Friday, May 11, 2007

Inside a Great Mind - Ideas and Opinions

My sister’s limited culinary skill is responsible for this post. The decision to give cookery books to my newly married sister as a birthday gift got me buying this beautiful collection of writings by one of the finest minds, our world has ever produced. Smart retail strategy (Point of Payment) also had a role to play…the bookshop had kept it at the payment counter, so while paying for the gift, my eyes spotted this collection and I quickly asked it to be added to my bill.
It’s a book called ‘Ideas and Opinions’ and the mind responsible for it is Albert Einstein. The red and black colored book (with a very hazy and bad photograph of the man) contains this great intellectual’s views on subjects as diverse as atomic war, religion, human rights and philosophy of life. Many words have been written on the man, so I shall stay away from it. Instead, I shall put forth some of the words from him (which in a way will reflect a lot on his personality)
Consider this one from an essay called, ‘The World As I See It’ published in 1931. Says a lot on the man’s humanity, curiosity and simplicity.

"To inquire after the meaning or object of one’s own existence or that of all creatures has always seemed to me absurd from an objective point of view. And yet everybody has certain ideals, which determine the direction of his endevours and his judgments. In this sense I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves – this ethical basis I call the ideal of pigsty. The ideals, which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endevours, life would have seemed to me empty. The trite objects of human efforts – possessions, outward success, luxury – have always seemed to me contemptible."

Amongst the three ideals mentioned, I was missing Knowledge as the fourth.

And take this small one called ‘On Wealth’ from the year 1934.

"I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in theis cause. The examples of great and pure individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse.
Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?"

With many more thoughts like these, including a section completely dedicated to ‘Contributions to Science’ makes this one a must buy…if only to sometimes disagree with the great mind’s personal philosophies. Its published by Rupa & Co and priced at a sweet 295/-.

Last Weekend:
It was full of some enjoyable activities in the still-charming city of Pune. Let me illustrate them sequentially:
- A good evening of making music and movie-talk (found a good movie pal) along with good ol’ Chivas
- Authentic Maharashtrian Thali at an authentic Maharashtrian joint called ‘Atithi’ on the next day
- Afternoon swim in the pool with the aide of two friends…one holding my hands and the other holding my waist. Considering that I know nothing about swimming, it was quiet an achievement.
- Relaxing steam bath which cleared my permanently blocked sinusitis nose (if only for a while)
These were the planned activities. Next came the surprise ones:
- A fine chicken dish called C-14 along with a beautiful Bordeaux wine at an exotic Italian joint aptly called La Dolce Vita
- It ended with a lot of phone calls to one number and later, a midnight drive back to Mumbai with Rolling Stones playing inside the lovely Ford Fusion.

Lets see what the coming weekend has in store for me…something says that I shall be working.


Hemisha said...

good good jolly good!!
Me gaining knowledge of things I didnt even know exsisted.
thus squeeks the happy mouse

meraj said...

am glad that you are ms 'happy' mouse :)

theoldgentleman said...

It was great fun, even though my involvement was for a few of those hours :)
Keep coming to Pune...

What should i say? Cheers!

bhaskar said...

very nice ! between dylan and einstein within the same blog , it covers everything good on this planet ! the blog's getting better and better ....keep it up!

meraj said...

many thanks for the heartfelt appreciation, bublu!