[KB] Conversation Editing Redux 2

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Thu Jan 19 12:54:05 EST 2017


Burkophiles,


          Firstoff, let’s go to where Burke explicitly, if elliptically (that’s Burke’s style,right?), ties his pentad to the “Trouble” that is inherent in what Burke labelsthe “Iron Law of History,” humankind’s lamentable addiction to the guilt-sacrifice-redemptioncycle. The terms Burke employs here, as implicit in the pentad, are analogousto the word “Trouble,” or can be subsumed under its general heading: “drama,”“conflict,” and “victimage.” “Drama” and “conflict” are inseparably related. Merriam-Webster’sdefines “drama” as “a state, situation, or series of events” having a “serioustone” and “involving interesting or intense conflict of forces” (the Collegiate, Eleventh Edition, p. 378).The simplest definition of “drama” I use in the Primer is, moral conflict to set right a situation gone wrong, orprevent a situation from going wrong. Symbolizers are always on the edge offull-fledged drama, rule violation, failure to live up to expectations, leadingto “conflict.” That’s why there’s surveillance, in the family, in school, inthe workplace, in the community, in the Garden of Eden before theFall---everywhere, even before a big-time violation of the rule or rules thatundergird the established hierarchal structure in those venues occurs.


          Here’show Burke vouchsafes that trajectory from the pentad to the potentially dire“Trouble” given shape by the cycle of terms implicit in the idea of order:


          “Thereis a gloomy route, of this sort: If ACTION is to be our key term, then DRAMA;for drama is the culminative form of action (this is a variant of the‘perfection’ principle discussed in the previous chapter [culmination: theclimax of the trajectory]. But if DRAMA, then CONFLICT. And if CONFLICT, thenVICTIMAGE. Dramatism is always [note: ALWAYS] on the edge of this vexingproblem [read: TROUBLE], that comes to a culmination in tragedy, the song ofthe scapegoat [see Leviticus, Chapter 16, on the function of the “scapegoat” onthe Day of Atonement in Ancient Israel, and Burke’s congruent description ofthat function in “The Dialectic of the Scapegoat,” Grammar, pp. 406-408]” (“Terministic Screens,” LASA, pp. 54-55, emphasis in original).


          “Perfection”in Burke is analogous to “entelechy,” “the actualization of form-giving causeas contrasted with potential existence , . . . an inherent regulating anddirecting force . . . .” Meriam-Webster’s, p. 416. See, also, DD, Appendix A, pp. 57-58.


          Whichis to say, anytime you see an actor performing an action for some purpose, employingcertain means or steps or stages in attempting to achieve that end, in responseto necessarily scenic or situational pressures, rules, or constraints, look fora troublesome conflict of some kind, actual or potential, driving that action,however overtly or subtly. Warding off possible “trouble” in the form of feared“conflict” and its likely victimizing consequences is as dramatic as acting toovercome them.


          Iremember taking college Shakespeare way back when. Professor Bomberger made usdiagram selected plays we were not able to get to in class. “Rising action”began with what we were to label the initial “complication.” Call it just asreadily the opening “conflict” or “trouble.” No human action in real life, orin literary or theatrical drama, happens without that “gloomy” route, of lesserdegree (comedy) or more (say, burlesque, melodrama, or tragedy) lurking asthreat up ahead.


          Next:The “Trouble” initiating “drama” (as the end-result of pentadic implications)as “morbid[ity]” or “sickness” requiring “hypochondriasis” as program ofintervention and melioration.



 
          Ed



 
          P.S.After my first post on this matter, I received a reply from a subscriber. Iresponded to the post by hitting “reply” rather than “reply all,” thinking thatwould send the message only to the respondent in question. If that reply wentout to all subscribers to the list, I apologize. It contained privateinformation not for general posting. I’ve changed the title of this thread soas to be sure not to repost that private information. 

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