On Theology and Logogy, A Brief Summary of Chapter 20 from On Symbols and Society

20.From The Rhetoric of Religion, 1-3, 183-196.

Kenneth Burke’s The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology has many statements in it worth pondering. The book seems more profound each time I read it. The excerpt from Gusfield’s On Symbols and Society only covers pages 1-3 and 183-196, so this brief summary will only provide 3 very short paragraphs from Burke’s book.

Introduction: On Theology and Logology
Theology is words about God (theos + logos). Logology, then, would be words about words (logos + logos). Statements theologians have made about God can be used metaphorically to talk about words, whether people believe in God or not. And it is also possible to thereby analyze statements about God as if they spoke about reason and language (logos). God-terms are summarizing words because they function as combining all into one.

Tautological Cycle of Terms for “Order”
The term order applies to nature and political “un-nature,” socio-political “order.” But might the terms in socio-political order become used in nature?
“Order” is how things are organized. But if “order” is a command, then other terms such as “obey” and “obedience” are implied. If things are innocent, then they cannot just “obey,” however. They may also “disobey” “order.”

The religious principles of faith and obedience are thus grounded in language (187). Things move. People act. Acting brings responsibility. Implicit in the idea of an act is free will. Pride is the attitude which results in disobedience. Humility is the attitude which leads to obedience. 

“Antinomies of Definition” Continued: A Few Notes of On Symbols and Society Chapter 17

17.From “Antinomies of Definition,” in A Grammar of Motives, 33-38.

This excerpt continues right where Chapter 14 left off.I think it’s because Gusfield is trying to get readers to read “Four MasterTropes” before they read this selection in the Grammar. I confess the notes in this section are difficult to understand and are, unfortunately, all too brief. 

Dialectical Substance
In A Grammar of Motives, all of the previous types of substance could be considered as if they were a type of dialectical substance. The previous types can be classified as if they were dramatistic.

In the other types, the irony is implicit, but here it is explicit: Dialectic substance is the “over-all category of dramatism, which treats of human motives in the terms of verbal action” (33). That doesn’t mean that human beings are only motivated by the verbal, but it does mean that an analysis starts at the verbal.

In order to discuss the negative of language, as well as Being and Not-Being, we have to go back to the medievalists.

The Paradox of Purity
For the medievalists, the following is the paradox of purity or the paradox of the absolute: a pure person would be the same as a no person. Pure Being is the same as Not-Being. In Aristotle, God is either a Pure Act or complete repose, a rest that is “eternal, unchangeable, immovable.” [Sounds like Zen Buddhism to me.]

Burke’s method, however, is consistent: the ancestral principle is what he uses with language itself to talk about the ancestral principle.

Burke’s Four Master Tropes, A Brief Summary

. “Four Master Tropes,” in A Grammar of Motives, 503-517.

This article is, in my opinion, a key to understanding Burke. I have read it many times, and the more I read it the more it makes sense. I highly recommend it.

Basically, there are four master tropes: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony. In this essay, Burke is particularly interested in their epistemological functions, and not just how they function as rhetorical figures. In other words, how do these tropes help or enable us to discover what we know? The tropes “shade into one another,” and if a person has one of them, he or she can derive the other three. How do the 4 master tropes appear in the real world?

When we talk about what we know, we use words that correspond with the four master tropes. For metaphor we use perspective; for metonymy, reduction; for synecdoche, representation; and for irony, dialectic. Or, at least, we could substitute one of these words for the other. They are the realistic counterparts or applications for the four tropes. Just as the four tropes shade into one another, these terms also shade into one another. So it looks like Burke will, in the rest of this essay, argue for his use of the interchanging of these terms: metaphor and perspective, metonymy and reduction, synecdoche and representation, and irony and dialectic.

