, as they prepared themselves for class hegemony, had to face the new pressures of the popular masses, whose organizations had emerged precisely out of the collective struggle they waged in cooperation with the middle classes for popular democracy in England.
As James notes, the organization of modern sports and games was cotemporal with the modern popular forms of trade union and political struggle. The "intervention" and input of the popular forces into the creation of the national game of cricket into the aesthetic production of the more-than-bread by which-men-live went pari passu with trade union struggles for a higher living standard. Here the Marxian doctrine which revealed the labor contribution to the national product played a powerful role. But the praxis had been initiated before Marx. And the struggles of the working classes at a cultural and epistemological level were struggles which stopped the automatic functioning of the accumulative dynamic, a dynamic kept in motion by the global differential structure of social relations, by the bourgeois cultural control of the mode of identity and desire, by its diffusion of bourgeois masks, its equation of identity-value with accumulated value.7
If, as Castoriadis points out, it was the working class's struggles that fueled the dynamic expansion of capitalism since the higher wage packets led to the rapid development of internal markets, and to the wider social provision of technological skills, thereby compelling higher levels of development its input into the national game of cricket was no less decisive.8 In other words, the conjunction that hit James was not fortuitous, and the conjunction is itself crucial to the doctrine of his book.
The co-evolution of new popular forms of social organization, i.e., trade union organizations, political parties, international organization, organizational forms of struggle for popular democracy with the rise of the desire for organized sports all within the decade 1860-18709 provide the basis for the Jamesian reflection on the complexity of human needs, for his implicit affirmation that the "realization of one's powers" at both the individual and the group level is the most urgent imperative of all. Thus the conjunction of the institution of organizational forms for the struggle for popular democracy in multiple forms, the trade unions, political parties, the Communist International, etc. was a conjunction that hit James, only because unlike Trotsky he had moved outside the monoconceptual Labor frame to the wider frame of a popular theoretics.
For if, as James argues, the "conjunction had hit me as it would have hit few of the students of the international organization to which I belonged" (Ibid.), this was because James had already moved outside the categories in which they were still embedded. For if within the Labor conceptual frame, whose logical goal is the development of the productive forces, the development of production is the means of realizing one's labor-value, the value through which one expresses one's human potential, then Trotsky was quite right to say that "sports" deflected the worker from politics "Labor" politics.
With popular politics, it was a different matter. In the ecumenicism of the politics of the latter, labor, and labor geared to a specific end, the realizations of men's powers both singly and collectively, was only one of the possible means for Man's self-realization of his powers.
Which leads us to Matthew Bondsman and the popular imperative versus both the public school and labor code. Bondsman lived next door in Tunapuna to James, the child. "His eyes were fierce, his language was violent and his voice was loud," he refused to take a job but "with a bat in his hand [he] was all grace and style." The contradiction seemed inexplicable. "The contrast between Matthew's pitiable existence as an individual and the attitude people had towards him," James recalls, "filled my growing mind and has occupied me to this day."
Matthew Bondsman played cricket but moved entirely outside the public school code. For him a straight bat was literal, not figurative. And it "isn't cricket" was meaningless in its moral/ethical sense.
Indeed he would not even stand to benefit from the normal workings of the code. One might theoretically widen the code to struggle with the problems that Matthew Bondsman, who would not work, presented for the implicit morality system of the labor code but the class-body of James's schoolmates would refuse Matthew charity on the grounds that poor chaps ought to be deserving. Matthew was certainly not.
Nor was he in any sense of the term a member of the deserving proletariat. In the great utility-code of the productivist ethos of bourgeois classarchy, he was in the words of James's aunts "good-for-nothing else except to play cricket." Bondsman, like contemporary ghetto Blacks as defined by J. B. Fuqua, an adviser to ex-President Carter, was precisely depreciated machinery.
Matthew Bondsman, then, like the ghetto Blacks today, like the good-for-nothing macho Benoit of Minty Alley, like his Becky-sharp-type heroine, Maisie, who refuses to work for pittance-wages and finally escapes to America, and who, like Bondsman, breaks every prohibition of the bourgeois code in order to realize her powers, to take her womanhood upon account, cannot be revindicated in the name of their labor-value (or needless to say, of their capital-value). Yet, Matthew Bondsman, like the Blacks of the ghetto-prison-system-shanty-towns archipelagos of the modern world system, had not always been useless.
In fact in the earliest phase of the historical process of bourgeois accumulation, Matthew Bondsman and his ilk had been amongst the skilled slave specialists who had actually run the plantation, then the most highly organized and efficient mode of accumulation in existence, until it was displaced by the new mode of accumulation, the factory-system of production.
At that time, Bondsman was the value core of the world that the bourgeoisie modelled in their own image.10 He was both capital value and skilled labor-value, as James pointed out in a talk in Montreal in 1966 "The making of the Caribbean peoples."11 In other words, Matthew, coerced, yet trained in necessary skills, had been subordinated to the "time" of the great positivity of the development of the productive forces. He had truly done his bit to set in train "their" liberation.
