Roger Peters Copyright © 2005
Journal for the Advancement of the Quaternary Evolution in Shakespeare
JAQUES is the cover-all title of a journal which incorporates essays about proto-quaternary thinkers (JAQUES), essays that investigate the historic misrepresentation of Shakespearean thought (INQUEST), and essays that examine social and political issues(QUIETUS). The essays will provide another level of evidence and argument for the presence of a consistent philosophy in Shakespeare's works, and for the claim that it is a philosophy unparalleled in the literatures of the world.
The intention in each essay is to lay down in general terms the relationship between Shakespeare's Sonnet philosophy and the topic to be critiqued. The idea is to show how the Sonnet philosophy resolves psychological problems consequent upon millennia of dependence on the inadequate biblical paradigm.
JAQUES (The Journal for the Advancement of the Quaternary Evolution in Shakespeare) has been established to foster an appreciation of the philosophy of William Shakespeare. In association with forthcoming books that detail the philosophy, the Journal will consider issues arising from the discovery that Shakespeare's Sonnets of 1609 present a consistent and coherent understanding based in natural logic. It will consider the implications of Shakespeare's decision to present the philosophy behind all the plays and other poems in a precisely ordered and numbered sonnet sequence.
The discovery in the Sonnets of a profound philosophy based on natural logic is contrary to traditional expectations. In 400 years of commentary and interpretation Shakespeare has not been credited with a systematic philosophy. Some commentators have sensed a profound philosophic tone pervading the poetry of the Sonnets but none has presented a case for a philosophy of unparalleled logical force. For this reason the Journal will be considering a situation not generally anticipated in the Shakespearean literature. The inability of the critical tradition to comprehend the philosophic accomplishment of the Sonnets and the plays suggests the work of Shakespeare operates beyond the norms of that tradition.
The 'quaternary' in the Journal title focuses critical attention on the evolution of a quaternary sensibility. It presages the state of mind necessary to challenge the traditional approach that has proved inadequate before the profound philosophical and literary achievement of the Sonnets and plays. It proposes the establishment of a level of learning above that available at the tertiary level of education.
An interesting parallel can be drawn between the tertiary and quaternary levels of understanding and the tertiary and quaternary as recent geological periods. As a period of geological time, the quaternary refers to the last two million or so years of evolutionary development. It is the period of hominid evolution, toward the end of the which homo sapiens developed the symbolic traits associated with the use of language. The period of some 30 million years preceding the quaternary is referred to as the tertiary, or the age of the mammals. While mammals are sentient beings who communicate effectively, they do not exhibit the more developed language based capabilities of the human. On the other hand because humans have only recently developed their characteristic language skills they still depend upon most of the sensory and communicative capabilities of tertiary mammals.
In association with the forthcoming books, the Journal will consider why the philosophy presented in Shakespeare's sonnets, poems, and plays, is the first systematic and comprehensive expression of a philosophy consistent with human life in the quaternary. It will explore the way in which the philosophy of the Sonnets is a logical expression of what it means to be alive in the quaternary, or the age of humankind. It will seek to establish why the philosophic principles of traditional systems of thought and religions are based on criteria more in keeping with the tertiary or the period of mammals prior to the development of human language. It will develop this distinction to investigate the qualities that make humans typically quaternary beings.
Because the philosophy of the Sonnets has not been appreciated before, despite 400 years of the most intensive investigation by the greatest minds of each age, the inevitable conclusion is that all those minds were pre-conditioned by the prevailing biblical/platonic paradigm to reject the incredible simplicity of its natural logic. And there still persists a tertiary/quaternary impasse in the philosophy of today despite achievements in astronomy and the natural sciences that have corrected some of the distortions in the old paradigm.
It is significant that the astronomical discoveries by Galileo in Shakespeare's day were not sufficient to enable a quaternary view of the world. The apparent retrograde motion in the courses of the outer planets was accounted for but the retrograde elements in traditional thought still persist in all philosophical endeavour. The empowering mythology at the heart of the old paradigm has not been challenged in a systematic way. Consequently idealism (in its various forms) has persisted, or scepticism (idealism's inevitable counterpart) has prevailed.
