Skip to main content


I am reading Kudera's 'Immortality'. (and for the first time, I am pissed off with his writing. it seems to be too whimsical - paul, laura, goethe, bettina, laura, ruben! where the fuck did he come from? where's immortality now? where did goethe go? why did her death come after Paul's life after her death? multiple strands woven together irregularly, whimsically. this book is almost a "modern art" (said disdainfully) with its whimsical (but intelligent) movements playing in a private symphony without a thought to audience's public nature. )

Anyway, Kundera makes a beautiful revelation (as he always does) about laughter (surprisingly in this book. instead of his 'laughter and forgetting'. perhaps a post script - a draft piece that had to find a place 'somewhere'.

He compares modern photographic images to classical paintings and sculptures - the key difference illuminated here being that of the countenance of the protagonist in the image. No one 'laughed' in classical images (apart from evil). All images were static (apart from those of evil). But look at all the hoardings, news clippings of world leaders, TV commercials... everyone is laughing. 

Kundera proposes that beauty - as seen classically - was in revelation of presence of thought. Whereas a laughter is a post thought reaction - a thoughtless state. It is neither ruled by will, nor by reason. And this state has become an ideal state of being for us, in this age of image.

"Everything you need to know about how the system sees you is expressed in its purest way in ads." says the person behind Thelastpsychiatrist.

So the 'system' sees us (or rather, wants to see us) as people devoid of reason and will. The utopia being advertised to us is a directionless utopia of smiling faces.

And here I remember Slavoj Zizek's understanding of utopia. Utopia is our innermost struggle for survival when we find ourselves helpless for change within our realm of possibilities.

And the full horror of today is now apparent.
Howsoever naive, utopias until now had a certain direction - communism, socialism, capitalism... all isms had a certain concrete direction and vision of the world - a vision born in reaction to the reality of the times they were born in. 

21st century is unique perhaps in its directionless utopia - in its occupy movements without causes, in its celebrities without talents, in its coffees without caffeine. hmm.. back to zizek. (BTW is this what 'post-modernism' supposed to mean?)

 We are letting 'the system' make us 'directionless'. This directionless utopia is the cause of our purposeless angst -> Our fight for 'getting real' -> Our lessening ability to react

and god knows we need to react!
The only way to subvert is to react - to everything, in anyway possible (and hopefully - appropriately)



Popular posts from this blog

Why I repair my shoe

I have 3 shoes. One formal, One sport shoe and another a mix of the two. The last one is particularly awesome, cause of its uniqueness. It looks like a formal shoe, but is as comfortable and flexible as a sport shoe. I bought it for my first job in Mumbai. I was newly rich and was expected to behave like one. I found this gem of pure black leather in a Colaba Causeway showroom. Quite a find. But its been almost two years now and the shoe shows its age. For all its awesomeness, its quite a weak shoe, to give out so early. I have stitched it, got new laces, and strengthened its sole. It doesn't look shiny anymore cause the leather has suffered from a few hostile trespasses. I think, like a man, things too should be allowed to carry their scars. Shiny scar-less men are just so... irrelevant. 

Since childhood, I have been used to using things for long times. Clothes, equipments, shoes etc. I can't just throw things away cause they don't look as good anymore or they don't w…

Walk about - II

I have been living in Gurgaon for the last 5 years. 5 years! in Gurgaon! I never thought I would end up staying this long here. In my head, it always was just a transit camp - to earn money to fund travel to Himalayas, come back and refill, go back and chill.. repeat until one figures out a way to break out of the cycle.
For the first 2 odd years that reflected in my lifestyle - My house was small and barely functional, a temporary base camp to return to 'home' in the hills. That 'home' was among strangers in the farthest corners and alleys of small villages in the hills. The home was not peopled really. It had no walls. It was the crisp cool air of the hills, the majesty of Himalaya, the clarity of sun's rays, the hot vapours rising from the ginger tea and the never ending walks in the forests, up the hills, down the valleys and through gullies and alleys of small villages and towns. When I was alone, that's what home was for me: A living breathing intimate …

Reading India through 'Dictator's handbook'

What's the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship?
The book says, not much. India, agrees. Current political dispensation especially agrees vigorously.

"Soma" of hindutva and past glory + divided impoverished amnesiac masses + legitimised attack on individual rights + tremendous wealth shared among few = brave new world of oligarchical India.

Essentially, democracies/ dictatorships etc., are simply variants of the same power dynamic between the ruler, essentials, influentials and inter-changeables.

Interchangeables are the nominal selectorate - the individual voters who have nominal (or cosmetic) power to choose leader - most of us.
Influentials  are the real selectorate - the guys who really choose the leader. In US recently, the electoral college famously went against the popular vote and elected a clown as their president instead. In India, theoretically, the system is a bit better in terms of a wider base of influentials - it could be religious gurus, party…