FORTIS MUTATIO

Yayınlandı: Mayıs 22, 2010 / Literature, My works
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How can colonialism be defined independently from colony?”

Colonialism is a relationship between an indigenous (or forcibly imported) majority and a minority of foreign invaders. The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonized people are made and implemented by the colonial rulers in pursuit of interests that are often defined in a distant metropolis. Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonized population, the colonisers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule (Osterhammel, 16).

As for the reasons and the history of colonization; By the eighteenth century, the Industrial Revolution was changing the meaning of power in Western world. For the conquerors of previous eras, the aim had been to amass riches such gold and silver. But wealth after Industrial Revolution was acquired by selling natural resourches and manufactured goods. The people making these goods needed more places to sell them. Their home markets just weren’t big enough.

Industrial Revolution also required more raw materials to use in manufacturing as well as more food to feed growing European population (Wolny, 23). Robert Johnson, for example, compared overcrowded countries to “plants and trees that be too frolicke, which not able to sustaine and feede their multitude of branches, doe admit an engrafting of their buds and scions into some other soile, accounting it a benefite for preservation of their kind, and a disburdening their stocke of those superfluous twigs that suck away their nourishment” (19). And John Cotton invoked an analogy from the insect world. Just as bees “when the hive is too full, seke abroad for new dwellings,” he explained in his farewell sermon to the Massachusetts Company, “so when the hive of the Commonwealth is so full, that Tradesman cannot live one by another… in this case it is lawfull to remove” (8).

It is tempting to see a connection between such analogies and the European cast of mind about colonized people. There exists European fantasies of cannibalism by describing Africans as primitive, devil worshipper, “cannibals”, “niggers” and “savages” who are little more than animals, which justifies European displacement. It is absurd to believe despite the fact that European reports about African cannibalism were highly unreliable and seldom (if ever) based on confirmed evidence. (Bressler, 220, 222). G.W.F.Hegel’s scientific/rational version of providence is probably the most important formulation of nineteenth-century narrative history. In this formulation, Hegel states that history is an inexorable movement toward the realization of an ultimate goal that is identified with God’s plan for humanity: “That world history is governed by an absolute design, that it is a rational process-whose rationality is not that of a particular subject, but a divine and absolute reason- this is a proposition whose truth we must assume” (28). Hegel’s view of the divine plan behind history leads him to the ethnocentric conclusion that his contemporary European culture is the culmination of that plan. In short, his model of history tends to provide a justification for European imperial conquest of Africa and other ’undeveloped‘ regions because it envisions Europe as closer to the fulfillment of God’s plan for all of humanity (Bressler, 213). As for Edward Said’s statements, European empires are systematic enterprises, constantly reinvested. They do not move into a country, loot it and leave. What keeps them there is not simple greed, but massively reinforced notions of civilising mission. This is the notion that imperial nations have not only the right but the obligation to rule those nations ‘lost in barbarism’. Like English philosopher John Stuart, who stated that the British were in India ‘because India requires us, that these are territories and peoples who beseech domination from us and that..without the English India would fall into ruin’ (Said 1994a, 66). Much of this sense was present in and supported by European culture, which itself came to be conceived, in Matthew Arnold’s phrase, as synonymous with ‘the best that has been thought and said’ (Ashcroft, 85). The word ‘been thought and said’ is the key word in putting out the mask showing the European colonizer’s displacement as if it was noble act.

In the process of ‘fulfilling God’s plan’, the role of culture in keeping imperialism intact cannot be overestimated, because it is through culture that the assumption of the ‘divine right’ of imperial powers to rule is vigorously and authoritately supported (Ashcroft, 85). Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism begins from this premise, that the institutional, political and economic operations of imperialism are nothing without power of the culture that maintains them. What, for instance, enabled the British in India to rule a society of hundreds of millions with no more than 100.000 people? What is it about that presence that induced identification and sometimes admiration in Indian elites despite the history of expropriation and exploitation that characterised the Raj? Edward Said’s argument is that it is culture (despite its sometimes overweening assumptions) that provides this kind of moral power, which achieves a kind of ‘ideological pacification’ (1994a: 67). Seen thus, the movement of peoples becomes not the occasion for circling the laager but the occasion for opening up to new experiences; endevoring to learn new tongues; cultivating new tastes in food, fashion, and loving; and generally absorbing fresh productive energies while discovering the essential oneness of humanity in its infinite presentations. New forms of nativitism lead away from this brave new world; seeing Africa, for example, as a continent of blighted people who will always need help leads away from this brave new world; seeking to keep current advantages in the distribution and consumption of the world’s resourches leads away from this brave new world (Táíwò, 272).

In Brave New World, we confront with a ‘created culture’ in which people are colonized even carnally. Huxley paints a dark picture of future that irrevocably changed by the production line with his black ink: procreation has been replaced by mass scientific production of test-tube babies; genetic chemistry predetermines caste; mass entertainment ans consumption replace religion and art; Henry Ford is a divine being; and above all, individualism is strictly taboo, if not possible (Earle, 94). In Huxley’s Brave New World in which human eggs are replicated or ‘bokanovskified’ eight to ninety-six times before incubation and modification on a moving assembly line at the ‘Central London Hatchery and Incubating Centre.’ (Batchelor, 106) and people are conditioned to ‘like their inescapable social destiny’ (Huxley, 12),

Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.

