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Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

Shakespeare’s life is equated with the Elizabethan Age. Such is his genius. One might wonder how can a young lad with modicum of education, -typical grammar school syllabus with its devotion to Ovid, Bible and Prayer Book , unlike his contemporary Marlow who went to the University, surpass all others to be the representative man of the Age. It is such a serious question that defies a rational answer and many scholars have hazarded a theory to aver Bacon as the real author. As with every theory it has its supporters but literature is not respecter of class or scholarship. It has to smell life in its naturalness, even coarseness has its part. Scholarship can make a horse run to win the Derby but cannot make it fly like Pegasus. Here is the difference between Shakespeare and his rivals. His line trots and when flies it takes our breath away.

So what was the secret of William Shakespeare? I shall come to it by and by. Beginning as a player he became the most celebrated playwright of the Age. It was a time when poets were considered a cut above the players similar to the subtle social distinctions that marked a composer than a flautist in the Baroque Age. He made wise career moves in taking shares of the Lord Chamberlain’s Company at its inception in 1594 and his star rose as with the fortunes of the Company. Its popularity was such its players were elevated to be regarded as the King’s Men on James I accession in 1603. He ended up as part owner of the Blackfriar’s theatre. In short his sound business acumen made him as the Stratford lad who made good in the City of London.

Intelligence he had aplenty as his life in bare essentials would prove. His imagination was of such ethereal quality that he could put words in the mouth of Mercutio and we feel we know Queen Mab as though from direct experience. Never has any one excelled in poetic fancies as shown in the plays like Othello or Antony and Cleopatra. One can imagine it coming out like a single sweep of imagination, theme and coloring adding to the line- richness and vibrancy as the Renaissance palette of a Tintorotto or a Vernese. In the latter play especially ‘his language reaches heights and depths never reached before or excelled since.’

Not poppy, nor mandragora,

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,

Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep..” (Ot.AcIII sc.3: 330)

Negative capability as defined by John Keats explains the ability of Shakespeare, whose academic credentials were merely rudimentary, to have excelled himself in writing plays that bear his name. The Bard of Avon despite his negative capability made up by exercising his imagination. Such is imagination and it belongs to the inner world.

ii

How rational mind may lay bare our world in terms of use and purpose is like putting together a newspaper which once read is outdated. Mere facts help one negotiate his world adequately. Shakespeare’s King Lear or Hamlet and Macbeth hold freshness that is beyond fads and facts. Works such as these are drawn by imagination,- or in a manner of speaking, lay bare the truth that animates human soul. Imagination ranging through inner world can give human experience various shades of meaning and reveal them to others. The Bard surpassed himself and his lines consequently acquired beauty and truth to delight great many.

benny

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 I wrote a sci-fi novel where the protagonist a mad scientist found a way to suck out all air from body by injecting a serum. As a result it knocked out oxygen from body:blood in the veins turned to dust, lungs exploded and the patients died agonizing death. In order to bring out the psychic terror I formatted book,- 450 pages of it, from the first to the last page without any space between paragraphs,words, letters.

Oh the horror of thinking it up! Much more was in the horror of injecting my hopped- up imagination into the veins of each sentence and sustaining it as pages  churned one  after the other, and when I wrote finis at the end it was such a relief I leapt to open wide the shuttered windows. My penthouse of the Kiss-the-sky Apts on Steve Canyon Dr. had always its spectacular sunsets and the deep gulches I could look down and look at shoppers crawling like ants. Relief of finishing the book had shot glad oil into my system I almost jumped from my perch in deliriously happy frame.

The clocks from the interior chimed mournfully as a hearse wending its precious cargo, or whatever left of it to its rest.  The spell was broken, readers! I gathered all the pages into a  stack -a scene out of Giotto,- Deposition of Christ from the cross and rang up Bela Lugosi of a literary agent. He read a few pages and shuddered. I guess he had looked almost death in the face and dared not keep at it. He looked at me as though I had an axe bloodied and was practicing my swing at him. In a sweat he beat it. Straight to my publishers, I can vouch for.

