The Scientific Point Of View. J B S Haldane Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

061. The Scientific Point Of View. J B S Haldane Essay. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 14th Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/1ds8_4tt/ Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Adopting a scientific point of view is useful in many ways, whether for solving the Negro problem or for solving the problem of diseases. J.B.S.Haldane was a famous British scientist and author who later took Indian citizenship. His writings on biological subjects made scientific ideas clear and popular among people. The author argues that adopting a scientific point of view is essential and beneficial for man, rather than adopting an emotional point of view.

Scientific point of view is God’s eye-view. A good scientist, like God, will view and examine things impartially and truthfully, and will not have emotional considerations and pass judgments.

Science influences the average man in two ways- its practical applications are useful to man and it affects his opinions also. One of science’s main contributions to common man was its presenting man with a scientific point of view. Science continuously tells us we should give up smoking and consumption of liquor, and adopt walking and swimming daily activities to remain healthy. Once we viewed these warnings skeptically, but we now have begun to understand that there is sense and logic in these warnings. That is science’s contribution, creating this awareness and consciousness of health. The average man is attracted by the emotional and ethical aspects of a problem, not by the facts, whereas a scientist considers only the facts. A scientific point of view places everything and everyone on the same emotional level which is impartial and truthful. Because of this equalization in emotional levels, scientific point of view can be called the God’s eye-view. A good scientist will, like God, view and examine things impartially and truthfully, and will not have emotional considerations and pass judgments. Even though the enemies of science wish science to do both, and abuse scientists for being deaf to moral considerations, a scientist will remain such impartial that Mr. John, Mr. Chang, Mr. Smith, the Tape Worm and the Solar System will be equal to him. A scientific point of view enables people also to adopt the same view of an impartial scientist, in analyzing things of importance to him.

When Negros enjoyed friendship of whites during the American Civil War, the new Democratic Negro became a heavy drinker and died in thousands, more in numbers than were killed in the actual war.

Haldane is of the opinion that the Negro problem, i.e., the problem of Negros becoming a problem for the whites, and the problem of diseases can be solved by adopting scientific point of view. He uses these two examples to illustrate that adopting scientific point of view in solving social, human problems is feasible and useful. Though there have of course been strong oppositions to his this point of view, let us examine his observations on the living conditions of Negros in America, most of which are things of past in America now. Negros was considered inferior to white men. In the Southern states of America where slavery existed, the Negros were pulled out of cars and driven to cotton plantations to work hard in harsh sun light. Openness to nature favoured them and there they prospered and multiplied, creating thus the so-called Negro problem for whites. But had they been extended consideration and fellowship, they would have become softened and died of American diseases. This is the question J B S Haldane rises- whether emotional or scientific attitude is to be adopted in solving social, human problems, which is beneficial and useful? During the American Civil War, the Negros enjoyed friendship of the whites, as a result of which the new democratic Negro became a heavy drinker and died in thousands. The number of Negros killed that way was far greater than the number of Negros killed in the actual war. Once we shed the emotional point of view, adopt scientific point of view, we allow Negros to return to nature and live in their natural habitats, and there is and will be no problem from the Negros.

Scientific point of view is the moral equivalent of war; they are equally fast in teaching peoples lessons.

Adopting the scientific point of view helps solve the problem of diseases also. For ages, and even now, common people think that diseases are caused by the Sin of man. But now, thanks to science, more people know that diseases are caused by the attack of foreign organisms known as microbes. By studying microbes with a scientific point of view, preventive medicines can be developed against diseases. The moral use of war is its teaching people lessons fast. Scientific point of view also teaches people lessons equally fast. That is why J.B.S.Haldane theorizes that scientific point of view is the moral equivalent of war. It teaches people lessons as fast as war. Knowledge of biological facts helps people prevent diseases. Diseases are manifestations of nature’s laws. By knowing about these laws, people can cure or prevent these diseases. The only problem remains is, people not being punctual and regular in administration of their prescribed medicines. Attitudes like this are such common that discovery of insulin has not helped reduce the death rate of diabetic patients in England and elsewhere, for medicines and their usage do not still have a scientific basis among people. It is a paradox that ‘the study of medicine, apart from its scientific basis, has created more neurotics than scientists,’ Haldane observes.

In spite of scientists and science reigning in this world for so many long years and teaching, many people still think that diseases are products of our sin.

Scientists and science have reigned in this world for so many long years but in spite of their teaching that diseases are manifestation of natural laws caused by microbial attacks, a considerable number of people still think that they are products of our sin. When Jesus Christ was asked why a man became blind, he answered: ‘Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents; but the works of God should be made manifest in him.” He considered it an opportunity to prove God’s manifestations and cured the blind by his simple touch. The scientists cure people with diseases, instead of accusing not only them but their ancestors through generations also of sinning. In this respect, a scientist’s view of diseases is not unlike the view held by Jesus Christ. Many of his followers but still hold to views which Jesus Christ opposed. They are not scientific but emotional in viewing many social and human issues such as remarriage and abortion. When diseases affect, some of them do not treat it scientifically but pray. Many more people hold to the view that diseases can be cured by returning to nature which is just another fallacy- we will die before we begin to get rectifying restoratives from nature. To live according to nature to escape from diseases also is quite meaningless because civilization, savagery, health and sickness are all part of nature.

[Prepared In 1990]

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Author profileEditor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Also edits Bloom Books Channel.