Metaphor and Perspective
Metaphor sees something in terms of something else. It sees some aspect of a thing’s character that it brings out, and sees it from the point of view of another character. “And to consider A from the point of view of B is, of course, to use B as a perspective upon A” (504). The fact that we can have multiple perspectives doesn’t mean that everything is relative. On the contrary, we can only see the totality of everything insofar as we do have differing perspectives. If we don’t know what a thing is, for example, we try to look at it from a variety of perspectives. We taste it, smell it, see it from all angles, touch it, listen to it, etc.

I understand Burke to be saying here that the degree to which we perceive a thing is the degree to which the thing is to us. What we know a thing to be is the totality of our understanding of that thing, an understanding of a multiplicity of different perspectives that we have of the thing. The coming together of this variety of perspectives is what Burke calls poetic realism, to which Burke opposes scientific realism. Things are not just one thing and not everything else that they are said that they are “not.” Things are more than we think they are, and the more we learn about a thing the more we discover how little we really know. Plants “are” more than minerals, animals more than plants, and humans more than animals, though humans are also animals, and animals, plants, and minerals have things in common.

Burke says he’s developed the relationship between metaphor and perspective at greater length in Permanence and Change in his discussion of what he calls perspectives by incongruity. He comments by saying that seeing “something in terms of something else involves the ‘carrying-over’ of a term from one realm into another” (504). This process brings the realms together in one sense, although the realms aren’t the same. But it isn’t necessary to recreate everything Burke has already discussed in Permanence and Change because, since the tropes all shade into one another, we can simply move on to the next pair and carry this pair with us.

Metonymy and Reduction
Anciently, words came from using words for physical things to indicate spiritual things. Tangible is a substitute for the intangible. Metonymy is when this process is reversed and spiritual things are substituted for physical senses. So, first we go from spiritual to material, and second, from material back to spiritual.

Metonymy is the poetic counterpart of a scientific reduction. Metonymy discusses the intangible in terms of the tangible, the incorporeal in terms of the corporeal. It is like saying “the brain” instead of “the mind” or “the heart” instead of “the emotions.”

Science is concerned with correlation and not motivation (at least in the sense that correlation is observable and motivation is “not”). Pure science would abstract itself from humanity and the social realm. Science is a reduction. Science is real. Poetry, however, is metonymy. Poetry is seen as being “not real.”

The poet offers his or her metonymy as a reduction of something to a word, knowing that it’s necessarily a reduction. The scientist offers his or her reduction “as a ‘real’ reduction,” though not as a scientist but as a human being.

[To understand this section, we have to have understood “Semantic and PoeticMeaning” as well as the writings on substance in the Grammar.]

Synecdoche and Representation
A reduction is a representation, so metonymy shades into synecdoche. For example, a map of the United States is a reduction, but it’s also a sign for the thing signified. Synecdoche is just that: a part for the whole, a whole for the part, a container for the thing contained, a sign for the signified, and, which brings us close to metonymy, a material for the thing made. Leibniz uses the term representation when he discusses a synecdochic relationship in his monadology.

To represent can mean to be identified with something. [That’s important!]
We have politicians who “represent” us. Our senses are also representations. Metonymy is like a special type of synecdoche. The terms we choose should be representative and not reductive. And that brings us to irony and dialectic.

Irony and Dialectic
As soon as we say that a thing issomething, we’ve also said what it is notbecause we can’t sum something up into what we’ve just summed it up into! When we have a summing up or a perspective of perspectives, we have to say that that perspective of perspectives includes all perspectives, but that each individual perspective is not the same thing as the perspective of perspectives.

Hence, what goes forth as A returns non-A. 

That’s it for now. I honestly can’t do the essay justice. But it’s a lot of fun to try. 🙂

Antinomies of Definition: A Brief Summary of On Symbols and Society, Ch. 14

14.  From “Antinomies of Definition,” in A Grammar of Motives, 21-33.

[This section contains several definitions of substance. My notes on this section are in some places more like a list and less like prose.]

