Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: September 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Does a Dog Know That He is A Dog

Does a Dog Know That He is A Dog  


It is not sin to be born as a dog, but it is a sin to be born as a street dog. You don’t realise you are a dog unless you are born as a street dog. Street dog is the real dog. He is ugly and unwashed, hungry and half-dead, barking for no reason and occasionally fights with dogs of other street. Higher breeds of dogs are the alter ego of their masters. Their life as artificial as their masters. They always look at the masters for command and for ‘reward and punishment’. Thanks to Pavlov. However, what Pavlov overlooked the fact that the dog's mind has very limited capacity to associate things with the sense of hearing. He can smell the food from a far distance. He can even read your thoughts of giving him food.

The dog is definitely more apt at handling emotions. He knows how exactly you are feeling. You cannot hide your emotions from him. However, he prefers to ignore your worry and anxiety since he knows them to be baseless. He responds to authoritative commands that's why superior breeds are happy with military officers and hunters. The dog has extraordinary power to detect frequencies. Light, heat and sound all are frequency. He has a powerful sense of smell.
With so many qualities, one may wonder if the dog knows that he is a dog.

This is a Zen question- Does a dog have Buddha nature? If he has Buddha nature, it can attain self realisation. To attain self realisation he must know his present status of being a dog. The morale of the Zen story is a dog does have the potential to become enlightened, but only in the human realm. Therefore, what should a dog do to come in the human realm? You must have seen some dogs always follow sages and monks, or sit around the religious places. The smell of incense causes desire in them to be born as human being and achieve Nirvana. 
       
Whenever I climb, I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'. Friedrich Nietzsche has compared ego with the dog. The dog is as inseparable from the human psyche as ego. The only difference is a man is governed by his ego, and the dog is governed by his master. Nietzsche climbs high, on the path of enlightenment, where the biggest hurdle is ego. The ego is obstinate like a dog. A dog will climb with the master; he will not wait for the permission. In Hindu mythological story of Mahabharata at the end, a dog followed Pandavas who climbed the Himalayas.
W. B. Yeats has old compared the old age with Dog's tail
What shall I do with this absurdity-
O heart, O troubled heart-this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to be Dog's tail?

 “Life is life - whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage.” ~Aurobindo. Man thinks himself superior to the dog only because he can abuse the power. If the dogs would have been ruling the world, they may not find the man a trustworthy friend.
Every dog has its day, but every man does not have his day. 
In a novel “Notes from the underground” the girl gave the bourgeois name to her pet dog to show her contempt to bourgeois class. In “Disgrace” by J. M. Coetzee, David the expelled Professor at University visits a slaughterhouse daily to find about a weak, skinny dog who was crippled by one leg. How does it feel to be a dog in this world? Crippled dog was helpless and deprived of any rights or pride. His life is full of shame and disgrace. Death is a solution for such a disgraceful life.

How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg. ~Abraham Lincoln. Any presumption about the dog will fail.
Whenever possible, replace humans with dog. Mark Haddon in his book ''The curious incident of dog at midnight'' says ''Also dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk."
Dogs understand a man better than man understands the dog. Every dog deserves to live a dog’s life. He must be allowed to live like a dog.
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©  Vipin Behari Goyal

Friday, September 23, 2016

Primitivism in 20th century literature

Primitivism in 20th century literature





Primitivism is a belief in the value of what is simple and unsophisticated, expressed as a philosophy of life or through art or literature.
Simple is described as having few parts or features; not complicated or elaborate, easy to understand, do, or carry out, having or composed of only one thing, element, or part.
Primitivism is an internally coherent set of images and ideas that shape perceptions of the primitive.
Primitive is 1. Of or belonging to the first age, the period or stage; earliest, original.
2. Having the quality or style of that which is early or ancient.
3. Original as opposed to derivative; primary as opposed to secondary.
Benevolence is anti-thesis of intellectualism. Primitiveness helps them in being benevolent without posing as intellectual.

