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Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

The desert dweller was brought before the Great Panjandrum of Chaldea for blasphemy. The Holy One said, “The charge says, ‘You founded a new religion simply by living among the sand dunes. How can that be possible?’ ” The accused shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘ life in the extremes where death is around the corner, Great God made me dig deeper in my soul to seek him. ’

GP insisted: “ But your god dosesn’t fit with god we worship?”

‘I would not know that, your Holiness. Certainly the God that my depths showed is still clearly etched in my mind.’

The new religion slowly found its way into the cities of the plains and possessed half the riches of the world. It also had made men giddy with their wealth and worldly goods. Years later the founder now as Grand Lama of Levant had the duty to examine one who was guilty of excessive pleasure and drunkeness. What is more he denied all religions as false except Pleasure.

‘How can you call it a religion?’

The Sybarite said, “ I am surrounded by so much of pleasure and I am loath to ignore it since God has given me a body.”

The Grand Lama winced inwardly. He let him go unpunished. The Grand Council of clerics said, “ How merciful is our Grand Lama! ”

The Venerable Lama knew the truth. His experience with the world made him sell his Truth just as the pleasure seeker could not resist the truth the world held out. Truth that he held up as dogma morphed into something altogether different!

Laws of nature dictate how matter would behave under different conditions. Material nature of body takes its cues from its context as easily as soul of one takes its cues from its unseen world.

Duality of body and the soul hold Truth. How one reconciles both defines his character.

Never shall the body and soul settle the matter by itself since life force is what each individual supplies. It has to look to the world without. Given changed circumstances this force makes the unstable relationship define itself. Body given its appetites can only get the upper hand at the expense of the other. Then a man easily given to his weaknesses shows in time certain coarseness in character. From truth to false is but a step away; a man may not be aware of such slight deviations and when given time his character developes into something else. Where we once considered thrift and moderation as a virtue in the consumer society is frowned upon as old fashioned. You and I contributed to it didn’t we?

Such exchange works both ways.

ii

If one cancer cell is let it can affect the entire body. Similarly a little yeast leavens the entire dough. For instance one without any solid proof declares from the pulpit so and so committed blasphemy we see the whole assembly thrown into an uproar. We saw it happen when Jesus was brought before Pilate. The rabble was out to crucify him not because they had clear proof but by hearsay. They were ready to do the hatchet job for their elders. One man’s lie triggered an avalanche.

There are two basic elements to an avalanche: a steep, snow-covered slope and a trigger that causes a weak layer within the snow pack to collapse. Rabble is like the weak layer. The shape of the ice crystals of snowflakes within a snow pack is also a critical factor. How well the crystals bond together determines how strong a snow layer is and therefore how stable the snow pack is. When Truth is not bonded properly an avalanche is set off.

It is essential every individual hold his truth as inalienable. When it is joined with others it is conditional only for the betterment of all and not for this and that person. We have seen religions falling into error: where it is mob rule Truth is dragged through mud. Religion of peace is made out in effect as religion of hate.

benny

 

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ii

A politician who works with his times and has a certain vision is already on the rise; but necessarily he depends on his public to be relevant. Think of Hitler whose rise to power was phenomenal. Circumstances of his times made a pathway in the chaotic Weimar Republic where defeatism was as rampant as the reds scare of a Bolshevik take over. It is impossible to imagine the Austrian corporal could have got anywhere were it not for the general belief that the war was lost because of some conspiracy of International Jewry. Every German who subscribed to this canard made Hitler his man of the hour. From this to ‘the final solution’ by which some 6 million Jews perished by the state policy of Third Reich we see what compromise can do to the ruler and the ruled  . Here we see prejudice of Germans was very much in evidence as ambition at its worst. Banality of evil the man on the street supplied to the street corner agitator like Hitler who had seen the war and suffered as a result, a platform to air his ideas. Once his command over the nation was complete the mass murder of Jews was simple progress from A to B. Such are the stuff of leaders of men that they make use of lies that are convenient truths for them in their rise to power.

An artist communicates but his relevance can only be banked on truth. Thus with every artist who has endured across centuries.

An artist worth his salt has no use for pleasing public opinion. Paul Gaugin had a family and a successful stock-brokering career but when the muse of art called him he left all to be painter. His contemporary Van Gogh in his brief and tragic life sold but one painting. But when we see a starry night do we not see through his eyes? This is the highest accolade an artist can merit for which his life is but a means to convey some inner truth. Life imitates art as Oscar Wilde quipped. Similarly we all have been acquainted with Turner on watching a sunset; or with the lush English landscape we acknowledge how much we owe Constable for the delectable realization that he is a kindred spirit after all. Death and ravages of time are past any man’s power but in a painting of Raphael or sunflower series of Van Gogh we affirm the artist’s commitment to be true to his inner vision. In a manner of speaking our ordinary lives transcend at least for an hour or two, to a sublime level.

