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."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Charvaka, Ambrose Bierce and the existence of Santa Claus


जी ए कुलकर्णी: 

"...त्याने प्रेमाचा व शांतीचा संदेश सांगितला, पण प्रसार झाला तो तलवारीच्या जोरावर; त्याने निरिच्छ्तेवर भर दिला, तर आता त्याच्या धर्माचा आधार आहे संपत्ती. हा तुला त्याचा विजय वाटतो, तसे पाहिले तर त्याचे सच्चे अनुयायी एखाद्या खेड्यातील वसतीपेक्षा जास्त नसतील. पण म्हणून का त्याच्या शिकवणीचे महत्व कमी होते?..." ('यात्रिक', 'पिंगळावेळ', 1977)

 ("...He gave the message of love and peace, but it spread on the strength of the sword; he insisted on austerity, and now the support of his religion is wealth. You think it's his victory, look it this way: his true followers would not exceed the population of a village. But then does it reduce the importance of his teachings ?..")

Charles Dickens
“Lost friend, lost child, lost parent, sister, brother, husband, wife, we will not so discard you! You shall hold your cherished places in our Christmas hearts, and by our Christmas fires; and in the season of immortal hope, and on the birthday of immortal mercy, we will shut out Nothing!”
Stefany Anne Golberg on Ambrose Bierce-  who for me is  one of the greatest- who died around Christmas in 1913:

" Even as a child, the passion Bierce had for the Truth outweighed his sympathy for human weakness. As a child, Bierce once asked his mother to verify the existence of Santa Claus. Of course there is a Santa Claus, his mother assured him. But Bierce was soon to discover, as all children will, the horrible reality. It was this, Bierce said years later, that cemented the deep and irreparable betrayal of his mother: “I proceeded forthwith to detest my deceiver with all my little might and main.”..."

In his inimitable 'THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY', 1906 Bierce defines Christian as:


" n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin. "

From  Indian pantheon only Cārvāka (चार्वाक) can be compared to Bierce. ("the Charvakas were
strict empiricists who believed that the only valid source of knowledge is direct perception; they believed only what could be seen by the eyes directly. They rejected even inference as a method of investigation." - 'Encyclopedia of Hinduism' by Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan)

So Charvaka too would have asked her mom to show a Santa Claus. 




Artist: Bill Watterson

p.s.

This is how Vinda Karandikar (विंदा करंदीकर) describes Charvak in Marathi:

"सत्याचा स्वीकार। श्रद्धांचा अव्हेर,
हिंसेचा धिक्कार, । करोनिया,
मानवी जीवन। करणे सुखमय
हेच एक ध्येय। मानणारे
मानवतावादी, । उद्योगप्रवण,
असे हे दर्शन । चार्वाकाचे."

[ASHTADARSHANE, (अष्टदर्शने), 2003]