Orwell on subversion

George Orwell in 'The art of Donald Mcgill' talks about the innocence of subversion and how it is one of the essential characteristics of human beings. The following paragraph is taken from his essay where he is musing about the necessity and the origin of the dichotomy of 'Sancho Panza and Don Quixote', 'Jeeves and Wooster', 'Holmes and Watson' etc.

"But though in varying forms he is one of the stock figures of literature, in real life, especially in the way society is ordered, his point of view never gets a fair hearing. There is a constant world-wide conspiracy to pretend that he is not there, or at least that he doesn't matter. Codes of law and morals, or religious systems, never have much room in them for a humorous view of life. Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie, and the reason why so large a proportion of jokes centre round obscenity is simply that all societies, as the price of survival, have to insist on a fairly high standard of sexual morality. A dirty joke is not, of course, a serious attack upon morality, but it is a sort of mental rebellion, a momentary wish that things were otherwise. So also with all other jokes, which always centre round cowardice, laziness, dishonesty or some other quality which society cannot afford to encourage. Society has always to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice. It has to demand faultless discipline and self sacrifice, it must expect its subjects to work hard, pay their taxes, and be faithful to their wives, it must assume that men think it glorious to die on the battlefield and women want to wear themselves out with child-bearing. The whole of what one may call official literature is founded on such assumptions. I never read the proclamations of generals before battle, the speeches of fuhrers and prime ministers, the solidarity songs of public schools and Left wing political parties, national anthems, temperance tracts, papal encyclicals and sermons against gambling and contraception, without seeming to hear in the background a chorus of raspberries from all the millions of common men to whom these high sentiments make no appeal. Nevertheless the high sentiments always win in the end, leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic. Women face childbed and the scrubbing brush, revolutionaries keep their mouth shut in the torture chamber, battleships go down with their guns still firing when their decks are awash. It is only that the other element in man, the lazy, cowardly, debt-bilking adulterer who is inside all of us, can never be suppressed altogether and needs a hearing occasionally"


Mexico: Impressions

Barely a week has passed when 3 bikes with 4 riders started on their 5 day trip by driving towards the Tecate border crossing to Mexico. Mexico... The name has a vaguely identifiable ring of romantic imperfection associated with it. For a boy who hails from the chaotic environs of a continuously hyperventilating country, the measured dozes of unsullied oxygen sometime leave a gaping hole of desire. This innocent desire for the occasional mathematical imperfection of sweeping mountain curves, the infrequent sight of fault in the perfectly manicured fauna, the silhouette of a city to resemble, if only intermittently, more a dilapidated crone than a lady in short black dress- this desire makes me appreciate the ragged, jagged, relatively arbitrary world that Mexico has to offer. In its crumbling edifices of randomly packed matchboxes, in the arabesque pattern of its road network, in the decreased field of personal space, Mexico reminds me a lot of India. Saying that I love all of this all the time would be falling into a trap that we desis fall in all too easily. The trap of not loving the country but the romantic idea of it. But I do miss it occasionally. Striving for betterment, perfection, one sometimes misses the age of fault; much like that old television that had to be slapped on the side to improve reception, or that insufferable P.T. teacher who was all too ready with the stick.

So what is Mexico like?

The arbitrarily cracked asphalt is often overloaded with disintegrating pickup trucks with a driver in a shabby checkered shirt and seemingly doped passengers curiously staring at you from the open trunk. Children in tattered attires who haven't been told that every stranger is a pedophile wave enthusiastically at you while you pass them on your motorcycle and young girls with skin tight jeans and a bit too much rouge for a Wednesday afternoon giggle and whisper naughtily if they happen to catch your attention. Traffic follows street laws but things always seem to be hanging in a precarious balance, forever in the danger of snapping into a chaotic disarray if only you grew complacent for a second. There are speed limits but the police is refreshingly inept and corrupt so that the time it takes to get from one point to another depends only upon how much of a badass you can be. Shopkeepers humor you with generous help as you gesticulate with exasperated flourish and try to inquire about the price of one 'churro' in your impotent Spanish. Road workers, from behind the clouds of gaseous asphalt and sunny dust, raise the right thumb in a friendly approval of your foreign presence and meanly attired army men on infrequent check posts show more interest in the volume of your engine than the contents of your bag. Drunk girls with time at their hands and mischief on their minds shout from behind the germinating veil of night 'Do you speak English' as three Indians, quite unsure and slightly flustered, fidget and fumble and finally drift. Local bands bellow their loosely strung concoctions as the hopped up night swirls around them in an inebriated frenzy and the sauced celebrations stretch deep into the dark. And below the starry expanse of the unbridled sky with the swathed sound of the distant water and the intoxicating smell of spirited festivities, one sits on the rampart of simplified life and tries to make sense, and embrace to some extent, a world that is so different from the one that he has left for a little while. A very young boy selling insignificant tchotchkes is happy to sell off a considerable portion of his merchandise for 15 pesos and Bhatele remarks, "He finished off his shop" and we break into spontaneous laughter. He laughs too and stashing away the 15 pesos, moves ahead with the satisfaction of a business well done.

