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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

People died once







Artist : Bruce Eric Kaplan Published: The New Yorker April 10, 2000

People are living longer.

When I grew up in 70’s in a small town in Maharashtra, India, death was ubiquitous. Some one seemed to die all the time in the neighborhood. By all kinds of causes. Boozing, child-birth, jaundice, typhoid, snake-bite, fainting into the water-well, road accidents etc.

You saw old people but not as many as you do these days. Now, they are all over. At a family function, they sometimes seem to out-number the young.

But they seem to be treated cruelly more and more. More so by their so called loved ones.

The most tragi-comic figure I have known is of Abe “Grampa” Simpson, age 83, father of Homer Simpson. He is, according to Wikipedia, "an old, grizzled, periodically incontinent and quite senile figure who lives in the Springfield Retirement Castle, a sad, lonely place filled with demented, crippled and depressed old people. "

I sometimes think creators of Simpsons are heartless when it comes to Grampa. But then look at some practical examples.

Charlie Hauck said “The fact is, mature viewers are threatening the well-being of network television. I have a bold but common-sense suggestion: old people should not be allowed to watch TV.” This is about old people watching TV. And how about they on TV? Television wants just one qualification in you to appear on it, LOOKS. So unless you are a Sophia Loren, you won't look good when old.

When most popular jokes in a culture (such as in Maharashtra, India) are around nature calling or loss of hearing, weakening of bladder control and other body functions is very funny before it is cruel.

So how much longevity is desirable?

In 1999, Time magazine did a feature called “Visions of the 21st century”. JONATHAN WEINER wrote a piece called “Can I Live To Be 125?”.

He wrote: “Walking and talking get more difficult for my mother every day, and when I phoned to tell her the headline of this story, there was a long pause before she found the words to reply: "I don't recommend it."At 75, she is fighting one of the innumerable syndromes that elderly flesh is heir to.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Extended longevity is creating big problems esp. in Europe. Their pension plans are strained, they are forced to import people from outside and plus there is the cycle of late marriage and consequently fewer children. Guys are saying that native Europeans may well be a minority not in a too distant future.

- Nikhil Bellarykar.

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Nikhil,

In our country too we have a problem on our hand and we aren't geared up to treat our elderly with the facilities they get in the West and Japan.

Two examples:

how many mobile handsets are there in the market meant for elderly? Not too many.

India's financial industry wants to reduce the usage of paper. How many of our senior citizens are ready to use the internet? Not too many, again.