11 Dec 2018

Borges, “Death and the Compass,” summary

 

by Corry Shores

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[The following is summary. Section divisions are my own as is any boldface. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive my errors.]

 

 

 

Summary of

 

Jorge Luis Borges

 

“Death and the Compass”

 

Translated by Donald A. Yates.

 

 

 

 

Brief summary (collecting those below):

(Section 1): Erik Lönnrot is a detective who can foresee crimes at least to a partial extent. The most recent murder was at a place called “the villa of Triste-le-Roy.” Lönnrot could not guess the identity of the assassin, but he was able to see that Red Scharlach (Scharlach the Dandy) was involved. Although Scharlach has vowed to kill Lönnrot, the detective is an adventurer and gambler (and so he sets out to solve the case despite the dangers to his life). (Section 2): On December 3rd, Doctor Marcel Yarmolinsky came to [this city] as a delegate from Podolsk to the Third Talmudic Congress, staying at the Hôtel du Nord on Floor R, across from the Tetrarch of Galilee’s room. He goes to bed, and on the fourth the editor of the Yidische Zaitung tries calling his room, but there is no answer. He is then found dead in his room. “He was lying not far from the door which opened on the hall; a deep knife wound had split his breast.” Shortly after that, Inspector Treviranus and Lönnrot come and discuss the murder. (Section 3): Inspector Treviranus notes that the Tetrarch of Galilee (who was staying across the hall) possessed the finest sapphires in the world. So a thief was trying to steal them, but went to the wrong room accidentally. He then had to kill Yarmolinsky, Treviranus thinks. Lönnrot disagrees, because Treviranus’ theory uses hypotheses that rely too much on chance. Given that Yarmolinsky is a rabbi, Lönnrot seeks “a purely rabbinical explanation, not the imaginary mischances of an imaginary robber” (77). Lönnrot notes Yarmolinsky’s books, which are occult and Hebrew themed, including a monograph on the Tetragrammaton. (Section 4): One of the police agents noticed that in a small typewriter is a paper reading “The first letter of the Name has been uttered”. Lönnrot then takes Yarmolinsky’s books home to study them. He notes three of them: one about Israel Baal Shem Tobh, one about the virtues and terrors of the Tetragrammaton (“the unutterable name of God”), and one that contains the thesis that God has a secret name that somehow contains eternity, “that is to say, the immediate knowledge of all things that will be, which are and which have been in the universe” (78). There are traditionally 99 names of God, and the 100th is this Absolute Name. The editor of the Yidische Zaitung visits Lönnrot, sees his work with the books, and misrepresents the situation in his newspapers saying Lönnrot will try to find the name of the murderer by studying the names of God. (Section 5): There was a second murder, this time outside an old paint shop in an “empty corner of the capital’s western suburbs,” and it happens on the 3rd of January. The victim is Daniel Simon Azevedo, who was a politician and then became a thief and informer. He was stabbed in the chest. Treviranus and Lönnrot come to the scene of the crime, and they see that written across yellow and red diamonds on the wall near him in chalk is: “The second letter of the Name has been uttered.” (Section 6): The third murder occurs on the 3rd of February. This time, Inspector Treviranus gets a bit of a warning. That day, someone named Ginzberg calls and says he has information for sale about the murders of Azevedo and Yarmolinsky. But then noise of whistles and horns drowns out the caller’s voice, and the connection is broken. Treviranus figures that the call came from a tavern called the Liverpool House. Treviranus goes there and learns from the owner Black Finnegan that the caller was probably a lodger named Gryphius, who had just left with friends. Gryphius had been renting a room at the tavern for eight days. He has a grey beard and dresses in black. He willingly paid a large sum for the room. He normally did not go out, but on the night of the call, there are odd circumstances. Gryphius makes his phone call from Finnegan’s office. Then a closed cab pulls up to the tavern. The driver is wearing a bear’s mask. Then two drunk harlequins wearing yellow, red, and green diamonds get out of the cab, enter the tavern and then Finnegan’s office where Gryphius is making the call. They speak in Yiddish, then go up to Gryphius’ room, and then come back down joyfully, with Gryphius drunk now too. They get in the cab and go toward the harbor. On one of the slates of the pier shed, one of the harlequins wrote, “The last of the letters of the Name has been uttered”. Treviranus then searches Gryphius’ room and discovers there the book Philologus Hebraeo-Graecus. Next, Treviranus meets with Lönnrot, who notes that the thirty-third dissertation of the Philologus book is “The Hebrew day begins at sundown and lasts until the following sundown.” Lönnrot then says that more important than this is a word that Ginzberg (Gryphius) uses, but Lönnrot does not elaborate. Dandy Red Scharlach, “the most illustrious gunman of the south”, accuses Treviranus of negligence for letting these crimes occur. (Section 7): On March first, Inspector Treviranus receives a letter signed “Baruch Spinoza.” It says there will probably not be a fourth murder, because the locations of the first three make “the perfect vertices of a mystic equilateral triangle”, as shown in red ink on an included map. Treviranus shows this to Lönnrot, who studies it at home. The three events also happened on the thirds of each month, so there was a symmetry in time as well as space. Lönnrot examines the map with calipers and compass and says the word “Tetragrammaton.” He phones Treviranus to declare that the murderers are planning a fourth murder. (Section 8): Lönnrot now goes to the abandoned villa of Triste-le-Roy, which is in an area occupied by some criminals, including Red Scharlach, “the most celebrated gunman of all.” But Lönnrot is not sure who the victim will be (he only knows the location and time), and he wonders if the victim will be Scharlach. He comes upon the villa at night. He enters by the main, iron gate. The house has odd architecture:

Viewed from anear, the house of the villa of Triste-le-Roy abounded in pointless symmetries and in maniacal repetitions: to one Diana in a murky niche corresponded a second Diana in another niche; one balcony was reflected in another balcony; double stairways led to double balustrades. A two-faced Hermes projected a monstrous shadow.

(83)

He pushes through a Venetian blind and descends into a vault. Lönnrot, seeing the symmetry to the architecture, seeks and finds a stair on the opposite end. He then ascends it through a trap door and goes to a window that he opens to see the moon illuminate two silent fountains in the garden. He next explores the house and finds it to be almost endlessly self-replicative.

Through anterooms and galleries he passed to duplicate patios, and time after time to the | same patio. He ascended the dusty stairs to circular antechambers; he was multiplied infinitely in opposing mirrors; he grew tired of opening or half-opening windows which revealed outside the same desolate garden from various heights and various angles [...]

(83-84)

Insides the rooms the furniture and chandeliers are wrapped up. He touches a flower in a bedroom and its “ancient petals fell apart.” But although the house seems infinite, he instead thinks that other factors only make it seem so large.

On the second floor, on the top floor, the house seemed infinite and expanding. The house is not this large, he thought. Other things are making it seem larger: the dim light, the symmetry, the mirrors, so many years, my unfamiliarity, the loneliness.

(74)

He then ascends a spiral staircase to an oriel window bay with yellow, red, and green diamonds, which reminds him (of the harlequin colors and the colors of the paint shop). (Section 9): Lönnrot is then overcome by two short men who disarm him and handcuff him. A third, tall man, Red Scharlach, tells Lönnrot that he saved them a night and day (it is still not yet March 3rd.) Lönnrot asks Scharlach if he is seeking the Secret Name. Scharlach replies that he is simply seeking Lönnrot out of vengeance for him arresting his brother and for Scharlach’s getting shot in the stomach in the battle with the police at that event. While recovering from the wound, he lay in agony and fever for nine days and nights “in this desolate, symmetrical villa”. In his delirium, he was troubled by the two-faced Janus statue. All the while, an Irishman tried to convert him to Christianity by repeating the phrase, “all roads lead to Rome”. This metaphor fed his delirium. “I felt that the world was a labyrinth, from which it was impossible to flee, for all roads, though they pretend to lead to the north or south, actually lead to Rome, which was also the quadrilateral jail where my brother was dying and the villa of Triste-le-Roy” (85). He then “swore by the God who sees with two faces and by all the gods of fever and of the mirrors” to “weave a labyrinth” around Lönnrot. The Labyrinth is composed of “a dead heresiologist, a compass, an eighteenth-century sect, a Greek word, a dagger, the diamonds of a paint shop”. Scharlach then explains the murders. Doctor Marcel Yarmolinsky (the “dead heresiologist”) was murdered (see sect. 2) on January 3rd by Daniel Azevedo (who was later himself murdered, see sect. 5). Azevedo was going to steal the Tetrarch of Galilee’s sapphires (see sect. 2). But Azevedo spends his advance on getting drunk and decides to do the job a day early. He stumbles accidentally into Yarmolinsky’s room. Yarmolinsky was writing notes for an article on the Name of God, having already written, “The first letter of the Name has been uttered.” Before Yarmolinsky could hit an alarm bell, Azevedo instinctively kills him by stabbing him in the chest (“a dagger”). Scharlach then reads in Yidische Zaitung about Lönnrot’s investigations into Yarmolinsky’s writings, including the book History of the Hasidic Sect (“an eighteenth-century sect”). He notes that uttering the Name of God has great occult powers and that some, in search of the Name, had committed human sacrifices. So Scharlach decided to make it seem like this is what happened to Yarmolinsky. The second murder was of Azevedo (see sect. 5), set on the third of January, and Scharlach writes “The second letter of the Name has been uttered” on the paint shop diamonds to connect it to the first murder. The third murder (see sect. 6) “was a sham” (if you recall, there was no mention of a victim’s body in that one. Perhaps there never was a murder, but then it is not clear why one was thought to have happened in the first place.) Scharlach says that he himself is Gryphius-Ginz­berg-Ginsburg. He friends abducted him, and on a post they wrote “The last of the letters of the Name has been uttered.” This led the public to believe that there were only three murders planned, but Scharlach left clues to indicate to Lönnrot that there would be a fourth: the murders being committed in North, East, and West called for a fourth in the South (“a compass”); “the Tetragrammaton – the name of God, JHVH – is made up of four letters” (“a Greek word”?); “the harlequins and the paint shop sign suggested four points” (“the diamonds of a paint shop”); “Hebrews compute the day from sunset to sunset; that passage makes known that the deaths occurred on the fourth of each month” (since the murders happened after sunset, they occurred on the following day, not the third); and Scharlach sent the map with the fourth point needing to be drawn, forming a perfect rhombus.  This was Scharlach’s plan to attract Lönnrot to his death trap. Lönnrot then says that there are three lines too many in his labyrinth, and he requests that next time he kill him, he place the three points all on one line, but still in a labyrinth form. The first murder would be at point A, and the second murder would then be 8 kilometers away at point B.

AXXXXXXXXXXXB

This establishes the line of the labyrinth. The third murder would be halfway between points A and B at point C.

AXXXXXCXXXXXB

And the fourth one would be at point D, halfway between A and C.

AXXDXXCXXXXXB

“In your labyrinth there are three lines too many,” he said at last. “I know of one Greek labyrinth which is a single straight line. Along that line so many philosophers have lost themselves | that a mere detective might well do so, too. Scharlach, when in some other incarnation you hunt me, pretend to commit (or do commit) a crime at A, then a second crime at B, eight kilometers from A, then a third crime at C, four kilometers from A and B, half-way between the two. Wait for me afterwards at D, two kilometers from A and C, again halfway between both. Kill me at D, as you are now going to kill me at Triste-le-Roy.”

(86-87)

(Note, this line that “so many philosophers have lost themselves” in this straight line ancient Greek labyrinth might be speaking about something like a Zeno’s paradox: the successive divisions in half suggest a pattern that could be thought to continue, further dividing the line toward A without ever reaching it.) Scharlach agrees to this and then shoots Lönnrot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

1

[Introducing Lönnrot the Detective and His Criminal Nemesis Red Scharlach ]

 

2

[The Murder of Yarmolinsky]

 

3

[Yarmolinsky’s Occult Hebrew Books]

 

4

[The Absolute Name of God and Its Immediate Knowledge of the Future. The First Letter from the First Murder.]

 

5

[The Second Murder and the Second Letter]

 

6

[The Third Murder and the Last of the Name Letters]

 

7

[Prefiguring the Fourth Murder]

 

8

[Exploring the House at the Villa of Triste-le-Roy]

 

9

[Lönnrot’s Capture by Scharlach. The Single-Lined Labyrinth. The Fourth Murder.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

1

[Introducing Lönnrot the Detective and His Criminal Nemesis Red Scharlach ]

(p.76 “Of the many problems .... a little of the gambler.”)

 

Erik Lönnrot is a detective who can foresee crimes at least to a partial extent. The most recent murder was at a place called “the villa of Triste-le-Roy.” Lönnrot could not guess the identity of the assassin, but he was able to see that Red Scharlach (Scharlach the Dandy) was involved. Although Scharlach has vowed to kill Lönnrot, the detective is an adventurer and gambler (and so he sets out to solve the case despite the dangers to his life).

Of the many problems which exercised the reckless discernment of Lönnrot, none was so strange – so rigorously strange, shall we say – as the periodic series of bloody events which culminated at the villa of Triste-le-Roy, amid the ceaseless aroma of the eucalypti. It is true that Erik Lönnrot failed to prevent the last murder, but that he foresaw it is indisputable. Neither did he guess the identity of Yarmolinsky’s luckless assassin, but he did succeed in divining the secret morphology behind the fiendish series as well as the participation of Red Scharlach, whose other nickname is Scharlach the Dandy. That criminal (as countless others) had sworn on his honor to kill Lönnrot, but the latter could never be intimidated. Lönnrot believed himself a pure reasoner, an Auguste Dupin, but there was something of the adventurer in him, and even a little of the gambler.

(76)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

[The Murder of Yarmolinsky]

(p.76-77 “The first murder occurred in .... were calmly discussing the problem.”)

 

On December 3rd, Doctor Marcel Yarmolinsky came to [this city] as a delegate from Podolsk to the Third Talmudic Congress, staying at the Hôtel du Nord on Floor R, across from the Tetrarch of Galilee’s room. He goes to bed, and on the fourth the editor of the Yidische Zaitung tries calling his room, but there is no answer. He is then found dead in his room. “He was lying not far from the door which opened on the hall; a deep knife wound had split his breast.” Shortly after that, Inspector Treviranus and Lönnrot come and discuss the murder.

