The Tragedy of the Rose

The logic behind the scene of the eight-part series of novels
The Lodging for the Rose
by Rolf A. F. Witzsche

 


The series of novels, The Lodging for the Rose, is written in the form of a tragedy. However, it deviates from the classical tragedy as we find it in Shakespeare's work, or Schiller's. It deviates from it, by expanding on it.

It is the aim of the classical tragedy to elevate society above the role of the pathetic creature that human beings so often assume for themselves for countless reasons. The tragedy lies in the tendency that people allow themselves to become small and pathetic while they have the power as human beings to lift themselves above that role by elevating themselves and their world with the resources of their humanity.

In the literary classical tragedy the pathetic is intentionally allowed to triumph. This is done in a manner that encourages society to discover in itself the reasons for the pathetic that confronts it, to counteract it, and thus to avoid a potentially still greater tragedy in real life.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, for instance, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark is cast as the tragic figure. As a human being, he knows what he must do in the role of the prince of that nation. He even has the legal opportunity to carry out the task. His father, the king, has been murdered. The murderer has made himself king and married his mother. All this happens while the kingdom itself is about to be invaded. He knows as a human being that the murderer must be dethroned and brought to justice. But does he have the courage to stand up against the king for the higher principle that is involved? We are told that he is not a coward. He has proven himself countless times in battle. But this is a different battle, isn't it, opposing the ruling potentate in the name of a higher principle with no hard and fast proof? In the sight of this challenge Hamlet becomes a little man, a small-minded pathetic creature that cannot act. As a consequence the murderer remains in power by whose hand Hamlet himself dies, and everyone that he ever cared for dies with him. Even the nation, that thereby remains undefended, falls and looses its sovereignty. It becomes the possession of a foreign king.

The pathetic role that Hamlet plays is really the role that the human society has played in general, for the last 650 years, with a few exceptions, and which it continues to play. The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia can be counted as one exception, and the founding of the United States of America that came out of it, as another example, as it became the first nation state republic on the planet with a constitution devoted to the general welfare of all people.

Unfortunately, those examples are few in which people stopped being small and pathetic. The reason why these examples are few may be that we have been conditioned to be pathetic. We have been conditioned by the most powerful forces that have ever been used against the freedom of the human spirit, which are religion and the death penalty, preventing the rule of universal principle, universal love, and so forth. We've been conditioned to become dishonest with ourselves, and cowardly in respect to what our humanity demands. The result is that humanity has not been able to rescue itself from countless centuries of imperial rule in spite of the great humanist achievements of the Greek classical age, or the Golden Renaissance, or similar periods, which had brought great hope, but which were always defeated.

Luckily for humanity, in historic times the world was too large for global effects to happen by a single imperial adventure. This is no longer that case. Imperial adventures in the nuclear age might destroy the whole of humanity in the same manner and for the same reason as World War II had destroyed Europe and parts of Asia. A massive global financial and economic disintegration in today's age, as we are presently facing, if it is allowed to unfold, might destroy the living of humanity on a much broader scale than for instance the great collapse of 1345. That regional financial collapse, which set the stage for the black plaque, had wiped out half of the population of Europe. In today's world society is ruled by globally extended imperial forces that operate virtually unopposed, imposing consequences on humanity that might cost the life of billions of people as the physical support structures disintegrate.

History has shown that typically great tragedies affect society on a massive scale almost by default, because society's attention is largely focused on the small sphere of the personal domain, rather than on the universal domain. As the focus on the general welfare of society becomes thereby lost, the door becomes opened to general tragedy. This shift in focus, which was often artificially engineered, has historically destroyed the brightest developments in civilization.

Whenever society's thinking becomes small, its focus becomes small also, and being small society becomes pathetic. On this trail into the sewer society invariably ends up playing the role of the pathetic gladiators of the Roman arena who kill one another for reasons long forgotten by then. In fact, very few of the countless millions of people who died in the great world wars of the last century ever knew the underlying reasons for which they died. These wars could have been prevented if society had cared to do so. Wars are not inevitable, but they usually happen when society allows itself to become small.

