Drakopoulos, Pan: Dostoyevsky

On the Tracks of the Person

vermeerIn 1321, a short time before his death, Dante Alighieri accomplished his work “The Divine Comedy” offering us the essence of the Medieval mind. In fact, a semeiology of behavior patterns. Man, says the great Florentine, is a behavioral being par excellence, whose activities and attitudes are not hemmed in the present. Man is defined by the uncertain span of his behavior -an uncertainty that is unaware of an end or death, and constitutes the dimensions and functions of the visible and invisible hierarchy of beings.

On April 23, 1564 William Shakespeare saw the daylight for the first time. Being an authentic child of the Renaissance, and its crowning child at that, Shakespeare teaches us how to look at the Comedy of History. He tears at the veil of the world and reveals the sneering and bloody teeth of history. He shows us that Man drags himself on history’s thorny cog-wheel while, at the same time, Man is a thorn of the wheel. He also shows us that all actions of Man serve that cog-wheel whether he agrees or disagrees with it. He has no alternative, not even in a dream since history has already been a phantom.

Shakespeare is the first one who tells us that “message is the meaning;” because no passage or transmission of a message can be through a meaning: the stage of the theater has already been a play within a play. The reading of the world, the probing deeply into reality is a third play within the two others already in action, and so on. It is a mirror mirrored in a mirror reflecting the same reflection always in a never-ending series. Woe to the mirror that thinks itself “real”, or that the real is mirrored in it. What is indeed real is the reflection of the mirror.

Honore de Balzak, a genuine child of the French Revolution, has produced “The Human Comedy”. Here Man is a prisoner of social conditions and relations. His existence depends on his milieu, his social environment: forefathers, family, birth-place, residence-place, date of birth, job, the architecture of the place he lives at, the existing technology, the installed principles, furniture, clothing, physiognomic traits and such like are the elements which dictate the behavior and define the destiny of each man. The environment create the soul of Man, this is what “The Human Comedy” tells us (and Marx could not but applaud it).

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