Sunday, June 27, 2004

Truth , Beauty and Happiness

I have started this blog quite impulsively after seeing that quite a few of my peers in IISc have started one ! For sometime now, i have had some ideas which i wanted to post somewhere, but was hesitant in starting a blog because i knew that i would not be able to update it frequently. But today, in a moment of impulse i have started one and i only hope that i can continue to keep it alive.

Coming to the topic of the blog, for i think it ought to be explained in the first post, i should concede that the topic was also chosen quite impulsively as the page asking for topic was staring at me, as the only barrier for me creating a blog. Nevertheless, this had been a topic which has provoked quite a few thoughts in me. The first time i began to consider truth and beauty as being equivalent, was when i read (actually, re-read)
John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn. Though, i am not a avid reader of poetry, i first read this as a regular part of our syllabus in high school and though i didn't understand it fully, i was enchanted by it. A few years later in college, i managed to do some searching in net and understood more of the poem. The following lines were present as my mail signature for quite some time (perplexing quite a few !) -
"...Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter;...
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty.'-that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
John Keats in "Ode on a Grecian Urn"
"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
--Buckminster Fuller

The whole poem is so enjoyable and thought provoking to read. Just do a google search, you'll find many copies.

The third item in the list - "Happiness" may be considered by many to be equivalent or alteast directly proportional (pardon my terminolgy) to the other two. I always had a vague veiwpoint that while 'true happiness' can be considered to be equivalent to these, the happiness that most of us want and get, which is merely a delusion of our senses, only leads us farther from Truth and Beauty. And then one day by quite a chance, i happened to read a novel by Aldous Huxley - The Brave New World. This not only supported, but also reinforced many times my views on these. This novel is extraordinarily prophetic, as in 1930's Huxley has prophesised a society which has a strong resemblance to our current society, but live in a way which would not be very pleasant to us all. All the inhabitants (well, almost all) are happy, because they are made to be happy, by sensuous delusion of their senses. This is where i think our current soceity influenced by western materialism is heading to. Some may find that some things dont exactly confirm to a capitalist society, like the state control over the subjects, but upon some thought this is the only way there can be some stability in a purely capitalist society. I intent to post a detailed review on it, sometime soon. But for now, here is a tantalizing quote from the novel -
(pardon me that this not exactly a quote, since i dont have the text with me now).

(From the coversation between Savage (a being like us!) and World Controller)
Savage: Do you think God exists now?
WC: Yes, i think so. God manifests himself in various forms at various times....
Savage: Then, how does he manifest himself now?
WC : He manifests himself by his absence

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