The tragedy of the rose that is staged in the series of eight novels, ^The Lodging for the Rose,^ moves the stage into the private domain where the isolation of society from one another has been carried forward to the greatest extent.

The first episode of the series of eight novels begins with the remembrance of a small private tragedy against the background of a much greater universal tragedy. But it is the small, almost insignificant seeming, private tragedy that takes over the center of the stage. The entire first episode actually becomes a flashback that deals with that small, remembered tragedy. The whole episode explores the background of it. It explores some profound, deep-reaching developments by which that tragedy could have been avoided, and should have been avoided. But in the end, it wasn't avoided. The pathetic triumphed once again in the name of morality and love.

The tragic setup is rather simple, so it seems. A man, the main protagonist, and a woman named Heather, met each other. They fell deeply in love, being attracted by each other's humanity. Still, in the end they come to an impasse by reasons of the protagonists pre-existing marriage that neither he of she can deal with. They boldly ignore it first. They step out of the small sphere that the conventions of the world and ancient traditions have long imposed, but like Hamlet they lack the courage to take a final stand for the universal principles of truth. They capitulate to the smallness in their thinking, and thereby they lose the potential to embrace the wider world of universal love, and to be enriched by its promise.

On this stage the setup differs from that of Hamlet. In the Hamlet tragedy the audience is rooting for Hamlet. The audience is hoping that he will do the right thing and save his kingdom, and of course, also himself from the mortal danger that he finds himself in. However, Hamlet disappoints the audience. He does not act. He is a coward. Perhaps he fears how the king might react, and the court, and the nation. Would they support him? Hamlet knows that his world is in danger, but why should he be the one to save it?

When the play ends, the audience walks away in disgust over the pathetic little man who lacks the moral fitness to survive. Still, as the days pass the audience invariably finds in that little man its own image reflected, its own smallness, its own unwillingness to be sublime and act for the welfare of society.

In the setup of the tragedy of the rose the audience will not feel this disgust. It cannot feel it. It has been educated for centuries not to feel it. The intended reaction of the story is that people will say to themselves, about these two people, "well, what did they expect? One cannot do these things and expect to get away with them."

The episode as a whole, however, is designed to challenge this assumption. Throughout the rest of the episode the reader is confronted with a development in the story that takes place in the protagonist's life prior to the tragedy, that explores every major aspect of it before the tragedy happens. That sometimes-profound development should have made it possible for the protagonist to find a way to avoid the tragedy. Except that doesn't happen.

During these developments the reader is more and more put into the uneasy-chair and is challenged to confront his or her own cherished smallness, the same smallness by which the reader is drawn into the scene as the tragic figure of the story. Why? The answer is simple. We have been taught for ages to live isolated in the small; to allow love to unfold only in the small, in the smallest sphere possible. "Don't you dare to step out of this prescribed sphere!" we've been told. In ancient times, people who did dare were met with the death penalty. We still live in a similar mode, isolated and divided to very core of our being.

In order to keep the reader locked into the position of a tragic figure, some bold assertions are made as the story unfolds. These assertions challenge the position that society is taught not to deviate from, which the reader most likely cannot step away from without opening up in his mind a whole can of worms that one would rather not deal with. Thus, nothing is dealt with and the self-isolation of humanity that society cherishes in its very heart, continues.

Against this background of a cherished self-isolation the general welfare principle, on which the brightest periods in history have rested, becomes but an empty shell over time and falls away. Every great renaissance in history has become diminished against this background of society's self-isolation from one another, and faded into oblivion.

