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."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts on Turning 50

Joseph Conrad: "...In this world — as I have known it — we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt.... There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that... is always but a vain and floating appearance....
A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains — but a clot of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.

. . . No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence—that which makes its truth, its meaning—its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream—alone. . . .”

Recently I turned 50.

And so once one clown.

His life was aptly described by a poet.

B S Mardhekar (बा. सी. मर्ढेकर):

पंक्चरली जरि रात्र दिव्यांनीं,
तरी पंपतो कुणी काळोख;
हसण्याचें जरि वेड लागलें,
भुंकतात तरि अश्रू चोख.

("Punctured though night is by lightbulbs,
Someone keeps pumping darkness;
Though laughter crazed,
tears bark alright.")

He then fell ill.

He knew the saying: laughter is the best medicine.

But one day that medicine stopped working.


Artist: Charles Barsotti, The New Yorker http://www.barsotti.com/

Some more days passed and then one day...



Artist: Oliver Gaspirtz http://www.gaspirtz.com/

He was often heard quoting a borrowed line: life is habit – that it is all just a series of motions devoid of meaning.