Saturday, October 15, 2005

First they took away our rockets...

I look at the world around us and I marvel at the artifacts of our thought, at the God-like powers of creation and destruction that have been harnessed and yoked to the chariot of industrialization. I pause to think of the men who brought us here, whose fantasies fired our imaginations - the campfire yarns spun by Homer, the tragic laments of the Arab poets, the satirical verses of Dante, the simplistic tales of Chaucer. Will our generation ever produce their equals? For ours is a choppier ocean of metaphor, and the ships of our intellect have yet to chart it fully. I fear, though, that the engines of our imagination have sputtered to a stop, never to start again. And I guess I know why...

First They Took Away Our Rockets...

...our spaceships, our glorious interstellar voyages. It's all been done now.
Then they snatched away our nuclear holocausts, the horrors of mutation. Thalidomide became a shared nightmare, a piercing scream of reality which one had hoped no one would hear.
Silently now, they sneaked up on us, clubbed us sore, and gleefully ran away with our advanced AI. We nurtured, then, in vain, our nightmarish visions of plastic realities, which again were cruelly taken away and morphed for prime-time entertainment. (Vanilla Sky, anyone?)
Our turn of phrase, our too-clever-by-half imagery, our vividly imagined psychotic turns and madnesses, are all gone. What, then, ye gods, of the bards and poets? What of the breathtaking flights of fantasy, of writers dominating the landscape of our thought with tales of heroism and nobility, of the conquest of the unknown? The entrails have been read, so have the tea leaves. A dark brooding bleakness dominates our mental landscape. The spectre of science has throttled our frenzied fantasies.
Now, robots are on the march, instant communication halfway across the globe is a reality, and men shall walk on Mars by 2018. Technology, the mischievous daughter of science, will cure our ills, rid our all-too frail society of its ailments, its social cancers. And man shall be free, finally, rid of its troublesome burdens of meaningless productivity and the metaphor of the worker ant. What shall we do then, casting our Olympian glances on a world where no one has to work for food, where ultimate leisure is the birth-right of every soul?
What shall we do when the very tools that make us human have been snatched away? When the fountain of our race's youth has run dry? When the very act of creation and imagination is an unnecessary drudgery, laboriously produced by the dregs of society?

There's a shuddering evil thought that continually gurgles inside my head, that we, as a race, have become too mature to indulge in such unseemly activities as dreaming and imagining. Our visions have become an embarassment, our myths viewed as an infantile attempt at clawing our way upwards into a stronger, more powerful, realm of intellect. We shall soon discard the crutches that supported our first baby-steps towards conquering the rest of the universe.

Because Man was not meant for Earth alone.


2 comments:

Alligator said...

Intellectual saturation is a dark reality for sure. These are desperate times indeed. I see saturation everywhere. Are we already at our limits ?

A very well written blog. Keep up the good work. Atleast identifying the problem is the first step to solving it :-)

Anonymous said...

Try to do something wothwhile in life and try to serve the people that are in need of help. U guys are the part of the "great" new Indian youth most of whom only think selfishly and act selfishly.
There are millions of Indians living in the most abject poverty, and u spend ur time doing nothing and wasting the country's resources at IIT. Just give a thought abt the child who is born in a railway station and whose future is doomed deterministically the day he comes to this world. Imagine if u were in his/her place.
Act in ur lifetime to make a difference in the lives of those who are in need rather than wasting the country's money.
As Gandhi said "We must be the change we want to see in the world".