In this manner the tragedy of "the rose" is pursued relentlessly in the first episode of the series. The episode brings into focus scenes of great struggles and freedoms based on scientific platforms. Some of these most people would gladly celebrate and cherish in private, but in the end when actions should declare openly the ideals, with which to enrich one another's existence through the principle of universal love, society fails. Society fails itself, even while knowing that all the greatest political developments of history have been based on this principle, a principle that has uplifted the world and ennobled civilization. Society fails itself in those final steps regardless of all precedents, because it has never dared to take those seemingly easy steps towards actually embracing the principle of universal love. It doesn't dare, perhaps because such daring has been answered with the death penalty for centuries in ancient times that still continues to some degree.

The tragedy of the rose unfolds in many ways along the same path as the tragedy of ^Prometheus Bound^ by the poet Aeschylus from around 500 BC, of the Greek classical age. Aeschylus set the Prometheus myth into a stage play in which the god Prometheus is tortured by the gods of Olympus for his love of humanity. The audience knows that Prometheus could save himself from the tortures if he were to give in to the demands of the gods of Olympus. The audience is deeply touched by the suffering would love to see Prometheus save himself from the torture, but the audience also knows that the realization of it hope would lead to the demise of humanity, and thereby to the demise of themselves. Consequently the audience remains torn between the demands of universal principle, the principle of universal love, and its own pathetic self-interest which it cannot ignore.

In the play, Prometheus solves the problem for the audience. He remains steadfast in his principle of universal love, by which he eventually becomes victorious.

It appears that Aeschylus had wanted to make the audience the tragic figure, and force it to deal with this paradox. He probably knew that it would be reluctant to go against its perceived self-interest, which he demonstrated at the end as totally unnecessary. He staged it as a sad folly that should have made the audience ashamed of its smallness.

For this deep reaching play the poet Aeschylus is till being honored today, 2,500 years later. It appears that mankind by and large recognizes the value of profound universal principles, even while it has great difficulty in responding to them.

In the tragedy of the rose, the character, Steve, represents a response to universal principle that the reader will likely be inclined to ridicule as totally irrational and impossible. Indeed, one would sooner mock the man and comment that his response borders on idiocy, than find a basis for agreement. The reason is that such an agreement would invalidate our precious self-interests, regardless of the fact that these self-interests have isolated and divided society from one another and led to countless catastrophes throughout the ages with greater ones appearing ominously on the horizon.

When the first episode closes, it is hoped that a reaction may be aroused that causes the reader to ponder by what process of principle the tragedy could have been avoided, even against the most incredible odds, and the social scene been enriched and thereby uplifted, for all concerned.

That is where the second episode comes into play. The second episode of the series is devoted to exploring the dimensions for a possible answer. Throughout the second novel of the series, the border between the credible and the incredible becomes frequently blurred in order to keep the reader, that is ourselves, on the side of the tragic, on the side of one who cannot move, who is stuck with traditions and long standing axioms. This is kept up though many profound steps unfold along the way. Only at the very end does a breakthrough happen. When all the impediments are discredited, the breakthrough happens on its own, which in the story is symbolically associated with a sunrise.

The symbolism of the sunrise is appropriate, because it symbolizes the magnitude of she needed shift in our relationship to one another as human beings if our civilization is to survive. Our isolation from one another that we have drifted into politically and economically has grown to a depth that has never before existed. It threatens our security, our morality, and the physical economy on which our day to day survival depends. The depth of isolation from one another that now threatens our survival in the larger world is equaled only in the social domain in the form of our near universal sexual division and isolation. If our isolation and division can be resolved in this realm which affects us most closely and individually, and uplift ourselves with the universal principles of our unity as human beings, then we have a chance to build the needed platform for our survival in the larger sphere. If we fail, the unfolding tragedy in the larger world that we have not so far found the mental resources to avoid, will happen in full, as it happened for Hamlet for the same reason.