Paradox of Substance
Here, Burke cites Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Substance is ambiguous. But it meant standing under or upholding. Greek hypostasis meant standing under. Hence anything set under, base, prop, support. Metaphorically, the bottom of a thing, the subject matter, the beginning. Metaphysically, subsistence, reality, real being. Medically, suppression, liquids generally, sediment, dregs, grounds.
Burke writes that for Locke, substance, while used to say what a thing is, is derived from what a thing is not. It’s about the thing’s context.

Contextual Definition
This is where transformations happen. When we define a thing, we put it into other terms. For Spinoza, ultimately nature is everything. In Aristotle, nothing can be considered “in itself” in its entirety, while in Spinoza, nothing can be considered “by itself,” and things are defined by other things around them.

Familial Definition
Substance of things is what biology is. Ancestry. Blood. Biology. Medievalists: are universals before the thing, in the thing, or after the thing? “Does the tribe give birth to its members (universal ante rem), or does the tribe exist in its members (universal in re), or is the tribe merely a name for the sum of its members (universal post rem)?” (27). Yes to the first makes you an extreme medieval realist, while yes to the second makes you Aristotelian.

The quickest way to find the center is to ponder the words general, generic, genetic, and genitive.

While contextual definition “stresses placement, ancestral definition stresses derivation” (28).

Survey of Terms for Substance
Geometric substance. An object in its setting. Participation in a context.
Familial substance. Strictly, common ancestry in the biological sense and literal descendants. “Family,” however, can be “spiritualized.” Hence, same beliefs, attitudes, nationality.

Directional substance. Where are you going? Direction is embedded in motivation. Motivation, movement. Latin causa: that by, on account of, a cause, reason, motive. “All metaphors or generalizations, such as homo homini lupus, or ‘life a pilgrimage,’ or ‘the economic man,’ that treat one order of motivation in terms of a higher order or lower order, are examples of substantiation; and they reveal the paradox of substance in that the given subject both is and is not the same as the character with which and by which it is identified” (32).

Burke writes that much that he has already said in Permanence and Change, Attitudes toward History, and The Philosophy of Literary Form elaborate this paragraph. 

Oh. And let’s not forget that well-developed characters are complexities of motives. That’s an important statement . . .

This excerpt is continued in Chapter 17.

Comic Correctives: A Brief Summary of On Symbols and Society, Ch. 16

16. “Comic Correctives,” from Attitudes Toward History, 166-175.

The comic frame enables people to be observers and students of themselves. Instead of promoting passivity, it would stress maximum consciousness. It would help us be aware of ourselves and notice what improvements we can make. We would have a standard of judgment for what’s “irrational and . . . non-rational” (171). Dramatism, the comic lens, could help us glean knowledge even from books that other perspectives would deem not worth studying. 

Positive, Dialectical, and Ultimate Terms: A Brief Summary of An Excerpt that Corresponds to Chapter 12 in Gusfield’s On Symbols and Society

12. “Order,” in A Rhetoric of Motives, 183-203.

Positive, Dialectical, and Ultimate Terms.
Positive terms name things. These are words Bentham called “real entities” in contrast with the “fictitious entities” of the law (183). “In Kant’s alignment, the thing named by a positive term would be a manifold of sensations unified by a concept” (183). In other words, there are a whole bunch of sensations that pile up in order for us to use the positive term and say something like, “This is a house.”

Positive terms are most unambiguous when they name tangible things. “Hence, the positive ideal is a ‘physicalist’ vocabulary that reduces reference to terms of motion” (183).

Some things that can’t be seen are still rendered as “positive” because they are “seen” on dials or are capable of being recorded empirically or “observed.” Positive terms are words for physical and material stuff, and they are not transcendent.

Dialectical terms “are words that belong, not in the order of motion and perception, but rather in the order of action and idea. Here are words for principles and essence” (184). Since dialectical terms don’t refer to just one thing, the terms are ironic in a sense: when we are naming things in the realm of dialectic, we call something something that it both is and is not. “Here are ‘titular’ words” (184). They can’t refer to any specific thing that can be touched or perceived, but they do refer to a “specific” “thing” in general or in principle. Terms of this sort are often polar and can be contrasted with one another or paired with another. Burke says that he equates Bentham’s “fictitious entities” with “dialectical terms” because “they refer to ideas rather than to things” and are “concerned with action and attitude than with perception(they fall under the head of ethics and form rather than knowledge and information)” (185). 

