On who controls who

PUNCH AND JUDY, TO THEIR AUDIENCE

Our puppet strings are hard to see,
So we perceive ourselves as free,
Convinced that no mere objects could
Behave in terms of bad and good.

To you, we mannikins seem less
than live, because our consciousness
is that of dummies, made to sit
on laps of gods and mouth their wit;

Are you, our transcendental gods,
likewise dangled from your rods,
and need, to show spontaneous charm,
some higher god’s inserted arm?

We seem to form a nested set,
with each the next one’s marionette,
who, if you asked him, would insist
that he’s the last ventriloquist.

-Theaodore Melnechuk

Public decency and morality

This is what Supreme Court of India had to say when petition was filed to lift a ban in 1964 on Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence:

It is convenient to set out s. 292 of the Indian Penal Code at this stage:

“292. Sale of obscene books etc. : Whoever- (a) sells, lets to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition or circulation, makes, produces or has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or figure or any other obscene object whatsoever, or

(b) imports, exports or conveys any obscene object for any of the purposes aforesaid, or knowing or having reason to believe that such object will be sold, let to hire, distributed or publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation, or

(c) takes part in or receives profits from any business in the course of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such obscene objects are, for any of the purposes aforesaid, made, produced, purchased, kept, imported, exported, conveyed, publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation, or

(d) advertises or makes known by any means whatsoever that any person is engaged or is ready to engage in any act which is an offence under this section, or that any such obscene object can be procured from or through any person, or

(e) offers or attempts to do any act which is an offence -under this section,

19(1) All citizens shall have the right-

(a) to freedom of speech and expression; (2) Nothing -in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of public order, decency or morality”

No doubt this article guarantees complete freedom of speech and expression but it also makes an exception in favour of existing laws which impose restrictions on the exercise of the right in the interests of public decency or morality.

Condemnation of obscenity depends as much upon the mores of the people as upon the individual. It is always a question of degree or as the lawyers are accustomed to say, of where the line is to be drawn. It is, however, clear that obscenity by itself has extremely “poor value in the-propagation of ideas, opinions and informations of public interest or profit.” When there is propagation of ideas, opinions and informations of public interest or profit, the approach to the problem may become different because then the interest of society may tilt the scales in favour of free speech and expression. It is thus that books on medical science with intimate illustrations and photographs, though in a sense immodest, are not considered to be obscene but the same illustrations and photographs collected in book form without the medical text would certainly be considered to be obscene.

“I think the test of obscenity is this, whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deperave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall. . . . . it is quite certain that it would suggest to the minds of the young of either sex, or even to persons of more advanced years, thoughts of a most impure and libidinous character.”

He wants us to say that a book is not necessarily obscene because there is a word here or a word there, or a passage here and a passage there which may be offensive to particularly sensitive persons. He says that the overall effect of the book should be the test and secondly, that the book should only be condemned if it has no redeeming merit at all, for then it is “dirt for dirt’s sake”, or as Mr. Justice Frankfurter put it in his inimitable way “dirt for money’s sake.

We need not attempt to bowdlerize all literature and thus rob speech and expression of freedom. A balance should be maintained between freedom of speech and expression and public decency and morality but when the latter is substantially transgressed the former must give way.

The taboo on sex in art and literature which was more strict thirty-five years ago, seemed to him to corrode domestic and social life and his definite view was that a candid discussion of sex through art was the only catharsis for purifying and relieving the congested emotion is.

“The law seeks to protect not those who protect themselves, but those whose prurient minds take delight and sexual pleasures from erotic writings.”

via | Ranjit D. Udeshi vs State Of Maharashtra on 19 August, 1964

The word “obscene” in the section is not limited to writings, pictures etc. intended to arouse sexual desire. At the same time the mere treating with sex and nudity in art and literature is not per se evidence of obscenity.

Exception. – This section does not extend to any book, pamphlet, writing, drawing or painting kept or used bona fide for religious purposes or any representation sculptured, engraved, painted or otherwise represented on or in any temple, or on any car used for the conveyance of idols, or kept or used for any religious purpose.”

This was I think long back, but the views have not changed ever since the. The idea that somethings are bad for everyone is something which all cultures adhere to, and it is very hard for people, especially people in power to let this notion go. This is another way of controlling people. This is what is common to fundamentalism and democracy. The notion that our past was a golden one, and anything new will harm it and jeopardize the future of the culture. From what I feel is that there was no golden past, it just was.

