G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Can We Trust the Inscriptions on Sulptures?

Ramesses II lived from 1303 BC to 1213 BC- that is more than 3000 years ago....read the following and decide if much has changed in politics under the name of "the requirements of the kingship"...

"Ramesses was a consummate self-publicist, and a completely unscrupulous one. To save time and money he simply changed the inscriptions on pre-existing sculptures so that they bore his name and glorified his achievements."

Can you trust even the inscriptions in stone by the rulers?

Egyptologist Dr Karen Exell, on Ramesses the propagandist:

"...He very much understood that being visible was central to the success of the kingship, so he put up as many colossal statues as he could, very quickly. He built temples to the traditional gods of Egypt, and this kind of activity has been interpreted as being bombastic – showing off and so on – but we really need to see it in the context of the requirements of the kingship. People needed a strong leader, and they understood a strong leader to be a king who was out there campaigning on behalf of Egypt and was very visible within Egypt. We can even look at what we can regard as the ‘spin’ of the records of the battle of Qadesh in his year five, which was a draw. He came back to Egypt and had the record of this battle inscribed on seven temples, and it was presented as an extraordinary success, that he alone had defeated the Hittites. So it was all spin, and he completely understood how to use that..."

('A History of the World in 100 Objects' by Neil MacGregor)
Artist: Richard Taylor, The New Yorker, September 10 1938

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"स चाशीर्वादमर्हति":महंमद सर्वांचा आशीर्वाद इच्छितात...Love of QUR’AN- Jefferson & Vinoba

Today September 24 2015 is Eid al-Adha / Bakr-Eid
विनोबा भावे:

"स चाशीर्वादमर्हति-  महंमद सर्वांचा आशीर्वाद इच्छितात. म्हणतात की श्रद्धावंत हो, महंमदाला शांती आणि शरणता प्राप्त होण्यासाठी आशीर्वाद द्या. ही नम्रता आहे. ज्यांच्यापाशी लोक आशीर्वादासाठी जातात तेच सर्वांच्या  आशीर्वादाची  याचना करीत आहेत. ही फार मोठी गोष्ट आहे."
(कुराण-सार, c 1962) 

Denise A. Spellberg:

"At a time when most Americans were uninformed, misinformed, or simply afraid of Islam, Thomas Jefferson imagined Muslims as future citizens of his new nation. His engagement with the faith began with the purchase of a Qur’an eleven years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s Qur’an survives still in the Library of Congress, serving as a symbol of his and early America’s complex relationship with Islam and its adherents. That relationship remains of signal importance to this day..."

The title page of Jefferson’s Qur’an, now in the Library of Congress

courtesy: 'Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders' by Denise A. Spellberg, 2013

Monday, September 21, 2015

Putting Living Organism in Two Places at Once...Schrödinger's Affair with Twin Young Women

The Guardian reported on September 16 2015

"Schrödinger's microbe: physicists plan to put living organism in two places at once- A radical demonstration of quantum theory could see a bacterium suspended in an uncertain state similar to that famously endured by Schrödinger’s cat...

Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founding fathers of quantum theory, proposed his thought experiment in 1935. In it, a cat found itself in a closed box with a small radioactive source, a Geiger counter, a hammer and a small bottle of poison.

Schrodinger explained that if an atom of the radioactive source decayed, the Geiger counter would trigger a device to release the poison. In quantum mechanics, the state of the cat would then be “entangled” with the state of the radioactive material. In due course, the cat would be in a superposition of both alive and dead states.."
Stephen G. Brush, 'Should the History of Science Be Rated X?':

" My concern in this article is with the possible dangers of using the history of science in science education. I will examine arguments that young and impressionable students at the start of a
scientific career should be shielded from the writings of contemporary science historians for reasons similar to the one mentioned above-namely, that these writings do violence to the professional ideal and public image of scientists as rational, open-minded investigators,
proceeding methodically, grounded incontrovertibly in the outcome of controlled experiments, and
seeking objectively for the truth, let the chips fall where they may..."

John Gray:

"Science can advance human knowledge, it cannot make humanity cherish truth. Like the Christians of former times, scientists are caught up in the web of power; they struggle for survival and success; their view of the world is a patchwork of conventional beliefs. Science cannot bring ‘miracle, mystery and authority’ to humankind, if only because – like those who served the Church in the past – its servants are all too human."

Neil Gussman with Sarah Reisert:

"...Of course there has been a trend recently in scientific biographies to talk about lust in the lives of their subjects. We all know now that Einstein would not be named husband of the century.
Erwin Schrödinger, known for the thought experiment "Schrödinger's Cat," created the Schrödinger equation, central to quantum mechanics, on a winter semester break. At the time he was having an affair with twin young women in one of his classes. He took one twin to the Alps and came back with the equation..."

...He took twin to the Alps.....

now my caption to the cartoon below would be:

"oh! Like in the previous room, he too is Erwin Schrödinger...One of them got the Nobel prize..."
Artist: Michael Ffolkes (1925-1988), The New Yorker, June 9 1980

Friday, September 18, 2015

जी ए कुलकर्णी...Did GA know Ingrid Bergman's Admiration of Eugene O’Neill?

As I have said on this blog earlier, G A Kulkarni (जी ए कुलकर्णी) was an admirer of Eugene O’Neill. In the only letter he sent to me, he prods 22-year-old me to read Dostoyevsky and O’Neill.

Robert Dowling has written a book 'Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts', 2014. It has been much reviewed.

In February 2015, John Lahr- author of much lauded 'Tennessee Williams', 2014- has reviewed it for London Review of Books.

Mr. Lahr writes:

"...O’Neill was a rangy handsome man who looked out at his bleak world with large haunted eyes. ‘They were the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen in my whole life. They were like wells; you fell into them,’ the 26-year-old Ingrid Bergman said, who had had a success in a San Francisco production of Anna Christie but wouldn’t let O’Neill lure her away from her film ambitions..."

Now, by some coincidence, GA too was an admirer of Ms. Bergman! GA mentions her a few times in his  letters.

In a letter dated April 12 1980 to Ms. Sunita Deshpande (सुनिता देशपांडे ),  he writes:

"...मी Garboचा एकच, 'Ninotechka' हा  चित्रपट पाहिला, पण अनेक stills पाहिले आहेत. Ingrid Bergman देखील अविस्मरणीय आहे…."

[...I have see just one feature of (Greta) Garbo- Ninotechka (1939) but have seen her many snaps. Ingrid Bergman too is unforgettable...]

Elsewhere he recalls a Marathi article (by Mr. Deshpande?), on Ms. Bergman, he had loved. 

Did GA know this Bergman's admiration of O’Neill? Would he have felt jealous of O’Neill if he knew it?

Monday, September 14, 2015

I Will Not Fight the Future, the Offspring of Accident and Wilfulness

Tom Stoppard:
"....What he (Alexander Herzen) detested above all was the conceit that future bliss justified present sacrifice and bloodshed. The future, said Herzen, was the offspring of accident and wilfulness. There was no libretto or destination, and there was always as much in front as behind..."

courtesy: The Simpsons

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ogg Invents Fire...From Cave to Conference Room

If you haven't seen the post on this blog dated December 11 2006, here is the wonderful cartoon in there:

Artist: Robert Kraus, The New Yorker, July 30 1960

And now enjoy this cartoon on the same theme from 2014:

“Before we begin, I’d like to thank Ogg for making this wonderful fire, which, up until now, I had not thought him capable of.”

Artist: P C Vey, The New Yorker, 2014