Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Lest Kabir sigh or Suhuni frown

Time is a wheel to whose kiln is day
& Night a river for we tryst with clay
Lest Kabir sigh or Suhuni frown
Let Sita burn & Rama drown

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Umaswati on right cognition

Is 'right cognition' necessary to achieve Moksha? Surely 'right faith' gives rise to the right cognition by itself? So, is Umaswati's dictum merely a copying of other Indic traditions or else a meaningless rhetorical flourish?
Suppose the following
1) There was an ancient discrete maths tradition for the kind of O.R problems bound to arise in the management of wealthy Monastic orders.
2) Umaswati's early date puts him at the center of that discrete maths tradition which uses finite operations of a cellular automaton type and included Monte Carlo based cross entropy type methods.
In that case the thermodynamic conception of the 'heat death' of the karmic universe, which his work suggests to us, faces the problem we identify with the Third Law- viz. It is impossible for any process, no matter how idealized, to reduce the entropy of a system to its zero point value in a finite number of operations. Indeed, for the Jain novel with its intricate 'matching' of karmically obstructive acts between reciprocal agents, the problem of 'geometrical frustration' arises in an acute and psychologically compelling way. 
One way out of the dilemma posed by such 'strange attractors', for Economics, is to assume Muth rational expectations. In this case something is added to 'right faith' viz. a particular type of cognition whose adaptive fitness is by no means obvious. Since the Jain system forbids substance to act directly on substance, whether for weal or woe, the possibility of correlated equilibria, arising from strategic public signalling by a benevolent omniscient being, is, I think, ruled out. (Unless birth-determining karma particles condemn you to the  duties of your jati- as in the Gita- but this ISN'T Jain doctrine- i.e. no public signal exists, anyone can become a Jain, even women can become Acharyas and Arhats.) So, the solution concept here has to add something- viz. 'right cognition'- which, plausibly, all beings in a repeated game might stumble upon.
However, the sort of 'right cognition' able to do the work Umaswati requires of it is no longer tied to a particular Universe but is heavily involved in counter-factual induction across, not Stallnacker-Lewis type 'closest possible worlds', but the logically impossible or in-compossible worlds which densely interpolate them.  
The reason for this is because karma is treated as something real, a particle that binds itself to the jiva and purely mental acts are subject to karma. Furthermore, there is no restriction on travel to other Universes such that karmic consequences arise including even the maximal consequence of gaining Omniscience. What is interesting about this point of view, for us, is that it is by no means apparent that possible worlds have any means of knowing if they are logically possible till they run the whole program, so to speak. Had we been brought up on discrete maths, rather than calculus, this would be the natural way to conceive things. Of course, if information about possible worlds is compressible, this argument fails and something like Tim Maudlin's metaphysics would be 'natural' for everyone to subscribe to. But, surely, that remains an open question. Does this means there is no method of discriminating 'genuine' Stallnacker-Lewis worlds from logically impossible worlds such that a weak ordering metric obtains?
Looking at things from the point of view of physical rather than Information theoretic entropy, i remains a fact that we don't know if the world we're living in will always comply with entropy. Lewis argued that we can and do think of 'divergence miracles' such that two worlds, identical till something happens at time t, diverge greatly there after but that a 'reconvergence' miracle is implausible. Lewis confessed he didn't know how this asymmetry fitted with that of physical entropy.
Adam Elga has an argument against Lewis based on the fact that entropy can reverse but that this not robust to a very small change in initial conditions. Thus, a 'reconvergence miracle' can't be ruled out and Lewis's proposed asymmetry can't be relied upon. 

In Jainism, the exact ontological status of Time remains a subject of debate. Ordinarily, it is considered a substance (dravya) and thus possesses modal possibilities or alternatives (paryaya) which function in a characteristically dynamic way, reminiscent of the world of discrete maths, cellular automata, Conway's 'Game of Life' and the surprises they throw up, rather than the abstract and featureless world of Euclidean geometry.
In this context, Umaswati has a special importance as the Sage most closely associated with the notion that all souls achieve kevalya and thus the eternal cycles of Time become empty of significance for an eternity much much longer than that of mere Time.
In an earlier post I adverted to the subtlety and psychological insight attaching to his notion of karmic obstructors. It seems to me, that this has a bearing on his theory of 'right cognition' as well.
 Jain ontology, by reason of its distinctive features, repays study but, it seems to me, when explicated by a great Sage, its phenomenology enriches a common Indic imaginative Lebenswelt in a manner singularly adapted to create a meaningful dialogue with contemporary Philosophy..

Friday, 25 January 2013

How remiss my Madness that it should thus Unite
Abandonment's Joys and this Toy's Fright?
Fire!- plastic pistol, by Poverty fraught
Thou lonely toy, for my boy, I bought

Umaswati & Entropy

Jainism was late in coming to the attention of Western savants. Interestingly, Jacobi, the pioneer in this regard, started off as a Mathematician and Umaswati too was a mathematician of repute. His doctrine of the perfectibility of all beings has an interesting consequence viz. the heat death of the karmic world such that all beings attain a univocal kevalya and thus Time with its infinite cycles is but the vanishingly small denumerable component of the nondenumerably dense eternity of universal bliss.
This result arises because, though all beings have free will, nevertheless
1) acts which generate karma have to involve some other jiva and acts which prevent the ingress of karma determining particles can't arise by Grace because substance can't act directly on substance. For Narratology, such a doctrine gives rise to something like a stable marriage problem such that out of the tangled events of the jiva's innumerable past lives there emerged stable antagonists or reciprocal obstructors. Umaswati treats of this in his consideration of the concept of VIGHNAKARANAMANTARAAYASYA |6-27|- 'Creating obstacles  constitutes  the  cause of  the influx of obstructing karma. Obstructing karma prevents a worldly soul from achieving its potential.'
2) Since an askesis exists such that some jivas can migrate out of the world of karma to kevalya it follows that the amount of Gibbs free energy in the system degrades.  Indeed, karma is 'exergy' because it alone can produce work, kevalya can't do so, thus- considered as a closed system, which it must be if jivas are eternal, the Jain Universe is subject to entropy and suffers a heat death when all Suffering ends and Time itself becomes but an evanescent, far-from-equilibrium aberration governed by a sort of Fluctuation Theorem such that though Jainism's ontological distinctiveness is preserved,  it becomes indistinguishable, from the point of view of eschatology, from other optimistic soteriologies, including Theistic ones.

It is interesting that the various Sociological Theories of History that Thermodynamic notions of equilibrium- predating even Carnot's Theorem, for example, the sorts of Utilitarian Utopianism inspired by 'the baronised Yankee, Benjamin Thompson (alias Count Rumford)'- similarly postulate the heat death of Profit, Speculation, which, of course, was the original meaning of karma. Only when it allowed itself to be degraded to work, that too of a ritualistic or rule governed sort,  did it become the victim of Soteriology.
The irony here is that, to whatever degree of atheism we might aspire, we remain caught in the reciprocal process of Vighnakaranam- maliciously obstructing each other but doing so in the name of Philosophy and the Greater Good- both now regarded as work, not profit, a joyless audit, not a giddy speculation, and subsumed under a wider Socio/Ecological askesis which repudiating poetry- or repudiated by it, for Suka flies by the nets of his father, Ved Vyasa- drags down the kavi, the maker, the shaper, the widsith, to the fallen world of karma.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

What Herbert Spencer actually believed

Like J. S. Mill, Spencer struggled to make utilitarianism authentically liberal by infusing it with a demanding principle of liberty and robust moral rights. He was convinced, like Mill, that utilitarianism could accommodate rights with independent moral force and yet remain genuinely consequentialist. Subtly construed, utilitarianism can effectively mimick the very best deontological liberalism.
That's from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
 Spencer sound like a right ray of sun-shine doesn't he? No wonder Shyamjee Krishna Verma admired the old man so much or that he came to be affectionately known as Harbhat Pendse in Marathi.
But this was his confidential advice to a Japanese statesman circa 1893-
1) Restrict political representation to elderly clan heads and then too only permit a right to petition- 'You have, I believe, in Japan still surviving the ancient system of family organization. ... Under this family or patriarchal organization it habitually happens that there exists in each group an eldest male ascendant, who is the ruling authority of the group – an authority who has in many cases a despotic power to which all descendants of the first and second generations unhesitatingly submit. This organization should be made use of in your new political form. These patriarchs or heads of groups should be made the sole electors of members of your representative body. ... Several beneficial results would arise. In the first place, your electorate would be greatly reduced in number, and therefore more manageable. In the second place, the various extreme opinions held by the members of each group would be to a considerable extent mutually cancelled and made more moderate by having to find expression through the patriarch who would in a certain measure be influenced by the opinions of his descendants. And then, in the third place, and chiefly, these patriarchal electors, being all aged men, would have more conservative leanings than the younger members of their groups – would not be in favour of rash changes.
I suggest that, for three or four generations, the assembly formed of representative men elected by these patriarchal heads of groups should be limited in their functions to making statements of grievances, or of evils or what they think evils, which they wish to have remedied – not having any authority either to take measures for remedying them, or authority even for suggesting measures, but having the function simply of saying what they regard as grievances. 

2) Permit no free trade or foreign direct investment- Apparently you are proposing by revision of the treaty powers with Europe and America “to open the whole Empire to foreigners and foreign capital.” I regard this as a fatal policy. If you wish to see what is likely to happen, study the history of India. Once let one of the more powerful races gain a point d’appui [Online editor’s note: a base or secure location; a foothold. – RTL] and there will inevitably in course of time grow up an aggressive policy which will lead to collisions with the Japanese; these collisions will be represented as attacks by the Japanese which must be avenged; forces will be sent from America or Europe, as the case may be; a portion of territory will be seized and required to be made over as a foreign settlement; and from this there will grow eventually subjugation of the entire Japanese Empire. I believe that you will have great difficulty in avoiding this fate in any case, but you will make the process easy if you allow any privileges to foreigners beyond those which I have indicated.

3) Don't permit inter-marriage with foreigners. To your remaining question, respecting the inter-marriage of foreigners and Japanese, which you say is “now very much agitated among our scholars and politicians,” and which you say is “one of the most difficult problems,” my reply is that, as rationally answered, there is no difficulty at all. It should be positively forbidden. It is not at root a question of social philosophy. It is at root a question of biology. There is abundant proof, alike furnished by the inter-marriages of human races and by the inter-breeding of animals, that when the varieties mingled diverge beyond a certain slight degree the result is invariably a bad one in the long run. I have myself been in the habit of looking at the evidence bearing on this matter for many years past, and my conviction is based upon numerous facts derived from numerous sources. This conviction I have within the last half hour verified, for I happen to be staying in the country with a gentleman who is well-known as an authority on horses, cattle and sheep, and knows much respecting their inter-breeding; and he has just, on inquiry, fully confirmed my belief that when, say of different varieties of sheep, there is an inter-breeding of those which are widely unlike, the result, especially in the second generation, is a bad one – there arises an incalculable mixture of traits, and what may be called a chaotic constitution. And the same thing happens among human beings – the Eurasians in India, and the half-breeds in America, show this.

So there we have it. Political Philosophy is about pretending to be all sunshine and roses and then, sub rosa, being a bigger asshole than the worst sort of elderly misogynist, red-neck, drunk.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Pascal's Dutch Book as Harbhat Pendse's

Pascal, I wager, the Dutch book of thy Pensées 
Was Savarkar's Marathi  for Harbhat Pendse's
Ah! Animula vagula, twixt Jyoti's gang-rape and Pratibha's Suttee
Revere who Rudra, recall  na Vishnu-hu pritivi-pati!



Notes
1) V.D. Savarkar  read Herbert Spencer (affectionately known, he tells us, as Harbhat Pendse) in Marathi translation as an adolescent. Spencer awoke in him a great indignation at British exploitation of India. Sadly, Savarkar failed to see the idealistic humanism and revolutionary potential of the British working class- people like Guy Aldred, 'the boy preacher of Holloway', who took over publication of the 'Indian Sociologist' and served a harsh sentence of penal servitude for his temerity. Spencer's Economics/Evolutionary Theory did not have the benefit of Game Theoretic insights and should, perhaps, be re-examined at least from the point of view of Bergson's critique of him.
2) na Vishnuhu pritivipati- Vishnu is the Lord (or husband) of the Earth. Suttee- i.e. Sati- is the wife of Shiva that is Rudra.

