Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest post: In Praise of Nothingness

I understand that to many, philosophical ruminations are the pastime of such hopeless idealists who cannot grapple with the realities of a world fraught with practical matters. Inconsequential as it may appear to them, I cannot help rhapsodizing about philosophical subjects. If nothing else, I can atleast flaunt my vocabulary and assuage my language-complex. So my very first post here is in praise of nothingness, and I praise nothingness by saying absolutely nothing about it.

The length of the post made me shamelessly revise my decision to say nothing. Probably, writing about worlds, ideas, things and people that never were and will never be, can serve as a starting point for praising nothingness; and an ending point too! And may be dilating on the most insignificant of events that corrugate our rosy lives will help in some measure. By the way, if my English doesn't dazzle you, the word for life in French is "vie" and this is not the only word of French that I know. After this tantalizing digression, let me clamber back to the title of this post. Which "ideas" never were and will never be? The problem with answering this question is that the very act of responding will negate what I actually want to convey. What quandary! An easy way out: whatever ideas never were and will never be, my praise to thee.

"People" can be handled with less strain on the mind. My sister never was and will never be, my love to thee. My brother-in-law will never be, by the grace of God, and had he been, he would have been one lucky dude! My maternal uncle never was; an interesting relationship it would have been. There are some other fascinating possibilities that I better not dwell on lest I be charged with insensitivity. Just to give one example, my second wife never was and will...

"Things" and "worlds", I believe, are risky categories in terms of the future, but let me attempt a scenario. A world where all the knowledge and experience residing in one person's mind could be transferred to another person's mind, such a world never was and had it been, countless Motzarts and Bismillah Khans could be produced. And what about the novelty value, you may ask. Good question; go find the answer.

Coming to the insignificant events in our lives, the other day, I kept staring at the list of telephone extension numbers tacked to a board in my office. It was an updated version and I wanted to confirm if my designation was changed to reflect my superior status. It wasn't! A mild disappointment was soon drowned out by a fusillade of thoughts on matters I was supposed to attend to, but was postponing unjustifiably. Should I first pray or eat was a conundrum that occupied my mind for a short while. There is much more that is more significantly insignificant than what has been written. But I spare thee!

Copyright (c) 2008 Razi Allah Lone

9 comments:

Id it is said...

What an engaging write about 'nothing'! To imagine writers have spent lifetimes trying to figure out content and ignored something as obvious and inane as 'nothing'. I compliment you on your semantics that kept me on guard while intriguing me at the same time.

There's every likelihood you've read this one, but here's a piece of non-fiction that will definitely interest you:
http://iditis.blogspot.com/2006/12/harry-frankfurts-on-bullshit.html

Razi Allah said...

Thanks for the appreciation! I haven't read the book you have referred to but it definitely seems interesting. Any engaging piece of fiction you have read recently?

Id it is said...

Ive read a couple that were gripping:
Wide Sargasso Sea and The Reluctant Fundamentalist; I also enjoyed Tolstoy Lied (though it's often categorized as chic-lit)

Saadia said...

I'm not much of a reader, but since Razi had his hands on The Reluctant Fundamentalist last year, I recall sifting through some pages. I wasn't impressed with the conversations Hamid's characters were having. Too formal for consumption. I thought they needed a reality check. How did you find the book?

Rabeea said...

LOL, I have absolutely NO intellectual comments/observations to offer but Razi bhai reading your post transported me four years back to LUMS, Autumn Quarter 2004-05, A-12, Ghazala Irfan's 'Intro to Philosophy' :P..hehe! And two things which cracked me up were your not-so-subtle bragging about your French ;) and your subtle teaser to Saadia about the second wife that never was and will be ;)..heh!

Razi Allah said...

Rabeea, you were so kind to complete an unfinished line in my post. She will definitely be ;) Merci beaucoup! Why be subtle when there is no chance of a backlash and why not be subtle when there is ;) I have heard good things about Ghazal Irfan's ability as a teacher though never had a chance of direct interaction. Her father was a great patron of classical music and after him, she has taken charge of organizing the annual music conference.

Saadia said...

And now he's bragging about his classical music quotient level. There's no end to it, is there!

And rest assured, the 'backlash' will ensue 'backhome'.

Gurz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gurz said...

A seriously humorous way to sharing ideas! :)
But unusual as it may sound, the virtues of nothingness cannot be ignored. Consider it, for instance in terms of having nothing 'evil' in your heart and mind about the other people, only having enough to meet the necessities and yet saying 'nothing' about it as a complaint to Allah...So nothingness can actually lead one to being a better human altogether( as long as we don't start extending it to all spheres of life :P

An interesting piece of writing!