And thinking about morality, though they say that there are some universal principles, everyone does not subscribe to same ones. In his theory Kohlberg, outlines these differences. But that said, he does not talk about obscenity, which I think it is highly cultural. For example a burqa clad woman is a common picture in certain Islamic communities, or a woman with ghunghat is all but common in certain Hindu communities, but at the same time some people might be find it too restrictive. And a woman in short skirt might be a common scene in the urban areas in certain countries, but it might be a great taboo for some others. There are no universal standards for what counts as moral or decent.

 

 

A self referential post for others

This post is for those who are reading this :Post!
When you read this post, you will know it is meant for you!

You can fool all people for some time.

You can fool some people for all the time.

But, you cannot fool all the people for all the time.

Hope that the message reaches those for whom it is meant!

That is for those people who are reading this post!!

You anyway are wasting your time by reading this sort of trash written by me!!!

A Woman’s Snare…

They chatter with one man,
Look at another with amorous gestures;
And in their minds think of yet another,
Who then is loved by a woman?

From: Bhartrihari [7th Century]

When you read these lines, the immediate thing that you want to do is to find a woman in your memory lanes that fits the above bill. One will perhaps find not one, but many. But, perhaps this also applies to men, in fact I think they are more likely to do so, if you accept the explanations from evolutionary psychology and comparative psychology.

In evolutionary psychology they say that the males want to produce as many offspring as possible. So they try to mate with as many females as possible, many times the quality does not matter, only quantity does. This is so because the males do not have to invest [sic] a lot in mating. The analogy that is often given to the sperm production in males is to spam mails that hit your mailbox daily. Even if one in 10 million makes it, your job is done. But for the females the bodily investment is much larger. So females they say prefer quality over quantity. After the copulation it is the female who has to bear the child, and the responsibility of male becomes minimal. Imagine if a human male copulated daily with a fertile female, which I guess one can, how many children can he produce in a life time? Perhaps in thousands. Similarly if we think of human females producing children when they can, that is taking into consideration their biology; perhaps one child in a year, considering all other factors, the total number will be max at 2 dozen or so. So it is the males who would are more likely to be mating more than women to produce children and that too with many different ones, if they have the capabilities.

This particular observation is not general, and of course does not apply to all species. There are species of sea-horse in which the males rear the young ones, in almost all birds the rearing of offspring is the joint responsibility of the couple. In animals who have social structures, as in case of humans and monkeys, the young ones are raised socially.

But we being humans, do not copulate just for procreation, we do also copulate for recreation [of ourselves that is]. They say that dolphins and chimps are the only other creatures which do so, no wonder they are called intelligent. All other animals copulate when their natural cycle tells them to. So in this light of recreational copulation the above verses acquire a different meaning. There are women and men who copulate and want to copulate for recreation, it is perhaps their nature to do so, but perhaps they are bound too strongly by the social sanctions that surround them.

The next question to ask is that is it right for them to do so?

Well, the answer depends on what one thinks of such social norms. Are they to be followed in to to, or they have an interpretation dependent logic.

The answer is something that I do not know…

PS: Perhaps the essay might sound silly, it is; I have to expand on certain sections.

The Dialogue

Purity

Oh I am so pure. Don’t touch me!

Why?

Because you will pollute me.

Who, me?

Yes, you.

But, how can I?

You will, somehow.

Is that so?

Yes.

Okay, then go away.

No, I don’t want to.

Why?

Because I like it here.

But then you will get polluted.

No, I won’t.

Are you sure?

Yes I am.

But what if I touch you? Won’t you get polluted?

I don’t know.

What you don’t know?

I don’t know why I want to stay here. Would you tell me?

I have already told you.

You did not tell me.

Yes I did.

But when?

So many times, but you did not understand.

I did not understand?

Yes you did not.

How can that be? I am a good person at keeping and understanding relationships, how can you say I did not understand when you told me?

Because you did not understand.

Do not make things more complicated for me.

Am I making things complicated?

Yes you are.

I think it is the other way round.

Means?

I think you are making things complicated for everybody.

No I am not.

Yes you are.

But I just want to stay.

And not be touched?

Yes.

That is something you don’t understand.

Means.

It is as simple as this.

As simple as what?

As simple as, you cannot have the cake and eat it too.

Oh yes I can have and eat it too!

This is what you don’t understand.

Oh yes I do, how will I not have the cake and eat it too? That is not an Escheresque impossibility.

Oh yes it is! And this is the precise thing that you are not understand.

But I am not mathematically minded.

You do not have to be mathematically minded to understand this.

So, if I was mathematically minded would I have understood?