Orphic lies

(Husserl probably thought that each possible world has a unique possible transcendental subject but in so far as two such transcendental egos are directed at the same Nature, then they are compossible and so intersubjectivity aint empty. I often feel the same way about having to pick up my dry-cleaning.)
All characteristica universalis so hideous to our eyes
In what un-natural numbers must Siren rhapsodize?
That galley slave or Captain, all equally are rapt in
Ego's web, the world-tide's ebb- Orphic lies


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Najat ka talib aur Sayujya Mukti


Higher than perfect Union with the Divine
Is a loaf of bread, a Jug of Wine
& a fat chick with such low self esteem
God bought a Time Share in my dream

Commentary-
It is well known that the goal of Illuminationist or non-Dual theosophy is greatly to be abhorred- salokya-sarsti-samipya- sarupyaikatvam apy uta diyamanam na grhnanti/ vina mat-sevanam janah-“My devotees do not accept salokya, sarsti, sarupya, samipya, or oneness with me (sayujya)—even if I offer them liberation- 
because they greatly prefer serving me.” (SB 3.29.13)- so too,verily, is the Gnosis or Theophany of the adepts of askesis- kaivalyam narakayate- which is no better than the condition of a hell dweller.
Yea, for sooth, the Supreme Lord, bored beyond tears by the assiduity of his (admittedly shite) servitors, delights most in Time Share Salesmen because how can that not be a good deal- right? It's like an investment which grows in value the more you bunk off work and get shit-faced at some real trashy 'resort' which, like you actually own, that's the beauty of it. Also they give you a real valuable present- like a big Screen TV, or maybe a genuine silver plated dessert spoon or other classy stuff like that just for sitting through a presentation. 
And they say, Maya does not exist!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Three Krishnas thus did Karan requite


The Sun's chariot stuck- that his steeds might run
Labor in the muck- afford thy foe-men fun
Three Krishnas, thus, did Karan requite
War is Hell, the rest sheer Spite


Ulupi

That no Warriors true in Death's waters drown
Poets knew, yet to their own Wisdom crown
So no Ulupi, grieving, a son might scold
Embraced Undine weaving her coif of gold




Monday, 14 January 2013

Stalnacker-Lewis & a Mathesis Universalis

Suppose there were a Mathesis Universalis- i.e. an 'eidetic science of the object in general' (Husserl)- which, if propounded, everybody would agree fits the bill, and suppose this yields an evidentiary decision theory all Muth rational people would adhere to, what happens to counterfactual conditionals? In particular, what would Stalnaker's closest possible world to our own look like?

Let's take a Josephine's Kingdom type situation populated by Muth rational, Mathesis Universalis possessing, Vandana Shivas married to men who may or may not be evil, G.M food advocating, gang rapists of the genomes of innocent Saree wearing plants. No Vandana Shiva knows if her own husband is a gang rapist- there is no objective test for the condition since such creatures have no real existence but are a figment of Vandana Shiva discourse- but does know which of the other Vandana Shivas is married to a gang rapist because Vandanaji's PhD in Philosophy dealt with Quantum non-locality, Corporate Globalization, and the gang-rape of plant genomes this inevitably gives rise to .

However, since Vandana Shivas never listen to each other, or themselves, there is no way for a particular Vandanaji to be told her husband is or is not a gang rapist. Josephine, the Queen of the Kingdom, announces that gang-rapist husbands exist and orders all Vandanas to shoot their gang rapist husband at midnight of the same day they realize he must be outraging the modesty of the genomes of innocent plants. All Vandanas can hear or otherwise get information about who got shot.

Suppose there is only one gang rapist. Then there is one Vandana who knows all other men, save her hubby, are innocent, so she shoots him. Suppose there are two gang rapists. Then there are two women who think there is only one rapist. So they expect one shooting and when it does not happen, next night shoot their own husband. Suppose there are three gang rapists. Then there are three women who think there are only two rapists and know, because no one gets shot on day one or two, that their husband is guilty and shoot him on the third day.

Clearly, by induction, all gang rapists will get shot within x number of days- where x is the number of gang rapists.
Now let us mix things up by changing Josephine's directive to her Vandana subjects so that it reads - 'kill your husband iff he is a gang rapist of the plant genome in the Stalnaker closest possible world, or even the Lewis 'sphere of very close possible worlds'.

The problem for us here is that though such gang rapists only exist in Vandana Siva theory and (since all Sivas are Muth rational) so the number of such gang rapists is knowable, still Josephine's directive is not well specified. Is she saying- kill x if in a closely possible world he is a y- or is the gravamen of her order rather- if you are married to a y in the closest possible world, then kill the x you are married to in this?' In any case, is the closest possible world one identical in every respect except x is a y?

 However, we are assuming that 'an eidetic science of the object in general' actually exists and is possessed by relevant Muth Rational agents. To say that the problem we encounter makes Josephine's directive dangerously ambiguous is to say that we can't conceive of a Mathesis Universalis compossible with our ordinary, or even Stalnaker specified, notions of intentionality and meaning. In other words, on one horn of the dilemma, eidetics is empty, on the other, intentionality is vacuous.

Mark Lynas vs. Vandana Shiva

Mark Lynas spent a lot of time campaigning against G.M food. He has now recanted his former beliefs in a hard-hitting, if not wholly factually accurate (Chernobyl equated with an E coli outbreak from organically farmed bean sprouts?) speech here.
The great Dr.Vandana Shiva quickly slapped Lynas down- probably mistaking him for a gang rapist- and made several very telling and false points about like how plants are being sexually harassed and subjected to torture and beating if they don't pay outrageous dowries and that Earth Democracy is being violated because, though in India such rapes don't happen, they are happening all the time in Bharat due to the plants are all being systematically brainwashed and modernized and wearing jeans and talking to boys and going to cinema- chee, chee- that is what is called Gene modification, innit? They are modifying the jeans for making free-show so naturally the plants are all the time being gang-raped. Good plants wear saree and keep big bottu on their head. Bad plants are getting their jeans modified for showing off their buttocks to all and sundry.  It is so disgusting. This Lynas fellow is nothing but a pornographer due to he is wanting all nice good saree wearing Indian plants- even brinjal!- to start modifying their jeans. You just tell him, I will give him one tight slap, I say! You know 250,000 Indian farmers have COMMITTED SUICIDE because of the unbearable shame of seeing their plants wearing all these modified jeans and talking to boys and going Cinema and other such Godlessness.
Mind it kindly.
Dr.Vandana Shiva speaking out against G.M rape.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Boulding on why Gandhi failed

Kenneth Boulding

My Lord, Thou art in every breath I take,
And every bite and sup taste firm of Thee.
With buoyant mercy Thou enfoldest me,
And holdest up my foot each step I make.
Thy touch is all around me when I wake,
Thy sound I hear, and by Thy light I see
The world is fresh with Thy divinity
And all Thy creatures flourish for Thy sake.
For I have looked upon a little child
And seen Forgiveness, and have seen the day
With eastern fire cleanse the foul night away;
So cleansest Thou this House I have defiled.
And if I should be merciful, I know
It is Thy mercy, Lord, in overflow.
There is a Spirit, 1975, p. 13.)


Apart from being a great Quaker mystical poet, Boulding was a widely respected Economist, many feel, greatly ahead of his time.
He introduced the concept of Psychic Capital in 1950 which, I suppose, might marry well with the doctrine of Rupert Sheldrake and give rise to a sort of Humanistic teleology such that 'the Noosphere'- i.e. the common intellectual and moral heritage of man- might itself yield an 'Omega point'- or theosis for the entire species.
However, in the context of why Gandhi failed, what he has to say about negative Psychic Capital bears repeating
'... failure in a task could also lead to a depletion of psychic capital. An accumulation of negative memories of failures, disasters,atrocities, or perceived injustices and indignities (as either recipient or perpetrator) could be called negative psychic capital. Negative psychic capital can also be a powerful motivating factor, in the pursuit of satisfaction through revenge or a settling of scores. In either of its forms as positive or negative psychic capital, this package of collective memory is an essential link between collective memory and collective mental state'
Mahatma Gandhi did not create the negative psychic capital which fuelled the Indian Revolutionaries- he did not invent the 'drain theory' of Indian immeseration or the notion that the rule of predominantly White I.C.S officers and Judges somehow represented a worse insult to Indian honour than the rule of 'Ashraf' Turks or Afghans or Yemenis or 'Manuvaad' Brahmins or Banias or Rajputs. However, he was very successful in denying that the positive Psychic capital created by the British Raj- viz. technological progress, law and order, a meritocratic educational system which permitted boys from poor families to rise to become High Court Judges, Privy Counselors, Dewans of Native State- was actually a good thing.
Boulding, visiting India some half a century ago, wrote-
The failure of Gandhism is not a failure of ahimsa, but a failure of satyagraha. The modern world is so complex that the truth about it cannot be perceived by common sense or by mystical insight, important as these things are. We must have the more delicate and quantitative sampling and processing of information provided by the methods of the social sciences if we are really to test the truth of our images of social and political systems.
Boulding was perhaps unaware that Gandhi's 'Guru' in politics, Gokhale- a Professor of Mathematics- represented precisely the sort of truth seeking, statistics compiling, rational and quantitative approach which Gandhism so signally turned his back on. The Servants of India Society functioned as a sort of Jesuit order, prizing  scholarship and independent research just as much as individual austerity and self-sacrifice. Gokhale, before his death, warned against entrusting any negotiations to Gandhi- he said, truth be told, his achievements in South Africa had fallen far short of the mark- and, to their credit, the Servants of India Society refused to admit Gandhi to their own august order. Thus, the only reasonable conclusion to draw, as to why Gandhism failed- assuming Boulding is correct- is that it was not because Gandhi came from a Society incapable of anything except 'common sense and mystical insight' but because Gandhi was not intelligent enough to take the more arduous path indicated by Social Science. Yet, to do him Justice, at Champaran, or later, during his inquiry into the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre, he used his influence to exclude from the record testimony of atrocities which could not be substantiated- an important step in securing him the respect of the British authorities. True, as Rajendra Prasad pointed out, the Champaran atrocities had been exaggerated to a point of ludicrous absurdity, Gandhi had no alternative but to pursue the course he did- no lawyer of  any degree of professional integrity could have done otherwise- still, something else about Gandhi- viz. his proprietary, but also wholly imaginary, Psychic Capital of Satyagraha- proved more decisive in establishing his place as the leader of the Indian Freedom Struggle and arbiter of, not its Destiny, unless that was always a cowardly dereliction of duty, but its dense, dour and dim-witted praxis of self-deception.
But the simple 'preference falsification availability cascade' which a set of provincial politicians profited from, has now been taken up by senile Professors of International standing for no purpose I can see save that of making plain the utter bankruptcy of their disciplines.
Boulding, perhaps, was unaware of this impending disaster when he wrote-
 The next logical step, therefore, for the Gandhian movement would seem to be in the direction of the social sciences, in peace research, and in the testing of all our images of society by the more refined means for discovering truth which are now available to us. I am not suggesting, of course, that the social sciences produce “absolute” truth, or indeed that much valid perception is not achieved through common sense and insight. What I do suggest, however, is that the problem of truth is so difficult that we cannot afford to neglect any means of improving the path towards it, and that without this, non-violence will inevitably be frustrated.
Since Boulding wrote these words, and more particularly in the last twenty years, there has been an enormous explosion in 'Gandhian social research' as well as a Global epidemic of non-violent movements which attract good people and sustain a self-image of being effective thanks to the myth of the Mahatma's own extraordinary and untrue achievement of expelling the British from India. 
But is this a genuine psychic capital- know-how, as Boulding terms it- or merely a mass delusion like the recent panic about the Mayan Apocalypse?
The fact is, both genuine technological changes and imaginary ones can have a short term impact. The announcement, by a credible source, of the discovery of 'cold fusion' will move markets even if it turns out to be false later on.
It may be a false announcement coincides with some genuine change which militates towards the same end. In that case the only way of differentiating the true from the imaginary cause is to test their alethic status. Gandhian satyagraha fails this test. Where  peasant agitations succeeded, as in Champaran or Bardoli, Gandhi  neither initiated nor built upon what was achieved. All that Social Science can say is that 'rent strikes' or the like can succeed under such and such circumstances but their achievements are severely limited and require the sort of outside help which can't be made universally available. Bardoli succeeded because wealthy men from Bombay were willing to buy back alienated land and return it to its owners. Precisely for that reason, Bardoli was self-limiting.
Gandhian saytagraha, as some sort of 'perpetual motion' device, remains a myth- but is Boulding's notion of Psychic Capital really indifferent between myth and reality?
Everywhere I went in India in my brief and inadequate visits I heard one thing: “There is no alternative”. It was precisely the greatness of Gandhi that he always insisted there was an alternative. Morality always implies that there are alternatives to choose, for morality is choice. To deny alternatives is to deny morality itself. To perceive alternatives requires imagination, hard thinking, and costly and painstaking study. If the Gandhian movement in India can recapture this great vision of the alternative, India may yet be saved from the disaster towards which she seems to be heading.
Yes, Gandhi always insisted there was an alternative. But it was imaginary. Morality, indeed, is to choose rightly. But can Boulding really mean that it is morally right to reject Reality, because it remains indifferent to your scolding, and to live instead in a Fool's Paradise where, like Acharya Vinobha Bhave, you imagine that you have solved all Bihar's problems because, by your efforts, almost all of the land in the state has been gifted away in an entirely bogus  'boodhan'? Surely this is not Morality but self-serving Stupidity of a particularly repulsive sort.
There was a time when it appeared that the Government of India, purely in its own interest, was going to bring in tougher anti-corruption laws coupled with some sort of fast track Ombudsman service. This was because a principal-agent problem had arisen- dynasts could no longer trust their bag-men- and in this context it appeared that a 'Gandhian' anti-corruption movement might serve a useful purpose by creating a sort of popular 'don't take, don't give' anti-bribe' Psychic Capital favorable to Market based reforms. 
That was a pipe-dream. What we are faced with instead is just another rowdy political party and one more bogus Yogi Bogi Godman.

