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."

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.”

cc


Artist : Bruce Eric Kaplan Published: The New Yorker May 25 1998

When man left hunting-gathering for farming, organization arose and her favourite child - bureaucracy was borne. Bureaucracy’s most visible hallmarks?

Practice of unnecessary cc-ing.

I am sure you have heard jokes like while doing office clean-up- “destroy the original but keep the copy”.

There is also a fear that is lurking in our minds. Is death the end or just another beginning? There is an expression in Sanskrit: “Poornat poornam udachyate”. Zero borne out of zero. Or is it?

So we fear, we might meet the same dreaded bureaucracy wherever we reach eventually.