Hopefully I'll stop to reminisce some more for there are such beautiful memories.


"You are a good writer"

So two of my last three posts have been videos of other people with the last post dated a considerable time ago. Hmmm... can you hear the tinny screech of my iron-ical knowledge-spatula desperately trying to glean the last scraps of ideas from the dark, gaping barrel of imagination? Hopefully though, plain old lethargy has the same unmistakable sound; hopefully it has the same unmistakable feel of yielding which is vested in the sorry contortions of a soldering wire bent one too many times. The truth is, last month or so was eventful. Although eventful in a way I would not prefer other months to be but, nevertheless, a set of rollicking, saddling, galumphing, and sobering experiences. And no one, during such periods, has either the time or the inclination to stare at the screen for an hour or two while disjointed words string together to form incoherent sentences to be published as insignificant posts on barely read blogs! There are more worthy ways of setting fire to time.

Someone, a literarily very talented person, told me that I'm a very good writer. The arid night had the surprising signature of moisture. I could have sworn that I believed that the washed out sky should have had the full milky moon. And the voice, in its calmness betrayed anger, in its monotonicity-sarcasm. Now Sarcasm is a beautiful thing. I adore good sarcasm for its fluid, razorlike strokes which can make clean incisions without making you immediately aware of the gravity of the cuts. Like an altimeter, it celebrates with equal vivacity both height and depth at the same time, depth being the more sinister part of the equation. The higher the praise, the greater the schism and, thereby, the more biting the actual intent. I am, therefore, happy that on that calm, windy night I wasn't pronounced an excellent writer.

So do I care? I wonder... what exactly is good writing? Wilde's 'The decay of lying' is one of those pieces of literature which has left a lasting impression on my thinking. More than it being a praise of the 'art of lying', it is an emotional and resounding case for the plain, simple joy of unbridled expression which is unmindful of the clutches of reality, and heedless of the boundaries of mere reason. 'What is a good lie? Simply that which is its own evidence.' Unapologetic, unabashed, bare, brazen, and honest. And it doesn't take a huge stretch of imagination to see that the only effort in this world that is completely unapologetic, wholly unabashed is the one that is done for one's own happiness and nothing else. By extension, good writing, like a good lie is one that gives pleasure to the writer. And I cannot really think of any other activity which is as pleasurable to me as the effort that makes a set of words not just a sentence but so much more. When the transmittance of a mere idea is taken from the dull precincts of efficiency and elevated by grammatical adornments and lexical embellishments, when surprising connections are revealed between mundane reality and obscure ideas through weird interconnections of neurons, to quote Fry, when the tripping of the tip of the tongue touches the top of the teeth to transport one to giddy euphoric bliss, when... I think we get the idea. So do I care? Not if incorporating any changes suggested to me would decrease the amount of pleasure I derive from the effort.

Sorry for being a slacker these last few weeks :).


Science, reality, religion etc.

It's interesting how I tend to get entangled in extended durations of 'investigations' into specific subjects. Of late, the subject has been science in general. Actually calling it science would be narrowing the scope to a very orthodox view. It has more to do with the human effort at understanding how nature works; while we happen to gain those insights with science, the more important idea is the effort at understanding. This brings us to the topic of how precisely does reality correspond to our explanations and how long shall it keep doing it. Moreover, why exactly is it comprehensible (I think it was Einstein who said that the incomprehensible fact is that nature was so comprehensible), what makes us believe in the relative validity of theories which are just a result of our imperfect impressions gathered by our imperfect senses, and finally, if our scientific explanations are ephemeral (as history has proved time and again), what makes them vastly more credible (at least to me) than the religious/mystic (non)explanations.

