Rain and the Rhinoceros.
But I am also going to sleep, because here in this wilderness I have learned how to sleep again.
True, the utility line is not here yet, and so G.E. If one does not understand the usefulness of the useless and the uselessness of the useful, one cannot understand art. The problem of Berenger, in Ionesco's Rhinoceros, is the problem of the human person stranded and alone in what threatens to become a society of monsters.
But the rain brings no renewal to the city, on to tomorrow’s weather, and the glint of windows in tall buildings will then have nothing to do with the new sky.
Meanwhile, in order to increase its power over you, the collectivity increases your needs. And a country where art is not understood is a country of slaves and robots. It fills the woods with an immense and confused sound.
The city itself lives on its own myth. This has already been brought home to me with a wallop by my Coleman lantern. Such is the problem which Ionesco sets us in his tragic irony: solitude and dissent become more and more impossible, more and more absurd. And, that silence is inherently ecumenical. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The valley resounds with the totally uninformative talk of creeks and wild water. One would think that urban man in a rainstorm would have to take account of nature in its wetness and freshness, its baptism and its renewal. This will give it meaning. And my writing was lost to a life of commerce and everydayness. “I will not make you such rich men as have need of many things,” said Philoxenos (putting the words on the lips of Christ), “but I will make you true rich men who have need of nothing. This is a metaphor for people who become stubborn, hard headed and charge towards something blindly without thinking. There are always a few people who are in the woods at night, in the rain (because if there were not the world would have ended), and I am one of them. Of course the festival of rain cannot be stopped, even in the city. It changed my life. This burden of ever-expanding need is the price of our submission. But at the very end of the play — after Daisy and Dutard have both turned into rhinoceroses — he shouts “I’m not capitulating!”. To have an identity, he has to be awake, and aware. By “they” I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. This week, in the closing month of his centennial, we have been re-reading his extraordinary book of essays, letters and meditations, Raids on the Unspeakable. They have constructed a world outside the world, against the world, a world of mechanical fictions which contemn nature and seek only to use it up, thus preventing it from renewing itself and man. The valley resounds with the totally uninformative talk of creeks and wild water. It is given a precise reason for existing. Both African and Sumatran rhinoceros have two horns, while Indian and Javanese rhinoceros have one horn. As long as we conform to the collective, we can avoid feelings of emptiness and contingency.
The afternoon sun slants through the pine trees: and how those useless needles smell in the clear air! Instead, they defend themselves from the rain with umbrellas and canopies, failing to see that “the streets shine beautifully, that they themselves are walking on stars and water.”.
He seems to be alone, perhaps, for he experiences himself as “individual.” But because he is willingly enclosed and limited by the laws and illusions of collective existence, he has no more identity than an unborn child in the womb. For Merton, the problem goes deeper than an obsession with having fun. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with inconsistent and controlled rhythms.
In the sixth century Berenger might perhaps have walked off into the desert of Scete, without too much concern over the fact that all his fellow citizens, all his friends, and even his girl Daisy, had turned into rhinoceroses.
By … But I am also going to sleep, because here in this wilderness I have learned how to sleep again. There will always be a place, says Ionesco, ” for those isolated consciences who have stood up for the universal conscience ” as against the mass mind. The city itself lives on its own myth. Here, in its entirety, is a masterpiece. He wonders how he can explain to city dwellers why he is alone in the woods. (Notes et Contre Notes, p129) Rhinoceritis, he adds, is the sickness that lies in wait "for those who have lost the sense and the taste for solitude.". Over at Fort Knox the Rhinoceros is having fun. Projects long abandoned were reborn.
In a wireless moment, links to my long lost friend appear. The rhinoceros of Sumatra and Javan are found only in small areas of Malaysian and Indonesian wetlands and rain forests. Naturally no one can believe the things they say about the rain.
I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness. We must begin, indeed, in the social womb. Best Iconic Monuments in Europe. At the same time in The New Tenant (Le Nouveau Locataire ) Ionesco portrays the absurdity of a logically consistent individualism which, in fact, is a self-isolation by the pseudo-logic of proliferating needs and possessions. I will suffer their bluff and patronizing complacencies in silence. Copyright © The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. But because he is willingly enclosed and limited by the laws and illusions of collective existence, he has no more identity than an unborn child in the womb. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.