Even if you were, I am doubtful whether you would be able to understand. I know of mathematicians who fail to understand this.

So is there no way for me?

Yes there is.

What is it?

Please go away.

But why should I?

Because you don’t belong here, this is my place.

Friends

But cannot I have shelter here? I am all alone and lonely?

Are you really?

Yes I think so.

I don’t think so.

Why?

When you need to talk, you always find people to talk to.

No I don’t. I don’t have any friends left anymore.

Why?

All of them abandoned me.

Why?

I don’t know the reasons. I had been so nice to all of them.

Were you really?

Yes I was?

Then why did they broke up with you?

They tried to wake me up from my dreamworld. A world where all the things that I do were perfect.

But did they do anything wrong then?

Yes they did.

If they tried to wake you from dream world, what wrong they did?

Yes, they did. Trying to wake me up from my dreamworld, was the precisely wrong thing they did.

But how can that be wrong?

Why not, I want to live in a dreamworld, I am so happy there, why wake me up?

But what happens when dream clashes with the real world. They would be shattered, won’t they? You should see Requiem for a Dream, then maybe you will understand.

I am not thinking about that.

That is what your friends tried to tell you.

I don’t think so.

They tried to rob me from what little happiness that I had, and still I have in my dream world.

I think they were concerned about you and your future.

They were not. They were just not happy, because I was happy.

How can you say that?

I just know.

Know what?

That people cannot stand it, when I am happy.

But happy for what?

Happy for anything.

Even living in dream world and making castles in the air?

But I was not making castles in the air?

But your friends thought so?

Did they?

Yes and a lot many of them.

But they wanted to take my dream away from me.

So?

That is not right, everybody has right to their own dream.

Yes they do.

Then why were they after me to abandon my dream.

Because they thought it was not good for you.

But I would like keep my dream, they won’t let me keep it.

At what cost?

At any cost!

Then you have paid the cost.

How?

By abandoning your friends, instead of abandoning your dream.

Is that so?

Yes precisely.

But I thought they left me, not the other way round.

No, it is not so.

Why?

How can be so many people be wrong about your dream?

They are jealous!

Jealous? For what?

For me being happy.

But if they were friends of yours, how can be they jealous of your happiness?

They were not friends to begin with.

Then?

They were just compromises I had made.

Is that so?

Yes.

But then so am I, just a compromise.

I don’t know.

Tell me one thing what is so special about this dream, that you abandoned all your friends for that.

It is an imported dream.

So?

What so? Tell me how many imported dreams you get, a very few indeed.

Ok. Any other specialty of this dream?

Yes.

Tell me about it.

This dream is blind.

What do you mean?

Yes, the dream cannot see people, as it is blind as bat, especially during day time.

And yet you want to hold on to it?

Yes because it is my dream, and it cannot hurt me in any way.

Since you have made [and will eventually make] so many sacrifices for your dream, I think it must be worth those sacrifices you have made.

I don’t know.

What do you mean?

I am not so sure whether the dream will be worth the sacrifices I have made.

They why did you make them?

Well this is my life, and I don’t need you ir anybody to tell me what to do with it.

But you only had asked about it?

Did I?

Yes you did?

Well don’t tell me then, what to do with my life and my dream. They are mine and I won’t tolerate any interference with it.

Even if it ruins you?

Yes. And what do you care? As I have already told you, it is my life. So stay away from it!

But that is what I am precisely asking you to do.

Meta-Thinking

What do you mean? I do not understand?

To stay away from me.

I cannot.

You cannot.

Why?

Because you do not capacity or the ability to think about what other person is thinking.

How can you say that?

Why not?

I am above the age of formal operational stage of Piaget.

But you still cannot do meta-thinking.

I don’t think so.

How?

I know all your motives and what you want from me. I know all of your kind, and what they want from my kind.

Is that so?

Yes.

Then tell me what do I want from you?

You and all your kind are all the same.

Ok. Agreed. And I am proud of it.

How can you say that?

Why, is it not my life? Can’t I do anything with it, the way I want.

Not when I am involved.

Is it not hypocritical of you, to say this?

No it is not.

Why?

Because I am special, everybody should take care of me.

What makes you special?

My charms!

I am not charmed any more.

It is not possible!

Why?

You cannot…..

I cannot what? It is my life and my place, I can, and I do.

So?

So just stay away.

But I have told you, I don’t want to stay away.

Then abandon your dream, but still then I am not sure of allowing you to .

Don’t tell me what to do with my life.

Ok.

Why are you treating me so?

You should better know. You have the ability to meta-think don’t you?