The first murder occurred in the Hôtel du Nord – that tall prism which dominates the estuary whose waters are the color of the desert. To that tower (which quite glaringly unites the hateful whiteness of a hospital, the numbered divisibility of a jail, and the general appearance of a bordello) there came on the third day of December the delegate from Podolsk to the Third Talmudic Congress, Doctor Marcel Yarmolinsky, a gray-bearded man with gray eyes. We shall never know whether the Hôtel du Nord pleased him; he accepted it with the ancient resignation which had allowed him to endure three years of war in the Carpathians and three thousand years of oppression and pogroms. | He was given a room on Floor R, across from the suite which was occupied – not without splendor – by the Tetrarch of Galilee. Yarmolinsky supped, postponed until the following day an inspection of the unknown city, arranged in a placard his many books and few personal possessions, and before midnight extinguished his light. (Thus declared the Tetrarch’s chauffeur who slept in the adjoining room.) On the fourth, at 11:03 A.M., the editor of the Yidische Zaitung put in a call to him; Doctor Yarmolinsky did not answer. He was found in his room, his face already a little dark, nearly nude beneath a large, anachronistic cape. He was lying not far from the door which opened on the hall; a deep knife wound had split his breast. A few hours later, in the same room amid journalists, photographers and policemen, Inspector Treviranus and Lönnrot were calmly discussing the problem.

(76-77)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

[Yarmolinsky’s Occult Hebrew Books]

(p.77-78 “No need to look for a three-legged cat ... No one answered him.”)

 

Inspector Treviranus notes that the Tetrarch of Galilee (who was staying across the hall) possessed the finest sapphires in the world. So a thief was trying to steal them, but went to the wrong room accidentally. He then had to kill Yarmolinsky, Treviranus thinks. Lönnrot disagrees, because Treviranus’ theory uses hypotheses that rely too much on chance. Given that Yarmolinsky is a rabbi, Lönnrot seeks “a purely rabbinical explanation, not the imaginary mischances of an imaginary robber” (77). Lönnrot notes Yarmolinsky’s books, which are occult and Hebrew themed, including a monograph on the Tetragrammaton (wiki).

“No need to look for a three-legged cat here,” Treviranus was saying as he brandished an imperious cigar. “We all know that the Tetrarch of Galilee owns the finest sapphires in the world. Someone, intending to steal them, must have broken in here by mistake. Yarmolinsky got up; the robber had to kill him. How does it sound to you?”

“Possible, but not interesting,” Lönnrot answered. “You’ll reply that reality hasn’t the least obligation to be interesting. And I’ll answer you that reality may avoid that obligation but that hypotheses may not. In the hypothesis that you propose, chance intervenes copiously. Here we have a dead rabbi; I would prefer a purely rabbinical explanation, not the imaginary mischances of an imaginary robber.”

Treviranus replied ill-humoredly:

“I’m not interested in rabbinical explanations. I am interested in capturing the man who stabbed this unknown person.”

“Not so unknown,” corrected Lönnrot. “Here are his complete works.” He indicated in the wall-cupboard a row of tall books: a Vindication of the Cabala; An Examination of the Philosophy of Robert Fludd; a literal translation of the Sepher Yezirah; a Biography of the Baal Shem; a History of the Hasidic Sect; a monograph (in German) on the Tetragrammaton; another, on the divine nomenclature of the Pentateuch. The inspector re- | garded them with dread, almost with repulsion. Then he began to laugh.

“I’m a poor Christian,” he said. “Carry off those musty volumes if you want; I don’t have any time to waste on Jewish superstitions.”

“Maybe the crime belongs to the history of Jewish superstitions,” murmured Lönnrot.

“Like Christianity,” the editor of the Yidische Zaitung ventured to add. He was myopic, an atheist and very shy.

No one answered him.

(77-78)

 

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

[The Absolute Name of God and Its Immediate Knowledge of the Future. The First Letter from the First Murder.]

(p.78-79 “One of the agents had found ... of the History of the Hasidic Sect.”)

 

One of the police agents noticed that in a small typewriter is a paper reading “The first letter of the Name has been uttered”. Lönnrot then takes Yarmolinsky’s books home to study them. He notes three of them: one about Israel Baal Shem Tobh, one about the virtues and terrors of the Tetragrammaton (“the unutterable name of God”), and one that contains the thesis that God has a secret name that somehow contains eternity, “that is to say, the immediate knowledge of all things that will be, which are and which have been in the universe” (78). There are traditionally 99 names of God, and the 100th is this Absolute Name. The editor of the Yidische Zaitung visits Lönnrot, sees his work with the books, and misrepresents the situation in his newspapers saying Lönnrot will try to find the name of the murderer by studying the names of God.

One of the agents had found in the small typewriter a piece of paper on which was written the following unfinished sentence:

The first letter of the Name has been uttered

Lönnrot abstained from smiling. Suddenly become a bibliophile or Hebraist, he ordered a package made of the dead man’s books and carried them off to his apartment. Indifferent to the police investigation, he dedicated himself to studying them. One large octavo volume revealed to him the teachings of Israel Baal Shem Tobh, founder of the sect of the Pious; another, the virtues and terrors of the Tetragrammaton, which is the unutterable name of God; another, the thesis that God has a secret name, in which is epitomized (as in the crystal sphere which the Persians ascribe to Alexander of Macedonia) his ninth attribute, eternity – that is to say, the immediate knowledge of all things that will be, which are and which have been in the universe. Tradition numbers ninety-nine names of God; the Hebraists attribute that imperfect number to magical fear of even numbers; the Hasidim reason that that hiatus indicates a hundredth name – the Absolute Name.

From this erudition Lönnrot was distracted, a few days later, by the appearance of the editor of the Yidische Zaitung. The latter wanted to talk about the murder; Lönnrot preferred to discuss the diverse names of God; the journalist declared, in three columns, that the investigator, Erik Lönnrot, had dedicated himself to studying the names of God in order to come across the name of the murderer. Lönnrot, accustomed to the simplifica- | tions of journalism, did not become indignant. One of those enterprising shopkeepers who have discovered that any given man is resigned to buying any given book published a popular edition of the History of the Hasidic Sect.

(78-79)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

[The Second Murder and the Second Letter]

(p.79 “The second murder occurred ... has been uttered.”)

 

There was a second murder, this time outside an old paint shop in an “empty corner of the capital’s western suburbs,” and it happens on the 3rd of January. The victim is Daniel Simon Azevedo, who was a politician and then became a thief and informer. He was stabbed in the chest with a dagger. Treviranus and Lönnrot come to the scene of the crime, and they see that written across yellow and red diamonds on the wall near him in chalk is: “The second letter of the Name has been uttered.”

The second murder occurred on the evening of the third of January, in the most deserted and empty corner of the capital’s western suburbs. Towards dawn, one of the gendarmes who patrol those solitudes on horseback saw a man in a poncho, lying prone in the shadow of an old paint shop. The harsh features seemed to be masked in blood; a deep knife wound had split his breast. On the wall, across the yellow and red diamonds, were some words written in chalk. The gendarme spelled them out ... That afternoon, Treviranus and Lönnrot headed for the remote scene of the crime. To the left and right of the automobile the city disintegrated; the firmament grew and houses were of less importance than a brick kiln or a poplar tree. They arrived at their miserable destination: an alley’s end, with rose-colored walls which somehow seemed to reflect the extravagant sunset. The dead man had already been identified. He was Daniel Simon Azevedo, an individual of some fame in the old northern suburbs, who had risen from wagon driver to political tough, then de­generated to a thief and even an informer. (The singular style of his death seemed appropriate to them: Azevedo was the last representative of a generation of bandits who knew how to manipulate a dagger, but not a revolver.) The words in chalk were the following:

The second letter of the Name has been uttered

(79)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

[The Third Murder and the Last of the Name Letters]

(p.79-81 “The third murder occurred ... Treviranus of culpable negligence.”)

 

The third murder occurs on the 3rd of February. This time, Inspector Treviranus gets a bit of a warning. That day, someone named Ginzberg calls and says he has information for sale about the murders of Azevedo and Yarmolinsky. But then noise of whistles and horns drowns out the caller’s voice, and the connection is broken. Treviranus figures that the call came from a tavern called the Liverpool House. Treviranus goes there and learns from the owner Black Finnegan that the caller was probably a lodger named Gryphius, who had just left with friends. Gryphius had been renting a room at the tavern for eight days. He has a grey beard and dresses in black. He willingly paid a large sum for the room. He normally did not go out, but on the night of the call, there are odd circumstances. Gryphius makes his phone call from Finnegan’s office. Then a closed cab pulls up to the tavern. The driver is wearing a bear’s mask. Then two drunk harlequins wearing yellow, red, and green diamonds get out of the cab, enter the tavern and then Finnegan’s office where Gryphius is making the call. They speak in Yiddish, then go up to Gryphius’ room, and then come back down joyfully, with Gryphius drunk now too. They get in the cab and go toward the harbor. On one of the slates of the pier shed, one of the harlequins wrote, “The last of the letters of the Name has been uttered”. Treviranus then searches Gryphius’ room and discovers there the book Philologus Hebraeo-Graecus. Next, Treviranus meets with Lönnrot, who notes that the thirty-third dissertation of the Philologus book is “The Hebrew day begins at sundown and lasts until the following sundown.” Lönnrot then says that more important than this is a word that Ginzberg (Gryphius) uses, but Lönnrot does not elaborate. Dandy Red Scharlach, “the most illustrious gunman of the south”, accuses Treviranus of negligence for letting these crimes occur.

The third murder occurred on the night of the third of February. A little before one o’clock, the telephone in Inspector Treviranus’ office rang. In avid secretiveness, a man with a guttural voice spoke; he said his name was Ginzberg (or Ginsburg) and that he was prepared to communicate, for reasonable remuneration, the events surrounding the two sacrifices of Azevedo and Yarmolinsky. A discordant sound of whistles and horns drowned out the informer’s voice. Then, the connection was broken off. Without yet rejecting the possibility of a hoax (after | all, it was carnival time), Treviranus found out that he had been called from the Liverpool House, a tavern on the rue de Toulon, that dingy street where side by side exist the cosmorama and the coffee shop, the bawdy house and the bible sellers. Treviranus spoke with the owner. The latter (Black Finnegan, an old Irish criminal who was immersed in, almost overcome by, respect­ ability) told him that the last person to use the phone was a lodger, a certain Gryphius, who had just left with some friends. Treviranus went immediately to Liverpool House. The owner related the following. Eight days ago Gryphius had rented a room above the tavern. He was a sharp-featured man with a nebulous gray beard, and was shabbily dressed in black; Finnegan (who used the room for a purpose which Treviranus guessed) demanded a rent which was undoubtedly excessive; Gryphius paid the stipulated sum without hesitation. He almost never went out; he dined and lunched in his room; his face was scarcely known in the bar. On the night in question, he came downstairs to make a phone call from Finnegan’s office. A closed cab stopped in front of the tavern. The driver didn’t move from his seat; several patrons recalled that he was wearing a bear’s mask. Two harlequins got out of the cab; they were of short stature and no one failed to observe that they were very drunk. With a toot­ing of horns, they burst into Finnegan’s office; they embraced Gryphius, who appeared to recognize them but responded coldly; they exchanged a few words in Yiddish – he in a low, guttural voice, they in high-pitched, false voices-and then went up to the room. Within a quarter hour the three descended, very happy. Gryphius, staggering, seemed as drunk as the others. He walked – tall and dizzy – in the middle, between the masked harlequins. (One of the women at the bar remembered the yellow, red and green diamonds.) Twice he stumbled; twice he was caught and held by the harlequins. Moving off toward the inner harbor which enclosed a rectangular body of water, the three got into the cab and disappeared. From the footboard of the cab, the last of the harlequins scrawled an obscene figure and a sentence on one of the slates of the pier shed.

Treviranus saw the sentence. It was virtually predictable. It said:

|

The last of the letters of the Name has been uttered

Afterwards, he examined the small room of Gryphius-Ginzberg. On the floor there was a brusque star of blood, in the corners, traces of cigarettes of a Hungarian brand; in a cabinet, a book in Latin – the Philologus Hebraeo-Graecus (1739) of Leusden – with several manuscript notes. Treviranus looked it over with indignation and had Lönnrot located. The latter, without removing his hat, began to read while the inspector was interrogating the contradictory witnesses to the possible kidnap­ ping. At four o’clock they left. Out on the twisted rue de Toulon, as they were treading on the dead serpentines of the dawn, Treviranus said:

“And what if all this business tonight were just a mock rehearsal?”

Erik Lönnrot smiled and, with all gravity, read a passage (which was underlined) from the thirty-third dissertation of the Philologus: Dies Judacorum incipit ad solis occasu usque ad solis occasum diei sequentis.

“This means,” he added, “‘The Hebrew day begins at sundown and lasts until the following sundown.’”

The inspector attempted an irony.

“Is that fact the most valuable one you’ve come across tonight?”

“No. Even more valuable was a word that Ginzberg used.”

The afternoon papers did not overlook the periodic disappearances. La Cruz de la Espada contrasted them with the admirable discipline and order of the last Hermetical Congress; Ernst Palast, in El Martir, criticized “the intolerable delays in this clandestine and frugal pogrom, which has taken three months to murder three Jews”; the Yidische Zaitung rejected the horrible hypothesis of an anti-Semitic plot, “even though many penetrating intellects admit no other solution to the triple mystery”; the most illustrious gunman of the south, Dandy Red Scharlach, swore that in his district similar crimes could never occur, and he accused Inspector Franz Treviranus of culpable negligence.

(79-81)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

[Prefiguring the Fourth Murder]

(p.81-82 “On the night of March first ... Lönnrot hung up.”)

 

On March first, Inspector Treviranus receives a letter signed “Baruch Spinoza.” It says there will probably not be a fourth murder, because the locations of the first three make “the perfect vertices of a mystic equilateral triangle”, as shown in red ink on an included map. Treviranus shows this to Lönnrot, who studies it at home. The three events also happened on the thirds of each month, so there was a symmetry in time as well as space. Lönnrot examines the map with calipers and compass and says the word “Tetragrammaton.” He phones Treviranus to declare that the murderers are planning a fourth murder.

On the night of March first, the inspector received an impressive-looking sealed envelope. He opened it; the envelope contained a letter signed “Baruch Spinoza” and a detailed plan of | the city, obviously torn from a Baedeker. The letter prophesied that on the third of March there would not be a fourth murder, since the paint shop in the west, the tavern on the rue de Toulon and the Hôtel du Nord were “the perfect vertices of a mystic equilateral triangle”; the map demonstrated in red ink the regularity of the triangle. Treviranus read the more geometrico argument with resignation, and sent the letter and the map to Lönnrot – who, unquestionably, was deserving of such madnesses.