Boulding's work, including his notion of Psychic Capital, is by no means facile. But, properly applied, it militates to the conclusion that Gandhism was a sham. Elsewhere, and treating only of social movements which yielded more than they cost, it may yet expand the noo-sphere, not the nonsense sphere.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Thresholds, Violence and Psychic capital

Both Violence and Memory have thresholds and triggers and can give rise to engulfment psychosis- is there any connection between the two from the perspective of what Kenneth Boulding called Psychic Capital?
A recent paper gives a cogent summary of this notion-
 A collective mental state will be influenced by memories, which can also be collective insofar as they are produced by common experiences. The store of good memories has been called psychic capital, but there will also be bad memories or negative psychic capital. A community can be aided in its survival by a sense of coherence. Psychic capital can be drawn upon in the task of maintaining a sense of coherence and therefore survival.
Put this way, Psychic Capital cashes out as the ex ante Incentive system obtaining at any given point in time. Economic theory suggests that coercion would rely on monetary exactions (fines) rather than physical violence except where agents have no wealth. But, if the proportion of zero wealth agents rises faster than the productivity of Violence,congestion and spatial polarization based multiple equilibria will exist though perhaps eventually converging to a a dominant firm/ competitive fringe type situation.

In this context, the Sociologist Randall Collins stresses the learned aspect of Violence- i.e. a 'know-how ' effect in Boulding's terminology- and we can add a Tardean mimetic hedonics of violence to motivate such learning.

Perhaps the greatest living theorist of Non Violence, Gene Sharpe, takes as his starting point the insight that Power is not monolithic, the People can withdraw their obedience and leave their Masters without Power. However, just as any existing Monopoly has to remain competitive or shore up barriers to entry against potential rivals, Governments too never have more than a notional monopoly of coercion which is in any case  hotly contested at the margin. In this context, 'withdrawal of obedience' imposes a monetary cost on those with wealth- because the State can reciprocally  withdraw protection from crime and delinquency in a discriminatory manner so as to maximize the rent on such Law and Order as remains. This shrinks the economy but it may kill off dissent faster than it enfeebles the State and in any case, by reducing the capitalized value of the returns on Power, turns everybody's focus to short term Machiavellian tactics rather that long term strategic thinking or mechanism design.

 Prof. Sharpe, who has been called the Machiavelli of Non-Violence, highlights what would otherwise seem an oddity in the trajectory of Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha such that Civil disobedience did not cease to be non-violent while at the same time dramatically eroding its participants' inner (as opposed to tactical, or hypocritical) commitment to Ahimsa as a principle.

I suppose the take-away point here is that 'Violence' is only perceived as such  when it crosses a certain threshold- in the context of Power, it is the the boundary between delinquency and disobedience.  Similarly, Collective Memory only turns into Psychic Capital when a threshold is shifted- as happened with Ind's recovered memory of sexual abuse at the hands of Evil British people who wore Top Hats and were terribly well spoken and had a real plausible reason for suggesting that they'd lost their mobile phone, and were expecting a real important call, and it was probably hiding in one or other of your orifices and would you mind awfully if I took a look? and it turns out they hadn't lost their mobile phone at all- in fact phones hadn't been invented yet- and OMG having to live with the shame, the humiliation- I mean if that's not a good enough reason to burn your Jermyn St. shirts what is?


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Sanskrit translation anybody?

Alas! Adi Shesha, all Samadhi but is klesha- Skandha-mara!
Arise! Ved Vyasa, mount Mount Kailasa- Hari-hara!
Alack! my poison sac, thee, Mohini charms but to excise
So, envenomed against Love, Christ's dove, I, as Suka, revise

(Skandha-mara, or Mara as metaphor for the entirety of conditioned existence)

Monday, 7 January 2013

Inconsistent Finitism & Ontological dysphoria

This is the great mathematician Terry Tao explaining how he spotted the error in Prof. Nelson's proof purporting to show Peano Arithmetic to be inconsistent- thus refuting  'Logic's Lost genius' Gerhard Gentzen 1936 result.

Actually, Nelson's proof was relatively easy to understand, in part because he took the trouble to write out a short outline which make clear the general strategy of proof while omitting most of the technical details (though it was ambiguous at one very crucial juncture), and also because I had already previously thought about the surprise examination (or unexpected hanging) paradox and the Kritchman-Raz argument (see the last section of http://terrytao.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/epistemic-logic-temporal-epistemic-logic-and-the-blue-eyed-islander-puzzle-lower-bound/ ).

From the outline one could already see that the main idea was to adapt the Kritchman-Raz argument to the theory Q_0^*, which "almost" proved its own consistency in that it contained a hierarchy of theories Q_1, Q_2, Q_3, ..., each of which could prove the consistency of its predecessor. 

Now, I did not at the time fully understand the definition of Q_0^*, nor was I fully aware of the Hilbert-Ackermann result which guaranteed this chain of consistency results, but I was willing to accept the existence of such a hierarchy of theories. (I've since read up a bit on these topics, though.) The question was then, given such an abstract hierarchy, whether one could use the arguments of Chaitin and Kritchman-Raz to establish the inconsistency of at least one of these theories. 

These arguments were simple enough (they were basically formalisations of the Berry paradox and surprise examination paradox respectively) that I could then try to do that directly, without any further assistance from the outline. And, indeed, when I attempted to do this, I did at first seem to obtain a contradiction (much as paradoxes such as the Berry or surprise examination paradoxes also lead to absurdity if one reasons somewhat carelessly using informal naive argument). So I could see where Nelson was coming from; but then I spent some time trying to expand out my arguments in detail to find the error. The key, as I found out, was to specify exactly what proof verifier would be used for the Chaitin portion of the argument (this was an issue that was left ambiguous in Nelson's outline), and in particular whether it would accept proofs of unbounded complexity or not. Since Nelson wanted to keep all proofs at bounded complexity, I used a proof verifier that enforced such a bound, and eventually worked out that this could not be done while keeping the length of the Chaitin machine constant; this was the objection that I raised in my first few comments. However, after Nelson responded, it became clear that he was using an unrestricted proof verifier, and this led to a different problem, namely that the proofs produced by Chaitin's argument were of unbounded complexity. So there was not a single "flaw" in the argument, but rather there were two separate flaws, one of which was relevant to one interpretation of the argument, and the other of which was relevant to an alternate interpretation of the argument. 

Aside from this one ambiguity, though, the outline was quite clear. Certainly there have been other manuscripts claiming major results that were much more difficult to adjudicate because they were written so badly that there were multiple ambiguities or inaccuracies in the exposition, and any high-level perspective on the argument was obscured.


Nelson's quickness to recant after examining Tao's objection has been commented on in a post titled 'why do Mathematicians always agree'?
In response, Catarina Dutilh Novaes, writes-
In my current research project on deduction, I am working on the idea of a dialogical reconceptualization of deduction. One of the upshots would be that the mathematical method itself is able to counter our tendency towards confirmation bias, in virtue of what I call the 'built-in opponent' feature. When formulating a mathematical proof, proponent has to ensure that there are no counterexamples to any of her inferential steps, as if anticipating possible objections by an opponent. In this way, she is 'forced' to adopt the position both of someone who is convinced of the cogency of the claim and of someone who is not.

My response, from the socioproctological perspective is-
In this specific case, all the mathematicians involved relied for their work on a specific highly developed theory-  call it a module- and none was prepared to bear the cognitive cost of re-writing the entire module which is why there could be a quick resolution. Surely this happens all the time in other disciplines as well? Indeed the less 'rational' or alethic the subject area the lower the cognitive pay-off for rewriting entire modules so we might find even faster resolution, without even the pause for critical thought. Prof. Nelson was quick to see his error precisely because he is one of the brightest people in his discipline. A lesser mind, even if capable of formulating Nelson's thesis, would  have taken much longer to concede the disputed  point. 

Still, suppose there was a big cognitive pay-off, currently available, for entirely rewriting the Chaitin/ Kolmogorov 'module' re. complexity, then it may be that some one or other of those involved in this dispute  might have taken that tack.

Surely an 'in-built opponent' is a feature of all social communication? It weighs down most heavily where the cognitive cost of re-writing modules are high or the reward is miniscule? I suppose statements about fashion or syntax or what is considered politically correct, have this feature and thus in most social sub-sets there is going to be very quick recantation simply because the cost greatly outweighs any possible benefit.

At this point, I'd like to introduce a notion of ontologically dysphoria- the feeling of being in the wrong Universe, the intuition that the Cartesian duality of mind and body points to something more troubling, bizarre or tragic. It may be that there is a sort of genotypal canalisation towards a widespread feeling of this sort- perhaps, rather than a malaise attributable to the welgeist, ontological dysphoria is the driver for the necessary-but-not-too-much preference diversity needed to drive trade, but also communication and the elaboration of Knowledge systems.

It may make a sort of collocational sense for us to agree that Math represents a limit case of one sort and philosophy, with its distinctions without differences, as the limit case of its opposite.

Godel and Von Neumann, both Theists on their death beds, who agreed on so much in the way of mathematics yet had ontological dysphorias of opposite tropism. It may be that the latter type of 'madness'- or stark solipsistic discontinuity- is as important a driver for breakthroughs in Maths as the great powers of 'reason' both possessed which enabled  Von Neumann to grasp Godel's result, perhaps, more thoroughly and more quickly than the latter had done himself.




Barzakh & the Avestan Ram Yasht

Salman H.Bashier has suggested that the Quranic 'barzakh'- that isthmus between two bodies of water, one salt, one sweet- derives ultimately from the Persian 'purdah'. The importance of the 'rending of the veil- or apocalypse'- in Christianity makes this poetically interesting. However, I still couldn't see any really fundamental connection between barzakh and purdah till I read the Ram Yasht- the 15th chapter of the Avesta- i.e. the Zoroastrian Scripture-




42.
I will sacrifice to the Waters and to Him who divides them....
To this Vayu do we sacrifice, this Vayu do we invoke....
We sacrifice to that Vayu that belongs to the Good Spirit, the bright and glorious Vayu.

It has been suggested that the parting of the Red Sea by Moses is related to a still observable phenomenon somewhere in that region whereby the wind, from time to time, rises up to divide the freshwater of the Marshes from the salt water of the sea and maybe this was confused with the isthmus at Lake Mareotis or something of that sort.

For the Indians, the equivalent of 'barzakh' is 'antarabhava' which is associated with the Gandharvas whose Iranian form is highly suggestive-

aom jaidhyat,
avat âyaptem dazdi-mê
vayush ýô uparô-kairyô
ýat kaêna nijasâni
azem brâthrô urvâxshaya
ýat janâni hitâspem
raithe paiti vazaidhyâi,
uiti asti gafyô âhûirish uiti aêvô gafyô paitish uiti gañdarewô upâpô.

26.

I will sacrifice to the Waters and to Him who divides them....
To this Vayu do we sacrifice, this Vayu do we invoke....
27.
To him did the manly-hearted Keresaspa offer up a sacrifice by the Gudha, a channel of the Rangha, made by Mazda, upon a golden throne, under golden beams and a golden canopy, with bundles of baresma and offerings of full-boiling [milk].
28.
He begged of him a boon, saying: 'Grant me this, O Vayu! who dost work highly, that I may succeed in avenging my brother Urvakhshaya, that I may smite Hitaspa and yoke him to my chariot.'
The Gandarewa, who lives beneath the waters, is the son of Ahura in the deep, he is the only master of the deep.
29.
Vayu, who works highly, granted him that boon, as the Maker, Ahura Mazda, did pursue it.
We sacrifice to the holy Vayu....
For his brightness and glory, I will offer unto him a sacrifice worth being heard....


