CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

CESNUR 2005 International Conference
June 2-5, 2005 – Palermo, Sicily
Religious Movements, Globalization and Conflict: Transnational Perspectives

PIER PAOLO PASOLINI:  Revelation, Revolution and the Symbol of the Desert

by J. Edgar Bauer

A paper presented at the 2005 CESNUR Conference in Palermo, Italy.  Preliminary version.   Do not reproduce or quote without consent of the author

"Crucify this cause of distress,
Who don't keep the secrets of Holiness!"
William Blake:  The Everlasting Gospel[i]


1.  In the body of work Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) created, the critical interest in religion is pervasive.  Having acknowledged from early on his love/hate relationship to Italian Catholicism, he eventually resorted to Marxist theory and Freudian psychoanalysis to disentangle the religious intricacies that marked his mindset and intellectual demarche throughout.  On the assumption that Pasolini achieved in his novel Teorema the most consistent and forceful expression of his essentially religious critique of religion, the following close reading of the narrative seeks to shed light on the strategies he deployed to circumvent the platitudes of twentieth-century churched religiosity and ideological secularism.    


2.  Teorema designates within the Pasolinian corpus not only the narrative issued in 1968 in Milan, but also the classical film released the same year.  Unlike Pasolini's published scripts of planned or produced films,[ii] however, Teorema is a literary text in its own right.  As he recalls, 

"The book Teorema was born, like on a gold ground, painted with the right hand, while I worked with the left hand to paint a fresco on a great wall (the homonymous film).  In this amphibolic nature I cannot sincerely tell which one is prevalent:  the literary or the filmic nature."[iii]

The basic idea of both works goes back to one of six theatre pieces sketched out in 1966 that dealt primarily with family constellations and the father-son relationship.  Reflecting Pasolini's interest in exploring the genesis and structure of the patriarchal family, the book and the film concentrate on how the members of a bourgeois household react to a mysterious "guest," whose erotically disquieting presence will eventually put an end to their sense of existential safety.  In an interview, Pasolini offered insights that can be taken as a hermeneutical key to the film and that are equally valuable for understanding the book's core contentions: 

"As indicated in the title, Teorema is based on a hypothesis that evinces itself mathematically per absurdum.  The question is this:  If a young god, be it Dionysus or Jehovah, would visit a bourgeois family, what would happen?  My point of departure is therefore a hypothesis.  But this simple hypothesis presupposes an ideological orientation."[iv]               

Regardless of its religious backdrop and diction, Teorema does not intend to suggest the actual occurrence of a modern-day manifestation of the sacred, but, rather, to show its disruptive consequences if it were to irrupt in the middle of bourgeois secularity.   


3.  Differing from the arguably less complex narrative structure of the film, the book Teorema comprises not only realistic depictions of its characters intertwined with a thread of argument involving dimensions of the numinous, but also extensive poetic passages essential for setting in historical perspective the nature and scope of the unsettling visit.  These narratological insertions make clear from the outset that "our story does not have a chronological succession."[v]  More importantly, they specify that the story "is not a realistic account, but a parable,"[vi] and that its narration, not its interpretive elucidation, is the primary concern of the piece as a whole.  Accordingly, the narrator will exclaim in due course:  "How ugly, banal and useless is the meaning of any parable, without the parable!"[vii]  To take into account such  narratological hints is especially significant in consideration of "the ambiguous nature of the story."[viii]  Elaborating on the issue, the narrator suggests that no sovereign detachment prevailed in the author's mind during its composition, since, as he further maintains in a diction clearly evocative of biblical language, "ours is an account written with shyness and anxiety".[ix]  In corroboration of these contentions, the "Supplements" of Teorema point out clearly that some of its episodes were inspired by passages in the Book of Genesis, the prophecies of Jeremiah, and the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud.                 


4.  Although Teorema presents itself as a parable, its overarching structure is organized according to a pattern of rational demonstration, starting from consensually accepted propositions and eventually leading to non-evident, but inferable truths.  In principle, the intended demonstration is already comprised in Part One of the novel, where the "facts" or "enunciations" are featured in its first six chapters, and a logical conclusion is drawn previous to the poetic elaboration on the achieved results in the "Appendix to Part One."  In keeping with the overall inferential form of the book, its second part articulates the "corollaries" resulting from the previously demonstrated theorem.  At the inception of the whole logical process, the parable depicts the petty bourgeois setting—in the "ideological, not economic sense"[x]—of a North Italian family and its proletarian attendants.  In this rather prosaic context, the narrative eventually achieves one of its pivotal points when postman Angiolino delivers to Emilia, the housemaid, a telegram in which an unnamed sender announces the family:  "I WILL BE WITH YOU TOMORROW."[xi]  While the parents (Paolo and Lucia) and their two children (Odetta and Pietro) are clearly enmeshed in a network of psychological and sociological interdependencies characteristic of their milieu, the mysterious guest is portrayed as being "completely free of mediocrity, recognizability and vulgarity."[xii]  Detached from any referable framework, the guest conveys his deranging alterity only through the immediacy of his language and seductive presence. As the narrator is careful to warn from the outset:  "We will know nothing about him, and besides, it is not necessary to."[xiii]  Thus, while the whole parable explores the existential effects that the visit has on the household, the guest himself remains consistently beyond the reach of biography or psychology.  As an agent of disarray inassimilable to his field of deployment, the impenetrable visitor dents prosaic life inadvertently and from within.       


5.  As already pointed out, the core of Teorema's demonstration comes to its closure by the end of Part One, when the guest receives an unexpected telegram and tells his hosts without further comment or explanation:  "I have to leave tomorrow."[xiv]  By the time of this announcement, their erotic metanoia has already been consummated, for "all the members of the family have been made equal to one another by their secret love, by their sense of belonging to the guest."[xv]  Thus, while Emilia finds in this incarnation of male beauty "a kind of loving compassion, precisely of delicate maternal attention,"[xvi] young Odetta is captivated by the guest's smile, at the same time "paternal and maternal."[xvii]  Despite the male same-sex perspective that marks their relationship, Pietro too will sense in the guest's presence the "light of the father who is full of maternal closeness."[xviii]  Step by step, the guest graciously helps them liberate themselves from the burden of sexual remorse by shaking their grasp of conventional sexuality.  This is especially apparent in the case of Lucia, who does not perceive in the guest the "divinely degrading glance"[xix] she expected while pondering upon the possibility of adultery, but the "great, sweet, protective force of a father."[xx]  As a patriarchal figure, Paolo is the family member whose self-understanding will be most profoundly impaired following his same-sex encounter.  However, he will also find consolation when he acknowledges being possessed by the smile of the young man gleaming not "the sweetness of someone who is giving himself, but, on the contrary, the certainty of someone who gives."[xxi]  Not by chance, the apostle Paul—Paolo's alter ego and a privileged identification figure of Pasolini himself—will echo the hosts' reactions in a meditative passage of the narrative, when he realizes that the desert offers him a profound, but paradox-ridden sense of thalassic peace, "as if he had returned, no, not to the womb of the mother, but to the womb of the father."[xxii]  With this truly counterintuitive inversion of Sándor Ferenczi's topos of coitus as a symbolic return to the womb of the mother,[xxiii] the narrative intimates the extent of the disarray the sacred is capable of inducing in the self-assurance of alienated man.                       