Erik Lönnrot studied them. The three locations were in fact equidistant. Symmetry in time (the third of December, the third of January, the third of February); symmetry in space as well ... Suddenly, he felt as if he were on the point of solving the mystery. A set of calipers and a compass completed his quick intuition. He smiled, pronounced the word Tetragrammaton (of recent acquisition), and phoned the inspector. He said:

“Thank you for the equilateral triangle you sent me last night. It has enabled me to solve the problem. This Friday the criminals will be in jail, we may rest assured.”

“Then they’re not planning a fourth murder?”

“Precisely because they are planning a fourth murder we can rest assured.”

Lönnrot hung up.

(81-82)

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

[Exploring the House at the Villa of Triste-le-Roy]

(p.82-84 “One hour later he was traveling ... dizzying recollection struck him.”)

 

Lönnrot now goes to the abandoned villa of Triste-le-Roy, which is in an area occupied by some criminals, including Red Scharlach, “the most celebrated gunman of all.” But Lönnrot is not sure who the victim will be (he only knows the location and time), and he wonders if the victim will be Scharlach. He comes upon the villa at night. He enters by the main, iron gate. The house has odd architecture:

Viewed from anear, the house of the villa of Triste-le-Roy abounded in pointless symmetries and in maniacal repetitions: to one Diana in a murky niche corresponded a second Diana in another niche; one balcony was reflected in another balcony; double stairways led to double balustrades. A two-faced Hermes projected a monstrous shadow.

(83)

He pushes through a Venetian blind and descends into a vault. Lönnrot, seeing the symmetry to the architecture, seeks and finds a stair on the opposite end. He then ascends it through a trap door and goes to a window that he opens to see the moon illuminate two silent fountains in the garden. He next explores the house and finds it to be almost endlessly self-replicative.

Through anterooms and galleries he passed to duplicate patios, and time after time to the | same patio. He ascended the dusty stairs to circular antechambers; he was multiplied infinitely in opposing mirrors; he grew tired of opening or half-opening windows which revealed outside the same desolate garden from various heights and various angles [...]

(83-84)

Insides the rooms the furniture and chandeliers are wrapped up. He touches a flower in a bedroom and its “ancient petals fell apart.” But although the house seems infinite, he instead thinks that other factors only make it seem so large.

On the second floor, on the top floor, the house seemed infinite and expanding. The house is not this large, he thought. Other things are making it seem larger: the dim light, the symmetry, the mirrors, so many years, my unfamiliarity, the loneliness.

(74)

He then ascends a spiral staircase to an oriel window bay with yellow, red, and green diamonds, which reminds him (of the harlequin colors and the colors of the paint shop).

 

One hour later he was traveling on one of the Southern Railway’s trains, in the direction of the abandoned villa of Triste-le-Roy. To the south of the city of our story, flows a blind little river of muddy water, defamed by refuse and garbage. On the far side is an industrial suburb where, under the protection of a political boss from Barcelona, gunmen thrive. Lönnrot smiled at the thought that the most celebrated gunman of all – Red Scharlach – would have given a great deal to know of his clandestine visit. Azevedo had been an associate of Scharlach; Lönnrot considered the remote possibility that the fourth victim might be Scharlach himself. Then he rejected the idea ... He had very nearly deciphered the problem; mere circumstances, reality (names, prison records, faces, judicial and penal proceedings) hardly interested him now. He wanted to travel a bit, he wanted to rest from three months of sedentary investigation. He reflected that the explanation of the murders was in an anonymous triangle and a dusty Greek word. The mystery appeared almost | crystalline to him now; he was mortified to have dedicated a hundred days to it.

The train stopped at a silent loading station. Lönnrot got off. It was one of those deserted afternoons that seem like dawns. The air of the turbid, puddled plain was damp and cold. Lönnrot began walking along the countryside. He saw dogs, he saw a car on a siding, he saw the horizon, he saw a silver-colored horse drinking the crapulous water of a puddle. It was growing dark when he saw the rectangular belvedere of the villa of Triste-le­ Roy, almost as tall as the black eucalypti which surrounded it. He thought that scarcely one dawning and one nightfall (an ancient splendor in the east and another in the west) separated him from the moment long desired by the seekers of the Name.

A rusty wrought-iron fence defined the irregular perimeter of the villa. The main gate was closed. Lönnrot, without much hope of getting in, circled the area. Once again before the insurmountable gate, he placed his hand between the bars almost mechanically and encountered the bolt. The creaking of the iron surprised him. With a laborious passivity the whole gate swung back.

Lönnrot advanced among the eucalypti treading on confused generations of rigid, broken leaves. Viewed from anear, the house of the villa of Triste-le-Roy abounded in pointless symmetries and in maniacal repetitions: to one Diana in a murky niche corresponded a second Diana in another niche; one balcony was reflected in another balcony; double stairways led to double balustrades. A two-faced Hermes projected a monstrous shadow. Lönnrot circled the house as he had the villa. He examined every­ thing; beneath the level of the terrace he saw a narrow Venetian blind.

He pushed it; a few marble steps descended to a vault. Lönnrot, who had now perceived the architect’s preferences, guessed that at the opposite wall there would be another stairway. He found it, ascended, raised his hands and opened the trap door. A brilliant light led him to a window. He opened it: a yellow, rounded moon defined two silent fountains in the melancholy garden. Lönnrot explored the house. Through anterooms and galleries he passed to duplicate patios, and time after time to the | same patio. He ascended the dusty stairs to circular antechambers; he was multiplied infinitely in opposing mirrors; he grew tired of opening or half-opening windows which revealed outside the same desolate garden from various heights and various angles; inside, only pieces of furniture wrapped in yellow dust sheets and chandeliers bound up in tarlatan. A bedroom detained him; in that bedroom, one single flower in a porcelain vase; at the first touch the ancient petals fell apart. On the second floor, on the top floor, the house seemed infinite and expanding. The house is not this large, he thought. Other things are making it seem larger: the dim light, the symmetry, the mirrors, so many years, my unfamiliarity, the loneliness.

By way of a spiral staircase he arrived at the oriel. The early evening moon shone through the diamonds of the window; they were yellow, red and green. An astonishing, dizzying recollection struck him.

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

[Lönnrot’s Capture by Scharlach. The Single-Lined Labyrinth. The Fourth Murder.]

(p.84-87 “Two men of short stature ... very carefully, he fired.”)

 

Lönnrot is then overcome by two short men who disarm him and handcuff him. A third, tall man, Red Scharlach, tells Lönnrot that he saved them a night and day (it is still not yet March 3rd.) Lönnrot asks Scharlach if he is seeking the Secret Name. Scharlach replies that he is simply seeking Lönnrot out of vengeance for him arresting his brother and for Scharlach’s getting shot in the stomach in the battle with the police at that event. While recovering from the wound, he lay in agony and fever for nine days and nights “in this desolate, symmetrical villa”. In his delirium, he was troubled by the two-faced Janus statue. All the while, an Irishman tried to convert him to Christianity by repeating the phrase, “all roads lead to Rome”. This metaphor fed his delirium. “I felt that the world was a labyrinth, from which it was impossible to flee, for all roads, though they pretend to lead to the north or south, actually lead to Rome, which was also the quadrilateral jail where my brother was dying and the villa of Triste-le-Roy” (85). He then “swore by the God who sees with two faces and by all the gods of fever and of the mirrors” to “weave a labyrinth” around Lönnrot. The Labyrinth is composed of “a dead heresiologist, a compass, an eighteenth-century sect, a Greek word, a dagger, the diamonds of a paint shop”. Scharlach then explains the murders. Doctor Marcel Yarmolinsky (the “dead heresiologist”) was murdered (see sect. 2) on January 3rd by Daniel Azevedo (who was later himself murdered, see sect. 5). Azevedo was going to steal the Tetrarch of Galilee’s sapphires (see sect. 2). But Azevedo spends his advance on getting drunk and decides to do the job a day early. He stumbles accidentally into Yarmolinsky’s room. Yarmolinsky was writing notes for an article on the Name of God, having already written, “The first letter of the Name has been uttered.” Before Yarmolinsky could hit an alarm bell, Azevedo instinctively kills him by stabbing him in the chest (“a dagger”). Scharlach then reads in Yidische Zaitung about Lönnrot’s investigations into Yarmolinsky’s writings, including the book History of the Hasidic Sect (“an eighteenth-century sect”). He notes that uttering the Name of God has great occult powers and that some, in search of the Name, had committed human sacrifices. So Scharlach decided to make it seem like this is what happened to Yarmolinsky. The second murder was of Azevedo (see sect. 5), set on the third of January, and Scharlach writes “The second letter of the Name has been uttered” on the paint shop diamonds to connect it to the first murder. The third murder (see sect. 6) “was a sham” (if you recall, there was no mention of a victim’s body in that one. Perhaps there never was a murder, but then it is not clear why one was thought to have happened in the first place.) Scharlach says that he himself is Gryphius-Ginz­berg-Ginsburg. He friends abducted him, and on a post they wrote “The last of the letters of the Name has been uttered.” This led the public to believe that there were only three murders planned, but Scharlach left clues to indicate to Lönnrot that there would be a fourth: the murders being committed in North, East, and West called for a fourth in the South (“a compass”); “the Tetragrammaton – the name of God, JHVH – is made up of four letters” (“a Greek word”?); “the harlequins and the paint shop sign suggested four points” (“the diamonds of a paint shop”); “Hebrews compute the day from sunset to sunset; that passage makes known that the deaths occurred on the fourth of each month” (since the murders happened after sunset, they occurred on the following day, not the third); and Scharlach sent the map with the fourth point needing to be drawn, forming a perfect rhombus.  This was Scharlach’s plan to attract Lönnrot to his death trap. Lönnrot then says that there are three lines too many in his labyrinth, and he requests that next time he kill him, he place the three points all on one line, but still in a labyrinth form. The first murder would be at point A, and the second murder would then be 8 kilometers away at point B.

AXXXXXXXXXXXB

This establishes the line of the labyrinth. The third murder would be halfway between points A and B at point C.

AXXXXXCXXXXXB

And the fourth one would be at point D, halfway between A and C.

AXXDXXCXXXXXB

“In your labyrinth there are three lines too many,” he said at last. “I know of one Greek labyrinth which is a single straight line. Along that line so many philosophers have lost themselves | that a mere detective might well do so, too. Scharlach, when in some other incarnation you hunt me, pretend to commit (or do commit) a crime at A, then a second crime at B, eight kilometers from A, then a third crime at C, four kilometers from A and B, half-way between the two. Wait for me afterwards at D, two kilometers from A and C, again halfway between both. Kill me at D, as you are now going to kill me at Triste-le-Roy.”

(86-87)

(Note, this line that “so many philosophers have lost themselves” in this straight line ancient Greek labyrinth might be speaking about something like a Zeno’s paradox: the successive divisions in half suggest a pattern that could be thought to continue, further dividing the line toward A without ever reaching it.) Scharlach agrees to this and then shoots Lönnrot.

 

Two men of short stature, robust and ferocious, threw them­ selves on him and disarmed him; another, very tall, saluted him gravely and said:

“You are very kind. You have saved us a night and a day.” It was Red Scharlach. The men handcuffed Lönnrot. The latter at length recovered his voice.

“Scharlach, are you looking for the Secret Name?”

Scharlach remained standing, indifferent. He had not participated in the brief struggle, and he scarcely extended his hand to receive Lönnrot’s revolver. He spoke; Lönnrot noted in his voice a fatigued triumph, a hatred the size of the universe, a sadness not less than that hatred.

“No,” said Scharlach. “I am seeking something more ephemeral and perishable, I am seeking Erik Lönnrot. Three years ago, in a gambling house on the rue de Toulon, you arrested my brother and had him sent to jail. My men slipped me away in a coupe from the gun battle with a policeman’s bullet in my stomach. Nine days and nine nights I lay in agony in this desolate, sym­metrical villa; fever was demolishing me, and the odious two-faced Janus who watches the twilights and the dawns lent horror to my dreams and to my waking. I came to abominate my body, I came to sense that two eyes, two hands, two lungs are as | monstrous as two faces. An Irishman tried to convert me to the faith of Jesus; he repeated to me the phrase of the goyim: All roads lead to Rome. At night my delirium nurtured itself on that metaphor; I felt that the world was a labyrinth, from which it was impossible to flee, for all roads, though they pretend to lead to the north or south, actually lead to Rome, which was also the quadrilateral jail where my brother was dying and the villa of Triste-le-Roy. On those nights I swore by the God who sees with two faces and by all the gods of fever and of the mirrors to weave a labyrinth around the man who had imprisoned my brother. I have woven it and it is firm: the ingredients are a dead heresiologist, a compass, an eighteenth-century sect, a Greek word, a dagger, the diamonds of a paint shop.

“The first term of the sequence was given to me by chance. I had planned with a few colleagues – among them Daniel Azevedo – the robbery of the Tetrarch’s sapphires. Azevedo betrayed us: he got drunk with the money that we had advanced him and he undertook the job a day early. He got lost in the vastness of the hotel; around two in the morning he stumbled into Yarmolinsky’s room. The latter, harassed by insomnia, had started to write. He was working on some notes, apparently, for an article on the Name of God; he had already written the words: The first letter of the Name has been uttered. Azevedo warned him to be silent; Yarmolinsky reached out his hand for the bell which would awaken the hotel’s forces; Azevedo countered with a single stab in the chest. It was almost a reflex action; half a century of violence had taught him that the easiest and surest thing is to kill ...Ten days later I learned through the Yidische Zaitung that you were seeking in Yarmolinsky’s writings the key to his death. I read the History of the Hasidic Sect; I learned that the reverent fear of uttering the Name of God had given rise to the doctrine that that Name is all powerful and recondite. I discovered that some Hasidim, in search of that secret Name, had gone so far as to perform human sacrifices . . . I knew that you would make the conjecture that the Hasidim had sacrificed the rabbi; I set myself the task of justifying that conjecture.

“Marcel Yarmolinsky died on the night of December third; for the second ‘sacrifice’ I selected the night of January third. | He died in the north; for the second ‘sacrifice’ a place in the west was suitable. Daniel Azevedo was the necessary victim. He deserved death; he was impulsive, a traitor; his apprehension could destroy the entire plan. One of us stabbed him; in order to link his corpse to the other one I wrote on the paint shop diamonds: The second letter of the Name has been uttered.

