Purpose Statement: The fundamental believes of the Party explained by Arthur Koestler were oppressive to the ideological believes of the individual. In return the revolution failed to reach a utopian society due to the oppression of the individual. The party describe in Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler represents the governmental and economic system of communism in the Soviet Union during the 1930’s and 40’s with the main intend of reaching a utopia in the real world.
The sacrifice of the individual was necessary to carry out the will of history in the eyes of the party. The ideology of the party creates a conflict in Darkness at Noon where the ideologies of the party undermined the ideas of the grammatical fiction with a result of a failed revolution. An individual perception is needed to help the rest of humanity, without it nothing can be done to change society. Koestler uses Rubashov as a vehicle to describe the struggle between the ideas of the party and of the individual.
The transformation from despising the “silent partner” to an overall understanding of the necessity to acquire it can explain the flaw of the party. As Rubashov is slowly accepting his grammatical fiction he is getting closer to understanding why the party needed the ideologies of the grammatical fiction. The trance-like state of mind that Rubashov experiences is describe as a feeling of uniqueness but at the same time an awareness of a spiritual feeling of oneness with the entire human race. This state of mind is reference to an oceanic sense; “…
modern psychologists had recognized this state as a fact and called it the oceanic sense. And indeed, one’s personality dissolved as a grain of salt in the sea; but at the same time the infinite sea seemed to be contained in the grain of salt” (Koestler, 206-207). This complex paradoxical idea describes how the individual is connected to the human race. One’s personality is also the personalities of the entire human race. Without understanding one’s own individuality, how can the party understand the needs of others and reached a utopia?
The fundamental difference is highlighted, as the party is unable to sympathize with the human race due to the resistance to understanding its own silent partner or individual entity. The party is unable to make decisions that are able to benefit a large population of people. The party’s main objective is sound and concrete in the beginning were the goal was to gain a utopia on the world. However, the method the party has used to obtain it was slowly undermined and flawed. Extreme rationalism, logic, and the sacrifice of ethical decisions had hindered the revolution.
The idea of vivi-section where all means justify the ends and the individual is needed to be sacrifice like an experimental lamb highlights the opposition of the party towards the grammatical fiction. (Koestler, 128). Rubashov has followed this method his whole life and has done many unethical actions were he has lost his only love of his life. He has sacrificed many individuals in his life, but what is more compelling is the scarification of Arlova. The abstract idea to obtain a utopia on the world by logical means has altered the perception of Rubashov.
The pain of his eyetooth represents his altered perception where it only starts to hurt when he feels guilty about his betrayals to save the party. Rubashov’s pain is a symbolism to the idea that the only way one can help another individual one must relied on his own individual feelings to help the other. The party stood against that and only relied upon logic and any means necessary. The party distance itself from the people it was intended to help. The leaders of the party had altered perceptions and harmed the revolution. The deterioration of the party was caused by the oppression of the individual.
Rubashov explains that the party has replace their moral compass with logic and rationality. The ideologies of the grammatical fiction are being replaces with the ideologies of the party. Rubashov explains “Perhaps it did not suit mankind to sail without ethical ballast. And perhaps reason alone was a defective compass, which led one on such a winding, twisted course that the goal finally disappeared in the mist” (Koestler, 210). The party ideal has leaded the revolution to an atrocious ending where it began as a plan to end despair and bring about equality by any means possible.
Due to the exclusion of the grammatical fiction which includes morality, feelings, psyche, individualism, limitless space and time, consciousness, the objective has been altered and the revolution has ultimately failed. Without a moral compass the lives of others have been destroyed because of the revolution. The misunderstanding of the individuals feelings and the misconnection to the oceanic sense gave the party the inability to connect to the masses. The decisions made by the party had no morality behind it.
Every decision hindered the progression to a utopia. Instead of leading the masses to a better place the party has taken them to a society full of corruption and despair. The altered perception of the leaders of the party made it possible to create corruption because they taught logically about everything. The pursuit for their own personal gain was unable to be stopped because they did not believe in morality. The only people that benefited from the revolution were the leaders of the party because they were the ones that were in charge.
Without a deep understanding of the grammatical fiction and the oceanic sense, the leaders were unable to meet with the demands of the masses. Instead, the masses were being prosecuted and sacrificed for the livelihood of the party. In conclusion, Darkness at Noon Arthur Koestler highlights the main ideologies of the communist party in Russia and their goal for a new Utopia. However, he argues that the revolution ultimately failed due to the oppression and disregard of the individual and the goal for a new utopia was altered.
The understanding of the silent partner or the individual can connect to a humanitarian level were one makes choices that benefit everyone, not make decisions based on pure logics that benefit most but forget others. The misunderstanding of the individual leads one to the path of selfishness and close-mindedness that creates dictators and corrupt leaders. The idea that we are all trapped in the grain of salt speaks volume to my ideas. I truly feel that we need to understand ourselves fully in order to help others because we are the same and harming others directly or indirectly can result in harming our own selves.