Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali.

The Social Nature of Thought


Clifford Geertz



Human thought is consummately social: social in its origins, social in its functions, social in its forms, social in its applications. At base, thinking is a public activity--its natural habitat is the houseyard, the marketplace, and the town square. The implications of this fact for the anthropological analysis of culture, my concern here, are enormous, subtle, and insufficiently appreciated.


I want to draw out some of these implications by means of what might seem at first glance an excessively special, even a somewhat esoteric inquiry: an examination of the cultural apparatus in terms of which the people of Bali define, perceive, and react to--that is, think about--individual persons. Such an investigation is, however, special and esoteric only in the descriptive sense. The facts, as facts, are of little immediate interest beyond the confines of ethnography, and I shall summarize them as briefly as I can. But when seen against the background of a general theoretical aim--to determine what follows for the analysis of culture from the proposition that human thinking is essentially a social activity--the Balinese data take on a peculiar importance.


Not only are Balinese ideas in this area unusually well developed, but they are, from a Western perspective, odd enough to bring to light some general relationships between different orders of cultural conceptualization that are hidden from us when we look only at our own all-too-familiar framework for the identification, classification, and handling of human and quasi-human individuals. In particular, they point up some unobvious connections between the way in which a people perceive themselves and others, the way in which they experience time, and the affective tone of their collective life--connections that have an import not just for the understanding of Balinese society but human society generally.



The Study of Culture


A great deal of recent social scientific theorizing has turned upon an attempt to distinguish and specify two major analytical concepts: culture and social structure.1 The impetus for this effort has sprung from a desire to take account of ideational factors in social processes without succumbing to either the Hegelian or the Marxist forms of reductionism. In order to avoid having to regard ideas, concepts, values, and expressive forms either as shadows cast by the organization of society upon the hard surfaces of history or as the soul of history whose progress is but a working out of their internal dialectic, it has proved necessary to regard them as independent but not self-sufficient forces--as acting and having their impact only within specific social contexts to which they adapt, by which they are stimulated, but upon which they have, to a greater or lesser degree, a determining influence. "Do you really expect," Marc Bloch wrote in his little book on The Historian's Craft, "to know the great merchants of Renaissance Europe, vendors of cloth or spices, monopolists in copper, mercury or alum, bankers of Kings and the Emperor, by knowing their merchandise alone? Bear in mind that they were painted by Holbein, that they read Erasmus and Luther. To understand the attitude of the medieval vassal to his seigneur you must inform yourself about his attitude to his God as well." Both the organization of social activity, its institutional forms, and the systems of ideas which animate it must be understood, as must the nature of the relations obtaining between them. It is to this end that the attempt to clarify the concepts of social structure and of culture has been directed.


There is little doubt, however, that within this two-sided development it has been the cultural side which has proved the more refractory and remains the more retarded. In the very nature of the case, ideas are more difficult to handle scientifically than the economic, political, and social relations among individuals and groups which those ideas inform. And this is all the more true when the ideas involved are not the explicit doctrines of a Luther or an Erasmus, or the articulate images of a Holbein, but the half-formed, taken-for-granted, indifferently systematized notions that guide the normal activities of ordinary men in everyday life. If the scientific study of culture has lagged, bogged down most often in mere descriptivism, it has been in large part because its very subject matter is elusive. The initial problem of any science--defining its object of study in such a manner as to render it susceptible of analysis--has here turned out to be unusually hard to solve.


It is at this point that the conception of thinking as basically a social act, taking place in the same public world in which other social acts occur, can play its most constructive role. The view that thought does not consist of mysterious processes located in what Gilbert Ryle has called a secret grotto in the head but of a traffic in significant symbols --objects in experience (rituals and tools; graven idols and water holes; gestures, markings, images, and sounds) upon which men have impressed meaning--makes of the study of culture a positive science like any other.2 The meanings that symbols, the material vehicles of thought, embody are often elusive, vague, fluctuating, and convoluted, but they are, in principle, as capable of being discovered through systematic empirical investigation--especially if the people who perceive them will cooperate a little--as the atomic weight of hydrogen or the function of the adrenal glands. It is through culture patterns, ordered clusters of significant symbols, that man makes sense of the events through which he lives. The study of culture, the accumulated totality of such patterns, is thus the study of the machinery individuals and groups of individuals employ to orient themselves in a world otherwise opaque.


In any particular society, the number of generally accepted and frequently used culture patterns is extremely large, so that sorting out even the most important ones and tracing whatever relationships they might have to one another is a staggering analytical task. The task is somewhat lightened, however, by the fact that certain sorts of patterns and certain sorts of relationships among patterns recur from society to society, for the simple reason that the orientational requirements they serve are generically human. The problems, being existential, are universal; their solutions, being human, are diverse. It is, however, through the circumstantial understanding of these unique solutions, and in my opinion only in that way, that the nature of the underlying problems to which they are a comparable response can be truly comprehended. Here, as in so many branches of knowledge, the road to the grand abstractions of science winds through a thicket of singular facts.


One of these pervasive orientational necessities is surely the characterization of individual human beings. Peoples everywhere have developed symbolic structures in terms of which persons are perceived not baldly as such, as mere unadorned members of the human race, but as representatives of certain distinct categories of persons, specific sorts of individuals. In any given case, there are inevitably a plurality of such structures. Some, for example kinship terminologies, are ego-centered: that is, they define the status of an individual in terms of his relationship to a specific social actor. Others are centered on one or another subsystem or aspect of society and are invariant with respect to the perspectives of individual actors: noble ranks, age-group statuses, occupational categories. Some--personal names and sobriquets--are informal and particularizing; others--bureaucratic titles and caste designations--are formal and standardizing. The everyday world in which the members of any community move, their taken-for-granted field of social action, is populated not by anybodies, faceless men without qualities, but by somebodies, concrete classes of determinate persons positively characterized and appropriately labeled. And the symbol systems which define these classes are not given in the nature of things--they are historically constructed, socially maintained, and individually applied.


Even a reduction of the task of cultural analysis to a concern only with those patterns having something to do with the characterization of individual persons renders it only slightly less formidable, however. This is because there does not yet exist a perfected theoretical framework within which to carry it out. What is called structural analysis in sociology and social anthropology can ferret out the functional implications for a society of a particular system of person-categories, and at times even predict how such a system might change under the impact of certain social processes; but only if the system--the categories, their meanings, and their logical relationships--can be taken as already known. Personality theory in social-psychology can uncover the motivational dynamics underlying the formation and the use of such systems and can assess their effect upon the character structures of individuals actually employing them; but also only if, in a sense, they are already given, if how the individuals in question see themselves and others has been somehow determined. What is needed is some systematic, rather than merely literary or impressionistic, way to discover what is given, what the conceptual structure embodied in the symbolic forms through which persons are perceived actually is. What we want and do not yet have is a developed method of describing and analyzing the meaningful structure of experience (here, the experience of persons) as it is apprehended by representative members of a particular society at a particular point in time--in a word, a scientific phenomenology of culture.



Predecessors, Contemporaries, Consociates, and Successors


There have been, however, a few scattered and rather abstract ventures in cultural analysis thus conceived, from the results of which it is possible to draw some useful leads into our more focused inquiry. Among the more interesting of such forays are those which were carried out by the late philosopher-cum-sociologist Alfred Sch¸tz, whose work represents a somewhat heroic, yet not unsuccessful, attempt to fuse influences stemming from Scheler, Weber, and Husserl on the one side with ones stemming from James, Mead, and Dewey on the other.3 Sch¸tz covered a multitude of topics--almost none of them in terms of any extended or systematic consideration of specific social processes--seeking always to uncover the meaningful structure of what he regarded as "the paramount reality" in human experience: the world of daily life as men confront it, act in it, and live through it. For our own purposes, one of his exercises in speculative social phenomenology--the disaggregation of the blanket notion of "fellowmen" into "predecessors," "contemporaries," "consociates," and "successors" --provides an especially valuable starting point. Viewing the cluster of culture patterns Balinese use to characterize individuals in terms of this breakdown brings out, in a most suggestive way, the relationships between conceptions of personal identity, conceptions of temporal order, and conceptions of behavioral style which, as we shall see, are implicit in them.


The distinctions themselves are not abstruse, but the fact that the classes they define overlap and interpenetrate makes it difficult to formulate them with the decisive sharpness analytical categories demand. "Consociates" are individuals who actually meet, persons who encounter one another somewhere in the course of daily life. They thus share, however briefly or superficially, not only a community of time but also of space. They are "involved in one another's biography" at least minimally; they "grow older together" at least momentarily, interacting directly and personally as egos, subjects, selves. Lovers, so long as love lasts, are consociates, as are spouses until they separate or friends until they fall out. So also are members of orchestras, players at games, strangers chatting on a train, hagglers in a market, or inhabitants of a village: any set of persons who have an immediate, face-to-face relationship. It is, however, persons having such relations more or less continuously and to some enduring purpose, rather than merely sporadically or incidentally, who form the heart of the category. The others shade over into being the second sort of fellowmen: "contemporaries."


Contemporaries are persons who share a community of time but not of space: they live at (more or less) the same period of history and have, often very attenuated, social relationships with one another, but they do not--at least in the normal course of things--meet. They are linked not by direct social interaction but through a generalized set of symbolically formulated (that is, cultural) assumptions about each other's typical modes of behavior. Further, the level of generalization involved is a matter of degree, so that the graduation of personal involvement in consociate relations from lovers through chance acquaintances--relations also culturally governed, of course--here continues until social ties slip off into a thoroughgoing anonymity, standardization, and interchangeability:

Thinking of my absent friend A., I form an ideal type of his personality and behavior based on my past experience of A. as my consociate. Putting a letter in a mailbox, I, expect that unknown people, called postmen, will act in a typical way, not quite intelligible to me, with the result that my letter will reach the addressee within typically reasonable time. Without ever having met a Frenchman or a German, I understand "Why France fears the rearmament of Germany." Complying with a rule of English grammar, I follow [in my writings] a socially-approved behavior pattern of contemporary English-speaking fellow-men to which I have to adjust to make myself understandable. And, finally, any artifact or utensil refers to the anonymous fellow-man who produced it to be used by other anonymous fellow-men for attaining typical goals by typical means. These are just a few of the examples but they are arranged according to the degree of increasing anonymity involved and therewith of the construct needed to grasp the Other and his behavior.4

Finally, "predecessors" and "successors" are individuals who do not share even a community of time and so, by definition, cannot interact; and, as such, they form something of a single class over against both consociates and contemporaries, who can and do. But from the point of view of any particular actor they do not have quite the same significance. Predecessors, having already lived, can be known or, more accurately, known about, and their accomplished acts can have an influence upon the lives of those for whom they are predecessors (that is, their successors), though the reverse is, in the nature of the case, not possible. Successors, on the other hand, cannot be known, or even known about, for they are the unborn occupants of an unarrived future; and though their lives can be influenced by the accomplished acts of those whose successors they are (that is, their predecessors), the reverse is again not possible.5


For empirical purposes, however, it is more useful to formulate these distinctions less strictly also, and to emphasize that, like those setting off consociates from contemporaries, they are relative and far from clear-cut in everyday experience. With some exceptions, our older consociates and contemporaries do not drop suddenly into the past, but fade more or less gradually into being our predecessors as they age and die, during which period of apprentice ancestorhood we may have some effect upon them, as children so often shape the closing phases of their parents' lives. And our younger consociates and contemporaries grow gradually into becoming our successors, so that those of us who live long enough often have the dubious privilege of knowing who is to replace us and even occasionally having some glancing influence upon the direction of his growth. "Consociates," "contemporaries," "predecessors," and "successors" are best seen not as pigeonholes into which individuals distribute one another for classificatory purposes, but as indicating certain general and not altogether distinct, matter-of-fact relationships which individuals conceive to obtain between themselves and others.


But again, these relationships are not perceived purely as such; they are grasped only through the agency of cultural formulations of them. And, being culturally formulated, their precise character differs from society to society as the inventory of available culture patterns differs; from situation to situation within a single society as different patterns among the plurality of those which are available are deemed appropriate for application; and from actor to actor within similar situations as idiosyncratic habits, preferences, and interpretations come into play. There are, at least beyond infancy, no neat social experiences of any importance in human life. Everything is tinged with imposed significance, and fellowmen, like social groups, moral obligations, political institutions, or ecological conditions are apprehended only through a screen of significant symbols which are the vehicles of their objectification, a screen that is therefore very far from being neutral with respect to their "real" nature. Consociates, contemporaries, predecessors, and successors are as much made as born.6



Balinese Orders of Person-Definition


In Bali,7 there are six sorts of labels which one person can apply to another in order to identify him as a unique individual and which I want to consider against this general conceptual background: (1) personal names; (2) birth order names; (3) kinship terms; (4) teknonyms; (5) status titles (usually called "caste names" in the literature on Bali); and (6) public titles, by which I mean quasi-occupational titles borne by chiefs, rulers, priests, and gods. These various labels are not, in most cases, employed simultaneously, but alternatively, depending upon the situation and sometimes the individual. They are not, also, all the sorts of such labels ever used; but they are the only ones which are generally recognized and regularly applied. And as each sort consists not of a mere collection of useful tags but of a distinct and bounded terminological system, I shall refer to them as "symbolic orders of person-definition" and consider them first serially, only later as a more or less coherent cluster.