“The third murder was produced on the third of February. It was, as Treviranus guessed, a mere sham. I am Gryphius-Ginz­ berg-Ginsburg; I endured an interminable week (supplemented by a tenuous fake beard) in the perverse cubicle on the rue de Toulon, until my friends abducted me. From the footboard of the cab, one of them wrote on a post: The last of the letters of the Name has been uttered. That sentence revealed that the series of murders was triple. Thus the public understood it; I, nevertheless, interspersed repeated signs that would allow you, Erik Lönnrot, the reasoner, to understand that the series was quadruple. A portent in the north, others in the east and west, demand a fourth portent in the south; the Tetragrammaton – the name of God, JHVH – is made up of four letters; the harlequins and the paint shop sign suggested four points. In the manual of Leusden I underlined a certain passage: that passage manifests that Hebrews compute the day from sunset to sunset; that passage makes known that the deaths occurred on the fourth of each month. I sent the equilateral triangle to Treviranus. I foresaw that you would add the missing point. The point which would form a perfect rhomb, the point which fixes in advance where a punctual death awaits you. I have premeditated everything, Erik Lönnrot, in order to attract you to the solitudes of Triste-le­ Roy.”

Lönnrot avoided Scharlach’s eyes. He looked at the trees and the sky subdivided into diamonds of turbid yellow, green and red. He felt faintly cold, and he felt, too, an impersonal - almost anonymous – sadness. It was already night; from the dusty garden came the futile cry of a bird. For the last time, Lönnrot considered the problem of the symmetrical and periodic deaths.

“In your labyrinth there are three lines too many,” he said at last. “I know of one Greek labyrinth which is a single straight line. Along that line so many philosophers have lost themselves | that a mere detective might well do so, too. Scharlach, when in some other incarnation you hunt me, pretend to commit (or do commit) a crime at A, then a second crime at B, eight kilometers from A, then a third crime at C, four kilometers from A and B, half-way between the two. Wait for me afterwards at D, two kilometers from A and C, again halfway between both. Kill me at D, as you are now going to kill me at Triste-le-Roy.”

“The next time I kill you,” replied Scharlach, “I promise you that labyrinth, consisting of a single line which is invisible and unceasing.”

He moved back a few steps. Then, very carefully, he fired.

For Mandie Molina Vedia. Translated by D. A. Y.

[contents]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From:

Borges, Jorge Luis. (1964). “Death and the Compass.” In Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings, edited by Donald A. Yates and James E Irby, pp.76-87. English translation by Donald A. Yates. New York: New Directions.

PDF available at:

http://art3idea.psu.edu/metalepsis/texts/death-compass.pdf 

 

 

 

 

1 Nov 2018

Dupréel (6.4.1) Essais pluralistes, ch.6: Théorie de la consolidation, sect 6.4.1, ‘[Consolidations of Successions, in General]’, summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is summary and not translation. Bracketed commentary is my own, as is any boldface. Proofreading is incomplete, so typos are present, including in the quotations. Please consult the original text to be sure about the contents. Also, I welcome corrections to my interpretations, because I am not especially good with French.]

 

 

 

Summary of

 

Eugène Dupréel

 

Essais pluralistes

 

Ch.6

Théorie de la consolidation.

Esquisse d’une théorie de la vie d’inspiration sociologique.

 

6.4

Les Consolidés de Succession

 

6.4.1

[Consolidations of Successions, in General]

 

 

 

 

 

Brief summary:

(6.4.1.1) As we saw before, in consolidations of coexistents, the spatially related parts first gain their spatial order by an external supporting factor that then is internalized into the generated object which is now able to sustain the spatial organization of its parts all on its own. We would suspect that the same thing would hold for consolidations where the parts are temporal components. The external supporting factor would order the phases into a series that then becomes self-sustained, either as a homogenous series where one occurrence A repeats, like A, A′, A′′, etc., or as a heterogeneous series where occurrence B follows from occurrence A. (6.4.1.2) An example in manufacture of the production of a consolidation of succession is the fashioning and final setting of a clock. At some point, all the clock’s parts will be put in place such that it is capable of sustaining regular motion. At this point it is still only a consolidation of coexistents. It becomes a consolidation of succession when its motion is synchronized to the movement of the earth. The earth’s movement begins as the ultimate supporting structure that will become internalized into the clock’s workings and remain self-sustained there. This is done by means of a stopwatch, which was also informed by the earth’s movement, and the watchmaker uses the stopwatch to synchronize the clock with the earth’s movement such that the clock’s hour-hand makes exactly two rotations around the dial for every one complete rotation of the earth. This external ordering of the earth thereby becomes internalized, consolidating the movements in the clock such that the completions of the hour hand’s movements follow the order of the earth’s movement, only now without need of its external regulation. (6.4.1.3) But not all cases like the instance of the manufactured and set clock will involve human consciousnesses serving as the ends of the consolidation. (6.4.1.4) Dupréel then gives an illustration for how this can work for social formations and customs. We begin with a pattern of occurrences, namely, the yearly performance of a ritual that is conducted by a fraternal order, that is attended by the public, and that involves merchants providing refreshments and the sale of small items for the attendees. Here the fraternal order is the external supporting factor that gives ordering to the occurrences, namely, it organizes the event such that it is successfully carried out once every year. But the fraternal order decides to quit, and so the merchants band together and take up the process themselves. They, while still being internal to the festival, are now also what sustains its yearly cycling, because they now do the organizing and performing. (6.4.1.5) This merchant ritual illustration shows the two phases where first the external order holds the succession in place and then secondly it transfers internally such that the succession maintains without need of exterior support. But what is important with this example is that we are dealing now with a social institution that forms the constitution of a social group in which the operations of consistency go beyond any particular individuals who may happen to find themselves a part of this social institution. (6.4.1.6) We see such social instituting that involves the consolidation of succession in the way that morality or even arbitrary social rules are adopted and perpetuated by groups. It may start for example as a rule that many people agree to and follow only because it benefits each of them personally. But to benefit from the rule requires them to enforce it so that everyone follows it and also to pass it on to the next generation. So the rule that was once obeyed for selfish reasons is then later taken up in future generations by people who follow it thinking that it has good in itself, and thus they carry it on without those selfish interests that originally instituted it. (6.4.1.7) In this example of the passed-on moral code, the exterior order is the selfish interests of the original group members; these interests exist outside moral conscience and are based largely on material circumstances. But after the process of passing the code on to the next generation, the rule is supported by the individuals’ management of their own psychological impulses. In this way, the exterior order of interests is substituted by the interior order of conscience. (6.4.1.8) We will see this mechanism now in a psychological context, but it will be a little less obvious how it all works. (6.4.1.9) We see this process of the consolidation of succession on the psychological level in cases of memorization. Consider for instance a child who is trying to learn a fable by heart. The exterior order is given as the series of words on the page. When they recite it while still learning it, they will notice gaps in their memory, and each time turn back to the page to relearn the forgotten parts. But once it is sufficiently memorized, the print text becomes superfluous as the ordering has been completely internalized. (6.4.1.10) The mechanism involved in the psychological internalization of exterior temporalized orders is hard to pinpoint; but it is much easier to locate it in social occurrences, because there we can more readily see the power structures that impose their organizing influences upon the behaviors of individuals. For instance, when we work a job, our working hours are set and structured by the institution we work for, and our free time is ours to shape whatever way we see fit. This example shows how this socially instituted time-patterning works: there are recurring occurrences (namely, our regular performances at work, forced externally by our work institution) and between them are the intervening intervals (namely, the free off-time spent at one’s will). But the very imposition of temporalized working structures also organizes our off-time’s conditions and activities. When we first get the job, we live far away, and we take a drudgerous train ride to work and back each day. Finally, we get sick of this commute and move closer. So the free interval of time between periods of working also comes under the influence of the organizing authority of our job institution. (6.4.1.11) Also, the exterior influence, which may begin by placing unwanted constraints on an individual to structure their time in a certain way, may also thereby create conditions for the individual to willingly internalize this structuration of their daily rhythms. For instance, a child may begin to go to school unwilling and under the force of their parents. But then at school they regularly encounter playmates, and they enjoy their in-school playtime much more than when they must play all by themselves at home. They soon come to willingly go to school, and any external constraining force compelling them to do so becomes superfluous. (6.4.1.12) We have thus seen different sorts of consolidations of succession by considering concrete cases. We saw it in the human manufacture of products having a temporalized ordering, in the passing-on of social and moral codes, and also in purely psychological processes, like the building of memory. (6.4.1.13) This applies to the purely biological; for, life is a consolidation of succession. (6.4.1.14) More precisely, living bodies are combinations of consolidations of succession. This of course also involves the workings of consolidations of coexistents. (6.4.1.15) Thus living bodies are a combination of consolidations of coexistents and of consolidations of succession. Generally speaking, we can say that what institutes life is the operation of consolidation, which bridges brute matter and the organic world. (6.4.1.16) A vital relationship (rapport vital) is one that is held between any two terms and that is kept constant by vital activity (with ‘vital’ being undefined so probably taking a conventional sense, like ‘living’ understood biologically, socially, etc.).  Vital relations originate in prior orders, and they span across varieties of instances both simultaneous and successive. For instances, the vital relationship between the two sexes comes from a former order, and it spans across many species at any one time and across many generations and species’ evolutions over time. When you have two regulated functions set to succeed one another, it is a vital and temporal relationship, which we will write as V/V′ (possibly with the first V being vital function 1, the second V, or V prime, as vital function 2, and the slash being their vital relationship, as vital activity causes them to often succeed one another.) (6.4.1.17) Whether or not a succession of repeating events becomes consolidated or not is a matter of probability, which increases or decreases depending on how small or large the interval is between them. When it is small, their periodic returns are more frequent, making them more likely to consolidate such that they return without the need of exterior influence. (6.4.1.18) Some consolidations are sustained in biological processes, and so their naturalness is obvious from their being biological. But others without this biological component can still be natural, like the return of the seasons, the changes from night to day, the tides, and so on. (6.4.1.19) The greater the temporal interval between successive returns, the less influence the supporting structure will have on the contents of the interval. For instance, were the employee called to work only once every other month, they will no longer feel the need to live closer to the workplace, and they are free to reside a great distance away, if they choose. (6.4.1.20) At first for a vital relationship, the recurrent functions will have an interval between them that is not very regulated. But over time, as the recurrences continue, the interval between them will also develop regularities that will support the continuation of the vital relationship. (6.4.1.21) Suppose we have a vital function V that is in a vital relationship with another one, V′; if the force ensuring that V′ follows after V is very weak, then of course there is a strong chance that the succession will be disrupted or eliminated altogether. For illustration, compare two situations. In the first one, there is an employee who lives very far away from work, and so they come an hour late every day. The boss in this case is very lenient and allows this to continue. The employee then will not feel enough compulsion to move their residence closer to the workplace, but this results in them losing a lot of time and joy for the daily commute. In the second case, the boss is strict, which ultimately forces the employee to move closer. This makes the employee a more effective worker and overall improves their life. Here, the strictness of the work regulations is the sustaining external order. (6.4.1.22) Yes, consolidation involves a transfer of order from the external sustaining factors to the internal ones. But along with that transfer of the order itself there needs to be a transfer or generation from the exterior factors of the force to keep that order intact over time. (6.4.1.23) The force of consolidation is equivalent to what is called vital force, which in classical debates was understood in the same way and as not being reducible to the physical and chemical factors lying at the basis of this force that ensures the consolidation of vital functions. (6.4.1.24) (While we came to a picture of the vital consolidations in living beings by analogy with the socially constructed consolidations of succession, we cannot similarly find these biological sorts of vital consolidations in inanimate nature.) (6.4.1.25) Even as vital processes consolidate, by means of that very same consolidation, there may be created conditions that will generate alternate consolidations. (This is something like an evolutionary process.) So in living beings, we should never assume that there is an final or ultimate consolidation. (6.4.1.26) But although we can know that such vital, biological processes involve consolidation, we cannot see the mechanisms that transfer exterior orders of sustainment to internal consistencies. But we can see these mechanisms in sociological cases, and so we tentatively attribute them to the biological cases, even though they remain unseen. (Perhaps, for example, what made a certain creature active at night and sleep at day was a complex set of environmental conditions along with evolutionary mechanisms that set these patterns in place. But we never see these exterior influences in a creature. We only see their effects in the creature’s given nature. So we just hypothetically attribute this order-transferring process to living beings). (6.4.1.27) Biology, then, studies something whose causality is found in a stage coming before the one that is given and that cannot be precisely discerned from the physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of what is given. (6.4.1.28) In living beings, there is something vital in their matter that is over and above their physical, chemical, and mechanical nature. In biological philosophy we call this emergence. But it is not enough to simply note this vital emergence of living beings. We need also to explain how it transpires. The way we did this was by comparison to the emergences in social phenomena, especially in human product manufacture, but also in psychological cases, where the features of the mechanisms of the emergence are more apparent. The emergence by means of the consolidation of order is something common in all these cases; it is a general mechanism, a formal scheme, that is based on logical relations that are held between any terms whatsoever and that can be found in space, time, and activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

6.4.1.1

[The Consolidation of Temporal Parts]

 

6.4.1.2

[The Factory Setting of a Manufactured Clock as an Example of a Consolidation of a Succession]

 

6.4.1.3

[Moving to Cases without Human Consciousness]

 

6.4.1.4

[Illustration: Merchants Taking Up the Yearly Ritual that They are Internally a Part of]

 

6.4.1.5

[Social Institutions and the Constitution of Social Groups]

 

6.4.1.6

[An Example of Social Institution Consolidations of Succession: The Passing on of Rules or Values for a Social Group]

 

6.4.1.7

[The Transfer of Exterior Interests to Interior Mental Life in the Moral Code Example]

 

6.4.1.8

[Turning Now to Psychology]

 

6.4.1.9

[An Example of Psychological Consolidation of Succession: Memorizing a Fable]

 

6.4.1.10

[Consolidations of Succession by Means of Institutional Social Pressures. An Example: All of One’s Time Being Structured by Employers.]

 

6.4.1.11

[Exterior Constraints as Creating the Conditions for Willful Internalization of Temporal Structuring]

 

6.4.1.12

[A Recapitulation: Reviewing Our Example-Types]

 

6.4.1.13

[Turning to the Purely Biological: Life is a Consolidation of Succession]

 

6.4.1.14

[Living Bodies as Combinations of Consolidations of  Succession, Involving Also Consolidations of Coexistents]

 

6.4.1.15

[Living Bodies as Consolidation in General (as Combinations of Consolidations of Succession and of Coexistents)]

 

6.4.1.16

[The Vital Relationship (rapport vital). Vital and Temporal Relationships, Symbolized as V/V′]

 

6.4.1.17

[The Interval Between Successive Returns and Its Effect on the Probability of Consolidation]

 

6.4.1.18

[Non-Biological but Natural Consolidations of Succession]

 

6.4.1.19

[Interval Length and Support Influence]

 

6.4.1.20

[Vital Relationship Frequency and Interval Structuring

 

6.4.1.21

[The Influence of the Exterior Regulating Forces of Sustainment on the Consolidation]

 

6.4.1.22

[Transfer of Force in Consolidation]

 

6.4.1.23

[Consolidational Force as Vital Force]

 

6.4.1.24

[The Lack of Vital Consolidations in Animate Nature]

 

6.4.1.25

[Evolutions of Vital Consolidations]

 

6.4.1.26

[The Invisibility of the Mechanisms of Order-Transfer in Living Beings]

 

6.4.1.27

[The Inaccessible Object of Study in Biology]

 

6.4.1.28

[Consolidatory Emergence as Existing on Various Orders]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

 

6.4.1.1

[The Consolidation of Temporal Parts]

 

(p.161-162: “Ce qui se produit pour des relations spatiales ...”)

