Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Drunken Philosophers

Woody Allen muses about life in the prologue (may I reinvent the word in the movie's context?) of the movie "Annie Hall" with a quote about two elder women talking in a restaurant (about how terrible the food is in the restaurant, and at the same time in small portions). Here are some such musings (though this happenned much before I saw Annie Hall) about how contradictory life can be to what we think (at a surface level) it is; and heck, somewhere around, even we seem to be aware of it's irony!

Chapter 1:
"Don't you see?" - Ashok exclaimed, frustrated at Vels, wondering at his inability to see what he is able to see. Add to this the fact that both of them were in their fourth round of booze.
After a split-second pause and then a gulp, "Zero and Infinity are pretty much the same. That’s why I think it's all a big neat circle!"
"Which all?"
"So, now you jumped to life! Huh?" - Vels retorted.
"I was talking about it, all along.. Isn't it?"
There was this unusual silence when the bearer came and placed a jar on the table.
"Look. I agree I am drunk and all that.." - Vels nodded in ack - as Ashok elucidated his theory.
"Haven't you felt this? Taking in more and more of something pulls away the interests you have on it and you effectively don't do much after doing so much."
Vels blankly kept staring at the last round of whisky that’s supposed to heat up his food pipeline and light up his mind’s thought line, and was wondering if Ashok was referring to the whisky they were having. But, if that was the case, Ashok was from being correct. "Lots of whisky, more love towards it", he thought.
"I don't know why every other person I meet has this T-Shirt with 'Why a beer is better than a woman' junk. "One large beats both of them equally good"..
"Yeah.. I too hate beer, man. The mabbu* per unit volume is pathetically low."
Ashok resumed the discussion much to Vels' despair.
"Suppose you start learning something and act according to it. As you dig deep into that something, you slowly are disillusioned. More deep you learn it, more you realise you need not have learnt it at all. There is sense of incompleteness in the quest. Then you slowly stop acting according to what you have learnt. act as in double-quotes, which can mean "following your principle", "doing good to the society" or anything in that league. That means, logically its like you have unlearned everything and you are back again to square one."
"..." - This was Vels' attempt at a retort.
"I know what you are going to ask me", asserted Ashok with a sense of supremacy, which one can afford to have when he is with a guzzler (and only that) like Vels by his side.
"The concept of 'acting according to what one has learned' can mean anything.. As we acquire knowledge of things around this world, we make an interpretation of it - What's good and what's not; what we should we do and what we should not; what we enjoy and what we don't. But, slowly the inevitable disillusionment occurs on everything. For example, you must have, at some point of your life, felt like you want to somehow make a difference - force a change in so many things. So, I would go on to say that 'acting according to what one has learned' could be like doing anything, a so-called-positive-thing, we are doing can be put under this category - to force some change. Then you realise no one can force any change... There is this unchanging phenomenon that you sense. Futility becomes our middle name. But again, we put your mind into something else is an altogether different matter worthy of another day at this same pub. The cliché goes that 'The Universe/World is in the way that it's meant to be'. When my father told me this, I thought he didn't put much thought into it and that he wanted to get away with some answer for my inquisitive questions. But, now I realise how true he was."
Then, Vels came up with something that made Ashok chuckle in delight with intellectual respect for Vels.
"May be even your father was talking the same to a sane idiot like me when he was in his 20's and you will tell pretty much the same to your son as well, when he asks for a fancy bike which his friend, whose father will happen to be a CEO of a MNC, had bought. You will tell him that nothing will make no difference.."

Chapter 2:

Ashok and Vels continue musing over the world, life and themselves. Only that, this time they ramble in equal parts.

V - "This life is a double-edged sword. Isn't it?"

A - "In my honest opinion, it's not even a sword! Life can't be described by any word, but itself. I am generalizing the quote from 'Citizen Kane' here. That's why we have the word 'Life'. Isn't it?"

V - "Okay. but if it was a sword, it wud be double-edged. isnt it?"

A - "...."

V - "Let me state myself clearly.. coz I am not here to prove to u the premises I assume. Everybody has got his own. I just want to verify the inference with you..."

A - "So what if I don't agree with the assumption itself.. because if you want me to agree with the inference only as against the assumption, how wud you call it 'verified' by me?? Isn't premise yet another inference made from some other premise which in turn wud be another inference?"

V - "err.. What about axioms??"

A - "there are no axioms in this world! But then u would ask me, how could something be made out of nothing. then I wud use the theory of maaya to explain. But that would again make you correct as well.. besides me and others, of course!"

V - "but then tell me.. Whats the truth you believe in?"

A - "In searching the truth, we fail!"

V - "did you?"

A - "what?"

V - "Did you fail searching for truth?"

A - "I didn't search for it."

V - "So, you didn't you fail?"

A - "I did.."

V - "Then, what's the point?"

A - "Nothing. Why do you look for points?"

V - "Why don't you? Doesn't not doing something involves the same amount of mental work as doing it?? Don't you believe in something? For example, I staunchly believe in truth.. Something like that.. huh?"

A - "Yeah.. I am staunch believer of bullshit.. thts a truth I see myself in.. But this too will pass on."

I don't need no shit and nothing makes no difference.

* - The colloquial word in Tamil for 'drunken effect' (there's not straight translatory word, u see)

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