In Ram Yasht 7.28- asuiti asti gafyô âhûirish uiti aêvô gafyô paitish uiti gañdarewô upâpô- the Gandharva is described as the son of Ahura and master of the deep- nevertheless the hero is able to avenge his brother's death on it.
However, a brother is also a double, like a reflection in water. Without playing up a Rene Girardian notion of 'mimetic desire' and the sacrifice of the twin (Gemini obviously relates to King Jam- i.e. Yama though, actually, it is the Ashwins who are more profitably invoked in this context) it is enough to mention 'Adi Vigyan' (the original science- of casting off illness or blemish onto one's reflection) to realize that it is the esoteric aspect of a ritual, rather than a clear cut mythology, which underlies this.

Buddhist 'bardo' (unlike its Vedantic equivalent which just concentrates on erotic 'karmic residues' impelling to further re-birth) is as richly suggestive as Sufi barzakh.
Interestingly, the Zoraostrian 'Ilm e Khushnoom' school synthesizes Sufism and Zorastrian ideas in a suggestive manner.
Indeed, there are plenty of Sufi Buddhists of Iranian origin and, perhaps, Central Asian culture can only be understood from this perspective.
Returning to classical Buddhist understanding of the Gandharva, it might be worth our while to look again at the strange role they play in the Mahabharata.
The Kuru war only happened because a Gandharva resented the rightful heir possessing the same name as himself. Apparently, Gandharvas have to change their name if defeated in battle. This happens when Arjuna defeats a Gandharva. The upshot is that Arjuna gains 'caksuchi vidya'- the ability to see anything he wants in the form he desires, this is a type of omniscience but one that only grants you the knowledge you actually desire. The Bhagvad Gita gains poignancy because Arjuna has this gift. He can see that he will prevail even over his 'chiranjeevi' (unkillable) foes but can't see that his enemy is his eldest brother (because Karna does not want him to see this and Arjuna, after all, is a good younger brother who wants to obey his eldest brother).
As everybody knows, the Gita ends with a theophany and the proclamation of a pure Occassionalist metaphysics (like that of Ghazzali and the Sufis). However, both the Sufis and the Buddhists have a doctrine of momentariness such that Occassionalism is empty. Vedanta too embraces 'Mayavadi' doctrine such that all that exists is a Gandharva dream- much music and drama and superb poetry and powerful incense but it is all a shadow play, that is all.
I may mention that Jainism, thanks to Umaswati (who started off as a Mathematician) becomes 'observationally indistinguishable' from Nagarjuna's Buddhism or Sankara's Vedanta because of a subtle property of the sort of maths used in 'matching problems'- essentially this links to entropy.
'Karmic-obstructors' (i.e the matching problem for the writer of an Epic- or indeed a Kabbalistic interpretation of Scripture) run out of steam because though the sort of Maths used in Combinatorics soon yields very very big numbers, still those numbers are infinitely small relative to the decimal expansion of the vast majority of 'real' numbers.  
The sort of 'discrete maths' used by ancient tax gatherers and Monastery bursars meant that 'state space explosion' was as familiar to the literati back then as it is to us now. What was aberrant was the brief period when calculus flourished and intellectuals believed in a Laplacian universe.


The koranic term barzakh, of Persian provenance (presumably from *burz-axw "high existence"), was also used in the Islamic tradition in a similar sense. The term has not survived in extant Persian sources (cf. also Bölken, pp. 57 ff.). 

I mention all this because, it seems to me, something new comes into the poetic reception of the Ramayana- that is Riti type poetry- at about the time when Akbar, or perhaps his mother, ordered the translation of the Ramayana into Persian.
Abu Fazl tells us that the Emperor wanted to end the hatred between Hindu and Muslim by dispelling their mutual ignorance but, it seems, the barzakh between them was one that Vayu had made to go through and overtake both.
As to Ayodhya's Apocalypse, for us contemporary poets, what is it if not this?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Evolutionary Justice and the Price of anarchy

This is a link to a very readable paper on Evolutionary Theories of Justice which raised a possibly naive and foolish question in my mind- we have a notion that correlated equilibria in animals must be genetically canalised because they don't have reflexivity and we also have a notion that something like reflexivity is a general module which does some sort of, collocation method, correlated equilibria computation- but does this mean that talk of Justice is really a sort of arbitrage of anarchy?
One of the main tools in the study of selfish behavior is the price of anarchy [14, 20], a measure that compares the worst case performance Nash equilibrium to that of the optimal allocation. Naturally, the concept of the price of anarchy extends to correlated equilibria.
If we know only that the players play at some equilibrium, the price of anarchy bounds the deterioration of system performance due to selfish behavior. On the other hand, there is the optimistic point of view in which the players are guided to play at the best Nash equilibrium.
Especially with correlated equilibria, the latter makes much more sense: The mediator who selects the probability distribution, the correlated equilibrium, and presents it to the players, can select the correlated equilibrium with minimum system cost. In other words, one can view correlated equilibria as a mechanism for enforcing good behavior on selfish users. The optimistic price of anarchy of the best equilibrium is also called price of stability  (Click here for the whole paper)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Deontology's Royal Road to Beenakker's boundary


This is a link to an interesting paper suggesting that any deontology can be collapsed into a Consequentialism by an appropriate weighting of Utilities but not vice versa  thus generating an asymmetry in favour of the latter.
An obvious rejoinder is that you can have a Deontology specified thus
1) first compute all possible Consequentialist solutions be they rule, act or whatever.
2) find something better than any of them.
However, there is one sort of Consequentialism, which I've just this moment invented, which goes something like 'discontinuously assign very high Utility to particular ordinal Utilities which have interesting mathematical properties, like Pi or e, such that what is maximized relates to something to do with  doing the Consequentialist calculus itself. In this case the deontology suggested above fails because something at step 1 encounters a halting problem.

Now as a matter of fact, not theory, it is the case that talk about Consequentialism vs Deontology is only interesting in so far as it drives maths or provides a concrete model for cool axiom systems arising from other fields.

The author of the paper linked to above writes-
 A consequentialiser who cannot account for the difference between act and rule consequentialism has not succeeded to deliver a theory that deserves the label ‘consequentialism’. However,only cardinal consequentialism can account for this distinction. Rule consequentialism presupposes that one is able to calculate averages (or at least sum up the utility of different consequences into a sum total) and this requires that we measure utility on a cardinal scale.
Is it the case that Rule Consequentialism (R.C) is constrained in the manner specified? Who is to say that, so long as R.C. doesn't throw away information, that single valued averages are necessary? Suppose a fractal captures the information rather than an average. It would have been news to many, prior to the Seventies, that fractals were in fact rankable on a cardinal scale on the basis of dimensionality. How do we know that the same thing is not true of other, currently exotic or unknown, mathematical objects which capture information?

I suppose this is just a sort of slapdash prelude to the realization that here as elsewhere what appears to be a Philosophical problem dissolves at Beenakker's boundary.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sorabji on Gandhi & the Stoics

Prof. Richard Sorabji's very readable book on Gandhi & the Stoics is now available in hardback and should soon be downloadable for Kindle.

The question for me, in considering Gandhi from the viewpoint of Greek philosophy, is to what extent his praxis (which Sorabji insists was purely philosophical) operated within Pyrrhonian epoche- a skepticism re. current claims made by Science, Technology and various 'expert' crafts such as that of the Diplomat or Statesman which, nevertheless, in some non trivial manner, also produced a more than mortal serenity or ataraxia- as opposed to a type of Stoic apatheia- which conferred extraordinary powers in terms not only of discovering the Truth but also bringing about seemingly very difficult Social or Political outcomes- for e.g. eliminating the grounds and possibility of class or race or creedal conflict, in a manner mysterious and suggestive of a sort of communal theosis by which different shards or splinters of the Logos are reunited and made whole. In connection with that last, I may mention, Prof. Sorabji's offers a novel interpretation of Gandhi's reception of the Jain anekaantavada epistemology which may interest Divinity students.

I have commented elsewhere on the tenability of Sorabji's central premise- viz that Gandhi was primarily a Philosopher, not a Politician and Social Worker- but I still think it worthwhile to dwell, in this context, on the disjunction between the Ciceronian Stoic, for whom individuated Duty was defined in relation to the Timocratic Cursus Honorum, and the Hellenic slave whose compass of action was much more circumscribed. It is the latter of which the Hegelian dialectic of the gaze might be predicated whereas of the former, in connection with Liberty, what after all can be said- other than that it is at best a pastoral, at worst a patristic, diminuendo addendum to the glorious gloaming of Iron Age Thymos?

Libertas is a Goddess most honored when
Her altar is demolished so an exile return
& Cicero to thy fons et origo Men
Red tho' Tiber roil & darkly burn.

It scarcely needs mentioning that Gandhi's generation turned their backs on both the Hegelian struggle for Recognition as well as the Ciceronian Cursus Honorum. Yet the Ashram or the Jail Cell were, by the very pietas of the chicane sign-boarding them Liberty's temples, rendered altars to, not Stoic Philosophy but Cynical Politics.

My own intuition, for what it's worth, is that the Indians had a 'field theory' (if as Emerson said, Boscovich discovered that things never touch, then perhaps that Jesuit learnt it from the Vimalakirti, just as Leibniz is supposed to have got his Relationist Monadology out of the Avatamsakasutra) or, at least, a discrete maths tradition, and, as such, were free from sorites type mereological problems which, after Euclid, bedeviled the Greeks.
 If this is indeed the case, though the instrumental value of Prof.Sorabji's book is diminished, it may yet serve a purpose as illustrating a certain mind-set which, to us now, appears as archaic as that of Thales and Anaximander and, I increasingly feel, all the better for it.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Laertes- a play in verse.


