Tuesday, May 5, 2015

art will save the world

The biggest upside of coming to Bangalore has been the chance to have long, freewheeling conversations with Sravani and Hareesh. We talk about a lot of things, some statements reaffirming my opinions and others forcing me to come out of my shell and try and look at the issue at hand from a totally unexpected point of view. About relationships, about marriage, about urban living, about the lives we'll live ahead, about Indian mythology, and the bloated narcissism of theme weddings. And one very intense argument with Ram on the topic of Science as a torch towards knowledge and if it was causing any betterment to the human civilization.  Yeah, the same old stuff. I guess no matter where you take me, I'll carry my deep seated insecurities and judgements, thoughts and viewpoints with me. And then, without fail, at the end of every discussion, I go meta and question the validity and potency of my version of thoughts and wonder if I'm just blabbering fancy terms or for once know what the fuck I'm talking about. Its very humbling, that voice which asks if I'm just an ignorant asshole overestimating the significance of my thoughts and I'm hoping it'll help me stay grounded and open-minded.

Anyway, before I forget, in In the light of what we know, Rahman makes what I think is a very acute observation. ( Since this piece is like an interior monologue anyway, should I mention I think explicitly since everything on this blog is more or less an outpouring of my thoughts? ) Talking about the relationship between thought and expression, he says as much as we use language to express the thoughts inside our head, we also sometimes use language as a crutch to grope at the thoughts we're not able to define clearly yet. And this led me to thinking if this is what the elders mean when they speak about when they forbid us from using 'negative' words. In the moment that we choose a phrase to express a thought, aren't we also creating the thought or moulding it in a way to suit out purposes? Also, of late, I came up with a pet theory which I kind of think explains how our brains use analogies to find patterns in all the data we ingest. In our minds, every bit of information, is its own meta-information. Every word/ thought/ image/ sound stands not only as a representation of something in the real world, but also as a symbol for itself.

One of the topics that we contested was on the notion of personal space in a relationship. While they argued that it is imperative for every person in a relationship to still have some time off, I argued that this whole concept of personal space was a very western outlook. Since the self changes every moment, to begin to group all these infinite selves rigidly as one person was not a very clever approach. What I am at this moment is a culmination of surrounding environment, the thoughts running in my head, my mood, the attentiveness of my senses, my history leading upto this moment among a host of other things. And thus the self is a very fluidic concept and there should be no hard and fast rules binding a person to a commitment that they must've made under very difference circumstances. But as I even said this, I found that I was contradicting myself, by using my Midhunam analogy, which I always do when talking about relationships. How is it that Appadasu and Buchilakshmi stayed in love till the end. I'm sure they must've fought, disagreed, hated the other, cribbed, bickered and resented staying together as much as they must've had a great, great time living together. What exactly does love mean then?

Another interesting discussion that we verged on was the irrationality of human beings. Gods are gods because they're predictable- they're compassionate and just, they follow dharma. For all their crimes and misdemeanours, they're still on the right side of following the rules they've set. Humans, on the other hand, are far more interesting because they act in ways that aren't commonsensical. We display kindness, anger, hatred and curiosity when we'd probably be better off without them. A god might not go out of his way to ease someone else's discomfort but humans mostly do. And I feel good about it. That we can be all proper and systematic if we want to, but we choose serendipity and whim over pure cold reason. The world, for all its shortcomings, still survives because of it.

Nature is Brighter than the Sun, but Culture is Brighter Still.
  

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