Thanks, J.P., I more or less agree with what you've more or less said
below, with which any practiced reader of Eliot will be familiar, but for
the sake of accuracy, it does not address my question, which I do not want
to make too much of. Briefly, I think that Eliot would not endorse "The
ultimate pattern we will all fit into is the Absolute," at least not if you
mean anything specific by "pattern," and echoed perhaps in what TSE noted
of Bertrand Russell's views of our post-death destiny, that he (Eliot)
could never hold a view about it with certainty as BR did (or appeared to).
That is to say, Eliot would not equate (depending perhaps on our definition
of "is," but nevertheless,) the absolute with a pattern, ultimate or
Temporal patterns and their relation(s) to the eternal, I'm with you, I
think (are we using "ultimate," "absolute," and "eternal"
interchangeably?), but I just don't think a statement like "Eliot is
destined to encounter them in the atemporal reality of
the Absolute, hence they are 'in the future'" can be supported, or at any
rate, has been supported.
This may affect how we read 4Q.
At 03:53 PM 05/23/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>As Keats put it in his "Grecian Urn" poem,
>"Thou, silent form, doth tease us out of thought
>As doth eternity..."
>In Burnt Norton V, Eliot changes the Grecian urn into a Chinese jar:
>"Only by the form, the pattern,
>Can words or music reach
>The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
>Moves perpetually in its stillness.
>Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
>Not that only, but the co-existence,
>Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
>And the end and the beginning were always there
>Before the beginning and after the end.
>And all is always now."
>The ultimate pattern we will all fit into is the Absolute. Much of 4Q is
>concerned with placing the temporal patterns we fit into-- such as
>marriage, family, nationality--into a perspective that takes into
>consideration that ultimate pattern. Words happen in succession in a poem,
>yet none of them has its complete meaning until it fits into the pattern
>of the complete poem. If each has its proper place, then the stillness is
>achieved. Then the first word has meaning because of the last word.
>Before the beginning of the poem and after the end, the poem exists in its
>timeless pattern, so the last word can affect the meaning of the first
>word. Nevertheless, we experience the poem as realized in time, and
>there, the first word does precede the last, and we can speak of the last
>word of the poem being "in the future" as we begin the first word.
>Eliot applies the same understanding of reality to the pattern of western
>literature in its entirety. As an example, Eliot's intertextual forays
>into the Divine Comedy and the Vita Nuova of Dante make these into
>different works. Eliot has changed the pattern in which they exist; they
>belong to a context of meaning that now includes Eliot's works.