6.  The chapter preceding the scene in which the guest announces his imminent departure interrupts the family narrative, putting the parable in its intended historico-religious context.  With its title "The Hebrews set out…,"[xxiv] the chapter in question clearly resonates with the quotation from the Book of Exodus that serves as motto to Part One:  "'God then let the people turn about, through the way of the desert.  (Exodus, 13,18).'"[xxv]  In its basic design, this part of the narrative constitutes a meditation on how the desert wanderings of the Hebrews led them to conceive the Uniqueness beyond all apparent multiplicity, which eventually came to be regarded as the foundational leitmotiv of Jewish history.  As the narrator maintains, the desert, despite its contrariness to life, "did not reject man, but indeed it welcomed him, inhospitable, but not hostile, contrary to his nature, but in profound affinity to his reality."[xxvi]  In the new landscape of their lives and history, the Hebrews had to come to terms with the discomfiting experience that "the Uniqueness of the desert was like a dream that allows no sleep and from which one cannot waken."[xxvii]  Cultivated as a second nature, the idea of Uniqueness evinced itself as an unleashed obsession even at times when the Hebrews accommodated themselves to living in oasis villages, where "life consisted in not dying."[xxviii]  Turning to Christian Heilsgeschichte as a prolongation of the Hebrew salutary experience in the desert, the narrator characterizes the oasis as the actual point of departure for the apostle Paul's historical mission.  Regardless of his cosmopolitanism, Paul remained, according to this reassessment of his epochal religious venture, within the purview of the desert which, "like a father", looked at him "from every point in the horizon unconfinedly opened."[xxix]  Embodying for the apostle not merely the figure of a "padre" (i.e., "father"), but of a "padrone" (i.e., "lord"), the desert revealed itself once again as the ungraspable pervasiveness and omnipresence[xxx] that had indelibly marked the formative experience of the Jews as a people.  Mindful of their monotheism, the narrative reinterprets Paul's experience on his way to Damascus in strict consonance with the precedent elaborations on the disclosure of Uniqueness in the desert, and thus without any Christological frame of reference.  As the narrator indicatively notes:  "Paul wandered along that way without a history, in that complete identification between the light of the sun and the consciousness of being alive."[xxxi]   


7.  Besides the close correspondence between the introductory motto already mentioned and the chapter on the Hebrews, there are within the chapter itself brief passages that suggest the rationale of its inclusion at such a prominent stage of the family narrative.  In light of these passages it becomes apparent that the chapter aims at deepening the parable's meaning by intimating subtextual correspondences with the genesis of biblical theocentrism.  Such subtle references to Hebrew religiosity offer a clue to the trying revelatory dimensions of the parable that exclude any sense of participatory fulfillment among the family members after their sexual encounters with the upsetting guest.[xxxii]  Accordingly, the parable centers on the heightened awareness of their estranged individualities reacting to the sexual and gender-related perplexities the visitor embodies.  As a consequence, Teorema positions itself as a further layer in an open-ended imbrication of religious narratives that point at the ever-possible experience of Uniqueness and the critical negation of life's estrangements it entails.  On these assumptions, the depiction of the apostle Paul confronting the adversities of the desert foreshadows not only Paolo's existential trial in the family narrative, but also the "Paulinian" struggle of the author of Teorema, a latter-day Paolo intent on relating the apostle's metanoia to that of the parable's most shattered figure.  Not by chance, the experienced glance of the "paternal" desert induces in the apostle the same kind of disquietude as the one that the glance of the guest brings about in Paolo and his family.  In the last resort, both the depicted impersonation of the desert and the guest of Teorema are meant as figurative encodements of a salutary Uniqueness that debunks the defiling mediations of religious history.  Although Teorema  traverses and appropriates motifs and patterns of thought originating in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, its vantage point is not reducible to the premises of Jewish monotheism or Christian soteriology.  Rather, the parable reclaims the hierophanic foundation of both in order to proclaim anew the message that "the desert began to reappear once again in everything that existed."[xxxiii]                                   


8.  Unlike the angelic postman Angiolino delivering messages from "the other worlds from which he is sent,"[xxxiv] the guest himself has no messages or news to convey, for such would only distract from the decisive immediacy of his presence.  The transformations that occur in the lives of the household are triggered, in essence, by the sole visibility of his erotic appeal, and not by the articulation of claims or arguments.  Accordingly, Teorema depicts first and foremost individual initiations in theorein, i.e., a contemplative seeing designed to expose the distortions of reality originating in society's thoughtless pragmatics.  Thus, the inception of Paolo's transformation is signalized by his fresh awareness of the trees in the garden, "touched by a light which lies outside the traditions of his experience."[xxxv]  By virtue of this unforeseeable illumination, the trees will eventually become for Paolo a "presence which has no meaning, and which is nevertheless a revelation."[xxxvi]  Concomitant with the contention that there is "evidently no proportion between revealed miracles and all the other things one does in life,"[xxxvii] the parable tellingly insists on the gratuitousness of the guest's appearance and eventual disappearance from sight on the same road of his advent.  Resonating with his exemplary vanishment, Pietro, upon leaving the paternal home, walks down the road "where the guest had disappeared."[xxxviii]  Similarly, Lucia abandons the patriarchal setting of her life by losing herself down "the silent street where the guest was lost."[xxxix]  More significantly though, even Paolo's corollary begins with his taking the road "down which the guest disappeared one day."[xl]


9.  The revelatory process envisaged in Teorema purports a shift of perspective with potentially dreadful consequences.  In the chapter titled "Resistance to revelation"—significantly the shortest in the book—Pietro, unable to sleep and full of anxiety, takes a few steps toward the guest lying in bed, and, gazing upon "his tranquil sleep, virile and warm, remains thus, lost and estranged, in that contemplation."[xli]  Since Pietro refrains, for the time being, from transforming his erotic vision into consummate carnal knowledge, his non-action is deemed—as the caption suggests—a refusal of the guest's gratuitous manifestation.  In due course, however, Pietro will overcome his initial resistance and take the risk of "knowing" the guest in the sexual sense.[xlii]  Indicatively,  the "Supplements" of Teorema foreground the sexual valence of the biblical God's approach of man, quoting a passage from the Book of Jeremiah that reads:  "You have seduced me, God, and I let you seduce me, you violated me and you prevailed.  I am in derision daily, every one mocks me."[xliii]  After the words "you seduced me," Pasolini annotates in brackets: "also in the physical sense."  As the narrative's strategic citations make apparent, the guest's liberating acts of sexual seduction are meant to resonate with the biblical tradition of knowledge according to the "flesh," exemplified paradigmatically in Adam's "knowing" of Eve in the Book of Genesis.[xliv]  Having left no doubts about the biblical anchorage of his erotic gnosiology, Pasolini goes on to reinforce his attacks on the partisans of spiritualistic sublimation, adducing his characteristic premise of "acting before deciding."[xlv]  Since Pietro "would have to be entirely remade from the beginning"[xlvi] in order to be immune to the prevailing cultural rhetoric of sexual repression, he can only hope to outwit the logic of rationalized replacements by resorting to the evidences of "redemptive innocence."[xlvii]           