And the paradox was that since he was central to the process, he was allowed to realize those skilled and specialist powers that the accumulative telos needed to realize its objective rationale. Those powers not needed for the telos of accumulation, therefore not historically viable, were pushed aside, excluded. To realize his own powers, to give them full play, the Bondsmen had to live in an alternative cosmology, an underground culture which they reconstituted for themselves. In addition, it meant that the total blockage of the realization of their powers, the prevention of their living of their own radical historicity, their subordination, to the historicality of the productive forces would therefore impel the Bondsmans of the world (des damnes de la terre, as Fanon defines them) to demand, to desire as that by which alone they can live, not the liberation of the productive forces (Liberalism and Marxism-Leninism) but the "liberation of Man."
For the autonomy of a Bondsman had been totally subordinated to the autonomy of the accumulative telos. When the logic of its own process needed him as a specialist, he was made one. As a sharecropper breaking his back, he became one. As a native agro-proletariat, he accepted his one shilling per week and withstood his lot. When it needed him as labor reserve to the "real" proletariat he left the rural area for the town. He reserved his Labor.
As the Cybernetic Revolution began to displace the Industrial Revolution and it became clear that his Reserve Labor was in reserve in perpetuity machines were the skilled specialists now Bondsman would have to come to terms with the fact that he had become "refuse" (the term given to the slave too old and worn-out to contribute labor). He could hustle a day's work here and there, sweep a yard or two, live from hand to mouth. Jump Jim Crow. Or he could drop out.
Matthew dropped out. His "abominable life" was the end result of a historical process which had built a world that had no place in it where Bondsman could realize his powers. Establish his identity. Enact his radical historicity.
Above all, where Matthew could live according to the popular-aesthetic code that surfaced only when he batted. And the perceptiveness of James in Beyond A Boundary is to have counterposed Bondsman batting at the beginning of the book with the problematic of a cricket now trapped by the barbarism of a rationalized code one which had led not only to the perversion of "body-line" cricket, but had also compelled cricket greats like Sir Donald Bradman of Australia, one of the greatest batsmen of all times, to bring to a close the Golden Age of Cricket, subordinating the aesthetic code of the game to the technicized rationality of the "national" competitive code.
For "it isn't cricket" had functioned only partially as a moral code. It had functioned too as an aesthetic code. It was by this code alone that a Bondsman could even contemplate batting. The great Bradman, responding to the technological rationality of his time with its imperative of efficiency and utility, could as he tells us in his autobiography afford to bat like that only once in a lifetime. All his life Bradman had batted a "defensive" game designed to win matches except for one glorious inning when he cut loose.
James quotes the incident, for it is crucial to the aesthetic imperative of his own "doctrine":
Yet what are his sentiments after he has made the hundredth run of the hundredth century? He felt it incumbent upon him, he says, to give the crowd . . . some reward. . . . He therefore proceeded to hit 71 runs in 45 minutes. This, he adds, is the way he would always wish to have batted if circumstances had permitted him. (Ibid.)
James, startled by this admission of Bradman, uses it as the point from which Beyond A Boundary can reflect on the question What had happened to the game that W. G. Grace had built, that Arnold had transformed into a part of the educational system, transforming it into a vision of life? What, too, had happened to the "art and practic part of cricket?"
The times had changed. The ruthlessness of body-line cricket, the technicized efficiency of a Bradman's batting, were merely the logical development of that crisis of bourgeois rationalism, a philosophy and master-conception which, creative in its springtime,12 had now become destructive in its decline, focussing only on one end, losing the balance between the aesthetic and the technical, the physical and the mental that had calibrated the great cricket of the Golden Age, its fusion of mind and body, its flow of motion and "mechanics of judgment." The fusion that had marked a W. G. Grace, that defined the grace and style of a Bondsman batting in the only way he could bat; a Bradman, in that Carnival moment when he made 71 runs in forty-five minutes. And said to hell with the utility code! With the bourgeois mode of rationality!
Here the juxtaposition in the structure of Beyond A Boundary of a Bondsman and a Bradman, the latter subordinated to the code of technological rationality, the former immersed in the imperatives of the popular underground counterculture of Trinidad, a culture derived from Africa, yet toughened, suffered a sea-change, transformed from a normative culture of traditional African societies to a culture of liminality,13 liminality with respect to the global polis of bourgeois classarchy, reveals a culture clash, a clash of Reasons. A clash between the rationalism of the bourgeoisie and a new popular reason. This latter reason is the reason of the culture of that Afro-American archipelago which gave rise to the Calypsoes of Sparrow; to the Jazz popular culture, the first universal musical culture; to the Rastafarian reggae. A culture in which the reason of accumulation of the bourgeois polis had been contested and held at bay by a counter-reason the reason of the social that had defined the imperatively popular cultures of African traditional societies.14
What we note here is a fundamental clash of telos between a society coordinated symbiotically by the imperative of redistribution, the imperative of the social, and another coordinated by the imperative of accumulation and expansion, i.e., the reason of the productive forces. As Rodney himself comments:
The above is a beautiful set-piece of the moral terminology of capitalist accumulation the ''assiduous" and the "industrious" who will inherit the earth, while those who do not share grace are the ones who were "lazy." It pointedly illustrates the difference between the African and European cultures. Even within the empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai, the explosiveness of class contradictions was lacking, as Diop stresses in his Nations Negres et Culture. In the states of Ashante and Dahomey, whose growth was contemporaneous with European mercantilism, there was no concept of the "market" in the sense of supply and demand, and the social redistribution of goods made accumulation impossible.15
It is this dialectic and tension between the technological rationality of the bourgeois master-conception in its decline and consummation, i.e., the complete mechanization of men,16 of thought (theoretics), of feeling (aesthetics) and the counter-reason of the underground popular-aesthetic imperative, that gave rise to the West Indian cricketers. In very much the same way, as James tells it, another great age of transition, the age of Hazlitt's England,17 had given rise to W. G. Grace, the innovative genius and founder of Modern Cricket.