LAERTES
or
 HAMLET, WITHOUT THE PRINCE,
Stage is hung with a network of narrow, vertical, black drapes which allow actors to appear and disappear quickly from any point on the stage.
There is a network of floor level spotlighting which is activated with the lifting of a particular drape.
Costume- for the most part, authentic medieval T-shirts with each character’s name brightly emblazoned upon the front & the historically correct (no matter howsoever politically incorrect) motto of their respective guild (e.g. ‘gravediggers do it with spades’) on the back.
Dark stage. Spotlight on ghost as he comes into view.
Ghost:-                                  Hamlet, son, if be thou near
                                               Hamlet, son, hie thee here
                                       Thy Sire, Hamlet, who’s now but grist
                                             To Hamlet’s Mill, bids thee list.
(At the mention of Hamlet’s Mill there is a roar- as of the sea)
Ah, Hamlet’s Mill now grinds my bones
I who bestrode 2 Baltic thrones
&, a Norse Colossus, held the North in fee
Now, in Hamlet’s Mill, re-salt the Sea.
(Second spot-light showing three sentries, asleep on their feet, propping each other up with their spears.)
Ah, Hamlet, son, ‘twas once my boast
My bare whisper woke the Varangian coast
Yet walk I abroad- now a wittering ghost
So sound sleeps sentry at his post!
First sentry (waking up)- Oi! I heard that! Who says I was asleep? Oi! You there, show yourself! What’s your game, sneaking up on a feller like that? Trying to get me in bother with the sergeant were you? Well I know a trick worth two o’ that! Come forward and show yourself!
Ghost -                        Soldier, ’twas your conscience spoke
                                    Whispering “Duty!” till you woke
                                    As for me, my voice has faded
                                    Or say this World’s ear has grown jaded
                                    To Honour’s call, which is just as well
                                    Else, dozy sentry, you’d sentry Hell!
Second sentry- (peering at the ghost) ‘Ere! I know you don’t I? Leastways there’s something right familiar about your face.
Ghost-                         ’Tis this absolute dark makes me visible
                                    & from Death’s Night, part divisible
                                    Even so might thou vouch me, Silence,
                                    As much voice as doth Death no violence.
Third sentry- ’Ere! What do you mean by going on as if we couldn’t hear what you’re saying? We ain’t deaf, I’ll have you know. Now, you’d better just come clean and explain yourself or I am going to have to poke you in the ribs with this ’ere spear!
Ghost-                         Sentry, you think it fun to shake your spear
                                    But I am the web woven of all you fear
                                    Snag upon me and you snag upon one
                           Would swallow the wolf would swallow the Sun
First Sentry - What did he say?
Sentry 2 – something about swallowing the Sun
Sentry 3-  We’re dreaming is all. Or that yon’s a ghost.
Sentry 1- We don’t get paid enough to sentry ghosts.
Sentry 2- Quite right. Actually, we don’t get paid enough to sentry the living.
Sentry 3- Budget cuts. Denmark’s at peace.
Sentry 1- Aye, and aint it rotten? Now, the old king had a stomach for war.
Ghost-   Had? had? Nay say I have a greater stomach for it now
& Were Hamlet at my side, Hamlet would show me how
To raise up Death against who but dutifully deal it
& unleash Fear on who but fitfully feel it
& Revenge me redly on the race I led
Whose vaunted arms could not keep from my head
The base scythe of Death the skeleton
Publish it in Gath, in Askelon tell it in!
Sentry1-   You know the ghost has a good line in chat
Sentyry2- You think? That last rhyme fell rather flat.
Sentry 3- What I want to know is, who’s this Hamlet bloke?
Ghost-                  Heard you the words I from Hades spoke?
(Sentry 3 nods)
Ghost-                         Brave Hamlet’s my son, sweet Gertrude’s child
Who, like widow’d Denmark, is betimes beguiled
By Artful Peace which calls it orison
In the ears’ porch to pour its poison
& Whom to Vengeance my ghostly voice
Would wake & work him till all Hades rejoice
& Death’s citadel which the living besiege
Open its gates to a unanimous liege
Sentry 1- Gertrude’s barren. Always has been
Sentry 2- No Hamlet hereabouts has been heard or seen
Ghost- No Hamlet? Have I no son?
Sentry 1- none
Sentry 2           nor daughters
Ghost-                                     A curse upon Lethe waters!
                        I’m a gibbering ghost upon Night’s Stygian shore
Only a blood libation can my memory restore
Sentry1- Well, I’ve a bit of black pudding
Ghost- That will have to do. Ah! now I feed I see its true, no son I sired upon my Queen, as for my ravings- what could they mean? (munching) Tho’, mark you, ’twas all Gertrude’s fault, there was nothing wrong with my pole vault. In my courtiers’ cradles I’ve bestowed, byblows sure by the ox cart load, yet a canny son however yclept, I remember not tho’ the name Hamlet, suggests the trickster who in fighting pose, our Danish dead, propped up to scare our English foes, who fleetly fled! But hold my lucid spell draws to a close, so I’ll bid farewell for Hamlet’s Mill must grind my bones, I who bestrode 2 Nordic thrones etc.  (sound effect as of the waves crashing)
Sentry 1- don’t be a stranger.
Sentry 2- Missing you already
Sentry 3- I’m confused. What just happened?
Sentry1- Same thing happens every night
Sentry 2- except for the black pud.
Sentry 1- well yeah- but apart from that
Sentry 2- But that’s just my point. It was the first time old ghosty bollocks had an insight. I think we’re finally getting some real closure here.
Sentry 1- yeah, well, wha’ever
Sentry 3- Listen guys, I’m still confused. I mean what just happened? Does old ghosty bollocks have a son or doesn’t he?
Sentry 2 – Doesn’t
Sentry 1. Does too. He said so himself- “I’ve left plenty of byblows in the cradles of my courtiers.”
Sentry 2-Well he would say that wouldn’t he?
Sentry1- No, see here- he’s on this revenge kick right? I mean he wants one of those sons of his…
Sentry 2- or daughters- he never specified the sex of his byblows- let’s all just keep a lid on the Gender Chauvinism shall we?
Sentry 1- Well a son would be a more logical choice for his purpose- vengeance on widowed Denmark’s too peaceful ways
Sentry 3 (waking up) Gays? Did someone say Gays? As in Gays in the military?
Sentry 1 and 2 exchange looks-
Sentry 1- Yeah. Gays in the military. That’s what this is about.
Sentry3- O.K. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Back to snoozy by byes. This time I get the soft shoulder.
(They fall asleep on each other’s shoulders.)
Spotlight picks out Polonius who has been eavesdropping and follows him to where he encounters richly accoutred Laertes.
Polonius.-       Strange, at this hour, to see the battlements paced
By one all curled & crimped & puffed & laced
What mad French fad affects he now?
Laertes, son, whither goest thou?
Laertes-           Why father is it you? you have a ghostly tread
     I’m overdressed its true, but then I haven’t yet been to bed
        For tonight, at dinner, my lady dropped her scarf
And I fancied I felt- but promise you won’t laugh-
As if Selene, her veil, had to this end let fall
That her Endymion, I, her neck so enthral…
Polonius-   I’m sorry, my lad, your sonnet to wreck
              But Selene, you know, hasn’t a neck
Laertes- In Provence, father, a neck is assumed
Else on a Lunar simile I’d never presumed
Polonius- Ye Gods, for this I sent him to Paris!
Laertes- Tho’ Paris, Fair is, its manners are made mock at the courts of Languedoc, which being dear, I very much fear, I’m terribly in hock, but Dad you’re my rock!
Polonius- Oi! Not so fast my gallant young buck
Tho’ as a matter of fact, your old Dad’s had some luck
& aspire you to something just a little bit higher
Than being a Frenchified flunkey
Or I-talianiate monkey
Be guided by your sire!
Laertes- i’faith, Father, whatever can you mean?
Tho’ in courtly ways, I yet am green
Nothing lowly or base have I yet desired
Rather to that High Place ever aspired
Which Lancelot held for Guinevere
& Tristran for his Iseult dear
Polonius- Well spoken lad & with a Princely air
Not the French polish, the poplar’s fair
None but King’s sons can cuckold Kings
Which neatly me to the matter brings
What say you Laertes to being Royal?
The dead king’s eldest & me a loyal
Joseph, as ’twere, to your sainted mother
To whom indeed I’ll yet prove brother
Advanced at Court by your natural father
So you’d be near him, or say rather
Granted the Great Seal to guard your claim
Which untimely revealed had scotched the fair name
Of Gertrude who, tho’ of the old High King’s race
While your mother lived, had but bigamous embrace
Nor, for the Church, was the matter mended
After your poor mother’s life untimely ended
A story I with a corrupt Cardinal contrived
So Claudius could take an incestuous bride!
Laertes- Stop! What foulness is this assails my ears?
Avaunt thee demon! who in such shape appears
As to seem my own father- peerless of peers
Venerable Polonius- so rich in years
& each richer yet in works and days
Than what the Calendar of Saints itself displays
Thou art foiled, foul fiend, for naught daunts or dismays
By her favour who is screened, whose fervour is her praise!
(Rushes off flourishing Gertrude’s scarf)
Polonius- What’s to be done? The boy’s an ass
But then his mother was just a village lass
Big boned and blonde, a breeding mare.
Came she to court, she could but stare
& gape at the gallants, and gawp at the dames
’Twas the High King’s jest- just one of his games
To foist moron on genius, harlot on saint
Not that I had cause for complaint
Her heart as pure as her wit was slender
When the child queen, Gertrude, thought to befriend her
It broke. She died. On her death-bed raved.
Of Heaven’s Queen, star-light laved,
Descending moon beam stairs to draw her up
With the Pleiades to song and sup.
For her ox like eyes had seen the glory
Burst her ox like heart, a story
Showing what dread divinity yet hedges
To simple soul that pledges
Love to the old High Kings’ race
Or sees it in the Queen’s fair face.
For such Love ever is to those low born fatal
To Elsinore’s hamlets who are natal
For all Heaven is but as winter to that smile
Oppose it with arms! oppose it with guile!
As I did, taking sheath to the king’s knife,
Wise widower, a richly jewelled wife
A proper baron’s daughter
  Some whore had taught her
And I advanced as never before
Gertrude’s eyes now red and sore
Till, with eyes that dimmed the morn
Ophelia, of my loins, was born
Defeated in beauty, now drably attired,
Her mother lasted a week- then expired
Not that Gertrude had any respite for joy
The King, I’d captured with another toy!
Laertes- Father?
Polonius-   (startled)  Christ!
Laertes-                 Father, thank God it’s you!
                        Calling upon our Saviour true.
Fiend’s, I know, care not for that holy name.
And by fiends tonight Elsinore’s beset
What infidelity in me, ’twas to blame
I know not, nor worse yet
What carnal colouring to devoted thought
Ope’d Hell’s gates so a base fiend had wrought
My soul’s overthrow taking your seeming shape
Uttering blasphemies till my only means of escape
Was reverence- for you, and, one other perhaps
Ah! How I had fallen! I know not for what lapse…
Polonius- Yes… well… You take after your mother.
Laertes- I see her in dreams! Her and one other
Their images conjoined in some curious way
One the Sky, the other the lightning’s flickering play
Or one the image, the other the aura
One this hour, the other Aurora
Or, stay, if what I say seems to you absurd…
Polonius- Nay lad, enough, not another word
Laertes- But, Father, for act I mayn’t, speak I must
And, if not to you, then to whom in all trust?
Polonius- Nay, but it wounds me; speak not in this vein
Laertes-  ’Tis a glorious wound! If I could but explain!
Polonius- I loved your mother! Be silent now
Laertes- Would my mother could show me how!
Polonius- Gertrude had a mother. A foreign whore
Brought ruin to Elsinore and Denmark’s shore
Laid low the last of our true High Kings
Killed kinship, courtesy, and love of local things
Turned our wattle to stone with her Gorgon glance
Taught our country morrice the sword’s red dance
Pawned our shady patria for Amphion’s lyre
Flayed our Marsyas shepherds for Empire
Sent Viking our gentle King
Death is the song such Sirens sing!
No sons have they, sometimes a daughter
Consider what Gertrude’s mother taught her!
Twelve years that widow reared our Queen
Yet, from beyond the grave, must vent her spleen
Granting, by her Will, the child, Gertrude’s hand
To whomsoever led our most vile war band
And returned laden from ploughing the Sea
With richest harvest for Persephone
Laertes- A metaphor I’ll put to other uses
Gertrude’s the light from Eleusis!
Or, seeing how narcissus opens its eye to greet her
Say Kore’s daughter is Demeter
Polonius- That way madness lies
Laertes- Yes. But, else, Love dies
Polonius- Love dies. Yes. Yet are there children
Laertes- That’s usury.
 For the parfait to breed is certain sin.
Polonius- What Bogomil blasphemy is this you preach?
Laertes- Nay, ’tis what the Courts of Love proudly teach
Polonius- A pox on foreigners and their foul infections!
Laertes-  Progeny’s the pox on the heart’s affections
Polonius- For shame sirrah! For very shame!
Laertes- Truth blushes not at praise or blame
Polonius- Go to sirrah! Go to, go to!
Laertes- & it were to her, I would so do
Polonius- I waste my breath having words with you
Laertes- All breath is wasted on me too
  Save I breathe her name..
Polonius-                         (shouts) For shame!
(whispering)- Name her not! For your neck have a care!
Laertes-          Let Dawn blush, only Gertrude’s fair!
Polonius-        More of this and we’re undone!
Laertes-     Gladly, my Icarus words by Gertrude’s Sun
Polonius-    We’re overheard! Who’s that approaches?
Laertes-            Peril comforts, Safety reproaches
Polonius-    Why, well met! Look ’tis Fortinbras!
Fortinbras-             Stand off ho! Let me pass
Polonius-    Why, young my lord, we’re all friends here.
Fortinbras-             Stand off ho! Or taste my spear
Polonius-      A spear? my lord, that yon’s a crozier
Fortinbras-  Stand off ho! I’ve got a knife!
 (cringing in abrupt volte face)  O take my purse! just spare my life!
Polonius-     You mistake us, my lord, we’ve no purpose felonious
        This here’s my son & I’m Lord Chamberlain Polonius
(Fortinbras has taken the opportunity to run away. Polonius shouts after him)
Remember me to your Uncle- the Cardinal!
Laertes- To remember her to me all things were created
Polonius- A pox upon words!
Laertes-                                 To words am I fated.
            Penelope weaves through each wave in the Odyssey
            Laertes’ shroud, and that Textum is theodicy
            Word’s web
At Meaning’s ebb
Undone each night
Resumed at first light
I shuttle, Father,
Or say am shuttled rather
If Dreams are the loom, the web is waking
Or the heart’s each beat, the coarse thread’s breaking
Or a ’broidered figure
A thumb’s width- no bigger
In a tapestried Eden briefly exalted
Then exiled, then again halted
Trembling on the threshold of what’s allowed to be
Hope, my Arachne, my Atropos she… (wanders off, his voice fading)
Polonius- His wits list, the mast dips leeward
            From windy talk, his brain’s grown fever’d
            I must away to plot and plan
            Enlist Rumour’s aid, if I can
            To crown my son, not from mere ambition
            But to preserve his life, I make my mission (hurries away purposefully)
Act 2
Ophelia, a twelve year old, in cumbersome court dress, gathering up her skirts to reveal naked feet. She is playing hopscotch.
Ophelia-
Skip, hop, splay! (Splays her legs to straddle two boxes)
            He comes out to play
            Hop, skip, hop (teetering on one leg)
            He goes to the shop
            Hop, hop, skip
            He kisses me on the lip (trips and falls into the arms of Laertes)
Laertes- Nay, for then you’ll trip
Ophelia-  Oh! Wow, you gave me a scare!
(Turning around to hang from his neck, kicking her heels in the air)
But to say I tripped is really so-oo unfair
I let myself fall, coz’ I knew you were there.
Laertes- Oh, yes? and how did you know?
Ophelia- Coz you’re my bro!
            You’ll always be there
(Disengaging, and pouting)
            at least, you always were
            But, now, you don’t care!
Laertes – Neigh, neigh, my fine filly (neighing and making horse like gestures)
Ophelia- Ooh, you are silly! (mollified)
But, really, you’ve gotten awful neglectful
Scarcely noticing me & then all cold & respectful
If that’s your French courtesy, it deserves a good stomping
I’m for play, and nick-names, and pillow fights and romping
Laertes-   Ah! But, Ophelia, you’re a lady now
Ophelia- Not I, I pray, I vow
It’s your mind that’s fixed on the ladies
As for me, I wish ’em all to Hades!
Laertes- ’Tis time to put aside childish things
Ophelia-  Nothing good, Adulthood brings
Laertes- Yet, will ye nill ye to this end you must come
Ophelia- Naught becomes me less than that to become
Laertes- Would you be a child forever?
Ophelia- I would & you my elder brother!
Laertes- That, at least, I’ll be always.
Ophelia- That’s talk. You’ve been here four days
                & haven’t asked once to see my dolls!
Laertes- Heaven trembles! My transgression appals!
Ophelia- There’s no call to get sarcastic!
Laertes- Nay, in truth, my wits grow spastic!
            That I should delay
My devoirs to pay
            To Chrissie, Missie, Betsy and Barbie
             A crime as heinous, as any in Hammurabi!
Ophelia- (uncertain, because she really does believe it’s a crime)
               Oh you- you’re just funning!          
Laertes- Not at all, I go to them running! (races off)
Ophelia- Stop! No fair! Come back, and start level!
(Starting to run, but tripping) O, Madonna, send skirts to the devil!