10.  Following the announcement of the guest's departure and previous to the corollaries that Part Two articulates, the "Appendix to Part One" offers in versified form the decisive clue to the understanding of the personal differentiation process among the individuals in the household.  While all members of the family address themselves to the absent guest in long poetic monologues, it is the already vanished guest himself that addresses humble Emilia in the piece titled "The Complicity of the sub-proletariat and God."[xlviii]  In contrast to the auspicious bond therewith suggested, the captions of the portions dealing with Pietro, Odetta, Lucia and Paolo refer without exception to their existential quandaries  following the guest's departure:  "Thirst for Death,"[xlix]  "Identification of Incest with Reality,"[l] "The Loss of Existence,"[li] and "The Destruction of the Idea of Oneself."[lii]  In the first of these introspective reflections, Pietro underscores the need to dissolve all commonalities on his arduous path toward achieving individuation:  "So it is through the destruction of everything / that made me the same as others / that I am becoming – / something unheard of and unacceptable – someone DIFFERENT."[liii]  Along similar lines, Odetta repudiates the alleged normality of the life she led previous to the guest's irruption in her life:  "Until your arrival I had lived / among—excuse the eternal word—normal persons: / but I was not; and I had to protect myself / (and be protected), to hide / the painful symptoms of my class-sickness, / that is, of the void in which I lived (sinister health)."[liv]  In her turn, Lucia will avow a comparable predicament when pondering over adultery, and even incest, as possible means to avert the banality of her life:  "This absolutely extreme choice— / and  one without any possibility of turning back— / is it the only act that can save a life / from the lack of any interest / and from the void filled with values which are all mistaken?"[lv]  Finally, Paolo muses upon a possible incestuous relationship not only with his daughter, but also with his son in order to overcome the lack of meaning that haunts his existence: "Are / the most unthinkable / and most intolerable exceptions, the ones most remote from the possibility / of being conceived of and actually named, those which present themselves as the most effective means of recognizing life?"[lvi]  In all these four instances, the appearance of the ungraspable guest marks the inception of a crisis that awakens the craving for an outrageous individual fulfillment, whose pursuit, nevertheless, does not exclude the risk of utter perdition. 


11.  In the last chapter of Teorema, the narrator declares:  "As once for the people of Israel or the apostle Paul, / the desert appears to me / as that part of reality that is alone indispensable."[lvii]  Even though the narrator positions Teorema within the biblical tradition of hierophanic desert encounters, he is clearly intent on averting Feuerbachian-inspired objections against divine hypostatizations and the resulting sacral sanction of all too human laws.  Thus, on the one hand, the narrative avoids making any onto-theological claims as regards the sacred or its impersonations, concentrating instead on the entailments that the solely postulated hierophany would have on the lives of those who experience it.  On the other hand, Teorema repeatedly refers to the critical and antinomistic impulses inherent in the assumed manifestations of the sacred throughout history.  Significantly, Pietro begins his meditative monologue in the appendix with the words:  "I am destroyed, or at least transformed / so that I do not know myself, because in me, / the law is destroyed, which— / up to this moment — / had made me a brother of others."[lviii]  The validity of the law as the abstract instance that establishes and regulates the commonality with "an-other" is shattered, in principle, by Pietro's quasi-Stirnerian acknowledgement of his own irrevocably unique individuality.[lix]  Perhaps more importantly, in the depiction of the young man's demarche the age-old assumption of an ontologized Unique One sanctioning the Law heteronomously has been replaced by the sober recognition that only the unsettlement and supersedure of the Law could be conducive to Uniqueness.  Accordingly, Teorema's thorough antinomism calls for the individual's admission of his being "someone DIFFERENT"[lx] and appertaining to "the exceptionalities"[lxi] of life beyond alienation.  Against the backdrop of this radical subversiveness, the family members will reflect in due course on the possibility of violating the ur-taboo of incest.  Following closely the views of Freudian psychoanalysis, the narrator considers this interdiction to be the fundamental restriction once imposed by the Primal Father, and conveniently sanctioned by all fathers ever since in their attempt to maintain the patriarchal order.  Since, as Lucia contends, the conventions of society are the equivalent "of a profound moral ugliness,"[lxii] renouncing personal adequacy to such established norms becomes for her an indispensable prerequisite for "recognizing life at any cost / at every moment."[lxiii]  Despite the relevancy of the antinomistic stance to the narrative as a whole, it should be kept in mind, however, that it is not the guest who suggests the transgression of the incest taboo as a means of resolving the family's predicament.  Rather, it is the hosts' reluctancy to cope with the definitiveness of the guest's departure that leads them to ponder over such a consequence-laden step.  Instead of facing the factual end of their hierophanic encounter, the family members begin to seek possible surrogates for the irrecoverable visitor.  Since the conception of repetition that underlies the idea of substitution contradicts the meaning of his unique advent, the adulterous or incestuous replacements they eventually contemplate constitute, at most, essentially deficient attempts to overcome the Father and his Law.                                            


12.  Considering the hosts' failure to envision life beyond repetition, it is all the more significant how the narrative configures the farewell scene between the guest and Emilia in the appendix to Part One.  At this point, he conveys the meaning of his presence by anticipating the effects of his absence on the modest housemaid.  According to his prediction, since Emilia escapes the rule of the Primal Father that determines the life of "all the others,"[lxiv] she will not fall into the snares of the substitutional logic that precludes access to Uniqueness.  Although Emilia will remain "inconsolable"[lxv] after the guest's departure, she does not actually "need to ask for consolation."[lxvi]  As the guest, echoing the Gospel, points out to her, "You live entirely in the present. / Like the birds in the sky and the lilies of the field, you give no thought for the morrow."[lxvii]  With these remarks, the guest detaches her—a girl "shut out, dispossessed by the world"[lxviii]—from the mediocrity of her bourgeois patrons, in order to vindicate all the more forcefully the "mysterious complicity"[lxix] that exists between them.  As the guest also remarks, the fact that there has never been an exchange of words between them does not mean that she lacks consciousness, but that hers is "a consciousness without words and consequently without twaddle."[lxx]  Free from bourgeois estrangement, Emilia is the only member of the household capable of fathoming from the outset the actual depth of the disruption brought about by the guest, who assures her in this regard:  "You will be the only one to know, when I have gone, / that I shall never return, and you will seek me / where you should."[lxxi]  Differing from Odetta, Pietro and Lucia (who end up "loosing or betraying God"[lxxii]) as well as from Paolo (who will go through a trying process of dispossession that includes the donation of his manufacturing plant), privileged Emilia alone treads at once the path of saintliness.     


