December 03, 2005

Holonic sequence

A.V. Ashok
Akanksa is a key principle of holonic sequence. Any word in a sentence has been expected/anticipated by the previous word and in turn expects/anticipates the next word. Akanksa invalidates the autonomy of a word in a sentence and renders it "dialogic" or networked "across to the other word(s)." Kumarila's abhihitanvaya and Prabhakara's anvitabhidhana are opposing paradigms of the poetics of sequence: aggregative and holonic.
The most memorable expression in literature of the akanksa of time in consciousness is Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" that shows the poet seeing the Brooklyn ferry from the perspective of the expected future and also simultaneously with a superadded expectation of himself as the past for this future:
Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;

Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

It avails not, time nor place – distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt...(Fisher 367).
The finest evocation of akanksa in recent non-fiction is Jonathan Schell's meditation in The Fate of the Earth on the "unborn" in relation to the threat of extinction posed by the nuclear peril (114-178).


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  2. The majestic akanksa if loosely translated as hope has been given a majestic definition by the preeminent psychologist Erich Fromm.

    For Fromm, hope is “inner readiness” and aliveness that animates human life making it to be born every minute.

    The unrestrained readiness of Whitman to weave a unity in the “past, present and the future” is the hope he envisages for his poem in the years to come and which readers like us have cherished and flourished with even greater akanksa.