Claudius, who has been eavesdropping, moves into the spotlight as Ophelia runs off. Claudius continues watching her as Gertrude approaches.

Gertrude- Whither goest thy glance, dread my lord?
Caludius- Down memory’s byways that they afford
            A glimpse of a girl no older than that one
            Who thought me a clod, tho’ I thought her the Sun
Gertrude- Nay, but is it of me that now you speak?
Claudius- Forgive me, my dear, my will is weak
            And returns ever to that dear occasion
            When not I resisted a divine invasion
            Fresh tho’ I stood from wreaking havoc on the Saxon
            Myself, I found bound in chains so gossamer and flaxen…
(Gertrude tosses her head)     
            Ah! and it was from just such a toss, I was overthrown!
            Nay! Not a hair is changed, just more golden grown.
Gertrude-                         Fie upon thee! Fie!
            ’Twas for my mother you had an eye
Claudius- That I did. (pause) Why of course!
               Who loves the river, reveres its source!
Gertrude- Be more glib, my lord, or we see through the cheat!
Claudius- Only for my heart doth speak what my lips defeat
Gertude- Nay, go to, you’re smooth, you’re smooth
            Methinks, oftimes, I liked you better in sooth
            When silent you gloomed in your brother’s shadow
            Than now you’d frisk with young ewes in the meadow!
Claudius- Pity me, that in youth I was stung
      I but grow older to grow young!
Gertrude- I begin to see the plot you’re hatching
            That the blame be mine, for your cradle snatching!
Claudius- Nay, all I did was cast a fatherly eye…
Gertude- Fie upon thee! Ye heavens cry fie!
Claudius- The High Kings conquered by not arms nor art
 Their race’s sceptre was the wisdom of the heart 
Seek in its annals of which your blood has learning
                  What says it then of a father’s yearning?
Gertrude- And is that the reason…?
Claudius-                                      Else were treason!
Gertrude-  But oft have I told you what the wise-woman said
                        Not I am barren, yet you come not to bed!
Claudius- Willingly I would, but a spectre dread
            Stands between us- licked by flames Hellish red
            This I have told you, and how I’d that ghost defy
            But that ever and anon ‘murder!’ it doth cry
            And wakes in me such guilt for a deed not I’ve done
            But, perhaps, dreamed till the very shadows seem to shun
            Me, as from your bed I flee, Ah me! I’m undone!
Gertrude-   ’tis but a colour of the mind, a figment
Claudius-  Ah me! to be poltrooned by a pigment!
Gertrude- Nay, when the mind takes a hue
            It must render Hecate’s due
            So the wise-women say
            Till some conjurors’ play        
            The imagined deed enact
            And the mind abreact...
            Husband, I beseech thee, send for the players!
Claudius- Nay, I’ll rely on naught but your prayers. (Uttered forcefully, Claudius makes a manly exit)
Gertrude- My mind misgives me, there’s something here
                       I can not see, yet needs must fear

Second spotlight picks out Laertes as he passes.

            Why Laertes, would you pass me by?
            Not bowing, not speaking, but with an averted eye…
            Don’t avoid me, old playfellow, my blushes to spare!
            You alone are ashamed of the children we once were!
(Laertes gapes open mouthed. He hasn’t presence of mind even to bow.)   
            Danes term discourtesy, tho’ perhaps the French deem high fashion,
            Fish-faced gaping- but, stop!, is it an amorous passion?
            Has consumed your wits- ah! I see by the throbbing of your gills
            Some wench has landed you- does with you as she wills
            Ah! now everything becomes clear, the mystery dissolves
            Your mighty distraction and nightly pacing of the walls
            What’s the name of the damsel leads you such a dance?
            Your body here in Denmark, your heart yet in France!
Laertes:- I…I…
Gertrude-              Fie upon thee! I’ll have no courtly lie
                            Who is the fair one for whom you sigh?
Laertes- Nay, by my faith…
Gertrude-                             the crocodile sayeth!
                        Would we were children again!
 there was honesty in you then
              Now you’ve grown up, you’re no different from other men.
(Exits)
Laertes- A curse upon my heart that it should so tie in knots
            My cursed tongue that can now curse my thoughts
            So fluently, that those thoughts unfilial fetter
            The Will which is their only begetter
            O cursed Will!
            That holds me captive, cursing still
            When to her doth fly
            In a breathless sigh
            My soul, my soul
            To be blessed & by her made whole!
(Enter Rosycross and Goldenstone- the one in Rosicrucian, the other in Alchemist’s attire. They take up self-important and mysterious positions facing Laertes, but wait for him to address them. Laertes does not recognise them. There is an awkward pause.)
Rosycross- (finally stepping forward and giving a variety of Masonic hand signals)
                               Well,..  ahem!..  I confess, I’m rather at a loss
                       Can you already have forgotten your old roomie Rosycross?!
Laertes- Who?
Goldenstone (to Rosycross)- Well so much for you!
Only the search for the stone is the true Aletheia
Over all that’s mundane, flood Lethe here!
(to Laertes) How now, old lab-mate, how goes the quest?
Laertes- Who the devil are you, so oddly dressed?
Goldenstone- (aside to Rosycross) His memory’s misted by arcane studies
                        (to Laertes)                        Why,’tis I Goldenstone!
Laertes- O aye? & seeing as how we were once such buddies
              I suppose you thought I could manage a loan?
Rosycross (to Goldenstone)-  That’s one in your eye and no mistake
                                  Those Alchemist’s robes such an obvious fake!
Goldenstone- The dealer said they were genuine Chinese
Rosycross-  Perhaps that was the provenance of the fleas
                    For our European ones aren’t a patch on these
                    That jump so high
                    And the reason why
                    Is they seek a glimpse of far Cathay…
Goldenstone- Enough with the fleas, or we’ll be here all day
                      The fact of the matter, my dear Laertes
                       If you’ve truly forgotten us, and this isn’t just a tease
                       Is that we’re old friends of yours (Laertes looks dubious)
                                                        - well, acquaintances at least
                        I passed you the salt at the Fresher’s feast
                        And then there was that one time at a Fraternity mixer
                        When we had a cozy little chat about the quest for the elixir
                        Except you kept throwing up- which didn’t faze me any
                        Tho’ the dry cleaning bill came to a pretty penny
                        Not that I’m here to collect, perish the thought!
                        I’m an alchemist after all- tho’ if you could change an ingot?
                        I made it myself just the other day
                        Too pure, I’m afraid, for your Danish assay
                        But what with one thing and another
                        If it wouldn’t be any bother
                        I mean, if you could just see your way.. (proffers a lump of coal)
Rosycross-       …God’s teeth man! put that thing away!
(to Laertes)     By my trowel,
He’s an owl!
                        I wouldn’t be seen dead with him
                        Except he helped me get off gym
                        Forging a letter from my dear old pater
Goldenstone -             Traitor!
                                                You swore you’d never tell!
Rosycross-       Oh hell!
                                    Well, we’re all friends here…
                        I mean, you can’t count telling an old roomie
                        Or if you can, just go ahead and sue me!
Laertes-  You’re saying we were room-mates?
Rosycross-  and went on double-dates!
                   I mean, we would have done
                        We surely should have done
Seeing as we were rushed by the same frat
The toniest- but I needn’t tell you that
So we’re like frat-buds from way back!
Well, would have been, except I got the sack
Because of the fuss over that forged letter
I mean, it was only gym, but the Rector
Didn’t quite understand
When I shook his hand
That I wasn’t trying to flirt
Or, as quid pro quo, lift his shirt
Not that his buttocks weren’t kind of pert
But when, after all that passed between us, he still refused
To let me stay, I felt so cheap and used!
Goldenstone- Tell me about it. I was six months in plaster
                        After my bout with the gym-master.
Rosycross- (angrily) But old Aquinas didn’t your hopes defraud
                                        He got you on the cheerleading squad!
Goldenstone- Yeah but only for the hayseed circuit
                        And with so little material to work it
I mean, a chap can’t dazzle without a decent pom pom
         And the lads deserves better, even for a run of the mill pogrom
Rosycross-         Well, yes, there’s nothing so important as esprit de corps
                                    Which was why being expelled was such a bore
                             Just when I was on the point of getting into a good frat
Goldenstone- By my alathnor! No more of that!
(turning to Laertes who sneaked off long ago)
                       I am sorry my Lord …
                                                            Good God!
                                                                                    He’s vanished
Rosycros-        Its your cheerleading stories- they’ve gotten us banished
                        From Heidelburg and Freiburg and every which why burg
            I’m sorry, old boy, but to be absolutely blunt
            Sometimes you come across as a bit of a…
Goldenstone (speaking simultaneously)
           They liked my stories at Oxford- why, one time in a punt
            The Master of Magdalene got so excited about a stunt
            I devised one half-time to enliven a pogrom in Dachau
            He tried it himself and put his own back out
Rosycross-       That’s not what I heard.
Goldenstone-   No, nor me.
(Awkward pause. They look at each other)
 urm. Should we just sort of push off do you think?
Rosycross- Much the best course. I’m not really quite clear what we’re doing here anyway. But, anything for a laugh eh?
Goldenstone- No.
(They stand around awkwardly)
Right well, let’s just get off shall we?
Rosycross (morosely) yeah, whatever.
(Goldenstone goes off and then comes back)
Goldenstone- Aren’t you coming then?
Rosycross-What? We’ve got to go everywhere together have we? Why don’t you just go on ahead by yourself for a bit. I’ll be along in my own time.
Goldenstone- Oh. Well. Right! If that’s the way you want to play it…
Rosycross- Oh, just piss off for Chrissake!
Goldenstone- Very well then, though there’s no call to raise your voice.
(Ghost appears extreme left. Only Rosycross sees him. He screams.)
Goldenstone- Hark at her! I’m going already. (disappears behind curtain. Ghost advances slowly)
Ghost-                                                Hamlet, son, if be thou near
                                                 Hamlet, son, hie thee here
                                       Thy Sire, Hamlet, who’s now but grist
                                             To Hamlet’s Mill, bids thee list.
(At the mention of Hamlet’s Mill there is a roar- as of the sea)
Ah, Hamlet’s Mill now grinds my bones
I who bestrode 2 Baltic thrones
&, a Norse Colossus, held the North in fee
In Hamlet’s Mill, now, re-salt the Sea.
(Drawing closer to Rosycross)
Ah, Hamlet, son, ‘twas once my boast
My bare whisper woke the Varangian coast
Yet walk I abroad- now a wittering ghost
Sleep sound the sentries at their post.
(examining Rosycross)
Urm. You’re not a sentry.
Rosycross- dumbly shakes his head.
Ghost- This is awkward.
( pause)
Look, just to put you in the picture- I’m looking for my son Hamlet, so as to stir him up to take vengeance on widow’d Denmark’s too peaceful ways.
Rosycross- You seek the widow’s son!
Ghost- Well…Ye-es.. I suppose you could put it like that
Rosycross advances making Masonic gestures.
Ghost- I say! You’ve got the wrong end of the stick. I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I’m not that sort of chap at all. I mean, I’m not saying I never tried a bit of the other- but that was under battle-field conditions; things are different in war-time donchaknow...
Rosycross (coldly)- That’s what they all say.
Ghost- Yes, well.. Good God, was that a cock crow?
Rosycross- No!
Ghost-  Still. Mustn’t dally. Toodle pip!
Rosycross hangs about a bit backstage. Goldenstone comes for him and they prepare to go off when Polonius walks on and they repair to him eagerly.
Polonius-  The harvest’s failed. Elsinore’s soil marries the wind
            The harvest’s failed. Lord! We have grievously sinned!
            Barren seeds are we, by the scythe affrighted
            Barren seeds, our own seed corn blighted
            And in the peasant’s cott, on good report,
In the humble cott, but soon at court
            Hunger suckles at each shrivelled breast
Now the peasant’s, soon the patrician’s guest
Rosycross-  Excellency! By your leave
Polonius- And you did, who’d grieve?
Goldenstone- Excellency! Our respects
Polonius- Cursėd he who accepts
Rosycross- But, good my Lord, you bade us here
Polonius- More than friends, I keep you near
Goldenstone- Command us, Lord, but a little less riddlingly
Rosycross- Command us, Lord, we’d do your will willingly
Polonius-  You are the two coiners of whom I received report
Rosycross & Goldenstone (simultaneously)-
                     Good my Lord, you speak in sport!
Polonius- My wit is edged, you’ll taste the full richness of the jest
                  When the headman’s axe your neck does test
Rosycross-  But, most just my Lord, I am of the craft
                    As for him- well, he’s just a bit daft
Goldenstone- But, but, my Lord, you can see by, the manner I’m dressed
                        ’Tis the philosopher’s stone I make my quest
Polonius- Coiners both- the sort that has currency
               When harvest fails, a plague of vagrancy
                Worse than any chastened Pharaoh
                 Who bide their time and blameless lie low
                   In palmy days and balmy clime- but who
                   Mushroom most in murrain time-
                                                                 You two!
(Rosycross & Goldenstone had been preparing to sneak away, are pinioned by sentries who suddenly pounce from behind the drapes)
Rosycross- Unhand me! (struggles) why the fellow’s deaf!
                     Don’t you know I’m with the I.M.F!
Goldenstone- The civilised world will unite to deplore
                        This outrage on an agent of the W.T.O
Polonius- What mean these hellish acronyms?
(Rosycross & Goldenstone)- The new subject of all secular hymns!
Rosycross- the I.M.F is the International Masonic Fellowship
Goldenstone- & the World Thaumaturgic Order to those who’re hip
                                    The W.T.O is called and yclept
Polonius- Jesus wept!
Rosycross- Angels, unaware, you entertain
Goldenstone- Release us and we’ll gladly explain
Polonius- Not coiners no- but chapmen Devil sent
            Following famine’s footsteps with the foul intent
            Of cheapening souls for your Satanic master
            Speed you to perdition, I’ll send you there faster!
(brandishes sword)
Goldenstone - So fierce my Lord! Take thought, forebear
                        The State’s ruined Credit we can repair
                        As for Devils and demons, ghosts and ghouls
                        Trouble they none but born were fools
                        We’re serviceable my Lord, use us fitly
                        To lop our heads were hardly thrifty!
Polonius-   My sword is swift, you are already dead,
       But don’t know it. If you so much as nod your head
       Save by my leave, off your shoulders it will topple
       And no process of law- not King’s writ nor estoppel
            Will restore you to aught save a puppet’s existence
With me pulling the strings. Oh, I’ll grant you subsistence
Nothing more, for all you Fortune’s fools
But live to be Policy’s tools.
Goldenstone- Dread my Lord, we think it good
To leave off flesh and be as wood.
The better to be your marionettes
We have no will but what your will begets.
(Polonius nods and then looks at Rosycross.)
Rosycross- What he said (Goldenstone nudges him)What? Oh yeah, like wood is good, we’re into wood and um er you know the whole puppet show thing? Like we’re tOtally into that, and everything’s cool and erm you know, different strokes for different folk and like yeah you know this could really work, I mean this could go over big time. Yeah, like totally. Yeah. Unhh hunnh. Hey! WaZZZZZZZZup!
Are we having a good time or what?
(Polonius and Goldenstone walk off while Rosycross is talking. Fade out.)


