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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Crucifixion may not be that Bad but Christ is Still Suffering

Times of India February 4, 2008 reported:

“A noted literary theorist has sparked fury among Christians by uttering that the Crucifixion of Christ was not as bad as it has been painted…

…It is learnt that he said that Jesus's scourging was a "blessing in disguise" because it hastened his death.

…"If the New Testament account is to be believed it took him only three hours to die whereas a lot of those killed by this hideous mode of execution thrashed around on their crosses for days," he added.

The paper reports that Prof. T. Eagleton concluded his talk with an attack on contemporary Christianity, claiming that it had abandoned the poor and dispossessed in favour of the "rich and aggressive".

"It's horrified by the sight of a female breast but nothing like as horrified by the obscene inequalities between rich and poor," the paper quoted him as saying…”

This brought to my mind following lines:

“... म्हणजे पुन्हा यश हाच एक सत्याचा क्षुद्र निकष! त्याने प्रेमाचा व शांतीचा संदेश सांगितला, पण प्रसार झाला तो तलवारीच्या जोरावर; त्याने निरिच्छतेवर भर दिला, तर आता त्याच्या धर्माचा आधार आहे संपत्ती. हां तुला त्याचा विजय वाटतो, तसे पहिले तर त्याचे सच्चे अनुयायी एखाद्या खेड्यातील वसतीपेक्षा जास्त नसतील. पण म्हणून का त्याच्या शिकवणीचे महत्व कमी होते?”

“…So again success is the only petty criterion of the truth! He gave message of love and peace, but it spread with the force of sword; he asserted lack of desrire, but now his religion’s support is wealth. Do you think this is his victory, if seen his true followers will not exceed population of a village. But then does it reduce importance of his teachings?”

(जी ए कुलकर्णी “यात्रिक” पिंगळावेळ G A Kulkarni “The Pilgrim” from “Owl Time” 1977)

How to rationalize obscene inequalities between rich and poor? Using god - someone up there!

As long this inequality exists, Christ will continue to suffer. Remember what Steven Weinberg has said: “I have never understood why untalented people deserve less of world’s good things than other people.”


Artist: Barney Tobey The New Yorker 19 September 1959

9 comments:

raphaellae said...

it is a crime against humanity to publicly erode the major religions

religion is humanity's way of exalting itself of coping with the struggles of life of reaching for the divine element

there is freedom of press but there should also be freedom of worship

the cartoons of allah shouldnt be legal

and really it is not that funny that there are people starving on this planet and others that drive around in ferraris

I live in canada a wealthy nation and yet still we dont have shelters for the homeless in our boomtown city

we all share the guilt dont we

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

I agree raphaellae.

We all share the guilt.

Chetan said...

@raphaellae:

here is freedom of press but there should also be freedom of worship

the cartoons of allah shouldnt be legal


Was that meant to be funny? In one sentence you mention that there should be freedom of press and in the next you want cartoons to be banned! And just so you know, freedom of worship is already present in the most democratic countries. After Allah cartoons people of your ilk will start demanding banning of any scrutiny of religions by academics on the grounds of hurting religious sentiments, thus essentially you are asking for censorship of those who are not religious or do not share the beliefs of your faith.

@Anniruddha:

Why should inequality be so reviled? Would you rather have equality where everyone around is poor? (Sort of the analogy of sharing the pie even before it has not baked fully). If inequality is a price to pay for reduction of absolute poverty, would you not condone its negative effects in comparison to those of a society with lesser degrees of inequality but with large amount of absolute poverty?

And Christ is suffering not because his followers interpreted his message wrong, but because apart from some basic morals which any sane person can figure out himself, he offered no solution to the problem of reducing poverty. Guilt-tripping people into following your message can go only so far.