 

The Home Coming. Rabindranath Tagore Story. Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

060. The Home Coming. Rabindranath Tagore Story. Reintroduced by P S Remesh Chandran

By PSRemeshChandra, 14th Sep 2014. Short URL http://nut.bz/zds4wvd1/ Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Rabindranath Tagore was an educator, social reformer, poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer. His poetical collection Gitanjali was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Home Coming is the tale of a 14 year old boy who was a nuisance to his mother, was sent away for studying and died there unloved and longing for his home. There has not been a single person in India who did not weep after reading this Tagore story.

The boy grew up lazy, wild and violent and thought about doing new mischiefs every day.

Phatik Chakravarthi was a fourteen year old Bengali boy whose father died very early. He grew up lazy, wild and disobedient. His younger brother Makhan Chakravarthi was quiet, good and fond of reading. Phatik thought about doing new mischiefs every day. One day he and his retinue of boys pushed into the river a wooden log meant to be shaped as the mast of a boat. Makhan, objecting to this and sitting firmly on the log, was thrown to water along with the log. At home, when he was questioned about this, he beat not only his brother, but his mother also. It was then that his uncle from the far Calcutta City arrived. He agreed to take the boy along with him to Calcutta to be educated there. The boy was only glad to leave, but the mother was only half-relieved and half-sad.

He missed the meadow, mountain and river in his native village, became a failure at school and began to always ask, when holidays would come.

Phatik’s uncle had three sons of his own and his aunt did not like this new addition to their family. A fourteen year old boy will have his own problems too. He was fast growing up. He was neither a child nor a man, crossing the line in between. He missed the meadow, mountain and river of his native village. Therefore it was no wonder he became a failure at school. He answered no questions, was beaten badly daily at school and ridiculed by all including his cousins. He grew impatient about returning to home and began always asking, when the holidays would come.

In his delirium, he talked about things in his native village, asked his mother not to beat him anymore and called out fathom-marks which steamer-sailors in his native village river did.

One day Phatik lost his lesson book and was scolded and abused much by his aunt. It served as the last hurt to break him. On a rainy afternoon after school, feeling fever and headache, he sought shelter somewhere and did not return home. He did not want to trouble his aunt any more. Police help was sought the next day. They found him and brought him home, shivering and fallen into a delirious state. He talked about things in his native village, asked his mother not to beat him anymore and called out fathom-marks which steamer-sailors in his native village river did. He moved restlessly, his hands beating up and down. His condition seemed critical to the doctor, and his mother in the village was sent for. When his mother arrived moaning and crying, and calling his names, he was nearing his eternal home which is Heaven. His last words were: Mother, the holidays have come.

Tagore’s story Home Coming was one of the two first glances into the grief and sorrow of little minds, the other being Coventry Patmore’s poem, Toys.

The question is how we treat our children. Children are the flowers of humanity. Yet, we do not see the grief in those tiny hearts. Up to four years, a child is said to be in the hands of the God, but since then they are this World’s property. A bit of love, a soft touch of solace or a tiny word of consolation would be enough for them, but we do not spare them. Millions of children are worn out for want of care, nursing, assistance. Tagore was purposeful in writing such a story as this to open the world’s eyes towards the world of children’s deep sorrows, unheeded by the grown up world. No wonder he was dedicated to children and started that India’s World University, Saanthi Nikethan, where teachers and students sat beneath mango tree shades and learned. Tagore’s this story was one of the two first glances into the grief and sorrow of little minds, the other being Coventry Patmore’s poem, Toys.

[Prepared in 1996]

Dear Reader,
If you cannot access all pages of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Unmarried and single. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Unmarried and single. Also edits and owns Bloom Books Channel.

 

In Praise Of Mistakes. Robert Lynd. Essay Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

39.

In Praise Of Mistakes. Robert Lynd. Essay Reintroduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 25th Nov 2011 Short URL http://nut.bz/25tqv807/
Posted in Wikinut Essays

 

Robert Lynd is famous for his essays of wit, wisdom and humour. Here he is writing ‘in praise of mistakes’, how they are useful and how they are enjoyable to the world. It is his opinion that it is difficult to write something without slipping somewhere. Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoyment of a writer and the only unpardonable sin in an author is writing uninterestingly. This Irish genius who made us laugh shared the world with us during 1879-1949.

What I wonder is why I did not snatch away as much wealth as I could from the Indian Coffers.

People often write to newspapers about the frequent mistakes writers make in their articles and books. Geographical, historical or religious errors may occur in their works but those mistakes seldom make their works unreadable or unenjoyable. Instead, most often, they make the world merry for they give enough material for the world to laugh. One will wonder why writers do not make as many mistakes as they can so that the world can at least laugh heartily. In this aspect, the case framed by fault-finders against writers is a weak one. If it is presented in any court the writer, Lord Clive, may tell the jury that he wondered why he did not make as many mistakes as he could. Lord Clive was tried in the British Parliament for corruption during his India Service when he told senators, what he wondered was why he did not dare to snatch away more wealth from the vast treasure houses of the Indian Kings!

It is difficult to write about something without slipping somewhere.

Personally Lynd is a lover of accuracy but he finds it difficult to write about something without slipping somewhere. He consults an encyclopedia to avoid errors in writing. He has on many occasions risen and sweated in the very early mornings in fear of mistakes he may have made in articles which have already gone to press. A modern day writer who is born in the time of spell checker, auto correct and Internet would be totally unfamiliar with such dreadful experiences.

Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoyment of an author’s work.

Mistakes do not interfere with our enjoying an author’s work. It is not the word and its meaning that count; it is the sound of the word that is important and is appealing to human senses. It is the sound of the words that makes a poem pleasing to our senses and ears and imparts beauty to the poem. Poets, Lynd permits them, may use the names of any precious stones or anything else for that matter in their poems even without knowing their meaning, if those sounds are pleasing to ears. A jeweller’s assistant needn’t immediately go to him and correct him. According to Lynd the unpardonable sin in a writer is to write uninterestingly. If a work is interesting, it would be read and enjoyed by all. Mistakes do not matter there. Shakespeare made his multitude of mistakes in chronology and Walter Scott made the Sun rise on the wrong side of the world in the wrong time. Even then Shakespeare’s dramas and Walter Scott’s novels and poems are read by millions of people with interest.

A writer’s mistakes deserve praise, and fantastic errors are great stimulants.

Mistakes made in literature are useful to man in many ways. For example, they make the reader temporarily feel that he is an inch taller than the writer. Mistakes made by the writer are a source of delight to many readers. There is more joy over a single error discovered in a good writer than over a hundred pages of perfect writing. Error-hunters search for errors as meticulously and systematically as gold-hunters search for gold. His Eurekas are uttered not over immortal phrases but over some tiny mistake in geography, history or grammar. The famous English weekly ‘Punch’ once used to print the names of authors along with the mistakes they made. The writers protested. Lynd is of the opinion that writers needn’t protest over such dissections by print media and they needn’t consider it as an attempt to rob them of the credit for making the world happy and laughing. Since they are such useful to mankind, the writers’ mistakes deserve praise; even their fantastic mistakes, which are in many, are also thus pardonable. Lynd’s closing observation is that ‘we shall never have a novelist or writer of the magnitude of Shakespeare till one can make as many mistakes as Shakespeare made’.

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Appreciations, English Essayists, English Essays, English Language And Literature, English Writers, Essays, In Praise Of Mistakes, Irish Writers, P S Remesh Chandran, Philosophy, Re Introductions, Remembrances, Reviews, Robert Lynd, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, Usefulness Of Mistakes

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Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’.

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Comments

Rathnashikamani
30th Nov 2011 (#)

“A writer’s mistakes deserve praise, and fantastic errors are great stimulants”
I appreciate that.
You’ve given a differently positive perspective to the art of reading a writers mind.

PSRemeshChandra
30th Nov 2011 (#)

Writers’ mistakes have always given the world interesting material to laugh about. They do not disparage the writer but do prove to the world that they indeed are human beings, after us going through the unearthly materials they have written. Writers’ mistakes are indeed a solace to readers who are taken off with the momentum of the flow of ideas and emotions in the writing and cannot land. Seeing the mistake and reading the mistake lands them safely on the terra firma.

Spring Time. O Henry Story. Reintroduced by P S Remesh Chandran.

24.

Spring Time. O Henry Story. Reintroduced by P. S. Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 6th Jun 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/3rrqb.i5/
Posted in Wikinut  Short Stories

 

O.Henry’s stories are famous for the twist towards their end. William Sydney Porter was the real person behind this name. He wrote more than Two hundred short stories, almost all of them equally famous. His stories are noted for the great sympathy they show towards human life. Here in this story he is describing how the happiness of spring is returning to Sarah’s life after the cold of a winter.

Typewritten menus for a restaurant in exchange for three meals a day.

The O. Henry family in 1890s.

Sarah made her living through type writing. In the cold winter times, food was a problem. She made an agreement with the Schulenburg (Shoolenberg) Restaurant near her home. According to the agreement she would type the bill of fares for their twenty one tables each day and they had to provide her with three meals a day. When spring finally arrived it had no character of a spring. The snow of January still lay there in the streets even though it was March. And spring was already delayed a little in that American City of Manhattan. When spring arrived, there were changes in the menu of the restaurant. Soups became lighter, meat dishes changed and fried foods altogether vanished.

Life in distant farms in the countryside can be as calm, quiet and peaceful as a gently flowing river.

Typing away dreams.

While Sarah was typing the bill of fares for the restaurant, her mind flew back to the country side she visited during the last summer. Life in distant farms in the country side can be as calm, quiet and peaceful as a gently flowing river. After the tediousness and monotony of life in a city, the life in the country side seemed to her appealing and pleasant. She had there fallen in love with a young farmer by the name of Walter. He was a very clever and modern farmer who had a telephone in his cow-house. He could even calculate cleverly the effect of Canadian wheat crops on the American prices of commodities.

Heaven sent Dandelions to show how pleased and delighted the ethereal realms were with earth.

Distant farms are as quiet as a flowing river.

Sarah and Walter loved each other and he had decorated her hair with dandelion leaves and flowers as an expression of his love. She had left those flowers there for his caring and walked back home happily. We living in cities great and small can assume how much she might have wished to stay forever in those glens, vales and coves. How much will not an insecure girl wish for a safe and secure life under the protection of a loving husband! Her wishes were granted. They had agreed to get married in spring but he has not yet arrived in her town. She is awaiting him and she wept on her type writer.

No human beings are left alone. Teardrops of a loner are wiped away by invisible hands.

Two dandelion friends catching the Sun.