Thus, that technological rationality which had discarded a Bondsman as "refuse," which had dictated the technical reason that held the full powers of Bradman in check during his normal batting lifetime, found its sovereignty overturned by the autonomy of the aesthetic imperative which ruled the playing of the West Indian Cricketers in their triumphant tour of Australia with Frank Worrell the first Black player ever selected as Captain.
With the governing categories of the bourgeois polis reversed socially, aesthetically, the West Indian cricketers kept the theoretics of its technological rationality in the rightful place as the mere secondary means to a Jamesian defined and popular end, the realization by the genus homo of the free-play of faculties.
Thus the climax of Beyond A Boundary is the climax too of the Jamesian quest to assert the autonomy and radical historicity of men over the historical process; over the time of the productive forces and the mode of social relations which the sovereignty of the latter necessarily entails. For if, as James quotes in Beyond A Boundary, a poetic work must be defined as a verbal function whose aesthetic function is its dominant, then the value-system implicit in the contrast between the batting of a Bondsman and the everyday batting of a Bradman, between the everyday efficient batting of a Bradman dictated by the overriding criteria of utility of winning, and the glorious innings when Bradman batted to reward the crowd and to purely realize his own powers, suggest that in cricket too as in all organized sports, there is a criterion of evaluative judgment that responds to the aesthetic imperative of all art. For in that crowning inning, Bradman's batting rewarded the crowd and the Australian crowds, James notes, are at once proud of Bradman and ambivalent towards his mode of batting by making the aesthetic function, hitherto secondary to the technological code, the dominant. This was/is the apex moment of Beyond A Boundary too, the moment when the West Indian cricketing team under at last the captaincy of a Black and professional, which means to say of non-middle-class or of marginal middle-class origins, returned cricket to the Golden Age of W. G. Grace, the genus Britannicus of a fine batsman who founded the game. And in doing so, fused the aesthetic imperative of a Bondsman with the technical imperative of a Bradman but reversing the order of priority yet won the game. Displacing then the rational hegemony of the bourgeoisie with its implicit categorization18 into the Head/Body, Reason/Instinct "Social Imaginaire" with a liminal reversal, that is, not of the specific categories as in Marxism-Leninism, i.e., Laborism, or in Black nationalism which represents Black as a biological rather than as a socio-historical category, but of the mode of categorization, the system itself.
It is this transformation of hierarchical categories into a continuum, this transformation of the bourgeois social imaginaire which defines the aesthetic imperative of the great popular arts the arts of the whole body of the people. The arts of the Greek games, its tragic drama; of the great African festival complex; of modern organized sports. It was the affirmation in action of the popular social imaginaire of the Bondsman aesthetic that drew a quarter of a million people of Melbourne, Australia, out in the streets to pay tribute to and say goodbye to the West Indian cricketers who had rewarded the crowd with the kind of playing in which the "aesthetic function" was the dominant. With stroke after stroke hitting ball after ball beyond the boundary, strokes after which as the West Indian crowd would say Not a man move!
James's prose as he tells it enacts the "flow of motion" of bat and ball and fieldsmen in the rhythms of his prose:
Frank Worrell and his team in Australia had added a new dimension to cricket history. . .. The West Indies team in Australia on the field and off was playing above what it knew of itself. What they discovered in themselves must have been a revelation to few more than to the players themselves. . . . This [was] not playing brighter cricket for the sake of the spectators who pay, that absurd nostrum for improving cricket. . . . No, it was simply the return to the batting of the Golden Age. .. . The first innings of Sobers at Brisbane was the most beautiful batting I have ever seen. Never was such ease and certainty of stroke, such early seeing of the ball, such late and leisured play, such command by the batsman not only of the bowling but of himself. He seemed to be expressing a personal vision. . . . Yet my greatest moment was the speechmaking after the last test. . . . Frank Worrell was crowned with the olive. . . . If I say he won the prize it is because the crowd gave it to him. They laughed and cheered him continuously. . . . I caught a glimpse of what brought a quarter of a million inhabitants of Melbourne into the streets to tell the West Indian cricketers goodbye, a gesture, spontaneous and in cricket without precedent, one people speaking to another. (Ibid.)
Or as James would say, insisting on the fusion of man and nature, on the continuum rather than hierarchy of mind and body, insisting with the elegance of a Worrell driving through the covers:
We have had enough of the flowergarden of the gay, the spontaneous West Indians. We need some astringent spray.
Never was there such ease and certainty of phrase. Such late and leisurely play!
