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."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Inflation Hurts Literature Some More

In last few years I have across articles like "If Odysseus Had GPS" where the author claims that if today's technology were to be available in the past, some of the world's great literature would not be borne. Or an essay "Call Me, Ishmael" that fantasises "...every thorny literary problem solved by modern technology..."

For me, it's complete baloney for technology doesn't solve any of our basic problems. It just packages them differently.

John Gray: "Today the good life means making full use of science and technology - without succumbing to the illusion that they can make us free, reasonable, or even sane. It means seeking peace - without hoping for a world without war. It means cherishing freedom - in the knowledge that it is an interval between anarchy and tyranny...

...At present we think of science and technology as means of mastering the world. But the self that struggles to master the world is only a shimmer on the surface of things. The new technologies that are springing up around us seem to be inventions that serve our ends, when they and we are moves in a game that has no end."

So if technology doesn't affect great literature, does inflation?

B V (Mama) Warerkar:"...all the money with the public is exhausted and, the little that is left with a few, is of no value because of the shortage of things..." (Dhule, 1944, Presidential address of Marathi Sahitya Sammelan)

(भा वि (मामा) वरेरकर : "...जनते जवळचा पैसा संपला आहे आणि ज्याकडे थोडाफार शिल्लक आहे, तो वस्तुंच्या दुर्मिळतेमुळे कुचकामी ठरला आहे..." धुळे, १९४४ च्या मराठी साहित्य संमेलनाचे अध्यक्षीय भाषण )

Pune will host 83rd Marathi Sahitya Sammelan in 2010. I wonder if the presidential address will contain a thought on inflation.

The title of one of my previous posts read :"Inflation Hurts Literature too! तानी मावशीचे दोन आणे". Read it here.

It was posted on Dec 27 2007.

In two years time, inflation has wreaked havoc in India.

Business Line reported on Dec 13 2009:

"If you had paid Rs 500 at the beginning of the year 2009 for a kg of a dozen items in your grocery basket such as atta, rice, sugar and various dals, do you know how much it would cost you now? You would have to shell out at least 35 per cent more – or Rs 675 – for the same products, going by prevailing prices at major modern retail outlets..."

Tani-mavashi's love remains undiminished but her 12 paise (two-anna)...

Poor in India spend most of their money on food.

The question I am asking is: Did we give our maid 35% raise this year?

The answer is NO.

Are we finding an excuse like the couple in the picture below?


Artist: Perry Barlow, The New Yorker, 12 July 1946