July 20, 2002
v The book is saturated with
the aspiration of the courage of the human beings who knew, knew in their
memories and blood there is something to be achieved. It is an aspiration
that makes human beings a complete Flame that grows forever.
v Rhett Butler and Scarlett
embody that fire which is there dormant in us all, but we are unable to express
it for want of the psychological infrastructure or the too great a value we
attach to social values and personal compunctions.
v The hero and heroine were FULLY devoid of these outer
restraints and inner inhibitions. Therefore, the power of social evolution they
carry was so vast and intense that the book sold ten million copies. In the
first three days of its publication, the book sold 176,000 copies. It is the
nascent Power of social evolution.
v As the human personality at
its depths spreads like the energy of these people and discards social values
as they do, the hero and the heroine have caught the imagination of the readers
and live there so long with life.
v Beyond all we see, Butler
has in him a vast fund of native goodness that makes him aggressively laugh at
the follies of others, especially at Scarlett. His knowledge of human nature is
complete and his capacity to act rightly instinctively is consummate.
v His is not love of Scarlett.
It is a powerful vital response of seeking to possess what eludes a man. Hers
was NOT love of Ashley but a
seeking for all the values he stood for.
v It is a truism of the
man-woman relationship that the man who seeks psychological fulfilment in the
woman must always be rejected in the depths of the woman he is after. The
moment she does want him really and expresses it foolishly, he will leave her
instantaneously. Butler leaves her the moment she wants him – it is a wanting,
v She is entirely without
scruples or regard for convention. Her strength is unmatched, physical as well
as psychological. This attracts him and he could not tolerate her eluding him.
v She is downright practical
and sensible when it comes to doing a work by itself, not in terms of society,
but by itself as a work. That represents the human faculty which built the USA. In its pursuit, pure courage
emerges and conventions, formalities, moralities, forms, etc. are thrown to the
winds. It is a pursuit for its own sake aiming at the result devoid of
trappings of any description. The energy released is nascent, the pursuit
is pure, rather naked, the aim is the result. She as well as he secured the
results they pursued in abundance.
v What he could not acquire is
her love or care. Nor could she interest Ashley in her. Both were outside the
line that released this energy. Hers was a cultural aim, his was a
psychological dream. Neither had the social sanction or their own inner
endorsement, inner in the sense of not desire but the centre that made them
v The pursuit of results is
relentless. All who have achieved results pursue them so. In these people it
looks brazen, shameless, wicked, mercenary. Any one who has ever attained
results attained them by refusing to taint it with social consciousness or
psychological conscience. Not all people do what they do, but the essence
is the same, the expression differs. They defy those barriers but behave as if
they cared for them. Results in a token act are achieved only like this,
especially immensely huge results.
v Rhett made money in the
blockade. He was not received anywhere. After the child was born, he won them
all over so that his child would not be ostracized. That money will not give
this child a glorious life. He was a strong man in the extreme. His money
was made out of courageous risk. Had he been not so strong, having shifted to
the other side he would have lost his money. The weakest link in his chain of
life was the child, as her mother never wanted her, and she was jealous of the
child. Atlanta switched over to him for the sake of the child but regretted it.
Life did not give the sanction to that child.
v Melanie is pure goodness. It
will thrive in an atmosphere of pure goodness. The value of the Southerners
was real in earlier times, not then. It was against the spirit of Times. It
upheld slavery. Great cultural values reared in an artificial context lose
life. Melanie had to put up an appearance. She had to support Scarlett whose
values were at loggerheads with hers. It is characteristic that no Southerner
even prospered after the war. The post war era could not support Melanie's
v The book is full of Life
Response, as all other books are. One of Sri Aurobindo's themes --
"Altruism is egoistic" has been developed by us to the annoyance of
very many. It is a GREAT
theme, which our Indian tradition knows. "One cannot alter another's karma.