The symbolic order defined by personal names is the simplest to describe because it is in formal terms the least complex and in social ones the least important. All Balinese have personal names, but they rarely use them, either to refer to themselves or others or in addressing anyone. (With respect to one's forebears, including one's parents, it is in fact sacrilegious to use them.) Children are more often referred to and on occasion even addressed by their personal names. Such names are therefore sometimes called "child" or "little" names, though once they are ritually bestowed 105 days after birth, they are maintained unchanged through the whole course of a man's life. In general, personal names are seldom heard and play very little public role.


Yet, despite this social marginality, the personal-naming system has some characteristics which, in a rather left-handed way, are extremely significant for an understanding of Balinese ideas of personhood. First, personal names are, at least among the commoners (some 90 percent of the population), arbitrarily coined nonsense syllables. They are not drawn from any established pool of names which might lend to them any secondary significance as being "common" or "unusual," as reflecting someone's being named "after" someone--an ancestor, a friend of the parents, a famous personage--or as being propitious, suitable, characteristic of a group or region, indicating a kinship relation, and so forth.8 Second, the duplication of personal names within a single community--that is, a politically unified, nucleated settlement--is studiously avoided. Such a settlement (called a bandjar, or "hamlet") is the primary face-to-face group outside the purely domestic realm of the family, and in some respects is even more intimate. Usually highly endogamous and always highly corporate, the hamlet is the Balinese world of consociates par excellence; and, within it, every person possesses, however unstressed on the social level, at least the rudiments of a completely unique cultural identity. Third, personal names are monomials, and so do not indicate familial connections, or in fact membership in any sort of group whatsoever. And, finally, there are (a few rare, and in any case only partial, exceptions aside) no nicknames, no epithets of the "Richard-the-Lion-Hearted" or "Ivan-the-Terrible" sort among the nobility, not even any diminutives for children or pet names for lovers, spouses, and so on.


Thus, whatever role the symbolic order of person-definition marked out by the personal-naming system plays in setting Balinese off from one another or in ordering Balinese social relations is essentially residual in nature. One's name is what remains to one when all the other socially much more salient cultural labels attached to one's person are removed. As the virtually religious avoidance of its direct use indicates, a personal name is an intensely private matter. Indeed, toward the end of a man's life, when he is but a step away from being the deity he will become after his death and cremation, only he (or he and a few equally aged friends) may any longer know what in fact it is; when he disappears it disappears with him. In the well-lit world of everyday life, the purely personal part of an individual's cultural definition, that which in the context of the immediate consociate community is most fully and completely his, and his alone, is highly muted. And with it are muted the more idiosyncratic, merely biographical, and, consequently, transient aspects of his existence as a human being (what, in our more egoistic framework, we call his "personality") in favor of some rather more typical, highly conventionalized, and, consequently, enduring ones.




The most elementary of such more standardized labels are those automatically bestowed upon a child, even a stillborn one, at the instant of its birth, according to whether it is the first, second, third, fourth, etc., member of a sibling set. There is some local and status-group variation in usage here, but the most common system is to use Wayan for the first child, Njoman for the second, Made (or Nengah) for the third, and Ktut for the fourth, beginning the cycle over again with Wayan for the fifth, Njoman for the sixth, and so on.


These birth order names are the most frequently used terms of both address and reference within the hamlet for children and for young men and women who have not yet produced offspring. Vocatively, they are almost always used simply, that is, without the addition of the personal name: "Wayan, give me the hoe," and so forth. Referentially, they may be supplemented by the personal name, especially when no other way is convenient to get across which of the dozens of Wayans or Njomans in the hamlet is meant: "No, not Wayan Rugrug, Wayan Kepig," and so on. Parents address their own children and childless siblings address one another almost exclusively by these names, rather than by either personal names or kin terms. For persons who have had children, however, they are never used either inside the family or out, teknonyms being employed, as we shall see, instead, so that, in cultural terms, Balinese who grow to maturity without producing children (a small minority) remain themselves children--that is, are symbolically pictured as such--a fact commonly of great shame to them and embarrassment to their consociates, who often attempt to avoid having to use vocatives to them altogether.9


The birth order system of person-definition represents, therefore, a kind of plus Áa change approach to the denomination of individuals. It distinguishes them according to four completely contentless appellations, which neither define genuine classes (for there is no conceptual or social reality whatsoever to the class of all Wayans or all Ktuts in a community), nor express any concrete characteristics of the individuals to whom they are applied (for there is no notion that Wayans have any special psychological or spiritual traits in common against Njomans or Ktuts). These names, which have no literal meaning in themselves (they are not numerals or derivatives of numerals) do not, in fact, even indicate sibling position or rank in any realistic or reliable way.10 A Wayan may be a fifth (or ninth!) child as well as a first; and, given a traditional peasant demographic structure--great fertility plus a high rate of stillbirths and deaths in infancy and childhood--a Made or a Ktut may actually be the oldest of a long string of siblings and a Wayan the youngest. What they do suggest is that, for all procreating couples, births form a circular succession of Wayans, Njomans, Mades, Ktuts, and once again Wayans, an endless four-stage replication of an imperishable form. Physically men come and go as the ephemerae they are, but socially the dramatis personae remain eternally the same as new Wayans and Ktuts emerge from the timeless world of the gods (for infants, too, are but a step away from divinity) to replace those who dissolve once more into it.




Formally, Balinese kinship terminology is quite simple in type, being of the variety known technically as "Hawaiian" or "Generational." In this sort of system, an individual classifies his relatives primarily according to the generation they occupy with respect to his own. That is to say, siblings, half-siblings, and cousins (and their spouses' siblings, and so forth) are grouped together under the same term; all uncles and aunts on either side are terminologically classed with mother and father; all children of brothers, sisters, cousins, and so on (that is, nephews of one sort or another) are identified with own children; and so on, downward through the grandchild, great-grandchild, etc., generations, and upward through the grandparent, great-grandparent, etc., ones. For any given actor, the general picture is a layer-cake arrangement of relatives, each layer consisting of a different generation of kin--that of actor's parents or his children, of his grandparents or his grandchildren, and so on, with his own layer, the one from which the calculations are made, located exactly halfway up the cake.11


Given the existence of this sort of system, the most significant (and rather unusual) fact about the way it operates in Bali is that the terms it contains are almost never used vocatively, but only referentially, and then not very frequently. With rare exceptions, one does not actually call one's father (or uncle) "father," one's child (or nephew/niece) "child," one's brother (or cousin) "brother," and so on. For relatives genealogically junior to oneself vocative forms do not even exist; for relatives senior they exist but, as with personal names, it is felt to demonstrate a lack of respect for one's elders to use them. In fact, even the referential forms are used only when specifically needed to convey some kinship information as such, almost never as general means of identifying people.


Kinship terms appear in public discourse only in response to some question, or in describing some event which has taken place or is expected to take place, with respect to which the existence of the kin tie is felt to be a relevant piece of information. ("Are you going to Fatherof-Regreg's tooth-filing?" "Yes, he is my 'brother.'") Thus, too, modes of address and reference within the family are no more (or not much more) intimate or expressive of kin ties in quality than those within the hamlet generally. As soon as a child is old enough to be capable of doing so (say, six years, though this naturally varies) he calls his mother and father by the same term--a teknonym, status group title, or public title--that everyone else who is acquainted with them uses toward them, and is called in turn Wayan, Ktut, or whatever, by them. And, with even more certainty, he will refer to them, whether in their hearing or outside of it, by this popular, extradomestic term as well.


In short, the Balinese system of kinship terminology defines individuals in a primarily taxonomic, not a face-to-face idiom, as occupants of regions in a social field, not partners in social interaction. It functions almost entirely as a cultural map upon which certain persons can be located and certain others, not features of the landscape mapped, cannot. Of course, some notions of appropriate interpersonal behavior follow once such determinations are made, once a person's place in the structure is ascertained. But the critical point is that, in concrete practice, kin terminology is employed virtually exclusively in service of ascertainment, not behavior, with respect to whose patterning other symbolic appliances are dominant.12 The social norms associated with kinship, though real enough, are habitually overridden, even within kinship-type groups themselves (families, households, lineages) by culturally better armed norms associated with religion, politics, and, most fundamentally of all, social stratification.


Yet in spite of the rather secondary role it plays in shaping the moment-to-moment flow of social intercourse, the system of kinship terminology, like the personal-naming system, contributes importantly, if indirectly, to the Balinese notion of personhood. For, as a system of significant symbols, it too embodies a conceptual structure under whose agency individuals, one's self as well as others, are apprehended; a conceptual structure which is, moreover, in striking congruence with those embodied in the other, differently constructed and variantly oriented, orders of person-definition. Here, also, the leading motif is the immobilization of time through the iteration of form.


This iteration is accomplished by a feature of Balinese kin terminology I have yet to mention: in the third generation above and below the actor's own, terms become completely reciprocal. That is to say, the term for "great-grandparent" and "great-grandchild" is the same: kumpi. The two generations, and the individuals who comprise them, are culturally identified. Symbolically, a man is equated upwardly with the most distant ascendant, downwardly with the most distant descendant, he is ever likely to interact with as a living person.


Actually, this sort of reciprocal terminology proceeds on through the fourth generation, and even beyond. But as it is only extremely rarely that the lives of a man and his great-great-grandparent (or great-greatgrandchild) overlap, this continuation is of only theoretical interest, and most people don't even know the terms involved. It is the four-generation span (i.e., the actor's own, plus three ascending or descending) which is considered the attainable ideal, the image, like our threescore-and-ten, of a fully completed life, and around which the kumpikumpi terminology puts, as it were, an emphatic cultural parenthesis.


This parenthesis is accentuated further by the rituals surrounding death. At a person's funeral, all his relatives who are generationally junior to him must make homage to his lingering spirit in the Hindu palms-to-forehead fashion, both before his bier and, later, at the graveside. But this virtually absolute obligation, the sacramental heart of the funeral ceremony, stops short with the third descending generation, that of his "grandchildren." His "great-grandchildren" are his kumpi, as he is theirs, and so, the Balinese say, they are not really junior to him at all but rather "the same age." As such, they are not only not required to show homage to his spirit, but they are expressly forbidden to do so. A man prays only to the gods and, what is the same thing, his seniors, not to his equals or juniors.13


Balinese kinship terminology thus not only divides human beings into generational layers with respect to a given actor, it bends these layers into a continuous surface which joins the "lowest" with the "highest" so that, rather than a layer-cake image, a cylinder marked off into six parallel bands called "own," "parent," "grandparent," "kumpi," "grandchild," and "child" is perhaps more exact. 14 What at first glance seems a very diachronic formulation, stressing the ceaseless progression of generations is, in fact, an assertion of the essential unreality--or anyway the unimportance--of such a progression. The sense of sequence, of sets of collaterals following one another through time, is an illusion generated by looking at the terminological system as though it were used to formulate the changing quality of face-to-face interactions between a man and his kinsmen as he ages and dies--as indeed many, if not most such systems are used. When one looks at it, as the Balinese primarily do, as a common-sense taxonomy of the possible types of familial relationships human beings may have, a classification of kinsmen into natural groups, it is clear that what the bands on the cylinder are used to represent is the genealogical order of seniority among living people and nothing more. They depict the spiritual (and what is the same thing, structural) relations among coexisting generations, not the location of successive generations in an unrepeating historical process.




If personal names are treated as though they were military secrets, birth order names applied mainly to children and young adolescents, and kinship terms invoked at best sporadically, and then only for purposes of secondary specification, how, then, do most Balinese address and refer to one another? For the great mass of the peasantry, the answer is: by teknonyms.15


As soon as a couple's first child is named, people begin to address and refer to them as "Father-of" and "Mother-of" Regreg, Pula, or whatever the child's name happens to be. They will continue to be so called (and to call themselves) until their first grandchild is born, at which time they will begin to be addressed and referred to as "Grandfatherof" and "Grandmother-of" Suda, Lilir, or whomever; and a similar transition occurs if they live to see their first great-grandchild.16 Thus, over the "natural" four-generation kumpi-to-kumpi life span, the term by which an individual is known will change three times, as first he, then at least one of his children, and finally at least one of his grandchildren produce offspring.


Of course, many if not most people neither live so long nor prove so fortunate in the fertility of their descendants. Also, a wide variety of other factors enter in to complicate this simplified picture. But, subtleties aside, the point is that we have here a culturally exceptionally well developed and socially exceptionally influential system of teknonymy. What impact does it have upon the individual Balinese's perceptions of himself and his acquaintances?


