"One thought alone preoccupies the submerged mind of Empire: how not to end, how not to die, how to prolong its era. By day it pursues its enemies. It is cunning and ruthless, it sends its bloodhounds everywhere. By night it feeds on images of disaster: the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation."
~ from J.M. Coetzee's 'Waiting for the Barbarians'
Monday, May 24, 2010
Quote from a book that must surely qualify as 'essential reading'
Posted by amruta patil at 3:07 PM
This comment connects Toxic Ananta as well as the Coetzee. Not short so, dear readers, be not in haste but tarry a while as you drink at the well of received wisdom! Ha!
So i actually took my little magnifying glass to the offending Vishnu picture observed carefully and found in addition to carburettor musculature a lack of genuine warrior quality in the face. A hard stereotyped grim self-satisfied arrogant smirk if such is possible totally at variance with what my instincts tell me a saviour should be. This face is based on paranoia and power-lust. Reminds me of a Stephen Spender poem of the 40's called the War God in which he laments:
"his heart broke before his raging splendour.
The Virgins of prayer fumble vainly for that day buried under ruins. of his pride's greatest murder
When his heart which was a child
Asking and tender,
He hunted and killed".
True warriors on the other hand have awareness "not based on the training of ultimate paranoia but on the training of ultimate solidity-trusting in Basic Goodness...not heavy and boring but you have a sense of being solidly rooted and established. You have trust and constant joyfulness. Also exagerrated reactions don't occur at this level..."-(Trungpa-Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chap.9).
Our poor toxic Vishnu is a bundle of taut over-reaction, overkill-"kill anything that moves"-The Black and Decker circular saw in the right hand, embodiment of the negative side of Pluto-energy-ie ruthlessly using any means to avoid the pain of facing oneself and subsequent infatuation with power-See Stephen Arroyo's Astrology Psychology and the Four Elements,CRCS Publ 1975.
Compare with the Vishnu-Lakshmi reflexology picture or Patil's fine "Infinite Vishnu" painting from Parva the Epic 2009. That face is calm serene,latent balm-giver, not testosterone-filled terrorist.(I have nothing personal against testosterone by the way, being a not yet castrated or insane male member of the species).
As Emerson wrote to Whitman in 1855-(your poem)"has the best merits, namely of fortifying and encouraging" Is this not one of the responsibilities of the artist in an age of greed, despair and rage-driven violence?
Finally, exhausted bloggers, (almost finished, hooray), no need to give up cos Spender says at the end of his poem already cited that:
"though hidden under seas of chafing despair,
Love's need does not cease".
Why does art have to be responsible? Why should obligations be the trade of the artist? Art, bounded by the trials and tribulations of even sanity is sheenless, say we say. Art should be free flowing, uninhibited.
The Vimanika Vishnu (sounds pretty good!) is just an artist's depiction of the Lord. It might be faulty or ill conceived (like you've mentioned - the facial expression and the body language not being in sync) but certainly it cannot be justified/unjustified/reasoned about.
Art is not good or bad. It's always good or better. I don't particularly agree with the said depiction of Vishnu but the artist doesn't ask me to. One can always find fault with things. But to chide them and move on is the way to ensure that ills don't magnify.
Laterally connected aside. Stole this James Sallis quote off JP's blog some days back:
The world is not as we see it. All art that reaches beyond simple entertainment leads us to question received wisdom, to interrogate "what we know" of the world and ourselves, to look at people, social structures, sky and sea, mores and morals, modes of thought — existence itself — anew.
Brother/Sister Indisch, it's no big thing, just that with the current mess we're in largely due to our greed and lack of feeling of interdependence with and responsibility for others' happiness, it'd be very beneficial if some artists at least took the lead in spearheading an art that helps people generate the qualities that nurture our humanity and well-being rather than subvert them. But still, graffiti is good and allowable too, especially if it's a little subversive and questioning. Thanks for your stimulating take on the matter.
hello, please don't forget ezra pound
, how neatly he has put it
'The age demanded an image.
Of its accelerated grimace'
applies to many a things apart from the Vishnu image :)
Alka ji. Thank you so much but...Sometimes we have to rage against the age, (and old age too!)so i'm going to say yes and no to your terse blog. And i DO remember Pound's protege Eliot saying in Four Quartets:
"Wait without love, you are not ready for love"...
This is a comment on the last line of my last blog by the way.
Wish i could state things more briefly but i tend to write the same way i travel-overweight!
'Tehelka's Shoma Chaudhury talks about how India is facing an escalating civil war situation when it comes to the Naxals and the Maoists, on how everything at the heart of it is an issue of justice and the murkiness of politics, industrialisation and "national interest".' Watch the full video:
Some realy good stuff is happening here !!!! keep them coming !! good going.
why would you delete a perfectly good blog post?
btw www.flipkart.com delivers moleskine in india.
and I would like to have a piece of parva :)
I've just finished my first comic. It also happens to be my first attempt at writing+drawing anything full-length; so it is with a lot of trepidation that I ask you to read it. But since you've been instrumental in making it happen, I would love it if you would take a look. Thrilled beyond words, actually. :)
@ Kiran: as it turns out, the overnight response from just the inner circle of friends was enough for me to be moleskined for a few months. so i pulled down the request post. shouldn't be greedy and over-commit, no?
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