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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Does Marathi have any Third Culture?

TREVOR BUTTERWORTH: "...It is also refreshing, and possibly redemptive, to be reminded of a time when scientists composed poetry—as Charles Darwin's polymathic grandfather, Erasmus, did praise of steel—and when the idea that agronomy and geology and metallurgy were as vital and as exciting as any of the arts." (WSJ, July 30 2010)

W H Auden (imagining what the Athenian might say about the West): "Yes, I can see all the works of a great civilization; but why cannot I meet any civilized persons? I only encounter specialists, artists who know nothing of science, scientists who know nothing of art, philosophers who have no interest in God, priests who are unconcerned with politics, politicians who only know other politicians."

Marcus Chown: I started by asking (Carl)Sagan what he preferred: science or science fiction? Without hesitation, he replied: "Science." I asked him why. "Because science is stranger than science fiction."

The late G D Madgulkar's (ग. दि. माडगूळकर) [1919-1977] Marathi essay titled "Hello, Mr. Death" (हेलो मिस्टर डेथ)-or something similar- became a big hit. It described his near death experience.

Now Madgulkar was a very good lyricist but I always thought the essay was all baloney.

The Times of India May 31 2010:

"Afterlife episode or just a brain tick?: Patients who have had a near-death experience often report walking towards a bright light, or a feeling that they are floating above their body - a sensation that has long been interpreted as a religious vision and confirmation of afterlife. Experts now claim it's a surge of electrical activity triggered by the brain in the moments before death, apparent from a study of the brainwaves of dying patients..."

I have read about poet Vinda Karandikar (विंदा करंदीकर) talking about his wife dying peacefully. Is there anything like 'peaceful death'?

ROBIN MARANTZ HENIG: "Will We Ever Arrive at the Good Death?

...What we're addicted to, it seems, is the belief that we can micromanage death. We tend to think of a ''good death'' as one that we can control, making decisions about how much intervention we want, how much pain relief, whether it's in the home or the hospital, who will be by our sides. We even sometimes try to make decisions about what we will die from. This can be valuable, as when a cancer patient with little hope of survival, like Goldie Gold back in mid-July, rejects debilitating chemotherapy. But often, our best-laid plans can go awry. Dying is awfully hard to choreograph..." (NYT, Aug 7 2005)

Such writing gets away without any critical scrutiny in Marathi because it has largely lacked what C P Snow defines as The Third Culture.

Snow's thesis was that the breakdown of communication between the "two cultures" of modern society — the sciences and the humanities — was a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.

Are Marathi artists afraid if they stride two cultures they would spread themselves too thin? Like Leonardo da Vinci from the picture below who strode them all!


Artist: Warren Miller, The New Yorker, May 7 1966