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Salman Rushdie's concept of wholeness in the context of the literature of India [Elektronische Ressource] / vorgelegt von Ute Manecke

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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Inauguraldissertation zur Erlangung des Dr. phil Eingereicht bei Professor Dr. Peter Paul Schnierer Nottingham, Juli 2005 Salman Rushdie’s concept of wholeness in the context of the literature of India Vorgelegt von Ute Manecke E-mail: utebmanecke@hotmail.com Table of Contents Introduction............................................................................................................................3 I. Wholeness through the interaction between different aspects of a person’s psyche and between an individual and society ..........................................................................................6 I.1. Personal identity in focus .............................................................................................7 I.2. C.G. Jung on structure and functions of the human psyche .........................................15 I.3. Madness and Society..................................................................................................38 I.4. George H. Mead’s sociological view on identity.........................................................45 I.5. Love relationships as a defining factor of identity.......................................................55 I.6. Role theory in Sociology ............................................................................................71 I.7. Culture and Identity.......................................
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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Inauguraldissertation zur Erlangung des Dr. phil
Eingereicht bei
Professor Dr. Peter Paul Schnierer

Nottingham, Juli 2005



Salman Rushdie’s concept of wholeness
in the context
of the literature of India









Vorgelegt von
Ute Manecke
E-mail: utebmanecke@hotmail.com

Table of Contents

Introduction............................................................................................................................3
I. Wholeness through the interaction between different aspects of a person’s psyche and
between an individual and society ..........................................................................................6
I.1. Personal identity in focus .............................................................................................7
I.2. C.G. Jung on structure and functions of the human psyche .........................................15
I.3. Madness and Society..................................................................................................38
I.4. George H. Mead’s sociological view on identity.........................................................45
I.5. Love relationships as a defining factor of identity.......................................................55
I.6. Role theory in Sociology ............................................................................................71
I.7. Culture and Identity....................................................................................................78
I.8. The Hindu philosophy as an Indian approach to wholeness.........................................94
II. Contemporary Anglo-Indian literature and the dynamics of identity.................................99
II.1. India and her literatures...........................................................................................100
II.2. The term ´post-colonial` literature...........................................................................110
II.3. Personal Identity in the (post-colonial) literature of India ......................................116
II.3.1. Colonial Perceptions, Ethnicity and Race ......................................................116
II.3.2. Nationalism and other ideologies....................................................................136
II.3.3. Gender and sexuality......................................................................................151
II.3.4. Caste, Class, Status and Community...................................................................176
II.3.5. The role of religion.........................................................................................193
II.3.6. The individual within the context of migration ...............................................208
III. Developments of the wholeness-theme by Salman Rushdie ..........................................224
III.I. Writing in context: Salman Rushdie’s life and works..............................................225
III.2. Salman Rushdie’s postmodern viewpoint.............................................................238
III.3. Limitations to and the potential of wholeness in Salman Rushdie’s texts..............247
III.3.1. Stages of Self-Awareness in Grimus .............................................................247
III.3.2. Midnight’s Children as a bundle of intertwining histories..............................259
III.3.3. The impact of fundamentalist politics on a nation’s people in Shame.............282
III.3.4. Political resistance to imperialism and dictatorship through revolution in The
Jaguar Smile – A Nicaraguan Journey........................................................................301
III.3.5. The descriptive nature of roles in The Satanic Verses ....................................311
III.3.6. The restoration of the imagination and of the creative impulse in Haroun and
the Sea of Stories ........................................................................................................328
III.3.7. Forms of multiplicity and hybridity in The Moor’s Last Sigh.........................345
III.3.8. The Ground beneath her Feet as an exploration of the impact of love and art on
individuals..................................................................................................................358
III.3.9. The imitation of art and of ‘real’ life: Fury’s investigation of the autonomy or
heteronomy of human nature ......................................................................................376
Final Words .......................................................................................................................390
Bibliography ......................................................................................................................393 3
Introduction

