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."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mice Speak: Living is Obligatory; so, too, is Dying.

The NYT editorial on June 5 2009:

"Over the years, scientists have developed many strains of genetically modified mice, many of which incorporate human versions of similar mouse genes. But there is something different in a recent experiment performed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Scientists there have created a strain of mouse that contains the human variant of a gene, called FOXP2, associated with several critical tasks, including the human capacity for language.

What makes this different is how fundamentally human — and unmouse-like — language really is. Something essential to us, something defining in our species, has been implanted in a rodent.

FOXP2 happens to work pretty well in mice...

...And there is another question hovering over this experiment: Just how alien to themselves do these transgenic mice become? To that question, scientists are bound to find no answers, until, perhaps, mice can speak for themselves."

बा. सी. मर्ढेकर, # २१ , "मर्ढेकरांची कविता" (B S Mardhekar, "Mardhekar's Poetry", 1959)

पिपांत मेले ओल्या उंदिर;
माना पडल्या, मुरगळल्याविण;
ओठांवरती ओठ मिळाले;
माना पडल्या, आसक्तीविण.
गरिब बिचारे बिळांत जगले,
पिपांत मेले उचकी देउन;
दिवस सांडला घाऱ्या डोळीं
गात्रलिंग अन् धुवून घेउन.

जगायची पण सक्ती आहे;
मरायची पण सक्ती आहे.

उदासतेला जहरी डोळे,
काचेचे पण;

मधाळ पोळें
ओठांवरती जमलें तेंही
बेकलाइटी, बेकलाइटी!
ओठांवरती ओठ लागले;
पिपांत उंदिर न्हाले ! न्हाले !

Translated from the Marathi by Vilas Sarang विलास सारंग:

Mice Died in the Wet Barrel

Inside the waterlogged drum, the mice are dead,
Their necks hang, wrung by nobody.

The necks hang, and lips meet lips
Without desire.

Poor bastards lived in holes,
And, with a hiccup, died in the drum.

Day spilled into gray eyes,
rinsed their limbs and genitals.

Living is obligatory;
so, too, is dying.

Melancholy has disquieting eyes;
they are glass ones, though.

Even the honeycomb
brimming on their lips
is merely foam rubber!

Lips nuzzling lips:
O the mice are douched in the drum!
the mice are douched!



Artist: Paul Noth, The New Yorker, June 8 2009, Cartoon Caption Contest #196

My caption:

“The poet is right. They are saying: Living is obligatory; so, too, is dying.”