Why Law Is Indispensable.

The truth is, laws, religions, creeds, and systems of ethics, instead of making society better than its best unit, make it worse than its average unit, because they are never up to date. You will ask me: "Why have them at all?" I will tell you. They are made necessary, though we all secretly detest them, by the fact that the number of people who can think out a line of conduct for themselves even on one point is very small, and the number who can afford the time for it still smaller. Nobody can afford the time to do it on all points. The professional thinker may on occasion make his own morality and philosophy as the cobbler may make his own boots; but the ordinary man of business must buy at the shop, so to speak, and put up with what he finds on sale there, whether it exactly suits him or not, because he can neither make a morality for himself or do without one. This typewriter with which I am writing is the best I can get; but it is by no means a perfect instrument; and I have not the smallest doubt that in fifty years time authors will wonder how men could have put up with so clumsy a contrivance. When a better one is invented I shall buy it: until then, not being myself an inventor, I must make the best of it, just as my Protestant and Roman Catholic and Agnostic friends make the best of their imperfect creeds and systems. Oh, Father Tucker, worshipper of Liberty, where shall we find a land where the thinking and moralizing can be done without division of labor?

Besides, what have deep thinking and moralizing to do with the most necessary and least questionable side of law? Just consider how much we need law in matters which have absolutely no moral bearing at all. Is there anything more aggravating than to be told, when you are socially promoted, and are not quite sure how to behave yourself in the circles you enter for the first time, that good manners are merely a matter of good sense, and that rank is but the guinea's stamp: the man's the gowd for a' that? Imagine taking the field with an army which knew nothing except that the soldier's duty is to defend his country bravely, and think, not of his own safety, nor of home and beauty, but of England! Or of leaving the traffic of Piccadilly or Broadway to proceed on the understanding that every driver should keep to that side of the road which seemed to him to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number! Or of stage-managing Hamlet by assuring the Ghost that whether he entered from the right or the left could make no difference to the greatness of Shakespear's play, and that all he need concern himself about was holding the mirror up to nature! Law is never so necessary as when it has no ethical significance whatever, and is pure law for the sake of law. The law that compels me to keep to the left when driving along Oxford Street is ethically senseless, as is shewn by the fact that keeping to the right answers equally well in Paris; and it certainly destroys my freedom to choose my side; but by enabling me to count on everyone else keeping to the left also, thus making traffic possible and safe, it enlarges my life and sets my mind free for nobler issues. Most laws, in short, are not the expression of the ethical verdicts of the community, but pure etiquet and nothing else. What they do express is the fact that over most of the field of social life there are wide limits within which it does not matter what people do, though it matters enormously whether under given circumstances you can depend on their all doing the same thing. The wasp, who can be depended on absolutely to sting you if you squeeze him, is less of a nuisance than the man who tries to do business with you not according to the customs of business, but according to the Sermon on the Mount, or than the lady who dines with you and refuses, on republican and dietetic principles, to allow precedence to a duchess or to partake of food which contains uric acid. The ordinary man cannot get through the world without being told what to do at every turn, and basing such calculations as he is capable of on the assumption that everyone else will calculate on the same assumptions. Even your man of genius accepts a hundred rules for every one he challenges; and you may lodge in the same house with an Anarchist for ten years without noticing anything exceptional about him. Martin Luther, the priest, horrified the greater half of Christendom by marrying a nun, yet was a submissive conformist in countless ways, living orderly as a husband and father, wearing what his bootmaker and tailor made for him, and dwelling in what the builder built for him, although he would have died rather than take his Church from the Pope. And when he got a Church made by himself to his liking, generations of men calling themselves Lutherans took that Church from him just as unquestioningly as he took the fashion of his clothes from his tailor. As the race evolves, many a convention which recommends itself by its obvious utility to everyone passes into an automatic habit, like breathing. Doubtless also an improvement in our nerves and judgment may enlarge the list of emergencies which individuals may be trusted to deal with on the spur of the moment without reference to regulations; but a ready-made code of conduct for general use will always be needed as a matter of overwhelming convenience by all members of communities.

by George Bernard Shaw


Coloured water and staring flowers
No, no, still, shhhh,  quiet
Dolefully enchanting
Slyly, rise like a strand of smoke
From golden gleams of ash and dust

My love, high love
Snake me up, hiss hiss
Like real bliss, plisse 
For me does do you too
In golden gleams of ash and dust

Red your nails
Wet them blue too
When words drink you up
In a tired tardy goblet 
Of golden gleams of ash and dust

Pride me up
With a sparkle darker
Than the golden star
Purpled and scarred
With golden gleams of ash and dust.

- by Bhawana Upadhyay 

(A friend working in remote tribal belt of Bihar in Red Corridor.)   

About art and artist

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.There is no such thing as a moral or an immoralbook. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. All art is at once surface and symbol.Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.

-Oscar Wilde.

The preface of The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

सब घोडे बारा टक्के ...

जितकी डोकी तितकी मते
 जितकी शिते तितकी भूते;
 कोणी मवाळ कोणी जहाल
 कोणी लठ्ठ कोणी मठ्ठ
कोणी ढीले कोणी घट्ट;
कोणी कच्चे कोणी पक्के
  सब घोडे बारा टक्के!

 गोड गोड जुन्या थापा
 (तुम्ही पेरा तुम्ही कापा)
 जुन्या आशा नवा चंग
जुनी स्वप्ने नवा भंग;
तुम्ही तरी काय करणार?
  आम्ही तरी काय करणार?
 त्याच त्याच खड्ड्या मधे
पुन्हा पुन्हा तोच पाय;
जुना माल नवे शिक्के
 सब घोडे बारा टक्के!

जिकडे सत्ता तिकडे पोळी
जिकडे सत्य तिकडे गोळी;
(जिकडे टक्के तिकडे टोळी)
ज्याचा पैसा त्याची सत्ता
पुन्हा पुन्हा हाच कित्ता;
पुन्हा पुन्हा जुनाच वार
मंद घोडा जुना स्वार;
 याच्या लत्ता त्याचे बुक्के
सब घोडे बारा टक्के!

सब घोडे! चंदी कमी;
कोण देईल त्यांची हमी?
डोक्यावरती छप्पर तरी;
कोण देईल माझा हरी?
कोणी तरी देईन म्हणा
मीच फसविन माझ्या मना!
भुकेपेक्षा भ्रम बरा;
कोण खोटा कोण खरा?
कोणी तिर्ऱ्या कोणी छक्के;
सब घोडे बारा टक्के!

-विंदा करंदीकर