Philosophical systems based on the priority of the ideal perpetuate the illogical conditions typical of a geocentric view of the world. The claim of Kant, for instance, to have brought about a Copernican revolution in philosophy is glib considering his philosophical system was preconditioned by his unconditional faith in the priority of an idealised male as God. Sceptics, such as Hume, demonstrate the inconsistency of locating articulate meaning in the ideal but they fail to consider the illogicality of giving the biblical male priority over the processes of life.
The Journal will explore the way Shakespeare's philosophy obviates the retrograde movements in Kantian apologetics and Humean scepticism by acknowledging the priority of the female over the male and the significance of the sexual/erotic distinction for mythic expression. The prioritising of the male in religious myth fulfils the logical conditions for myth but is contrary to the logical conditions for life where the female is prior.
The idea of a singular idealised male is but a deeply erotic sensation experienced in the mind. It derives its intensity from the connection of the mind to the sexual processes of life as part of nature. The ideal is logically an intensified sensation of a singular idea in the mind. Like a name isolated from a sentence the sensation induced by a singular idea is not an articulate thought. No matter how refined the sensation may be, and what idealised values are ascribed to it, it remains a sensation closely allied to the sensations of tertiary mammals.
The relationship of the sexual to the erotic is most clearly expressed in recent times by Marcel Duchamp. Once he acknowledged the natural logic of the relation of female and male and the sexual and the erotic in his Large Glass he was able to exploit sensations with impunity for artistic effect. Because all sensations are logically the same any sensation can be used to evoke an artistic experience. The removal of differentiation from language occurs in poetry, for instance, when two or more ideas are given expression in a way that evokes their combined meaning in the form of an intensified sensation.
The Shakespearean philosophy goes further than Duchamp by logically relating both sensations and ideas. In the structure of the Sonnets he acknowledges, like Duchamp, the priority of the female over the male and the significance of the sexual/erotic distinction but develops a complete logic by giving expression in his Sonnets to the two-way dynamic between sensations and ideas. Sensation and ideas (called by Shakespeare beauty and truth) interact within the logical dynamic of understanding. This is demonstrated explicitly in the intertwined poetic expression and argument of the Sonnets.
When the ideal, as a super-refined tertiary sensation in the mind, is given priority over the quaternary characteristics of human language it distorts the balance of human logic. It interferes with the logical balance between ideas and sensation that is the necessary condition for an effective morality. Shakespeare, by contrast, uses language and sensations to the limits of their possibilities, fully conscious of their ethical implications out of natural logic. The unerring precision and inventiveness of his language, and his persistent critique of the excesses of idealism, indicate an awareness of the correct logical relationship between ideas and sensations.
The prioritising of the sensation of the ideal in traditional thought indicates a stage of development more consistent with the animal traits of the tertiary. In human terms it indicates a condition of mind equivalent to perpetual adolescence. This retrograde tendency was fully institutionalised with the development of Christian centres of learning in Europe. It is no irony that the forerunners of the current tertiary level of education were the twelfth century universities such as Bologna and Paris. These were leading centres for the rationalisation and promotion of the idealism epitomised by the Christian faith. Even though the Copernican revolution occurred after the institution of such tertiary centres, the implications of its challenge to retrograde thought have not been realised by their modern predecessors. If the tertiary institutions had their beginnings, or significant development in the period of Christian Apologetics, then, despite the recent period of widespread scepticism, they still function as institutions under those criteria. Modern tertiary has not successfully articulated, in a way consistent with quaternary standards, the philosophic truths concealed within the unsystematic mythological intuitions that power such religions as Christianity.
The Journal will contribute to the debate by demonstrating that Shakespeare's Sonnets articulate the required quaternary understanding by detailing and expressing the philosophical conditions for the mythic level of expression. It will demonstrate that Shakespeare employs the understanding in his poems and plays.
