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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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 14, 2017

प्लेटोची बाराखडी, चातुर्वर्ण्य आणि खुनी इतिहास...Plato's Deadly Alphabets...

Today April 14 2017 is 126th birth anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar (भी रा आंबेडकर)


Isaiah Berlin, ‘The Crooked Timber of Humanity’, 1959:

“...The view that the truth is one and undivided, and the same for all men everywhere at all times, whether one finds it in the pronouncements of sacred books, traditional wisdom, the authority of Churches, democratic majorities, observation and experiment conducted by qualified experts, or the convictions of simple folk uncorrupted by civilisation – this view, in one form or another, is central to Western thought, which stems from Plato and his disciples...

...In Plato’s republic there is a rigid, unified hierarchy of three classes, based on the proposition that there are three types of human nature, each of which can be fully realised and which together form an interlocking, harmonious whole. Zeno the Stoic conceives an anarchist society in which all rational beings live in perfect peace, equality and happiness without the benefit of institutions. If men are rational, they do not need control; rational beings have no need of the State, or of money, or of law-courts, or of any organised, institutional life. In the perfect society men and women shall wear identical clothes and feed in a ‘common pasture’. Provided that they are rational, all their wishes will necessarily be rational too, and so capable of total harmonious realisation. Zeno was the first Utopian anarchist, the founder of a long tradition which has had a sudden, at times violent, flowering in our own time...”
 
John Gray, 'Plato and the Alphabet' from 'Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals', 2007:
"...Writing creates an artificial memory, whereby humans can enlarge their experience beyond the limits of one generation or one way of life. At the same time it has allowed them to invent a world of abstract entities and mistake them for reality. The development of writing has enabled them to construct philosophies in which they no longer belong in the natural world...Plato’s legacy to European thought was a trio of capital letters – the Good, the Beautiful and the True. Wars have been fought and tyrannies established, cultures have been ravaged and peoples exterminated, in the service of these abstractions. Europe owes much of its murderous history to errors of thinking engendered by the alphabet."

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, 'Indian Philosophy: Volume II", 1923:
"...The infinite dwells in all finite man is conscious of this fact. Though he is bound up with an organism which is mechanically determined by the past, the infinite ideals of truth, beauty and goodness operate in him and enable him to choose and strive for their greater expression It is because the infinite Brahman is revealed to a larger extent in human beings that they are entitled to ethical and logical activity..."

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900):
"To be attracted to the Platonic dialogue, this horribly self-satisfied and childish kind of dialectic, one must never have read good French writers — Fontenelle, for example. Plato is boring. In the end, my mistrust of Plato goes deep: he represents such an aberration from all the basic Greek instincts, is so moralistic, so pseudo-Christian (he already takes the concept of "the good" as the highest concept) that I would prefer the harsh phrase "higher swindle" or, if it sounds better, "idealism" for the whole phenomenon of Plato."
"It is still a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science—and we men of knowledge of today, we godless men and anti-metaphysicians, we, too, still derive our flame from the fire ignited by a faith millennia old, the Christian faith, which was also Plato’s, that God is truth, that truth is divine.—But what if this belief is becoming more and more unbelievable, if nothing turns out to be divine any longer unless it be error, blindness, lies—if God himself turns out to be our longest lie?"

Dr. B R Ambedkar (1891-1956):

“...Chaturvarnya pre-supposes that you can classify people into four definite classes. Is this possible? In this respect, the ideal of Chaturvarnya has, as you will see, a close affinity to the Platonic ideal. ... The chief criticism against Plato is that his idea of lumping individuals into a few sharply-marked-off classes is a very superficial view of man and his powers. Plato had no perception of the uniqueness of every individual, of his incommensurability with others, of each individual as forming a class of his own. He had no recognition of the infinite diversity of active tendencies, and the combination of tendencies of which an individual is capable. ..Chaturvarnya must fail for the very reason for which Plato's Republic must fail—namely, that it is not possible to pigeonhole men, according as they belong to one class or the other...”


Stephen Cave, AEON, Feb 21 2017:

“... Throughout Western history, those deemed less intelligent have, as a consequence of that judgment, been colonised, enslaved, sterilised and murdered (and indeed eaten, if we include non-human animals in our reckoning) ...

...The story of intelligence begins with Plato. In all his writings, he ascribes a very high value to thinking, declaring (through the mouth of Socrates) that the unexamined life is not worth living. Plato emerged from a world steeped in myth and mysticism to claim something new: that the truth about reality could be established through reason, or what we might consider today to be the application of intelligence. This led him to conclude, in The Republic, that the ideal ruler is ‘the philosopher king’, as only a philosopher can work out the proper order of things. And so he launched the idea that the cleverest should rule over the rest – an intellectual meritocracy...”

