In “This is not the End of the Book” Umberto Eco mentions about two such incidents which Restif might have witnessed along with the crowd of the “The Gala Guillotine Show”.
The first is “The Groper”, a man who gropes women’s butt in the crowd every time a head falls, chopped off by the Guillotine.
The second is the story of man and his dog. The man who pleas to the crowd before his execution to take care of his dog. The crowd pays no heed to that and insults him.After his death the guards found the dig licking blood from the tray and the angry guards stabs him to death. The crowd gets furious at this incident and yells at the guards.. “Murderers! Shame on you ! What did the poor dog ever do to you?.
An interesting book, important from the aspect of time and content rather than the literary values. Google has digitized the book and is freely available in Google Books
But this is in French !!!
“God in the safe and Ford in the shelves” – Brave New World By Aldous Huxley
Those were the words of Mustapha Mond.
Who is Mustapha Mond? Wait….
I just finished reading “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley.Huxley’s Brave New World is a technologically advanced, ideal society controlled through advanced biological/genetic engineering mechanisms.Here humans are no longer born but hatched,engineered and psychologically brainwashed to suit the conditions of this ideal society.Here man lives a happy peaceful life through controlled use of drug and recreational sex.This world is set in A.F 632 i.e. 632 years after the advent of Henry Ford, icon of modern industrial automation,philosophy and culture. Now, Ford is the Lord (The God) and worshipped all the across the world. History,culture and religion that existed before this new world order was established is being systematically destroyed and erased.
Mustapha Mond is one of the ten World Controllers, he is the controller of Western Europe.We first come to meet him in the beginning where speaks boastfully of this “brave new world” and the foolishness and futility of the old world order.At this point he seems to be an ardent advocate of the new order.But his profound knowledge of history, religion and life of the old world was really surprising.How he knows about all these? From where??
We get a more deeper view of Mustapha Mond’s character towards the end of the novel where he gets into a discussion with some of the main protagonists regarding his views on literature, science and religion.He is a avid reader, mostly of the books he himself has pronounced to be banned.He is deeply influenced by Shakespeare.He appreciates the artistic value and beauty of this kind of literature. But he is of the opinion that this should not be made available to general public as they will not be understand the same.This is because the theme and content of these is obsolete in his modern world.He used to be a scientist, interested in pursuing true science,pursuit of knowledge and truth .At this stage he was given a choice between his study of science in some remote island and position in the Council of Controllers. He preferred the second.Now he is the Controller of Western Europe with all his books ,knowledge and longing for art, science, literature and religion hidden in a dark safe behind his shelves.
So, is Mustapha a disillusioned man ?…, compromising coward ?…, pragmatic intellectual ?…, opportunist ?…I think this is left wide open for interpretation.
But we can notice a couple of things. Mustapha has never criticized the modern world and it’s ways. He is very critical human drudgery in the old world driven by love, hatred,war, famine and hunger. He is happy about the new happy world without any of these problems.He also appreciates the art,culture,science and religion of the old order which obviously has some of the vices like emotions,devotion and inquisitiveness.
So he likes all goodness of the old order…So he dislikes all badness of the old order…So he is happy to see all these badness removed in the new order..
But that also implies that he is not happy about the goodness of the old order being removed.But somehow this does not fit in his scheme to solve the problems of the old order.
How can people appreciate Shakespeare if they do not have emotions? But if they do how can you stop them from feeling pain,fighting?
So like most of the world leaders (of both old and the new order), I think Mustapha is also not able to see the problem as a whole but rather as parts with partial unstable solutions leading to a chain of other problems.
He does not have a solution which bridges the gap between his safe and shelves.
|I have always liked reading science fiction and fantasy.But so far for some unknown reasons had never read Douglas Adam’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy“.This is a book I have seen almost in all the bookstores of Kolkata.Last Sunday, I went to Crossword bookstore to buy a copy of this book.But they only had the third volume of the series.I felt first volume will be good to start with and decided to order the same from Flipkart.But bought another Douglas Adam’s book instead, “The Dirk Gently Omnibus”.I had never heard about this book before.|
The first novel in this book is “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”.I was amazed and it was surely one of my best readings in the recent past.It covers various interesting concepts like Origin of Life, Chaos Theory,Coleridge’s Dream and Time Travel stitched together into fast paced thriller with bits of humor and a gradually unfolding mystery.
The first interesting thing was the Origin of Life.About 4 billion years ago, 9 dozen people, from the distant world of Salaxala set out on a journey to find a new world for themselves.They landed on earth to replenish some minerals but their landing vehicle was damaged.But due to mistake of the engineer the vehicle exploded leaving his ghost haunting over this planet for years to come.This ghost is one of the important characters of the story.
The spark of this explosion also led to the initiation of life on earth.As stated by the author the next day after the explosion was
“warmer,clearer,brighter – an altogether livelier day than any yet known”
This actually points to the concept of “Abiogenesis” which states that essential components of life(living organisms) was formed by chemical reactions between inorganic matter available on earth back then.
There are several other stories which indicates the hand of aliens in creation of mankind, where the aliens have actually created life, they are monitoring everything on earth and if required they might destroy us as well.Here aliens are basically God and it is Creation by Design.
Here in spite of the alien involvement it’s very much different.Here the Salaxalans had no intention to create life on earth.The landing craft exploded accidentally and it created life by Chance.
Creation by chance….where I read about this first..???..The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.
The most interesting finding after that both Richard Dawkins and Douglas Adams, the two radical atheists were very good friends.
Richard Dawkins’s eulogy for Adams goes here…
Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion was dedicated to Douglas Adams
This is an interesting video featuring the two…
The interconnectedness between ideas,personalities across various disciplines always surprises me and keeps me going… reading and learning.