"Behold! human beings living in an underground den"
About half way through "The republic" takes a dramatic turn. Up until this point Socrates had been talking about ideasin broad sweeps, doing little to tie things together. Book 7 focuses on the individual. The seeker of true knowledge and the tribulations he must go through to find it. Socrates also, through his words, shows his poetical skills. One would think that Socrates, after all his criticisms of poetry would not fall back to lyrical devices to explain his meaning but he does. Book 7 of "The republic" is in my (very humble) opinion the greatest allegory in literature. So draw the curtains. Dim the lights. Turn the music off. We are going into the cave.
I've always suspected Sherlock Holmes to be a bit of a fluke. His remark "You see but you do not observe" always rang a bit hollow with me. Sherlock hardly seemed to be a type of person who would have the patience to observe things. He was a sort of fellow who at one instant was quietly playing a mournful tune on his violin and at another jumping on to his chemistry set trying to decipher the composition of tobacco ash. It all seemed a bit fantastic. Which is why I was very excited at the idea of watching without a clue, a documentary of sorts, exposing the truth behind Sherlock Holmes. Many layers of Holmes' personality were revealed to me that helped me understand the great "detective" better.
After their previous victory against the forces of dark Rayman and his friends grew complacent. They lowered their defences and succumbed to sloth, sleeping for about a 100 years. And the creator who spent his early days meditating was now reduced to a frail old man smoking his pipe listlessly all day long. It was a sad state of affairs. No wonder then the evil magician who returned from defeat stronger than ever, had little trouble conquering the glade of dreams. The 10 princesses were kidnapped, dragons were unleashed and the teensies were imprisoned. And all this was done while Rayman and his friends were blissfully asleep. Any one would be indignant at the conduct of these "guardians".
I was very disappointed in Rayman to say the least. I mean it is one thing to be defeated after a hard fought battle and quite another to surrender, nay loll around while the enemy is plundering your land. I would not think it unreasonable to assume that being awake on a battlefield came as a part of the job. Nor would it be improper then if, under these circumstances, some proud citizen of the glade were to walk up to these bums and register tight slap on their faces to rouse them from their eternal slumber. No no no. The malady was identified. The remedy was prescribed. The dose was administered by a wise fly ,which looked like a toad, and went by the name of Murphy. A right hand on their cheeks and they were up and ready to serve. Reporting for duty: Rayman and co. Their mission? To rescue the princesses, to free the teensies and to defeat the evil magicians.
In India there is no other event that is anticipated with as much eagerness as the monsoons. The look out begins late in March or if we are lucky in mid April. By this time, in most parts of the country the remaining hint of cool wintry air is replaced by the warm summer wind which gets hotter by the day. The source of this heat are the great northern plains which absorb considerable sunlight during the day and raise the temperature of the surrounding air. The Thar desert on the western end becomes the hottest place in the country. The rest of the plains though comparatively cooler consistently record temperatures >40C.
The heat affects everyone. Now there are no more flowers in the parks, the grass needs to be watered at least three times a day and the sales of ice cream goes up. People are reluctant to step out in the noon and the evenings see an increased activity in the streets. The air conditioned malls become a popular hangout spot and the membership of the swimming pools are all sold out within a week. In these hard times the strained Indian populace needs a little help. We do not ask for much you see, just a little cloud here, a cool breeze there, to soothe the simmering land. And who better to listen to our pleas than the mighty seas.
Before you ask, yes that is psmith with a p. The p is silent. Psmith almost never is. He is a smooth talking, monocle wearing, English gentleman who has his own way of looking at things.
The story Psmith in the city starts with Mike on a cricket field. Mike is batting superbly at 98 when Mr Bickersdyke walks behind the bowlers arm causing Mike to loose sight of the ball and getting him clean bowled. And with this Mr Bickersdyke "makes a dramatic entry" into Mikes life just like the author intended.
Once you leave the main city (nigri,Pune) the road to mulshi runs in one uninterrupted stretch through the western ghats. The mulshi lake towards which we were headed is an artificial lake created by the run off water from the Mulshi dam. We had little trouble reaching our destination when we decided to take directions from the locals instead of relying on google maps, much to the annoyance of my friend (Anirudh). He is a true believer of goolge maps and wanted to follow along the suggested path but he conceded after 45 mins of driving in circles which brought us, in a roundabout way, to the same road that the locals had advised us to take in the first place.
The author(Prof Gray) starts by discussing the nature of human intercourse throughout the civilization. People have always maintained the concept of "right and wrong".What a person ought to do. And what a person should refrain from doing. That much is clear.
Since we have always held the notion of right, it becomes difficult to explain what a right actually is from the perspective of the legal science. The ambiguity of a language presents an obstacle to our understanding the term right as a concept of law.
All things considered is a collection of essays by GK Chesterton on a variety of topics. Before this I had only read him in the prefaces he wrote for some of Charles Dickens' books. And I remembered a few quotes from "The man who was Thursday" that I read in Deus Ex. But more or less I was (and still am) unfamiliar with his work . So I was not sure what to expect or where to start with All Things Considered. The essays are unrelated so I picked one which looked a bit inviting "The fallacy of success" :
The fallacy of success is a critique on the self help books that were around during his time. The author makes his stand clear from the first line itself calling them "sincerely and solemnly... the silliest among men". His argument being that these so called success books teach nothing about how to succeed but only manage to convey to the reader such useless facts like "Games are won by winners" . First he questions what success actually means. For him "A millionaire has succeeded in being a millionaire and a donkey has succeeded in being a donkey". I must admit that I nodded in approval because I found his reasoning quite solid. Then he assumes that even if by success these writers meant "money and fame" they have failed to convey anything useful because to succeed in any occupation there are only two ways "By doing very good work. Or by cheating" both of them requiring no further explanation. He comes to the conclusion that all these books teach are viler passions of "avarice and pride" and only succeed in making people "snobbish". He ends by saying that temperance is a virtue and that while it may not help a man to become rich but it will help him gain self respect. All in all this essay made a good first impression on me and I decided to read other ones.
It was the year of 1717 or of 1818, I am not quite sure which since it was some time ago, that I first started staticshin. I didn't have a means of delivering my writing to you so I devised a peculiar delivery technique, which has since grown into a tradition. The service which is know known as the "kite mail" was first started by me in the year of 1717 or of 1818, I can't be sure because it was long long ago, to deliver my articles to you since I did not have any means of delivery. Any way I will not bore you with the details since almost everyone delivers the post by the "kite mail" method and you all must be quite familiar with it.
Before we begin talking about thank you for smoking lets take a minute to appreciate the courage shown by the writers,actors,directors and the rest of the crew to bring a movie like Thank you for Smoking on the big screen. Are you having trouble finding something to appreciate? Well I don't blame you to be honest. The film deals with a very sensitive issue about nicotine lobbyists fighting to protect(?) the rights of smokers. Now the subject itself is enough to cast the movie into all kinds of controversies which would lead one to assume that the makers of the movie would want to go for a very innocuous title. Some thing like ... I don't know maybe Nick? or Puff? you know something that makes it easy to talk about. They don't pull any punches though. And there is the title of the movie in bold "Thank you for smoking!".