"We are among the most elemental realities, at the center of which is an indestructible power, an indestructible joy" is the conclusion that Job, as i...more"We are among the most elemental realities, at the center of which is an indestructible power, an indestructible joy" is the conclusion that Job, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell, learns from the whirlwind of God's response. Mitchell's translation of this Jewish text would rile up (not that it would take much) a lot of fundamentalist-loonies who insist that God is nothing but an ill-tempered, browbeating braggart and that we should always bow in submission to his supreme greatness. But God's greatness, when recognised in its extreme form, looks more like madness, because it is really a projection of fundamental human fears and desires. This is because if God is perfectly great, then we must be vermin, failing and failing to rise above an execrable immoral existence. But Mitchell reveals that the story of Job is not about delusional submission (a form of "spiritual depression" or self-repression of powerful desires) but is, in fact, about a Zen-like surrender, an enlightened response of near-silence from a tiny human speck in the light of an infinite life-force, one that transcends all man-made notions of good/evil, peace/catastrophe, empowerment/victimhood, right and wrong. (less)
Insanity is a tough topic to describe and depict, yet easy--often too easy--to dramatise. The problem with this novel is also what is simultaneously s...moreInsanity is a tough topic to describe and depict, yet easy--often too easy--to dramatise. The problem with this novel is also what is simultaneously so breathtaking about it: insights into the deranged mind are not so different from aspects of the artistic imagination and the author is full of revelations about the troubles (inspired from her own life) faced by her semi-fictionalised mental patient. The revelations bite hard into the facade of normal human behaviour and its veneer of hypocrisies, as well as the consequences faced by someone privy to such devastating and mind-bending insights. But revelations start to bleed into a predictable continuum and the novel starts to get tired and even banal--which is perhaps partly the point. What is most horrifying and also moving is the struggle with electric-shock therapy that the patient fails repeatedly to overcome.(less)
Nothing like Krishnamurti to remind me of that which is important; a revision of Buddhistic ideas about the fluidity of thought--this anti-guru tells...moreNothing like Krishnamurti to remind me of that which is important; a revision of Buddhistic ideas about the fluidity of thought--this anti-guru tells us that we should not bother with thought at all! Of course, the paradoxical nature and impossibility (and ultimately, the freedom) of such an idea (a thought!) is what makes this book so captivating, as Krishnaji explains and explains precisely what he means, engaging both the reader as well as the person he is talking to in each chapter, from philosophy professors to famous thinkers like David Bohm. I have finally interpreted the key ideas in this book by grounding them in the context of meditation, in which the avoidance/non-avoidance of thought makes perfect sense. But Krishnaji is too clever to simply say, Go meditate! He gets you there with his humble explanations, critical chiding and constant reminders of the trappings of thought--as an often automated and crippling response of memory. (less)
I love this book mostly for a handful of poems, as well as this one ("Turtle"), which is quite possibly one of my favourites of all time:
Who wo...moreI love this book mostly for a handful of poems, as well as this one ("Turtle"), which is quite possibly one of my favourites of all time:
Who would be a turtle who could help it? A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet, She can ill afford the chances she must take In rowing toward the grasses that she eats. Her track is graceless, like dragging A packing-case places, and almost any slope Defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical, She’s often stuck up to the axle on her way To something edible. With everything optimal, She skirts the ditch which would convert Her shell into a serving dish. She lives Below luck-level, never imagining some lottery Will change her load of pottery to wings. Her only levity is patience, The sport of truly chastened things.
Reviewers have criticised her astringent verse for being too in love with language than with the precision of critical thought, and this book bears many of such flaws. But poems like the above just saves the day, at least for me.(less)