Why is it worthwhile to explore the concept of wholeness? One answer to this question is
that wholeness is something we are all striving for and thus seems to be of central importance
in our lives. Although we sometimes use different words to describe what we mean by
wholeness, our alleged synonyms or descriptions all tend to emphasise the positive meaning
associated with it.
One specific synonym, unbroken, shows particularly well these positive associations.
For a long time many people have believed in the myth that we were once whole, but lost our
1wholeness and should now endeavour to retrieve it. A reason why this is desirable is that
something that is united and not fragmented is usually in the position to function as it should.
In human beings, the capability to function properly can only be generated when the
individual meets adequate standards of health and well-being. In fact, there has now emerged
the term wholistic – originally spelled holistic - health, which is defined as whole person
health or simply as wellness. This stance explains how ‘health’ is derived from the Anglo-
2Saxon word ‘haelth’, which in turn comes from ‘hal’, the latter meaning ‘sound’ and ‘whole’.
The verb ‘heal’ is derived from ‘haelen’, which means ‘restore to wholeness’ or ‘health’. This
is another indication that wholeness has always been considered as central to health and that
this view is now consciously supported.
Unfortunately, the myth of wholeness has developed over time in ways that have led to a
conception of the term, which has been revealed to be both unfeasible in its application to
reality and also undesirable. Over time, wholeness has been increasingly equated with
uniformity, stasis and oneness and as an ideal worth aspiring to. Associations with divinity
have often been made as well in this context. The question arises now how we can
successfully utilise this idea of wholeness in view of a world in which everything seems to be
in motion, in which we confront inconsistencies in ourselves and in others and in which we
find chaos, disaster, destruction, partition and fragmentation from which we can hardly
escape. Not only do we often face difficulties understanding others, but we also very often
find it hard to make sense of ourselves, being puzzled about actions and thoughts that seem
very much out of character. It seems that uniformity is lacking in our identities. We
sometimes appear to be very unpredictable. This is exactly because we are not static but

1 Fietz, Lothar. Fragmentarisches Existieren – Wandlungen des Mythos von der verlorenen Ganzheit in der
Geschichte philosophischer, theologischer und literarischer Menschenbilder. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1994: 3. 4
beings that constantly undergo metamorphoses. This is especially the case in the context of
migration, which often results in the emergence of divided loyalties and hybridities of
languages and cultures. Can we still think of oneness here?
The myth of wholeness suggests perfection and flawlessness in our selves and the world. But
this seems in many ways to contradict our daily experience: We only need to watch or read
about the latest news events in order to become aware of how far away we are from
perfection. Racial, ethnic or religious hatred, fundamentalism or gender discrimination next to
other forms of discrimination that are based on hierarchical ways of thinking render hope for
the creation of ideal beings and an ideal world almost ludicrous.
It therefore seems important to re-conceptualise the idea of wholeness if we want to continue
allocating it a central position in our lives. In my attempt to develop new ways of conceiving
wholeness I especially want to focus on the relationship between the whole and its parts. The
myth of human wholeness seems to suggest that parts of a person appear to be completely
compatible, harmonious and consistent so that they are almost obliterated to the eyes of other
persons. There seems to be the underlying assumption that wholeness gets lost if the parts are
of a different nature. They would then become fragments, a term that emphasises that
brokenness of things by implying the lack and deprivation in them. In contrast, I want to
demonstrate how parts can be other than consistent without having to lead to the
disintegration of the whole, the person. Instead of regarding the parts as fragments and thus as
deficient, I suggest to see them as facets and thus as contributors to something positive. The
various aspects of the self could and should thus be viewed as something valuable. Instead of
stasis, I will stress the interaction of these facets and will show how it is the constructive
interplay between them that leads to wholeness.
It is also crucial to keep in mind that wholeness is not so much an attribute we naturally have
or suddenly and accidentally acquire, but that it is something we have to work towards – that
it involves developmental processes individuals need to embark on. Whether we achieve
wholeness or not depends on the attitudes we adopt towards aspects of our identities such as
gender identity, communal identity, national identity and many more.
I want to show in the following both, how wholeness can be acquired, and reveal the
conditions and contexts under which it can be lost. It should be noted that certain conditions
in the post-colonial (and migration) context have a particularly strong influence on the
probability of achieving wholeness and that they can also prove to be particularly difficult or

2 “Health as Wholeness: Wholistic Health as whole Person Health or ‘Wellness’”. 13 Dec 2004.
http://www.holisticeducator.com/wellness.htm: 1. 5
easy to tackle. Various Anglo-Indian texts as well as Salman Rushdie’s works will serve as
examples to demonstrate this situation.
6
I. Wholeness through the interaction between different aspects of a
person’s psyche and between an individual and society

In order to develop an idea of wholeness of a person it is crucial to focus at first on identity.
In the following, the constitution of a person shall be discussed by presenting philosophical
and psychological approaches. It is only then that an account of wholeness can be developed,
which will include considerations of how it can be gained and lost whilst identity is preserved.
Furthermore I will use theoretical stances that centre on the individual in their social and
cultural context. The interaction between individual and society will have repercussions on
both sides: While the individual is shaped by their environment, they also transform the
environment they live and act in, which will have crucial influences on the possibility of
attaining wholeness.
7
I.1. Personal identity in focus

