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: "… इ. स. 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."
Thursday, November 15, 2007
“Making nonsense is very difficult.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter wrote an essay “Stuff and Nonsense” (December 1982), included in his book “Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern”.
He concludes: “…The purpose of this column was to emphasize the very fine line that separates the meaningful from the meaningless. It is a boundary line that has a great deal to do with the nature of human intelligence, because the question of how meaning emerges out of meaningless constituents when combined in certain patterned ways is still a perplexing one….”.
English language has produced plenty of delightful nonsense, in the form of verses, poems etc. One example:
“Buz, quoth the blue fly,
Hum, quoth the bee,
Buz and hum they cry,
And so do we:
In his ear, in his nose, thus, do you see?
He ate the dormouse; else it was he.”
By Ben Jonson
Indian languages too have produced plenty of nonsense.
In January 2007, Penguin published- “The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense Edited By Michael Heyman with Sumanyu Satpathy and Anushka Ravishankar”
In Marathi, Vinda Karandikar विंदा करंदीकर has written quite a bit of 'nonsense'.
Hindi films have plenty of nonsense. Playback singer and actor Kishore Kumar किशोर कुमार was the greatest practitioner of it.
Now, you and I may never understand, in following picture, what the lady means by "grrzlackity….bonk" but the motor mechanic surely does!
Artist: Sidney Hoff The New Yorker 4 Nov 1950