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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Did Boils of Karl Marx Cook The Goose of Millions?

On November 7, 2007, Indian communist leader Prakash Karat called American President George W. Bush a fool because Bush compared Lenin to Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Comparison between Lenin and Hitler is fair when we count the murders they committed in the name of one thing or the other.

All American Presidents,including Harry S Truman , and all religious terrorists, 20th century onwards, put together, have committed far fewer murders than either Hitler or Lenin.

I deeply appreciate efforts of Indian left when they bring up issues ranging from Indo-US nuclear deal, natural gas pricing, rotten wheat import etc. But I don’t understand why they bring up emotional issues like Lenin. When they do, they sound exactly like Indian right bringing up issues like Ramsetu.

Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot killed millions in the name of a truly great man- Karl Marx.

Reuters reported on October 30, 2007:

“Karl Marx, who complained of excruciating boils, actually suffered from a chronic skin disease with known psychological effects that may well have influenced his writings, a British expert said on Tuesday.

Sam Shuster, professor of dermatology at the University of East Anglia, believes the revolutionary thinker had hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in which the apocrine sweat glands -- found mainly in the armpits and groin -- become blocked and inflamed.
"In addition to reducing his ability to work, which contributed to his depressing poverty, hidradenitis greatly reduced his self-esteem," said Shuster, who published his findings in the British Journal of Dermatology.

"This explains his self-loathing and alienation, a response reflected by the alienation Marx developed in his writing."...

Marx, who died in 1883, was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century and his radical writings formed the basis of modern communism.”

Our history has been shaped by physical affliction of great men. Leaders, thinkers, artists, scientists...

Dr Dermot Kennedy wrote to The Economist (May 12, 2007):
“…Known as Spes phthisica, or the euphoria of the tuberculous consumptive, this partly explains the disease's impact on a long list of aesthetes, including George Orwell, D.H. Lawrence, Franz Kafka, and Amedeo Modigliani.

Frédéric Chopin complained that he could not compose unless he was coughing blood.


John Keats, “With anguish moist and fever dew”, poured out his ineffable poetry as the disease accelerated.

An interesting aside to this is the aphrodisiac effect of tuberculosis, so familiar to staff working in sanatoriums. As a nursing sister in my hospital once said, “You need a blowtorch to separate them.”

M. A. Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis in 1947. If others knew about it, one of the worst human tragedies of 20th century- partition of India- could have been avoided.

To give more personal touch, my father-a prolific writer all his life- suffered from psoriasis.
I too suffer from much milder version of what Karl Marx suffered from. Is this blog coming out of that suffering?!


Artist: Perry Barlow The New Yorker August 1, 1931