The inadequacy of the tertiary model cannot be more clearly demonstrated than in the current state of the understanding of Shakespeare's works. These pages will reveal an appreciation of the philosophy of Shakespeare that, in its completeness, challenges the current dependence of the tertiary on an inappropriate paradigm. They will show that Shakespeare expressed a consistent and coherent philosophy in his Sonnets and gave it dramatic expression in his plays. The whole set of 154 sonnets, and the various parts, articulate a philosophy with thematic and numerological exactness at a mythic level of expression. The Sonnets have not been understood in this way for 400 years despite intensive tertiary endeavour. And Shakespeare's plays and poems cannot be understood if the philosophy of the Sonnets is not understood.
The preference for idealised sensations (God), and the associated Romantic distrust of language, indicates an over dependence on tertiary traits in the quaternary period. By contrast, a proficiency in quaternary developments would be indicated by a deeper appreciation of and facility with language. There are instances where quaternary awareness has surfaced but has remained embryonic because of the persistence of compensatory tertiary traits based in sensation. This is the case with Duchamp, Mallarmé, and Wittgenstein and even Darwin who have been notoriously difficult for the tertiary to comprehend and accommodate. While their work has not been fully attuned to the quaternary possibility, a study over the last 30 years of their strengths and weaknesses has led directly to an appreciation of Shakespeare's philosophy as a complete quaternary achievement.
Symptomatic of the difficulty is the persistent misinterpretation and marginalisation of the substance of Darwinian thought. It will become apparent in these pages that Darwin's thinking is aligned with the more comprehensive philosophy of Shakespeare. The work of Mallarmé, Duchamp and Wittgenstein has pushed toward the same possibility without grasping the quaternary in all its complex simplicity. They have been fatally constrained by a residuum of the paradigm that informs the tertiary.
In an age of instantaneous global communication and planetary demographics there have been many expressions of proto-quaternary interests and concerns, particularly of environmental, ethnological, and gender issues. The philosophy expressed in Shakespeare's Sonnets, because it is the philosophy of humankind and particularly of the human civilisation in this quaternary period, identifies the core conditions and criteria for a logical consideration of such issues.
The Journal will contribute to the articulation of the profound philosophy aptly expressed in sonnet form with the publication of Shake-speares Sonnets or Q in 1609. The presence of quaternary in the title of the Journal also signals the impending Quattro-centenary celebration in 2009 of the publication of Q. It is the aim of the Journal to foster and advance this appreciation so that by 2009 the original 1609 edition will be accepted as authorial and intact. None of the omissions or emendations made by Malone and others over the last 400 years remain tenable under this reading. It is to be hoped, by 2009, that the lovers of truth and beauty will have an attitude towards the text unsullied by 400 years of inappropriate tertiary interference.
It is intended that the systematic and comprehensive philosophy of Shakespeare and the associated literature in the works of Darwin, Duchamp and Wittgenstein, etc., will form the basis of a quaternary level course of two to three years. There is sufficient material now for a course to be written. The Journal is intended as a bridging tool to explore the possibilities and the ramifications.
A course based on this material would relieve tertiary of the expectation that it provide the final recourse for systematic understanding. If the primary level of education teaches language and numeracy, and the secondary level concentrates on facts and expression then the tertiary can fulfil its role in the development of methodology, or the various modes of thought and expression. No longer constrained by the shadow of the unchallenged influence of the apologetic/sceptical paradigm, it can prepare a genuinely investigative mind for the advancement of quaternary potential. By instituting a quaternary phase of education, primary, secondary and tertiary would be given a goal to provide a basis within which to consider multiple interests without having to adopt idealistic exclusivity or its counterparts, relativity and scepticism.
A course based on the works of Shakespeare would not require allegiance to the man, as the philosophy articulates the logical dynamic adhered to by all humankind irrespective of their beliefs. Consistent with the universally recognised humanity of Shakespeare's plays, the philosophy expressed in the Sonnets is a true philosophy in that it consistently and coherently presents the conditions and criteria for human life without prejudice.
The Journal recognises the millennial accolades given Shakespeare. It acknowledges that the continued interest in his works indicates a desire for a philosophy of life consistent with human dignity and potential. By furthering the appreciation of his philosophy the aim is not to elevate a man who sought no undue elevation but to empower individuals to appreciate the nature of his accomplishment and to allow for the possibility of a further advancement in understanding and a greater depth and consistency of expression.
Roger Peters Copyright © 2005
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