13.  Once Emilia's grasp of the epiphanic visit has been made apparent, the remaining chapters of Part Two that focus on her convey how the inner transformation she has experienced affects her outward life.  In this portion of the narrative, Emilia leaves behind the bourgeois house of her patrons for good, and goes back to the farmstead of her humble origins in the vicinity of Milan.  There, Emilia attracts the attention of the peasants by her solemn muteness, miraculous healings and extreme asceticism.  In surrealistically tinged scenes the parable tells, for instance, about her turning green due to her decision to restrict her diet to nettles,[lxxiii] or the details of her ecstatic levitation suspended above the roof.[lxxiv]  Abstaining from explaining or interpreting this kind of occurrences, the narrator contents himself with referring to the questions that a journalist directs to the curiosity-ridden public congregated around Emilia.  Despite being formulated in the "low-grade language of the average citizen's culture,"[lxxv] the questions are subtle enough as to imply that the sense of the sacred is still present among the peasantry, but irretrievably lost in the bourgeois consciousness, where "metaphysical religion" has been replaced by a "religion of behavior".[lxxvi]  In consonance with the journalist's conjectures, Emilia will indeed find sanctuary among peasants from the alienatory world of spoiled Eros, and eventually confront in a rural landscape the ultimate challenges of Thanatos.  As the chapter titled "The moment to die has come" relates, she leaves in tears the farmstead and chooses a nearby construction site to die.  Fulfilling the guest's prediction, Emilia remains inconsolable to the very end.  She dies crying at the bottom of a deep hole that unwitting workers cover with earth, but her tears form a spring whose waters will heal the wounds of an unsuspecting worker.  Since Emilia renounced while alive all comforting substitutions for her loss, her body betokens in death her grasp of Uniqueness as the true well of salvation.           


14. Unlike Emilia, Odetta loses and betrays "God" because of her willingness to console herself by resorting to a regime of replacements.[lxxvii]  Subliminally assuming the interchangeability of patriarchal figures, Odetta seeks to incorporate the vanished guest into her scheme of substitutions.  Like in the case of the other members of the household, the premises of Odetta's corollary are specified in Part One, where the narrator explains his "Theory of the Two Paradises."[lxxviii]  Distinguishing at first between Odetta's authentic nature as an adoring and obedient daughter of the Primal Father and her merely derivative identification with the real, albeit Secondary Father, the narrator indicates that she could recover her lost "true" being which once inhabited the original paradise if she would only undo her "real" displacements.  At its face value, the narrator's suggestion seems to be a meaningful way of opposing the fact that "our existence is merely a mad process of identification with that of those living beings, whom something that is immensely ours sets us beside."[lxxix]  Soon it becomes apparent, however, that the recovery of Odetta's venerating nature could not possibly prevent the occurrence of further identification processes, since the invoked Primal Father, far from negating on principle the logic of substitution, actually sanctions it by continually metamorphosing in his own patriarchal replacements.  In view of this much more fundamental threat, the narrator warns Odetta against the "dangers of religion,"[lxxx] reminding her that "the Primal Father chased us from the Second Paradise too."[lxxxi]  By the end of the chapter, however, Odetta proves to be incapable of renouncing the adoration of the Father, and capitulates to his allurements: "You struggle in vain, trapped between a reminiscence that is too beautiful and a reality that takes you from dreaming to insanity."[lxxxii]  Instead of rebelling against the Primal Father's substitutionary logic, Odetta opts for "dropping out"[lxxxiii] and surrendering to the pervasiveness of the regime she had actually intended to evade.  In her obsessive fantasies, she invests the vanished guest with the attributes of a paternal surrogate initiating a potentially endless reduplication process that precludes the salutary awareness of non-mediated (and non-mediatable) Uniqueness.  Sealing her destiny, Odetta devoutly caresses the bosom of the guest on a picture she had taken of him, and abandons herself to madness with "the fist at her side tightly clenched."[lxxxiv]  As such, Odetta's phallic tenderness betokens the triumph of protective redundancy over the risks of unprecedented selfhood.                  


15.  In contrast to Odetta's patriarchal devotion, Pietro's relationship to his father is marked by rivalry.  Although free from the subjugating bonds of paternal intimacy, he, like Odetta, yearns for a father figure capable of replacing the vanished guest.  As he himself suggests when attempting to "re-educate" the young man "to disorder and disobedience,"[lxxxv] Pietro seeks to re-enact his original rebellion against the Father even when he protests against the restrictions imposed by the authority of tradition on his artistic creativity.  Accordingly, in the chapter "The first ones we love are …,"[lxxxvi] the narrator points out that "the poets and painters of the previous generation assume in our mind the place of the fathers,"[lxxxvii] and advises:  "Do feel nostalgia for them when you are sixteen. / But begin to understand immediately / that no one has made revolutions before you; / that the poets and painters old or dead, / despite the halo of heroic air you give them, / are useless for you, they don't teach you anything."[lxxxviii]  Unable to learn this crucial lesson, Pietro endows the image of the guest with an authoritarian  appeal that degrades and contradicts the invaluableness of the original encounter.  Due to his overly dependency on the father figure, Pietro is obsessed with avoiding "puerility and ridicule"[lxxxix] in his art.  As a consequence, he resorts to artistic techniques to construct artificially private worlds deemed to escape comparison:  "Everything must present itself as being perfect, based on unknown rules, and therefore impossible to judge."[xc]  Lastly, even his extravagant decision to paint purely blue surfaces in order to avert possible criticism is ineffectual and counterproductive, for, as the narrator surmises:  "He does not paint and has never painted to express himself, but probably only to make his own impotence known to everybody."[xci]  Subdued by the Father's incapacitating authority, Pietro consummates his self-betrayal by deciding to paint a blue surface with his eyes closed.  Therewith, he unknowingly rejoins Odetta in the sightlessness of her devotion.[xcii]                


