Fear

Together Pan-optically

Ah, recording it all and then repeating it.
[Source – Pixabay]

A humble looking, I mean just two lines long, definition took such a grim turn that it never left the abandoned penitentiary.

Definition –

Panopticon – a prison with cells/ rooms arranged in a circle, so that the prisoners in them can be seen at all times from the centre, without them knowing whether or not they are being watched.

After taking this same turn, one Michel Foucault – French philosopher, philologist, historian and social theorist – observed things differently, trying to understand why the penitentiary was made in the first place. To control and rule perhaps, but what about the good old methods of confinements in dungeons, solitary cells, and the public displays of torture? With the death of the monarchy, these methods rusted away quickly.

The new progressive democratic modern world needed a much more sophisticated method to control, to rule. Panopticon with a panoptic (pan= all, optic=seeing) tower cheered for itself, gaining a decent fan following.

Doubly jailed!
[Source – Purdue University]

Foucault in his work Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) shows, with great detail and pain, how a structure like panopticon guarantees internalization of the idea of surveillance.

He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.

Michel Foucault – Discipline and Punish

Walking ahead, leaving this grim lane behind, rushing past the dullness, the dilapidated mood and tiring heavy air, you realise someone is following you, a shadow appears now and then, it is eager to manipulate, and then a crisp clear voice says, ‘Big Brother is Watching You.’

The Panopticon is polyvalent is its applications; it serves to reform prisoner, but also to treat patients, to instruct schoolchildren, to confine the insane, to supervise workers, to put beggars and idlers to work. It is a type of location of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in relation to one another, of hierarchical organisation, of disposition of centres and channels of power of definition of the instruments and modes of intervention of power, which can be implemented in hospitals, workshops schools, prisons. Whenever one is dealing with a multiplicity of individuals on whom a task or a particular form of behaviour must be imposed, the panoptic schema may be used.

Michel Foucault – Discipline and Punish

To discipline and punish a society that loves power-knowledge* equally and functions “pan-optically” allowing the power of mind over mind to flourish, what feelings, emotions then nourish the individual…?

A very lonely affair, this panopticon business, it inevitably breeds fear, snatching away life, pinning a number, tagging a label instead. This number, this label becomes reality unbeknownst by the one numbered/labelled.

The prison cell and the panoptic machine thus are two similar moulds that create same order in society, though with drastically different labels. So different that they are always seen in opposition.

“I know… yet I don’t know…”
[Source – Pixabay]

The humble looking definition that took a grim turn is essentially noble. It is not at all bleak in nature for it gives rise to questions and doubts, it confuses and bothers, if one stays longer with it, allowing us to see, that too in no time, how the two moulds – a prison cell and panoptic tower – are similar, and when seen so closely, one even gets to see its foundation – fear.

And when you see fear, directly, you find that fear is nothing but you, a concoction of some ideas, a darkness that simply dissipates when seen, it ends at that very instant, and with it, so do the two moulds.


“Am listening”, “am listening too”, “am listening three”, “sssshhh!”
[Source – Pixabay]

*For Foucault, knowledge is connected to power, his critical theory states –

Knowledge linked to power, not only assumes the authority of ‘the truth’ but has the power to make itself true. All knowledge, once applied in the real world, has effects, and in that sense at least, ‘becomes true.’ Knowledge, once used to regulate the conduct of others, entails constraint, regulation and the disciplining of practice. Thus, ‘there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time, power relations.

Michel Foucault

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The Choir and Their Toads Sing ‘Double Trouble’

Chapter 5 – The Dementors, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A Snippet Review

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble

Something wicked this way comes!

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Listen to and enjoy the full track before reading further –

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The choir welcomes one all – freshers, seasoned magicians and viewers – to another year at Hogwarts, promising more magic and double trouble.

Quipping, the song teases dark twists, fire that may rise and burn, old cauldrons that bubble a recipe for unfolding mysteries which may or may not favour you.

And while memorising the incantation, that sways and enchants and bothers and relieves and tickles, you find and hold your wand with a firm grip, looking straight searchingly, more lost than before yet ready… ready for ‘something wicked this way comes…’

The toad croaks to our delight, amusement and excitement. The choir scatters, and we meet Dumbledore, behind the podium, he is sure to make an announcement. Excitement multiplies!

Double appointments, Professor R. J Lupin (Defence against the Dark Arts) and Rubeus Hagrid (Care of Magical Creatures) are greeted warmly, by some who know, and some who don’t, the entire truth.

Clap-clap-clap, tersely, goes Professor Snape (Potions), his sallow face looking sick.

Cheers-cheers but wait here comes the trouble.

Finally, on a more disquieting note, at the request of the Ministry of Magic, Hogwarts will, until further notice, play host to the Dementors of Azkaban…

… Dementors are vicious creatures, they will not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way… it’s not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving…

Albus Dumbledore

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Dementors at Hogwarts.
[A still from the film; Source – harrypotterfanzone]

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Excitement multiplies? Yes, but fear seeps in now, what the choir hinted at appeared to be harmless, the dementors are not. Fear of not hiding away, but of facing it, of hearing those screams again troubled Harry.

Oh, wait, the cauldron is bubbling again, “adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing”, the incantation hasn’t changed all these years, let the fire rather show you the way.

And Harry listens carefully to the headmaster’s closing remarks…

But you know, happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Albus Dumbledore

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The book and film. [Source – Wikipedia]


Composed and conducted by John Williams, the choir performs ‘Song of the Witches’ from Macbeth by Shakespeare.

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Must listen to the fantastic extended version –

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Love Letter

Poem
Dear-O-dear!
[Source – Pixabay]

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In a letter I wrote

Words of doubt and fear,

The cursed ink smeared,

‘To hell with you’, I quote

A frustrated lover.

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A fresh parchment smiled

As I thought of words,

‘For you, I will fight the world’,

Only if this damned quill worked

In the hands of a frustrated lover.

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Your eyes are my light,

Life looks oh-so bright,

‘My love, you’re… Fire! fire!’,

Candle burnt the parchment and the desire

Of a frustrated lover.

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Let me see what stops me now

My dear, I take a vow,

‘I will finish writing this letter…

After a power nap’, dear-O-dear,

Said a frustrated lover.

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Zzzz…
Master’s still asleep, I, his pet gerbil, will finish this love letter now.
Dear-O-dear!

[Source – Pixabay]

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Fresh Rhythms

Flash Fiction
Rhythmically attuned to life.
[Source – Pixabay]

Fading away, parting as tears fall with a fear that there is no return, it starts to brighten up and slowly gets closer to a pure hope that the present will always be magical.

Only when she rises and turns, she feels the fresh rhythms, standing firmly, breathing deeply, she walks ahead, a half smile looking good on her face.

Cheers!


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