In the evening the waiter from the restaurant brought Sarah’s food and the next day’s menu. While typing, a dish item in the menu caught her attention. It was ‘Dandelion with Eggs.’ Dandelions are not only a food but a symbol of love also. While typing, the very word Dandelion made her remember her long awaited lover and weep again. In her grief and tears a strange thing happened. One tear drop fell on the type written menu and one word was mistyped.

It is an invisible God that leads the way and walks a few miles with us.

The last Typewriter Factory closed in 2011.

The next day, Walter from the country side arrived Sarah’s town, Manhattan searching for her. She had moved from her old address and the letter she sent him from the new address unfortunately had not reached him. Therefore he was not in a position to know about her whereabouts. He by chance stepped into the Schulenburg Restaurant and was given a menu of that day’s dishes. But what a bill of fare! There was the all distinguishable mark of a tear drop on it. ‘Dearest Walter with Eggs’ typed in place of ‘Dandelion with Eggs’. And there was the tell tale characteristic of his lover- the capital ‘W’ typed above the line! The instant he sighted this strange bill of fare, Walter knew who the typist who created this laughable thing was. Without waiting, obtaining her address from the restaurant, he rushed to her house.

 

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

________________________________

 

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

 

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American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Literature, English Short Stories, English Short Story Writers, O Henry, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Short Stories, Spring Time, Stories, Studies, William Sydney Porter

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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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The Nightingale And The Rose. Oscar Wilde Story. Reintroduced.

23.

The Nightingale And The Rose. Oscar Wilde Story. Reintroduced by P S Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books. Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 6th Jun 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/13yul8ts/
Posted in Wikinut  Short Stories

 

Birds love for their life. They do not change partners in the middle of a stream. They do not know about the fickleness of human love. And they do not know about the instant fancies of immature human mind that we call love. Knowing not this cost a Nightingale its dear life. That is the story in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Nightingale and the Rose.’

Human passions mostly are lust and licentiousness misnamed as love.

Universal messenger of fragrance delicacy and love

Human love does not deserve the attention of the creatures of ground, sea and air. The Nightingale and the Rose is a moral short story by Oscar Wilde, the famous English writer. It is the story of the sacrifice of a nightingale for the sake of human love. The moral of the story is that human love and sacrifice are worthless, deserving not the attention of the other creatures of the ground, sea and air. Even though there always are immortal love stories among the mortal human beings, most often their passions are lust and licentiousness misnamed as love. It is widely thought that the world did injustice to this great writer. This reintroduction of his famous story is a humble tribute to this great lover of man and bird and beast.

The fickle human emotion of the immature that is called love.

All creatures react in their own ways.

One day a young student was found weeping for a red rose so that he could present it to his lover and dance with her. The boy was such enamored with the girl that he thought, without her, his life was going to end. But in that time of the year there were no red roses. The nightingale and the other creatures in the ground, water and air who were listening to this lamentation of his reacted according to their natures. While the other creatures either ridiculed or pitied him, the Nightingale decided to help him. She straight went to a rose tree in the garden asking for a red rose for the boy-lover.

Why Nightingales alone warble unending love songs into the sky?

Warbling unending love songs into the sky.

The Nightingale was such an admirer of true love about which she had been singing and praising in her songs for years that she decided to help the true lover. The rose tree, though without any red flowers then, revealed to the nightingale that if she was willing enough to make a self sacrifice, she could produce one with her own blood. She only had to press her heart to a thorn and singing without stop in the moon light, inject her blood into the tree. If she could do this, a red rose will bloom in any of the branches before Sun rise. The Nightingale summarily agreed to create a red rose by paying the great prize of her life. And in that very night she caused a red rose to bloom on the tree by her self sacrifice.

Why birds are created such sympathetic and considerate to worthless human passions?

They do not change partners middle of a stream.

When morning arose, the boy-lover saw the red rose on the tree and rushed to his girl friend with the rose. But within that time she had promised to dance with another boy, a rich one who had offered her gold buttons instead of cheap roses. Thus the boy’s love ended in folly and disaster, unnecessarily causing the death of a Nightingale. The boy threw the precious red rose into the street where a cart-wheel went over it. We will wonder what preciousness is there in the supposed love of unripe human beings and why birds and other creatures are created such sympathetic and considerate to worthless human passions.

 

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

________________________________

 

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

 

Tags

American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Literature, English Short Stories, English Short Story Writers, Nightingale And The Rose, Oscar Wilde, Reviews, Stories, Studies

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Comments

Rathnashikamani
7th Jun 2011 (#)

Great review.
You’re an expert in appreciating English literature.

PSRemeshChandra
7th Jun 2011 (#)

Might be, though I cannot play with words as you do.

 

 

Bernard Shaw’s Inspiration His Own Life. Based on Bertrand Russell. Appreciation Study by P S Remesh Chandran.

21.

Bernard Shaw’s Inspiration His Own Life. Based on Bertrand Russell. Appreciation Study by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

By PSRemeshChandra, 16th May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/160_gv7f/ 

Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

To know what inspired George Bernard Shaw, the strange and out of the way things in his life need only be just gone through. It is clear that it was his own life that inspired him. It is very interesting to watch the tiny ship of his life navigating the tumultuous seas. Bertrand Russell’s observations on Shaw are the base for this article which is aimed at only elucidating his observations.

Origin of the fine diction and musical rhythm in Shaw’s plays.

A portrait of George Bernard Shaw.