Below is part of a video of the brilliant Feynman expressing his views on some of these topics. The relevant points start at 3:20.

Anyway, the book that started this wretched chain of thoughts is David Deutsch's 'The fabric of reality' and it is quite simply, a work of genius. The brilliant thing about this book is that it boldly argues and presents conjectures on such difficult topics and manages to provide convincing arguments for its case. Deutsch doesn't dabble in mollifying opposing viewpoints and thus presents a book which is as incisive in its insight as it is overarching in its reach. He lays the grave of such philosophical junk as solipsism, inductivism, positivism and doesn't shy away from pointing where some of the most brilliant minds (Weinberg, Wheeler, Hawking, Penrose etc.) went wrong. He manages to narrow down his discussion to four of our best theories: quantum theory, Karl Popper's theory of epistemology, Darwinian evolution as modified by Dawkins, and theory of computation (Turing principle), presents the underlying unities among all of them and clarifies as to how all these theories, together, provide us with the most comprehensible and integrated view of our world yet. In other worlds, our first 'Theory of everything'. Its an intense book and I've already started it again in order to make more sense than the 5% I have managed to make after the first read :).


Mnemosyne vs. Camera

It was raining hard today and I went on a drive. I went to a place called Mount Soledad from where you can see vast expanses of San Diego and the endless ocean and as I peered down from the mountain top I saw one of the most beautiful views of SD I've ever witnessed.

For a second I thought, hell! why do I not have a camera, it's a shame that this view will dissolve into the ravenous night in a few minutes and all that I'll be left with are faint impressions on an uncertain canvas. And dissolve it did. But I still stand by my aversion to a camera and my dislike for photographs. Photographs are too perfect to be interesting. They are too truthful to be beautiful. What memory preserves in jars of translucent glass, pickled in spices of uncertainty, salted with a heady mixture of imagination and lies - a photograph crams it up in definite color schemes between the convenient borders of a 4X6. At this point, I'm not sure if the background far into the ocean today was dark green or blackish gray, or if the patches of rain far into the distance overwhelmed the sunny green land but mnemosyne, in all her supple grace, paints a picture that has a vague tint of satisfaction and peace. They say that the most erogenous part of the body is the brain. They say that the best actors in the world are the ones that we carry in our heads. I agree. A photograph is only perfect. Too bad it fails to do any better.


David Deutsch on TED

Following is simply the most brilliant talk I've ever heard. TED is a highly respected platform and David Deutsch is a highly regarded physicist. Here he talks about the concept of knowledge, how it makes humans different from other species, and finally tackles the often emotionally driven topic of Global Warming and beautifully puts things in perspective with insightful rationality:

What surprises me the most is the clarity of his thoughts and the over-arching grasp of his analysis. Genius! Well, I came across this a few months ago but my mistake that didn't share it earlier.


Power of Metaphors

I do not profess to be any sort of a music connoisseur but in my limited experience the one piece that astonishes me to no end is Ralph Vaughan Williams's 'The Lark Ascending'. And I have used the word 'astonish' not by mistake. The primary emotion that I have when listening to this piece is not one of happiness or satisfaction but astonishment. Somehow while listening to this piece with my eyes closed, the abstract idea of a graceful skylark slowly rising up above the crystal water into the endless sky manifests itself in the mellifluous sounds of the lone violin. And it amazes me that something as disconnected as music is able to evoke such a specific emotion. I suppose this is a very subjective experience but allow me to develop the point.

I feel that the lone quality that separates a genius thinker from a mediocre wannabe and an ignoramus is the capacity for metaphorising, so to say. The power to draw striking analogies between seemingly very different fields is the stuff brilliance is made of. I suppose we all have some sort of 'knowledge specialization' now that we have ventured beyond the dark ages of immaturity and pointlessness and I suppose we shall continue to add to our repository of existing understanding for the rest of our lives. As is probably done by any and every human being. But at the cost of sounding a bit defeatist most of us would vanish without a whimper in the cosmic sonata or without a flash in the divine pan. And one of the most important reason for this, I feel, is that the power to discover the underlying simplicity of this seemingly chaotic universe doesn't come easy. And to most, it doesn't come at all. And this power to find an underlying order simpler and more beautiful than the mess it bedrocks is the power to form metaphors and analogies. We can see it everywhere but lets take science for the sake of our hardwired brains. The story of science and its heroes is a classic case of gradual simplification and continued unification of our concepts. From Newton's brilliant insight that the forces that make the heavens go round are the same as the force that squashed the most famous apple in history to Maxwell's observation that electricity and magnetism can be combined beautifully into one elegant theory to Einstein's leap of imagination which unified space and time to Bohr's fruits which managed to provide a unified umbrella theory to 3 out of 4 fundamental forces of nature and the present quest for the final frontier that seeks to unify gravity with the rest, it's one breathtaking story of a string of ideas that are the scientific equivalents of the literary concept of 'metaphor'. In fact, our theories are nothing but self consistent set of metaphors relating mathematics and the observable reality and that is the poetic beauty of our simple universe. And like a great piece of music, like Beethoven's 9th, like Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace, like Wilde's essay on lying, like Fry's wonder at cheese and wine, like the soaring flight of the skylark, the joy of finding that there is an order under this chaos, that things are interconnected and simple below this mind-numbing physical complexity is one that gives me goosebumps.

