Friday, October 21, 2016

Report to my ancestors, who migrated from ...

This blog contains various articles, written in the form of reports addressed to my ancestors, who migrated from Goa to the region around Mangalore; to Mumbai (my father); to Africa (my uncle); to Delhi (another uncle). From Mumbai, I came to Pune.

The contexts to these reports is:
1. Our stay in England, during 1990-93
2. Our visit again, during 2016.

The blog is modelled along Report to Greco, "a fictionalized account of Greek philosopher and writer Nikos Kazantzakis’s own life, a sort of intellectual autobiography, framed as a report to the Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco."

A few quotes from Report to Greco:

“Once more I realized to what an extent earthly happiness is made to the measure of man. It is not a rare bird which we must pursue at one moment in heaven, at the next in our minds. Happiness is a domestic bird found in our own courtyards.”

“The truth is that we all are one, that all of us together create god, that god is not man's ancestor, but his descendant.”

“Happy the youth who believes that his duty is to remake the world and bring it more in accord with virtue and justice, more in accord with his own heart. Woe to whoever commences his life without lunacy.” 

“Oh, how crafty of religion, I cried out indignantly, to transplant rewards and punishments into a future life in order to comfort cowards and the enslaved and aggrieved, enabling them to bow their necks patiently before their masters, and to endure this earthly life without groaning (the only life of which we can be sure)!”

“I tried to establish order over the chaos of my imagination, but this essence, the same that presented itself to me still hazily when I was a child, has always struck me as the very heart of truth. It is our duty to set ourselves an end beyond our individual concerns, beyond our convenient, agreeable habits, higher than our own selves, and disdaining laughter, hunger, even death, to toil night and day to attain that end. No, not to attain it. The self-respecting soul, as soon as he reaches his goal, places it still further away. Not to attain it, but never to halt in the ascent. Only thus does life acquire nobility and oneness.”

“But then I was young, and to be young means to undertake to demolish the world and to have the gall to wish to erect a new and better one in its place.”

“Gradually I began to understand that it does not matter very much what problem, whether big or small, is tormenting us; the only thing that matters it that we be tormented, that we find a ground for being tormented. In other words, that we exercise our minds in order to keep certainty from turning us into idiots, that we fight to open every closed door we find in front of us.” 

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