16.  "Lucia's corollary" and the following analysis of her "loss and betrayal of God" focus on the issue of her multiple adulterous contacts, featuring them as compulsive attempts to reiterate her relationship to the guest.  Unwilling to confront his definitive departure, Lucia, like both of her children, fixes her mind on the alienatory reenactment of a purportedly transgressive act that, in itself, could have liberated her from the stifling Law of the Father she had internalized.  In her desperate quest for substitutions, Lucia "represses every anxiety, every shame, every voice of good sense:  giving herself over to her search with the obstinacy of a scientist or of a famished animal writhing in silence."[xciii]  Thus, during an aimless drive through the streets of Milan, Lucia first picks up a student with whom she has an unrewarding sexual adventure.  In haste and guilt-ridden, she then engages in sexual intercourse with two young hitchhikers she happens to meet on the road.  Her craving for erotic replacements is apparent even during her visit to a chapel immediately after these encounters. Symptomatically, a painting of the crucified Christ she gazes at evokes in her vague associations with the guest, given that the portrayed figure "looks like a spiritual young man, somewhat stupid and ambiguous—but still fairly virile, with two blue eyes full of what should be Divine Mercy."[xciv]  Clearly, her reaction to the effete depiction corroborates the intensity and futility of her desire for graspable substitutes.  By recurring to a pattern of repetitive surrogations that obliterates the liberating finitude she had experienced, Lucia only aggravates the predicament of her patriarchal subjugation.[xcv]


17.  The narrative of Teorema does not foresee a chapter on Paolo's defection, since he is the only family member willing to face the challenge that the guest's irrecoverable absence purports.  The actions resulting from his final grasp of the situation are all the more significant as Paolo embodies in his paternal persona the axis of the societal constellation targeted by the parable.  Resisting the mirages of substitution, Paolo's demarche toward the dismantlement of the worldview that sustains his own class privileges starts with his leaving the family house to engage in an erotically charged search of which he is at first hardly aware.  Only gradually, twinges of remorse suggest the actual reason why he has reached the Milan central railway station.  Since Paolo too had once pondered over how the vanished guest could  eventually be "replaced,"[xcvi] the pattern of Lucia's wanderings seems to be effective once again when Paolo decides to trail a young man completely unknown to him.  However, as Paolo "stops suddenly"[xcvii] without any apparent reason, the narrator declares that he will not seek to fathom his motives, but just describe his acts as determined by a "consciousness that is already outside life."[xcviii]  Against this backdrop, the scene that depicts Paolo's undressing in the midst of a perplexed mass, and then focuses on his naked feet contrasting with the shod people around him, is undoubtedly meant to evoke Francis of Assisi's nude exposure at the outset of his religious conversion.  While Paolo's startling behavior appears to the observer as a manifestation of an inexplicable inward transformation, for Paolo himself no distinction seems possible between his signifying acts and the signified metanoia that sustains them, since, from then on, the visible and invisible aspects of his life conflate irrevocably into a new existence.  Correspondingly, in one of the most pregnant passages of Teorema Paolo is depicted as "if he could no longer distinguish reality from its symbols; or else, perhaps, as if he had decided to cross, once and for all, the vain and illusory boundaries which divides reality from its representations.  Something, in short, that men do whom some faith detaches forever from their lives."[xcix]    


18.    Paolo's corollary is immediately followed by an "investigation" that parallels the one on Emilia's saintliness.  The portion includes the questions put by a journalist—"perhaps the same one as at Emilia's farmstead"[c]—to the workers at Paolo's factory plant after he had decided to donate it to them.  His grotesque dullness notwithstanding, the journalist asks questions that reflect the difficulties of dealing in prosaic terms with the repercussions of Paolo's metanoia.  "Pressing the pedal of poor daily logic, while abandoning with understandable annoyance that of sweet imagination,"[ci] the journalist denies the revolutionary character of the donation, suggesting that Paolo's presumptive generosity was, in truth, "a historical crime, and, as a private act, an old religious solution"[cii] intended to transform workers into petits bourgeois.  Slightly varying the general Pasolinian contention that the bourgeoisie inherited "the idea of possession and conservation"[ciii] from the peasant world, while rejecting its concurrent "religious feelings,"[civ] the Marxist journalist sharply denounces what he deems to be an attempt to suppress the proletariat (i.e., the only class external to the universally victorious bourgeoisie) by means of religious cunning.  Despite its authorial credentials, however, such a stance contravenes in fact the narratological thrust of Teorema, as it fails to acknowledge that Paolo's deeds derive from insights beyond the grasp of laws, socio-economic or otherwise.  In light of the declared intention of the narrative, the critique comprised in the journalist's inquiry evinces itself as short-sighted and trivial, for it overlooks that Paolo's experience of Uniqueness disarrays the identitarian logic on which the ideological strategy of class assimilation is grounded.  Going beyond the assumed absorption and supersedure of the peasant world by the bourgeoisie (or of the bourgeoisie by the masses of revolutionary Marxism), the parable exposes the redundant structure of historical progress from the vantage point of the subversiveness that derives from ever-present Uniqueness. 


19.  Teorema's closing chapter titled "Oh, my naked feet…" constitutes an introspective pendant to the outwardness of Paolo's corollary.  Between both portions of the narrative, a tacit link is suggested by the naked feet of Paolo walking away from the railway station, and those of his alter ego wandering on the sands of a desert.  This telling continuity notwithstanding, the drastic difference of landscapes hints at a reorientation toward a "reality that is divested from everything except its own essence,"[cv] and that can only be accessed by leaving behind the prosaic grasp of the existing world for the sake of its symbolic representation.  From this perspective, the unveiling effectuated by the parable is actually a potentiation of meaning through a symbolic process designed to open up (i.e., "dis-close") the given to the possibility (not the actuality) of a new signification.  Thus, assuming the role of a thinly-veiled hermeneut, the desert wanderer declares at first: "I AM FILLED BY A QUESTION WHICH I CANNOT ANSWER,"[cvi] and then proceeds to elaborate: 

"It is true:  the symbol of reality / has something reality does not have: / it represents every meaning of reality, / but still adds—on account of its own / representative nature—a new meaning to it. / But—certainly not as for the people of Israel or the apostle Paul— / this new meaning remains undecipherable to me."[cvii] 

Although the parable stands in the continuity of the biblical and neo-testamentary narrative traditions, it precludes identifying "the new meaning" it intimates with the closures of the divinely sanctioned worldviews of old.  Thus, far from reclaiming a pre-modern epistemic foundation, the parable undermines the self-understanding of theistic religions, and incites a deconstructive process that forsakes the hypostatization of the sacred for the sake of the hypothesis of its epiphany.  On this assumption, the experience of the sacred does not become the source of a "positive" divine revelation. On the contrary, it fosters the "re-duction"—i.e., re-conduction—of the onto-theological representation of God to a de-ontologized conception of hierophanic Uniqueness, and by so doing, initiates the dismantlement of the patriarchal order such a representation is designed to sanction.  Given Paolo's role in the family setting, his shattered self announces the end of the patriarchal regime of ever-new identitarian substitutions, and calls for the overcoming of the existential void that such a critical demarche leaves behind.  Not by chance, Paolo is the only family member to consider the possibility of incest not as a mere pattern of surrogation, but as a "symbol"[cviii] inciting the thorough disruption of the patriarchal configuration that until then had determined his self-understanding.  Thus, while Pietro, Odetta and Lucia acknowledge the validity of the patriarchal law as the instance they may need to transgress in order to restore their unsettled self-representations, Paolo does not regard the possibility of incest as a paradoxical means to declare his theonomous (i.e., patriarchal) allegiance, but as a radically antinomistic exhortation "to the most complete perdition, / to place life outside itself, / and to keep it once and for all / outside order and tomorrow."[cix]  Ultimately, Paolo's consequent nomoclasm marks his re-orientation toward the "dis-closures" of the desert, where he will eventually partake in the fulfilling immediacy of Uniqueness that saintly Emilia had experienced all along.     


