His wife worried at this more and more and finally

This preview shows page 64 - 67 out of 171 pages.

His wife worried at this more and more and finally became sick, went into a decline, and died.
Image of page 64
Then the old man began to feel terribly guilty and remorseful. He [[p_079]] had killed his wife just because he selfishly wanted to go on knowing the language of the animals. So he decided to have a suttee which would be the reverse of the ordinary. In an ordinary suttee, the widow jumps into the pyre on which her husband‘s body is being burned. He would jump into the flames of his wife‘s cremation. A great pyre of wood was therefore built and decorated, as was the custom, with flowers and colored leaves; and beside it he had the people build a platform with a ladder up to it so that from this platform he could jump into the flames. Before the cremation, he went up onto the platform to see that it was as it should be and how it would be to jump. While he was there, two goats came by in the grass below, a billy goat and a pregnant nanny, and they were talking. Nanny said, ―Billy, get me some of those leaves. Those pretty leaves. I must have some to eat.‖ But Billy said, ―Baaaaaaaa.‖ Nanny said, ―Billy, please. You don‘t love me, Billy. If you loved me, you would get them. You don‘t love me anymore.‖ And so on. But Billy only said, ―Baaa. Baaa.‖ Adji Darma listened to this and suddenly he had an idea. He said to himself, ―Ha! That‘s what I ought to have said to her,‖ and he practiced saying it two or three times, ―Baaa! Baaa!‖ Then he got d own off the platform and went home. He lived happily ever after. *** I have now lined up a series of pieces of data hints about how the world is and all the pieces share the notion of not communicating something under some circumstances . It is important that the Ancient Mariner not tell himself that he is blessing the snakes, and especially that he not define a ―purpose‖ of the act of blessing. He must bless them ―unaware.‖ Similarly, Adji Darma shall not tell anybody that he understands the language of the animals. The Indians at Iowa City shall not be photographed. The camera shall not point at their ritual actions to make them see themselves and tell the world about these mysteries. I am irritated by Joe‘s interrupting my psychedelic trip whil e he sets up a tape recorder, and still more irritated when he asks me to repeat what I had [[p_080]] begun to say, which obviously could only be done with extra consciousness. And so on.
Image of page 65
I cannot even say clearly how many examples of the same phenomenon this avoidance of communication are contained in the stories I have set side by side. After all, Adji must not only conceal the secret of his knowledge of the language of the animals; he must conceal the fact that there is a secret , and this is what he failed to do. We find over and over again in different parts of the world and different epochs of religious thought a recurrent emphasis on the notion that discovery, invention, and knowledge in general must be regarded as dangerous . Many examples are familiar: Prometheus was chained to the rock for inventing the
Image of page 66
Image of page 67

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 171 pages?

  • Fall '19
  • Gregory Bateson

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors