Friday, November 17, 2006

The great gig (in the sky)

One of the reasons I started this blog on a whim was to provide a window to Finland, especially to those who have tacitly suggested that I have been reporting about largely trivial matters on orkut or otherwise. Yes, I can feel the vibes. So, in keeping with tradition, I will dutifully brush aside those vibes and NOT post anything about Scandinavian myths today. If the title of the post misled any (hypothetical, for I am not yet widely read) reader to believe that I chanced upon a dazzling streak of the Aurora Borealis during some overrated H.I.M. concert, then, well, it is a misleading title.

Just to quell all expectations of a concert review right away, I am not posting about the great Maiden gigs which took place on the 14th and 15th, back to back at the Hartwell Arena, Helsinki either. Hell no, fuck that! I am not your nitwit Eastender like Nicko McBrain! McBrain it seems! I half heartedly tried all avenues to get passes or tickets to a sold out gig without avail. But I digress.

And now for something, completely different. Before systems can be broken down to their constituents, buildings demolished, knowledge unlearned or for that matter zaniness deconstructed, they have to be evoked and sustained and spun, thus pervading the far reaches of their respective hyperspaces. What I mean by that for example, is that the wind cannot whisk away an air castle unless the air castle is conjured up in the first place. Hence, this post is about the nature of zaniness itself. I will aim to deconstruct it another time. ``Build, demolish, build'', says the Holy Trinity, ``with eternal recurrence''. ``Demolish, build, demolish''.

Just as a horse has to be led to the waterhole: for it is better than defining water to a horse with a chalk, a blackboard, lone pairs and pi-bonds, so let me try to define zaniness by evoking it. Zaniness (a noun form of zany) is a peculiar type of madness, other-worldliness or fringe-rationality personified by those rare geniuses capable of genuine wit and empathy, whose refinement shines through their childlike earthiness, who simultaneously exhibit a lust and apathy for life. They are those who have downed one too many from the shot-glass of reason, been drunk with it, immortalized in their own right by that transitory high, slept on the pavements of the real (rational?) world, experienced a nauseating hangover and subsequently puked it out of their system. With the fire of reason thus doused, what they are left with is their instincts and their guts (both visceral organs and balls (which are also visceral organs in a socially (un?)sanitized sense. Go figure!)). This purity of living by instinct sooner or later distills into a sweet irrationality, a stream-of-consciousness that knows not and judges not. According to me, this irrationality is in some sense elevated above logical reasoning and Descartes' school of 'thought'. For completeness, I must make some pop culture references. I refer to the likes of Yossarian, Salvador Dali, Monty Python, that protagonist from Notes from Underground (just kidding about this chap, he is a drama queen) and on occassions, an ambivalent loony by name Arjun (bracket inside (or outside) bracket) Krishnan (an inside reference).

However, zaniness is not only about zany people, who's personalities borrow from the adjective just as much as the adjective borrows from their personalities. It can also describe quite well, a time sequence of the subconscious. Dream-like sequences, oft rejected flashes of insight, or zany writings (unlike this piece) or drawings are instances when this element of subconsciousness breaks free to the fore. There are two universal types of irrationalities (independent of culture and other biases) and to use a simple parallel, they could be best described as childlike and childish. To use a bad metaphor however, anybody who has worked with stereograms will recognize that there are the spaced-out and the cross-eyed methods of viewing it, and that the figure leaps out from the ground in the former case, while it sinks below in the latter. If the ground represents a ground state rationality and the figure, a type of irrationality, then you have a neat visual metaphor for the two types of irrationality. (I suggest you view this one spaced-out, it will leap out at you!).

I hope it is apparent to some that I have woven a tight web (with many loose ends) of interleaved contradictions, emergent self parody and meta-emergent insight. There are a number of word tricks too, if you have an eye for detail. For those saner among my honoured readers, with a lower ZQ (Zaniness Quotient), well, I am not in Rome Doug, I am in rush!

Footnote: The great gig in the sky is the brightest side of The Dark Side of the Moon, which got me started on this piece.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Conver(sa)(tia)tions with myself

The impulse to write has been building up inside for long enough. It has finally gathered ballast, passed a critical threshold - enough so that I have succumbed to the weakness of creating a blog for myself! Soon, the posts are going to rain down, not like the fat, assertive globules of a tropical monsoon, nor like the blinding flakes of a treacherous snowstorm in northern Siberia, but rather like the finer spindles of snowfall at zero degrees, uncertain whether to sting or tittilate, to fall wet or dry to the passive earth. When in Rome, Frankie, my son!