The tragedy that underlies the series, The Lodging for the Rose, is not meant to be resolved in a mythical manner as Aeschylus provides a resolution for his classical tragedy where the resolution is provided by a superior being, a god. In our human world the resolution has to be furnished by ourselves, on a platform of discovered scientific universal principles, not the magic of a super-being. The principle that allows us to eradicate the nuclear weapons threat, for instance, won't be imposed on us by visitors from outer space. If we don’t create a solution, no one will, and our future will remain boxed in by the ever-worsening dynamics of this unresolved problem. And this is just a minor example.

The principle to solve this problem, together with all the others, will have to be developed by us and be supported by us, or failing that, the developing tragedy will be ours. For over half a century humanity has lived under the shadow of the still lacking resolution for the problem of an impending nuclear war. We’ve toyed around, and in many cases been prevented to find a solution, because of interventions by hidden powers that have an interest in keeping the problem alive. Nor will we ever get anywhere by this process because the problem cannot be solved except on the platform of higher principles. Every day in which the still continuing failure is perpetuated should be deemed a tragic day, and society should see itself as a tragically small people, because the consequences of our inaction, that we refuse to see, loom hugely on the horizon. The tragedy that we are preparing ourselves physically and economically by not dealing with our self-isolation from the reality of our world, has the potential to reduce the world population to very small numbers, possibly below the one billion mark, and the support structures for our physical existence disintegrate.

All of this could happen quickly, as quickly as the great depression was ushered in by stock market collapse in 1929, or as quickly as a nuclear weapons attack, or accident, or conspiracy, can alter the global environment in the space of a coffee break. If this happens, should we be surprised? Most likely, we will be, but we shouldn’t be. Tragically, we prefer to live with our eyes closed. And more than that, we make huge efforts to advance the process by which we are doomed. For example, America is spending tens of billions of dollars each year on covert efforts to destabilize other nations and governments, increasing tensions and hatred, while barely a penny is spent, if that, to develop the unity and good will among mankind on which security and prosperity ultimately depend. In humanist terms, we’ve become small people, tragically small.

The German poet Friedrich Schiller had noted sadly that all too often the great opportunities in history have found society a small people and thus the great opportunities became tragically wasted. We still operate in this mode, even more so than ever. Schiller’s words should rouse us especially today, since we cannot afford the tragedies anymore that we still have the opportunity to avoid, but close our eyes to. Nor can we afford to keep our focus locked exclusively onto the political level for preventing those tragedies, while we cherish in our own living the denial of the principles on which the solution of the problems depend. We have played this game of duplicity for several millennia already, as Schiller pointed out to some degree. We should have grown tired of playing this game, and we probably would have by now, had the principles not been constantly obscured, and often intentionally so for imperial objectives.

In the third episode of the series the focus is reversed from the first two episodes, but with a twist. The blindness to universal principles that we impose on ourselves in the social domain, becomes reflected as a blindness to political objectives. Today’s political, economic, and strategic scene is intentionally obscured with lies and public brainwashing, and so forth, to the point that anyone who dares to suggest that the world looks different beneath the official cover, will be immediately labeled a "conspiracy theorist." We find a veiled admission in this response, of the simple fact that every empire in history has maintained its power by the machines of conspiracies, especially since the rise of the Venetian Empire. What the public sees coming to light on the surface is merely the stage-managed end result that has been carefully crafted as politically correct public opinion. Thus, politically correct opinions become accepted by most people as something akin to a higher form of law, and this tragically so. The reality, through, that people don’t want to see or hear about, tends to assert itself with no small surprises.

In this manner society remains to be the tragic figure in the third episode. In the story a few major surprises erupt, though the worst tragedy becomes narrowly avoided. The greatest tragedy however, in the real world, is the simple fact that society rarely sees itself in a tragic role in this sphere of hidden conspiracies in which the fate of nations and continents, even the future of humanity itself, is decided behind its back, shielded by insanity and lies.

In the fourth episode of the series of novels the question begins to emerge of how one can deal with this greater, unseen, tragedy that we allow to come upon ourselves both in the private and the public sphere. Are our two spheres of tragedy linked? Can either be resolved in isolation of the other?