Finding her husband unable to provide for the family, his mother, with her children moved permanently to London. There she supported her family by giving music lessons and singing at concerts. She had a good singing voice and remarkable skills in music. Shaw was schooled in London and there he grew up as an extraordinarily independent intellectual. He gained his love of music from his mother and her friends, which secured for him his first job as a musical critic in a London evening newspaper. Then he became a critic of plays, the essays written during which period were of very high quality and are still being read and praised. A few years later when he began writing plays, his love of music made his sentences rhythmically easy and pleasant to speak and hear. Even the very long speeches in plays like Man and Superman hold our attention due to their musical rhythm and fine diction.

Good laws passed by a few do not make a good society but good people do make good societies.

Shaw’s Corner. He lived here from 1906 to 1950.

Henry George, the author of Progress and Poverty was a very influential American economist who argued that national revenue should be raised by a single tax on land revenues, instead of levying quite a number of taxes on a variety of things. One day Shaw happened to listen to his lecture in a London city hall and joined at once his Fabian Society. Fabians condemned the blood-thirsty revolutions envisioned by the communists and believed that socialism could be achieved only through slow, steady and gradual changes in the social set up. The Fabian Society was destined to powerfully influence the British society and politics during the next forty or fifty years. In the Fabian Society, Shaw came to be acquainted with Mrs. Annie Besant, an ardent supporter of the Indian Independence Movement. As a socialist, Shaw in the beginning believed that good laws could improve and increase human happiness. But as he grew older, he trusted less and less in the power of the Parliament. Good laws passed by a few do not necessarily make a good society, but good people certainly will make good laws. Good men and women are the first thing required in the making of a Good Society.

Equal admiration for St. Joan of Orleans and St. Joseph of Moscow.

A colour poster for Shaw’s play.

His contemporaries had many opportunities to observe Shaw as a controversialist and as a man of Victorian Vanity. According to them, Shaw had three phases in his life. First he was a musical critic, Fabian socialist and novelist. Then world saw him as a writer of comedies in which he intended to lead the world to seriousness through wits. During the third and last phase he appeared as a prophet, demanding equal admiration for ‘St. Joan ofOrleansand St. Joseph of Moscow’. By that time he had lost all distinction between a kind Christian and a cruel communist, which many of his contemporaries disliked.

Acerbity and sharpness, stamps of the personality of Shaw.

Inside Shaw’s movable hut.

Shaw led British Socialism away from Marx. Recent happenings in the Soviet Union prove that he was correct. He attacked the Victorian vanity and humbug with his own vanity and sharp wits. ‘Social Democrats considered him as an incarnation of Satan. He fanned the flames whenever there was a dispute’. In his verbal attacks he was merciless. In a lunch party given in honour of the French philosopher Bergson, he attacked the very theories of Bergson, saying that, “Oh, my dear fellow, I understand your philosophy much better than you do!” When the Czechoslovakian President Masaryk visited London, he asked to see Shaw out of respect for the man. Shaw went to him straight and lectured that the Czechoslovakian foreign policy was very wrong. And without waiting for an answer he stormed out of the dinner venue! He could not hide his vanity and hatred like the true Victorians. He found the effort of hiding vanity wearisome and gave it up when he first burst upon the world. Acerbity and sharpness were his stamps of personality.

More Christian than the Christ.

A View of Bernard Shaw’s Study.

Shaw believed that churches have strayed far from the teachings of Christ. But many things in his character had the force of a religion. Reading the works of the famous English poet Shelley made him think that ‘animals are our fellow creatures, not to be slain for human food’. At twenty five he became a vegetarian. He had a strong sense of the sacredness of animal and human life. He had the purity of life and ate no flesh, drank no alcohol and smoked no tobacco. He was kind and generous to his fellows. He insisted that we have to leave the world a better place than we found it, and that the torch of life should be passed on to the future generations burning more brightly. In this sense he was more a Christian than the Christ.

The universal trio who were anti-scientific thinkers and strict vegetarians.

A scene from Doctor’s Dilemma acted on stage.

Like Gandhi, Shaw may be said to have been an anti scientific thinker. Like Count Leo Tolstoy, he believed that science can give no real account of Man. It is strange and universally known that this threesome remained vegetarians, hostile to vivisection, operation and modern medicine. Samuel Butler, the famous advocate of Creative Evolution was considered by Shaw as a sage. His words were gospels to him. Even Butler’s jokes were taken seriously by Shaw. Both cruelly opposed Darwin. In personal life Shaw was a perfect man who opposed tyranny, blood-shed and cruelty. But as a religious revolutionary he was fierce and abominable. An admirable, dual personality!

A solicitous wife, the luck of all unruly thinkers.

Pygmalion serialized in November 1914.

Shaw derived his great strength from vegetables. He was lucky in getting a very solicitous wife. We have the example of Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates before us who poured a pot of water over the useless and heated head of her husband, always arguing and finding nothing for the family! She was very kind and attentive to him, followed him like a shadow anxious about his health and prepared hearty vegetarian meals for him. Even she was not spared! The household and the neighborhood resounded with his sharp and witty comments about her ancestors.

The more he lived, the more was he inspired by his own life.

Malvern Theatres where Shaw’s many plays staged.