II. The Jamesian Ethics/Aesthetics
The bushmen's motive was perhaps religious, Hambledon's entertainment. One form was fixed, the other had to be constantly re-created. The contrasts can be multiplied. That will not affect the underlying identity. Each fed the need to satisfy the visual artistic sense. The emphasis on style in cricket proves that without a shadow of doubt; whether the impulse was literature and the artistic quality the result, or vice-versa, does not matter. If the Hambledon form was infinitely more complicated it rose out of a more complicated society, the result of a long historical development. Satisfying the same needs as bushmen and Hambledon, the industrial age took over cricket and made it into what it has become. The whole tortured history of modern Spain explains why it is in the cruelty of the bull-ring that they seek the perfect-flow of motion. That flow, however, men since they have been men have always sought and always will. It is an unspeakable impertinence to arrogate the term "fine art" to one small section of this quest and declare it to be culture. Luckily, the people refuse to be bothered. This does not alter the gross falsification of history and the perversion of values which is the result. (Ibid,)
The tools chosen by Castoriadis were those of orthodox Marxism. Yet the implicit logic of his political approach contained in germinal form an essential element of his later critique of Marx, which bears mention here. The working class will continue to revolt against its immediate condition showing its willingness to struggle now for a better life. Yet so long as that better life is imagined in Russian tonalities, the political translation of this can only be the Communist Party. Implicit in the suggestion is that it is the stunting of the creative imagination of individuals, due to the existence of a socially legitimated collective representation an imaginaire social, as Castoriadis refers to it later which must be analysed. The imaginary social representations are in effect a material force in their own right. (Dick Howard, The Marxian Legacy)
Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it is satisfied? Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out. (Thackeray, Vanity Fair)
Put baldly, the second central question of Beyond A Boundary might seem remote from the Jamesian clash with Trotsky; from the Negro Question; from the Bondsman contradiction and the popular question; from the decline of orthodox Marxism as a viable alternative projection of the futural and a new hope for our times, from the 6th Pan-African Congress and the stagnation of Pan-Africanism, for the debate of the Third World, for the growing totalitarianism of both Wests, i.e., the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, a tendency foretold by James.
Yet they are all of a piece. The aesthetic question that James raises when he asks and answers What is Art? is all of a piece and cut out of the same cloth as all other aspects of the Jamesian quest.
The chapter, What is Art? delegitimates bourgeois mythology in its aesthetic form and deconstructs a central aspect of the ruling social imaginaire. It critiques both the theoretical canons of a Trotsky, for whom productive labor is necessarily hegemonic, and the aesthetic canons of the Liberal art critic, Berenson. James first takes issue, however, with the distinguished cricket commentator Neville Cardus, who had often defended cricket's right to be called an art. Yet, James points out, it is the same Cardus who nevertheless stigmatizes cricket's audience. "Nothing fine" in music or in anything else, Cardus wrote, can be understood or truly felt by the crowd. Given this initial presupposition, it is logical that whilst Cardus often introduced music into his writing on cricket, he never introduced cricket into his writing on music. As James comments:
Cardus is a victim of that categorization and specialization, that division of the human personality which is the greatest curse of our time. Cricket has suffered but not only cricket. (Beyond A Boundary)
James then breaches this categorization with a deliberate flinging down of the critical gauntlet.
I have made great great claims for cricket. . . . [Cricket] is an art, not a bastard or a poor relation but a full member of the community . .. and we have to compare it with other arts. (Ibid.)
And in his brilliant analysis of cricket as "a dramatic spectacle . . . [which] belongs with the theatre, ballet, opera and the dance,"19 he not only takes issue with the aestheticians, but like Bakhtin, he liberates the critical imagination from the closetted confines of the aesthetic as a separate realm from the realm of the real, and from the value categories of fine arts and non-fine arts.
Cricket is first and foremost a dramatic spectacle. It belongs with the theatre, ballet, opera and the dance. In a superficial sense all games are dramatic. Two men boxing or running a race can exhibit skill, courage, endurance and sharp changes of fortune, can evoke hope and fear. They can even harrow the soul with laughter and tears, pity and terror. The state of the city, the nation or the world can invest a sporting event with dramatic intensity such as is reached in few theatres. When the democrat Joe Louis fought the Nazi Schmelling the bout became a focus of approaching world conflict. . . . These possibilities cricket shares with other games in a greater or lesser degree. Its quality as drama is more specific. It is so organized that at all times it is compelled to reproduce the central action which characterizes all good drama from the days of the Greeks to our own: two individuals are pitted against each other in a conflict that is strictly personal but no less strictly representative of a social group. One individual batsman faces one individual bowler. But each represents his side. The personal achievement may be of the utmost competence or brilliance. Its ultimate value is whether it assists the side to victory or staves off defeat. This has nothing to do with morals. It is the organizational structure on which the whole spectacle is built. The dramatist, the novelist, the choreographer, must strive to make his individual character symbolical of a larger whole. He may or may not succeed. . , . The batsman facing the ball does not merely represent his side. For that moment, to all intents and purposes, he is his side. This fundamental relation of the One and the Many, Individual and Social, Individual and Universal, leader and followers, representative and ranks, the part and the whole is structurally imposed on the players of cricket. What other sports, games and arts have to aim at, the players are given to start with, they cannot depart from it. Thus the game is founded upon a dramatic, a human relation which is universally recognized as the most objectively pervasive and psychologically stimulating in life and therefore in that artificial representation of it which is drama. (Ibid.)
