- I am not dumb now. [Helen Keller]
The development of responsibility tempers us and facilitates progress to the next levels of development. Having explored the second development level, we pause to consider the transformative steps that can lead us to a more advanced level. Simply put, the light comes on as we pay the prices necessary to our development of responsibility. We may call that light, newly shining, awakening.
Film and Stage
- Bliss is a Turkish film about a seventeen-year-old rape victim "awakening to her own autonomy." The exquisite cinematography, dream-like in quality, serves as a metaphor for the beauty Meryem slowly discovers within herself. In parallel to her awakening is that of her distant cousin Cemal, who has been assigned the task of killing her. Unlike Meryem, who seems to have a sense of herself throughout, Cemal has to break through his internal ties to brutish traditions to awaken to himself.
- Groundhog Day, a story of personal transformation and a metaphorical tale about a man who needs repeated reminders to appreciate that he has something in common with others
- Cedar Rapids, about a Midwestern insurance salesman “on his way to a moral awakening”
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Igor Stravinsky, The Firebird: (L’oiseau de feu) (1910), “was the first international success of the composer’s career.” In Stravinsky’s ballet, a man is entranced by a fantastic creature and then is liberated when he awakes. “The firebirds are creatures of Slavic mythology, mainly present in the old Russian and Ukrainian fairy tales. They were represented as birds made of living fire or light. Finding a firebird’s feather meant that you have found the everlasting magical light that will never cease.”
- Orchestral version (approx. 41-49 minutes), conducted by Stravinsky, Doráti in 1960, Stravinsky in 1967, Colin Davis in 1979, Dutoit in 1986, Salonen in 1989, Boulez in 1992, Iván Fischer in 2012, Roth in 2016, Vasily Petrenko in 2018, Jurowski in 2022, and Gimeno in 2022;
- Ballet version (approx. 42-55 minutes), at Bolshoi Ballet, at Royal Danish Ballet, and conducted by Inbal.
Edvard Grieg must have had an idyllic childhood in his native Norway. Most of his music sounds as though he is reliving happy childhood memories on early spring mornings.
- In Autumn (Im Herbst), Op. 11
- 25 Norwegian Folksongs and Dances, Op. 17
- Scenes from Folk Life, Op. 19
- Four Album Leaves, Op. 28: 1. Allegro con moto; 2. Allegretto espressivo; 3. Vivace; 4. Andantino serioso.
- Album for Male Voices (Album for Mandssang), Op. 30
- Two Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34
- Four Norwagian Dances, Op. 35
- From Holberg’s Time, Op. 40
- Six Song Arrangements, Op. 41
- Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46
- Old Norwegian Melody, Op. 51
- Six Song Arrangements, Op. 52
- Two Melodies, Op. 53
- Lyric Suite, Op. 54
- Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55
- Symphonic Dances, Op. 64
- Two Lyric Pieces, Op. 68
- Four Hymns for Bartione Solo and Mixed Voices a capella, Op. 74
- Symphony in C minor
- Various songs
- Lauridsen: Mid-Winter Songs
- Grant Stewart, “Rise and Shine”
- Horace Tapscott Quintet, “The Giant Is Awakened”
- Ludivico Einaudi, “The Dawn”
- Ludivico Einaudi, “Una Mattina” (The Morning)
As the immense dew of Florida
The big-finned palm
And green vine angering for life,
As the immense dew of Florida
Brings forth hymn and hymn
From the beholder,
Beholding all these green sides
And gold sides of green sides,
And blessed mornings,
Meet for the eye of the young alligator,
And lightning colors
So, in me, come flinging
Forms, flames, and the flakes of flames.
[Wallace Stevens, “Nomad Exquisite”]
On the following morning, she perceived on awaking, that she had been asleep. This singular thing astonished her. She had been so long unaccustomed to sleep! A joyous ray of the rising sun entered through her window and touched her face. At the same time with the sun, she beheld at that window an object which frightened her, the unfortunate face of Quasimodo. She involuntarily closed her eyes again, but in vain; she fancied that she still saw through the rosy lids that gnome’s mask, one-eyed and gap-toothed. Then, while she still kept her eyes closed, she heard a rough voice saying, very gently,—
“Be not afraid. I am your friend. I came to watch you sleep. It does not hurt you if I come to see you sleep, does it? What difference does it make to you if I am here when your eyes are closed! Now I am going. Stay, I have placed myself behind the wall. You can open your eyes again.”
There was something more plaintive than these words, and that was the accent in which they were uttered. The gypsy, much touched, opened her eyes. He was, in fact, no longer at the window. She approached the opening, and beheld the poor hunchback crouching in an angle of the wall, in a sad and resigned attitude. She made an effort to surmount the repugnance with which he inspired her. “Come,” she said to him gently. From the movement of the gypsy’s lips, Quasimodo thought that she was driving him away; then he rose and retired limping, slowly, with drooping head, without even daring to raise to the young girl his gaze full of despair. “Do come,” she cried, but he continued to retreat. Then she darted from her cell, ran to him, and grasped his arm. On feeling her touch him, Quasimodo trembled in every limb. He raised his suppliant eye, and seeing that she was leading him back to her quarters, his whole face beamed with joy and tenderness. She tried to make him enter the cell; but he persisted in remaining on the threshold. “No, no,” said he; “the owl enters not the nest of the lark.”
Then she crouched down gracefully on her couch, with her goat asleep at her feet. Both remained motionless for several moments, considering in silence, she so much grace, he so much ugliness. Every moment she discovered some fresh deformity in Quasimodo. Her glance travelled from his knock knees to his humped back, from his humped back to his only eye. She could not comprehend the existence of a being so awkwardly fashioned. Yet there was so much sadness and so much gentleness spread over all this, that she began to become reconciled to it.
He was the first to break the silence. “So you were telling me to return?”
She made an affirmative sign of the head, and said, “Yes.”
Novels and stories:
- Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Velvet Was the Night: A Novel (Del Ray, 2021): “The appearance of a beautiful new neighbor, Leonora — who “looked like the girls in the comic books, with her green eyes and her chestnut hair” — marks the beginning of Maite’s awakening, as she plunges into underground activism, political dissidence and sexual desires that explode her idea of what’s possible, and with whom.”