Thursday, November 20, 2014

Personal Crisis of an Uprooted Rationalist

"[...] the way the old dog walked, with clotted, tired fur; down nobody's alley, being nobody's dog."
                                                                                                                     ~~ Charles Bukowski~~
                                         




Nineteen months lived;
               nineteen different melodies,
                                           seen but heard;
               Narrated experiences. Inexperienced.
Sands in glass — labelled, tagged, marked; owned.
                            Lost never had.

Binaries interplayed in dimensions;
                                    rhetorics of counter-rhetoric.
Rationality, a reluctant absurdist. Farce.

Centres and Margins. Annihilate.                               
Of cultivated necessity begotten,
                                   a Destruction. Shivers.
                                                          Reason.

Identities, transcendent signifiers.
                Unidentified. 
                                      Referents. Yes.
                                                        No.
                                                        May be.
                                                       Assorted psychedelics.
                                       Lost.

Epiphany. Not broken illusions.
                Quantum of logical aesthetics.

2 comments:

Srinivas said...

Stubbornly technical (at least for this reader's intelligence) but also wonderfully stubborn -- one expects nothing less from you. :) I also liked the abrupt 'rhythm' of the poem, helped in no small measure by the ingenious paradoxes and the one-word 'sentences'.

I hope you are all right. I am in Chennai, awaiting my defence.

Cheers!

Samuel S. Mandal said...

Have you read Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought? If you haven't, then I suggest you take a few days to go through the second edition published in 2002. The original 1966 edition lacks the insightful foreword, and reading Chomsky is not exactly relaxing task.

If you have read it, then you know what its about. Take out the technicalities and the structural talk, and think solely of the philosophical underpinning of the book -- rationalism, a philosophical postulation that there is more to the structure of nature, the source of philosophy, than can be directly handled by our contemporary technology. On a technical level, one could think of black holes, still invisible to telescopes for the most part. On a personal level, one could think of... well... me -- always wanted to study abroad, work with big names, and now that I do, my mind has never been darker, so to speak.

There are more issues in nature than meets a direct realist's observation, and a deliberate ignorance of them only makes our knowledge incomplete. This poem was a release for me. I was so frustrated, so wound up, that one day it just came out. I am a rationalist, stuck in an empiricist pool of quicksand. Everyday I sink a little deeper. I learn nothing. I forget most of what I had learned in Hyderabad and Auckland. My ideas go stagnant in my mind, I don't get the opportunity to express them or to follow them through to a logical end. There's no need, they tell me. Just read the numbers off the machine. The Machine will set us free, they tell me. Really? I asked. Really! Trust us. We have tenure, they tell me. But... somewhere, at the back of my head, in some elusive corner of my psyche, I seem to recall a faint voice telling me to rage against the machine, not to trust it. It confuses me. But confusions are not allowed in the realm of the machine, because confusions, by extension, indicate plurality of ideas, even if only one ends up being vindicated. Plurality nonetheless. But there is no plurality here. Only square eyes, and blank, soulless retinas. Eyes that watch without seeing. So I keep my thoughts to myself. In my head. Locked up. Behind bars. And somewhere down the road, they started talking to each other. Prisoners of their own origin, conversing amongst themselves. Perhaps planning patricide. My mind is no longer mine. It is an auditorium of internal monologues.