भारतात 'सत्यम्, शिवम्, सुंदरम' / 'सुंदर, शिव, सत्य' केंव्हा आणि कुठून आले मला माहित नाही.  पण ते आता खूप लोकप्रिय झाले आहे. त्याचा उदय प्लेटोच्या उक्तीत असावा असे वाटते.  वर डॉ राधाकृष्णन सुद्धा प्लेटोच्या उक्तीचा पुनरुच्चार त्यांच्या ग्रंथात करतात. दुर्गा भागवतांच्या नावावर पण एक पुस्तक आहे: 'सत्यं शिवं सुंदरं', मी ते पाहिल नाहीय.

मी मराठी विश्वकोशात ही त्रिसूत्री शोधली,  त्यावेळी ही प्रमुख नोंद मिळाली: "...प्लेटो असे म्हणतो की, ‘सत्य, शिव सुंदर ही जी जीवनाची अंतिम मूल्ये आहेत, ती समजण्याची अनुभवण्याची पात्रता मनुष्याला आणून देते, ते शिक्षण होय’..."
त्याशिवाय खालील दोन नोंदी मिळाल्या:


"प्रबोधनकालीन कला:..ॲरिस्टॉटल हा निसर्गप्रमाण मानणारा होता. निसर्ग स्वयंपूर्ण आहे, या जगामधील वस्तूंची सत्त्वे या निसर्गातच सामावलेली आहेत, म्हणून सत्य, शिव, सौंदर्य ही तत्त्वे सर्व ज्ञानविषयक या निसर्गविश्वातच ओतप्रोत भरलेले आहेत, अशा भूमिकेवर प्रबोधनकाळ आला. या निसर्गाचे निरीक्षण करून ज्ञान मिळवावयाचे आणि निसर्गाचे निरीक्षण करून सौंदर्याचा शोध घ्यावयाचा, ही ॲरिस्टॉटलची विचारसूत्रे प्रबोधनकाळात अत्यंत प्रभावी ठरली"

रोमन कॅथलिक पंथ:... दलित, उपेक्षित व गरीब बांधवांच्या मुक्तीसाठी चर्च प्रोत्साहन देते. ही गोष्ट विशेषतः दक्षिण अमेरिकेत दिसून येते. त्याचप्रमाणे ख्रिस्तेतर धर्मियांबरोबर घडून आणलेल्या सुसंवादाद्वारे प्रत्येक संस्कृतीतील सत्यम्, शिवम्, सुंदरमची जपणूक करण्यास चर्च प्रोत्साहन देते. आजच्या काळातील कॅथलिकांची ही महत्त्वपूर्ण वैशिष्ट्ये आहेत...”


साने गुरुजी म्हणतात : "...जगात  जे जे काही सुंदर, शिव, सत्य दिसेल ते ते घेऊन वाढणारी ही (भारतीय) संस्कृती आहे..." (भारतीय संस्कृती, १९३७).

मला सानेगुरुजींचे म्हणण अजिबात पटत नाही. जगातील इतर प्राचीन संस्कृतींप्रमाणे भारतीय संस्कृतीत सुद्धा अनेक भल्या बुऱ्या गोष्टी आहेत. पण मला त्या तीन शब्दांवर आपली संस्कृती वाढली अस वाटत नाही.

त्या तीन शब्दांचा एकमेकाशी काय संबंध आहे हे मला कधीच कळल नाही. सत्य, शिव, सुंदर या ऍबस्ट्रॅक्ट कल्पना मला पूर्णपणे सापेक्ष वाटतात. जॉन ग्रे वर म्हणतात त्याप्रमाणे त्या ऍबस्ट्रॅक्ट कल्पनां वरून महायुद्धे कशी छेडली जाऊ शकतात (गेली) याची कल्पना मी करू शकतो. ("Wars have been fought and tyrannies established, cultures have been ravaged and peoples exterminated, in the service of these abstractions. Europe owes much of its murderous history to errors of thinking engendered by the alphabet.") डॉक्टर आंबेडकर म्हणतात त्याप्रमाणे प्लेटोंना प्रत्येक मानवाच्या अद्वितीयतेची, मानवाच्या असंख्य वैविध्यतेची पुरेशी कल्पना नव्हती. सत्य, शिव, सुंदर सारख्या कल्पनांवर एकमत होणे अवघड आहे आणि तसे ते करण्यात आले त्यावेळी नरसंहार घडले. 


सत्यं, शिवं, सुंदरं शब्दांवर आधारित दोन गाणी (एक मराठी, एक हिंदी) मात्र आवडतात!



David Hume and Plato conversing
 courtesy: Existential Comics