The aesthetics is the politics. James is not negating the fine arts. He is taking them out of the box in which bourgeois critical canons, responding to a socio-ideological code rather than to a purely critical conceptual imperative, have confined them.
And in this displacement of imperative the fine arts too, like cricket closetted from the reality of their times, face the same aridity, the same death. James points out that in defining the arts according to bourgeois prescriptions, the aestheticians have scorned to take notice of popular sports and games to their own detriment.
The aridity and confusion of which they mournfully complain will continue until they include organized games, and the people who watch them as an integral part of their data.
James engaging with the art critic Berenson refutes the latter's decision to deny the criterion of art to wrestling matches because (as Berenson argues) of the game's "confusion and fatigue of actuality." Thus, Berenson maintains, only the artist manages to extract the "significance of movements," as in the rendering of tactile values solely the artist can embody the corporal significance of objects. Against Berenson's emphasis on the solitary artist as mediator and on the painting as the only medium of art, James argues:
I submit . . . that without the intervention of any artist the spectator at cricket extracts the significance of movement and of tactile value. He experiences the heightened sense of capacity. . . . [The] significant form is permanent present. It is known, expected, recognized, enjoyed by tens of thousands of spectators. Cricketers call it style. . . . What is to be emphasized is that whereas in the fine arts the image of tactile values and movement, however . . . magnificent, is permanent, fixed; in cricket the spectator sees the image constantly recreated and whether he is a cultivated spectator or not has standards which he carries with him always. He can recreate them at will. He can go to see a game hoping and expecting to see the image recreated or even extended. . . . The image can be a single stroke, made on a certain day, which has been seen and never forgotten. There are some of these the writer has carried in his consciousness for over forty years, some, in fact longer, as is described in the first pages of the book. (Ibid.)
Here James notes a significant fact about Berenson's art criticism the fact that whilst praising paintings like Pollaiuolo's "Hercules Strangling Antaeus" as well as Michelangelo's drawings as the ultimate yet reached in the presentation of tactile values and sense of movement, never once does Berenson analyze the fact that is for James of central importance, "the enormous role that elemental physical action plays in the visual arts throughout the century."
The omission is not accidental. The separation of the physical and the mental is maintained even for a "physical" art such as painting. The abduction system of the Head/ Body division rules in aesthetics too.
The wrestling match or the game of cricket could not be regarded by Berenson as being among the "fine arts." The bodies always in tense dynamic movement, the coordination is never static, finished, completed. Its aesthetic is itself dynamic.
Cricket, in fact any ball game, to the visual image adds the sense of physical coordination, of harmonious action, of timing. The visual image of a diving fieldsman is a frame for his rhythmic contact with the flying ball. Here two art forms meet. (Ibid.)
But James's greatest breach with bourgeois aesthetics is his refusal to see it as "play," as the Marcusean-defined rest from labor and recuperation for labor. Rather, the art of cricket or of any sports is seen as a creative activity in its own right and one intimately linked to human existence as is labor. In other words the aesthetic ceases to be merely a residual social activity; it becomes centrally meaningful.
In this part of his book James expresses the summa of his poesis a summa that expresses what Geoffrey Bateson calls the aesthetics of being alive.20
In the chapter, the Art and Practic Part, James formulates an aesthetics that moves outside the bourgeois aesthetic code. He calls in question the ruling social imaginaire, i.e., the socially legitimated collective representations which "value" the value-systems which control the mode of desire through the mechanism of its representation of the optative identity, of the optative canons of thought and feeling.
It is here that we grasp the dimensions of the Jamesian heresy. The critique in Beyond A Boundary, rather than merely an attack on capitalism as the economic expression of bourgeois society, goes beyond the absolute of the economic.
As James writes, summing up his credo:
After a thorough study of bullfighting in Spain, Ernest Haas, the famous [photographer's] . . . conclusion is that the bull fight is pure art. The spectacle is all motion.. . . The perfection of motion is what people want to see. They come hoping that this bull-fight will produce the perfect flow of motion. Another name for the perfect flow of motion is style, or, if you will, significant form.
Let us examine this motion, or, as Mr. Berenson calls it, movement. Where the motive or directing force rests with the single human being, an immense variety of physical motion is embraced within four categories. . . . The batsman propels a missile with a tool. The bowler does the same unaided.. . . He may bowl a slow curve or fast or medium, or he may at his pleasure use each in turn. There have been many bowlers whose method of delivery has seemed to spectators the perfection of form, irrespective of the fate which befell the balls bowled. Here, far more than in batting, the repetition conveys the realization of movement despite the actuality. Confusion is excluded by the very structure of the game.
As for the fieldsmen, there is no limit whatever to their possibilities of running, diving, leaping, falling forward, backwards, sideways, with all their energies concentrated on a specific objective, the whole completely realizable by the alert spectator. The spontaneous outburst of thousands at a fierce hook or a dazzling slip-catch, the ripple of recognition at a long-awaited leg- glance, are as genuine and deeply felt expressions of artistic emotion as any I know.