Politics and journalism occupied Shaw till he was forty two. But soon he learned that politics was poly-tricks and journalism was literature in a hurry. Therefore he gave them up and took to creative literature. His earlier works were all focused on genuine social evils such as prostitution, war and religious intolerance and revenge, which touched the lives of a very large number of people. Bernard Shaw did in English what Henrik Ibsen had been doing in the Norwegian. The rich landlords of Victorian vanity considered him as an enemy. The communists considered him as an incarnation of Satan. But the poor began to consider him as a leader and champion of new ways of thought and intellectual freedom. He regarded Ruling as the highest art of all, and in his eyes, most political leaders were blunderers, insufficiently educated in this art. His works were enjoyable to the spectator as well as to the reader. He stands second only to Shakespeare among the English playwrights. Yes, the more he lived, the more was he inspired by his life.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:  

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Appreciations, Bertrand Russell, British Essayists And Journalists, British Writers, English Essays, English Literature, English Playwrights, Essays, George Bernard Shaw, Irish Literature, Irish Writers, Life Of Shaw, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Comments

rama devi nina
16th May 2011 (#)

What an informative and interesting post with excellent pictures, too. Well researched. Thanks for sharing.

Rathnashikamani
16th May 2011 (#)

Wonderful appreciation study by PSRemeshChandra.

I enjoyed reading Pygmalion in 1985 but I didn’t get any chance to watch it on stage or screen.

PSRemeshChandra
16th May 2011 (#)

Dear Rama Devi Nina, Rathnashikamani,
I once had to teach Russell in a B.A. class when I noticed that Russell’s observations on Shaw were from a very close and intimate quarters, being one of his schoolmates I assume, but his presentation of those observations were not of a style that tempt readers to read more and more about Shaw. Therefore I decided then and there to simplify, update and develop his oration, which I gave as a lecture. I consider Shaw second only to Shakespeare, that too, only in conceiving elaborate themes and schemes. It is a pleasure to know that such literary adepts like you enjoyed the work. I will take more care in the future. Thank you both.

Shaw’s Views On Freedom. Re-introduced by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

22.

Shaw’s Views On Freedom. Re-introduced by P S Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1vq_e18x/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

Bernard Shaw set human minds on fire everywhere. We would be thrilled to even think about the judges, parliament members, writers, academicians and newspaper editors in England, India, America, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Russia who very much wished for the head and blood of this acerbic philosopher of wit and wisdom. Shaw’s thoughts on Ultimate Freedom Of Man that infuriated these so called intelligentsia but pleased common people everywhere are reintroduced here.

The fearless intellectual who attacked the Victorian vanity and ostentation.

A colour poster for Shaw’s play.

George Bernard Shaw was a British dramatist, critic and philosopher. He was a Fabian Socialist who led British socialism away from Marx. This fearless intellectual of Irish origin attacked the vanity and ostentation of the English society. Like Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy, he was a staunch vegetarian, bold in his opinions. Arms And The Man, Man And Superman and The Apple Cart are three of his major plays. This article is based on one of his B.B.C. Radio Broadcasts in which he is defining the characteristics of freedom. He is of the opinion that ruling classes talk of freedom for the people but they reserve it only for themselves.

There can never be a perfectly free person theoretically.

A portrait of George Bernard Shaw.

Half the day we are slaves to necessities such as eating, drinking, washing, dressing and undressing. For another one-third of our life time we are slaves to sleep too. So theoretically there can never be a perfectly free person. Chattel slavery is said to have been abolished legally but it continues to be in other forms. Even voting in elections does not liberate a person. Two rich friends ask us for our vote and we have to choose one of the two, which is not real freedom.

Slavery of man to nature is natural but slavery of man to man is unnatural.

The rotating writing hut of Shaw.

Slavery of man to nature is natural whereas slavery of man to man is unnatural. Both are different. Natural wants are slavery indeed but nature is kind to her slaves. Eating, drinking and sleeping are made pleasant experiences. Building families and societies also is made pleasant. ‘We write sentimental songs in praise of them and in England a tramp can earn his supper by singing Home Sweet Home.’ But slavery of man to man is hateful to body and to spirit. In course of time slaves and their masters form their own organizations and enter a civil war known as class war. Karl Marx spent his life proving that slavery of man to man will never stop by itself unless stopped by law. Speaking and oration will not do but everyone has to do his share of the world’s work by his own hands and brain.

That notorious phrase of Shaw, ‘this prodigious mass of humbug.’

A scene from Candida acted on stage.

The combined body of parliaments, legislation, judiciary, literature, education and journalism look to Bernard Shaw as a prodigious mass if humbug which in layman’s terms means Victorian vanity and ostentation. These great institutions of society just promote and help slavery exist and reign in its all forms. They always and everywhere in this world wish to establish and make people think that they are superior to everything and unquestionable. The foolery that is concealed in them is that everywhere in this world people hate these institutions to the depths of their chore. Only the parasites who live by these things would love them. We would be thrilled to even think about the judges, parliament members, writers, academicians and newspaper editors in England, India, America, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Russia who very much wished for the head and blood of this philosopher and playwright. But he pleased people everywhere and reflected well their inner feelings. So long as these vain institutions exist in society no absolute and unconditional freedom is possible. These institutions, with the help of a falsified history, snobbery and dishonest politics, through preparatory schools, public schools and universities make citizens think that they are supreme inevitable and of paramount importance. When we read about these lines of Shaw that set human minds on fire everywhere, we should also note that individual freedom of opinion in England at that time was such acute sharp and great that he was not touched. The only other magnificent individual experience of such liberty of not only opinion but action also comes from post- Second World War France of De Gaul where the traffic rules-disobeying Sartre was ordered not to be touched by Surete. When viewed from a distance, those vain institutions Bernard Shaw mention here look really like epithelial corpuscles shed from our body when compared with the ultimate human freedom they imprison and impersonate.