If he can, he should not." A soul has come on earth to have a certain
experience. One who has revelled in riches and reached its acme, the tradition
says, desires to enjoy poverty. So, he is born poor. If circumstances come his
way to lead him away from poverty, disease, etc. he goes back to his original
poverty by choice. That is karma. Great souls say "This is your karma. I
cannot do anything." He has an option before him to come out of his karma,
if he chooses himself to emerge out of it.
The world is Prakriti, i.e. Force. It is Not of Being. Our entire
tradition is confined to Prakriti, Time, and Force. So they do not interfere in
one's karma. Moksha, liberation is to move from Force to Being. It is for the
person who does tapas, not for others. If others get anything from him, it
is by his OWN emulation of the guru. All civilisations develop
fads. The West had developed the fad of service, of helping the poor. There is
no ideal that activates the Westerner as service does. That is why Mother Teresa
was given the Nobel Prize for running a free hospital. It has a great
attraction to the human mind. Sri Aurobindo says it is egoistic. Every story
from the Puranas to folk tales, films, etc. are full of confirmations of Sri
Aurobindo's ideas, all of which are fully known in practice to people all over
the world, especially in India. They are
recipient of help never fails to hurt – Basmasura .
comes to one ONLY from those he has helped,
apart from his own folly.
very first WORD the beneficiary speaks is
"I don't like".
is true even in children of our own.
Where the service is out of GOOD WILL, not out of ego, it does not hurt at all.
Scarlett wanted the convicts to be better fed and she gave food for that. Immediately she was attacked on her way back home. Kennedy was killed. This was very striking, a striking confirmation of His rule. Sri Aurobindo says the only meaningful ideal for man is to find God and the only service in the world is to help others to discover their souls. Others can be helped at that level, not at other levels.
v The values of the Old Guard
are valuable, but are lifeless as they are outside the stream of social
evolution. Discussion of Rhett and Scarlett from this point of view will be
based on the 25 heads of "Theory of Social Evolution" or the 347
points in it. Questions raised from these points of view and answers given will
be a valuable discussion for those who desire to understand Sri Aurobindo in
v Rhett had extraordinary
strength in the physical and an equally great strength of mind. Strength
when it is positive expresses as generosity. He was generous to a fault.
v Melanie's purity is more
than the cloistered virtue of Ashley. It had the touch of spiritual purity that
never sees evil. To her, Rhett's money will not do any good, maybe it would
take her life.
v The values of the old world
are genuine, based on inner reverence of culture, like the Indian Brahmins
worshipping the tradition, but it was out of tune with the march of times. It
is a rewarding experience to read of their devotion to values, their inability
to receive help they disapprove of, and truthfulness in their personal lives.
Scarlett who was devoid of any of these values thrives by her courage and
v What succeeded for Scarlett
was not her ideas, ambitions, or plans, but her nascent energy that was devoid
of scruples. What worked for Rhett was not his masterful adjustments with the
need of the hour or his money, but it was courage, energy, generosity and the
dedicated pursuit of Scarlett whose energy he was attracted by. More so, her
refusal of him was the greatest spur.
v Scarlett is without
scruples. The only point where she does not part with scruples is in the
traditional hospitality of the Southerners and her commitment to Tara.
She does not care about
marrying Charles who is betrothed to another.
Nor does she scruple in stealing
Kennedy from her sister.
The Cause itself does not
claim her loyalty.
Will tells her about people
getting compensation for taking the Oath of Yankees. As he was explaining how
Gerald was taken by her sister to sign the Oath to get $ 150,000, she remarks,
such a small lie, so big a sum. Who will not do it?"
She had married Kennedy for
$300. What is a big sum for her and what is not is not clear.
One more Life Response
-- As she coveted that dishonest sum, the
sum had slipped from her.
v Scarlett is an evolutionary
force who utterly disregards all values, scruples, etc. She does it negatively.
It is possible to disregard social and psychological values positively. To
rise above social moral values is to be neither positive nor negative.