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, October 15, 2009
My childhood was spent taking pride in Har Gobind Khorana, an Indian American molecular biologist, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1968.
Luckily I never sent an e-mail or a letter to him.
The Times of India reported on October 14 2009:
"...Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has expressed disenchantment with people from India "bothering" him "clogging" up his email box and dubbed as "strange" their sudden urge to reach out to him.
"All sorts of people from India have been writing to me, clogging up my email box. It takes me an hour or two to just remove their mails," he said...
..."There are also people who have never bothered to be in touch with me for decades who suddenly feel the urge to connect...
...He expressed anguish over "all sorts of lies" published about him in a section of the media..."
Maybe he could have used technology to filter out the messages he did not wish to see, the way commoners like me do. Instead, he chose to attack the well-wishers in public.
Why do educated Indians have this overwhelming urge to take pride in Indianness found anywhere in the universe, from knowledge of Sanskrit to Obama administration to NASA to Slumdog to Chicken Tikka?
Does Nobel prize matter? (Henry James, W H Auden, J L Borges, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Nabokov, M Proust, L Tolstoy, M Twain, and E Zola among many others never won literature Nobel!)
Does a person of Indian origin winning it matter?
I will never understand.