Monday, May 17, 2021

Sad reality

Hedonism may be an irrepressible human tendency but we have come to an age where nothing pleases us as much as the play of jugglers and the panacea of con-men. Anything that nourishes the body is dare and sought after in our world. Trumpeters and pipers are conferred with national honours. There is praise and adulation for clowns and crooks as well. Hunks and hooligans also manage dense crowds to cheer for their vain heroics. People are there to provide an ever ready audience to cheats and charlatans also and are quite pleased to follow their every gesture and every word. But surprisingly enough, there is great incommodity and idleness in being an intellectual. Acknowledgement is just not there in the luck-line of an intellectual till fate claims his corpse one day. Forget being cast into a deity, the world has nothing except those old rancorous ways of dealing with the intellectual that claimed Socrates and Galileo once upon a time. Criticized, persecuted and relegated to the well of anonymity, the intellectual has hardly ever lived a life of propriety and public appeal. In a steep upward journey he is made to surpass the scaffold first if he ever wishes to be put on the pedestal. An irony personified; a living intellectual can never be a living legend. He has to die before riding the canons of fame. In a paradoxical scheme of things, he will be neglected and intimidated when alive, and once he ceases to be, people remember and glorify him all of a sudden. From Goethe to Adam Smith to Sigmund Freud, intellectuals have always been condemned by their contemporary world and crowned by the people of after-generation. All philosophers, theorists and writers have perhaps survived the apathy of the centuries they were born in, and catapulted to pinnacle of fame once their magnum opuses were eaten away by moths, and their ideas rejected and forgotten. When great people die, we realize how deservingly they had lived, but when they are around with us, we serve them with disdain and disregard. One day we wake up to lament that the scholar whom everyone had detested and misunderstood was so relevant and understandable in reality, as if the death-bed had been the best university he had ever been to. The story of the philosopher who could have fathered a revolution appals us, knowing how uncelebrated he had died and was first read and recognised by the masses in his obituary. One day we find out that the poet whose lines turned priceless all of a sudden, has already succumbed to pangs of penury in his decrepit residence. We are stirred to realize that the intellectual who had all throughout his life battled the charges of heresy, was in fact so erudite and quotable, but alas only after his death. Barring a few exceptions, our discovery of intellectuals is often delayed and their recognition almost always posthumous. Sure somewhere down the line we cannot perhaps afford to point fingers towards an unruly world for all the bad things happening to an intellectual. This misery is partly invited and partly earned. In fact the intellectual thinks and consumes himself for the sake of posterity, without caring for his contemporary world, once ignored and uncared by it. He angers the demi-gods of society by challenging the status quo. By swimming against the current, an intellectual invites peril for himself. He declares allegiance to an era that is advanced and forthcoming, thus unfit to survive in his contemporary world. By defying the mould, he annoys everyone around, and is no wonder elbowed out of the crowd. In a world obsessed with recreation and amusement, he is just too bad at pleasing and entertaining people. He can neither twist his tongue in favour of the falsehood nor can he change stances with the ease of a contortionist. We must realize that an intellectual is totally indifferent to reward and appreciation but recognizing an intellectual is for benefit of the society. The sooner, the better! They are reborn after the death but their physical presence should be a matter of our interest as well. Poets, writers, thinkers and philosophers have always transformed the societies, thwarted regimes and liberated the nations. Let’s celebrate their intellect when they are around us without reaching out to them in the retrospective.