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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

25 November, 2004

Laughter and Art

The following passage from a book titled “Immortality”, written by a Czech author I admire greatly - Milan Kundera - gave me some pause and I have been thinking an analyzing this for days until an engaging discussion on the difficulties of writing when ecstatic appeared on Ryze.

“A face is beautiful because it reveals the presence of thought, whereas at the moment of laughter man does not think. But is that really true? Is not laughter a lightning thought that has just grasped the comical? No, in the instant that he grasps the comical, man does not laugh; laughter follows afterward as a physical reaction, as a convulsion, no longer containing any thought. Laughter is a convulsion of the face, and a convulsed person does not rule himself, he is ruled by something that is neither will nor reason. And that is why the classical sculptor did not express laughter. A human being who does not rule himself (a human being beyond reason, beyond will) cannot be considered beautiful.”

Could this be true? Is this the reason we cannot create beautiful magic with words, with colors, with clay or stone in those cyclical periods of ecstatic joy, or in those fleeting moments where we are probably so “convulsed with laughter” that all rational thought has left us?

Our muse deserts us and forces us to choose between joyful creative impotency and melancholic fecundity!


Blogger SPECKLED_BAND said...

That was a laugh, the last line - how very and often true!

26 November, 2004 00:01  
Blogger Anil said...

Eaxactly...I agree with the previous comment. That is so true!

26 November, 2004 15:03  
Blogger raindanseuse said...

You seemed to have grasped the essence of laughter quite well, Pragya: a convulsion! The thought of it tickles me to the extent that I have to stiffle a laugh. But perhaps, that's it - that nothingness in the mind - that doesn't leave any room for creative thought. A great idea!

26 November, 2004 16:07  
Blogger zigzackly said...

This is more about the discussion on the board that you refer to.
i remember reading some time ago, that poetry is about extremes of emotion.
i know i only write poems when i'm low. i think that when we're happy, we're just too busy enjoying it, enjoying life, to go sit in a corner by ourselves and write.
And on a tangent, Manisha quoted something to me at the last read meet. (Manisha, i'm mangling this, i'm sure, so please correct.) "When you're in love, you don't search for God."

28 November, 2004 04:48  
Blogger Geetanjali said...

I love the way laughter has been described (but then few can beat Kundera at his art - he sure knows how to spin the words and form a delicate glossamer fine web of words!)...but I wonder if it's true that we can't express ourselves as well when we are caught up in happiness...I find no difference in the way I write when I'm happy or when I'm not...sure the themes and choice of words differ, but not the quality of writing...perhaps as Zigzackly said, the difference lies in the fact that we are rarely alone when happy...and so don't geta round to penning down our thoughts and emotions. Rather sad though - the world could do with more "happy" writing! :-)

28 November, 2004 12:39  

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