“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. “You really know where you are. For the first time in history.” He quoted the planetary motto. “Community, Identity, Stability.” Grand words. “If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved.” (Huxley, 6)

It is Bokanovsky’s Process that is used as to product ‘standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins’. The principle of mass production is at last applied to the biology (Huxley,18).
“Bokanovsky’s Process,” repeated the Director.

…One egg, one embryo, one adult-normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress (Huxley, 5).

Brave New World portrays an anodyne consumer society governed by the pleasure principle, immediate gratification and the cult of youth (McMahon,453). Huxley states in his work Brave New World Revisited, ‘non-violent manipulation’ is superior to terror (Hoyles, 123). Happiness is the sole purpose of a society in which free sexuality is encouraged from a young age, and the steady consumption of material pleasures is ensured throughout life. It is happiness that is built on the ‘solid ground of daily labor and distraction’. (McMahon, 451). BNW citizens are distracted by an arts and entertainment industry “pyschological equivalents of alcoholism and morphinism” (Earle, 94) that emphazises entertainment at the expense of art; encouraged wherever possible to eradicate the unpleasant with ‘soma’ rather “learning to put up with it”; led along by the unfailing allure of prosperity, sexual satisfaction, and eternal youth; conditioned to abolish guilt and memory and regret (McMahon, 453). Huxley argues that ‘as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase’ (Hoyles,123). In BNW, there is no place for individualism that marries solitude with sociality, for unity of mind between individuals. These individuals pursue a life of pleasure, and find satisfaction in the belief that ‘every one belongs to every one else.’ The individual is conceived in bodily terms. The reign of pleasure is dominant with the help of some media (Velásquez, 430).In BNW, there is soma, the wonder-drug with ‘all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol’ and ‘none of their defects’. Soma gives an instant relief, abolishing past and future alike (Hoyles, 124). For Karl Marx, religion is the opium of the people while for Bernard Marx and the inhabitants of BNW, the opium qua soma is the religion of the people (BNWR 115): ‘Christianity without tears –that’s what soma is’ (BNWR, 190). In addition to soma, the Feelies with simple plots and dazzling effects (Sense-around movies which is provided by highly sophisticated entertainment industry) are available to put a smile on one’s face . As for eternal youth, exercise, synthetic food, and high-tec medicine do away with old age, prolonging youth indefinitely. In this world, ‘faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good’ is unquestioned. (McMahon, 452).

European colonizers tend to ignore the history, the language of ‘colonized nations’. So, we can conclude that they displace not only their lands but also their culture, history. Language, religion and history are the chief elements uniting the members of nation. As a result of systematic work; England has gained the ground in keeping dominant in her colonies for long time. She succeed in being “Yesterday’s Tomorrow”. In Brave New World, the course to create a ‘hot-air balloon society’ is alike to “Old Blighty”. Mustafa Mond states:

“You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s: History is bunk. History,” he repeated slowly, “is bunk.” (Huxley, 15)

Alike England, World Controllers in Brave New World gives importance on ‘novelty’. In Brave New World, Mustapha Mond’s statements offer an insight to our such claims.

“Have you read it too?” The Savage asked. “I thought nobody knew about that book here, in England.”

“Almost nobody. I’m one of the very few. It’s prohibited, you see. But as I make the laws here, I can also break them. With impunity, Mr. Marx,” Mustapha Mond added, turning to Bernard. “Which I’m afraid you can’t do.”

“But why is it prohibited?” asked the Savage. In the excitement of meeting a man who had read Shakespeare he had momentarily forgotten everything else.

The Controller shrugged his shoulders. “Because it’s old; that’s the chief reason. We haven’t any use for old things here.”

“Even when they’re beautiful?”

“Particularly when they’re beautiful. Beauty’s attractive, and we don’t want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones.”

“But the new ones are so stupid and horrible. Those plays, where there’s nothing but helicopters flying about and you feel the people kissing.” He made a grimace. “Goats and monkeys!” Only in Othello’s word could he find an adequate vehicle for his contempt and hatred.

“Nice tame animals, anyhow,” the Controller murmured parenthetically.

“Why don’t you let them see Othello instead?”

“I’ve told you; it’s old. Besides, they couldn’t understand it.” (Huxley, 218).

We can find exemplifications about religion as well.

“Well, religion, of course,” replied the Controller. “There used to be something called God–before the Nine Years’ War. But I was forgetting; you know all about God, I suppose.”

“Well …” The Savage hesitated.

“But if you know about God, why don’t you tell them?” asked the Savage indignantly. “Why don’t you give them these books about God?”

“For the same reason as we don’t give them Othello: they’re old; they’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now” (Huxley, 226).

In conclusion, the colonization is a process beginning with Adam and Eve. Humankind is rather expert on reasoning this. John Smith states in Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New England: “Now the reasons for plantations are many: Adam and Eve did first begin this innocent worke to plant the earth to remaine to posterity” (Evans, 30). Day by day, Men are becoming so brave that they can find courage and fictional ‘right’ reasons to invade the ‘other’s lands. There is a remarkable progress from ‘innocent’ humankind to ‘brave’ men.

© Cansu BAYRAM

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