 

[As we saw before, in consolidations of coexistents, the spatially related parts first gain their spatial order by an external supporting factor that then is internalized into the generated object which is now able to sustain the spatial organization of its parts all on its own. We would suspect that the same thing would hold for consolidations where the parts are temporal components. The external supporting factor would order the phases into a series that then becomes self-sustained, either as a homogenous series where one occurrence A repeats, like A, A′, A′′, etc., or as a heterogeneous series where occurrence B follows from occurrence A.]

 

[(In rough form: Would it not be the case that what happens for spatial relationships also happens for temporal relationships? And so, would it not be that certain orders of succession would be ordered firstly by an exterior cause, which would secondly become self-sustaining, that is to say, self reproducing, by a set of conditions that would become less foreign to them, by a cause becoming, in some way, interior? What would be consolidated in this way would be either the regular production of a fact/occurrence (fait)  B following a fact/occurrence A, or it would be the periodic return of the same fact/occurrence, A, A′, A′′, etc.) (In processed form: First recall that we are discussing consolidation. In section 6.3.2, Dupréel explains what consolidation is in cases where the consolidated parts coexist spatially. He says that there are two phases in the formation of a physical entity that is made of parts and that sustains that composite composition over time. Firstly, the parts are arranged and held in place by an exterior influence, like gravity and soil holding flint pebbles in a particular arrangement within a still-soft binding material. Secondly, the parts’ arrangement becomes fixed such that it no longer depends on the exterior influence for the arrangement to hold over time, like the binding material around the flint pebbles hardening to from puddingstone (see especially section 6.3.2.4 for this example). Note that two things are transferred from the exterior influence to the interiority of the formed object: {1} the parts’ proper arrangement of mutual relations, and {2} the capacity to hold those relations intact over time, which is called solidity. Whenever there is such a transfer, we call it consolidation (see section 6.3.2.2). Such beings whose consolidation is a matter of physical parts placed into a spatial arrangement are called consolidations of coexistents (consolidés de coexistence) (see section 6.3.2.3). Dupréel will now discuss consolidations where the parts are temporally distinct yet still brought together. It seems so far that he is saying that we will think of the parts as being like occurrences or facts that are placed into an ordered series. That series may be one with heterogeneous occurrences, like occurrence B coming after occurrence A, or it could be one occurrence that is repeated, like A, A′, A′′, and so on. Dupréel also seems to be saying that the same process where the exterior supporting factor becomes internalizes still somehow applies in these cases of temporal consolidations.)]

Ce qui se produit pour des relations spatiales ne se produirait-il pas aussi pour des relations temporelles ? Certains ordres de | succession ne seraient-ils pas d’abord assurés par une cause extérieure, qui arriveraient ensuite à se soutenir, c’est-à-dire à se reproduire, par un jeu de conditions qui leur serait moins étranger, par une cause devenue, en quelque sorte, intérieure ? Ce qui serait consolidé ainsi, se cerait soit la production régulière d’un fait B à la suite d’un fait A, soit le retour périodique d’un même fait A, A′, A′′...

(161-162)

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6.4.1.2

[The Factory Setting of a Manufactured Clock as an Example of a Consolidation of a Succession]

 

(p.162: “Cette fois encore tâchons d’éclairer la question ...”)

 

[An example in manufacture of the production of a consolidation of succession is the fashioning and final setting of a clock. At some point, all the clock’s parts will be put in place such that it is capable of sustaining regular motion. At this point it is still only a consolidation of coexistents. It becomes a consolidation of succession when its motion is synchronized to the movement of the earth. The earth’s movement begins as the ultimate supporting structure that will become internalized into the clock’s workings and remain self-sustained there. This is done by means of a stopwatch, which was also informed by the earth’s movement, and the watchmaker uses the stopwatch to synchronize the clock with the earth’s movement such that the clock’s hour-hand makes exactly two rotations around the dial for every one complete rotation of the earth. This external ordering of the earth thereby becomes internalized, consolidating the movements in the clock such that the completions of the hour hand’s movements follow the order of the earth’s movement, only now without need of its external regulation.]

 

[(In rough form: Once again, let us try to shed light on the question by considering the mechanisms of social life. Industry itself, the activity of people who are associated and directed by goals, immediately provides for us examples of consolidations of successions (consolidés de succession. Note, this is not the best translation, as it is not grammatically comparable. But I cannot make a fluent but correct translation. Please if you can, suggest a proper, fluent translation for us.) A clock is just like this. At the moment when the craftsperson who makes the clock becomes concerned with regulating it (it’s motion), the clock is already a consolidation of coexistents, which must additionally be made into a consolidation of a succession. In order for its hand to circle around the dial twice each day, no more, no less, the clockmaker must accelerate or slow down the rhythm by synchronizing it with a stopwatch that is itself synchronized with rotation of the earth. The exterior supporting order is here the earth, the stopwatch, and the clockmaker, all together. Once the movement is finalized properly, the order to which it corresponds has become interior to the mechanism; the operations of transfer and fixation (of the temporal ordering) is accomplished, and an order of succession is consolidated.) (In processed form: An example of the manufacture of a consolidation of succession would be the production of a clock. The clockmaker will have arranged the parts into a consolidation of coexistents, meaning that the gears and other parts will all be in place. But what is missing is the movement of the hands, which will correspond with the movement of the earth, such that the hour hand will make exactly two rotations around the dial per one rotation of the earth on its axis. To do this, the same internalization of a supporting order will take place. The earth’s movement is the ultimate supporting order, as the final product’s motion will take on the rate of that motion and carry it out independently. This motion has informed the motion of a stopwatch. The clockmaker then uses the stopwatch to synchronize the clock’s movement to match the earth’s. Once that is accomplished, the clock will sustain this order of time and movement on its own (provided its energy is sustained.) The clock’s phases of movement are then consolidated under the order of daily time cycles, and this is an example of a consolidation of succession.)]

Cette fois encore tâchons d’éclairer la question en considérant les mécanismes de la vie sociale. L’industrie proprement dite, activité des hommes associés et dirigés par des buts, nous procure immédiatement des exemples de consolidés de succession. Une horloge n’est pas autre chose. Au moment où l’artisan qui l’a fabriquée se préoccupe de la régler, elle est déjà un consolidé de coexistence, dont il s’agit de faire, par surcroît, un consolidé de succession. Pour que son aiguille fasse le tour du cadran chaque jour deux fois ni plus ni moins, il faut que l’horloger accélère ou ralentisse le battement en se réglant sur un chronomètre réglé lui-même sur la rotation de la Terre. L’ordre extérieur de sustentation est ici la Terre, le chronomètre et l’horloger, tout ensemble. Une fois le mouvement dûment mis au point, l’ordre auquel il correspond est devenu intérieur au mécanisme ; l’opération de transport et de fixation est accomplie, un ordre de succession est consolidé.

(162)

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6.4.1.3

[Moving to Cases without Human Consciousness]

 

(p.162: “Dans cet exemple, l’opération étudiée ...”)

 

[But not all cases like the instance of the manufactured and set clock will involve human consciousnesses serving as the ends of the consolidation.]

 

[(In rough form: In this example (of setting the manufactured clock), the studied operation occurs only by means of the intervention of one or more conscious agents who pose as the express ends of this consolidation itself. Other facts/occurrences, be they actual or possible, will present us with cases where this condition is less expressly required.]

Dans cet exemple, l’opération étudiée ne se produit que par l’intervention d’un ou de plusieurs agents conscients qui se posent comme but exprès celle consolidation même. D’autres faits, réels ou possibles, vont nous présenter des cas où cette condition est moins expressément requise.

(162)

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6.4.1.4

[Illustration: Merchants Taking Up the Yearly Ritual that They are Internally a Part of]

 

(p.162-163: “Supposons qu’une confrérie rustique ...”)

 

[Dupréel then gives an illustration for how this can work for social formations and customs. We begin with a pattern of occurrences, namely, the yearly performance of a ritual that is conducted by a fraternal order, that is attended by the public, and that involves merchants providing refreshments and the sale of small items for the attendees. Here the fraternal order is the external supporting factor that gives ordering to the occurrences, namely, it organizes the event such that it is successfully carried out once every year. But the fraternal order decides to quit, and so the merchants band together and take up the process themselves. They, while still being internal to the festival, are now also what sustains its yearly cycling, because they now do the organizing and performing.]

 

[(In rough form: Let us suppose that a rustic fraternity has the custom of representing, every year, a mystery. It only has a plot of land that is located quite far from the village, in the middle of a heath. The crowd that this spectacle periodically attracts to this spot gathers due to a collection of vendors selling refreshments or small items, or because the habitants of the neighboring city have set up provisional facilities. But now the fraternity that organizes the spectacle is about to give it up on account of the expenses or the distance: the merchants, installed on the field, group together to form a trade union determined to help pay the expenses, and finally, it is this organization that undertakes the performances; the fraternity can disappear or attend to other things; the mystery will be played on the consecrated dates.) (In processed form: I am not sure I have grasped this illustration, but I am going to guess that what is going on here is something like the following. Dupréel just gave us the clock example above in section 6.4.1.2. But, he wants to broaden it outside this context to include social formations, I am guessing. So he gives a very odd illustration of how this might work. He sets up a yearly ritual that a fraternal order performs for a group of spectators. The actions of the fraternal order are to be understood as the exterior supporting order for the yearly occurrence of this ritual, I think, shown in the left side of the diagram.

Dupréel.ThéorieConsolidation.Fig4.MerchantsFestival.2

There are some important features of this situation which will factor into how it works as an illustration. The first is that the conditions of the presentation are inconvenient, and left on its own, it would not cycle each year like this. It is at a distant location, so it requires some infrastructure and investment on the parts of the participants behind the event and on the parts of spectators coming to it. In other words, the cycling of the event requires the external supporting of the fraternal order. The next important feature here is that there is an internal element with the capacity to take over these supporting duties. When the fraternal order abandons the festival, the merchants band together to continue the performance also every year. So in the diagram above, this union of merchants is given on the right column. But it should be noted that the merchants began as internal to the events, and they remain as such, because the fraternity has left. Yet I admit Dupréel’s discussion here has taken an odd turn for me, and I may not be getting this right.)]

Supposons qu’une confrérie rustique ait coutume de représenter, tous les ans, un mystère. Elle ne dispose que d’un terrain situé assez loin du village, au milieu d’une lande. La foule que ce spectacle attire périodiquement à cet endroit est cause qu’il s’y forme une agglomération de vendeurs de rafraîchissements ou de menus objets, ou que des débitants de la ville voisine s’y ménagent des installations temporaires. Voici que la confrérie qui organisait le spectacle est sur le point d’y renoncer, à cause des frais ou de l’éloignement : les commerçants, installés sur le terrain se groupent en un syndicat décidé à contribuer aux dépenses, et enfin, c’est cet organisme qui entreprend les représentations ; la confrérie peut disparaître ou s’occuper d’autre chose, le mystère sera joué aux dates consacrées (1) (fig. 4).
(162)

 

Dupréel.ThéorieConsolidation.Fig4.MerchantsFestival.2

(163)

 

(1) On sait qu’on explique, par des faits de “genre, la naissance de certaines villes, sur l’emplacement d’une foire ou d’une fête religieuse.
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6.4.1.5

[Social Institutions and the Constitution of Social Groups]

 

(p.163: “Nous retrouvons ici l’opération ...”)

 

[This merchant ritual illustration shows the two phases where first the external order holds the succession in place and then secondly it transfers internally such that the succession maintains without need of exterior support. But what is important with this example is that we are dealing now with a social institution that forms the constitution of a social group in which the operations of consistency go beyond any particular individuals who may happen to find themselves a part of this social institution.]

 

[(In rough form: We find here the two-phase operation of consolidation in general. What happened in the heath was supported by the distant village; the change that happens, the periodic return of the phenomenon, is ensured by a more recent activity, namely, the merchants grouped at the location. What these merchants produced is an institution, from which it results that a periodic occurrence/fact that did not depend on them, that comes from the outside, now maintains by means of the merchants’ provisions. We should note here that it is at the same time the constitution of a social group. The collection of these individuals were gathered together by external causes: the fraternal order, the terrain; it is now an organic whole that is held together from within. The operations of consolidation in which all of this consists go far beyond the express intentions of the individuals concerned.)]

Nous retrouvons ici l’opération en deux temps de la consolidation en général. Ce qui se passait dans la lande était soutenu par le lointain village ; le changement opéré, le retour périodique du phénomène est assuré par une activité plus prochaine, les commerçants groupés sur place. Ce que ces derniers ont produit, c’est une institution, de laquelle il résulte qu’un fait périodique qui ne dépendait pas d’eux, qui venait du dehors, relève désormais de leurs dispositions. Remarquons que c’est en même temps la constitution d’un groupe social. La collection de nos individus était rassemblée par des causes externes : la confrérie, le terrain ; elle est désormais un tout organique et qui se tient par le dedans. Les opérations de consolidation dans lesquelles tout ceci consiste dépassent de beaucoup les intentions expresses des individus intéressés.

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6.4.1.6

[An Example of Social Institution Consolidations of Succession: The Passing on of Rules or Values for a Social Group]

 

(p.163-164: “Nous trouvons un autre cas ... ”)

 

[We see such social instituting that involves the consolidation of succession in the way that morality or even arbitrary social rules are adopted and perpetuated by groups. It may start for example as a rule that many people agree to and follow only because it benefits each of them personally. But to benefit from the rule requires them to enforce it so that everyone follows it and also to pass it on to the next generation. So the rule that was once obeyed for selfish reasons is then later taken up in future generations by people who follow it thinking that it has good in itself, and thus they carry it on without those selfish interests that originally instituted it.]

 

[(In rough form: We find another, very eminent case of the consolidation of succession in the progress of morality, which is made both social and psychological at the same time. Or it could be a society whose members adhere to a certain rule because it is clearly in their own interests to do so. In fact, each of these average people only respects the rule to the extent that they think they will benefit by doing so; what matters most to them is that the others do not break it. We exalt this rule, we teach it to children. They learn to value it without reasoning about their own interests; the feeling of its value is imprinted upon their consciousness, and, later, they will obey its commandments without any selfish calculation.)]

