Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Philistine Manifesto

There are times in a man's life when the fight to preserve his intellect and sanity becomes imperative.
It was one of those times.
I had a chat with one of my friends from school the other day, a chat on the Net like no other. It was clear to both of us that our opinions about each other's tastes in books and music could only be plumbed by bathyscapes. He scorned Eco, mocked PKD, praised the heroic efforts of Sidney Sheldon in bringing literature to the masses.
Sufficiently incensed, I thought to myself, what if all the people like my friend here had a hidden agenda? And the feeling grew increasingly stronger within me, of an unknown heaving mass movement amongst the literate, but not educated, populace, a teeming movement of people ready to break down the boundaries erected by cultural education. How would these people motivate themselves, I thought, once the campfires are lit and the faces are aglow with the throbbing sensation of doing something worthwhile?
And so, with the purest of motives, I have decided to give to them a manifesto which they could call their own, one sure to warm the cockles of their hearts and ignite the fire in their (pot) bellies.
Here it is, in its pure, unalloyed form.

The Philistine Manifesto
by Anshuman Mishra

The written word is but a palimpsest for meaning, they say, a surface covered with the hieroglyphical daemon-children of our creativity. Our thoughts, like evil worms, slither across and burrow through the crevices, nooks and crannies of the text that we compose. It is from the honeycomb structure of our writings that men gather the supposed fresh and sweet experience of new ideas. Structure, in its multi-faceted forms, in its various cuts and angles, is what gives rise to meaning. Or so they claim.
But what, then, I ask, of translucence? What, then, of clarity, of the sinful nakedness of an idea yet to be experienced and comprehended? How do we gather unto ourselves the glass pebbles of truth that encompass the very way in which we define our lives, when all we have are tools made of sand? How do we rescue the dainty damsel that lies deep inside the castle, fiercely guarded by the twin dragons of Intelligence and Creativity? Carpe diem, I say! Let us peel off layer by layer the external trappings of erudition and circumlocution, let us unravel the tangled web of metaphor and similes, let us take a hammer and anvil to the chains that bind meaning! Let us free the original kernel of pure idea that lies at the pulsating heart of every statement that we compose, let us tear down the delicate strands of excessive verbiage that surround the jewel that we seek!
We care not for quantity and complexity --- a pithy remark would do in the place of a fable, a short story in the place of a long one, a 'Ha!' instead of a sarcasm-drenched comment. The beauty of direct experience is what we crave, the only one which ought to exist. So, let us raze to the ground the mighty citadels of the intelligentsia, for it is their duplicity and treachery alone which is to be blamed for letting matters come to such a pass! Let us all be modern-day Savonarolas --- let flames rise from books which need to be read twice, a just punishment for the long periods of struggle and torment that each of us had to undergo!
Let us cut down the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil! Let us slay Intelligence and Creativity, the twin dragons that have forced us to pray at the altar of Technology. And let us rejoice aforehand, since the battle between us, the strong armies of darkness, and them, the meek and effeminate bearers of the arms of Civilization, is one whose result is not hard to foresee. For we shall smite them with our clubs, pin them down with our poison-tipped barbs! We shall hunt them down one by one, and celebrate each kill with gusto, until the day arrives when we can look at the horizon and see no trace of evil, when the land will be unsullied and pure, cleansed of all sorrows once inflicted by Man. It is then, and then alone, that we shall rest, for our appointed task will be over, and we shall finally be free --- free of the power of Logos, of complex expression, free of thought itself.
It is towards that glorious future that our armies should march, for the day is not far when our grunts alone shall resound through the thick forests of Earth.

A brief aside here. I sincerely hope the intended audience recognizes the mirror that I have held up to their intelligence.
And to you, anonymous friend-from-school, muse of my demented little mind, I dedicate the manifesto written above.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I get the sarcasm... but what's the point?