Take the truth peddled by prophets. Has it ever made man any more enlightened any time any place that he set Truth its parameters? In teaching truth to masses, has its visible effects. Tolerance, love, compassion become in its votaries commonplace. How come the world is in turmoil and lives of men trivialized? Truth is not at fault but those who bow and scrape before Man with the Message and do much less than what was taught. These disciples merely threw wool over all and added their own and passed Truth for real! How much more can any one be misguided than a man is given power to issue ‘fatwa’ over but not register what is true for all to be benefited from it? This damns both the inflictor and inflicted at the same time. This is vanity of human mind. On the other hand an artist can empower his viewer with visions of bliss and make his view of things never the same. At what cost have artists their lives among fools and evil men bequeathed to us. Is art relevant? Of course it is without which, homo sapiens do not deserve the label sapiens .

The End

 

 

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I did not wear my sunday best

Nor my cane and silk cravat;

It was just call of nature, mate

Hold on, in a brothel you sate 

Call of nature: In my dire need  

Nature must have had her dark rede.

 

Nature set my body at nought: 

And what secrets deep she holds,

Truth past time and space shall make out

In light o’ the day, and no less by night.

Brothel is no less than fields,-

Art embrace more than Nature holds. 

Chorus

Yet I am a journeyman of life:

‘gainst Nature with art I strive

Past fields of dreams and the sere sun.

An artist has no choice but drive 

His daemons as best as he can

‘ven so not all lose ear, nor life . 

 

Some daub here and a little there,

All with devil a slave driver 

Sell art for the price of drink

Or for profit – does it matter?

Green absinthe was my drink

Need say I more? I lost my ear. 

Chorus

Yet I am a journeyman of life:

 ‘gainst Nature with art I strive

Past fields of dreams and the sere sun.

An artist has no choice but drive 

His daemons as best as he can

‘ven so not all lose ear, nor life.

benny 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the book The Universe by Isaac Asimov he writes about the parallax by which distance of a planetary body could be measured. One observer may sight the moon in the horizon while for the second observer it is overhead. In such a case the base of the triangle is the equal to the radius of the earth and the angle at the moon is the ‘equatorial horizontal parallax.’That is 57.04 minutes of arc. In other words from your known position in the earth and in relation to another you zero in whether it be the moon or truth or whatever. In the post ‘Web of knowledge’ I mentioned that the pure impulses of the baby are clouded over gradually by ways of the world that bear upon it. However the only way we can get at the reality of our moral sense is in relation to others. An anchorite may retreat from the world and yet he shall not take away the hold of the world. Like the saints of yore who even in a desert shall face temptation each according to his or her choosing. The fellow who from the fleshpots of Sin City went to the wilderness saw hills so smooth and it reminded him of the bosom of the harlots he had in the past fondled. You may imagine the kind of temptations he would have to face from that point on. Experience of the world is not be run away from but to be used as an ally to make your stand.
How many well meaning men and women adopt a monastical life and over a period of time are lured away into secret vices? Where lay the fault? It was not the cloisters but their own experience in contact with others led them astray.
ii
Suppose the blades of a fan are painted in primary colors and when the fan is switched on you do not see the same colors. Your mind has rearranged the individual colors into white. Similarly in Christian theology we speak of the Son, the Spirit and God as one. In Islam there is only one God. Think of the way two religions view the divine aspects of truth. One may aver one is obedient. But obedient to what? For some it would mean saying yes to the words mechanically without even entering into the spirit of the word. It is like one looking at his image in a mirror and forgetting it as soon as the back is turned.
There are three aspects of truth. Does a person submit to acknowledge his errors? The first step to break a bad habit is to accept it is a bad habit. Truth delivers one from repeating the same mistakes. It is a prelude to forgiving and dismissing it as of the past. Thus submissive nature is an aspect of Truth to gain an higher ground. Once freed from the past is it not prudent to substitute the place vacated with positive habits? Creative nature allowed the woman with a physical ailment to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus. She got her healing because her trust prompted to be creative in her mind what she ought to be as a result.
Submissive nature of the Son is one aspect; Regenerative Power of the Hoy Spirit is another aspect of Truth. Truth like God the Father completes the trinity. With which creative nature of Truth is made obvious. These three are all in one and co-equal.
Do I have a problem with the trinity of God? Oh no. It is the rule of three. Even among the crowd I know I am complete. A three plaited cord is not easily broken.
benny

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‘…the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.’ (Wilde-the Preface/The Picture of Dorian Gray)

In the recent times no other ruler would have come close to absolute power than Joseph Stalin, who forged the shape of Soviet Russia. By 1929 he had complete control over the lives of his people and till death he was their undisputed leader. Did such power make him complete? He was vain enough to want be immortalized in verse. There were poets, writers like Ehrenberg and Pasternak but he avoided them lest they should see through the small man with bad teeth and pock marked face. A dictator’s rage at being made ridicule of is like the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. In his case his power is the face. Stalin’s rationale in not sitting for a painter who daubs in his warts and all is understandable. He has to be made a Colossus or not at all. Do you think the praises sung by bad poets are anymore remembered than the thousands of larger than life statues, all bad art? Power does not necessarily make good art.
“I can make lords of you every day, but I cannot create a Titian,” said the Emperor Charles V to his courtiers who complained that the monarch spent more time with the painter than in their midst.