Ok. So give me reasons.

I have no reasons.

What do you mean you have no reasons?

I have no reasons for my behavior, and even if I have, I am not obliged to share it with you.

Why?

Because there are no reasons, only choices.

Only choices?

Yes.

I don’t understand this.

You made some choices, you did not ask anybody and did not listened to anybody.

So?

So likewise why do you want to interfere with choices that I make?

Because it involves me!

The choices you made involved me.

So what, I have already told you, don’t interfere with my life.

Then I am sorry, you must leave. This is my dream.

Why?

Every place has its rules, if you don’t follow them you don’t belong there.

But I don’t care about rules.

But others do.

So?

Thats why you must leave.

I don’t understand you or your logic.

Is that my problem?

Yes it is, should it be not?

No.

Why?

I have stopped taking responsibilities which are not mine?

Why?

I don’t benefit from them.

But still you should.

Why?

For me.

No way.

Why?

You are not worth it.

You don’t mean it.

Yes I do.

All of you are torturing me.

Are we?

Yes you are.

You are torturing yourself and others also.

How?

You have the ability to meta-think, don’t you? Think about it.

I can’t.

So be it.

Relationships

But we do have a relationship.

You are wrong.

Why?

We had one, we don’t have one anymore.

You can’t do this to me.

Why?

How can you?

How can I what?

Abandon me.

Why should not I?

It is not proper.

Not proper for whom.

For both of us.

Don’t drag me with you.

But what happened to the relationship we had?

It was a one sided one.

What do you mean?

It was all your side of the relationship.

Means?

Only you benefited from this and still are.

How can you say so?

Look at the past and see what have I gained from this.

I don’t know. But why do you need to gain?

Why should I not gain?

You are a good person. Why do you want to gain something from this?

Why I should not?

Then you are exploiting me.

Nobody exploits anybody.

You wanted something from me, but did not give anything in return.

Why should I?

If you don’t are you not selfish?

No, I am not.

You just want to take, what you want, not give anything in return.

Why do you expect any return from me?

Is it no right?

No, when I am involved it is not right.

This is what your problem is.

What??

You are unable to think what others expect from you.

And?

And when sometimes you know, even then you tend to ignore it.

I don’t agree to that.

I had told you already, that you don’t understand.

Enough!

What do you want from me?

Friendship

I want your friendship.

But it cannot be one-sided.

How can you say that it is one-sided?

Well in this case I can give you reasons.

What reasons?

See in any friendship there should be some respect for each other.

Are you saying that I don’t respect you?

Yes, and not only me, but lot of others also.

How?

When you are with someone, somewhere, you are not bothered about them, even if they are your friends.

How can you say that?

When you are with somebody, you just don’t care about them.

What do you mean?

When your dream comes calling, you just ignore who is with you.

No, I don’t.

What does it mean if you leave people stranded in middle of nowhere, when you are happily day-dreaming somewhere else.

I haven’t done this.

Yes you have, and that too many a time.

Who says so?

If it was just me, I would have considered it an exception, but I am not the only one who has suffered.

You consider your ignoring of me an insult.

Yes, I do.

Bullshit!

I told you, you don’t have meta-thinking.

Okay. This is one where else I do not fit in.

Well you never seem to have time for us.

Yes, I am very busy person, so many things to do.

So is that my fault?

No.

Have I ever said to you, that I don’t have time, when you have asked for some.

I don’t know.

And how many times have you said that you don’t have time, when I wanted some of yours.

I have already told you, I am a busy person, so many things to do.

So am I, but still I do find time when friends call upon me.

So do you mean I am lying.

No.

Then?

What I mean is, if you want, you can always find time.

But I cannot.

Who are you fooling now?

What do you mean?

Don’t you always find time for somethings or someones.

You are again interfering with my life.

So be it, but it bothers me a lot.

How does this bother you?

For me when somebody says, I don’t have time, I feel the person does not want to be with me.

Another one of your crappy things.

Yes, but I am like that.

So what do I do?

I have told you already.

What?

Go away.

But we can talk.

No.

Why?

I don’t want to.

Why?

You have given me enough pain already.

So have you.

Yours were self made.

No you gave them to me.

You could have avoided them easily.

How?

Maybe you should have avoided me.

But that is what I don’t want.

You are not sure what you want and what you don’t.

How can you say that?

You like me and you hate yourself for that, don’t you?

How can you say that?

I can meta-think at least a bit.

Bullshit, these are your self-gratifying thoughts.

So be it, and here the dialogue ends as there is nothing more left to talk about….

adios…….