Nous trouvons un autre cas, très éminent, de consolidé de succession dans le progrès de la moralité, fait à la fois social et psychologique. Soit une société dont les membres s’astreignent à une certaine règle parce qu’elle est évidemment favorable à leurs intérêts. En fait, chacun de ces médiocres ne respecte la règle qu’autant qu’il croit y gagner ; ce qui lui importe surtout, c’est que les autres ne l’enfreignent pas. On exalte cette régle, on l’inculque aux enfants. Ceux-ci apprennent à l’estimer en dehors de tout raisonnement sur leur intérêt ; le sentiment de sa valeur | s’imprime dans leur conscience et, plus tard, ils obéiront à ses commandements sans y être portés par un calcul égoïste.

(163-164)

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6.4.1.7

[The Transfer of Exterior Interests to Interior Mental Life in the Moral Code Example]

 

(p.164: “Ce progrès de la conscience morale ...”)

 

[In this example of the passed-on moral code, the exterior order is the selfish interests of the original group members; these interests exist outside moral conscience and are based largely on material circumstances. But after the process of passing the code on to the next generation, the rule is supported by the individuals’ management of their own psychological impulses. In this way, the exterior order of interests is substituted by the interior order of conscience.]

 

[(In rough form: This progress of moral conscience is a consolidation of succession; the same sequence of actions that was determined in the first instance by interests, by agents exterior to the conscience and linked to partly material circumstances, is now supported, in the morally developed individual, solely on the management of their psychological inclinations. The exterior order of interests is substituted by the interior order of conscience.)]

Ce progrès de la conscience morale est un consolidé de succession ; le même enchaînement d’actions qui n’était déterminé, chez les premiers, que par des intérêts, agents extérieurs à la conscience et liés à des conjonctures en partie matérielles, se soutient maintenant, chez l’individu moralement développé, sur le seul aménagement de ses inclinations psychologiques. A l’ordre extérieur des intérêts s’est substitué l’ordre intérieur de la conscience.

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6.4.1.8

[Turning Now to Psychology]

 

(p.164: “Si nous passons des phénomènes sociaux ...”)

 

[We will see this mechanism now in a psychological context, but it will be a little less obvious how it all works.]

 

[(In rough form: If we move from social phenomena to psychology proper, we will find everywhere the mechanism that we are studying. We will see less clearly this time how it is done, but we will still know that it does in fact take place.]

Si nous passons des phénomènes sociaux à la psychologie proprement dite, nous retrouverons partout le mécanisme que nous étudions. Nous verrons moins clairement, cette fois, comment cela se fait, mais nous saurons que cela se fait.

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6.4.1.9

[An Example of Psychological Consolidation of Succession: Memorizing a Fable]

 

(p.164: “Lorsqu’un enfant apprend une fable par cœur ...”)

 

[We see this process of the consolidation of succession on the psychological level in cases of memorization. Consider for instance a child who is trying to learn a fable by heart. The exterior order is given as the series of words on the page. When they recite it while still learning it, they will notice gaps in their memory, and each time turn back to the page to relearn the forgotten parts. But once it is sufficiently memorized, the print text becomes superfluous as the ordering has been completely internalized.]

 

[(In rough form: When a child learns a fable by heart, (memorizing) the order of the verses, they first find it on the page of the book they are reading. Each time that their memory fails them, they avert their eyes back to the text, read it, and little by little all the gaps in their memory disappear. The order of the printed text is eliminated. To know is to have learned; the prescribed order that we know was firstly subtended by an exterior force to our understanding, which on its behalf (/on its account), consolidated it, rendering superfluous any foreign framework.)]

Lorsqu’un enfant apprend une fable par cœur, l’ordre des vers, il le trouve d’abord sur la page de son livre de lecture. Chaque fois que la mémoire lui fait défaut, il jette les yeux sur le texte, il lit et dans son souvenir peu à peu disparaît toute lacune. L’ordre de l’imprimé est éliminé. Savoir, c’est avoir appris ; l’ordonnance de ce qu’on sait a d’abord été soutenue par une force extérieure à notre entendement, celui-ci l’a, pour son compte, consolidée, rendant superflue toute trame étrangère (1).

(164)

(1) Signalons au passage l’importance de la notion de consolidation pour une théorie générale de la connaissance. L’ordre connu est consolidé dans le sujet connaissant. L’induction est une consolidation do l’expérience, la déduction, une consolidation de l’induction.

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6.4.1.10

[Consolidations of Succession by Means of Institutional Social Pressures. An Example: All of One’s Time Being Structured by Employers.]

 

(p.164-165: “Comment s’opère ce transport ...”)

 

[The mechanism involved in the psychological internalization of exterior temporalized orders is hard to pinpoint; but it is much easier to locate it in social occurrences, because there we can more readily see the power structures that impose their organizing influences upon the behaviors of individuals. For instance, when we work a job, our working hours are set and structured by the institution we work for, and our free time is ours to shape whatever way we see fit. This example shows how this socially instituted time-patterning works: there are recurring occurrences (namely, our regular performances at work, forced externally by our work institution) and between them are the intervening intervals (namely, the free off-time spent at one’s will). But the very imposition of temporalized working structures also organizes our off-time’s conditions and activities. When we first get the job, we live far away, and we take a drudgerous train ride to work and back each day. Finally, we get sick of this commute and move closer. So the free interval of time between periods of working also comes under the influence of the organizing authority of our job institution.]

 

[(In rough form: How it happens that the support of a chronological order coming from the outside is transferred to the inside is something that we hardly grasp, when it is a matter of purely psychological occurrences/facts as in the case of the progress of memory; on the contrary, the mechanism of this operation becomes quite sufficiently discerned when there are social facts/occurrences that are being considered, like in the first example (of the passed-on moral code). It is always a matter of an arrangement of intervals. Between two successive occurrences such as the periodic return of the same situation, a time elapses, which is filled by events or circumstances of any sort. These intervening phenomena are foreign to the succession in question. Note that this is so universally; an indifferent interval always lies between the acts that are linked to one another: An administrative regulation forces employees to be present at the office every day, at certain determined hours; but in the time passing between their services, these functionaries are free. They spend their free time as they see fit. Moreover, it goes without saying that the periodic service to which they are bound will influence the way they use the intervening time. Take, for example, an employee who, at the time of their becoming hired, is still living in another area, which forces them to spend each day a rather lengthy amount of time riding the train. They soon grow weary of this boring travel, and they come to live “closer to their office.” In other words, the force of supporting of the periodic phenomenon, namely, the authority of the administration, reacts on the intervening phenomena, eliminating the adverse circumstances: the arrangement of the interval increased by one point.)]

Comment s’opère ce transport de la sustentation d’un ordre chronologique depuis le dehors jusqu’au dedans, c’est ce que nous ne savons guère lorsqu’il s’agit de faits proprement psychologiques tels que le progrès de la mémoire ; au contraire, le mécanisme de cette opération se laisse très suffisamment discerner lorsque ce sont des faits sociaux que l’on considère, comme dans nos premiers exemples. Il s’agit toujours d’un aménagement des intervalles. Entre deux faits successifs tels que le retour périodique d’une même situation, il s’écoule un temps que remplissent des événements ou des conjonctures quelconques. Ces phénomènes intercalaires sont étrangers à la succession considérée. Remarquons qu’il en est ainsi universellement ; un intervalle indifférent se situe toujours entre des actes liés les uns aux autres : Un règlement administratif force des employés à se trouver présents au bureau tous les jours, à certaines heures déterminées ; mais du temps qui s’écoule entre leurs prestations, ces fonctionnaires disposent à leur gré. Ils occupent leurs loisirs comme bon leur | semble. D’ailleurs, il va de soi que la prestation périodique à laquelle ils sont astreints va influer sur le mode d’emploi du temps intercalaire. Voici, par exemple, un employé qui, au moment de sa nomination, habite une autre localité, ce qui le force à passer chaque jour un temps assez long en chemin de fer. Il se lasse bientôt de cet insipide déplacement et il vient habiter « plus près de son bureau ». Autrement dit, la force de sustentation du phénomène périodique, l’autorité de l’administration, a réagi sur les phénomènes intercalaires en éliminant les circonstances défavorables : l’aménagement de l’intervalle a progressé d’un point.

(164-165)

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6.4.1.11

[Exterior Constraints as Creating the Conditions for Willful Internalization of Temporal Structuring]

 

(p.165: “Ce progrès peut se poursuivre ... ”)

 

[Also, the exterior influence, which may begin by placing unwanted constraints on an individual to structure their time in a certain way, may also thereby create conditions for the individual to willingly internalize this structuration of their daily rhythms. For instance, a child may begin to go to school unwilling and under the force of their parents. But then at school they regularly encounter playmates, and they enjoy their in-school playtime much more than when they must play all by themselves at home. They soon come to willingly go to school, and any external constraining force compelling them to do so becomes superfluous.]

 

[(In rough form: This progress can continue. Some child who initially went to school only against their will, being forced by their parents, still makes friends and finds more pleasure in playing with them than with amusing themselves all by themselves in their parent’s house, and soon, even if they are not forced to, they will not want to miss class. Here the arrangement of intervals, the plays/sets of recreational moments, does not consist only in the elimination of obstacles, but it brings about circumstances that are favorable for the periodic return, to the point of rendering them sufficient, as the exterior sustaining order, the will of others, tends to become superfluous.)]

Ce progrès peut se poursuivre. Tel enfant qui ne s’est d’abord rendu à l’école qu’à contre-cœur et forcé par ses parents, s’y fait des amis, trouve plus de plaisir à jouer avec eux qu’à s’amuser solitairement dans la maison paternelle, et bientôt, lors même qu’on ne l’y contraindrait pas, il tiendrait à ne pas manquer la classe. Ici l’aménagement des intervalles, les jeux des moments récréation, ne consiste pas seulement dans l’élimination des obstacles, mais il amène des conjonctures favorables au retour périodique, au point de les rendre suffisantes, puisque l’ordre sustentateur externe, la volonté d’autrui, tend à devenir superflue.

(165)

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6.4.1.12

[A Recapitulation: Reviewing Our Example-Types]

 

(p.165: “Ainsi, il y a des consolidés de succession ...”)

 

[We have thus seen different sorts of consolidations of succession by considering concrete cases. We saw it in the human manufacture of products having a temporalized ordering, in the passing-on of social and moral codes, and also in purely psychological processes, like the building of memory.]

 

[(In rough form: Thus, there are consolidations of succession, and we have just presented possible cases that are inspired by concrete reality. Our examples have not been enumerated in a fortuitous order; we chose the first in the industry of humans, the second was borrowed from a specifically social activity, then we moved on to morality, a sociological domain adjoining psychology, and finally we found our mechanism in cases of pure psychology, such as the phenomenon of memory, which are close to strictly organic life.)]

Ainsi, il y a des consolidés de succession et nous venons d’en présenter des cas possibles, inspirés de la réalité concrète. Nos exemples n’ont pas été énumérés dans un ordre fortuit ; nous avons choisi le premier dans l’industrie des hommes, le second a été emprunté à l’activité spécifiquement sociale, puis nous sommes passé à la morale, domaine sociologique mitoyen avec la psychologie, enfin nous avons retrouvé notre mécanisme dans des cas de psychologie pure, tels que le phénomène de la mémoire, si voisin de la vie proprement organique.

(165)

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6.4.1.13

[Turning to the Purely Biological: Life is a Consolidation of Succession]

 

(p.165: “En descendant encore une marche ... ”)

 

[This applies to the purely biological; for, life is a consolidation of succession.]

 

[(In rough form: If we would have proceeded down one more step, we would have found ourselves before the biological. Let us formulate, then, the hypothesis that all this suggests to us: Life is a consolidation of succession.]

En descendant encore une marche, c’est devant le biologique que nous nous serions trouvé. Formulons donc l’hypothèse que tout ceci nous suggère : La Vie est un consolidé de succession.

(165)

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6.4.1.14

[Living Bodies as Combinations of Consolidations of  Succession, Involving Also Consolidations of Coexistents]

 

(p.165: “Plus exactement, les corps vivants ...”)

 

[More precisely, living bodies are combinations of consolidations of succession. This of course also involves the workings of consolidations of coexistents.]

 

[(In rough form: More precisely, living bodies would be a combination of consolidations of succession. It goes without saying that the consolidations of the chronological order inevitably combine with consolidations of the spatial order; consolidations that make forms become durable in themselves appear as the condition for consolidations of succession, functions, specific activities, which themselves regularly appear more complicated and more precarious.]

Plus exactement, les corps vivants seraient une combinaison de consolidés de succession. Il va sans dire que les consolidés de l’ordre chronologique se combinent immanquablement avec des consolidés de l’ordre spatial ; des consolidations rendant durables par elles-mêmes des formes, apparaissent comme la condition des consolidés de succession, fonctions, activités déterminées, lesquels apparaissent régulièrement plus compliqués et plus précaires.

(165)

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6.4.1.15

[Living Bodies as Consolidation in General (as Combinations of Consolidations of Succession and of Coexistents)]

 

(p.165-166: “Disons donc que les corps vivants ...”)

 

[Thus living bodies are a combination of consolidations of coexistents and of consolidations of succession. Generally speaking, we can say that what institutes life is the operation of consolidation, which bridges brute matter and the organic world.]

 

[(In rough form: So let us then say that living bodies are a combination of consolidations of coexistence and of consolidations of succession. The specific operation that results in the institution of life would be, in all its generality, the operation of consolidation. It is the possibility of its production that bridges between brute matter and the organic world.)]

Disons donc que les corps vivants sont une combinaison de consolidés de coexistence et de consolidés de succession. L’opération spécifique dont résulte l’institution de la vie serait, dans | toute sa généralité, l’opération de consolidation. C’est la possibilité de sa production qui fait le pont entre la matière brute et le monde organique.

(165-166)

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6.4.1.16

[The Vital Relationship (rapport vital). Vital and Temporal Relationships, Symbolized as V/V′]

 

(p.166: “S’il en est ainsi, il sera utile de définir ...”)

 

[A vital relationship (rapport vital) is one that is held between any two terms and that is kept constant by vital activity (with ‘vital’ being undefined so probably taking a conventional sense, like ‘living’ understood biologically, socially, etc.).  Vital relations originate in prior orders, and they span across varieties of instances both simultaneous and successive. For instances, the vital relationship between the two sexes comes from a former order, and it spans across many species at any one time and across many generations and species’ evolutions over time. When you have two regulated functions set to succeed one another, it is a vital and temporal relationship, which we will write as V/V′ (possibly with the first V being vital function 1, the second V, or V prime, as vital function 2, and the slash being their vital relationship, as vital activity causes them to often succeed one another.)]