It seems useful to begin examining theoretical approaches to identity – and more
specifically, to wholeness – by presenting a few philosophical reflections on the theme.
To start with, it should be asked why it seems so crucial to us to know of what personal
identity consists.
Firstly, our concern with life makes us enquire what the events are that allow us to exist and
1those that cause our death. It thus seems to be elementary to learn about the conditions
necessary for identity, as this knowledge concerns our survival as persons, on which we can to
some extent exercise our influence.
Secondly, our special relationships to persons we are close to usually entail the desire to know
as much about the other person as possible, as they play such a central role in our lives. We
2are thus eager to find out about the uniqueness and particularities of a person.
Finally, personal identity concerns the area of punishment and ethics. In order to hold
someone responsible for a crime and punish the person, we need to know what connection
3there is between the person who committed the crime and the person we catch at a later time.
Identity accounts in Western philosophy have over the centuries since Aristotle’s time often
stipulated not just the existence of, but also a relatively clear separation between, mind and
4body. Furthermore, the mind was regarded to be superior to the body and the same was said
about the relation between reason and emotions. René Descartes was a philosopher who tried
to explain how such a dualistic account of personal identity should be understood: To
5Descartes, reason seemed to be the source of all knowledge, which includes self-knowledge.
Reason being located in the mind, he thus elevated the mind as the only criterion really
necessary to personal identity. He also used the rather religious term ‘soul’ for what he
considered as being the essence of man. By considering the soul as an immaterial substance,
6which could theoretically exist without the body, he could make space for his belief in God
and the immortality of the soul. At the same time Descartes could not help but notice the

1 „Is Personal Identity a Useful Concept?“ Smiley Ben’s Homepage. 25 Oct 2004.
http://www.smileyben.com/words-essays/27.php: 4.
2 Attallah, Moataz Mohammad. “Relative Identity – An answer to the Question ‘In what, if anything, does
personal identity consist?’” Phil 220 Philosophic Thinking. 01 Nov 2004.
http://biotsavart.tripod.com/philtwo.htm: 2.
3 “Is Personal Identity a Useful Concept?” Smiley Ben’s Homepage: 4-5.
4 “Human Nature and Personal Identity.” 01 Nov 2004.
http://www.ipfw.edu/phil/faculty/Estevez/Personalidentityand HumanNature.ppf.
5 Descartes, René. “Discourse on the Method of Properly Conducting One’s Reason and of Seeking the Truth in
the Sciences.” Discourse on Method and the Meditations. Transl.: Sutcliffe, F.E.. London: Penguin, 1968: 53.
6 Ibid: 76. 8
7intense interaction between mind and body and observed how deeply intertwined they are, a
discovery that seemed to make it difficult for him at times to maintain his dualistic theory.
John Locke, although maintaining Descartes’ dualistic stance and an underlying religious
orientation, tried at least to tackle the rather vague-sounding conception of an immaterial
substance by explaining its alleged necessity. Being an empiricist, he explained that the ideas
we receive in our minds through sensation and reflection, such as those of a certain colour or
texture, need to inhere in something, as it seems inconceivable how they could subsist by
8themselves. He concludes that the foundation for such ideas must be a substratum or
substance, but is at the same time not able to explain its nature other than through its function:
“For our idea of substance is equally obscure, or none at all, in both: it is but a supposed I
9know not what, to support those ideas we call accidents.”
While Descartes has established thought and reason as identity criteria, Locke believes that it
is consciousness and particularly its element memory that is absolutely essential to our
10identities. When mentioning memory he means memory of personal events and experiences,
which is different from factual memory, which relates to historic events in which the
individual in question was not involved. Furthermore, it is long-term memory Locke has in
mind when he designates it as indicator of personal identity, as the span of a lifetime comes
11into focus here.
While memory seems in most cases a good indicator for personal identity, it is also a very
precarious one, which can be shown in many other cases: Memory is unreliable and persons
sometimes forget almost entire episodes of their lives or events others might have deemed
important. It seems ludicrous to claim that just because a person cannot remember having
12performed a certain action in the past, they cannot be the same person. The personal
memory criterion is therefore insufficient to determine personal identity. Besides, personal
memory always refers back to an event, wish, inclination, thought or other phenomenon in
one’s life so that memory does not merely seem to produce but also to presuppose personal
13identity.