Act 3
Laertes-       All happens as has happened before
                     We tread the weird we trod of yore
                  Our World narrows as our view expands
                 As held my heart swells in her slender hands
                 & if, in sluggish streams, aught reach the Sea
                    or embark overgrown lads, the World to see
                       That Sea will yet boil in Hamlet’s Mill
                    & the World yet whirl to unwork our Will
Polonius- (entering) Laertes!
                                         Ah, lad, you’ll drive me to distraction!
            Still lost to your thought, tho’ the Court quake in faction
Laertes-  My thoughts, father, are not my own
               I harvest what the weird has sown
Polonius- The Harvest! Aye, the Blight is upon us!
                 A wound I must touch like doubting Thomas
                It harrows me, yet my heart must harden
                & whip on my wits to save the garden.
Laertes-  Not Blight, father, for Blight’s but a Season
             Nor ’s Love a Blight, and Light only Reason
             What I harvest now, tho’ I but harvest words…
Polonius- Harvest nothing! Have done with words!
                Or we’re harvest sure to the carrion birds!
Laertes-  Is Death fearful? I thought her the third
              Ascending in Beauty, phase of the weird
              I welcome Death, & if you ask ‘why?’
              Death’s the Mother who does not die
Polonius- Death is not fearful when it comes in such guise
            ’Twas at about your age, the Queen’s image in her eyes
              Your mother died. She died. The country bred girl
              Died.
              And now, it’s all happening again.
              I, I… I mean… I took precautions. I’ve spent money
             Damn it, I sent you to Paris!
Prompter- & tho Paris, fair is, it’s manners are made mock etc.
Polonius (exploding)- You’re on the wrong fucking page! And that’s his line, not mine you utter asshole! Oh just fuck off anyway coz I’m not a fucking machine, so just shut it…
Prompter- So-rry!
(Awkward silence. Polonius and Laertes stand around brooding. Ophelia shows up.)
Ophelia- What’s going on? Were you having a row? Won’t someone please tell me what’s going on?
(She goes to Polonius and nestles under his arm looking up at his face. That failing, she goes to Laertes and tugs at his sleeve. Then she catches hold of his upper arm and hangs from it until Laertes is obliged to stoop down and turn his face towards her.)
Won’t someone please say something?
Laertes- What’s the point? Nobody understands a word I say.
Ophelia- I’ll understand! Talk to me only! My embroidery teacher says I’m sharper than a needle. I bet, even if you talk your poetic French, I’ll understand you.
Laertes- I hope that isn’t true.
Ophelia (flouncing)- You think I’m still a child! (Her skirts whirl up to reveal her naked feet.)
Laertes- Still barefoot & wild
Ophelia- (covering feet) I’ve plenty of shoes, & what’s more, they have heels
Laertes- & you’d wear them, I suppose, if only they had wheels!
Ophelia- Shoes with wheels! Now that’s an idea!
            No need to walk, I’d be skating all year!
Polonius- & taking many a fall, I very much fear!
Ophelia (to Laertes)- not if you were with me, you’d catch me pretty quick
Polonius- He might catch you my dear but you’d also catch it from my stick!
Ophelia- It’s unfair! I’m the only one they all punish!
Laertes- Nay, I’ll go halves should Daddy turn hunnish
Ophelia- Will you really? Well, it so happens I’ve got this tiny bit of imposition from my embroidery teacher and seeing as I’ve already finished almost half of it- I mean I would have done if I’d started- so, you see, if you’re really going to go halves on all my punishments from now on…
Laertes- Say no more. Lead me to it.
Polonius- He’ll join you, child, in a little while. There’s something we need to talk about first.
Ophelia- Oh! Well, if it’s a family matter, then the imposition will have to wait, that’s all. Teacher will get mad, but she has to understand, now I’m the woman of the house, my family comes first. Don’t worry daddy, I’ll take care of everything. Just tell me what’s bothering you.
Polonius- Well, if you must know, it’s this complaint we’ve received from the Wardrobe Mistress about girls not doing their homework.
Ophelia- Why, that spiteful creature! Look, I’d love to stick around and chat, but I’ve just remembered I’ve got this really important thing to do. Like, it’s a woman thing, so you wouldn’t understand even if I explained it to you. So, I’ve simply got to rush away especially because you know the Wardrobe Mistress has gone totally mad- it happens to her every so often- it’s a woman thing, you wouldn’t understand- so, I’ve really got to go is what I’m saying. Bye-ee!
Polonius- Right, now, before you go off into one of your fine mystic reveries, Laertes, my lad, you’re going to have to listen to me. Things have taken a serious turn. This is no longer just about you- about saving your neck- this is about the whole future of Denmark. Already, the people feel the pinch of starvation. At Court, the lesser noblemen are beginning to grumble. They yearn for the days of the dead King when our raiding ships returned laden with gold & grain. What they don’t understand is that a fundamental shift has occurred in the Balance of Power in this region. Younger, less priest-ridden, races have risen up along the shores of the Baltic. Frankly, we’ll be lucky if we avoid an invasion- we simply aren’t in a position to mount one. Economically, too, we’re in trouble. The terms of trade have moved against us. Our Currency has depreciated and, ever since the last pogrom, our Credit is exhausted. You see, the Church, is manoeuvring to take over our finances at fire-sale prices. In the past, what saved us was the reputation for ferocity the dead King enjoyed. But, Claudius, everyone knows, is no soldier. That’s why Cardinal Fortinbras arranged the papal dispensation for Gertrude’s incestuous marriage to her brother-in-law, at such a low price. Since the common people are still loyal to the line of the old High Kings, Claudius is safe enough on the throne. But, the price of Claudius’ security is Denmark’s peril unto death. Our people- as yet but lightly yoked- will be, if the Church has its way, first so unmanned by starvation they will finally acquiesce to sell themselves into perpetual bondage for the price of a little seed-corn.
The only thing we’ve got going for us is the fact that the Princes of the South might  still view us as a shield against the wild pagans of the North. But, to get them to unloose their purse strings sufficiently to tide us over our present crisis, we need to offer them an alternative to Claudius- someone with a legitimate claim to the throne and an, as yet, untarnished military reputation.
Now, there’s a rumour taken root that the dead King had a war-like son who is going to return Denmark to its destiny as the hammer of the North. For reasons, you needn’t worry your head over- you, Laertes, could be that looked for saviour. What I want you to do now is to make a tour of the German Universities- take Rosycross and Goldenstone with you- recruiting the fiercest brawlers and the most aristocratic wastrels to your cause. This will give you credibility. Once this happens, I will be able to start raising money again and famine will be staved off.
Laertes- You want me to go to University? That’s what you’re saying?
Polonius- Urm. Ye-ees.
Laertes- But, I couldn’t possibly leave Elsinore just now. Anyway, I spent a term or two at Paris- and much good it did me! No, it was the Courts of Love in Provence that really opened my eyes.
Still, it’s a very generous offer- not that you’ve ever been other than generous to me Dad- and if you’re really sure you can spare the money- there’s a couple of bills I’ve outstanding with my tailor and I know it’s a nuisance but he’s the only man who can do anything with my figure and I simply must give him a little on account because I could really use a few new suits just now because I’m constantly bumping into… well, you know who,… and I mean, I’d cut a pretty sorry figure if I  just kept rotating the same two dozen or two score outfits for the different hours of the day. Which reminds me- I must go and change. Sorry I can’t hang about and chat, but you know how it is. I’ve a position to keep up. Still, you’ve cheered me up a treat, I can’t deny that! So I guess, you’re still the bestest Dad in the World. Bye-ee!
Polonius (turns to audience to utter his soliloquy)
Prompter- Polonius turns to audience to utter his soliloquy.
Polonius- That’s the fucking stage direction you asshole! You’ve ruined it now! Fuck this for a game for soldiers. I mean what is the fucking point!
(Ghost enters)
Hamlet son, if be thou near etc.
Polonius- That’s not in the script! You crazy old bastard you’ve got the wrong cue.
Ghost- No I haven’t.
Prompter- He’s right you know.
Polonius & Ghost speaking together- Whose right? Me or him?
Prompter- Him
Polonius- Oh! Well I’m just a useless old fart aren’t I? Obviously suffering from senile fucking dementia! I need a drink! (Leaves)
Ghost-  Hamlet, son, if be thou near etc
Prompter- When I said him, I didn’t mean you I meant him.
Ghost- Whom?
Prompter- That other geezer.
Ghost- Oh! So what you’re saying to me is I’m not supposed to be onstage just now?
Prompter- That is what I’m saying to you, yes.
Ghost- Well, I’ll just go then.
Prompter- But then there will be no one left on stage.
Ghost- So?
Prompter- But, if there’s no one on stage how am I supposed to know where we are in the play?
Ghost- Dunno. Maybe, you don’t need to know, coz you don’t have to prompt anyone.
Prompter- Hamlet son, if be thou near
Ghost-  what? Oh right.. Hamlet son if be thou near etc
Prompter- No! No! Stop ! Cut it out! I’m not prompting you, I just missed my line.
Ghost (stands around awkwardly) – urm, right, well, I’ll just wander off then shall I?
Prompter- But, then there will be no one on the stage
Ghost- So?
Prompter- Hamlet son if be thou near etc
(Director walks on, apologises to audience, silences prompter, drags off the ghost, and tells audience to go have a drink while he sorts things out.
Member of the audience- Urm! Excuse me!
Director- Yes?
Member of the audience- Well, I mean, I don’t know how other people feel, but
Director- No refunds. It’s theatre policy.
Member of the audience- Hey, I got a free ticket, and I’m not complaining or anything but it’s just that, well, seeing as we’re going for a drink and all...
Director- Very civil of you- mine’s a spritzer.
Member of the audience- No I don’t mean…
Director- The girls are partial to a spot of bubbly.
Member of the audience- I’m sorry, we seem to be at cross-purposes here. I’m not offering to buy you guys a drink, I just want to know what happens in the rest of the play. I mean, just in case I meet somebody interesting at the bar and we get chatting and it leads to a leg-over and then I’m like sitting up in the middle of the night wondering what happened to whassisname you know the guy and that other guy and you know stuff like that.
Director- Oh! Right, well, I see. I mean sure, I totally get your point. And, I‘d really like to help you out. But, I’m like more into the whole mise en scene donchaknow? I mean like does anything really happen in this play? I mean, like isn’t the whole point that nothing actually happens?
Member of the audience- So, nothing happens?
Director- Perhaps nothing concrete happens, but, perhaps, in another sense, everything happens.
Member of the audience- any sex?
Director- I’d have to check the script.
Act 4
Gertrude-  All happens as has happened before
              The players return to Elsinore
           The Cosmos entire taking the Court for stage
            As Fate’s prompter turns its First Folio page
             Not our speech to mend but souls to mar
              Not Hell to baffle but Heaven to bar
             All happens as has happened before
               The same old drama at Elsinore!
Ophelia- Aunty, is something wrong?
Gerturde- Child, be strong!
Ophelia- Aunty, you’re upset
   It’s the Wardrobe Mistress, I bet
      She’s been telling you tales
    Laying on your eyes such scales
That you can no longer see
Your special pet- that’s me!
Come to make all things better
See, I’ve knitted you a sweater!
Well I would have done
I easily could have done
Except my knitting needles got mislaid
Or, for candy apples, went in trade
And so- to complete my utterly unjust imposition
Great Queen- that’s you- your aid, I petition!

