What They Are Saying, Episode 7
If you have three minutes to spare, you might be enjoined to visit the Joyce Project’s article on “Asasic Records”. Credited to “JH 2011” (John Hunt, I presume), it discourses on the continued existence of every idea and word ever crafted on an astral plane of consciousness. The concept is that like a posted comment on a website, once an idea is conceived, it floats around space for eternity.
“Akasa” is Sanscrit for “sky.” Its application is an attempt to assign every instance of thought or word to an otherworldly repository. [Does “akasa” reside on the same plane as all other words and ideas that are mere examples of “akasa?” I wonder.] In the 19th Century, the term was co-opted from Sanskrit, massaged, misunderstood, and manipulated into a money-making endeavor by Alfred Percy Sinnett, Helena Blavatsky, and others. It was very popular among the Anglo-Irish of Dublin, AE, Yeats, Maude Gunn too.
In the wind-tossed “Aeolus” episode, mention of Madame Blavatsky blew past. Then there came the cyclonic reappearance of the concept of Akasic records. The first Akasic breeze being Stephen’s contemplation of his dead mother’s mementos and memories from “Telemachus.” Gifford and Gilbert each make a brief mention of Stephen’s consideration of memories that “ever anywhere wherever was.” This is the view of cosmic plasma from Blavatsky and Sinnett’s Theosophy, but it is also claimed by some who preach reincarnation. Every word and thought is still floating somewhere out there.
JH points out that Joyce later in the text ridicules the concept of akasa, but Joyce ridiculed everything that shaped his character and his art. Perhaps the concept deserves more attention. Metempsychosis will become a link among Bloom, Molly, and Stephen. To risk a step too far, maybe they even share a soul as some transmigrationists propose. JH finds a wonderful example of the soul as a cooperative property in King Vidor, American a novel by Durgnat and Simmon (University of California Press, 1988).