You will have noted that the four works of art chosen by Mr, Berenson to illustrate movement all deal with some physical action of the athletic kind. Mr. Berenson calls the physical process of response mystical. . . . I believe that the examination of the stroke, the brilliant piece of fielding, will take us through mysticism to far more fundamental considerations, than mere life-enhancing. We respond to physical action or vivid representation of it, dead or alive, because we are made that way. For unknown centuries survival for us, like all other animals, depended upon competent and effective physical activity. This played its part in developing the brain. The particular nature which became ours did not rest satisfied with this. If it had it could never have become human. The use of the hand, the extension of its powers by the tool, the propulsion of a missile at some objective and the accompanying refinements of the mechanics of judgment, these marked us off from the animals. Language may have come at the same time. . . . Sputnik can be seen as no more than a missile made and projected through tools by the development hand.
Similarly the eye for the line which is today one of the marks of ultimate aesthetic refinements is not new. It is old. The artists of the caves of Altamira had it. So did the bushmen. They had it to such a degree that they could reproduce it or, rather, represent it with unsurpassed force. Admitting this, Mr. Berenson confines the qualities of this primitive art to animal energy and an exasperated vitality. That, even if true, is totally subordinate to the fact that among these primitive peoples the sense of form existed to the degree that it could be consciously and repeatedly reproduced. It is not a gift of high civilization, the last achievement of noble minds. It is exactly the opposite. The use of sculpture and design among primitive people indicates that the significance of form is a common possession. Children have it. There is no need to adduce further evidence for the presupposition that the faculty or faculties by which we recognize significant form in elemental physical action is native to us, a part of the process by which we have become and remain human. It is neither more nor less mystical than any other of our faculties of apprehension. . . . The impression I get is that the line was an integral part of co-ordinated physical activity, functional perhaps, but highly refined in that upon it food or immediate self-preservation might depend.
Innate faculty though it might be, the progress of civilization can leave it unused, suppress its use, can remove us from the circumstances in which it is associated with animal energy. Developing civilization can surround us with circumstances and conditions in which our original faculties are debased or refined, made more simple or more complicated. They may seem to disappear altogether. They remain part of our human endowment. The basic motions of cricket represent physical action which has been the basis not only of primitive but of civilized life for countless centuries. In work and in play they were the motions by which men lived and without which they would perish. The Industrial Revolution transformed our existence. Our fundamental characteristics as human beings it did not and could not alter. The bushmen reproduced in one medium not merely animals but the line, the curve, the movement. It supplied in the form they needed a vision of the life they lived. (Ibid.)
The aesthetic is not less "material" than the economic. The expropriation of the means of aesthetic perception, of the mechanics of critical judgment are no less and perhaps far more terrible with respect to its consequences than the expropriation of the means of production. The means of providing for material existence are vital, but so too are the means of enacting, exercising, developing the innate faculty the eye for line and for significant form, an eye physical in earlier circumstances where the natural environment was the dominant challenge, now conceptual and aesthetic in a situation where man's greatest obstacle to the realization of his powers, to the free play and development of his faculties is now the socio-cultural environment.
This socio-environment is never natural; nor is it arbitrary. Nor are the attitudes and responses, of approval, recognition, or aversion, rejection, in other words, of intersubjective valuation ever purely subjective. Rather these subjective attitudes are responses in line with the value-systems of the hegemonic social imaginaire.
And it was this imaginaire that persuaded the masses that their desire for organized sports had nothing to do with their material needs, that aesthetic needs were for eggheads. That the satisfaction of a "visual artistic sense" could only be fed in art galleries. That aesthetic appreciation was something from which they were excluded.
Like the man speaking prose without knowing it, so the West Indian cricket audience shouting "Not a man move!", the bullfighting crowd shouting "Ole!" and "the spontaneous outburst of thousands . . . the ripple of recognition" at a moment when the player plays above himself, outside himself, is engaged, as Beyond A Boundary reveals, in "genuine and deeply felt expressions of artistic emotions." For it is this above all that people live by. Deprive them of it. Or sell the game by faking it, by massifying it. Reduce the aesthetic to the mechanically orchestrated in thought and feeling as in Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, Jonestown, and now increasingly in the United States, and in many areas of the Third World and all that is human of Man will be gone. The "stunted" creative imagination will call for gas ovens. And the burning has already begun.
Sylvia Wynter, a native West Indian, is a writer and teaches Afro-American Studies and Comparative Literature at Stanford University.