20.  When antinomian Paolo, qua desert wanderer, points at the essential gap between his own incapacity to decipher the "new meaning" and the biblical decoding of reality's symbolism, he is certainly not trying to convey a superior sense of enlightened self-restriction as opposed to the uncritical epistemic optimism characteristic of pre-modern religiosity.  On the contrary, he regrets bitterly the "wretched, prosaic conclusion of a process begun in order to lead to God,"[cx] and relates the disappointing result of his quest to the fact that his life "in the days of history – so much less beautiful, pure and essential than its representation"[cxi] has been an inadequate preparation for the life in the desert.  In view of his shortcomings both in "life" and "its representation", the wanderer, seeking to remap and gauge the field of his quest, queries:  "But what will prevail?  The mundane aridity / of reason, or religion, despicable / fecundity of one who lives left behind by history?"[cxii]  Gradually, it becomes apparent that, for the wanderer, the ambit where the desert deploys its essence is neither the astringency of reason nor the exuberance of religion.  The desert's actual site is rather "like in life, like in Milan",[cxiii] and for this reason it precludes from seeing "anything new other than the dark horizon."[cxiv]  Although the wanderer concedes that the desert is just a "place / imagined by my poor culture,"[cxv] it by no means the product of a manipulative fantasy.  Reflecting the desert's resistance in this regard, the wanderer seeks to find out why the facial expression with which he reacts to the desert is beyond his control.  More importantly, he asks himself, why does the "scream which, for some instants now, / has been furiously coming out of my throat, / not add anything to the ambiguity which up to now / has dominated this wandering of mine through the desert."[cxvi]  As an inhabitant of a no-man's-land between the factual immanence of life and the transcendence of its ungraspable meaning, the desert wanderer avows that his scream does not allow him to decide the signification of his quest in terms acceptable to common sense or to the alleged certainties of otherworldliness.  Therewith, Teorema appears to reclaim the pre-eminent existential rank that philosopher Max Stirner[cxvii] and painter Edvard Munch[cxviii] assigned to the act of screaming.  In accordance with their core insights, the wanderer's scream becomes a cipher for his ultimate self-assertion as a living individuality capable of seeing through the snares of religion and its secular negations:  "It is a scream that wants to make known, / in this uninhabited spot that I exist, / or else that I not only exist, / but that I know."[cxix]  Since the wanderer's knowledge, however, purports an act of transcending that excludes the achievement of transcendence, he is careful to underscore that his quest remains without conceivable closure:  "In any case this is certain, that whatever / this scream of mine intends to mean, / it is destined to last beyond any possible end."[cxx]  As a transposition of Paolo into the essential sphere of symbolic representation, the desert wanderer rearticulates in the disenchanted world of late modernity the perennial significance of the metanoia toward Uniqueness, which once incited Saul of Tarsus to unsettle the Father's Law.



[i] Blake, William:  The Everlasting Gospel.  In:  Blake, William:  Complete Writings with variant readings.  Edited by Geoffrey Keynes.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1979,  p. 755.


[ii] See for example:  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Il Vangelo secondo Matteo, Edipo Re, Medea.  Introduzione di Morando Morandini.  Milano:  Garzanti, 1998.


[iii] Quoted according to:  Naldini, Nico:  Pasolini, una vita.  Torino:  Einaudi, 1989, p. 317:  "Teorema-libro è nato, come su fondo oro, dipinto con la mano destra, mentre con la mano sinistra lavoravo ad affrescare una grande parete (il film omonimo).  In tale natura anfibologica, non so sinceramente dire quale sia prevalente:  se quella letteraria o quella filmica."


[iv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Il sogno del centauro.  A cura di Jean Duflot.  Prefazione di Gian Carlo Ferretti.  Roma:  Editori Riuniti, 1983, p. 85:  "Teorema, come indica il titolo, si fonda su un'ipotesi che si dimostra matematicamente per absurdum.  Il quesito è questo:  se una famiglia borghese venisse visitata da un giovane dio, fosse Dioniso o Jehova, che cosa succederebbe?  Parto dunque da una pura ipotesi.  Ma questa semplice ipotesi suppone già un orientamento ideologico." 


[v] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema.  Milano:  Garzanti, 1991, p. 10:  "[…] questa nostra storia non ha una successione cronologica […]."


[vi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 20:  "[…] questo non è un racconto realistico, è una parabola […]." 


[vii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 175:  "E com'è brutto, banale e inutile il significato di ogni parabola, senza la parabola!"  Italics in the original. 


[viii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 25:  "[…] la natura ambigua della storia […]." 


[ix]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 189:  "[…] il nostro è un referto scritto con timidezza e con paura."


[x]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 9:  "[…] piccolo borghese in senso ideologico, non in senso economico."


[xi]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 22:  "'SARÒ DA VOI DOMANI.'"  Uppercase letters in the original.   


[xii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 23:  "[…] completamente privo di mediocrità, di riconoscibilità e di volgarità [...]."


[xiii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 24:  "[…] di lui non sapremo niente; e del resto non è necessario saperlo."


[xiv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 94:  "'Devo partire, domani.'"


[xv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 93: "Tutti i membri della famiglia sono resi uguali fra loro dal loro amore segreto, dal loro appartenere all'ospite […]."

[xvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 29:  "[…] un specie di compassione amorevole – appunto: di delicata attenzione materna."


[xvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 73:  "Ma egli le sorride, paterno e materno […]."


[xviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 38:  "[…] luce di padre pieno di una confidenza materna…"


[xix]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 46:  "[…] sguardo divinamente degradante […]."


[xx] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 46:  "[…] una grande, dolce, protettrice forza di genitore."


[xxi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 82:  "Tuttavia, in quel sorriso, non balena neanche per un istante la dolcezza di chi si dona.  Al contrario, non c'è che la sicurezza di chi dona."


[xxii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 91:  "[…] come se fosse tornato, no, non nel grembo della madre, ma nel grembo del padre."  Italics in the original.


[xxiii] See in this regard:  Bauer, J. Edgar:  A szexuális különbözo˝ség, a thalasszális regresszió és a "nem antropomorf animizmus" problémája Ferenczi Sándor mu˝veiben. In:  Thalassa 16 (1): pp. 3–24.


[xxiv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 87:  "'Gli Ebrei si incamminarono…'"  Italics in the original.


[xxv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 7:  "'Dio fece quindi piegare il popolo per la via del deserto.'  Esodo, 13, 18."


