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, January 08, 2016

प्रगती? छे नव-निर्मिती: Replacing The Word Progress With Innovation


Paul-Louis Courier (1772-1825):

"O terrible influence of this race
which serves neither god nor king,
given over to the mundane sciences,
to base mechanical professions!
Pernicious breed! What will you not attempt,

left to your own devices,
abandoned without restraint
to that fatal  spirit of knowledge, of invention, of progress." 

Stephen Jay Gould, ‘Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin’, 1996 :

“…Between 1685 (the birth of Bach and Handel) and 1828 (the death of Schubert), the small world of German-speaking people gave us the full life spans of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, to mention just a few. Where are their counterparts today? Who, in the vastly larger domain of the entire world, with musical training available to so many million more people, would you choose among late-twentieth-century composers to rank with these men?

I can’t believe that a musical virus, now extinct, was then loose in the German-speaking world. Nor can we deny that many more people of equal or greater potential talent must now be alive and active somewhere on this planet. What are they doing? Are they writing in styles so arcane that only a rarefied avant-garde of professionals has any access? Are they performing jazz, or (God help us) rock, or some other genre instead? I do suspect that these people exist, but are victims of the right wall and our unforgiving ethic of  innovation …”


Evgeny Morozov:
"...The sewing machine was the smartphone of the nineteenth century. Just skim through the promotional materials of the leading sewing-machine manufacturers of that distant era and you will notice the many similarities with our own lofty, dizzy discourse. The catalog from Willcox & Gibbs, the Apple of its day, in 1864, includes glowing testimonials from a number of reverends thrilled by the civilizing powers of the new machine..."

I bought  much talked about Clayton M. Christensen's ' The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail', 1997 many years ago.

Like majority of my books, I have still NOT finished reading it.

Now,  after reading Jill Lepore's essay from The New Yorker, June 23 2014 ,I don't have to. What a relief!

Lepore has taken apart the book and a lot of management jargon in it and how!

I have always been mildly suspicious of the word 'innovation'. Lepore says all we have done is replaced the word progress with innovation!

"...The idea of progress—the notion that human history is the history of human betterment—dominated the world view of the West between the Enlightenment and the First World War. It had critics from the start, and, in the last century, even people who cherish the idea of progress, and point to improvements like the eradication of contagious diseases and the education of girls, have been hard-pressed to hold on to it while reckoning with two World Wars, the Holocaust and Hiroshima, genocide and global warming. Replacing “progress” with “innovation” skirts the question of whether a novelty is an improvement: the world may not be getting better and better but our devices are getting newer and newer."

Yes, 'the world may not be getting better and better but our devices are getting newer and newer.' 




Artist: Charles Barsotti (1933- June 16 2014),  The New Yorker, 27 January 2003

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