Being an admirer of the fiction of Philip Pullman ( Pullman writes a book that will shed light on darkness of his beliefs – Times Online ) and intrigued by his thinking, I’ve taken a moment to read an essay which he has said is a powerful influence: Heinrich von Kleist’s On the Marionette Theatre.
Von Kleist’s account of the bear is a clear inspiration for the figure of Iorek Byrnison, the leader of the Panserbjørn, or armoured polar bears, in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been adapted for radio, stage and screen. I’m intrigued as well by what the bear signifies in Kleist’s essay: the grace of unconscious knowledge, grace that precedes the fall (in the Biblical sense).
“Does that mean”, I said in some bewilderment, “that we must eat again of the tree of knowledge in order to return to the state of innocence?”
What kind of knowledge is it that would allow us to reclaim innocence? What is the relationship between knowledge and attachment?