Its first effect is to identify the husband and wife pair, rather as the bride's taking on of her husband's surname does in our society; except that here it is not the act of marriage which brings about the identification but of procreation. Symbolically, the link between husband and wife is expressed in terms of their common relation to their children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, not in terms of the wife's incorporation into her husband's "family" (which, as marriage is highly endogamous, she usually belongs to anyway).


This husband-wife--or, more accurately, father-mother--pair has very great economic, political, and spiritual importance. It is, in fact, the fundamental social building block. Single men cannot participate in the hamlet council, where seats are awarded by married couple; and, with rare exceptions, only men with children carry any weight there. (In fact, in some hamlets men are not even awarded seats until they have a child.) The same is true for descent groups, voluntary organizations, irrigation societies, temple congregations, and so on. In virtually all local activities, from the religious to the agricultural, the parental couple participates as a unit, the male performing certain tasks, the female certain complementary ones. By linking a man and a wife through an incorporation of the name of one of their direct descendants into their own, teknonymy underscores both the importance of the marital pair in local society and the enormous value which is placed upon procreation.17


This value also appears, in a more explicit way, in the second cultural consequence of the pervasive use of teknonyms: the classification of individuals into what, for want of a better term, may be called procreational strata. From the point of view of any actor, his hamletmates are divided into childless people, called Wayan, Made, and so on; people with children, called "Father (Mother)-of"; people with grandchildren, called "Grandfather (Grandmother)-of"; and people with greatgrandchildren, called "Great-grandparent-of." And to this ranking is attached a general image of the nature of social hierarchy: childless people are dependent minors; fathers-of are active citizens directing community life; grandfathers-of are respected elders giving sage advice from behind the scenes; and great-grandfathers-of are senior dependents, already half-returned to the world of the gods. In any given case, various mechanisms have to be employed to adjust this rather too-schematic formula to practical realities in such a way as to allow it to mark out a workable social ladder. But, with these adjustments, it does, indeed, mark one out, and as a result a man's "procreative status" is a major element in his social identity, both in his own eyes and those of everyone else. In Bali, the stages of human life are not conceived in terms of the processes of biological aging, to which little cultural attention is given, but of those of social regenesis.


Thus, it is not sheer reproductive power as such, how many children one can oneself produce, that is critical. A couple with ten children is no more honored than a couple with five; and a couple with but a single child who has in turn but a single child outranks them both.


What counts is reproductive continuity, the preservation of the community's ability to perpetuate itself just as it is, a fact which the third result of teknonymy, the designation of procreative chains, brings out most clearly.


The way in which Balinese teknonymy outlines such chains can be seen from the model diagram (Figure 1 ). For simplicity, I have shown only the male teknonyms and have used English names for the referent generation. I have also arranged the model so as to stress the fact that teknonymous usage reflects the absolute age not the genealogical order (or the sex) of the eponymous descendants.



FIGURE 1 Balinese Teknonymy (not available)
NOTE: Mary is older than Don; Joe is older than Mary, Jane, and Don. The relative ages of all other people, save of course as they are ascendants and descendants, are irrelevant so far as teknonymy is concerned.



As Figure 1 indicates, teknonymy outlines not only procreative statuses but specific sequences of such statuses, two, three, or four (very, very occasionally, five) generations deep. Which particular sequences are marked out is largely accidental: had Mary been born before Joe, or Don before Mary, the whole alignment would have been altered. But though the particular individuals who are taken as referents, and hence the particular sequences of filiation which receive symbolic recognition, is an arbitrary and not very consequential matter, the fact that such sequences are marked out stresses an important fact about personal identity among the Balinese: an individual is not perceived in the context of who his ancestors were (that, given the cultural veil which slips over the dead, is not even known), but rather in the context of whom he is ancestral to. One is not defined, as in so many societies of the world, in terms of who produced one, some more or less distant, more or less grand founder of one's line, but in terms of whom one has produced, a specific, in most cases still living, half-formed individual who is one's child, grandchild, or great-grandchild, and to whom one traces one's connection through a particular set of procreative links.18 What links "Great-grandfather-of-Joe," "Grandfather-of-Joe," and "Father-of-Joe" is the fact that, in a sense, they have cooperated to produce Joe--that is, to sustain the social metabolism of the Balinese people in general and their hamlet in particular. Again, what looks like a celebration of a temporal process is in fact a celebration of the maintenance of what, borrowing a term from physics, Gregory Bateson has aptly called a "steady state."19 In this sort of teknonymous regime, the entire population is classified in terms of its relation to and representation in that subclass of the population in whose hands social regenesis now most instantly lies--the oncoming cohort of prospective parents. Under its aspect even that most time-saturated of human conditions, great-grandparenthood, appears as but an ingredient in an unperishing present.




In theory, everyone (or nearly everyone) in Bali bears one or another title--Ida Bagus, Gusti, Pasek, Dauh, and so forth--which places him on a particular rung in an all-Bali status ladder; each title represents a specific degree of cultural superiority or inferiority with respect to each and every other one, so that the whole population is sorted out into a set of uniformly graded castes. In fact, as those who have tried to analyze the system in such terms have discovered, the situation is much more complex.


It is not simply that a few low-ranking villagers claim that they (or their parents) have somehow "forgotten" what their titles are; nor that there are marked inconsistencies in the ranking of titles from place to place, at times even from informant to informant; nor that, in spite of their hereditary basis, there are nevertheless ways to change titles. These are but (not uninteresting) details concerning the day-to-day working of the system. What is critical is that status titles are not attached to groups at all, but only to individuals.20


Status in Bali, or at least that sort determined by titles, is a personal characteristic; it is independent of any social structural factors whatsoever. It has, of course, important practical consequences, and those consequences are shaped by and expressed through a wide variety of social arrangements, from kinship groups to governmental institutions. But to be a Dewa, a Pulosari, a Pring, or a Maspadan is at base only to have inherited the right to bear that title and to demand the public tokens of deference associated with it. It is not to play any particular role, to belong to any particular group, or to occupy any particular economic, political, or sacerdotal position.


The status title system is a pure prestige system. From a man's title you know, given your own title, exactly what demeanor you ought to display toward him and he toward you in practically every context of public life, irrespective of whatever other social ties obtain between you and whatever you may happen to think of him as a man. Balinese politesse is very highly developed and it rigorously controls the outer surface of social behavior over virtually the entire range of daily life. Speech style, posture, dress, eating, marriage, even house-construction, place of burial, and mode of cremation are patterned in terms of a precise code of manners which grows less out of a passion for social grace as such as out of some rather far-reaching metaphysical considerations.


The sort of human inequality embodied in the status title system and the system of etiquette which expresses it is neither moral, nor economic, nor political--it is religious. It is the reflection in everyday interaction of the divine order upon which such interaction, from this point of view a form of ritual, is supposed to be modeled. A man's title does not signal his wealth, his power, or even his moral reputation, it signals his spiritual composition; and the incongruity between this and his secular position may be enormous. Some of the greatest movers and shakers in Bali are the most rudely approached, some of the most delicately handled the least respected. It would be difficult to conceive of anything further from the Balinese spirit than Machiavelli's comment that titles do not reflect honor upon men, but rather men upon their titles.


In theory, Balinese theory, all titles come from the gods. Each has been passed along, not always without alteration, from father to child, like some sacred heirloom, the difference in prestige value of the different titles being an outcome of the varying degree to which the men who have had care of them have observed the spiritual stipulations embodied in them. To bear a title is to agree, implicitly at least, to meet divine standards of action, or at least approach them, and not all men have been able to do this to the same extent. The result is the existing discrepancy in the rank of titles and of those who bear them. Cultural status, as opposed to social position, is here once again a reflection of distance from divinity.


Associated with virtually every title there are one or a series of legendary events, very concrete in nature, involving some spiritually significant misstep by one or another holder of the title. These offenses-one can hardly call them sins--are regarded as specifying the degree to which the title has declined in value, the distance which it has fallen from a fully transcendent status, and thus as fixing, in a general way at least, its position in the overall scale of prestige. Particular (if mythic) geographical migrations, cross--title marriages, military failures, breaches of mourning etiquette, ritual lapses, and the like are regarded as having debased the title to a greater or lesser extent: greater for the lower titles, lesser for the higher.


Yet, despite appearances, this uneven deterioration is, in its essence, neither a moral nor an historical phenomenon. It is not moral because the incidents conceived to have occasioned it are not, for the most part, those against which negative ethical judgments would, in Bali any more than elsewhere, ordinarily be brought, while genuine moral faults (cruelty, treachery, dishonesty, profligacy) damage only reputations, which pass from the scene with their owners, not titles which remain. It is not historical because these incidents, disjunct occurrences in a once-upona-time, are not invoked as the causes of present realities but as statements of their nature. The important fact about title-debasing events is not that they happened in the past, or even that they happened at all, but that they are debasing. They are formulations not of the processes which have brought the existing state of affairs into being, nor yet of moral judgments upon it (in neither of which intellectual exercises the Balinese show much interest): they are images of the underlying relationship between the form of human society and the divine pattern of which it is, in the nature of things, an imperfect expression--more imperfect at some points than at others.


But if, after all that has been said about the autonomy of the title system, such a relationship between cosmic patterns and social forms is conceived to exist, exactly how is it understood? How is the title system, based solely on religious conceptions, on theories of inherent differences in spiritual worth among individual men, connected up with what, looking at the society from the outside, we would call the "realities" of power, influence, wealth, reputation, and so on, implicit in the social division of labor? How, in short, is the actual order of social command fitted into a system of prestige ranking wholly independent of it so as to account for and, indeed, sustain the loose and general correlation between them which in fact obtains? The answer is: through performing, quite ingeniously, a kind of hat trick, a certain sleight of hand, with a famous cultural institution imported from India and adapted to local tastes--the Varna System. By means of the Varna System the Balinese inform a very disorderly collection of status pigeonholes with a simple shape which is represented as growing naturally out of it but which in fact is arbitrarily imposed upon it.


As in India, the Varna System consists of four gross categories--Brahmana, Satria, Wesia, and Sudra--ranked in descending order of prestige, and with the first three (called in Bali, Triwangsa--"the three peoples") defining a spiritual patriciate over against the plebeian fourth. But in Bali the Varna System is not in itself a cultural device for making status discriminations but for correlating those already made by the title system. It summarizes the literally countless fine comparisons implicit in that system in a neat (from some points of view all-too-neat) separation of sheep from goats, and first-quality sheep from second, second from third.21 Men do not perceive one another as Satrias or Sudras but as, say, Dewas or Kebun Tubuhs, merely using the Satria-Sudra distinction to express generally, and for social organizational purposes, the order of contrast which is involved by identifying Dewa as a Satria title and Kebun Tubuh as a Sudra one. Varna categories are labels applied not to men, but to the titles they bear--they formulate the structure of the prestige system; titles, on the other hand, are labels applied to individual men--they place persons within that structure. To the degree that the Varna classification of titles is congruent with the actual distribution of power, wealth, and esteem in the society--that is, with the system of social stratification--the society is considered to be well ordered. The right sort of men are in the right sort of places: spiritual worth and social standing coincide.


This difference in function between title and Varna is clear from the way in which the symbolic forms associated with them are actually used. Among the Triwangsa gentry, where, some exceptions aside, teknonymy is not employed, an individual's title is used as his or her main term of address and reference. One calls a man Ida Bagus, Njakan, or Gusi (not Brahmana, Satria, or Wesia) and refers to him by the same terms, sometimes adding a birth order name for more exact specification ( Ida Bagus Made, Njakan Njoman, and so forth). Among the Sudras, titles are used only referentially, never in address, and then mainly with respect to members of other hamlets than one's own, where the person's teknonym may not be known, or, if known, considered to be too familiar in tone to be used for someone not a hamletmate. Within the hamlet, the referential use of Sudra titles occurs only when prestige status information is considered relevant ("Father-of-Joe is a Kedisan, and thus 'lower' than we Pande," and so on), while address is, of course, in terms of teknonyms. Across hamlet lines, where, except between close friends, teknonyms fall aside, the most common term of address is Djero. Literally, this means "inside" or "insider," thus a member of the Triwangsa, who are considered to be "inside," as against the Sudras, who are "outside" (Djaba); but in this context it has the effect of saying, "In order to be polite, I am addressing you as though you were a Triwangsa, which you are not (if you were, I would call you by your proper title), and I expect the same pretense from you in return." As for Varna terms, they are used, by Triwangsa and Sudra alike, only in conceptualizing the overall prestige hierarchy in general terms, a need which usually appears in connection with transhamlet political, sacerdotal, or stratificatory matters: "The kings of Klungkung are Satrias, but those of Tabanan only Wesias," or "There are lots of rich Brahmanas in Sanur, which is why the Sudras there have so little to say about hamlet affairs," and so on.


