मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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 30, 2011

Tabula Rasa: Dnyaneshwar, Chales Addams, Hindi films

Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature" is my favourite book.

It's a spirited attack on "tabula rasa" models of the social sciences.

Tabula rasa is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception.

Are individuals borne without built-in mental content?

Read Dnyaneshwar (ज्ञानेश्वर) on the subject.

"जे विवेकग्रामींचां मुळीं । बैसले आहाति नित्य फळीं । तया योगियांचिया कुळीं । जन्म पावे ॥ ४५१ ॥

मोटकी देहाकृती उमटे । आणि निजज्ञानाची पाहांट फुटे । सूर्यापुढें प्रगटे । प्रकाशु जैसा ॥ ४५२ ॥

तैसी दशेची वाट न पहातां । वयसेचिया गांवा न येतां । बाळपणींच सर्वज्ञता । वरी तयातें ॥ ४५३ ॥

तिये सिद्धप्रज्ञेचेनि लाभें । मनचि सारस्वतें दुभे । मग सकळ शास्त्रे स्वयंभें । निघती मुखें ॥ ४५४ ॥

ऐसें जे जन्म । जयालागीं देव सकाम । स्वर्गीं ठेले जप होम । करिती सदा ॥ ४५५ ॥

अमरीं भाट होईजे । मग मृत्युलोकातें वानिजे । ऐसें जन्म पार्था गा जे । तें तो पावे ॥ ४५६ ॥

आणि मागील जे सद्बुद्धि जेथ जीवित्वा जाहाली होती अवधि । मग तेचि पुढती निरवधि । नवी लाहे ॥ ४५७ ॥

तेथ सदैवा आणि पायाळा । वरि दिव्यांजन होय डोळां । मग देखे जैसीं अवलीळा । पाताळधनें ॥ ४५८ ॥

तैसें दुर्भेद जे अभिप्राय । कां गुरुगम्य हन ठाय । तेथ सौरसेंवीण जाय । बुद्धी तयाची ॥ ४५९ ॥"

("Just as light spreads out all around before the rise of the sun, so ominiscience weds him in his childhood without waiting for him to become a youth. Then the intelligence and all the lores acquired in the previous birth attend upon him and all the scriptures issue from his mouth. This yogi takes birth in such a noble family. destring which the denizens of heaven murrer prayers, perform sacrifices (451-455) and sing praises of this mortal world like bards,

Then he acquires the wisdom which he had attained at the end of his previous birth. Just as a fortunate person born with the lags foremost is able to discover, by applying antimony to his eyes, and underground treasure, in the same way his intellect is able to grasp abstruse philosophical doctrines without receiving insttruction of a teacher.")

Now, one mayn't believe in rebirth. But there is no denying "the intelligence, all the lores, the wisdom" one is borne with.

Clearly Dnyaneshwar rejects Tabula Rasa.


"Pinker argues that modern science has challenged three "linked dogmas" that constitute the dominant view of human nature in intellectual life:

* the blank slate (the mind has no innate traits) — empiricism
* the noble savage (people are born good and corrupted by society) — romanticism
* the ghost in the machine (each of us has a soul that makes choices free from biology)[1] — mind/body dualism"

Hindi cinema has often- almost every second movie- tackled themes related to 'tabula rasa'...Birth, bringing up, twins/siblings separated at birth...

Look at the picture below.

Straight out of Hindi film's plot? Mallifert twins, after separating at birth, accidentally meet at Patent Attorney's office.

Look at what they have brought along. The same product!

(I can imagine what they will do next. Embrace each other crying and singing a song- "Yaadon Ki Baaraat Nikali Hai Aaj Dil Ke Dwaare. Dil ke dwaare...")

Artist: Chales Addams, The New Yorker, May 4 1981