Intellectual slaves of the modern day wish to have an owner and be possessed.

Inside Shaw’s movable writing hut.

Because these great social institutions do not respect real individual freedom and behave always superior to all common citizens at the cost of their internal fury, the inferiors sometimes become bold enough to rise in revolts and upset everything. Some courageous leader who has brain and energy like Napoleon will jump at the chance and become an emperor utilizing the heat of the situation. It has happened inFranceand will happen everywhere else at one time or another. It happened in France not because the people there were autocrat-minded; it was their only way out of intellectual slavery. People everywhere are basically liberty-lovers but the brainwashing by modern social institutions has been such strong and continuous that they have nowadays forgot to revolt. Intellectual slaves in America and Britain will also be willing to vote on ballot papers showing that they are not only revolutionaries but liberty-lovers and democrats also. Occasionally voting becomes a short respite in the long reign of intellectual dependence and submission. Ancient teachers since the time of Aristotle have taught rulers to behave proudly and impress people. In the history of physical comfort we see that people in power won’t sleep in the presence of the public lest their real nature of bestial helplessness and vulnerability would be revealed to the people and all their pride lost. The effect of impressive pride is such strong that modern day slaves find masters indispensable. They wish to have an owner for them. Slaves will not vote for women and women will not vote for women. When voting for women was first introduced in England they utilized it for defeating all women candidates including many who were dedicated to the problems of women. They elected only one woman, no doubt a titled lady of wealth, authority and personality. The slaves have practically no escape from slavishness.

Where there is poverty, we shall not sing about patriotism.

Malvern Theatres where Shaw’s plays were acted.

Human nature is the easiest thing that can be changed. People of England should change their politics through propaganda and education before they get real freedom. Those already schooled in slavery should be de-schooled. Large scale scientific farming and industry will increase national wealth which can also be distributed equally, but too much exploitation of nature through science will backfire. Nature will take her own counter measures in the form of anything, including reverting people’s minds to laziness. Though we can cultivate sky and earth by drawing nitrogen from it to improve the quality of our cattle, grass, milk and eggs, nature may have many tricks up her sleeve to check when we are exploiting her too greedily. This anti-scientific thinker’s comments in this regard are justified. Too much exploitation of nature means too much exploitation of workers which when reach a climax will cause general strikes, thereby dwindling production in their turn. According to Shaw, general strikes are trade unionism gone mad for they halt all production activities. Extravaganza in spending is what deprives production of its usefulness. Shakespeare’s character Eago asked people to put money in their purses and not to take out of it. But people earn the least and spend the most which habit causes poverty. Until poverty is wiped out clean, we shall cease to sing about patriotism because where poverty exists we are not patriots but drones.

What to do with this leisure and riches generated through real freedom?

Shaw’s home at St. Lawrence Herts.

By changing the head and tail of British politics and by freeing it from aristocracy slavery and exploitation, people will begin to get more of leisure and riches. There is a general belief that freedom means more of leisure and more of money to enjoy that leisure which is not true. We have seen the rich and leisurely lose their health and happiness and die gradually. Riches and leisure became poison to them. An idle man’s brain is the Devil’s workshop and Satan will still find mischief for idle hands to do. Thus what to do with the leisure and riches generated through real freedom becomes a riddle which still remains unanswered. Even Bernard Shaw does not dare answer it directly.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Appreciations, British Essayists And Journalists, British Literature, British Writers, English Essays, English Literature, Essays, Freedom, Freedom Of Opinion, Freedom Of Speech, George Bernard Shaw, Liberty Of Speech, P S Remesh Chandran, Political Philosophy, Politics, Re Introductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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The Indispensable Opposition. Walter Lippmann. Appreciation Study

20.

The Indispensable Opposition. Walter Lippmann. Appreciation Study by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 15th May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/js8.djla/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 

A must read for all who love mankind and human speech. An apt admonishment from a long-gone American writer whose great eloquence and excellent arguments in favour of the liberty of speech is once more brought to public attention. His bold opinions are dire predictions which help envision the rise of China as the most oppressive tyrannical rule in the modern world. Going through the article we will wonder whether it is China’s story told 50 years in advance.

Man knows how to speak on one’s back, so freedom of speech exists.

Walter Lippmann. A Portrait.

Walter Lippmann was a famous American writer whose learned lips here speaks to the common man about the principles of freedom of speech in democracies and its suppression in dictatorships. The need for a good, creative and bold opposition in a civilized society is well established. Since the time of man’s formation of his society as clans and tribes, the question of whether all shall have an equal chance for expression of their opinions in the clans or tribes has been a subject for unending debate. Since man knows how to speak on one’s back, expression of opinions has been going on uninterrupted through ages irrespective of the system of rule. Though Lippmann’s ideas on the liberty of speech are too lofty to be compromised and his analysis comprehensive, it should be admitted that his language is not as liquid or lucid as the language of C.E.M. Joad, A.G.Gardiner or Robert Lynd.

Stability of civilization depends on the willingness to consider others’ opinions.

