Wednesday, July 09, 2003

borrowed-words dept.

I remember rather little of my life and what I do remember is of small consequence. Most of the thoughts I now recall as having been interesting to me owe their significance to the time when they occured. If any do not, they have no doubt been expressed much better by someone else. A writer's biography is in his twists of language. I remember, for instance, that when I was ten or twelve it occured to me that Marx's dictum that "existence conditions consciousness" was true only for as long as it takes consciousness to acquire the art of estrangement; thereafter, consciousness is on its own and can both condition and ignore existence. At that age, this was hardly a discovery--but one hardly worth recording, and surely it had been better stated by others.

-- Joseph Brodsky (extract from "Less Than One: Selected Essays")

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

reflections dept.

What is a justifiable price for knowledge?
I find myself obsessed with this problem. It is my profession -- this trade in knowledge (well, at least euphemistically). At times, it is also the projection of knowledge, when it does not exist (anyone ever tried their hand at marketing?). It is the creation of it, and the dissemination of it. And of course, it is also the constant acquisition of it. A process that is permanent and unceasing, and one that does not allow any rest.
And I often wonder, what cost I and others around me should be willing to pay in this knowledge bazaar.
The currency is, umm, well, very eclectic. More often than, not, it is a barter. One needs give up valuable belongings to earn the right to stay in the trade.
And these can be anything. From the simply obvious -- money and effort, to subtle intangibles like principles, love, faith and sometimes, life.
And I often wonder.
Would I ever step out of this trade, if I were allowed to...To enjoy what I already possess and have accumulated. Would I ever trade ignorance and worldly defeat, for the joy of being oblivious to the trade, where I sell myself out, constantly, every minute?
I don't know.