The Book at last was out two weeks before Halloween. Whoever lined up to read  a sci-fi didn’t reach the end of the line. One look at the blurb splashed as Dead or Alive poster in the B- western movies had sent them helter-skelter.

The writing experience killed something in me. No more I could look at a page without seeing lines maddening whirl of typefaces marching on a Walpurgis Night. What the hell I lived through a hell of sci-fi that I had lit up.

benny

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1.
Problem of universe is a step into the unknown. Imagination works where Nature is the medium. Between mind and reality it builds a bridge.

2.
Mind compresses and focuses on a specific problem at any time; memory of a smell rides piggyback on Now to the past.
When we look at past with rose-tinted glass we are less harsh as from a wider experience in life; mind can focus only one idea at a time.

3.
Nothing new under the sun; a free-masonry of ideas at the unconscious end and you fit idea rationally to time-space. Mind is a state of awareness.
Here is one to round this post off. Positive intelligence permeates everything from Time-Space framework. If in imagination I make an image and call it God how can you prove me wrong? It merely bridges through evidences I glean in nature. God being Time and Space (Eternal God and Omnipresent) does not need imagination whereas I would need it to serve any given purpose on hand.
Mind as I defined is an awareness and it is called Cosmic Mind. Thus Nebuchadnezzar may dream and Daniel can interpret it to him because the medium is common. The unconscious part of the human brain is the seat of will. We follow our desires and will, and find reasons to justify our actions rationally. In the post of Number Game I mentioned the extra-ordinary way in which late Srinivasa Ramanujan wrote down mathematical functions that came to him in dreams before his death. You find what you seek. His knock on the door of mathematical problems was heard. That is all.
How do we limit our life experience to insignificant level when we dismiss what our conscious mind cannot digest! Instead we should use both parts of our brain to get the best out of life.

I wish you a Happy New Year to you all.
benny

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The laws of nature have their natural claim on all. We may defy the gravity of our Earth in order to fly outward bound. Use the gravity of the planets like Venus or Jupiter to escape on an intergalactic flight. We use the higher gravity of these planets as though we are catapulted expending less fuel to achieve our object. Yet there is one law that holds its own rule: we shall not go past the speed of light.
Only way to break that rule for a Christian seems to be to use his imagination. Imagination sets you instantaneously right in the presence of God. St. Paul speaks of God ‘dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man can see..'(1 Ti 6:16). Here it becomes clear as to its nature. Imagination is of a different medium than what we call as physical or material.
At the basic level we are atoms, molecules. When we die (or at the dissolution of material form) there is no dissolution or death as such to our atoms. In one of my earlier posts I had mentioned while explaining the law of entropy we are timeless. In the manner a complex form as an apple or a human body, it must turn from its organized state to simple and loose state of atoms. It denotes a period of time. An atom can never separate into its fundamental particles. Thus we may safely say at fundamental level of atoms we are all timeless. Imagination is squarely rooted in this timeless state.
Imagination therefore would imply a faculty that the physical state at its upper end cannot build by itself. Instead it is drawn from this extreme state of timelessness.
It is soul’s time travel.
Each of us exercises this mode of travel. It runs on faith. When we are young and full of vigor we don’t have to think of our body. Our trust is implicit that we may walk or jump or do what you will. It is just the same, faith. We exercise faith our body is adequate to discharge its functions. Or it may be at a higher plane we sharpen our mental faculties as a HG Wells or Jules Verne could, to defy what is not yet present. With imagination faith of a carnal body and mind adds a dimension to the limits of time-space.
God is omnipresent and omnipotent. Imagination is therefore unnecessary to the divine Will. Not so for a Christian. With imagination our souls can seek His presence and our prayers are also heard. Law of Light Years may have their rule but for our soul no such rule makes sense.