The subjects of "civilization" are trapped in the "primitive" hidden within themselves. Patrick White in his novel “The tree of man” has delineated the poetry and mystery in the lives of the simple farming couple Stan and Amy Parker. They deal with complex situations and the chain of events in an unsophisticated manner. The elements in the form of flood and fire are bravely fought and conquered. The bravery is the natural outcome of simplicity. Those who pretend aggression to scare the people is basically cowards. Simple life is far from any kind of pretension.

The simplicity of true grandeur found in tree transcends in the human being who live their life in the proximity of nature. The act of adultery by Amy, not only once by twice reflects that it is not impulsive but a deliberate act to overcome the boredom or an act of rebellion against a husband who had become unromantic. Their marriage was not a consequence of a decision, but an outcome of a certainty. They had a highly romantic honeymoon.
The writer says “the whole night had become a poem of moonlight…. Flesh is heroic by moonlight. The man took the body of the woman and taught it fearlessness.” Mystery and poetry of real life are revealed in an extraordinary within the ordinary. The Author has rationalized Amy’s act of adultery by concluding “Sometimes her simplicity would blaze electrically.”

Stan also makes a brief encounter with passion when he rescues Madeleine from fire. Flavor of the incident is romantic, but passions are sublimated by conviction and values. Moreover, simple deserves forgiveness. Madeline once admires the crude furniture in the house of Stan for it had reality.
For anything that is grand and simple, even the end is a new beginning. The grandson of Stan wants to write a poem of life, of what he did not know, but knew. So that in the end there were trees.

Eliot as a primitivists talked about inverting the hierarchy of savage and civilised since he spoke from a position that was, "deeper" and "older" than - and uncontaminated by - their culture.

James Clifford stated "primitives were fundamentally all the same, and important primarily as a window onto suppressed aspects of the civilized personality."

Eliot's theories of poetic imagination to his and Woolf's ideas of the importance of "impersonality" and Lawrence’s adaptation of “Psychoanalysis” were an attempt to strike a balance in their dual responsibility towards society as wells on their own-self. Primitivism is the criteria by which the work like “The Wasteland” (Eliot), “The Voyage Out” (Woolf), “The Plumed Serpent”(Lawrence) can be understood.

Do the earliest condition of man society was best? Human race treats the nature as an enemy. The human relationship has been deteriorated by an advancement of technology. Is it possible to return to primitive life we once had? We have come so far from nature, would nature forgive and accepts us?
Should native red-Indians forgive genocide when we are not ready to even apologize for Hiroshima. The harmony has been damaged beyond repair.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Life is picnic

If you were having a picnic in a dream


life is picnic
Margy at Brighton Beach
“I’ll affect you slowly
as if you were having a picnic in a dream.
There will be no ants.
It won’t rain.”
― Richard Brautigan, Loading Mercury With a Pitchfork