The Varna System thus does two things. It connects up a series of what appear to be ad hoc and arbitrary prestige distinctions, the titles, with Hinduism, or the Balinese version of Hinduism, thus rooting them in a general world view. And it interprets the implications of that world view, and therefore the titles, for social organization: the prestige gradients implicit in the title system ought to be reflected in the actual distribution of wealth, power, and esteem in society, and, in fact, be completely coincident with it. The degree to which this coincidence actually obtains is, of course, moderate at best. But, however many exceptions there may be to the rule--Sudras with enormous power, Satrias working as tenant farmers, Brahmanas neither esteemed nor estimable--it is the rule and not the exceptions that the Balinese regard as truly illuminating the human condition. The Varna System orders the title system in such a way as to make it possible to view social life under the aspect of a general set of cosmological notions: notions in which the diversity of human talent and the workings of historical process are regarded as superficial phenomena when compared with the location of persons in a system of standardized status categories, as blind to individual character as they are immortal.




This final symbolic order of person-definition is, on the surface, the most reminiscent of one of the more prominent of our own ways of identifying and characterizing individuals.22 We, too, often (all too often, perhaps) see people through a screen of occupational categories --as not just practicing this vocation or that, but as almost physically infused with the quality of being a postman, teamster, politician, or salesman. Social function serves as the symbolic vehicle through which personal identity is perceived; men are what they do.


The resemblance is only apparent, however. Set amid a different cluster of ideas about what selfhood consists in, placed against a different religio-philosophical conception of what the world consists in, and expressed in terms of a different set of cultural devices--public titles --for portraying it, the Balinese view of the relation between social role and personal identity gives a quite different slant to the ideographic significance of what we call occupation but the Balinese call linggih-"seat," "place," "berth."


This notion of "seat" rests on the existence in Balinese thought and practice of an extremely sharp distinction between the civic and domestic sectors of society. The boundary between the public and private domains of life is very clearly drawn both conceptually and institutionally. At every level, from the hamlet to the royal palace, matters of general concern are sharply distinguished and carefully insulated from matters of individual or familial concern, rather than being allowed to interpenetrate as they do in so many other societies. The Balinese sense of the public as a corporate body, having interests and purposes of its own, is very highly developed. To be charged, at any level, with special responsibilities with respect to those interests and purposes is to be set aside from the run of one's fellowmen who are not so charged, and it is this special status that public titles express.


At the same time, though the Balinese conceive the public sector of society as bounded and autonomous, they do not look upon it as forming a seamless whole, or even a whole at all. Rather they see it as consisting of a number of separate, discontinuous, and at times even competitive realms, each self-sufficient, self-contained, jealous of its rights, and based on its own principles of organization. The most salient of such realms include: the hamlet as a corporate political community; the local temple as a corporate religious body, a congregation; the irrigation society as a corporate agricultural body; and, above these, the structures of regional--that is, suprahamlet--government and worship, centering on the nobility and the high priesthood.


A description of these various public realms or sectors would involve an extensive analysis of Balinese social structure inappropriate in the present context.23 The point to be made here is that, associated with each of them, there are responsible officers--stewards is perhaps a better term--who as a result bear particular titles: Klian, Perbekel, Pekaseh, Pemangku, Anak Agung, Tjakorda, Dewa Agung, Pedanda, and so on up to perhaps a half a hundred or more. And these men (a very small proportion of the total population) are addressed and referred to by these official titles--sometimes in combination with birth order names, status titles, or, in the case of Sudras, teknonyms for purposes of secondary specification.24 The various "village chiefs" and "folk priests" on the Sudra level, and, on the Triwangsa, the host of "kings," "princes," "lords," and "high priests" do not merely occupy a role. They become, in the eyes of themselves and those around them, absorbed into it. They are truly public men, men for whom other aspects of personhood--individual character, birth order, kinship relations, procreative status, and prestige rank take, symbolically at least, a secondary position. We, focusing upon psychological traits as the heart of personal identity, would say they have sacrificed their true selves to their role; they, focusing on social position, say that their role is of the essence of their true selves.


Access to these public-title-bearing roles is closely connected with the system of status titles and its organization into Varna categories, a connection effected by what may be called "the doctrine of spiritual eligibility." This doctrine asserts that political and religious "seats" of translocal--regional or Bali-wide--significance are to be manned only by Triwangsas, while those of local significance ought properly to be in the hands of Sudras. At the upper levels the doctrine is strict: only Satrias--that is, men bearing titles deemed of Satria rank--may be kings or paramount princes, only Wesias or Satrias lords or lesser princes, only Brahmanas high priests, and so on. At the lower levels, it is less strict; but the sense that hamlet chiefs, irrigation society heads, and folk priests should be Sudras, that Triwangsas should keep their place, is quite strong. In either case, however, the overwhelming majority of persons bearing status titles of the Varna category or categories theoretically eligible for the stewardship roles to which the public titles are attached do not have such roles and are not likely to get them. On the Triwangsa level, access is largely hereditary, primogenitural even, and a sharp distinction is made between that handful of individuals who "own power" and the vast remainder of the gentry who do not. On the Sudra level, access to public office is more often elective, but the number of men who have the opportunity to serve is still fairly limited. Prestige status decides what sort of public role one can presume to occupy; whether or not one occupies such a role is another question altogether.


Yet, because of the general correlation between prestige status and public office the doctrine of spiritual eligibility brings about, the order of political and ecclesiastical authority in the society is hooked in with the general notion that social order reflects dimly, and ought to reflect clearly, metaphysical order; and, beyond that, that personal identity is to be defined not in terms of such superficial, because merely human, matters as age, sex, talent, temperament, or achievement--that is, biographically, but in terms of location in a general spiritual hierarchy-that is, typologically. Like all the other symbolic orders of person-definition, that stemming from public titles consists of a formulation, with respect to different social contexts, of an underlying assumption: it is not what a man is as a man (as we would phrase it) that matters, but where he fits in a set of cultural categories which not only do not change but, being transhuman, cannot.


And, here too, these categories ascend toward divinity (or with equal accuracy, descend from it), their power to submerge character and nullify time increasing as they go. Not only do the higher level public titles borne by human beings blend gradually into those borne by the gods, becoming at the apex identical with them, but at the level of the gods there is literally nothing left of identity but the title itself. All gods and goddesses are addressed and referred to either as Dewa (f. Dewi) or, for the higher ranking ones, Betara (f. Betari). In a few cases, these general appellations are followed by particularizing ones: Betara Guru, Dewi Sri, and so forth. But even such specifically named divinities are not conceived as possessing distinctive personalities: they are merely thought to be administratively responsible, so to speak, for regulating certain matters of cosmic significance: fertility, power, knowledge, death, and so on. In most cases, Balinese do not know, and do not want to know, which gods and goddesses are those worshipped in their various temples (there is always a pair, one male, one female), but merely call them " Dewa (Dewi) Pura Such-and-Such"--god (goddess) of temple such-and-such. Unlike the ancient Greeks and Romans, the average Balinese shows little interest in the detailed doings of particular gods, nor in their motivations, their personalities, or their individual histories. The same circumspection and propriety is maintained with respect to such matters as is maintained with respect to similar matters concerning elders and superiors generally.25


The world of the gods is, in short, but another public realm, transcending all the others and imbued with an ethos which those others seek, so far as they are able, to embody in themselves. The concerns of this realm lie on the cosmic level rather than the political, the economic, or the ceremonial (that is, the human) and its stewards are men without features, individuals with respect to whom the usual indices of perishing humanity have no significance. The nearly faceless, thoroughly conventionalized, never-changing icons by which nameless gods known only by their public titles are, year after year, represented in the thousands of temple festivals across the island comprise the purest expression of the Balinese concept of personhood. Genuflecting to them (or, more precisely, to the gods for the moment resident in them) the Balinese are not just acknowledging divine power. They are also confronting the image of what they consider themselves at bottom to be; an image which the biological, psychological, and sociological concomitants of being alive, the mere materialities of historical time, tend only to obscure from sight.



A Cultural Triangle of Forces


There are many ways in which men are made aware, or rather make themselves aware, of the passage of time--by marking the changing of the seasons, the alterations of the moon, or the progress of plant life; by the measured cycling of rites, or agricultural work, or household activities; by the preparation and scheduling of projected acts and the memory and assessment of accomplished ones; by the preservation of genealogies, the recital of legends, or the framing of prophecies. But surely among the most important is by the recognition in oneself and in one's fellowmen of the process of biological aging, the appearance, maturation, decay, and disappearance of concrete individuals. How one views this process affects, therefore, and affects profoundly, how one experiences time. Between a people's conception of what it is to be a person and their conception of the structure of history there is an unbreakable internal link.


Now, as I have been stressing, the most striking thing about the culture patterns in which Balinese notions of personal identity are embodied is the degree to which they depict virtually everyone--friends, relatives, neighbors, and strangers; elders and youths; superiors and inferiors; men and women; chiefs, kings, priests, and gods; even the dead and the unborn--as stereotyped contemporaries, abstract and anonymous fellowmen. Each of the symbolic orders of person-definition, from concealed names to flaunted titles, acts to stress and strengthen the standardization, idealization, and generalization implicit in the relation between individuals whose main connection consists in the accident of their being alive at the same time and to mute or gloss over those implicit in the relation between consociates, men intimately involved in one another's biographies, or between predecessors and successors, men who stand to one another as blind testator and unwitting heir. Of course, people in Baliare directly, and sometimes deeply, involved in one another's lives; they do feel their world to have been shaped by the actions of those who came before them and orient their actions toward shaping the world of those who will come after them. But it is not these aspects of their existence as persons--their immediacy and individuality, or their special, never-to-be-repeated, impact upon the stream of historical events--which are culturally played up, symbolically emphasized: it is their social placement, their particular location within a persisting, indeed an eternal, metaphysical order.26 The illuminating paradox of Balinese formulations of personhood is that they are --in our terms anyway--depersonalizing.


In this way, the Balinese blunt, though of course they cannot efface, three of the most important sources of a sense of temporality: the apprehension of one's comrades (and thus oneself with them) as perpetually perishing; the awareness of the heaviness with which the completed lives of the dead weigh upon the uncompleted lives of the living; and the appreciation of the potential impact upon the unborn of actions just now being undertaken.


Consociates, as they meet, confront and grasp one another in an immediate present, a synoptic "now"; and in so doing they experience the elusiveness and ephemerality of such a now as it slips by in the ongoing stream of face-to-face interaction. "For each partner [in a consociate relationship] the other's body, his gestures, his gait and facial expressions, are immediately observable, not merely as things or events of the outer world but in their physiognomical significance, that is as [expressions! of the other's thoughts. . . . Each partner participates in the onrolling life of the other, can grasp in a vivid present the other's thoughts as they are built up step by step. They may thus share one another's anticipations of the future as plans, or hopes, or anxieties. . . . [They] are mutually involved in one another's biography; they are growing older together. . . ."27 As for predecessors and successors, separated by a material gulf, they perceive one another in terms of origins and outcomes, and in so doing experience the inherent chronologicality of events, the linear progress of standard, transpersonal time--the sort whose passage can be measured with clocks and calendars.28


In minimizing, culturally, all three of these experiences--that of the evanescing present consociate intimacy evokes; that of the determining past contemplation of predecessors evokes; and that of the moldable future anticipation of successors evokes--in favor of the sense of pure simultaneity generated by the anonymized encounter of sheer contemporaries, the Balinese produce yet a second paradox. Linked to their depersonalizing conception of personhood is a detemporalizing (again from our point of view) conception of time.




Balinese calendrical notions--their cultural machinery for demarcating temporal units--reflect this clearly; for they are largely used not to measure the elapse of time, nor yet to accent the uniqueness and irrecoverability of the passing moment, but to mark and classify the qualitative modalities in terms of which time manifests itself in human experience. The Balinese calendar (or, rather, calendars; as we shall see there are two of them) cuts time up into bounded units not in order to count and total them but to describe and characterize them, to formulate their differential social, intellectual, and religious significance.29


The two calendars which the Balinese employ are a lunar-solar one and one built around the interaction of independent cycles of daynames, which I shall call "permutational." The permutational calendar is by far the most important. It consists of ten different cycles of daynames. These cycles are of varying lengths. The longest contains ten day-names, following one another in a fixed order, after which the first day-name reappears and the cycle starts over. Similarly, there are nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and even--the ultimate of a "contemporized" view of time--one day-name cycles. The names in each cycle are also different, and the cycles run concurrently. That is to say, any given day has, at least in theory, ten different names simultaneously applied to it, one from each of the ten cycles. Of the ten cycles only those containing five, six, and seven day-names are of major cultural significance, however, although the three-name cycle is used to define the market week and plays a role in fixing certain minor rituals, such as the personal-naming ceremony referred to earlier.


Now, the interaction of these three main cycles--the five, the six, and the seven--means that a given trinomially designated day (that is, one with a particular combination of names from all three cycles) will appear once in every two hundred and ten days, the simple product of five, six, and seven. Similar interactions between the five- and sevenname cycles produce binomially designated days which turn up every thirty-five days, between the six- and seven-name cycles binomially designated days which occur every forty-two days, and between the fiveand six-name cycles binomially designated days appearing at thirty-day intervals. The conjunctions that each of these four periodicities, supercycles as it were, define (but not the periodicities themselves) are considered not only to be socially significant but to reflect, in one fashion or another, the very structure of reality.