7 Descartes. “Meditations.” Discourse on Method and The Meditations: 159.
8 Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. 1690. col. Alexander Campbell Fraser. Vol.1. New
York: Dover, 1959: 390.
9 Ibid: 406.
10 Ibid: 198.
11 Stewart, Wayne. Chapter 8: Personal Identity. Metahphysics by Default. 01 Nov 2004.
http://mbdefault.org/8_identity/default.asp: 3.
12 Locke. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: 451-52.
13 Vesey, Godfrey. Personal Identity. ed. D.J. O’ Connor. Problems of Philosophy. London & Basingstoke:
Macmillan, 1974: 60-61. 9
Another empirical thinker, David Hume, then departed radically from the dualist account of
his predecessors and repudiated the idea of an immaterial substance as an essential part of our
identity as well as that of memory as the decisive criterion. Hume argued that we do not have
a clear idea of such a substance through reflection or sensation – for an empiricist the only
14way to knowledge – so that we should abandon the idea of a substratum and of a self. No-
self theories have already existed for a long time in the East, such as the anattaa doctrine by
15Gotama Buddha. The latter stressed how a person is “nothing but a changing combination of
16physical and psychical phenomena, and has no real existence in itself.” In a similar way,
Hume explained how we conceive a substance as a collection of simple ideas that are united
17by the imagination, and deceive ourselves in this way.
However, Hume fully acknowledged that objects have a certain coherence that needs to be
accounted for and could not merely be explained by the random association of impressions.
He observed some constancy in the simultaneous or consecutive occurrence of various
18phenomena, which he explained through the principle of causation. The different
phenomena or perceptions are thus linked together by the relation of cause and effect, and
mutually influence and modify each other. We seem to encounter a “complicated connected
19bundle” of events here. As causation involves change and movement, a person may vary in
character and dispositions as well as in their impressions and ideas without losing their
identity. As long as the various parts of a person are still connected, they can endure changes
20without losing their ‘personhood’. It is thus the relation of ideas identity depends on: The
relations produce identity by providing easy transitions.
Although Hume still maintains that a real union of parts, to which the relation of parts seems
to give rise to, is a fictitious idea, he insists, like Locke, on the existence of the will, which he
seems to regard as a regulatory principle. Discussing the terms liberty and necessity by taking
his principle of causation into account, he states that a motive or intention to perform an
21action is the necessary precondition to action taking place. Necessary causation lies at the
root of our action. If this were not the case then it would be difficult to hold someone

14 Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. 1739-40. Mineola, New York: Dover Philosophical Classics,
2003: 174, 179.
15 Taylor, Richard. “The anattaa doctrine and personal identity.” Philosophy East and West. Vol. 19. UP of
Hawaii. 01 Nov 2004 http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/taylor.htm: 1.
16 Ibid: 4.
17 Hume. A Treatise of Human Nature: 11.
18 Ibid: 139-40.
19 Moses, Greg. The Problem of Personal Identity. 01 Nov 2004.
http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gjmoses/persidr.htm: 4.
20 Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature: 186.
21 Hume, David. “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.” Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding
and Concerning the Principles of Morals. 1748. Ed. P.H. Nidditch. 3rd ed. New York: Open UP, 1975: 90-91. 10
responsible for a crime, as the person’s action would then be completely arbitrary and
inexplicable even to the person who committed the crime. There would be no connection in
such cases between a person’s inclinations and the performed action so that everything would
come down to chance. It was very important for Hume to emphasise that persons are – even
without a self that has been conceived as an immaterial substance – moral agents who should
justify their actions.
He postulated the will as the basis on which morality takes its beginning: Even though an
action needs to be preceded by a motive or inclination in order to be correctly linked to a
specific person, a person has the capacity to act or not to act according to these influences
they feel in them. I would even go a step further than that and regard the will as regulatory
principle in a much more comprehensive sense: The will, which is influenced by reason,
emotions, preferences and other aspects in us, also acts back on these influences by
controlling them, suppressing some of them and elevating others to the status of motive for
action. This is, in my opinion, an earlier stage in which the will plays a predominant role.
In this way, a person can be regarded as a moral agent without having been described in
dualistic terms.
I want to explain and develop some more aspects of Hume’s view of personal identity by
introducing the terms of psychological connectedness and functionalism. Psychological
connectedness can be described as the holding of direct psychological connections such as
22memory links, the connection between intention and action and enduring dispositions.
Psychological continuity thus resembles closely Hume’s account of causality and demands
overlapping chains of strong connectedness. This view on identity is supplemented by
functionalism, which identifies beliefs, desires and other psychological states by their causal
functions in the interaction of such states.
Naturally, a term like ‘strong connectedness’ is a relative and vague term and this makes it
difficult to decide at what exact point psychological connectedness is too weak for a person to
continue to exist. It seems, however, at least an indication to say that personal identity is lost
23when a massive and discontinuous loss of psychological connectedness occurs, which might
be the result of an accident, a stroke, operation, trauma or another sudden life-changing event.
The person might then appear completely changed and there is no causal chain that could be
identified as the explanation for such a change.

22 More, Max. Part 1: Reductionism, Cause, and Identity. Chapter 1: Causal Conditions for Continuity. The
Diachronic Self – Identity, Continuity, Transformation. Dec 1995. 15 Nov 2004. http://www.maxmore.com.: 3-
4.
23 More. Part 1: Reductionism, Cause and Identity. Chapter 2: The Terminus of the Self. The Diachronic Self …
Transformation: 13.