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."

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Threaten Them With Democracy














Pankaj Mishra, November 2013:

"...Many observers of India are generally impressed by the procedures of Indian democracy, with its routine elections. India, Bhagwati and Panagariya assert, “has all elements of a liberal democracy with the poor and the underprivileged having access to effective politics at the ballot box.” But as Sen and Drèze point out, “the success of a democracy depends ultimately on the vigor of its practice.” Certainly, creeping authoritarianism of the kind witnessed in India can make political reform from below seem more urgent than economic engineering from the top. “Educate, agitate, and organize,” the disenchanted low-caste author of India’s constitution B.R. Ambedkar exhorted. Many more Indians will have to exercise these democratic rights if they wish to transform the profoundly damaging elitist character of Indian society and politics..."

John Dos Passos, 'U. S. A', 1930:

"....America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have turned our language inside out who have taken the clean words our fathers spoke and made them slimy and foul 

their hired men sit on the judge’s bench they sit back with their feet on the tables under the dome of the State House they are ignorant of our beliefs they have the dollars the guns the armed forces the powerplants

they have built the electric chair and hired the executioner to throw the switch 

all right we are two nations 

America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have bought the laws and fenced off the meadows and cut down the woods for pulp and turned our pleasant cities into slums and sweated the wealth out of our people and when they want to they hire the executioner to throw the switch..."
 
Leader, Economic & Poltical Weekly, March 22 2014:

"...Sadly, this is not the age of independent journalists; it is the high noon of media corporations. The “Masked Ball of Democracy” toasts to the coming “free and fair elections” – “There is a magic to it that people in totalitarian states can never grasp”, the largest English-language newspaper pompously declares. The truth is that elections often go to the highest bidder, and this election may indeed bring a totalitarian party to power..."

Edward Luce, FT, 'America’s democracy is fit for the 1%', March 30 2014:

"...Should one person one vote be replaced by one dollar one vote? Most economists agree that the effects of technology and globalisation will result in even more inequality in the years ahead, perhaps spectacularly so. The only real countervailing force is politics.
It would be a tragedy for US democracy were its political system to act as a spur, rather than a check, on the extremes of our age."
 
India's federal elections will soon be upon us.





Artist: David Sipress, The New Yorker, September 2013

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