The outcome of all this wheels-within-wheels computation is a view of time as consisting of ordered sets of thirty, thirty-five, forty-two, or two hundred and ten quantum units ("days"), each of which units has a particular qualitative significance of some sort indexed by its trinomial or binomial name: rather like our notion of the unluckiness of Friday-the-Thirteenth. To identify a day in the forty-two-day set--and thus assess its practical and/or religious significance--one needs to determine its place, that is, its name, in the six-name cycle (say, Ariang) and in the seven- (say, Boda): the day is Boda-Ariang, and one shapes one's actions accordingly. To identify a day in the thirty-five-day set, one needs its place and name in the five-name cycle (for example, Klion) and in the seven-: for example, Boda-Klion--this is rainan, the day on which one must set out small offerings at various points to "feed" the gods. For the two hundred and ten-day set, unique determination demands names from all three weeks: for example, Boda-Ariang-Klion, which, it so happens, is the day on which the most important Balinese holiday, Galungan, is celebrated.30


Details aside, the nature of time-reckoning this sort of calendar facilitates is clearly not durational but punctual. That is, it is not used (and could only with much awkwardness and the addition of some ancillary devices be used) to measure the rate at which time passes, the amount which has passed since the occurrence of some event, or the amount which remains within which to complete some project: it is adapted to and used for distinguishing and classifying discrete, self-subsistent particles of time--"days." The cycles and supercycles are endless, unanchored, uncountable, and, as their internal order has no significance, without climax. They do not accumulate, they do not build, and they are not consumed. They don't tell you what time it is; they tell you what kind of time it is.31


The uses of the permutational calendar extend to virtually all aspects of Balinese life. In the first instance, it determines (with one exception) all the holidays--that is, general community celebrations--of which Goris lists some thirty-two in all, or on the average about one day out of every seven.32 These do not appear, however, in any discernible overall rhythm. If we begin, arbitrarily, with RaditÈ-Tungleh-Paing as "one," holidays appear on days numbering: 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 15, 24, 49, 51, 68, 69, 71, 72, 73, 74, 77, 78, 79, 81, 83, 84, 85, 109, 119, 125, 154, 183, 189, 193, 196, 205, 210.33 The result of this sort of spasmodic occurrence of festivals, large and small, is a perception of time --that is, of days--as falling broadly into two very general varieties, "full" and "empty": days on which something of importance goes on and others on which nothing, or at least nothing much, goes on, the former often being called "times" or "junctures" and the latter "holes." All of the other applications of the calendar merely reinforce and refine this general perception.


Of these other applications, the most important is the determination of temple celebrations. No one knows how many temples there are on Bali, though Swellengrebel has estimated that there are more than 20,000.34 Each of these temples--family temples, descent-group temples, agricultural temples, death temples, settlement temples, associational temples, "caste" temples, state temples, and so on--has its own day of celebration, called odalan, a term which though commonly, and misleadingly, translated as "birthday" or, worse yet, "anniversary," literally means "coming out," "emergence," "appearance"--that is, not the day on which the temple was built but the day on which it is (and since it has been in existence always has been) "activated," on which the gods come down from the heavens to inhabit it. In between odalans it is quiescent, uninhabited, empty; and, aside from a few offerings prepared by its priest on certain days, nothing happens there.


For the great majority of the temples, the odalan is determined according to the permutational calendar (for the remainder, odalans are determined by the lunar-solar calendar, which as we shall see, comes to about the same thing so far as modes of time-perception are concerned), again in terms of the interaction of the five-, six-, and seven-name cycles. What this means is that temple ceremonies--which range from the incredibly elaborate to the almost invisibly simple--are of, to put it mildly, frequent occurrence in Bali, though here too there are certain days on which many such celebrations fall and others on which, for essentially metaphysical reasons, none do.35


Balinese life is thus not only irregularly punctuated by frequent holidays, which everyone celebrates, but by even more frequent temple celebrations which involve only those who are, usually by birth, members of the temple. As most Balinese belong to a half-dozen temples or more, this makes for a fairly busy, not to say frenetic, ritual life, though again one which alternates, unrhythmically, between hyperactivity and quiescence.


In addition to these more religious matters of holidays and temple festivals, the permutational calendar invades and secular ones of everyday life as well.36 There are good and bad days on which to build a house, launch a business enterprise, change residence, go on a trip, harvest crops, sharpen cock spurs, hold a puppet show, or (in the old days) start a war, or conclude a peace. The day on which one was born, which again is not a birthday in our sense (when you ask a Balinese when he was born his reply comes to the equivalent of "Thursday, the ninth," which is not of much help in determining his age) but his odalan, is conceived to control or, more accurately, to indicate much of his destiny.37 Men born on this day are liable to suicide, on that to become thieves, on this to be rich, on that to be poor; on this to be well, or long-lived, or happy, on that to be sickly, or short-lived, or unhappy. Temperament is similarly assessed, and so is talent. The diagnosis and treatment of disease is complexly integrated with calendrical determinations, which may involve the odalans of both the patient and the curer, the day on which he fell ill, as well as days metaphysically associated with the symptoms and with the medicine. Before marriages are contracted, the odalans of the individuals are compared to see if their conjunction is auspicious, and if not there will be--at least if the parties, as is almost always the case, are prudent--no marriage. There is a time to bury and a time to cremate, a time to marry and a time to divorce, a time--to shift from the Hebraic to the Balinese idiom--for the mountain top and a time for the market, for social withdrawal and social participation. Meetings of village council, irrigation societies, voluntary associations are all fixed in terms of the permutational (or, more rarely, the lunar-solar) calendar; and so are periods for sitting quietly at home and trying to keep out of trouble.


The lunar-solar calendar, though constructed on a different basis, actually embodies the same punctual conception of time as the permutational. Its main distinction and, for certain purposes, advantage is that it is more or less anchored; it does not drift with respect to the seasons.


This calendar consists of twelve numbered months which run from new moon to new moon.38 These months are then divided into two sorts of (also numbered) days: lunar (tithi) and solar (diwasa). There are always thirty lunar days in a month, but, given the discrepancy between the lunar and solar years, there are sometimes thirty solar days in a month and sometimes twenty-nine. In the latter case, two lunar days are considered to fall on one solar day--that is, one lunar day is skipped. This occurs every sixty-three days; but, although this calculation is astronomically quite accurate, the actual determination is not made on the basis of astronomical observation and theory, for which the Balinese do not have the necessary cultural equipment (to say nothing of the interest); it is determined by the use of the permutational calendar. The calculation was of course originally arrived at astronomically; but it was arrived at by the Hindus from whom the Balinese, in the most distant past, imported the calendar. For the Balinese, the double lunar day-the day on which it is two days at once--is just one more special kind of day thrown up by the workings of the cycles and supercycles of the permutational calendar--a priori, not a posteriori, knowledge.


In any case, this correction still leaves a nine-eleven-day deviation from the true solar year, and this is compensated for by the interpolation of a leap-month every thirty months, an operation which though again originally a result of Hindu astronomical observation and calculation is here simply mechanical. Despite the fact that the lunar-solar calendar looks astronomical, and thus seems to be based on some perceptions of natural temporal processes, celestial clocks, this is an illusion arising from attending to its origins rather than its uses. Its uses are as divorced from observation of the heavens--or from any other experience of passing time--as are those of the permutational calendar by which it is so rigorously paced. As with the permutational calendar, it is the system, automatic, particulate, fundamentally not metrical but classificatory, which tells you what day (or what kind of day) it is, not the appearance of the moon, which, as one looks casually up at it, is experienced not as a determinant of the calendar but as a reflex of it. What is "really real" is the name--or, in this case, the (two-place) number--of the day, its place in the transempirical taxonomy of days, not its epiphenomenal reflection in the sky.39


In practice, the lunar-solar calendar is used in the same way for the same sorts of things as the permutational. The fact that it is (loosely) anchored makes it rather more handy in agricultural contexts, so that planting, weeding, harvesting, and the like are usually regulated in terms of it, and some temples having a symbolic connection with agriculture or fertility celebrate their reception of the gods according to it. This means that such receptions appear only about every 355 (in leap years, about 385) rather than 210 days. But otherwise the pattern is unchanged.


In addition, there is one major holiday, Njepi ("to make quiet"), which is celebrated according to the lunar-solar calendar. Often called, by Western scholars, "the Balinese New Year," even though it falls at the beginning (that is, the new moon) of not the first but the tenth month and is concerned not with renewal or rededication but with an accentuated fear of demons and an attempt to render one's emotions tranquil. Njepi is observed by an eerie day of silence: no one goes out on the streets, no work is conducted, no light or fire is lit, while conversation even within houseyards is muted. The lunar-solar system is not much used for "fortune telling" purposes, though the new moon and full moon days are considered to have certain qualitative characteristics, sinister in the first case, auspicious in the second. In general, the lunarsolar calendar is more a supplement to the permutational than an alternative to it. It makes possible the employment of a classificatory, fulland-empty, "detemporalized" conception of time in contexts where the fact that natural conditions vary periodically has to be at least minimally acknowledged.




The anonymization of persons and the immobilization of time are thus but two sides of the same cultural process: the symbolic de-emphasis, in the everyday life of the Balinese, of the perception of fellowmen as consociates, successors, or predecessors in favor of the perception of them as contemporaries. As the various symbolic orders of person-definition conceal the biological, psychological, and historical foundation of that changing pattern of gifts and inclinations we call personality behind a dense screen of ready-made identities, iconic selves, so the calendar, or rather the application of the calendar, blunts the sense of dissolving days and evaporating years that those foundations and that pattern inevitably suggest by pulverizing the flow of time into disconnected, dimensionless, motionless particles. A sheer contemporary needs an absolute present in which to live; an absolute present can be inhabited only by a contemporized man. Yet, there is a third side to this same process which transforms it from a pair of complementary prepossessions into a triangle of mutually reinforcing cultural forces: the ceremonialization of social intercourse.


To maintain the (relative) anonymization of individuals with whom one is in daily contact, to dampen the intimacy implicit in face-to-face relationships--in a word, to render consociates contemporaries--it is necessary to formalize relations with them to a fairly high degree, to confront them in a sociological middle distance where they are close enough to be identified but not so close as to be grasped: quasi strangers, quasi friends. The ceremoniousness of so much of Balinese daily life, the extent (and the intensity) to which interpersonal relations are controlled by a developed system of conventions and proprieties, is thus a logical correlate of a thoroughgoing attempt to block the more creatural aspects of the human condition--individuality, spontaneity, perishability, emotionality, vulnerability--from sight. This attempt is, like its counterparts, only very partially successful, and the ceremonialization of Balinese social interaction is no closer to being complete than is the anonymization of persons or the immobilization of time. But the degree to which its success is wished for, the degree to which it is an obsessing ideal, accounts for the degree to which the ceremonialization obtains, for the fact that in Bali manners are not a mere matter of practical convenience or incidental decoration but are of deep spiritual concern. Calculated politesse, outward form pure and simple, has there a normative value that we, who regard it as pretentious or comic when we don't regard it as hypocritical, can scarcely, now that Jane Austen is about as far from us as Bali, any longer appreciate.


Such an appreciation is rendered even more difficult by the presence within this industrious polishing of the surfaces of social life of a peculiar note, a stylistic nuance, we would not, I think, expect to be there. Being stylistic and being a nuance (though an altogether pervasive one), it is very difficult to communicate to someone who has not himself experienced it. "Playful theatricality" perhaps hits near it, if it is understood that the playfulness is not lighthearted but almost grave and the theatricality not spontaneous but almost forced. Balinese social relations are at once a solemn game and a studied drama.


This is most clearly seen in their ritual and (what is the same thing) artistic life, much of which is in fact but a portrait of and a mold for their social life. Daily interaction is so ritualistic and religious activity so civic that it is difficult to tell where the one leaves off and the other begins; and both are but expressions of what is justly Bali's most famous cultural attribute: her artistic genius. The elaborate temple pageants; the grandiloquent operas, equilibristic ballets, and stilted shadow plays; the circuitous speech and apologetic gestures--all these are of a piece. Etiquette is a kind of dance, dance a kind of ritual, and worship a form of etiquette. Art, religion, and politesse all exalt the outward, the contrived, the well-wrought appearance of things. They celebrate the forms; and it is the tireless manipulation of these forms--what they call "playing"--that gives to Balinese life its settled haze of ceremony.


The mannered cast of Balinese interpersonal relations, the fusion of rite, craft, and courtesy, thus leads into a recognition of the most fundamental and most distinctive quality of their particular brand of sociality: its radical aestheticism. Social acts, all social acts, are first and foremost designed to please--to please the gods, to please the audience, to please the other, to please the self; but to please as beauty pleases, not as virtue pleases. Like temple offerings or gamelan concerts, acts of courtesy are works of art, and as such they demonstrate, and are meant to demonstrate, not rectitude (or what we would call rectitude) but sensibility.