 

[(In rough form: If this is the case, then it will be useful to define the very general notion of vital relationship. We understand by these words a relation between any two terms which the vital activity keeps constant. The vital relationship would be a consolidated order. This means that the combination of circumstances, of things or acts that maintain it as we perceive it, followed from some older sustaining order. Thus, this careful appropriation that is maintained across the evolution of species and varieties, between individuals of both sexes and which ensures their fertility, is a distinct example of a vital relationship. Likewise: the constant relationship between the lower and upper jaw, between the right and left leg. A moral law regulating the relations of individuals falls under our definition; any social relationship is a vital relationship. The vital relationship can be spatial or temporal; regularly it is both. Two regulated functions, set to succeed one another, are an example of a vital and temporal relationship. We propose to designate this relationship with the symbol V/V′.) (In processed form: The ideas here a bit harder to grasp, but I am guessing they are the following. The trickiest idea is our new notion here, a vital relationship (rapport vital). The notion of vitality is not defined here. But after assuming it, we seem to define the vital relationship as a relation between any two terms which the vital activity keeps constant. I am not certain however if it is the vital relationship or the terms that are keeping constant. At any rate, the next tricky idea is that a vital relationship is an order of consolidation. This means that the combination of circumstances found in the vital relationship followed from some former sustaining order. The first example of this is the relation between the sexes. The idea might be that this relation is a vital one because vital activity maintains it over time (with whatever ‘vital’ means, which I think is still not defined), and, each instance of the relation in new evolutions of species or across varieties of species found at any time comes from the institution of sexual difference coming from prior forms (prior generations of one species or prior species in evolution). I am guessing. Another example is the constant relation between upper and lower jaws and between right and left legs. They too hold across species at one time and across species over long periods of time and evolution. Then it gets trickier, because we locate vital relationships next in moral laws and social relationships in general. Maybe the idea is that we have moral laws, like not killing each other, which come from the past and which are found across cultures. I am guessing. The important idea here of course is that any social relationship is a vital relationship. Also, vital relationships are often both spatial and temporal. And when two regulated functions are set to succeed one another, they are vital and temporal relations. I am not sure what an example might be, however. But we signify such relations (I am assuming, temporalized vital relationships, but maybe any vital relationships whatsoever), as  V/V′. But I am not sure what this is yet. Maybe it is like function 2 following function 1, with both placed in a vital relationship (maybe like hunger preceding eating, or eating preceding digestion; I am simply making wild guesses here.)]

S’il en est ainsi, il sera utile de définir la notion très générale de rapport vital. Nous entendons par ces mots une relation entre deux termes quelconques, que l’activité vitale maintient constante. Le rapport vital serait un ordre consolidé. Cela veut dire que le concours de circonstances, de choses ou d’actes qui le maintient tel qu’on l’aperçoit, a succédé à quelque ordre sustentateur plus ancien. Ainsi, cette minutieuse appropriation qui se maintient à travers l’évolution des espèces et des variétés, entre les individus de l’un et de l’autre sexe et qui assure leur fécondité, est un exemple in signe de rapport vital. De même, la relation constante entre la mâchoire inférieure et la supérieure, entre la jambe droite et la jambe gauche. Une loi morale réglant les relations des individus tombe sous notre définition ; tout rapport social est un rapport vital. Le rapport vital peut être spatial ou temporel ; régulièrement il est l’un et l’autre. Deux fonctions réglées pour se succéder, sont un exemple de rapport vital et temporel. Nous proposons de désigner ce rapport par le symbole V/V′.

(166)

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6.4.1.17

[The Interval Between Successive Returns and Its Effect on the Probability of Consolidation]

 

(p.166: “Lorsqu’un ordre de sustentation quelconque ...”)

 

[Whether or not a succession of repeating events becomes consolidated or not is a matter of probability, which increases or decreases depending on how small or large the interval is between them. When it is small, their periodic returns are more frequent, making them more likely to consolidate such that they return without the need of exterior influence.]

 

[(In rough form: When any order of sustainment ensures the regular return of a phenomenon, we know that there is a probability that it will lead to the consolidation of this regular succession, that is to say, that the intervening phenomena, of whatever origin, that occupy the interval between two returns, tend to become arranged in such a way that they no longer impede their return, then come promote it, and finally ensure that they will return all now on their own. The factors of probability for the consolidations of succession are the same as for consolidations of coexistents, supposing we make all the needed adjustments for the comparison. The consolidation (of succession) is all the more likely as the interval of time is decreased, as the repetition, or periodic return, is more frequent, until finally this return is assured by a greater external force of sustainment.) (Notes: Recall from section 6.3.3.2 that whether or not two (spatial) coexistents come to be consolidated in the same solid or body is a matter of probability, which increases or decreases depending on whether the spatial interval between them increases or decreases. For example, if two flint pebbles are one centimeter apart in the soft binding material, their chances of consolidating together is much greater than for pebbles set a meter apart. The same thing seems to hold for consolidations of succession. Here the nearer the repetitions are in time, the more likely they will consolidate and repeat automatically.)]

Lorsqu’un ordre de sustentation quelconque assure le retour régulier d’un phénomène, nous savons qu’une certaine probabilité peut amener la consolidation de cette succession régulière, c’est-à-dire que les phénomènes intercalaires, d’ailleurs quelconques, qui occupent l’intervalle entre deux retours tendent à s’aménager de manière à ne plus entraver, puis à favoriser, enfin à assurer à eux seuls le dit retour. Les facteurs de probabilité sont, pour les consolidés de succession, les mêmes, mutatis mutandis, que pour les consolidés de coexistence. La consolidation est d’autant plus probable que l’intervalle de temps est moindre, que la répétition, ou le retour périodique, est plus fréquente, enfin que ce retour est assuré par une plus grande force extérieure de sustentation.

(166)

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6.4.1.18

[Non-Biological but Natural Consolidations of Succession]

 

(p.166: “En dehors du cas particulier ...”)

 

[Some consolidations are sustained in biological processes, and so their naturalness is obvious from their being biological. But others without this biological component can still be natural, like the return of the seasons, the changes from night to day, the tides, and so on.]

 

[(In rough form: Apart from the particular case where the external sustaining order is already a biological order, we know that the factors of periodicity, which happen to be quite strong, are not lacking in nature. These will be, in the order of magnitude directly accessible to our perception, the alternation and return of the seasons, night and day, rain and sun, tides, etc.) (In processed form: Certain factor of periodicity are ones with a biological sustaining order (perhaps like life-rhythms such as sleep-wake, heartbeat, etc.), and their naturalness is of no question, given that they are biological. But other factors of periodicity that do not have biological sustaining orders can still be natural, like the return of the seasons, the change from night and day, the tides, etc.)]

En dehors du cas particulier où l’ordre sustentateur externe est déjà un ordre biologique, on sait que les facteurs de périodicité, d’ailleurs très forts, ne manquent pas dans la nature. Tels seront, dans l’ordre de grandeur directement accessible à notre perception, l’alternance et le retour des saisons, de la nuit et du jour, de la pluie et du soleil, des marées, etc.

(166)

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6.4.1.19

[Interval Length and Support Influence]

 

(p.166-167: “Il paraît superflu de justifier ...”)

 

[The greater the temporal interval between successive returns, the less influence the supporting structure will have on the contents of the interval. For instance, were the employee called to work only once every other month, they will no longer feel the need to live closer to the workplace, and they are free to reside a great distance away, if they choose.]

 

[(In rough form: It seems superfluous to justify at length  these considerations regarding the degree of probability of consolidations of succession. To use the example of departmental employees, it goes without saying that if, instead of being required to be present on a daily basis, their department called them only once every month, or every other month, an appropriation of their leisure time would be less imperative. Nothing would prevent them, for example, from living very far from the place of their service: they would adjust their lives less to their function and the inconvenience it imposes on them; they would feel it more or longer.) (In processed form: I am not going to summarize this part well, so please see the quotation below. I am not sure exactly what Dupréel is accomplishing here. It seems we put aside the task of defending the above claims about the factor of probability in consolidations of succession. Next we look at an example, but I am not sure what exactly it is supposed to be an example of. My guess is that it is an example not of how increasing the interval decreases the probability of temporal consolidation, but rather it illustrates how increasing the interval decreases the influence of the supporting structure on the the interval itself. I am probably wrong about that, however. And they might be related anyhow. At any rate, in the example, we think if the departmental employee, similar to the example from section 6.4.1.10 above, but now we think of them being called to work not every weekday but rather every two months. Were it every day, the employee would likely with time move closer to work. But with the work day coming every two months, they are more free to live further away from the workplace.)]

Il paraît superflu de justifier longuement ces considérations sur le degré de probabilité des consolidés de succession. Pour reprendre l’exemple des employés de ministère, il va de soi que si, au lieu d’être astreints à une présence quotidienne, leur service ne les appelait qu’une seule fois tous les mois, ou un | mois sur deux, une appropriation de leur loisir à leur travail s’imposerait à eux moins impérieusement. Rien ne les empêcherait, par exemple, d’habiter très loin du lieu de leur prestation : ils ajusteraient moins leur vie à leur fonction, et la gêne que celle-ci leur impose, ils la sentiraient davantage ou plus long temps.

(166-167)

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6.4.1.20

[Vital Relationship Frequency and Interval Structuring]

 

(p.167: “De même pour la fréquence ...”)

 

[At first for a vital relationship, the recurrent functions will have an interval between them that is not very regulated. But over time, as the recurrences continue, the interval between them will also develop regularities that will support the continuation of the vital relationship.]

 

[(In rough form: The same thing applies to frequency: the favorable arrangement of the intervening acts is made only gradually, thanks to a large number of repetitions of the phenomenon. The term V must be followed very regularly by the term V′ so that what happens from chance and disorder between V and V′ is transformed little by little into a regular succession of facts/occurrences that are compatible with – and eventually  conducive for – the production of V/V′. Consolidation is never more than a kind of contagious transmission of regularity. The regularity of the return V, V′ continues and gradually prevails in between.) (Comments: I am not grasping this part well. I am currently guessing the idea is the following. Suppose there is a repetition of occurrences, like A-B, A-B, etc. For example: you wake up; and you force yourself to start working. This repeats each day. But what happens in between waking up and getting to work, at first is not regular. Some days you lie in bed half-conscious. Other days you listen to the radio. But with the constant repetition of wake-work, wake-work, you find that certain habits help sustain that pattern. For example, you find that in the interval between waking-working, you should eat breakfast. And in the evenings after work, you find that if you do physical exercise, then the next day you have the energy to get to work faster after waking. So the regular repetition of the vital functions that form a vital relationship, namely, waking and working, makes the intervening time also more regulated and more conducive and supportive for that relationship, namely, we eat and exercise, which helps that relationship continue with greater ease. Probably Dupréel is making a different point, but I have not grasped it yet.)

De même pour la fréquence : l’aménagement favorable des actes intercalaires ne se fait que progressivement, à la faveur d’un grand nombre de répétitions du phénomène. Il faut que le terme V soit suivi très régulièrement du terme V′ pour que ce qui se passe de fortuit et de désordonné entre V et V′ se transforme peu à peu en une succession régulière de faits compatibles avec la production de V/V′ et enfin favorables. La consolidation n’est jamais qu’une sorte de contagion de la régularité. La régularité du retour V, V′ se prolonge et gagne peu à peu tout l’entre-deux.

(167)

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6.4.1.21

[The Influence of the Exterior Regulating Forces of Sustainment on the Consolidation]

 

(p.167: “En fin, il va de soi que ...”)

 

[Suppose we have a vital function V that is in a vital relationship with another one, V′; if the force ensuring that V′ follows after V is very weak, then of course there is a strong chance that the succession will be disrupted or eliminated altogether. For illustration, compare two situations. In the first one, there is an employee who lives very far away from work, and so they come an hour late every day. The boss in this case is very lenient and allows this to continue. The employee then will not feel enough compulsion to move their residence closer to the workplace, but this results in them losing a lot of time and joy for the daily commute. In the second case, the boss is strict, which ultimately forces the employee to move closer. This makes the employee a more effective worker and overall improves their life. Here, the strictness of the work regulations is the sustaining external order.]

 

[(In rough form: Finally, it goes without saying that, supposing V having been produced, if the force that ensures V′ is very small, there is a good chance that this succession will be disrupted or abolished by some circumstances occurring during the interval. Suppose an employee persists in living far away at their family home, meaning that they start their shift one hour late. If the head of the office happens to be very good natured, their subordinate will have no need to adjust their life by moving their residence closer to their workplace, and all their life their service will remain more difficult for them: consolidation, in their case, will never be fully achieved. The rigor of the regulation that would force them to move at the beginning, tends to make them become a subject who is more service-minded, or, as they say, more fully adapted. The heavily required punctuality is here the external order of sustainment.)]

En fin, il va de soi que si, V étant produit, la force qui assure V′ est très petite, il y a beaucoup de chances pour que cette succession soit troublée ou abolie par quelque conjoncture se produisant dans l’intervalle. Supposons qu’un employé persiste à habiter au loin sa maison natale, à condition de commencer son service avec un retard d’une heure. Si le chef de bureau est de trop bonne composition, son subordonné se dispensera d’aménager sa vie en rapprochant sa demeure du lieu de son travail, et toute sa vie sa prestation lui demeurera plus pénible : la consolidation, dans son cas, ne s’achèvera point. La rigueur du règlement, en le forçant dès le début à déménager, tend à faire de lui un sujet mieux disposé au service, ou, comme on dit, plus complètement adapté. La ponctualité fortement exigée est ici l’ordre extérieur de sustentation.

(167)

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6.4.1.22

[Transfer of Force in Consolidation]

 

(p.167: “La consolidation en général ne comporte pas ...”)

 

[Yes, consolidation involves a transfer of order from the external sustaining factors to the internal ones. But along with that transfer of the order itself there needs to be a transfer or generation from the exterior factors of the force to keep that order intact over time.]

 

[(In rough form: Consolidation in general does not only involve a certain order represented now by less external factors, [but also] this transfer of the order is naturally accompanied by a transfer or generation of force. The order of sustainment that has become internal must be provided with a certain force, as was the external order of sustainment for which it was substituted.)]

La consolidation en général ne comporte pas seulement un certain ordre représenté désormais par des facteurs moins extérieurs, ce transport de l’ordre est accompagné naturellement d’un transport ou d’une génération de force. L’ordre de sustentation devenu interne doit être pourvu d’une certaine force, comme l’était l’ordre de sustentation externe auquel il s’est substitué.