[xxvi]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 88:  "[…] ma [il deserto] non rifiutava l'uomo, anzi lo accoglieva, inospitale ma non nemico, contrario alla sua natura, ma profondamente affine alla sua realtà."


[xxvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 88:  "L'Unicità del deserto era come un sogno che non lascia dormire e da cui non ci si può risvegliare."


[xxviii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 90:  "[…] la […] vita consisteva nel non morire."


[xxix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 91:  "[…] come un padre […] lo guardava da ogni punto del suo orizzonte sconfinatamene aperto."


[xxx] See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 92:  "[…] una forma unica, e come tale essa era sempre anche onnipresente."


[xxxi]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 92:  "Paolo percorreva quella strada senza storia, in quella identificazione completa tra luce del sole e coscienza di star vivendo."


[xxxii]  See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 94:  "[…] ma, tutti insieme, non fanno certo una chiesa."



[xxxiii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 90:  "Il deserto ricominciò a riapparire in tutto quello che era […]."


[xxxiv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 61:  "[…] gli altri mondi di cui è inviato."


[xxxv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., pp. 55-56:  "[…] toccati da una luce che è fuori dalle tradizioni della sua esperienza."


[xxxvi]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 56: "Presenza che non ha significato, e che pure è una rivelazione."  Italics in the original.


[xxxvii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 56:  "[…] non c´è evidentemente proporzione tra i miracoli rivelati e tutte le altre cose che si fanno nella vita."


[xxxviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 147:  "[…] quella [strada] in fondo alla quale era scomparso l'ospite."


[xxxix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 155:  "[…] la silenziosa strada per dove si è perduto l'ospite [...]."


[xl] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 187:  "[…] la strada, in fondo a cui l'ospite un giorno era scomparso."


[xli]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 34:  "Contempla quel suo sonno tranquillo, virile e caldo.  Rimane così, perduto e straniato, in quella contemplazione."


[xlii]  See  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 203.


[xliii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 204:  "Mi hai sedotto, Dio, e io mi sono lasciato sedurre, mi hai violentato [anche nel senso fisico] e hai prevalso.  Sono divenuto oggetto di scherno ogni giorno, ognuno si fa beffe di me…"  Italics in the original.  For obvious reasons, the English translation does not follow the Hebrew text, but the Italian version used by Pasolini.


[xliv] For a brief discussion of the religious background of the issue, see:  Bauer, J. Edgar:  "Connaissance [religion]."  In:  Encyclopédie Philosophique Universelle.  Publié sous la direction d´André Jacob.  Volume II:  Les Notions Philosophiques.  Dictionnaire.  Volume dirigé par Sylvain Auroux.  Tome I.  Paris:  Presses Universitaires de France, 1990, pp. 416-417.


[xlv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 38:  "[…] agendo prima di decidere."  See also the similar formulation regarding Lucia on p. 43: "[…] agire prima di decidere."  Italics in the original.


[xlvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 38:  "[…] egli dovrebbe essere rifatto tutto daccapo."


[xlvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 67:  "[…] innocenza salvatrice […]."


[xlviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106:  "Complicità tra il sottoproletariato e Dio."  Italics in the original.


[xlix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 97:  "Sete di morte."  Italics in the original.


[l] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 99:  "Identificazione dell'incesto con la realtà."  Italics in the original.


[li] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 100:  "La perdita dell'esistenza."  Italics in the original.


[lii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 104:  "La distruzione dell'idea di sé."  Italics in the original.


[liii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 97:  "È dunque attraverso la distruzione di tutto ciò / che mi rendeva uguale agli altri, / che io divento / -- cosa  inaudita e inaccettabile -- un DIVERSO."  Italics and uppercase letters in the original.


[liv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 99:  "Fino al tuo arrivo io ero vissuta / tra persone -- scusa l'eterna parola -- normali: / io invece non lo ero; e dovevo proteggermi / (ed essere protetta), per nascondere / i penosi sintomi della mia malattia di classe, / ossia del vuoto in cui vivevo (sinistra salute)."  Italics in the original.


[lv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 104:  "Questa scelta assolutamente estrema -- / e senza più alcuna possibilità di tornare indietro -- / è l'unico atto che può salvare una vita / dalla mancanza di ogni interesse / e dal vuoto riempito di valori tutti sbagliati?"  Italics in the original.


[lvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 105: "Sono […] / le eccezionalità più impensabili, / più intollerabili, più lontane dalla possibilità / di essere concepite e addirittura nominate, / che si presentano come i mezzi più efficaci / per riconoscere la vita?"  Italics in the original.


[lvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 197:  "Come già per il popolo d'Israele o l'apostolo Paolo, / il deserto mi si presenta come ciò / che, della realtà, è solo indispensabile."


[lviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 97:  "Io sono distrutto, o almeno trasformato / fino a non riconoscermi, perché in me / è distrutta la legge, che -- / fino a questo momento -- / mi aveva reso fratello agli altri […]."  Italics in the original.


[lix] See in this connection the title of Max Stirner's classical work:  Der Einzige und sein Eigentum [1844] (Stuttgart:  Reclam-Verlag, 1972).  While the book has been translated into English under the misleading title The Ego and its Own, the Italian and French renderings of the title in most translations are close to the original: L'Unico e la sua proprietà and L'Unique et sa propriété.  


[lx] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 97:  "[...] un DIVERSO."  Italics and uppercase letters in the original.


[lxi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 105: "[...] le eccezionalità [...].  Italics in the original.


[lxii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 102:  "[…] una profonda bruttezza morale."  Italics in the original.


[lxiii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 105:  "[…] riconoscere a tutti i costi la vita, / in ogni momento?"  Italics in the original.


[lxiv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 107:  "[…] tutti gli altri […]."  Italics in the original.


[lxv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106: "[…] inconsolabile […]."  Italics in the original.


[lxvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106:  "[…] non ha neanche bisogno di chiedere consolazione."  Italics in the original.


[lxvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106:  "Tu vivi tutta nel presente. / Come gli uccelli del cielo e i gigli dei campi, / tu non ci pensi, al domani."  Italics in the original.


[lxviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106:  "[…] esclusa, spossessata del mondo […]."  Italics in the original.


[lxix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106:  "[…] misteriosa complicità […]."  Italics in the original.


[lxx] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 106: "Una coscienza senza parole. / E […] senza chiacchiere."  Italics in the original.


[lxxi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 107:  "Tu sarai l'unica a sapere, quando sarò partito, / che non tornerò mai più, e mi cercherai / dove dovrai cercarmi […]."  Italics in the original.


[lxxii] See the titles of chapters 4, 11 and 13 in Part Two of Teorema.


[lxxiii] See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., pp. 136-141.


[lxxiv] See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., pp. 173-174.


[lxxv]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 193:  "[…] linguaggio di bassa lega, di cultura per cittadini medi."