1. "Marx shattered the fiction of homo economicus, the myth which sums up the whole process of naturalization of the system of exchange- value, the market and surplus value and its forms. But he did so in the name of labor power's emergence in action, of men's own power to give rise to value by his labor (producere). Isn't this a similar naturalization a model bound to code all human (life) in terms of value and production? Through this mirror of production, the human being comes to consciousness in the imaginary, finalized by a sort of ideal productivist ego . . . in the identity that a man dons with his own eyes when he can think of himself only as something to produce, to transform, or bring about as value." (Jean Baudrillard, The Mirror of Production, tr. Mark Poster [St. Louis, 1975])[return to text]
2. "The definition of labor power as the source of concrete social wealth is the complete expression of the abstract manipulation of labor-power, the truth of capital culminates in this 'evidence' of man as producer of value. . . . For [Marx] . .. men begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence. . . . But is man's existence an end for which he must find the means? ... Is he labor-power (by which he separates himself as means from himself as his own end)?" (Ibid.)[return to text]
3. Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, tr. Iswolsky (Cambridge, Mass., 1968).[return to text]
4. Ibid.[return to text]
5. Ibid.[return to text]
6. "In all essentials the modern game was formed and shaped between 1778, when Hazlitt was born, and 1830, when he died. It was created by the yeoman farmer, the gamekeeper, the potter, the tinker, the Nottingham coal-miner, the Yorkshire factory hand. These artisans made it, men of hand and eye. Rich and idle young noblemen and some substantial city people contributed money, organization and prestige. Between them, by 1837 they had evolved a highly complicated game with all the typical characteristics of a genuinely national art form, founded on elements long present in the nation, profoundly popular in origin, yet attracting to it disinterested elements of the leisured and educated classes." (Beyond A Boundary)[return to text]
7. The "white masks" worn by Blacks (Fanon) are not so much white as "normative masks," i.e., the set of desires, aspirations, in the identity package which it then codes as Norm. In attaining to this normative middle-class identity, the individual acts according to the grammar of action coded in the identity package. In realizing his "individuality" as prescribed, the "unit" acts so as to constitute and verify middle-class reality as the really real. The middle-class cooptation of the identity and desires of the popular forces is even more powerful because more invisible. Nazism and the rise of the moral majority, Jonestown reveals this contradiction, i.e., the power of middle-class pseudo-populism to coerce the popular forces through their control of the social imaginaire. James's reading of Moby Dick reveals the hold of Ahab on the others prefiguring Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones. Who next? Others by compelling a reversal of the accumulative telos; compelling some measure of redistribution at the popular levels.[return to text]
8. Carnelius Castoriadis, LInstitution Imaginaire de la Societe (Paris, 1975).[return to text]
9. ". . . after this long absence they seemed all to have returned within about a decade of each other, in frantic haste. . . . Golf was known to be ancient. The first annual tournament of the Open Championship was held only in 1860. The Football Association was founded only in 1863. It was in 1866 that the first athletic championship was held in England. The first English cricket team left for Australia in 1862 and a county championship worthy of the name was organized only in 1873. In the United States the first all-professional baseball team was organized in 1869. [Lawn] tennis was actually invented and played for the first time in Wales in 1873 and was carried next year to the United States. The public flocked to these sports and games. All of a sudden, everyone wanted organized sports and games.
"But in that very decade this same public was occupied with other organizations of a very different type. Disraeli's Reform Bill, introducing popular democracy in England, was passed in 1865. In the same year the slave states were defeated in the American Civil War, to be followed immediately by the first modern organization of American labour. In 1864 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels founded the First Communist International and within a few years Europe for the first time since the Crusades saw an international organization composing millions of people. In 1871 in France Napoleon III was overthrown and the Paris Commune was established. It failed, and popular democracy . . . seemed doomed. In only four years it had returned and the Third Republic was founded. So that this same public that wanted sports and games so eagerly wanted popular democracy too. Perhaps they were not exactly the same people in each case. Even so, both groups were stirred at the same time." (Beyond A Boundary)[return to text]
10. "Concerning the treatment of slaves, I may mention as a good compilation, that of Charles Comte, Traite de la legislation, Third Edition, Brussell, 1837. Those who want to learn what the bourgeois makes of himself and his world, whenever he can, without restraint, model the world after his own image, should study this matter in detail." (Marx, 1930: 1: 752)[return to text]
11. James quoted from an excellent work of Richard Pares to prove his point. Pares noted inter alia that: "in all the inventories which are to be found among the West Indian archives it is very usual for the mill, the cauldron, the still and the buildings to count for more than one-sixth of the total capital; in most plantations one-tenth would be nearer the mark. By far the greatest capital items were the value of the slaves and the acreage planted in canes by their previous labor.
"Yet, when we look closely, we find that the industrial capital required was much larger than a sixth of the total value. With the mill, the boiling house and the still went an army of specialists almost all of them slaves, but none the less specialists for that.