Michelangelo was another who faced the envy of the powerful because Pope Julius II had him brought over to Rome. However the Pope was too busy to see him. After days waiting in the antechamber of the Papal Palace he had enough. “Tell his holiness, if he wants me, he must look for me elsewhere,” and he left for Florence. Thrice the Pope wrote for his return to no avail. The wilful Julius II threatened war with Tuscany if the celebrated artist didn’t immediately return.
Return he did. As he came for that awkward audience the artist knelt at the Pope’s presence and waited in silence. One bishop dared to mediate on behalf of the artist saying, ‘ these artists are a proud lot’. As Vasari in his Lives tells us, the Pope observed reproachfully, “You speak injuriously of him, while I am silent. It is you who are ignorant.” Raising Michelangelo, the Pope embraced the man of genius. It takes a genius to recognize the patent merit in another. To the eternal credit of the Pope we have works of this genius enshrined in marble. Michelangelo will not go out of fashion even after punk artists clutter galleries with their works, merit of which are encapsulated in its immediacy and shocking value. Like the newspaper of yesterday who cares for it once read?

Art at its best has the power to communicate. What is true for us if stated clearly can touch another no matter if he were far removed in time and place. Poets with their words and artists with their medium delineate truth. The Great masters are who hold a true mirror to our own inner self. Power that Stalin wielded did not really speak for his true self. Nor did in the case of Hitler. The rage of Caliban was not seeing his face in a glass. Their power factor, outrageous in its falsity cannot be captured in art. Why you might ask? For the simple reason it is not the true state of man who is, as King Lear would say,’poor forked animal.’ Even as I write this I am listening to Ombra mai Fú from Handel’s Xerxes,- and it is a consolation for anyone who has lived and longed for perfection and knows that life is a mirage. Art is the blessed salve administrated by man for his kind. He knows truth as seen in a glass darkly but must somehow dare to hit at it in a consistent way. He has dedicated his life, perhaps it is quixotic, and yet he cannot do otherwise.
An artist is foolhardy to think he will buy himself with art into affections of the world. The world in its own muddling ways shall not recognize man but truth has a way of settling accounts. Consider the life of Charles Baudelaire. Two years before his death the author of Les Fleurs du Mal took inventory of his poetic capital. (In this context let me point out that he had, at the age of 21 inherited a modest fortune of 100,000 francs.) Having squandered his inheritance very early on he found he had earned only 15,982 francs and 60 centime from more than two decades of versification.

Baudelaire is still read while fashions of age like clockwork rise and fall. Those who prostituted their art for praise of the mob are forgotten. Art of Baudelaire, Balzac and Van Gogh are for all time. Every generation in coming to terms with the human condition, – of darkness in men to work evil or be agents of that darkness, will discover in Baudelaire something useful and apt for its needs. Our nature makes us find in Baudelaire, ‘not a kindred spirit but a twin,’ the same he described of Edgar Allen Poe. The French poet seems to have also said, ‘if Poe had not existed, he would have had to invent him’. No one can invent what is not there in shadows and as tokens. Baudelaire was grateful there was his alter ego in another continent and he merely served as a medium. Truth shall call to account man’s works and proves from life of man that no sacrifice of life on the altar of truth shall go to waste. Power as wielded by Stalin or Putin shall always be shown by posterity for what it is.
(Ack: 1.Literary Characters-Isaac Disraeli, Pub: Fred. Warne and Co 2.Melvin Maddox review in Time Feb,14,1977 -Alex de Jong biography on CB)

benny

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Some tales with much moral add’d to lend weight
Prophets have told us: such is their bless’d state
We took it gospel truth: They are all dead.
None returns after he has pass’d the gate.

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The day Messaih, The Anointed One, came to Jerusalem the populace welcomed the prince with great jubilation. As a mark of respect the president let all the prisoners free. Rabbi Benn Weiss was there to watch the festivities. While talking with Mordecai the security chief, whose office had become redundant one prisoner saw the much dreaded police chief and jumped in panic. The security chief commented he was a prisoner who was shut up for revealing the secret nuclear program of the government. “He blew the whistle loud and clear.”he said.
“You mean he told the truth?” The rabbi could not believe it. Later they met one who sidled up to the chief and said,”I have some news to inform. Wanna hear?”
“ Shoo! Scram!” bellowed Mordecai. The rabbi asked if he wasn’t interested in hearing him. “Now I am a free man. I dont’t wish to hear from a stool pigeon even if it were truth.”
benny

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