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At the Altamira Caves©

A group of prehistoric men camped in the Upper Paleolithic caves Spain thought they were guided by some unseen hand. From where they stood they could see in the valley below such abundant wild-life, which they could hunt. There was plenty of meat to go round. Because it was a coastal area they also fished and it gave some variety to their diet. When they painted the caves they were in a manner of speaking thanking whatever made them seek that part of rocky outcrop.
‘Imagination no doubt.’ One wizened man exclaimed.
‘But from where it came to us?’ The young braves queried.
The old man replied, ‘ By the same source that made us leave our history along the walls.’
They didn’t get it so they pressed him to explain. ‘Would we have left these paintings behind if we did not think we would be found?’
Later when roof of a cave collapsed they decided it was time to move on.
As they filed their way to safer regions the old man asked the group of hunter-gatherers who were responsible for painting the walls,’ Don’t you want to leave your signature?’
‘Whatever for?’ perplexed they were at the question, ‘ we were merely the hand that obeyed Imagination whatever it is.’ In our exercising the imagination we prove we are part of a dream at the centre of which holds an Absolute quality.
Let me quote Carlyle”For indeed it is well said,’in every object there is inexhaustible meaning: the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of seeing.’ To Newton and Newton’s dog Diamond, what a different pair of universe; while the painting on the optical retina of both was, most likely the same!’( French Revolution./Book I.1.2)
When you look at the immensities do you trace the lineaments of God or Allah and think It gave you the right to demolish those who didn’t see it the way you did?
Wherever one is, that the Centre of Immensities,-for believer, theist, agnostic atheist alike. Centre of Immensities is an expression of Carlyle and I find in him some similarities.
benny

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My sense of wonder even as I approach the very wrong side of sixties has not lessened. Seventy is like a sudden drop in the landscape and approaching it I haven’t reigned in my beast but dug my heels saying Tallyho! I have never got on top of a horse but I can feel still imagine what it is like. I am not a fancier of horseflesh but I can really understand horseplay. It is imagination pure and simple.
I was brought about up in many places where life went about in its humdrum fashion. Thrissur, Kozhikode(Calicut), Alleppey, Kollam( Quilon) are merely points on the map of my life but are starting points to exercise my life in my imagination take to wings. My eldest brother is still so rooted to Kerala whereas I am utterly indifferent to its culture and arts. Even as I first learned to read stories of Aesop, Homer appealed to me much more than Mahabharata. I have wondered often how I could trace my path as though I knew well beforehand the path I should take, everything that one would say was alien culture. I first traveled outside India when I was 46. It was as though I would be testing the veracity of my impressions I had gathered from reading.
I crawled through museums and listened to music that titillated me by its strange rhythms, color and strangely I was at home there and then. I knew I was vindicated and also finished all the more rounder to accept my Indian as natural and nothing to feel disquiet about. I am a citizen of the world in my imagination and while the sun warms my skin (browned by the Indian Sun) there is something familiar and kinship. I am thankful that life has made me quite at home whether under the sun or under the shade.My friends of my youth are still mine to keep and I can converse freely with my friends in the spirit and enjoy their art as though they were right by my side.
Greatest companions of my life and age are accidental and are held close as with hoops of steel by some chance that I took early on.
Straws in the wind can well break the boredom that life brings in every life if properly applied. At least it worked in my case.
benny

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Poetry Please!- An Ode

Ode To A Master-Builder

 

Strophe 

 

Bridgebuilder over sylvan shadows

What complexity shall I reckon

To St.Arachnid in part

And your native Art?

 

Antistrophe

 

 

Weave me a dream as substantial

Out of your loom:

Already I am high even as you

With pride elemental

Past the seven sisters and Orion climb;

It is your universe and my plodding mind

Think it is dew, -

Oh overlook my vain presumption:

I am merely a poet in love with words

While you create new worlds

And stay fit on your gifts.

 

Epode

 

Blustery winds from North

Do blow; If the boughs of larch

In heap fall and acorns pepper

What shall you do, spider?

Between floor-boards of earth

(Stolidity begone! ) I swim

Among clouds on warpath;

Round the Sun’s rim

One can’t be too careful.

‘Malignant be your beam,’

The spider cries out, baleful:

‘Still I must spin another

Web around my naked hearth;

As long as life has its power

From this piteous hearth 

Shall my dreams flower.’

benny

 

12-29-06

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