'Metaphor' in fact is hardwired into our systems and we cannot speak a simple sentence without resorting to it in one way or another. As Guy Deutcher mentions in his brilliant book 'Unfolding of language', language itself is built upon a reef of dead metaphors. If you go back long enough in history simple words like 'back', 'have', 'will' etc. will turn out to be metaphors. And as we start maturing as a civilization, as our 'tolerances' for existing metaphors increase, the more experimental and cutting edge of our writers begin exploring other metaphors which are more radical than the old ones but nevertheless stomachable for an age of increased sensitivity. The same happens with ideas and concepts which increasingly seek to interconnect hitherto disconnected notions with more flamboyant analogies and more radical metaphors. So when Nabokov wonders about the dancing electric wires as he sits on the window seat of a traveling train and compares the motion with the life of a human being suffocated by social clutches or when Fry compares language with sex, one has to sit back, shake his head in reverence and give it to the genius who could connect such uncoupled ideas. And it's not that their analogies are contrived. I suppose you need a sufficiently developed sensitivity to appreciate the brilliance required to come up with such unifications in very much the same way wherein an average person will be able to relate the concepts of love and rose because the metaphor has been so beaten to death. So if one is willing to give legitimacy to the connection between a love and a rose, ideally, every connection should be beyond reproach and hence our snickering disapproval for the avant garde seems baseless.

But the more important and 'underlying' argument is that simplification and unification are concepts that a human being seems to strive for in all his endeavors. And when such comprehensibility and interconnectedness emerge from a heap of confused mess, it's a very primal joy. That it's an effort that is beyond the average human being is without doubt. Knowledge by itself is not of much use. I mean, Dan Brown seems to have a lot of knowledge but he doesn't bring anything really new and interesting and thought provoking to the dinner table. We are super specialized in our fields but as to our ability to further our fields by any respectable jump, the lesser said the better. But knowledge definitely is the bedrock upon which a greater understanding is constructed. It's like Fry's complaints about the sorry state of the 'verse libre' generation who do not write metrical poems not because they do not want to but because they cannot. Newton famously said, 'The reason I have been able to look beyond others is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants' and he was referring to Galileo. So genius is a rare combination of a voracious appetite for existing knowledge and an uncanny ability of simplifying the current scheme by discovering hidden and often surprising connections. That is why Wilde was such a great genius. What we often overlook, overwhelmed by his brilliant wit, is his encyclopedic grasp of literature before his age. What we often gloss over, however, is his unmatched capacity of elucidating faint connections. 'No man is ever completely unhappy at his friend's success'! It's a faint connection, a frail analogy, a tenuous 'metaphor'. But it's there, vital and universal.


