Friday, February 29

Into the Wild

The cult of Chris McCandless. May it never die!

Read this article to know more. Jon Krakauer has writen a biography about him titled "Into the Wild". Also it has been made into a truly wonderful movie by Sean Penn. Do watch it, absolutely beautiful movie.

P.S. Kudos to Joy for recommending it!

Saturday, February 16

Disconnected( Arbit?) Thoughts

Couple of days back, I wrote a quiz on the "Literature and Environment" course. The course is more about philosophy than literature or environment and hence interesting in a vague sense. A lot of stuff like Eco-criticism and Eco- feminism are things that I neither find interesting nor agree with. But still, there are these golden flashes of an elusive treasure that keeps occurring throughout. There is something about philosophy which is frustrating yet intriguing. Its like that Pandora's box which is half open and lures you in. Two steps more and you think the end shall be seen but reality shows it to be a bottomless pit.

I have always wondered what would happen if all the philosophical questions had objective answers. It would mean an end to all doubts about purpose and karma. There wouldn't be any police or law enforcement agencies, since everyone would know* what is right and what is wrong. Everyone would do only the right thing, since what is"right" becomes an absolute truth which is no longer dependent on subjective intrepretations. It would be the ideal world, but a boring one at that. Isn't uncertainty the greatest boon of mankind? I remember the dialogue of Brad Pitt as Achilles in the film Troy "The Gods envy us. Because we are mortal, because we are doomed, each moment is so much more precious."

Words are powerful, yet at some level only a symbol of man's effort to propagate( to others) and re-assure( himself) his own ideas and the objectives behind his actions. Without words an enlightened man is no different from an ordinary mendicant. Actions might speak for themselves but not so loudly nor clearly as words. Where would we be without them ?

Without words, we would have no way of sharing ideas with others, which in turn means that we would either try to figure things out ourselves or stop trying at all. Maybe the real answer is that, *that there is nothing to be figured out*! Things happen just because that is the way things are. This again is an oft repeated concept in our course. The "is"ness of a thing whereby it just "is" what it is. Probably deep down we all know that it is the truth, yet the hope of a greater reality pushes us to do more. We are not satisfied by eating good food or getting a shelter to sleep. Our wants go beyond. Maybe the realization of such a truth, *that there is nothing to be realized* might mean a return to the stone age or even behind, to a time when all we would care for is a good meal and a safe sleep.

So while engrossed in these Eco poems and essays, I did some googling on the "Zen" school of thought. The zen philosophy says that to attain enlightenment one should be "intentionally aware" of the "present" without being "judgmental" about it. After thinking on it for sometime I concluded that it probably means one should clearly *know* and make an effort to understand what is happening ( around), without trying to figure out if it is happening for the good or bad. This again means that you shouldn't try to "interfere", but just let things be. I agree that the above statement appears to be self contradictory at multiple levels, since most of our actions are reactions to external stimuli and thus its impossible to act and yet not "interfere". At some level even our very presence is an interference. Then again, it might mean you should do those things which come *naturally*" to you, without letting the guiding hand of knowledge nor the filter of civilization change that natural course of action nor modify it. Would this mean a return to the hippie culture of 70s, where people try to portray the rebel image? I doubt. The problem with a being a rebel is that you again made the conscious decision of being a rebel. To follow zen philosophy would probably mean to act in a way as though the society was never there, neither *against it* nor *with it* nor *parallely*, but in a way that ignores its very existence itself.

OK, .. this will be continued later in another post.

Friday, February 8

Political Correctness

In terms of being politically correct in speech, our Indian media has kept pace with its western counterparts at a rather amazing speed. Yesterday I read this article in Hindu which referred to a "short person" ( political correctness again :D) as a "vertically challenged" person.

"Vertically challenged". wow

Monday, February 4


I seriously* recommend this movie. Absolutely wonderful direction combines with brilliant acting. There is so much raw energy in this film that at no point of time does the pace slacken even a bit. This film shows that though coated thickly by the outward paints of civilization, deep down we remain what we are, animals. A particular scene, one where the lead actress, being trapped in a pit with her son, fights off a charging monkey is simply movie at its best. The film also questions the ethos of "civilization" at large, where subjugation and slavery of a vast majority is essential for uplifting the standard of living of a few at the top. This is again contrasted with the primordial hunter village societies where almost everyone is on equal footing with no great misery nor luxury. To sum things up, definitely one of the best movies I have seen till date. The rating of 7.9 in IMDB belittles its true value by a long way.