I believe the government needs a “ministry of idleness”, where the quality of idleness of the general population is looked into. Nietzsche said that if you do not have a third of your time for yourself, then you are a slave. This ministry can then look into what people do when they have nothing to do, and ensure they have this time. Quality idle-time is essential, lets stop torturing ourselves and nature, let us become flâneurs, let the absence of things to do not torture us anymore, and lets put in considerable effort into doing beautiful things, like knitting or painting, or walking the streets with nothing to do, or writing bad poetry…in the beginning of the Little Prince the little boy had begun to be an artist…and society did not let him..as Pessoa said, modern society does not permit the qualities of the artist to develop in us..
The day I read the chapter in the Feynman lectures on “What is force”, where Feynman describes the concept of “gorce”, my entire understanding of what physics was got shattered, I realized I had understood nothing, I realized that day how mysterious physics really was, and why I would never understand physics.
Perhaps physics doesn’t “understand” things, it “creates” an
understanding of things. I don’t know how to describe the difference, but I feel there must be one. Since then I can only see physics as a constructive process and not as understanding process, they create their mathematically consistent understandings of nature, their models that they eventually start calling laws. I shall never understand the “laws” of thermodynamics, nor the newton’s “laws” of motions, nor relativity special or general, I shall only perhaps appreciate that the edifice constructed is sound, if I get used to their equations enough.
The apple does not fall “because” of gravity, the sun does not shine “because” of weak interactions, the apple falls, and the sun shines, and we don’t know really why, it isn’t because we have a word for something that the mystery of it has gone anywhere.
P.S. I cannot help quote Ghalib here
Juz naam nahin surat-e-aalam mujhe manzoor
Juz waham nahin hasti-e-ashia meray aage
I acknowledge the face of the universe as only a name
The substance of reality is but superstition before me
As I look in despair at my body that, already imperfect in its youth, has now decided to show signs of a steady and ineluctable decline into middle and then old age, nothing frustrates me as much as to look into a mirror. And Pessoa confirms my intuition, when in his book, the “Book of disquiet” (which I simply cannot recommend enough to better understand the modern world we live in), he explains that the mirror has poisoned the human soul, that must be perfect in its own eyes, that in ancient times, people would rarely, if at all look at themselves in a mirror, and if they would, it would be by bending down in an act of belittlement, to look into the water. In another part of his book, he describes how greek literature did not have mention of this modern day angst, despite all the statues they made. This is also ofcourse the content of the Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, where a man is driven to madness, seeing himself age. We do not see the origins and the subtle, ill-effects of the modern world, the way fish do not see water….
Does “life imitate art” or “art imitate life”? Is bollywood, and the need to have 5 dance sequences in a movie a consequence of indian society, or are these 5 dance sequences going to marr indian society forever? Is it like in europe where “the nineteenth century is largely an invention of Balzac”, will indian society in the 21st century be largely an invention of Shah Rukh khan? or will it be Chetan Bhagat? The horror… or can someone explain why bollywood movies in the nineties talked so much about what seems to be a rather middle-ages western invention of “romantic love”. Is hero worshiping our actors inherent to us?… Have the indian words for “love” and “romance” changed meaning with the introduction of the english words? Did teenagers suffer less heartbreak before the english? Before christianity? Would we have made such nonsensical films back then? Is it the words? Did this word, “romance” which had its own life in western history fall into the wrong hands in the 90s in bollywood? And what are going to be the repercussions of this? How can a country that suffers so much poverty spend that much money watching something as frivolous as romantic love? “We see coming out then, in fresh souls, this sickness that we call romanticism, this Christianity without illusions and without myths which reflects, even more, its sickly dryness. All the evil of the romanticism comes form the confusion between that which is necessary to us and that which we desire. We have all needs indispensable to life, to its maintenance and its continuity, and we desire all of us a life more perfect, complete happiness, the realization of our dreams. It is human to want that which is necessary to us, and it is human to desire, that which is unnecessary. That which is sickly, is to desire with the same intensity the necessary and the desirable, and to suffer our lack of perfection like we would suffer lack of bread. The sickness of romanticism lies there, it is to want the moon as though there was a way to obtain it.” -F. Pessoa (poorly translated)
Ideally, modern marriage and relationships should be friendships, nothing more. In so much as men and women treat each other as identical, the dynamics of femininity and masculinity are lost, one cannot be galant and not be sexist, one cannot be manly because we cannot suppose the other to be less manly or different. The man and woman are equal, the same in fact, there is no intrinsic difference, everything is accidental, cultural, years of oppression have finally been overcome, women will hopefully, finally have a “room of their own”. Ofcourse this also means that all literature dealing with the subject is outdated. Romeo and Juliette is as absurd, as are all heroics of the brave warriors, because all this is sexist. Motherly love is sexist, fatherly sterness is absurd. That is a lot of getting used to, and nobody really gets used to it, which leads to a schizophrenia
I am not Indian. No indian author have I read that played with words like Oscar wilde. No indian television show influenced my language as Nickelodeon did, or Friends did. No indian science inspired me to think critically the way western modern science did. No Resnick Halliday walker came out of an Indian writer I read. Nothing is as incomprehensible to me as Hindu fanaticism, I know christianity better than hinduism, nothing is as absurd as the sycophancy of the indian middle class, nothing makes me cringe like bollywood. It seemed terribly important if Chelsea lost tomorrow, or if France lost the world cup. Its a world cup you see, and we are part of the world, its important to be part of the world and whether Di caprio did or did not win an Oscar. I have never been so perfectly close to a county far away (The US), and so far away from a country next to me. No indian music speaks to me like american music. I wait for no indian tv show like the american tv show. Indiann-ess is the dresses I wear, and vague customs I follow, and the dirt I am used to, the pundit’s feet I touch even though he speaks nonsense to me, telling me the sun is stationary, a kind of sprinkling on top, to not let things seem too absurd. How wonderful it is that sanskrit is “used in computer science”, I am sure Panini would be glad to know how relevant his language is today ^^… I don’t know how many indians are not indian, but its not a good sign for india, or for other countries with non-countrymen. We are all citizens of the world perhaps, but some live closer home than others. In the mean time lets pay lots of money to have Coldplay sing caricatures of a country we and Coldplay don’t know, and lets have Federer play baby-tennis for us, and get exited about it, lets live in the shadow of the west, and lets call it “fusion-music”, or something like that. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is it y’all?