Archive Page 2

10
Mar
08

The joy of boredom

Don’t check that e-mail. Don’t answer that phone. Just sit there. You might be surprised by what happens.
A DECADE AGO, those monotonous minutes were just a fact of life: time ticking away, as you gazed idly into space, stood in line, or sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

In one of the most famous scenes in literature, for instance, boredom takes time. Marcel Proust describes his protagonist, Marcel, dunking a madeleine cookie into his teacup.

Boredom’s doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life’s most quintessentially human moments. Jostled by a stranger’s cart in the express checkout line, thoughts of a loved one might come to mind. A long drive home after a frustrating day could force ruminations. A pang of homesickness at the start of a plane ride might put a journey in perspective.
Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication, and the digital distractions offered by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices. A few years ago, cellphone maker Motorola even began using the word “microboredom” to describe the ever-smaller slices of free time from which new mobile technology offers an escape.

“Mobisodes,” two-minute long television episodes of everything from “Lost” to “Prison Break” made for the cellphone screen, are perfectly tailored for the microbored. Cellphone games are often designed to last just minutes — simple, snack-sized diversions like Snake, solitaire, and Tetris. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook turn every mundane moment between activities into a chance to broadcast feelings and thoughts; even if it is just to triple-tap a keypad with the words “I am bored.”

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But are we too busy twirling through the songs on our iPods — while checking e-mail, while changing lanes on the highway — to consider whether we are giving up a good thing? We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life’s greatest luxuries — one not available to creatures that spend all their time pursuing mere survival. To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one. It is in these times of reflection that people often discover something new, whether it is an epiphany about a relationship or a new theory about the way the universe works. Granted, many people emerge from boredom feeling that they have accomplished nothing. But is accomplishment really the point of life? There is a strong argument that boredom — so often parodied as a glassy-eyed drooling state of nothingness — is an essential human emotion that underlies art, literature, philosophy, science, and even love.

“If you think of boredom as the prelude to creativity, and loneliness as the prelude to engagement of the imagination, then they are good things,” said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a Sudbury psychiatrist and author of the book “CrazyBusy.” “They are doorways to something better, as opposed to something to be abhorred and eradicated immediately.”

Continue reading ‘The joy of boredom’

08
Mar
08

Time Out of Mind

Pl care to read brilliant & Thought provoking article published in New York Times..

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In 1784, Benjamin Franklin composed a satire, “Essay on Daylight Saving,” proposing a law that would oblige Parisians to get up an hour earlier in summer. By putting the daylight to better use, he reasoned, they’d save a good deal of money — 96 million livres tournois — that might otherwise go to buying candles. Now this switch to daylight saving time (which occurs early Sunday in the United States) is an annual ritual in Western countries.

Even more influential has been something else Franklin said about time in the same year: time is money. He meant this only as a gentle reminder not to “sit idle” for half the day. He might be dismayed if he could see how literally, and self-destructively, we take his metaphor today. Our society is obsessed as never before with making every single minute count. People even apply the language of banking: We speak of “having” and “saving” and “investing” and “wasting” it.

But the quest to spend time the way we do money is doomed to failure, because the time we experience bears little relation to time as read on a clock. The brain creates its own time, and it is this inner time, not clock time, that guides our actions. In the space of an hour, we can accomplish a great deal — or very little.

Inner time is linked to activity. When we do nothing, and nothing happens around us, we’re unable to track time. In 1962, Michel Siffre, a French geologist, confined himself in a dark cave and discovered that he lost his sense of time. Emerging after what he had calculated were 45 days, he was startled to find that a full 61 days had elapsed.

To measure time, the brain uses circuits that are designed to monitor physical movement. Neuroscientists have observed this phenomenon using computer-assisted functional magnetic resonance imaging tomography. When subjects are asked to indicate the time it takes to view a series of pictures, heightened activity is measured in the centers that control muscular movement, primarily the cerebellum, the basal ganglia and the supplementary motor area. That explains why inner time can run faster or slower depending upon how we move our bodies — as any Tai Chi master knows.

Continue reading ‘Time Out of Mind’

07
Mar
08

The Measure

The Measure

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I cannot
move backward
or forward.
I am caught

in the time
as measure.
What we think
of we think of—

of no other reason
we think than
just to think—
each for himself.

What is the measure of the poem: words, phrases, metrical feet, lines, stanzas . . . or thought? Each line has its own separate gravity and yet connects, but with difficulty, to the next. We are caught in the between: in time, in a now we learn, each moment at a time, for ourselves only.

From Words- Robert Creeley, 1926-1975

02
Mar
08

Questionnaire ?

Directions: For each pair of sentences, circle the letter, a or b, that best
expresses your viewpoint. Make a selection from each pair. Do not omit
any items.

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1.a) The body and the material things of the world are the key to any
knowledge we can possess.
b) Knowledge is only possible by means of the mind or psyche.

2.a) My life is largely controlled by luck and chance.
b) I can determine the basic course of my life.

3.a) Nature is indifferent to human needs.
b) Nature has some purpose, even if obscure.

4.a) I can understand the world to a sufficient extent.
b) The world is basically baffling.