Now, from all this--that daily life is markedly ceremonious; that this ceremoniousness takes the form of an earnest, even sedulous, kind of "playing" with public forms; that religion, art, and etiquette are then but differently directed manifestations of an overall cultural fascination with the worked-up semblance of things; and that morality here is consequently aesthetic at base--it is possible to attain a more exact understanding of two of the most marked (and most remarked) features of the affective tone of Balinese life: the importance of the emotion of what has been (wrongly) called "shame" in interpersonal relations, and the failure of collective activity--religious, artistic, political, economic--to build toward the definable consummations, what has been (acutely) called its "absence of climax."40 One of these themes, the first, leads directly back toward conceptions of personhood, the other, no less directly, toward conceptions of time, so securing the vertices of our metaphorical triangle connecting the Balinese behavioral style with the ideational environment in which it moves.


The concept of "shame," together with its moral and emotional cousin "guilt," has been much discussed in the literature, entire cultures sometimes being designated as "shame cultures" because of the presumed prominence in them of an intense concern with "honor," "reputation," and the like, at the expense of a concern, conceived to be dominant in "guilt cultures," with "sin," "inner worth," and so forth.41 The usefulness of such an overall categorization and the complex problems of comparative psychological dynamics involved aside, it has proven difficult in such studies to divest the term "shame" of what is after all its most common meaning in English--"consciousness of guilt"--and so to disconnect it very completely from guilt as such--"the fact or feeling of having done something reprehensible." Usually, the contrast has been turned upon the fact that "shame" tends to be applied (although, actually, far from exclusively) to situations in which wrongdoing is publicly exposed, and "guilt" (though equally far from exclusively) to situations in which it is not. Shame is the feeling of disgrace and humiliation which follows upon a transgression found out; guilt is the feeling of secret badness attendant upon one not, or not yet, found out. Thus, though shame and guilt are not precisely the same thing in our ethical and psychological vocabulary, they are of the same family; the one is a surfacing of the other, the other a concealment of the one.


But Balinese "shame," or what has been translated as such (lek), has nothing to do with transgressions, exposed or unexposed, acknowledged or hidden, merely imagined or actually performed. This is not to say that Balinese feel neither guilt nor shame, are without either conscience or pride, anymore than they are unaware that time passes or that men are unique individuals. It is to say that neither guilt nor shame is of cardinal importance as affective regulators of their interpersonal conduct, and that lek, which is far and away the most important of such regulators, culturally the most intensely emphasized, ought therefore not to be translated as "shame," but rather, to follow out our theatrical image, as "stage fright." It is neither the sense that one has transgressed nor the sense of humiliation that follows upon some uncovered transgression, both rather lightly felt and quickly effaced in Bali, that is the controlling emotion in Balinese face-to-face encounters. It is, on the contrary, a diffuse, usually mild, though in certain situations virtually paralyzing, nervousness before the prospect (and the fact) of social interaction, a chronic, mostly low-grade worry that one will not be able to bring it off with the required finesse.42


Whatever its deeper causes, stage fright consists in a fear that, for want of skill or self-control, or perhaps by mere accident, an aesthetic illusion will not be maintained, that the actor will show through his part and the part thus dissolve into the actor. Aesthetic distance collapses, the audience (and the actor) loses sight of Hamlet and gains it, uncomfortably for all concerned, of bumbling John Smith painfully miscast as the Prince of Denmark. In Bali, the case is the same, if the drama more humble. What is feared--mildly in most cases, intensely in a few--is that the public performance that is etiquette will be botched, that the social distance etiquette maintains will consequently collapse, and that the personality of the individual will then break through to dissolve his standardized public identity. When this occurs, as it sometimes does, our triangle falls apart: ceremony evaporates, the immediacy of the moment is felt with an excruciating intensity, and men become unwilling consociates locked in mutual embarrassment, as though they had inadvertently intruded upon one another's privacy. Lek is at once the awareness of the ever-present possibility of such an interpersonal disaster and, like stage fright, a motivating force toward avoiding it. It is the fear of faux pas--rendered only that much more probable by an elaborated politesse--that keeps social intercourse on its deliberately narrowed rails. It is lek, more than anything else, that protects Balinese concepts of personhood from the individualizing force of face-to-face encounters.


"Absence of climax," the other outstanding quality of Balinese social behavior, is so peculiarly distinctive and so distinctively odd that only extended description of concrete events could properly evoke it. It amounts to the fact that social activities do not build, or are not permitted to build, toward definitive consummations. Quarrels appear and disappear, on occasion they even persist, but they hardly ever come to a head. Issues are not sharpened for decision, they are blunted and softened in the hope that the mere evolution of circumstances will resolve them, or better yet, that they will simply evaporate. Daily life consists of self-contained, monadic encounters in which something either happens or does not--an intention is realized or it is not, a task accomplished or not. When the thing doesn't happen--the intention is frustrated, the task unaccomplished--the effort may be made again from the beginning at some other time; or it may simply be abandoned. Artistic performances start, go on (often for very extended periods when one does not attend continually but drifts away and back, chatters for a while, sleeps for a while, watches rapt for a while), and stop; they are as uncentered as a parade, as directionless as a pageant. Ritual often seems, as in the temple celebrations, to consist largely of getting ready and cleaning up. The heart of the ceremony, the obeisance to the gods come down onto their altars, is deliberately muted to the point where it sometimes seems almost an afterthought, a glancing, hesitant confrontation of anonymous persons brought physically very close and kept socially very distant. It is all welcoming and bidding farewell, foretaste and aftertaste, with but the most ceremonially buffered, ritually insulated sort of actual encounter with the sacred presences themselves. Even in such a dramatically more heightened ceremony as the RangdaBarong, fearful witch and foolish dragon combat ends in a state of complete irresolution, a mystical, metaphysical, and moral standoff leaving everything precisely as it was, and the observer--or anyway the foreign observer--with the feeling that something decisive was on the verge of happening but never quite did.43


In short, events happen like holidays. They appear, vanish, and reappear--each discrete, sufficient unto itself, a particular manifestation of the fixed order of things. Social activities are separate performances; they do not march toward some destination, gather toward some denouement. As time is punctual, so life is. Not orderless, but qualitatively ordered, like the days themselves, into a limited number of established kinds. Balinese social life lacks climax because it takes place in a motionless present, a vectorless now. Or, equally true, Balinese time lacks motion because Balinese social life lacks climax. The two imply one another, and both together imply and are implied by the Balinese contemporization of persons. The perception of fellowmen, the experience of history, and the temper of collective life--what has sometimes been called ethos--are hooked together by a definable logic. But the logic is not syllogistic; it is social.



Cultural Integration, Cultural Conflict, Cultural Change


Referring as it does both to formal principles of reasoning and to rational connections among facts and events, "logic" is a treacherous word; and nowhere more so than in the analysis of culture. When one deals with meaningful forms, the temptation to see the relationship among them as immanent, as consisting of some sort of intrinsic affinity (or disaffinity) they bear for one another, is virtually overwhelming. And so we hear cultural integration spoken of as a harmony of meaning, cultural change as an instability of meaning, and cultural conflict as an incongruity of meaning, with the implication that the harmony, the instability, or the incongruity are properties of meaning itself, as, say, sweetness is a property of sugar or brittleness of glass.


Yet, when we try to treat these properties as we would sweetness or brittleness, they fail to behave, "logically," in the expected way. When we look for the constituents of the harmony, the instability, or the incongruity, we are unable to find them resident in that of which they are presumably properties. One cannot run symbolic forms through some sort of cultural assay to discover their harmony content, their stability ratio, or their index of incongruity; one can only look and see if the forms in question are in fact coexisting, changing, or interfering with one another in some way or other, which is like tasting sugar to see if it is sweet or dropping a glass to see if it is brittle, not like investigating the chemical composition of sugar or the physical structure of glass. The reason for this is, of course, that meaning is not intrinsic in the objects, acts, processes, and so on, which bear it, but--as Durkheim, Weber, and so many others have emphasized--imposed upon them; and the explanation of its properties must therefore be sought in that which does the imposing--men living in society. The study of thought is, to borrow a phrase from Joseph Levenson, the study of men thinking;44 and as they think not in some special place of their own, but in the same place--the social world--that they do everything else, the nature of cultural integration, cultural change, or cultural conflict is to be probed for there: in the experiences of individuals and groups of individuals as, under the guidance of symbols, they perceive, feel, reason, judge, and act.


To say this is, however, not to yield to psychologism, which along with logicism is the other great saboteur of cultural analysis; for human experience--the actual living through of events--is not mere sentience, but, from the most immediate perception to the most mediated judgment, significant sentience--sentience interpreted, sentience grasped. For human beings, with the possible exception of neonates, who except for their physical structure are human only in posse anyway, all experience is construed experience, and the symbolic forms in terms of which it is construed thus determine--in conjunction with a wide variety of other factors ranging from the cellular geometry of the retina to the endogenous stages of psychological maturation--its intrinsic texture. To abandon the hope of finding the "logic" of cultural organization in some Pythagorean "realm of meaning" is not to abandon the hope of finding it at all. It is to turn our attention toward that which gives symbols their life: their use.45


What binds Balinese symbolic structures for defining persons (names, kin terms, teknonyms, titles, and so on) to their symbolic structures for characterizing time (permutational calendars, and so forth), and both of these to their symbolic structures for ordering interpersonal behavior (art, ritual, politesse, and so on), is the interaction of the effects each of these structures has upon the perceptions of those who use them, the way in which their experiential impacts play into and reinforce one another. A penchant for "contemporizing" fellowmen blunts the sense of biological aging; a blunted sense of biological aging removes one of the main sources of a sense of temporal flow; a reduced sense of temporal flow gives to interpersonal events an episodic quality. Ceremonialized interaction supports standardized perceptions of others; standardized perceptions of others support a "steady-state" conception of society; a steady-state conception of society supports a taxonomic perception of time. And so on: one could begin with conceptions of time and go around, in either direction, the same circle. The circle, though continuous, is not in a strict sense closed, because none of these modes of experience is more than a dominant tendency, a cultural emphasis, and their subdued opposites, equally well-rooted in the general conditions of human existence and not without some cultural expression of their own, coexist with them, and indeed act against them. Yet, they are dominant; they do reinforce one another; and they are persisting. And it is to this state of affairs, neither permanent nor perfect, that the concept "cultural integration" --what Weber called "Sinnzusammenhang" --can be legitimately applied.


In this view, cultural integration is no longer taken to be a sui generis phenomenon locked away from the common life of man in a logical world of its own. Perhaps even more important, however, it is also not taken to be an all-embracing, completely pervasive, unbounded one. In the first place, as just noted, patterns counteractive to the primary ones exist as subdominant but nonetheless important themes in, so far as we can tell, any culture. In an ordinary, quite un-Hegelian way, the elements of a culture's own negation are, with greater or lesser force, included within it. With respect to the Balinese, for example, an investigation of their witch beliefs (or, to speak phenomenologically, witch experiences) as inverses of what might be called their person beliefs, or of their trance behavior as an inverse of their etiquette, would be most enlightening in this respect and would add both depth and complexity to the present analysis. Some of the more famous attacks upon received cultural characterizations--revelations of suspicion and factionalism among the "harmony-loving" Pueblans, or of an "amiable side" to the rivalrous Kwakiutl--consist essentially in a pointing out of the existence, and the importance, of such themes.46


But beyond this sort of natural counterpoint there are also simple, unbridged discontinuities between certain major themes themselves. Not everything is connected to everything else with equal directness; not everything plays immediately into or against everything else. At the very least such universal primary interconnection has to be empirically demonstrated, not just, as so often has been the case, axiomatically assumed.


Cultural discontinuity, and the social disorganization which, even in highly stable societies, can result from it, is as real as cultural integration. The notion, still quite widespread in anthropology, that culture is a seamless web is no less a petitio principii than the older view that culture is a thing of shreds and patches which, with a certain excess of enthusiasm, it replaced after the Malinowskian revolution of the early thirties. Systems need not be exhaustively interconnected to be systems. They may be densely interconnected or poorly, but which they are-how rightly integrated they are--is an empirical matter. To assert connections among modes of experiencing, as among any variables, it is necessary to find them (and find ways of finding them), not simply assume them. And as there are some rather compelling theoretical reasons for believing that a system which is both complex, as any culture is, and fully joined cannot function, the problem of cultural analysis is as much a matter of determining independencies as interconnections, gulfs as well as bridges.47 The appropriate image, if one must have images, of cultural organization, is neither the spider web nor the pile of sand. It is rather more the octopus, whose tentacles are in large part separately integrated, neurally quite poorly connected with one another and with what in the octopus passes for a brain, and yet who nonetheless manages both to get around and to preserve himself, for a while anyway, as a viable if somewhat ungainly entity.