(167)

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6.4.1.23

[Consolidational Force as Vital Force]

 

(p.167-168: “Pourquoi n’appellerait-on pas force vitale ...”)

 

[The force of consolidation is equivalent to what is called vital force, which in classical debates was understood in the same way and as not being reducible to the physical and chemical factors lying at the basis of this force that ensures the consolidation of vital functions.]

 

[(In very rough form: Why not call the vital force, that is, the force that maintains the consolidation that is being accomplished, the vital relationship V/V′? Developments in which we cannot now enter would show that this force of the consolidated order has the characteristics of what is meant by vital force in the classical debates on the specific nature of Life; in particular, the irreducibility of its manifestations to the properties of the physical and chemical elements that are its seat or condition. At least we can say that the force we have just defined and qualified has the characteristics that a strictly positive thought foreign to any mysticism cannot refuse to the idea of a vital force.) (In processed form: We could probably call the vital relationship V/V′ the vital force, which is the force that maintains the consolidation involved in the vital relationship. (In other words, there is a vital relationship between V and V′, which is their consolidation, that is, their being linked to one another such they follow after one another. This relationship, since it is what holds the occurrences together, is also then the vital force, which is also understood as what holds vital functions together.) What we are calling the force of the consolidation is equivalent to what was called vital force in classical debates about Life; in these debates, vital force was something irreducible to the physical or chemical properties found at its basis. We can at least say that the force of consolidation has the features that we would attribute to a vital force, when we are not thinking in mystical terms.)]

Pourquoi n’appellerait-on pas force vitale, la force avec laquelle se maintient la consolidation étant accomplie, le rapport vital V/V′? Des développements dans lesquels nous ne pouvons entrer maintenant montreraient que cette force de l’ordre consolidé a bien les caractères de ce que l’on entend par force vitale dans les controverses classiques sur la nature spécifique de la Vie ; en particulier, l’irréductibilité de ses manifestations aux pro- | priétés des éléments physiques et chimiques qui en sont le siège ou la condition. Du moins peut-on dire que la force que nous venons de définir et de qualifier a bien les caractères qu’une pensée strictement positive et étrangère à tout mysticisme ne peut refuser à l’idée d’une force vitale.

(167-168)

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6.4.1.24

[The Lack of Vital Consolidations in Animate Nature]

 

(p.168: “La définition de la vie que ...”)

 

[(While we came to a picture of the vital consolidations in living beings by analogy with the socially constructed consolidations of succession, we cannot similarly find these biological sorts of vital consolidations in inanimate nature.)]

 

[(In rough form: The definition of life we have just proposed must be presented as hypothetical. It is only by analogy with sociological operations that we have established it. In fact, when it is a matter of a consolidation of succession such as the consortium of innkeepers, the whole mechanism of the phenomenon can be seen in its entirety: we see what is the external sustaining order that ends up crowding out a more internal order, and we even know how this substitution takes place, the intervening activities are being arranged before our eyes. It was not very different in the case of our piece of puddingstone: the history of its formation was read in the frozen position of the pieces. With living beings, it is nothing like that. We only see the final/latest state. And this is not the result of a single consolidation but of an indefinite combination of operations of this kind. A living animal or species presents us with countless V/V′ relationships, of forms, or consolidations of coexistents and of functions, or consolidations of succession. However, none of these relationships are presented as such, before any consolidation, in inanimate nature. Despite any Empedoclean sorts of visions, no external order of sustainment maintains in a certain relationship living arms without bodies or heads without limbs.)]

La définition de la vie que nous venons de proposer doit être présentée comme hypothétique. Ce n’est que par analogie avec des opérations sociologiques que nous l’avons établie. En effet, lorsqu’il s’agit d’un consolidé de succession tel que le consortium des cabaretiers, le mécanisme du phénomène se laisse apercevoir tout entier : nous voyons quel est l’ordre sustentateur externe que finit par évincer un ordre plus intérieur, et nous savons même comment s’opère cette substitution, les activités intercalaires s’aménagent sous nos yeux. Il n’en allait pas très différemment dans le cas de notre morceau de poudingue : l’histoire de sa formation se lisait dans la position figée des pièces. Avec les êtres vivants, rien de semblable. Nous ne voyons que le dernier état. Et ce n’est pas le résultat d’une seule consolidation, mais d’une combinaison indéfinie d’opérations de cette sorte. Un animal ou une espèce vivante nous présentent d’innombrables rapports V/V′, de formes, ou consolidés de coexistence et de fonctions, ou consolidés de succession. Or, aucun de ces rapports ne se présente tel que, avant une consolidation quelconque, dan la nature inanimée. En dépit des visions à la manière d’Empédocle, nul ordre externe de sustentation ne maintient dans un certain rapport des bras vivants sans corps ou des têtes sans membres.

(168)

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6.4.1.25

[Evolutions of Vital Consolidations]

 

(p.168: “On se souvient que nous avons relevé ...”)

 

[Even as vital processes consolidate, by means of that very same consolidation, there may be created conditions that will generate alternate consolidations. (This is something like an evolutionary process.) So in living beings, we should never assume that there is an final or ultimate consolidation.]

 

[(In rough form: We remember that we noted the case where the consolidated relationship can be altered more or less by the very fact of consolidation (as we see in these fossils where the two valves of a mollusk, although still symmetrically opposed, as during the animal’s lifetime, nevertheless slipped over each other or were more or less separated). This deformation can increase indefinitely; a relationship between two terms can be maintained, consolidated, while gradually changing, so that, in this case, something is consolidated and durably maintained and yet changes in slow motion, to the point where it hardly resembles what it was before the most decisive moment of the operation. In the phenomena of consolidation that constitute actual life, it is prudent not to claim to discern primary and decisive consolidations).]

On se souvient que nous avons relevé le cas où le rapport consolidé peut être altéré plus ou moins par le fait même de la consolidation (comme on le voit dans ces fossiles où les deux valves d’un mollusque, quoique encore symétriquement opposées, comme du vivant de l’animal, ont cependant glissé l’une sur l’autre ou se sont plus ou moins écartées). Cette déformation peut augmenter indéfiniment ; un rapport entre deux termes peut être maintenu, consolidé, tout en changeant peu à peu, si bien que, dans ce cas, quelque chose est consolidé et maintenu durable, mais change, cependant, au ralenti, au point de ne plus guère ressembler à ce que c’était avant le moment le plus décisif de l’opération. Dans les phénomènes de consolidation constitutifs de la vie actuelle, il est prudent de ne point prétendre discerner les consolidations primaires et décisives (1).

(168)

(1) Il n’est pas interdit cependant d’espérer que l’on découvrira des éléments de consolidation ou mieux, des consolidés de succession élémentaires | que la nature inorganique comporterait régulièrement et qui auraient servi de premier matériel à la vie à l’état naissant. Les règles de la probabilité conduisent à supposer qu’il doit se renouveler d’innombrables fois des consolidés de succession entre phénomènes ou rencontres de faits chronologiquement très voisins, et au sein de périodicités très rapides.

On peut se demander si notre notion des consolidés de succession ne pourrait suggérer au physicien des applications qui lui rendraient des services du même ordre que l’emploi de notions telles que celles de molécule, d’atome ou de proton, qui sont en définitive comme les corps maté riels en général, des consolidés de coexistence.

(168-169)

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6.4.1.26

[The Invisibility of the Mechanisms of Order-Transfer in Living Beings]

 

(p.169: “Ainsi, que la vie soit essentiellement ...”)

 

[But although we can know that such vital, biological processes involve consolidation, we cannot see the mechanisms that transfer exterior orders of sustainment to internal consistencies. But we can see these mechanisms in sociological cases, and so we tentatively attribute them to the biological cases, even though they remain unseen. (Perhaps, for example, what made a certain creature active at night and sleep at day was a complex set of environmental conditions along with evolutionary mechanisms that set these patterns in place. But we never see these exterior influences in a creature. We only see their effects in the creature’s given nature. So we just hypothetically attribute this order-transferring process to living beings).]

 

[(In rough form: Thus, (although) life is essentially a phenomenon of consolidation, as are of course sociological phenomena such as the establishment of a social group, and as also are, undoubtedly, certain fundamental psychological phenomena, it remains a hypothetical or philosophical view, for the reason that we clearly see the established internal orders, but we restore neither the primitive external orders nor the circumstances of the passage from an external sustainment to an internal consistency. Our hypothesis on the nature of life is conceived as an induction or passage from what is seen to what is not seen. What is seen are the sociological mechanisms, or at least they are easily discovered; what are not seen are the fundamental biological mechanisms.)]

Ainsi, que la vie soit essentiellement un phénomène de consolidation, comme le sont évidemment les phénomènes sociologiques tels que l’établissement d’un groupe social, comme le sont aussi, à coup sûr, certains phénomènes psychologiques fondamentaux, cela demeure une vue hypothétique ou philosophique, pour la raison que nous voyons bien les ordres internes établis, mais nous ne restituons ni les ordres externes primitifs, ni les circonstances du passage d’une sustentation extérieure à une consistance intérieure (1). Notre hypothèse sur la nature de la vie est conçue comme une induction ou un passage de ce qui se voit à ce qui ne se voit pas. Ce qui se voit, ce sont les mécanismes sociologiques, du moins les découvre-t-on aisément ; ce qui ne se voit pas, ce sont les mécanismes biologiques fondamentaux.

(169)

(1) Remarquons cependant qu’il y a en biologie des cas évidents de consolidation : tel est le développement de l’embryon dans l’œuf fécondé, ou encoure la formation de l’insecte parfait dans la chrysalide. Seulement ce n’est pas à partir de pareils exemples que l’on se voit fondé d’induire que toute vie est consolidation, car dans ces deux cas, et dans beaucoup d’autres analogues l’ordre externe et provisoire (formes de l’œuf et de la chrysalide) est déjà produit par un ordre vital consistant, toute l’opération étant biologiquement prédéterminée.

(169)

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6.4.1.27

[The Inaccessible Object of Study in Biology]

 

(p.169: “On aperçoit la différence entre la réalité ...”)

 

[Biology, then, studies something whose causality is found in a stage coming before the one that is given and that cannot be precisely discerned from the physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of what is given.]

 

[(In rough form: We can see the difference between reality as it is sufficient for the physicist and the chemist to consider it, and the real that the biologist is trying to understand. The living object has a history, its nature is to be a two-staged product, and what is frustrating about this nature is that particularities of the first period are now sustained, determined, caused by what came only afterwards, by characteristics or properties acquired at the second period. In a living being, physical, chemical, mechanical properties are applied to the conservation of spatial and temporal relations that they cannot alone produce or explain. They are constituted in an order that replaces a more primitive one. Their arrangement is the result of a substitution. There is something in the present state of an organism, which is not at all related to the properties of the means by which (that we see) this thing is produced or endures.)]

On aperçoit la différence entre la réalité telle qu’il suffit au physicien et au chimiste de la considérer, et le réel que tente de comprendre le biologiste. L’objet vivant a une histoire, sa nature est d’être un produit en deux temps, et ce qu’il y a de décevant dans cette nature, c’est que des particularités du premier temps y sont désormais soutenues, déterminées, causées par ce qui n’est venu qu’après, par des caractères ou des propriétés acquis au second temps. Dans un être vivant, des propriétés physiques, chimiques, mécaniques sont appliquées à la conservation de relations spatiales et temporelles qu’à elles seules elles ne sauraient produire ni expliquer. Elles sont constituées en un ordre qui en remplace un autre plus primitif. Leur arrangement est le résultat d’une substitution. Il y a quelque chose dans l’état présent d’un organisme, qui ne se ramène pas du tout aux propriétés des moyens par lesquels on voit que cette chose est produite ou dure.

(169)

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6.4.1.28

[Consolidatory Emergence as Existing on Various Orders]

 

(p.170: “Que la matière vante comporte ... ”)

 

[In living beings, there is something vital in their matter that is over and above their physical, chemical, and mechanical nature. In biological philosophy we call this emergence. But it is not enough to simply note this vital emergence of living beings. We need also to explain how it transpires. The way we did this was by comparison to the emergences in social phenomena, especially in human product manufacture, but also in psychological cases, where the features of the mechanisms of the emergence are more apparent. The emergence by means of the consolidation of order is something common in all these cases; it is a general mechanism, a formal scheme, that is based on logical relations that are held between any terms whatsoever and that can be found in space, time, and activity.]

 

[(In rough form: Matter’s boasting of characteristics that are irreducible to those of phenomena – considered simpler or more primitive – of inorganic matter is what we now call, in biological philosophy, a case of emergence. This very welcome expression receives here, it seems to us, some clarification. It is not enough to note Platonically that vital phenomena appear as emerging above the plane of mechanical phenomena; the main thing is to see how this can happen. What we have tried to do is to apply to the fact of the emergence of the biological the mechanisms by which the emergence of the social is apparently accomplished. To this is linked, as a particular case, the emergence of human fabrication or industry, and it is less clearly similar to the emergence of the psychological. In all these planes there is emergence by consolidation of order: the mechanism we are studying is not particular to a category of phenomena or to a delimited scientific domain; it is (rather) a general mechanism, a formal scheme, based on logical relations between any terms whatsoever, considered in their application to space, time, and activity or to change of order.)]

Que la matière vante comporte ainsi des caractères irréductibles à ceux des phénomènes, réputés plus simples on plus primitifs, de la matière inorganique, c’est là ce qu’on appelle maintenant, en philosophie biologique, un cas d’émergence. Cette très heureuse expression reçoit ici, nous semble-t-il, quelque éclaircissement. Il ne suffit pas de constater platoniquement que les phénomènes vitaux apparaissent comme émergeant au-dessus du plan des phénomènes mécaniques, le principal est d’entrevoir comment il peut arriver que cela se produise. Ce que nous avons essayé de faire, c’est d’appliquer au fait de l’émergence du biologique, les mécanismes par lesquels s’accomplit, de toute évidence, l’émergence du social. A celle-ci se rattache, comme un cas particulier, l’émergence du fabricat humain ou de l’industrie, et s’apparente, déjà moins clairement, celle du psychologique. Dans tous ces plans il y a émergence par consolidation d’ordre : le mécanisme que nous étudions n’est pas particulier à une catégorie de phénomènes ni à un domaine scientifique délimité, c’est un mécanisme général, un schéma formel, à base de relations logiques entre termes quelconques, considérées dans leur application à l’espace, au temps et à l’activité ou changement d’ordre.

(170)

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Dupréel, Eugène. (1949). Essais pluralistes. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

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