Benjamin Franklin’s Freedom of Thought. A Plaque.

Stability of a civilization depends much on the willingness of people to consider everyone’s opinions. The French philosopher Voltaire once said: “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Opinions of opponents must be tolerated, because freedom of speech is an essential ingredient to civilization. Liberty of opinion is a luxury upon which is based the very life of civilization. But liberty of opinion is safe only in pleasant times and only with men of tolerance, for these magnanimous personalities are not deeply and vitally concerned about opposing opinions.

We pay doctors money for asking us embarrassing questions.

A scene from Charlie Chapline’s The Great Dictator

Freedom of speech as a constitutional right has a strong historic foundation. We want to hear what they have to say, so we must protect the right of our opponents to speak. That is why we pay the opposition salaries out of public money. Opposing opinions would improve our own opinions; thus the liberty of others to speak is our own vital necessity. Free thought should be cultivated among youngsters because such needed is the existence of freedom for the existence of civilization. Most often the opinions of opposition might be embarrassing, but we pay doctors money for asking us embarrassing questions. Even dictators tolerate doctors’ free questions.

Isn’t it the story of suppression in China told 50 years in advance?

The Great Dictator played by Charlie Chaplin.

Speaking and listening is the only way to arrive at truth. In totalitarian states also opinions of the opposition have to be heard to and discussed for arriving at the right decisions. But these rulers depend on secret police and party men who filter into the people’s ranks and send reports. Some autocrats rely on their own intuition and some others permit their officers to speak freely in their presence. All exile, imprison or shoot their opponents. A one-way system is established through which opinions of the rulers are broadcast. The official orators speak and the audience listens but they cannot speak back, exactly like George Orwell predicted in his book 1984. As time goes on, critical discussion totally disappears and the internal opposition is liquidated. Some are exiled, many put in concentration camps and a few terrorized. The despot shuts himself off from truth and finally falls into ruin. Hitler, Mussolini, Heyli Selassi, Napoleon First and Third, all met their destiny this way. In the earlier stages they succeed but in later stages they all fall tragically. In the totalitarian states some still manage to voice their opinions through pamphlets and secret radio. But the creative principle of the freedom of speech is not applicable in totalitarian states and dictatorships.

Permitted to proclaiming wisdom in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Released in 1945 to trace a fugitive.

Things are different in democratic countries. ‘There anyone can stand on his little platform of a soap-box and speak anything as in Kipling’s poem.’ ‘Even in Russia and in Germany a man may still stand in an open field and speak his mind loudly.’ (This was written long before the fall of communism in Russia and Germany through Glasnost and Perestroika and China replacing them in their former positions). The wisest man shall not have to proclaim his wisdom in the middle of the Sahara desert. That would be only a shadow of liberty. The substance of liberty of speech is present only in those places where different opinions resound in the same hall to the same audience. In that sense, freedom of speech may be said to be existing in places like the American Congress, the British Parliament, the Court of Law and the Scientific Conferences. There opinions are not only tolerated but discussed too, which the essence of the freedom of opinion is.

It is not the opinion that is important but the debate that follows.

Tiananmen where Liberty of Speech was murdered.

It is not the opinion that is important but the debate that follows the benefit if which would be that fools would be compelled to listen and learn from the wise man and the wise man too would be compelled to take account of the fool and to instruct him. Radio, movies and newspapers will carry on this process of continued debate. Radio and movie cannot be spoken back to, but newspapers can be. Everything under the Sun can thus be examined and reexamined. As Socrates said, the unexamined life is unfit to be lived by man. Experience tells us that the seed of speech which our fathers planted produces seed only when freedom of opinion becomes the compulsion to speak and debate.

A successful statesman would pray to be left among opponents.

The Cradle of Liberty. Faneuil Hall in Boston.

In whichever angle we look, opposition seems indispensable. It is unavoidable for a good statesman for a good statesman won’t tolerate his mistakes punishing a nation. It is not our friends and supporters but our enemies who study us closely under a microscope and learn about our merits and worth. Living among his enemies and opponents brings out what excellence is there in a man. They show him where the dangers are and where the path of reason and good sense is. Like all sensible human beings, a good statesman learns far more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. They are the rocks against which the sword of his intelligence is sharpened. A successful statesman would pray to be left among opponents.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

American Essayists And Journalists, American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Essays, English Literature, Essays, Freedom Of Opinion, Freedom Of Speech, Liberty Of Speech, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Political Philosophy, Politics, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies, The Indispensable Opposition, Walter Lippmann

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Comments

PSRemeshChandra
16th May 2011 (#)

Does anyone remember, in the picture shown above, released in 1945 to trace a fugitive, who is the fugitive mentioned?

PSRemeshChandra
7th Jun 2011 (#)

It was one of those few pictures created by artists and released by Anti Nasi Forces to trace their fugitive Adolph Hitler.

Steve Kinsman
10th Jun 2011 (#)

Excellent article. Growing up, Walter Lippmann was a hero of mine.

PSRemeshChandra
11th Jun 2011 (#)

Yes Dear Kinsman,
It is a fine article of his and his arguments also are still very much relevant. He was a hero of democratic thoughts, liberty and freedom of thought. I was very late to come across this author and you were indeed very lucky to have inspired by him from your very early years. I read your poem On The Mountain Side and ran then and there to my mountain again because I was so fascinated by the mountain top atmosphere you created and reminded in the poem.

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