Dialectical terms require more information than just the term itself (again, dialectical terms don’t just refer to one thing only).

The dialectic order puts things into a struggle with one another. The ultimate order puts things in a hierarchic relationship with one another. The ultimate unifies things. It is the “unitary principle” (187). So an ultimate term is a term by which all else is summarized. It is the principle of principles (189). Burke thought about calling this mystical. Ultimate terms are terms by which all else is understood or organized.

Ultimate Elements in the Marxist Persuasion.
It seems like we’ve reached the ultimate oneness of identification and substance, the-is-and-is-not sameness. [Zen?!]
Symbols transcend the things they symbolize. Burke writes that if we say that man is a symbol-using animal, we also say he is a transcending animal. “Thus, there is in language itself a motive force calling man to transcend the ‘state of nature’” (192). [Sounds to me almost like theosis?]

If we believe only in antitheses, we must reject the cult of commodities, but if we believe in hierarchies, we can see that the cult is sincere but ultimately inferior.

Any spot, point, or moment on a hierarchic line can represent the principle of perfection. [Might we say synecdochically?] Each tiny act shares in the creation of the ultimate, total act. “Perception must be grounded in enactment, by participation in some local role, so that the understanding of the total order is reached through this partial involvement” (195). We begin to see ourselves the same way, as part of a greater act. That’s mysticism

“Sociology of Knowledge” vs. Platonic “Myth.”
p. 201-202.
1. Mutual exposure of imperfect ideas (ideas bound to the sensory image).
2. Socratic transcending of this partiality.
3. Socratic summarizing vision of the pure idea.
4. Translation of the pure idea into terms of the mythic image.
5. Whereupon enters Mannheim, who proposes to develop a “sociology of knowledge” by treating the first and last steps as thought they were of the same nature”
6. Etc.

Moving towards ultimate universal ground. That’s what we do if we have identification as a term and try to delineate (trace) its logical possibilities. 

Identification and Consubstantiality, A Brief Summary of Chapter 11 of On Symbols and Society

11. “Identification,” “Identification and ‘Consubstantiality,’” “The Identifying Nature of Property,” and “Identification and the ‘Autonomous,’” in A Rhetoric of Motives, 19-27.

Burke begins on page 19 by seeming to say that a person’s motives can be revealed through identifications. Imagery reduces motives to terms because it reveals the entelechy of the motive. (I.e. Burkean form in Counter-Statement—when we want something, we do what we can to fulfill that desire.) Killing something is changing it into another state (at least in terms of the poem Burke is analyzing before this section). Burke proposes that rhetoric be thought about in terms of identification, a term of wider scope than simply persuasion. People do fight among one another, but they do so because of identification. It’s better to work with terms of wider scope in this case because we can do more with them.

Identification and “Consubstantiality”
Here, Burke explains identification in passages that I have read so many times I seem to have memorized. Identification is when A is like B or when A assumes that A and B are alike. Since identification brings A and B together as if they were one, their oneness is somewhat ambiguous because they’re one and the same in one sense, but they’re also not one and the same in another sense. They are consubstantial, or of the same substance. To be consubstantial is to act together. The Grammar was about substance. The Rhetoric is about identification. The Symbolic will be about unique individuals, acts, or perhaps even forms.

Identification implies division, since identification with one side involves division from another side. “Rhetoric is concerned with the state of Babel after the Fall” (23). [There are many famous and important passages here.] Rhetoric is what we have to deal with as human beings. It is about how we understand and misunderstand one another.