Gertrude- Girlhood lost to brute Lust’s requisition
           Womanhood to Love’s bitter Inquisition
          The wombs we inclose and uterine font
           Are a soldier’s jest, his spoils to taunt!
Ophelia- I don’t understand.
Gertrude- A Prince seeks your hand.
Ophelia- My hand is attached to my arm
Gertrude- Yet your hand will do you harm
Ophelia- Then I’ll cut it off and get a hook
Gertrude- Your hook will get you hooked
Ophelia- Then my goose is cooked
          Unless, it I unscrew
          & attach with some glue
          Ye olde chain saw!
          Now, that were a paw
          Could best, I wager
          The great bear of the Ursa Major!
Gertrude (smiling against herself)- Yet all come under ‘the plough’
Ophelia- Not me, I pledge, I vow
Gertrude- How escape thy starry doom?
Ophelia- I’ll sweep the skies with my broom!
Gertrude- Ah! Now I see your true vocation
Ophelia- (insinuatingly) My best subject is ‘Summer Vacation’.
Gertrude- You’re wasting your time with embroidery and knitting
Ophelia- A Solomon in Judgment, here is sitting!
Gertrude- Henceforth mops and brooms shall be your care
Ophelia- Cool! But my brother too should get a share
Gertrude- Laertes? I thought you were close?
           But then, he’s a Man.. I suppose…
                        And that remains the acid test
               & Laertes, too, just like the rest.
Ophelia- Aunty, believe me, he’s always been the best
          ’Cept, now, there’s so much starch in his vest.
           Polishing floors will suit him better I think
           He will get them as slippery as a skating rink
           And while the rest of the court go tumbling- arse over tip
           You and me’ll sail serene with a hearthrug for ship!
(Ophelia illustrates what she means-finally skating- actually hopping- out of sight, blissfully oblivious to the fact that, meanwhile, Gertrude has turned to see that Claudius has been watching.)
Claudius (guiltily) - My queen, I feared to interrupt..
Gertrude- Lord, be thou more abrupt
           As all desire is, that scepter’d be
           Turning caprice to necessity.
Claudius- Gentle wife, you do me wrong
Gertrude- As thou thy heirs that to my womb belong
Claudius- This again?! Have I not said
           For what reason strong I abhor thy bed?
           A ghost stands between us- ‘Murder!” its cry
Gertrude- The Host fears no ghost- it binds us- you and I
Claudius- Learned Clerics grave fault in our marriage have found
Gertrude- Breaking Faith to break what God together has bound
Claudius- Madam, you mistake me- none speak here of divorce
Gertrude- Who’d counsel the costly when there’s cheaper recourse?
Claudius- Madam, I beseech you, speak not such riddles
Gertrude- Marry- if I didn’t- how ugly your Idylls?
Claudius- Is this what you call speaking plain?
Gertrude- The heart’s whisper, to the ear is pain
Claudius- Come, Madam, this is unseemly!
Gertrude- As Truth is to Kings extremely
Claudius- Madam, if I may, your doubts set at rest
Gertrude- A babe I’d have suckling at my breast!
Claudius- Yes. Yes. It’s all true. I’ve been no husband to you. There is justice in your taunt.
Gertrude- You are my husband. All the man I want.
Claudius- And you my wife, my Queen, my life
Gertrude- twist not that knife!
Claudius- My soldier’s life, my wife and Queen
           Is but blood to be spilt for what has been
           So that what was once might again be now
           & our race’s crown encircling your brow
           Blaze forth, once more, with such splendor
           As to illumine our land & defend her
           Against alien horde’s martial thunder
           Ranks ravening to us tear asunder
           Till thy forked lightning burns up their banners
           & under thy yoke, they mend their manners
           Not that, at this moment, invasion is the danger
           But, rather, the Blight- long to our shores a stranger
           & Famine and Civil Faction- Evils twin born
           To defeat which I must this guile suborn.
           & Hamlet-like, death for life dissemble
           & its crown to steady, a dearer heart let tremble.
But, wait, here is Lord Chamberlain Polonius
His ploy to expound in periods harmonious
For till her old steward explain it, strategy is a knife
All husbandry’s so hurtful to the heart of a wife

(Claudius departs. Polonius comes up.)

Polonius-   Majesty, your pardon, but the players approach
            & so who bid them here is spared self-reproach
           Permit me, in your name, their company to banish
           Ah! Would the Blight that besets us as easily vanish!
Gertrude-      Ever is there gloom in the matters you broach
Banishment is the doom for who on my prerogative encroach
    But, my Lord, that is you- for they come at my command
Polonius- The people cry for bread, yet Drama you demand?
Gertrude- Be it on my head, no counsel can remand
          This Physic I feel will work the Public weal
           Banish my land’s blight and barrenness heal
                  Purge this our blood guilt
              The plundered gelt this Palace built
         For the theatre is as a mirror in which we cast
     Off evil enchantments and passion’s poisonous past
(Enter the players- A bunch of mime artists.)
Gertrude- You aren’t the players I sent for.
Player- Thees eez Edinburgh- yees? Zee Festival yeees?
Gertrude- No, this is Elsinore. You need to go back and change at Stuttgart.                                           Polonius- Actually, the last Folk-wandering from Stuttgart left a couple of centuries ago. You’d be better off carrying the plague to Norway and then catching the 1239 invasion which will get you as far as the Orkneys.
Players- Zank you. Vee go now. (They don’t leave. Instead they begin to mime leaving)
Polonius- Fuck this! I need a drink. (Leaves)
Gertrude- (appeals to the Director, off stage) The mimes are at it again. Can’t you do something.
What?
(Goes off)
Ophelia comes on deep in conversation with Rosycross and Goldenstone
Ophelia- so you understand what you have to do?
Goldenstone- Absolutely.
Rosycross- Say what?
Goldenstone- Ignore him. The thing’s in the bag. Nothing easier.
Ophelia- okay. Off you go then. (The mimes prick up their ears and leave)
Goldenstone also leaves. Rosycross hangs about. Goldenstone returns and frog marches him off.
Ophelia- To be or not to be- that is the quest-ion
         Tho’ both but are Mischief’s suggest-ion
          Kid’s listen to coz they don’t know any better
       Like that one time I knitted the Universe a sweater
    And it wore it all Christmas but then swore it was lost
      Though I found it in its closet that same Pentecost
                Which only goes to show
                  Something or other y’know.
Enter Wardrobe Mistress (Iyer in drag)- Ophelia, beti, I been searching you madly.
Ophelia- Whilst in embroidery room, Ma’am, I missing you sadly.
Wardrobe Mistress- Chee! Chee! Such lies you are telling?
Ophelia- Na ji na! Only truth I am yelling!
Wardrobe Mistress- Jhutti kahin ki! Shame you are not knowing?
Ophelia- Only longing for learning in my heart keeps growing
Wardrobe Mistress- But why you don’t come to class to sit and learn?
Ophelia- But there I sit and to learn I yearn
Wardrobe Mistress- But class is where am, it is you who are truant
Ophelia- Behind you I stand, more than your shadow pursuant
Wardrobe Mistress- You mean you were standing behind me all the time
Ophelia- Haan ji haan- behind your back, so sublime
Wardrobe Mistress- But when I call out your name, why you no answer?
Ophelia- My name melts in flame, as in dance does the dancer
Wardrobe Mistress- Achha?! But I see you here in the flesh!
 Ophelia- …………….Caught in Maya’s mesh
          Grace of thy glance being denied to me
           The embroidery room here embroiders thee
Wardrobe Mistress- Stop! That doesn’t make sense
Ophelia- Nor the World that pretence
Wardrobe Mistress- Beti, you trying be clever?
Ophelia- What me? No never! ‘’tis only thee I rever … or… ’kay...Oh God! You’ve found me out- I told the Queen I could never fool you, but she said you were missing India and wanted to go home and that the only way we could get you to stay and teach us all how to weave muslin and spin that other stuff, urm… linen and lace  and y’know, and so on was if I like convinced you the entire Universe was kind of… what’s the world…
Wardrobe Mistress- Maya. Illusion. Neither Space nor Time exist. There is only the weaving.
Ophelia- That’s right. So you see you’re actually back in India…
Wardrobe Mistress- I am?
Ophelia- …um…Sure! Why not?
Wardrobe Mistress- then fuck off you untouchable. In fact all youse can fuck off. I’m going back to my room to weave a nice magical realist tapestry about growing up in Calcutta and scaring Amartya Sen straight and shit. (leaves)
Ophelia- (to the audience) only way to deal with them. What can you do?
Prompter- ‘If my indecision don’t, let this at least daunt her
           Poor is the play where all passion’s in the prompter!’
Ophelia- I’m fourteen! What are you- a pervert?
Prompter- Sorry missed my place. ‘Hamlet, son, if be thou near