The close and immediate interdependency between conceptions of person, time, and conduct which has been proposed in this essay is, so I would argue, a general phenomenon, even if the particular Balinese form of it is peculiar to a degree, because such an interdependency is inherent in the way in which human experience is organized, a necessary effect of the conditions under which human life is led. But it is only one of a vast and unknown number of such general interdependencies, to some of which it is more or less directly connected, to others only very indirectly, to others for all practical purposes virtually not at all.


The analysis of culture comes down therefore not to an heroic "holistic" assault upon "the basic configurations of the culture," an overarching "order of orders" from which more limited configurations can be seen as mere deductions, but to a searching out of significant symbols, clusters of significant symbols, and clusters of clusters of significant symbols--the material vehicles of perception, emotion, and understanding--and the statement of the underlying regularities of human experience implicit in their formation. A workable theory of culture is to be achieved, if it is to be achieved, by building up from directly observable modes of thought, first to determinate families of them and then to more variable, less tightly coherent, but nonetheless ordered "octopoid" systems of them, confluences of partial integrations, partial incongruencies, and partial independencies.


Culture moves rather like an octopus too--not all at once in a smoothly coordinated synergy of parts, a massive coaction of the whole, but by disjointed movements of this part, then that, and now the other which somehow cumulate to directional change. Where, leaving cephalopods behind, in any given culture the first impulses toward progression will appear, and how and to what degree they will spread through the system, is, at this stage of our understanding, if not wholly unpredictable, very largely so. Yet that if such impulses appear within some rather closely interconnected and socially consequential part of the system, their driving force will most likely be high, does not appear to be too unreasonable a supposition.


Any development which would effectively attack Balinese personperceptions, Balinese experiences of time, or Balinese notions of propriety would seem to be laden with potentialities for transforming the greater part of Balinese culture. These are not the only points at which such revolutionary developments might appear (anything which attacked Balinese notions of prestige and its bases would seem at least equally portentous), but surely they are among the most important. If the Balinese develop a less anonymized view of one another, or a more dynamic sense of time, or a more informal style of social interaction, a very great deal indeed--not everything, but a very great deal--would have to change in Balinese life, if only because any one of these changes would imply, immediately and directly, the others and all three of them play, in different ways and in different contexts, a crucial role in shaping that life.


Such cultural changes could, in theory, come from within Balinese society or from without; but considering the fact that Bali is now part of a developing national state whose center of gravity is elsewhere--in the great cities of Java and Sumatra--it would seem most likely to come from without.


The emergence for almost the first time in Indonesian history of a political leader who is human, all-too-human, not merely in fact but in appearance would seem to imply something of a challenge to traditional Balinese personhood conceptions. Not only is Sukarno a unique, vivid, and intensely intimate personality in the eyes of the Balinese, he is also, so to speak, aging in public. Despite the fact that they do not engage in face-to-face interaction with him, he is phenomenologically much more their consociate than their contemporary, and his unparalleled success in achieving this kind of relationship--not only in Bali, but in Indonesia quite generally--is the secret of a good deal of his hold on, his fascination for, the population. As with all truly charismatic figures his power comes in great part from the fact that he does not fit traditional cultural categories but bursts them open by celebrating his own distinctiveness. The same is true, in reduced intensity, for the lesser leaders of the New Indonesia, down to those small-frog Sukarnos (with whom the population does have face-to-face relations) now beginning to appear in Bali itself.48 The sort of individualism which Burckhardt saw the Renaissance princes bringing, through sheer force of character, to Italy, and bringing with it the modern Western consciousness, may be in the process of being brought, in rather different form, to Bali by the new populist princes of Indonesia.


Similarly, the politics of continuing crisis on which the national state has embarked, a passion for pushing events toward their climaxes rather than away from them, would seem to pose the same sort of challenge to Balinese conceptions of time. And when such politics are placed, as they are increasingly being placed, in the historical framework so characteristic of New Nation nationalism almost everywhere--original greatness, foreign oppression, extended struggle, sacrifice and self-liberation, impending modernization--the whole conception of the relation of what is now happening to what has happened and what is going to happen is altered.


And finally, the new informality of urban life and of the pan-Indonesian culture which dominates it--the growth in importance of youth and youth culture with the consequent narrowing, sometimes even the reversal, of the social distance between generations; the sentimental comradeship of fellow revolutionaries; the populist equalitarianism of political ideology, Marxist and non-Marxist alike--appears to contain a similar threat to the third, the ethos or behavioral style, side of the Balinese triangle.


All this is admittedly mere speculation (though, given the events of the fifteen years of Independence, not wholly groundless speculation) and when, how, how fast, and in what order Balinese perceptions of person, time, and conduct will change is, if not wholly unpredictable in general, largely so in detail. But as they do change--which seems to me certain, and in fact already to have well begun49 --the sort of analysis here developed of cultural concepts as active forces, of thought as a public phenomenon with effects like other public phenomena, should aid us in discovering its outlines, its dynamics, and, even more important, its social implications. Nor, in other forms and with other results, should it be less useful elsewhere.






The most systematic and extensive discussions are to be found in T. Parsons and E. Shils, eds., Toward a General Theory of Action ( Cambridge, Mass., 1959); and T. Parsons, The Social System ( Glencoe, Ill., 1951). Within anthropology, some of the more notable treatments, not all of them in agreement, include: S. F. Nadel , Theory of Social Structure ( Glencoe. Ill., 1957). E. Leach, Political Systems of Highland Burma ( Cambridge, Mass., 1954); E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Social Anthropology ( Glencoe, Ill., 1951); R. Redfield, The Primitive World and Its Transformations ( Ithaca, 1953); C. LÈvi-Strauss, "Social Structure," in his Structural Anthropology ( New York, 1963). pp. 277-323; R. Firth, Elements of Social Organization ( New York, 1951); and M. Singer, "Culture," in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 3 ( New York, 1968), p. 527.


G. Ryle, The Concept of Mind ( New York, 1949). I have dealt with some of the philosophical issues, here passed over in silence, raised by the "extrinsic theory of thought," above, Chapter 3, pp. 55-61. and need now only re-emphasize that this theory does not involve a commitment to behaviorism, in either its methodological or epistemological forms; nor yet again to any disputation of the brute fact that it is individuals, not collectivities, who think.


For an introduction to Schutz work in this field, see his "The Problem of Social Reality", Collected Papers, 1, ed. M. Natanson ( The Hague, 1962).


Ibid., pp. 17 - 18. Brackets added, paragraphing altered.


Where "ancestor worship" on the one side or "ghost beliefs" on the other are present, successors may be regarded as (ritually) capable of interacting with their predecessors, or predecessors of (mystically) interacting with their successors. But in such cases the "persons" involved are, while the interaction is conceived to be occurring, phenomenologically not predecessors and successors, but contemporaries, or even consociates. It should be kept clearly in mind that, both here and in the discussion to follow, distinctions are formulated from the actor's point of view, not from that of an outside, third-person observer. For the place of actororiented (sometimes miscalled "subjective") constructs in the social sciences, see, T. Parsons, The Structure of Social Action ( Glencoe, Ill., 1937), especially the chapters on Max Weber's methodological writings.


It is in this regard that the consociate-contemporary-predecessor-successor formulation differs critically from at least some versions of the umwelt-mitweltvorwelt-vogelwelt formulation from which it derives, for there is no question here of apodictic deliverances of "transcendental subjectivity" ý la Husserl but rather of socio-psychologically developed and historically transmitted "forms of understanding" ý la Weber. For an extended, if somewhat indecisive, discussion of this contrast, see M. Merleau-Ponty, "Phenomenology and the Sciences of Man," in his The Primacy of Perception ( Evanston, 1964), pp. 43 - 55.


In the following discussion, I shall be forced to schematize Balinese practices severely and to represent them as being much more homogeneous and rather more consistent than they really are. In particular, categorical statements, of either a positive or negative variety ("All Balinese ..."; "No Balinese ..."), must be read as having attached to them the implicit qualification " ... so far as my knowledge goes," and even sometimes as riding roughshod over exceptions deemed to be "abnormal." Ethnographically fuller presentations of some of the data here summarized can be found in H. and C. Geertz, "Teknonymy in Bali: Parenthood, Age-Grading, and Genealogical Amnesia," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 94 (part 2) ( 1964):94-108; C. Geertz, "Tihingan: A Balinese Village," Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde, 120 ( 1964):1-33; and C. Geertz, "Form and Variation in Balinese Village Structure," American Anthropologist 61 ( 1959):991-1012.


While personal names of commoners are mere inventions, meaningless in themselves, those of the gentry are often drawn from Sanskrit sources and "mean" something, usually something rather high-flown, like "virtuous warrior" or "courageous scholar." But this meaning is ornamental rather than denotative, and in most cases what the meaning of the name is (as opposed to the simple fact that it has one) is not actually known. This contrast between mere babble among the peasantry and empty grandiloquence among the gentry is not without cultural significance, but its significance lies mainly in the area of the expression and perception of social inequality, not of personal identity.


This is, of course, not to say that such people are reduced in sociological (much less psychological) terms to playing the role of a child, for they are accepted as adults, if incomplete ones, by their consociates. The failure to have children is, however, a distinct handicap for anyone desiring much local power or prestige, and I have for my part never known a childless man who carried much weight in hamlet councils, or for that matter who was not socially marginal in general.


From a merely etymological point of view, they do have a certain aura of meaning, for they derive from obsolete roots indicating "leading," "medial," and "following"; but these gossamery meanings have no genuine everyday currency and are, if at all, but very peripherally perceived.


In point of fact, the Balinese system (or, in all probability, any other system) is not purely generational; but the intent here is merely to convey the general form of the system, not its precise structure. For the full terminological system, see H. and C. Geertz, "Teknonymy in Bali."


For a distinction, similar to the one drawn here, between the "ordering" and the "role-designating" aspects of kin terminologies, see D. Schneider and G. Homans , "Kinship Terminology and the American Kinship System," American Anthropologist 57 ( 1955):1195-1208.


Old men of the same generation as the deceased do not pray to him either, of course, for the same reason.


It might seem that the continuation of terms beyond the kumpi level would argue against this view. But in fact it supports it. For, in the rare case where a man has a ("real" or "classificatory") great-great-grandchild (kelab) old enough to worship him at his death, the child is, again, forbidden to do so. But here not because he is "the same age" as the deceased but because he is "(a generation) older"--i.e., equivalent to the dead man's "father." Similarly, an old man who lives long enough to have a great-great-grandchild kelab who has passed infancy and then died will worship--alone--at the child's grave, for the child is (one generation) senior to him. In principle, the same pattern holds in more distant generations, when, as the Balinese do not use kin terms to refer to the dead or the unborn, the problem becomes entirely theoretical: "That's what we'd call them and how we would treat them if we had any, which we never do."


Personal pronouns are another possibility and might indeed be considered as a separate symbolic order of person-definition. But, in fact, their use also tends to be avoided whenever possible, often at the expense of some awkwardness of expression.


This use of a descendant's personal name as part of a teknonym in no way contradicts my earlier statements about the lack of public currency of such names. The "name" here is part of the appellation of the person bearing the teknonym, not, even derivatively, of the eponymous child, whose name is taken purely as a reference point and is without--so far as I can tell--any independent symbolic value at all. If the child dies, even in infancy, the teknonym is usually maintained unchanged; the eponymous child addresses and refers to his father and mother by the teknonym which includes his own name quite unself-consciously; there is no notion that the child whose name is embraced in his parents', grandparents', or great-grandparents' teknonyms is, on that account, any way different from or privileged over his siblings whose names are not; there is no shifting of teknonyms to include the names of favored or more able offspring, and so on.


It also underscores another theme which runs through all the orders of person-definition discussed here: the minimization of the difference between the sexes which are represented as being virtually interchangeable so far as most social roles are concerned. For an intriguing discussion of this theme, see J. Belo, Rangda and Barong (Locust Valley, N.Y., 1949).


In this sense, birth order terms could, in a more elegant analysis, be defined as "zero teknonyms" and included in this symbolic order: a person called Wayan, Njoman, etc., is a person who has produced no one, who has, as yet anyway, no descendants.


G. Bateson, "Bali: The Value System of a Steady State," in M. Fortes, ed., Social Structure: Studies Presented to Radcliffe-Brown ( New York, 1963), pp. 35 - 53. Bateson was the first to point out, if somewhat obliquely, the peculiar achronic nature of Balinese thought, and my more narrowly focused analysis has been much stimulated by his general views. See also his "An Old Temple and a New Myth," Djawa (Jogjakarta) 17 ( 1937):219-307. [These have now been reprinted in J. Belo, ed., Traditional Balinese Culture ( New York, 1970), pp. 384-402; 111 - 136.]