Since the principle of universal love poses near impossible demands in the social domain where breakthroughs are deemed virtually impossible, one is tempted to believe that purely political solutions must be sought, and be made possible. One is dearly hoping for them. Nevertheless, the simplest solutions evade us in the political sphere if that is where all our attention rests as if life were a political process.

In this sphere, the tragedy has already become so gross that we would indeed recognize ourselves as a tragic lot in this environment, if we hadn't become accustomed to recognizing the unfolding of that kind of tragedy as the normal way of life in a human world. We have become so accustomed to this train of tragedy that we can no longer even recognize ourselves to be the tragic element of the process. That may be the greatest tragedy of them all. We have drifted into a rut in this regard, and call this life. We tend to sit back and accept our hopeless lot and regard it as normal. We actually feel more inclined to have a party to celebrate our common banality in this sphere, than engage in efforts to rouse ourselves. Does anyone ever as much as raise the question, "who are we really, as human beings, that we should live that way, patiently accepting immense tragedies unfolding towards us?" I don't think Shakespeare or Schiller ever focused on this kind of a tragic response; the tragedy of the living dead. Only a few daring scientists have ever reached into this darkened sphere and brought its lies to the surface, whose work therefore has become routinely denounced and continues to be kept under wraps.

The fifth episode of the series of novels begins with a protest. The protest is focused on a few core items that underlie both spheres of tragedy, which combines both levels; the individual social level, and the global political level, in a framework of scientific imperatives. Unfortunately, one needs to stretch the envelope of credibility to interlock the two spheres into one. The difficulty is caused by the perception that both spheres exist far apart from each other, so that no rational solution in either sphere appears to be possible. The end result is that this separation heightens the tragedy as we become tempted to throw in the town and give up, and allow ourselves to drift into a rut.

What happens if we fall into this rut, that is if we fail in uplifting the social and political domains unto the platform of the principle of universal love, is not something we can be proud of. We come to light as pathetic fools by acting that way. We become more inclined to point the finger to someone else for the tragedy that encumbers us, instead of rousing ourselves. In kind of a crisis it will take great courage to claim our right to be human beings, with which we might avoid a still greater crisis.

The sixth episode is designed to deal with the necessary awakening to mankind’s tragedy of having deeply fallen into a rut, a rut that is rooted in our own smallness. The reversal becomes a daring stand for principle against every convention that humanity confronts in the social and sexual domain, including the dimension of the marriage principle.

The seventh episode deals with the same question in the political sphere. In this sphere the tragedy that results from society’s inaction in defending itself over long periods from the hidden games of imperial powers, are unimaginable. In the real world, the hidden political tragedy is actually much more profoundly apparent than the visible one. I am talking about the hidden tragedy that is forcing humanity to suffer silently in genocidal poverty and deprivation. In this sphere countless millions are put to death silently while few are disturbed by it. In comparison, the terror attack on the World Trade Towers in New York in which close to 4000 people were killed, became instantly paraded as world-enraging news. And the world responded accordingly with an outpouring of grief, support, and anger, which has rarely been seen before on the same scale. Nevertheless the widely mourned event pales into insignificance in comparison to the countless millions of deaths caused by the movement of a pen putting policies on paper that deprives the means for people to exist across nations and continents. Tragically, many such policies have already been enacted that have superseded in horror all the horrors of the world wars of the last century.

It is a deeply hidden tragedy that may yet destroy us all, that we are more likely to be aroused by a minor tragic event that stares us suddenly in the face, than we are roused into action by tragic events on a continental scale or larger, which has become a universal drama. And even in the cases of the tragedies that we can see, we tend to want to close our eyes to the movements that drive the tragedies, like those many forms of genocide in Africa. Thus we become the element of tragedy once again. The seventh episode begins with a ‘small’ tragedy that is highly visible, which gradually brings to light the much larger tragedy that blackens the face of humanity in the background.