The Identifying Nature of Property
Our stuff—our property—tells us about ourselves. We identify ourselves with the things that we have. We have what we have because we’re “that kind of person.” Our purchasing of a thing was a particular action that we chose. Hence both Marx and Veblen can be considered as theorists of rhetoric. There could be no strife in absolute sameness and absolute separateness. It’s because we’re in the middle of the two that we have problems. Hence “the characteristic invitation to rhetoric” (25). Our acts assume identifications, and so our speech makes subtle arguments because of the principle of identification. Rhetoric and morality become fused when one attempts to show others identifications they have not considered (26). [In short, if I can take a little interpretive freedom, I’d say that we’re always making “arguments” no matter what we do. We’re promoting something and we’re saying that what we do is better than other things we could have done but chose not to. Burke doesn’t say this in this passage, but he does say something similar to it in Philosophy of Literary Form, page 148 in the essay called “Semantic and Poetic Meaning.” There is also that passage in the Rhetoric, a passage which is not cited in On Symbols and Society, which reads {and I quote from memory here}, “Wherever there is persuasion there is rhetoric, and wherever there is ‘meaning’ there is “persuasion.” And in Permanence and Change, “A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing. A focus on object A involves a neglect of object B.”]

Identification and the “Autonomous”

All actions identify. While we can talk about an action as being isolated from other actions, if we assume that it actually is, then we deceive ourselves. “Any specialized activity participates in a larger unit of action,” and “‘Identification’ is a word for the autonomous activity’s place in this wider context” (27). The shepherd may try to protect sheep from harm, but that shepherd could be identified with a project that is raising the sheep for purposes that don’t actually protect the sheep (but actually slaughter them!). In college education, the stress on the autonomy of a particular discipline privileges one class or discipline above another. Art is not autonomous. No discipline is. [Now Burke sounds like Cicero!]

Scope and Reduction, Excerpts from A Grammar of Motives, in Chapter 10 of On Symbols and Society

10. Excerpts from “Scope and Reduction,” in A Grammar of Motives, 59-61, 77-85, 108-117.

The Representative Anecdote
The first 3 sentences allude to terministic screens. Vocabularies are reflections, selections, and deflections of reality. Terminologies are calculi. A representative anecdote is a part that actually does represent the whole. Like a case study.
The representative anecdote is a dramatistic approach to dramatism (60). The anecdote is “a summation, containing implicitly what the system that is developed from it contains explicitly” (60). Once we have a representative anecdote, we begin to wonder what its paradigm would be, its pure act, or the prototype of acts. The paradigm, whether it is real or not, is the Act of Creation.
Like scope, circumference can be expanded and contracted. The bigger it is, the more we can do with it, but the more narrow it is the more it applies to specific situations. [We can expand it to include a creator?] Implicit in terms are circumferences of varying scope. “Motivationally, they involve such relationships as are revealed in the analysis of the scene-act and scene-agent ratios whereby the quality of the context in which a subject is placed will affect the quality of the subject placed in that context” (78). We should pay attention to how circumferences are defined because they are implicit but important. We should pay attention, even when it seems like it’s not a huge deal (like in scientific discourse).

Even behaviorists make circumferences, which change the scope, though they wouldn’t admit it. Narrowing the circumference shifts emphasis from final cause to efficient cause. Selecting a circumference is an “Act of Faith” (84), so to speak, because it means choosing a starting point without knowing what is going to come out of it. 

Money as Substitute for God
Temporality and material calls for a reduction of the circumference. Inventing a machine is action. Feeding one is motion. Money is god-term, a summing up of material things.

The Nature of Monetary “Reality”
In one sense, money is an agency, a medium. But that’s not all it is. It’s also a ground for rationalizing action. If there’s no money, people think, there’s no freedom, nothing of anything else. When we owe money, we are in debt, and are guilty. We want credit, not debit. People start to believe that more money means a higher quality of life. Discussion of a loss of real things from a hurricane versus loss of non-real things from stock market crash. The things are gone, whereas the “things” that really weren’t “things” are “gone,” even though they weren’t really “here” in the first place.

