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."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Like on Internet, in Spacecraft, Nobody knows you're a Dog

I knew (and still do) so much about Apollo 11, other American space missions and NASA. And I know so little about Soviet Yuri Gagarin. (And they say India sided with Soviet Union in the Cold War. Also, I was fired by the passion of communism until I turned 23 or so!)

MARY ROACH writes about "5 feet 2 inches tall and nice as heck" Mr. Gagarin:

"...Strangely, the first man to ascend into the cosmos was a skilled pilot forbidden to use his skills. The controls of Vostok I were locked; the capsule was maneuvered entirely from the ground. As Gagarin himself put it, “I’m not sure if I was the first man in space or the last dog.”..."

(The New York Times, April 9, 2011)

Following, of course, is an iconic cartoon of our age. Read more about it here.

Artist: Peter Steiner, The New Yorker, July 5 1993