Swan Song

And there it was. On the white water. Under a black deserted sky, ominous and cloudy save the faint moon, abruptly punctuated by the dark lake in the distance. And still, breathless silence of a world dumbstruck at the sheer beauty, the bloody audacity of beauty, the painful intolerance of beauty, the insurmountable allure of perfection, the insulting mockery of it all. There it was, its white coat reflecting the soft moon in a blurred concoction of fractal complexity, its long slender neck rising above the surface of water with an elegance unspeakable, its wide open eyes shimmering with the innocence of stupidity, utterly confident of the immutability of future. Silly swan! In the calculated expanse of his wings was the grasp of his dreams, unsullied, untainted - ultimately unintelligent. In the perfection of his form lay the idea of an unimprovable future. In the grace of his movements, the surety of a sunny day. In the arrow through his neck - the shattered shards of the perfect life. Helpless as he writhed with this unquenchable pain, as he jostled with this anchor which had tethered his mighty flight to the lowly ground, as he tried to squeeze out the last tones from his fast emptying barrel - in his desperate attempt to save the quickly disfiguring pot of his dreams, in one of those stupid ironic moments when death lays bare the most human of hues, when life lives with an unmatched vitality in the arms of death, he broke out into the most gut wrenchingly beautiful song of his life. And it pierced through the deafening silence with the power of a bolt through a menacing sky, with the simple beauty of the fall of the last leaf of a dying tree, with the tonal perfection of rain over water, with the divine harmony of - silence. And silent it became, with the sanguined water, some blood stained furs stuck to the steely tip and a lifeless, formless, helpless body aimlessly drifting away into the frigid dark, the depressing reminders of a promise ruthlessly trampled. And the sand slipping away from my hand - faster the harder I try to contain it, with an almost mocking, insulting nonchalance until my fingers press against the face of my palm and I realize that it's finally over. The song that I just heard has also stopped. Yes, it's finally over.
I was reading 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'. A few lines worth sharing:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.


Such a poetical exposition of the essential connection between love and hate that leaves them both tangled in each others embrace, hanging in an exquisite balance whose unstable equilibrium is a relationship.


Mnemonically speaking

In thinking about my distant past I'm frequently surprised by the clarity with which certain small details, quite insignificant in the normal scheme of things, rush through the haze of at least 2 decades. It has the same effect of staring down into a valley on a particularly foggy day. Backgrounded by a blurry, vague mist the bushes in the foreground glisten and sparkle with an astounding detail that is completely missed in the mayhem that is the inevitable concomitant of clarity. Similarly my past, so nebulous, so amorphous like a long exposure shot of a waterfall in which water looks more like a continuous fabric than a collection of long quantum streaks, provides a canvas of such assorted medley that the resultant is a whitish, palish sheet of paper on which arise the geometrical flashpoints of my life. My life, in hindsight, conveniently expressed, summarily summarized by the relative perspicuity of periodic insignificance!

How else would I explain the lucid taste of Calcite which still clouds the tongue everytime I take a piece of chalk in my hands; the memory arising from my taking a bite out of a classroom piece at a time in my past that is as lost to my mind as the complete repository of my Bio knowledge. How else would I explain the exactitude with which the parabolic trajectory of the six, which was the result of two and a half paces of dance down the wicket and a mighty heave on the onside, is affixed in the jumble of my mind? How else would I explain the vivid memory of the primordial bliss that engulfed a child of 6 in the company of his mother who is chattering away on a clear spring afternoon under a bright yellow sun on a white concrete roof of a dilapidated signature middle class society building with moisture induced black algae on the outside walls that is punctuated with small mottled glass windows and frank, public private balconies? In comparison, all the important landmarks, examinations, birthdays, marriages, trips etc. appear as if from behind a rain spattered glass window. They are there alright but as their own ghosts; they are all there in the realm of the fuzzy no-man's land between the conscious and the subconscious. Like the indefinite transmogrification of reality in its caricatured alter-ego that resides within the boundaries of somnolence. And I'm never sure that upon trying to extract a particular portion of that gooey mixture, what I'm ending up with is actually a slice of my life or just a phantasmagorical remnant of a confused mind.

I suppose this problem is uniquely my own. Imagination tries to fill in the gaps left by a memory that has been a shameless bum with regards to its own work. I have, without a shred of doubt, the most incompetent, most vacillating of long term memories among all those I've met. But then I don't remember most of them :).

Foggy and Gloomy

Wilde once said that all bad poetry is a result of honest emotions. Well... at least my poetry is bad... it's in fact verse!

I wonder what to write on
in times of such distress,
with gloomy days and foggy nights
solitude lone buttress.
Specters rise in ghostly dance
from all engulfing mist,
I raise my hand to touch them all,
moisture my mistress.

Memory with its shearing edge
cuts carves clean car-cass,
and chops it to a deja vu
bludgeons it to molass.
And I walk on with eyes put fix
into the foggy dark,
anxiety, nerves, concern, shivers,
trepidation en masse.

Ink in the pen, starts to dry
with careless nonchalance,
in horror do I gape at the
precarious imbalance.
As it tilts here and it tilts there
I'm left to ruminate,
over our hollow rein on life,
self-deluding pretense.