We have all seen the absolutely devastating effects of Stalin's and Mao's communism and to a lesser extent the stagnating effects and the deep gorge between intentions and outcomes proffered by socialist policies. All of these tried to achieve, albeit in a secular manner, what Jesus taught in religious overtones. However, the fact that their policies ended up hurting the poor should not be interpreted as a problem with the followers and general population but with their own policy prescriptions. It's high time we dissociate loving thy neighbour from using tax payer rupees to line the bureaucrats' and politicians pockets.

And we should not lose sight of the fact that the society that T Eagleton is critcising for losing sight of Christ's message is the most prosperous society ever, as compared to the society in the heydey of Christianity during medieval Europe or today's Africa where the society is even more religious and tend to follow Christ's message in its original form as opposed to frivolous issues like gay marraige, women's breast etc. So, probably veering away from Christ's original message did help billions escaping poverty after all. Should they feel guilty about it?

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Chetan,

Is prosperity only goal? I don't think so. And are they happy?

Every time we mention inequality, we shouldn't bring up socialism and Mao and Stalin. They were wrong and today's arrangement (whatever ism it is) is also wrong.

What is the alternative? I don't know. Maybe more sensitivity to the poor. That's what our saint poets said.

I feel guilty about number of things I see around me. I am trying to make a small difference. I don't know what others should do.

raphaellae said...

I don't return to a site where the journalist does not respect views.

We take the time to come and read and express our views and you talk down to us criticizing what we say.

you say just "so you know" and phrases like that and attempt to bash our arguments.

arguments are not always black and white there are always gradations of grey areas and it is mind expanding to listen.-every view has something to offer.

raphaellae said...

oh sorry you are anirudah ha ha
I thought you were chetan

thanks I'll be back
have a nice day

Chetan said...

@raphaelle:

I am glad you sorted out who said what. I would have felt really sad had you stopped coming to Aniruddha's blog because of a rude comment of mine, which has nothing to do with Aniruddha, who is a gentle soul.

As for the rest, I stand by what I said regarding religious freedom and freedom of speech. Also, I am not sorry about my condescension. My country suffers a great deal owing to some idiot taking objection to some painting or some writing about one religion or another or if that was not enough some great men whom they idolise and thus generating an atmosphere of competitive intolerance with everyone pandering to every religious group and ending up hurting art, creativity and creating unecessary divisiveness in society. If you get a chance read about MF Hussain, Taslima Nasreen, Dera Sacha Sauda and incidents related to riots started by Shiv Sena and RPI with respect to garlanding of statues with slippers and you might empathise with why it is better to draw a line and not engage and therefore encourage the grey areas in some of the controversies.

@Aniruddha:
Sorry about bringing up Mao, Stalin and the other usual suspects. Doesn't add any value to the discourse, I agree.

No, prosperity is not everything. But it is only when people are prosperous enough to contemplate about issues beyond day to day survival that we can talk about spiritual well-being. I was speaking about prosperity in comparison to absolute poverty. I would assume for someone who is living in abject poverty getting marginal relief from it would be a higher priority than happiness. Irrespective of your views on isms, how would you answer the question I had posed in the earlier comment:

If inequality is a price to pay for reduction of absolute poverty, would you not condone its negative effects in comparison to those of a society with lesser degrees of inequality but with large amount of absolute poverty?

aniruddha g. kulkarni said...

Chetan,

Your questions are like that of Yaksha from Mahabharat. Very, very hard to answer for some one like me! I am a very small man.

I agree prosperity is supposed to lift all boats with its tide. And I certainly prefer it to "rotten years" of India's socialism under Mrs. Gandhi years but we should not think it's "The Answer".

India should evolve its own solutions. Inequality of our world should bother us all and we should constantly strive to make a difference, however small. When we eat a square meal we should think we are just luckier than those who don't get it.

You also saw what Jared Diamond has to say where the reckless consumption of the prosperous West is taking our earth.

I hope we don't make argument of prosperity sound like social Darwinism of 19th century.

raphaellae said...

thankyou for that last comment aniruddha
I harmonize with your words
and your song comes from the compassionate heart of humanity

have a beautiful day filled with light and peace