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."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sentimental Education

Gurcharan Das wrote originative essay “Sentimental Education” in 2001 wherein he addressed the issue of leadership deficit.

He says; “…. Not only does our traditional insecurity for jobs push our youth early into careers, our silo-like curriculum does not permit cross fertilisation of disciplines…..In India, the triumph of the IIT-IIM culture and our current mania for computers, is producing too many graduates with a tunnel vision. We are not producing leaders for tomorrow's challenges. Reading great books is one way to make it happen.”

I have been deeply motivated by this essay. I could not procure recommended David Denby's “Great Books: My Adventure with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World” but I did get “Books that changed the world” by Robert B. Downs.

I keep telling my son and whomever that listens to me about the essay. My 13- year old son has already read unabridged Mahabharata & Ramayana, Sherlock Homes, abridged Shakespeare plays, Mark Twain among many other pre-20th century English books.

Great books, understood Mr. Das.

What about some great toys? Like this...



Artist: Joseph Mirachi, The New Yorker, 24 Oct 1964