"They were not only numerous but, because of their skill, they had a high value. If we add their cost to that of the instruments and machinery which they used, we find that the industrial capital of the plantations, without which it could not be a plantation at all, was probably not much less than half its total capital." (Reprinted into Spheres of Existence.)[return to text]
12. In State Capitalism and World Revolution James defines this crisis. As always where he analyzes the crisis in terms only of the division of labor in production, I suggest that his literary and fictional system and the underground heresy of his theoretics widen this analysis to the global social division imperative to the telos of accumulation, and based on the social imaginaire of the Reason/Instinct, Head/Body division. The division of labor is then seen as a subset, as the division white captain, Black team; or white quarterback, Black footballers. As James wrote:
"The crisis of production today [the crisis then of the global social order S.W.J. is the crisis of the antagonism between manual and intellectual labour. The problem of modern philosophy from Descartes in the sixteenth century to Stalinism in 1950 is the problem of the division of labour between the intellectuals and the workers. . . . In the springtime of capitalism this rationalistic division of labour was the basis of a common attempt of individual men associated in a natural environment to achieve control over nature. Today this division of labour is the control in social production of the administrative elite over the masses. Rationalism has reached its end in the complete divorce and absolute disharmony between manual and intellectual labour, between the socialized proletariat and the monster of centralized capital." State Capitalism and World Revolution (Detroit, 1950).[return to text]
13. "The structural analysis [of Borana society, Ethiopia] demonstrated that structures resting upon cognitive discrimination can be as orderly as the grammar governing language. We cannot assume that this is the only kind of order in human society. In the analyses of instability we saw the kinds of regularities that are not based on native conceptual schemes. . . . There are rather events, processes, and trends that exist in spite of structure. . . . [Yet] .. . there is a third domain that is both anti-structural and antiempirical. This is the domain of creativity, ecstatic religion, prophetism. . . . This is where Turner's classic, The Ritual Process . . . has finally established liminality and multi-vocality as the third major area of anthropological analysis. . . . He [Turner] has established the interpretative power of the concept of liminality . . . [and] has established that the topsy-turvy world of transitional and marginal groups, dominated as it is by a rich multi-vocal symbolic medium, is nothing less than the third facet of human society.... It is a domain in which the categoric distinctions that normally segmentalize the social field are temporarily held in abeyance, allowing the human community to experience the bonds of total empathy. These inordinately fragile liminal societies exist only for very brief periods of history, and in the very process of dying, they give rise to new forms of social structure or revitalized versions of the old order. Liminality is the repository of the creative potential underlying human society. (Asmarom Legesse, Gada: Three Approaches to the Study of African Society [New York, 1973])[return to text]
14. Walter Rodney was the first to underscore this clash of ratio between the accumulative telos of the bourgeoisie and that of African traditional societies at the beginning of the Atlantic Slave Trade:
"What is most fundamental is an attempt to evaluate the African contribution to the solution of the problems posed by man's existence in society; and hence the stress placed in this paper on matter pertaining to social relations: codes of hospitality, processes of the law, public order and social and religious tolerance. In each of those areas of human social activity, African norms and practices were given a high value by Europeans themselves. They often reflected that the hospitality they saw in an African village was lacking in their communities; that the security of goods stood in marked contrast to brigandage and depredations in Europe.
". . . On the other hand, African norms were frustrating to capitalists. For instance, the whites resented the polite formulae of African greetings since they were lengthy and could delay business for a whole day. One European denounced African hospitality in the following terms: "The law of hospitality is obstructive of industry. If there is provision in the country, a man who wants it has only to find out who has got any, and he must have his share. If he enters any man's house during his repast, and gives him the usual salutation, the man must invite him to partake. Thus, whatever abundance a man may get by assiduity, will be shared by the lazy, and thus they seldom calculate for more than nec- essaries. But the laws of hospitality are not restrained to diet. A common man cannot quietly enjoy a spare shirt or a pair of trousers. Those who are too lazy to plant or hunt are also too lazy to trade.'" (Walter Rodney, Groundings With My Brothers [London, 1969])[return to text]
15. Ibid.[return to text]
16. "When we reach state capitalism, oneparty state, cold war, hydrogen bomb, it is obvious that we have reached ultimates. We are now at the stage where all universal questions are matters of concrete specific urgency for society in general as well as for every individual. As we wrote in The Invading Socialist Society:
"'It is precisely the character of our age and the maturity of humanity that obliterates the opposition between theory and practice, between the intellectual occupations of the "educated" and the masses.'
"All previous distinctions, politics and economics, war and peace, agitation and propaganda, party and mass, the individual and society, national, civil and imperialist war, single country and one world, immediate needs and ultimate solution all these it is impossible to keep separate any longer. Total planning is inseparable from permanent crisis, the world struggle for the minds of men from the world tendency to the complete mechanization of men." (The Invading Socialist Society [Detroit, 1950])[return to text]
17. "Hazlitt's strength and comprehensiveness were the final culmination of one age fertilized by the new. In prose, in poetry, in criticism, in painting, his age was more creative than the country had been for two centuries before and would be for a century after. This was the age that among its other creations produced the game of cricket." (Beyond A Boundary)[return to text]
18. Cf. James: "The revolutionary bourgeoisie which established its powers against feudalism could only develop a philosophy of history and of society in which, on the one hand, it spoke for the progress of all society, and on the other, for itself as the leaders of society. This philosophy can be summed up in one word: rationalism.
"Rationalism is the philosophy of bourgeois political economy. It is materialist and not idealist in so far as it combats superstition, seeks to expand the productive forces and increases the sum total of goods. But there is no such thing as a classless materialism. Rationalism conceives this expansion as a division of labour between the passive masses and the active elite. Thereby it re-instates idealism. Because it does not and cannot doubt that harmonious progress is inevitable by this path, the essence of rationalism is uncritical or vulgar materialism, and uncritical or vulgar idealism. (State Capitalism and World Revolution)[return to text]
19. Television reproducing the movements of footballers, baseball players, basketball in slow motion, reveals not only that sports are modalities of dance, but also why all theoretical dance, classical ballet and modern, have become the vestiges of a museum performance, irrelevant.[return to text]
20. "Today, we pump a little natural history into children along with a little 'art' so that they will forget their animal and ecological nature and the aesthetics of being alive and will grow up to be good businessmen. " (Geoffrey Bateson, Mind and Nature [New York, 1979])[return to text]