Excerpts from A Grammar of Motives, A Brief Summary of On Symbols and Society Ch. 9

9. Excerpts from A Grammar of Motives, xv-xxiii, 3-9, 15-20.

Introduction: The Five Key Terms of Dramatism

Here are the first two sentences of the book: “What is involved, when we say what people are doing and why they are doing it? An answer to that question is the subject of this book” (xv). A Grammar of Motives, takes a stab at answering those questions by discussing the “basic forms of thought” by which we exemplify or attribute our motives.

The key terms are act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose. The act is what happened. The scene is where or when it happened. The agent is who did the act. The agency is by what means the act was completed. And the purpose is why the act was accomplished. 

Burke’s method: showing application as argument (xv). These principles are easy, but useful. They’re always there for us, though we may take them far away from themselves. And just as a picture looks simple but becomes complex on analysis, so are the terms. [In my opinion, so is Burke—he’s easy to understand, but complex at the same time.]

The key terms can also be lenses, and are even treated as such in certain philosophic schools. Or at least the concepts are key concepts through which the world is seen, while certain philosophers themselves use different terms for the same concept. (On page xxi, Mead becomes act and Dewey Act + Scene.)

While perfectionists might try to use unambiguous terms or argue that a term is locked down to one meaning, as human beings, we can’t get away from ambiguity. Instead, however, since there’s something enigmatic about the universe anyway, this enigma will be revealed as we consider the terms for motives. The point is not to get rid of the enigma, but to use terms that “clearly reveal the strategic spots at which ambiguities necessarily arise” (xviii, italics in original). That is key. It also means we won’t be deceiving ourselves by thinking we’re removing ambiguity when we really aren’t.

Sometimes we’ll find a writer (or philosopher) who wants to destroy ambiguity so much that he traces a term and then blasts the term and its use because he wants to dissociate himself from some kind of a social or political situation in which the term was used. So there’s ambiguity in talking about ambiguity, “since he presumably feels purged and strengthened” (xviii). We can’t get away from some degree of ambiguity! There is always ambiguity! 

So, instead of saying that a term is ambiguous in order to relieve ourselves of its ambiguity, Burke wants to “study and clarify the resources of ambiguity” and “transformation” (xix), meaning how one term shifts through multiple meanings. We have to pay attention to that shifting so that we understand why we do the things we do. A transformation is when A becomes non-A. For example, the same word can mean something in one context but something slightly different in another context. When things are on common ground, they are potentially transformable [the principle of identification is implicit here, and is nearly everywhere in the Grammar].

Many things can be treated as if they were one of the five terms. War is an act, a scene, an agency, a purpose, and, if we talk about Ares or Mars, an agent or super-agent.

Terms are like fingers. Separate but one. In this book, the terms are fingers and the hand is Dramatism.

Dialectics and Metaphysics are not separate, but are necessary in any discussion of human motives. Motivation is a philosophy and can’t be solved by empirical science.

Ways of Placement
Container and the Thing Contained
The Scene—Act Ratio

The scene contains the act and the actors (agents), and there is a relationship between the two. [That’s so profound to me. Certain people are in certain places. And certain people do certain things in certain places. Certain things happen in certain places.]

Summary of Ebsen’s An Enemy of the People. Commentary on O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra. Hamlet: the scene influences us. Hardy. Virgil.
Acts are consistent with scenes. “Scene is to act as implicit is to explicit” (7). Characters can also be “scenes.”

The Scene—Agent Ratio
In this ratio, “the synecdochic relation is between person and place” (7). Certain people are in certain places. There is a margin of overlap between agent and scene. [Identification between the two (though Burke doesn’t use that term here).]

Range of All the Ratios
We’ve discussed 2 ratios, but 10 are possible. Since certain people do certain things, we should pay special attention. [That was, after all, Burke’s opening question—“What is involved, when we say what people are doing and why they are doing it?” (xv).] 

Not only that, but whereas scenes contain agents and acts, the agent doesn’t really “contain” the act, except as if it were implicit. For Burke, the agent is the author of acts. [A certain kind of tree brings forth a certain kind of fruit, and a certain kind of fountain brings forth a certain kind of water.]