Neither how many different titles are found in Bali (though there must be well over a hundred) nor how many individuals bear each title is known, for there has never been a census taken in these terms. In four hamlets I studied intensively in southeastern Bali a total of thirty-two different titles were represented, the largest of which was carried by nearly two hundred and fifty individuals, the smallest by one, with the modal figure running around fifty or sixty. See C. Geertz, "Tihingan: A Balinese Village."


Varna categories are often subdivided, especially by high-status persons, into three ranked classes--superior (utama), medium (madia), and inferior (nista)--the various titles in the overall category being appropriately subgrouped. A full analysis of the Balinese system of social stratification--as much Polynesian as Indian in type--cannot be given here.


The existence of one other order, that having to do with sex markers (Ni for women, I for men) ought at least to be mentioned. In ordinary life, these titles are affixed only to personal names (most of which are themselves sexually neutral) or to personal names plus birth order name, and then only infrequently. As a result, they are, from the point of view of person-definition, of but incidental importance, and I have felt justified in omitting explicit consideration of them.


For an essay in this direction, see C. Geertz, "Form and Variation in Balinese Village Structure."


Place names associated with the function the title expresses are perhaps even more common as secondary specification: "Klian Pau," "Pau" being the name of the hamlet of which the person is klian (chief, elder); "Anak Agung Kaleran," "Kaleran"--literally "north" or "northern"--being the name (and the location) of the lord's palace.


Traditional texts, some of them fairly extensive, relating certain activities of the gods, do exist and fragments of the stories are known. But not only do these myths also reflect the typological view of personhood, the static view of time, and the ceremonialized style of interaction I am seeking to characterize, but the general reticence to discuss or think about the divine means that the stories they relate enter but slightly into Balinese attempts to understand and adapt to "the world." The difference between the Greeks and the Balinese lies not so much in the sort of lives their gods lead, scandalous in both cases, as in their attitude toward those lives. For the Greeks, the private doings of Zeus and his associates were conceived to illuminate the all-too-similar doings of men, and so gossip about them had philosophical import. For the Balinese, the private lives of Betara Guru and his associates are just that, private, and gossip about them is unmannerly--even, given their place in the prestige hierarchy, impertinent.


It is the overall order which is conceived to be fixed, not the individual's location within it, which is movable, though more along certain axes than others. (Along some, e.g., birth order, it is not movable at all.) But the point is that this movement is not, or anyway not primarily, conceived in what we would regard to be temporal terms: when a "father-of" becomes a "grandfather-of," the alteration is perceived as being less one of aging than a change in social (and what is here the same thing, cosmic) coordinates, a directed movement through a particular sort of unchanging attribute, space. Also, within some symbolic orders of person-definition, location is not conceived as an absolute quality because coordinates are origin-dependent: in Bali, as elsewhere, one man's brother is another man's uncle.


Sch¸tz, The Problem of Social Reality, pp. 16-17. Brackets added.


Ibid., pp. 221 - 222.


As a preface to the following, and an appendix to the preceding, discussion, it should be remarked that, just as the Balinese do have consociate relations with one another and do have some sense of the material connection between ancestors and descendants, so too they do have some, as we would put it, "true" calendrical concepts--absolute dates in the so-called Caka system, Hinduistic notions of successive epochs, as well as, indeed, access to the Gregorian calendar. But these are (ca. 1958) unstressed and of distinctly secondary importance in the ordinary course of everyday life; variant patterns applied in restricted contexts for specific purposes by certain sorts of persons on sporadic occasions. A complete analysis of Balinese culture--so far as such a thing is possible--would indeed have to take account of them; and from certain points of view they are not without theoretical significance. The point, here and elsewhere, in this quite incomplete analysis, however, is not that the Balinese are, as the Hungarians are reputed to be, immigrants from another planet entirely unlike ourselves, but merely that the major thrust of their thought concerning certain matters of critical social importance lies, at least for the moment, in a markedly different direction from ours.


Because the thirty-seven-name cycles (uku) which make up the two hundred and ten-day supercycle are also named, they can be, and commonly are, used in conjunction with five- and seven-day names, so eliminating the need to invoke names from the six-name cycle. But this is merely a notational matter: the result is exactly the same, though the days of the thirty- and forty-two-day supercycles are thus obscured. Balinese devices--charts, lists, numerical calculation, mnemonics--for making calendrical determinations and assessing their meaning are both complex and various, and there are differences in technique and interpretation between individuals, villages, and regions of the island. Printed calendars in Bali (a still not very widespread innovation) contrive to show at once the uku; the day in each of the ten permutating cycles (including the one that never changes!); the day and month in the lunar-solar system; the day, the month, and year in the Gregorian and Islamic calendars; and the day, month, year, and year-name in the Chinese calendar--complete with notations of all the important holidays from Christmas to Galungan these various systems define. For fuller discussions of Balinese calendrical ideas and their socioreligious meaning, see R. Goris, "Holidays and Holy Days," in J. L. Swellengrebel, ed., Bali ( The Hague, 1960), pp. 115 - 129, together with the references cited there.


More accurately: the days they define tell you what kind of time it is. Though the cycles and supercycles, being cycles, are recurrent, it is not this fact about them which is attended to or to which significance is attached. The thirty-, thirty-five-, forty-two-, and two hundred and ten-day periodicities, and thus the intervals they demarcate, are not, or are only very peripherally, perceived as such; nor are the intervals implicit in the elementary periodicities, the cycles proper, which generate them--a fact which has sometimes been obscured by calling the former "months" and "years" and the latter "weeks." It is--one cannot stress it too strongly--only the "days" which really matter, and the Balinese sense of time is not much more cyclical than it is durative: it is particulate. Within individual days there is a certain amount of short-range, not very carefully calibrated, durative measurement, by the public beating of slit-gongs at various points (morning, midday, sundown, and so on) of the diurnal cycle, and for certain collective labor tasks where individual contributions have to be roughly balanced, by water-clocks. But even this is of little importance: in contrast to their calendrical apparatus, Balinese horological concepts and devices are very undeveloped.


Goris, "Holidays and Holy Days," p. 121. Not all of these holidays are major, of course. Many of them are celebrated simply within the family and quite routinely. What makes them holidays is that they are identical for all Balinese, something not the case for other sorts of celebrations.


Ibid. There are, of course, subrhythms resulting from the workings of the cycles: thus every thirty-fifth day is a holiday because it is determined by the interaction of the five- and seven-name cycles, but in terms of the sheer succession of days there is none, though there is some clustering here and there. Goris regards RaditÈ-Tungleh-Paing as the "first day of the . . . Balinese [permutational] year" (and thus those days as the first days of their respective cycles); but though there may (or may not: Goris doesn't say) be some textual basis for this, I could find no evidence that the Balinese in fact so perceive it. In fact, if any day is regarded as something of what we would regard as a temporal milestone it would be Galungan (number seventy-four in the above reckoning). But even this idea is very weakly developed at best; like other holidays, Galungan merely happens. To present the Balinese calendar, even partially, in terms of Western flowof-time ideas is, in my opinion, inevitably to misrender it phenomenologically.


Swellengrebel, Bali, p. 12. These temples are of all sizes and degrees of significance, and Swellengrebel notes that the Bureau of Religious Affairs on Bali gave a (suspiciously precise) figure, ca. 1953, of 4,661 "large and important" temples for the island, which, it should be remembered, is, at 2,170 square miles, about the size of Delaware.


For a description of a full-blown odalan (most of which last three days rather than just one), see J. Belo, Balinese Temple Festival (Locust Valley, N.Y., 1953). Again, odalans are most commonly computed by the use of the uku rather than the six-name cycle, together with the five and seven-name cycles. See note 30.


There are also various metaphysical conceptions associated with days bearing different names--constellations of gods, demons, natural objects (trees, birds, beasts), virtues and vices (love, hate . . .), and so on--which explain "why" it has the character it has--but these need not be pursued here. In this area, as well as in the associated "fortune telling" operations described in the text, theories and interpretations are less standardized and computation is not confined to the five-, six-, and seven-name cycles, but extended to various permutations of the others, a fact which makes the possibilities virtually limitless.


With respect to individuals the term applied is more often otonan than odalan, but the root meaning is just the same: "emerging," "appearance," "coming out."


The names of the last two months--borrowed from Sanskrit--are not strictly speaking numbers as are those of the other ten; but in terms of Balinese perceptions they "mean" eleventh and twelfth.


In fact, as another Indic borrowing, the years are numbered too, but-outside of priestly circles where familiarity with it is more a matter of scholarly prestige, a cultural ornament, than anything else--year enumeration plays virtually no role in the actual use of the calendar, and lunar-solar dates are almost always given without the year, which is, with the rarest of exceptions, neither known nor cared about. Ancient texts and inscriptions sometimes indicate the year, but in the ordinary course of life the Balinese never "date" anything, in our sense of the term, except perhaps to say that some event--a volcanic eruption, a war, and so forth--happened "when I was small," "when the Dutch were here," or, the Balinese illo tempore, "in Madjapahit times," and so on.


On the "shame" theme in Balinese culture, see M. Covarrubias, The Island of Bali ( New York, 1956); on "absence of climax," G. Bateson and M. Mead, Balinese Character ( New York, 1942).


For a comprehensive critical review, see G. Piers and M. Singer, Shame and Guilt ( Springfield, Ill., 1953).


Again, I am concerned here with cultural phenomenology, not psychological dynamics. It is, of course, quite possible, though I do not think the evidence is available either to prove or disprove it, that Balinese "stage fright" is connected with unconscious guilt feelings of some sort or another. My only point is that to translate lek as either "guilt" or "shame" is, given the usual sense of these terms in English, to misrender it, and that our word "stage fright"--"nervousness felt at appearing before an audience," to resort to Webster's again--gives a much better, if still imperfect, idea of what the Balinese are in fact talking about when they speak, as they do almost constantly, of lek.


For a description of the Rangda-Barong combat, see J. Belo, Rangda and Barong; for a brilliant evocation of its mood, G. Bateson and M. Mead, Balinese Character. See also above, pp. 114-118.


J. Levenson, Modern China and Its Confucian Past ( Garden City, 1964), p. 212. Here, as elsewhere, I use "thinking" to refer not just to deliberate reflection but intelligent activity of any sort, and "meaning" to refer not just to abstract "concepts" but significance of any sort. This is perhaps somewhat arbitrary, and a little loose, but one must have general terms to talk about general subjects, even if what falls under such subjects is very far from being homogeneous.


,"Every sign by itself seems dead. What gives it life?--in use it is alive. Is life breathed into it there?--Or is its use its life?" L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations ( New York, 1953), p. 128e. Italics in original.


Li An-che, "ZuÒi: Some Observations and Queries," American Anthropologist 39 ( 1937):62-76; H. Codere, "The Amiable Side of Kwakiutl Life," American Anthropologist 58 ( 1956):334-351. Which of two antithetical patterns or clusters of patterns, if either, is in fact primary, is of course an empirical problem, but not, particularly if some thought is given to what "primacy" means in this connection, an insoluble one.


"It has thus been shown that, for adaptations to accumulate, there must not be channels ... from some variables . . . to others. ... The idea so often implicit in physiological writings that all will be well if only sufficient cross-connections are available is ... quite wrong." W. R. Ashby, Design for a Brain, 2nd ed. rev. ( New York, 1960), p. 155. Italics in original. Of course, the reference here is to direct connections--what Ashby calls "primary joins." Any variable with no relations whatsoever to other variables in the system would simply not be part of it. For a discussion of the nest of theoretical problems involved here, see Ashby, pp. 171-183, 205-218. For an argument that cultural discontinuity may not only be compatible with the effective functioning of the social systems they govern but even supportive of such functioning, see J. W. Fernandez, "Symbolic Consensus in a Fang Reformative Cult." American Anthropologist 67 ( 1965):902-929.


It is perhaps suggestive that the only Balinese of much importance in the central Indonesian government during the early years of the Republic--he was foreign minister for a while--was the Satria paramount prince of Gianjar, one of the traditional Balinese kingdoms, who bore the marvellously Balinese "name" of Anak Agung Gde Agung. "Anak Agung" is the public title borne by the members of the ruling house of Gianjar, Gde is a birth order title (the Triwangsa equivalent of Wayan), and Agung though a personal name is in fact just an echo of the public title. As "gde" and "agung" both mean "big," and "anak" means man, the whole name comes to something like "Big, Big, Big Man"--as indeed he was, until he fell from Sukarno's favor. More recent political leaders in Bali have taken to the use of their more individualized personal names in the Sukarno fashion and to the dropping of titles, birth order names, teknonyms, and so on, as "feudal" or "old-fashioned."


This was written in early 1965; for the dramatic changes that, in fact, occurred later that year, see pp. 282-283 and Chapter 11.


Person, time, and conduct in Bali: an essay in cultural analysis,  New-Haven/Ct./USA 1966: Yale University Press; ed. by the Deptartment of Southeast Asia Studies

cf. The interpretation of cultures: selected essays, New-York/N.Y./USA etc. 1973: Basic Books, pp. 360-411.


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