5.a) Love is the greatest happiness.
b) Love is illusionary and its pleasures transient.

6.a) Political and social action can improve the state of the world.
b) Political and social action are fundamentally futile.

7.a) I cannot fully express my most private feelings.
b) I have no feelings I cannot fully express.

8.a) Virtue is its own reward.
b) Virtue is not a matter of rewards.

9.a) It is possible to tell if someone is trustworthy.
b) People turn on you in unpredictable ways.

10.a) Ideally, it would be most desirable to live in a rural area.
b) Ideally, it would be most desirable to live in an urban area.

11.a) Economic and social inequality is the greatest social evil.
b) Totalitarianism is the greatest social evil.

12.a) Overall, technology has been beneficial to human beings.
b) Overall, technology has been harmful to human beings.

13.a) Work is the potential source of the greatest human fulfillment.
b) Liberation from work should be the goal of any movement for
social improvement.

14.a) Art is at heart political in that it can change our perception of reality.
b) Art is at heart not political because it can change only
consciousness and not events.

Charles Bernstein, ( 1950– )”Questionnaire” (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007).

“Bernstein is a poetic gadfly, uncompromising in his questioning of what language is, why we use it as we do, and what values are conveyed with our linguistic choice

27
Feb
08

Nights on Planet Earth

Heaven was originally precisely that: the starry sky, dating back to the earliest Egyptian texts, which include magic spells that enable the soul to be sewn in the body of the great mother, Nut, literally “night,” like the seed of a plant, which is also a jewel and a star.

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The Greek Elysian fields derive from the same celestial topography: the Egyptian “Field of Rushes,” the eastern stars at dawn where the soul goes to be purified. That there is another, mirror world, a world of light, and that this world is simply the sky—and a step further, the breath of the sky, the weather, the very air—is a formative belief of great antiquity that has continued to the present day with the godhead becoming brightness itself: dios/theos (Greek); deus/divine/diana (Latin); devas (Sanskrit); daha (Arabic); day (English).

Susan Brind Morrow, Wolves and Honey

Susan Brind Morrow is a classicist, linguist, and translator of ancient Egyptian folklore and mythology as well as of contemporary Arabic poetry.

22
Feb
08

I Had Planted A Sapling…

I Had Planted A Sapling…

Wish to share my literary mentor and prolifically Creative soul Max Babi‘s Urdu Poetry Transcreated In English by him..

Original in Urdu :

Pauda ek lagaya tha,
baghké banjarsé kauné mein-
ek billaski jaanko, badé chaavsé
qatra-ba-qatra zindagi pilayi thi :

kambakht jeeta rahaa martaa rahaa
sisasktaa rahaa mautké munh mein
lataktaa rahaa, koi ajeeb nashé mein
jhumtaa rahaa,
na jané kisko khaufzadaa shiddatsé
jhoortaa rahaa.
Kyaa anjaan taqat hai iss nanhi jaan mein-
kyaa zahur-o-jauhar hain yeh jamkar
reh gayé toofaan mein,
isské doh patté khilté hi bahaar phoonk deté

hain meri manhoos kahaani mein,
isskaa besharm nangaapan,
meré khwabonko bhi sukhaa deta hai.
Bina muskurayé, bina hadbadayé
mein dekh nahin saktaa usko.

(c) Max Babi

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Trans created in English :

I had planted a sapling, in the arid corner of my garden,
I had made it quaff life itself drop by drop
The hapless being kept living, dying, moaning, with one foot
in the mouth of death, and kept swaying to some

weird intoxication all its own,
and God alone knows whom he kept yearning for
with a scared intensity.

What unknown forces it possesses, what intrepidity and aura
it commands, this frozen cyclone,
soon as it sprouts two leaves, it blows springtime in to
my hapless life-story, and when it strips completely,

it runs a famine through even my dreamscapes.
I can’t bear to look at it without a smile, or
without feeling all shaken up.

© 2008 by Max Babi
All rights reserved,
Copying without permission for non-personal use is forbidden

20
Feb
08

Between Going And Coming

Excerpts from Octavio Pazspeech at the Nobel Banquet, December- 1990

At the close of this century we have discovered that we are part of a vast system (or network of systems) ranging from plants and animals to cells, molecules, atoms and stars. We are a link in “the great chain of being”, as the philosophers of antiquity used to call the universe. One of man’s oldest gestures, repeated daily from the beginning of time, is to look up and marvel at the starry sky. This act of contemplation frequently ends in a feeling of fraternal identification with the universe. In the countryside one night, years ago, as I contemplated the stars in the cloudless sky, I heard the metallic sound of the elytra of a cricket. There was a strange correspondence between the reverberation of the firmament at night and the music of the tiny insect. I wrote these lines:

The sky’s big.

Up there, worlds scatter.
Persistent,
unfazed by so much night,
a cricket: brace and bit.

Stars, hills, clouds, trees, birds, crickets, men: each has its world, each is a world, and yet all of these worlds correspond. We can only defend life if we experience a revival of this feeling of solidarity with nature. It is not impossible: fraternity is a word that belongs to the traditions of Liberalism and Socialism, of science and religion.

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Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can’t be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

-Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
Translated by Eliot Weinberger




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