[lxxvi] See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., pp. 176-179.


[lxxvii]  See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 63.


[lxxviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 78:  "[…] Teoria dei Due Paradisi […]."


[lxxix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., pp. 76-77:  "La nostra esistenza / non è che un folle identificarsi con quella dei viventi / che qualcosa di immensamente nostro ci mette vicino."


[lxxx] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 74:  "[…] pericoli della religione […]."


[lxxxi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p, 77:  "E il Primo Padre ci cacciò anche dal Secondo Paradiso."


[lxxxii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 79:  "[…] tu recalcitri / inutilmente, persa tra un ricordo ch'è troppo bello / e una realtà che ti porta dal sogno alla pazzia."


[lxxxiii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 127.  English expression in the original.


[lxxxiv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 130:  "Il pugno, al suo fianco, è accanitamente chiuso."


[lxxxv] The title of chapter 14 in Part One reads:  "Rieducazione al disordine e alla disobbedienza."  Italics in the original. 


[lxxxvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 51:  "'I primi che si amano…'"  Italics in the original.


[lxxxvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 51:  "[…] i poeti e i pittori della generazione precedente / […] prendono / nel nostro animo il posto dei padri […]."


[lxxxviii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 53:  "Abbi pure nostalgia di loro quando hai sedici anni. / Ma comincia subito a sapere / che nessuno ha fatto rivoluzioni prima di te; / che i poeti e i pittori vecchi o morti, / malgrado l'aria eroica di cui tu li aureoli, / ti sono inutili, non t'insegnano nulla."


[lxxxix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 146:  "[…] la puerilità e il ridicolo."


[xc] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 146:  "Tutto deve presentarsi come perfetto, basato su regole sconosciute, e quindi non giudicabili."  Italics in the original.


[xci] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 148:  "[…] egli non dipinge e non ha mai dipinto per esprimersi, ma, probabilmente, soltanto per far sapere a tutti la sua impotenza."


[xcii] See Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 153-154.


[xciii]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 156:  "[…] reprime ogni ansia, ogni vergogna, ogni voce di saggezza:  dedicandosi alla sua ricerca con l'ostinazione di uno scienziato o di una bestia affamata, che si contorce in silenzio."


[xciv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 171: "Il Cristo […] ha l'aria di un giovane spirituale un poco idiota e ambiguo -- ma tuttavia abbastanza virile, con due occhi azzurri pieni di quella che dovrebbe essere la Divina Pietà."


[xcv] For elaborations on a post-modern critique of past-oriented "repetition" as opposed to the futurity of the new, see:  Bauer, J. Edgar:  "Vilém Flusser:  Telematická Post-História a Mesiášsky Príchod Času." / "Vilém Flusser:  Telematic Post-history and the Messianic Advent of Time."  In:  Jozefčiaková, Silvia (Ed.):  Moderné Náboženstvo / Modern Religion.  Bratislava:  Ústav pre vzťahy a cirkví, 2005, pp. 7-28; 173-194.


[xcvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 105:  "[…] sostituito […]."  Italics in the original.


[xcvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 190:  "[…] si ferma di colpo."


[xcviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 190:  "[…] una coscienza già fuori dalla vita."


[xcix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 191:  "[…] quasi egli non sapesse più distinguere la realtà dai suoi simboli; oppure, forse, come se egli si fosse deciso a valicare una volta per sempre i vani e illusori confini che dividono la realtà dalla sua rappresentazione.  Cosa, insomma, che fanno gli uomini che qualche fede distacca per sempre dalla loro vita."


[c] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 193:  "[…] forse lo stesso del casolare di Emilia […]."


[ci] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 193:  "[…] premere il pedale della povera logica quotidiana, abbandonando, con comprensibile disappunto, quello della dolce immaginazione."


[cii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 194:  "[…] un delitto storico, e, come atto privato, una vecchia soluzione religiosa?"


[ciii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 195:  "'[…] l'idea del possesso e della conservazione?'"


[civ] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 195:  "[…] sentimento religioso […]?"  Italics in the original.


[cv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 197:  "[…] la realtà / di tutto spogliata fuori che della sua essenza [...]."


[cvi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 198:  "IO SONO PIENO DI UNA DOMANDA  A CUI NON SO RISPONDERE."  Uppercase letters in the original.


[cvii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 198:  "È vero: il simbolo della realtà / ha qualcosa che la realtà non ha: / esso ne rappresenta ogni significato, / eppure vi aggiunge -- per la stessa sua / natura rappresentativa -- un significato nuovo. / Ma -- non certo come per il popolo d'Israele o l'apostolo Paolo -- / questo significato nuovo, mi resta indecifrabile."


[cviii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 105:  "[…] simbolo […]."  Italics in the original. 


[cix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 105:  "[…] alla perdizione più totale, / a mettere la vita fuori di se stessa, / e mantenerla una volta per sempre / fuori dall'ordine e dal domani, / facendo di tutto questo la sola reale normalità."


[cx] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 198:  "Misera, prosaica conclusione, / […] / di una vicenda cominciata per portare a Dio!"


[cxi] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 198:  "[…] nei giorni della storia  -- così meno bella, pura ed essenziale della sua rappresentazione -- […]."


[cxii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 199:  "Ma cosa prevarrà?  L'aridità mondana / della ragione o la religione, spregevole / fecondità di chi vive lasciato indietro dalla storia?"


[cxiii] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 199:  "[…] come nella vita, come a Milano."  Italics added in translation.


[cxiv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 199:  "[…] nulla di nuovo oltre l'orizzonte oscuro […]?"


[cxv] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 199:  "[…] questo luogo / immaginato dalla mia povera cultura?"


[cxvi]  Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 199:  "[…] l'urlo, che, dopo qualche istante, / mi esce furente dalla gola, / non aggiunge nulla all'ambiguità che finora / ha dominato questo mio andare nel deserto?"


[cxvii] See Bauer, J. Edgar:  Max Stirner:  Das Ende des Heiligen.  In:  Max Stirner e l´individualismo moderno.  A cura di Enrico Ferri, introduzione di Francesco de Sanctis.  Napoli:  Pubblicazioni dell´Istituto Suor Orsola Benincasa, CUEN, 1996, pp.  357-391.


[cxviii] See Munch, Edvard:  "St. Claud 1889" (sic) [Text of the so-called St. Cloud-Manifesto].  In:  Munch, Edvard:  Livsfrisens tilblivelse. [1929], p. 12.  [Munch-Museet Biblioteket No. 18063]


[cxix] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 200:  "È un urlo che vuol far sapere, / in questo luogo disabitato, che io esisto, / oppure, che non soltanto esisto, / ma che so."  Italics in the original.


[cxx] Pasolini, Pier Paolo:  Teorema, op. cit., p. 200:  "Ad ogni modo questo è certo:  che qualunque cosa / questo mio urlo voglia significare, / esso è destinato a durare oltre ogni possibile fine."