In the final episode, the tragedy of the modern western society is of a slightly different nature. The tragedy unfolds as a tragedy in education, which appears to be an engineered phenomenon of a world-empire struggling to maintain its existence at all cost, to humanity that is.

The dimension of the tragedy may be gleamed by considering the following historic setup. Throughout World War II the American President Frankin D. Roosevelt had assured the British Prime Minister Churchill that in the postwar period the British world-empire on which the sun never set, would cease to exist. The world would become transformed into a world of sovereign nations aided by America in their industrialization and economic self-development. Roosevelt warned that there would be no place for a colonial empire in such a world. However, how would an empire have to react to defend itself against this mortal challenge? No empire had the capacity at the end of World War II to defend itself militarily against the promise of universal freedom and prosperity coming out of America. America was the prime military and economic power on the planet at this time, second to none. Still, the imperial forces had to react to save their empire, and apparently they did. They reacted in a hidden manner by setting the stage for America to destroy itself from within.

As a matter of universal principle, any nation lives and falls by the development of its humanity in terms of its cultural, social, and scientific achievements. The imperial forces knew this. They also knew that this development rests squarely on quality humanist education that is essential for developing a person's humanity. If one destroys the platform for education to the degree that a person's humanity becomes not developed, but becomes instead negated and reduced to zero, the coming new generations can be turned into generations of 'empty' people, by which the nation invariably collapses under the weight of the lack of its humanity.

This engineered tragedy has become the postwar tragedy in the West that we now see the end-result of, especially in America. The introduction of irrational philosophies from mankind's darkest past, that smothered the budding minds, had almost assured the 'success' of this project. And it did succeed. Unfortunately, the tragedy unfolds in an environment in which this very tragedy itself, is deemed a virtue.

In order to stage an exploration of this tragedy the protagonist of the series of novels, together with his friends, become self-exiled in the shadow of an unfolding police state persecution. They all escape to China. The escape to China is symbolic of the fact that the American society has effectively exiled itself from its own profound humanist traditions and principles. Ironically, one really has to go to China to see the core elements of America’s fundamental principles still in operation, for which America once became famous around the world. Large-scale infrastructure development, technological development, commitment to education, industrialization, and government committed to the general welfare of society, have all become forgotten history in America. Ironically, those principles now flourish in China. With all its faults, problems, and challenges, China represents today the historic principles that America once represented, which America itself has trashed. Maybe they are not as extensively expressed in China as one would want to see them expressed, but they are represented there, and this more fully than anywhere else in the world at the present time.

One of the most deeply hidden tragedies of our time are located in this paradox. To solve the paradox the missing principles need to be explored. That is what the last episode is focused on. Ah, but is anyone prepared to even acknowledge this deeply hidden tragedy as a tragedy? I would say, hardly! I would even say that the existence of this paradox by which the tragedy comes to light should cause one to celebrate, for the solving of the paradox is especially critical in times of today's unfolding global financial, economic, and strategic crisis. It is ironic that China, the scorn target of America, should be America's greatest ally as a mirror-gateway to its past, which America needs for rebuilding itself to become human again, which hasn't yet begun.

The eighth episode at last ends with a story that sums up the entire series. It is the story of an imaginary tragedy, of an imaginary society in a hidden land that had developed a rich human culture, but which was exterminated by an external invading force in an effort to impede that culture. In recovering from the tragedy of the society’s destruction the remnant of it decides not to remain isolated anymore, but to spread its humanity throughout the world, throughout all cultures, all empires, all societies, and for all times to come. The people decided that in this manner the flame of their humanity would remain alive and become immortal, and so continue to change the world long after they themselves were history. This, they did. It may well be that in this process of marching forward in quiet channels of brining light to the world, the fire of our common humanity will one day become so rich as to engulf the world in a manner that the age of tragedies that is still upon us today, will end.

 

 

 

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