Well... too gloomy I think, too dark. No no, things are not nearly dark enough but midway through it I was seized by the romantic imagery of it all. It's a vicious circle, gloom. It feeds on itself. The more eloquently you express it, the more beautiful, alluring, all-consuming it becomes until you are reduced to a whining, bleeding heart that your emotion and sympathy laden ideas want you to be. I know it from experience and I believe it very deeply that I have been dealt a more than fair hand. My travails have not been worse than anyone else's just like the travails of most people in the world are probably worse only in their own eyes. But such rational justifications do not stop me from writing self-indulgent, morose lines like the ones above. Hmmm... was it Gandhi who once said that to be happy, you only need to look at a person sadder than you?


Fry on Language

I recently came across this brilliant post on the subject of language by Stephen Fry and since I can never express my own feelings with the clarity and eloquence of the master, I will reproduce a part of his text here. From Stephen Fry's musings on the subject of language:

"I’ve mentioned those French intellectuals the structuralists: one of their number, perhaps the best known, Roland Barthes, liked to use two words jouissance and plaisir. Le plaisir du texte. The pleasure of the text. Those who think structuralism spelt or spelled death to conscious art and such bourgeois comforts as style, accomplishment and enjoyment might be surprised that the pleasure of the text, the jouissance, the juicy joy of language, was important to Roland and his followers. Only to a dullard is language a means of communication and nothing more. It would be like saying sex is a means of reproduction and no more and food a means of fuelling and no more. In life you have to explain wine. You have to explain cheese. You have to explain love. You can’t, but you have to try, or if not try you have, surely, to be aware of the astonishing fact of them. We would never notice if the fat and protein rich food with which cows, ewes and nanny goats suckled their young could not be converted to another, firmer foodstuff that went well with crackers and grapes. We wouldn’t go about the place moaning that sheep’s milk was only of any use to lambs, any more than I have ever heard anyone wonder why pig’s milk doesn’t make a good yoghurt. In fact if you suggest drinking pig’s milk or horse’s milk, people look askance and go “yeurgh!” as if it’s the oddest suggestion they’ve ever heard. We take what nature and custom have led us to accept. As Eddie Izzard pointed out, it’s odd that bees make honey: ‘after all,’ he said, ‘earwigs don’t make chutney.’ And take that arbitrary fruit, the grape: suppose grapes didn’t uniquely transmogrify themselves, without the addition of sugar, into a drink of almost infinite complexity? We wouldn’t wonder at the lack of such a thing as wine in the world, any more than we wonder that raspberry wine (despite the deliciousness of raspberries as fruit) can’t, in the proper sense, exist or speculate on why the eggs of carp aren’t as good to eat as the eggs of sturgeon. But every now and again we should surely celebrate the fact that caviar is so fine, that the grape offers itself up so uniquely, that milk products of three or four species have such versatile by-products for us, that the grain of some grasses can be transformed into bread, that the berry, pod or leaf of this plant or that plant can give us chocolate, coffee or tea, and that while the fuzz of this plant can’t go to make a shirt, the fuzz of that unique one canand the thread of this insect can go to make a tie, while the equally impressive thread, in nature, of that other insect can’t be spun into the simplest handkerchief. Is it weird that silkworms exist or is it weird that only the silkworm will do when it comes to silk and only the cotton plant when it comes to cotton? To put it again, in an accidental line of decasyllabic verse, ‘none would be missed if they didn’t exist’. And if language didn’t elicit pleasure, if it didn’t have its music, its juiciness or jouissance would we notice, or would always be destined to find pleasure in it because that’s a thing we humans can do? Out of the way we move we can make dance, out of the way we speak we can make poetry and oratory and comedy and all kinds of verbal enchantments. Cheese is real, and so it seems, is the pleasure of the text."

His full post can be found at:

hmmm... quite a brilliant article and it makes me wonder about those philosophic thoughts which advocate a spartan and austere life, taking the juice out of life itself so that it would never spill on your clothes. Would terming it 'to always err on the side of extreme caution' be right? Is pleasure the most basic human duty? A duty which like all duties is extremely difficult to live up to but whose idea is the idea of a perfect life.

About Me

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Like a particularly notorious child's tantrums, a mountaneous river's intemperance, a volcano's reckless carelessness and the dreamy eyes of a caged bird, imagination tries to fly unfettered. Hesitant as she takes those first steps, she sculpts those ambitious yet half baked earthen pots.