मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

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.”

Albert Einstein: “I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously.” (To P. Moos, March 30, 1950. Einstein Archives 60-587)

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, January 14, 2007

All my genius is in my nostrils

Artist : George Price Publication: The New Yorker 7 Nov 1936

Friedrich Nietzsche: "All my genius is in my nostrils."

Mine too! Not for its Aryan straightness -far from it, it is quite Dravidian- but for its core function-SMELLING. For me, olfactory clues are more reliable than visual ones. When I walk into a gathering or a crowd, I am concerned about the smell. If it smells well, I settle down.

Lara Feigel has written a brilliant essay “Turning up our noses” for Pospect Magazine December 2006.

She says: “Humankind, even in its most primitive form, had a brain very similar to ours now, yet we have a much weaker sense of smell than our cave-dwelling ancestors. Indeed, congenital anosmia is on the increase, so the whole human race may be heading for an anosmic future. Characteristically, Freud suggests that ancient psychosexual anxieties are behind this decline in our nasal capabilities. For him, it all began when man raised himself from the ground to walk on two feet, flashing his genitals to all and sundry. The shame of this sudden exposure, the theory goes, triggered a species-wide repression of the sense of smell. Humans found genitals less embarrassing when they were seen but not smelt. This meant that men were no longer able to smell menstruation or ovulation. Smell became less important in creating sexual excitement, and humans began to be turned on more by the look of each other's bodies than the odour. As evidence for this view of smell as a forbidden, repressed sensation, Freud cites the fact that his hysterical patients often had extremely sensitive noses…

The 17th-century poet Robert Herrick found Julia's sweat as much of a turn-on as Napoleon did Josephine's 200 years later. (He famously sent word from the thick of battle that she should abstain from washing now that his return was nigh.) ”

I don’t want to be part of such an anosmic future when I have to say : “I can’t smell a thing”. I would rather be Freud’s hysterical patient!

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