Life is picnic. Life is not a picnic. Plan your picnic. Never, ever plan a picnic. The picnic is an escape; the picnic is an ideal way to confront.
All contradictory views about the picnic are true, as they are true about life. The ample supply of delicious food, scenic view, music, dances, games, sparkling beverages and loads of fun with friends and family members, is the basic idea of a good picnic. Excitement reverberates and laughter is exuberant. Messages traverse through the eyes of young couples and they sneak behind the thick trunks of trees or walk in the bushes, without looking back. While elders are having a heated discussion about religion or politics, youth pursues their passion and children play their games, angels wander in the sky to witness the exotic sight of fun and frolics. People remember such picnics for the rest of the life for some perfect moments.
The Devil has his own plan to prove that opposite of truth is not lie but another truth. Anything may happen during the brief spell. A child may slip in a lake while recovering his ball, a couple in the bush may get bitten by a snake, an old man may have a heart stroke, or thunder and rain may ruin the picnic. People for the rest of their lives regret such picnics.
“Be there a picnic for the devil,
an orgy for the satyr,
and a wedding for the bride.”
― Roman Payne, The Basement Trains
A picnic organised by the company or office is no picnic. The hierarchy of office staff is apparent at Picnic Spot. Bosses are on an ego trip and the young recruits laugh at middle executives. A true sycophant would always allow his boss to win the game. It is not a genuine picnic, its mockery of that.
A school picnic is a great fun. Teenagers usually have their first crush during a picnic. Hidden talents of their classmates impress them. A studious girl surprises her classmates as a good singer, a geek turns out to be the best drummer or a notorious drug addict puts his life at risk to save the life of a drowning girl.
Picnic in the school days is a dream comes true. The preparation of picnic is no lesser fun than the picnic itself. There is debate about almost every issue.  The location of picnic is often from the list of popular sites. The girls discuss their attire while boys make plans for adventure sports.
To plan a picnic is like to plan the life. The essential components of a good picnic and a good life are same. The objective is fun, but not everyone achieves it. Some suffer a defeat by the rejection of their proposal to date; others might suffer a quarrel with a friend, or an injury while playing. The worst calamity is an abuse by a perverted teacher.

The word pique-nique is French in origin and was first used by Tony Willis in 1692. Lord Chesterfield introduced it in the English language in 1748. The French described it as a group of people dining in a restaurant who bring their own wine while in the English language; it was associated with card playing, drinking and conversation.
The best description of the picnic is in a Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam translated by Edward Fitzgerald in 1120 ACE.
A book of verse beneath the bough,
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness
Ah, wilderness were paradise enow!
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

In Jane Austin’s novel Emma the “Box Hill Picnic”, was an utter failure. Everyone was disappointed for one reason or the other. Emma suffers a grave humiliation when reprimanded by Mr. Knightly for her misbehavior with Miss Bates. The atmosphere is of lassitude. There is a “want of spirits, a want of union, which could not be got over”. Nothing as vulgar as the consumption of food is alluded to, but one assumes it was on offer.
Frank Churchill said to Emma: "Our companions are excessively stupid. What shall we do to rouse them? Any nonsense will serve…" Excessively Stupid needs to be aroused without raising their suspicion.
Picnic like life is a combination of good and ridiculous.

The Telegraph in an article about picnics also makes a reference of Jane Austin days.

“The list of the best "food with a view" sites is part of a drive to encourage people to eat outdoors, as was the fashion in Jane Austen’s day.
Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, said people are often nervous about the weather or wasps.
But she said picnics can be simple and healthy, and rather fun in the rain.”
“Picnics are something we're well known for in this country, but we don't need to wait for the summer sun to arrive. ” She said.
"Spring is finally here and we have our extra hour's daylight – it's a great time of year to head outdoors and enjoy food with a view.”
"Spending more time outside is also the perfect way to refresh and re-energise both body and mind.”
Virginia Woolf in her novel “To the Lighthouse” describes an unpretentious picnic in a boat within sight of the lighthouse and the novels closing pages. Mr Ramsay enjoys the simplicity of the fare: “Now he was happy, eating bread and cheese with these fishermen.”
Picnics are sensual in D.H.Lawrence's  novel “Women in Love”. The nude dances in full moon by Ursula and in the rain by Coney (Lady Chatterley’s Lover) have remained controversial in the history of literature. The lakeside picnic in open air is an aphrodisiac. The complete the picnic Lawrence does not forget to mention the delicious winy cakes, caviar sandwiches and hard chocolates besides tea, cucumber, bread, cheese, raisins and apples.
Some schizoids love to picnic alone on a beach with a book, thermos filled with coffee, basket with enough food and drinks, a blanket and a beach towel. We may think that they are alone but the fact is that they are in the company of nature and like Wordsworth; they too believe that nature is not only alive but also endowed with a personality.

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©  Vipin Behari Goyal