One may “deflect attention from scenic matters by situating the motives of an act in the agent” or by deriving an act from a scene. People do this all the time.
[It wasn’t the person, it was the weapon. Or it was the scene’s “fault.” Or it was the person. Or it wasn’t the weapon, it was the person. E.g. “Guns kill people.” “Guns don’t kill people, but people kill people.” “Only people from the bad areas of town own guns and kill people.” “It wasn’t the person’s fault because anybody who {has x happen to him or her} would have done it.” etc.]

“In reality, we are capable of but partial acts, acts that but partially represent us and that produce but partial transformations” (19).

Attitude is [also] part of the agent (20).

“Ideology and Myth,” A Brief Summary of Ch. 22 from On Symbols and Society

22.“Ideology and Myth,” Accent 7 (Summer 1947): 195-205.

Ideology is to myth as rhetoric is to poetry. Just as rhetoric and poetic aren’t separated, neither are ideology and myth. Both adapt both for their resources.
Ideology, like rhetoric, “gravitates to the side of ideas,” while myth/poetry gravitates toward image and imagery.

We often use ideological terms when talking about things that are not real to us or that we can’t experience firsthand. [Burke talks about experiencing things through radio and television, but I’m sure this also applies to the internet. Ideology sounds to me like the semantic perspective or semantic meaning on page 196.]

The issue here is identification again. It’s as if Burke is again talking about the shepherd qua shepherd quote in RM, but using a different metaphor (here it’s the interests of nation and money on page 197). Then he talks about identification and religion on 197-198.

Stewart’s Myths of Plato, which treats “myth in terms of the traditional battle between Faith and Reason” (198). Plato’s dialogues have 2 parts: the myth and the dialogic conversation (which conversation is “ideological,” since it considers ideas in themselves).

For Stewart, “the highest purpose of poetry” is “the communication of ‘transcendental feeling,’” which Burke says is oneness with the universe. Faith comes from this vital force. Our innate desire in nature implies that life is worth living. The Good is the term for things that we desire. In other words, The Good is The Desirable.

So, where is the line between myth and ideology?

Political and social motives can’t be ultimate since they’re grounded in something other than political and social (199). Myth may be cultural manifestations of ideologies. Anywhere. [I’m suddenly thinking of Ironman and Batman and other superheros and popular culture. Also zombies. How do these things express our cultural ideologies, or zeitgeist, the spirit of the times?]

When people wanted to say that human beings were essentially something, they just had to say that the first people was something. If “man is essentially competitive,” then we start by saying that the first men were always at war with each other. Starting points direct the attention.

Virgil’s Aeneid is a fitting prototype for the ideal myth. Burke cites Mackail’s The Meaning of Virgil for Our World of Today. Twelve points:

1.   National poem
2.   Interconnectedness of city to state/nation
3.   Links to Greek civilization and its greatness
4.   But emphasizes people as distinct
5.   Historic conflict
6.   Celebrate feats of heroes, etc.
7.   Romantic spirit, love and adventure
8.   Human interest, heroes
9.   Story connects with laws of nature, decrees of fate, workings of Providence
10.Exalts new regime
11.Ideal ruler
12.Touches deepest parts of religion and philosophy

Burke’s counterpoints for today—a new epic would do the following:

1.   Transcend nationalism
2.   Establish and vindicate cult of the region
3.   Establish interconnection between modern world and universal past
4.   Modern world not superior, but as containing motives which confront all ages
5.   Concerned with the momentous conflicts that center in technology and property
6.   Celebrates feats of heroes
7.   Love and adventure with modern psychology
8.   Heroic
9.   Connect figures with larger and more august issues: keeping in mind the general as well as the individual
10.Looks as towards a Savior or Messiah figure
11.Draw lineaments of ideal citizen

12.Think of human motives in the “most incisive and comprehensive terms, as regards both conscious and unconscious orders of experience” (205).