Heart of light…

Chandrabhushan Varde

Looking into the heart of light, the silence. (Eliot. Wasteland)

Greene’s characters are what Fredrick Karl calls, the ‘demonical heroes’, who by turning all accepted values upside down have come to understand God through the knowledge of the devil.  Literary characters are a source of serious, humorous pursuits of satire and parody – find your own place in Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Characters created by Saul Bellow are a superb gallery of self-doubting, funny, charming, disillusioned, neurotic, and intelligent observers of the modern American way of life that seem to warn against impending doom. Title phrase of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ ironically parody an irony – an excited Miranda welcoming possibilities of human form after being brought up in company of servants and slaves.

Greene’s Pinkie in ‘Brighton Rock’ arrived at his conceptions and convictions about life through contact with the darker side of life — sin, shame, misery and squalor, as was the case with Greene himself who learnt more about the dark and the evil, the primitive and hellish, in his formative years, than the sunnier side of things.

It is fascinating how creative writers can foresee future. Ordinarily, it is the job of scientists to innovate and bring about a change. In their linear way, scientists in different disciplines go on working in their labs as their discoveries are lapped up by industry for mass application. None of them can predict how any particular invention will affect human life in totality. Business and industry leaders working alongside politicians claim uplift, betterment and general prosperity. At regular intervals the failure of their proclamations establishes that they are more wishful thinkers than seers.

Writers like Brecht, Huxley, Eliot, Steinbeck, Camus, Orwell to name a few, record nuances of human interaction that are broad, routine actions of mainstream today. A student of literature can trace accurately how the change in sensibilities at individual and community has been prophesied by these prophets in their writings. Brechtian ennui born out of alienation gradually changes to Kafkaesque uncertainty leading to Camus’ apathy and nihilism. Eliot’s observation that communication is dead proves itself out in present age of communication. Orwellian ‘Big Brother’ is an uninteresting feature of multi-layered reality today. 

Observer’s presence brings about a change in phenomena; experimenters and theorists from Heisenberg to Schrödinger agree on the uncertainty of a perfect observation. Who can say that an acknowledgement made by a perceptive imaginative author did not cause a lasting twist in human thought and behavior? On other hand, how many readers of a given text, would be impressionable, alert enough to first, imbibe and second, impress on others an irreversible behavioral change? Can it be that the few faithful readers happen to be strong leaders and impress in turn strong personalities, so that few years down the line, the unfounded imaginings of an author become real? It would be far easier to consider that multiple factors affecting human thought and conditions cause imperceptible  changes and some persons are capable enough to feel and record them. Their imagination is often a rational extension of such an observation. This well may be the reason that such writings find little acceptance, create controversies and along with their creator are shunned by general public for adequate number of decades before true evaluation is made.

What, if in future such perceptive observations, like other information, get devoured by a info-hungry society and munched to oblivion? Would there really be no truth, direction, suggestion – only silence?

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