Sidharth Vardhan

Review of Father and sons : On Nihilism

(Review of ‘Fathers and Sons’ a novel by Ivan TurgenevFirst written on January 10, 2019) The first time I heard of Turgenev, it was from Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky parodied Ivan Turgenev in his character ‘Karmazinov’ in novel ‘Demons’ (reviewed here) for writing ‘Fathers and Sons’. Turgenev’s novel is based on the nihilist generation and the differences they had with the previous generation – that of socialists. The ‘nihilist’ son Bazarov in the novel refuse to believe in anything based solely on authority – whether it be established sciences, practices, arts or traditions. The ‘fathers’ in the book are in too much of awe for their sons and even have some sort of guilty conscience to produce arguments for their way of thinking. However the nihilism has its own problems. (to began with, nihilism is based on ‘belief’ that nothing is worth believing and is thus paradoxical).Even if you have good reasons to defy authority, often people tend to develop it as a habit and defy authority just for sake of it. Bazarov of the story struggles with his feelings of love just because it is a feeling in established tradition. Thus, Turgenev did brought out the fact that nihilism was not

Nietzsche’s Anti-Christ – looking too much into the abyss of Christianity

(A review of ‘Anti-Christ’ a book by Friedrich Nietzsche) I had a liberal access to Internet only when I was already in college. And I developed a very quick obsession for Wikipedia and Wikiquote surfing. When I tumbled about Nietzsche’s Wikiquote fan, I became a fan. But reading ‘beyond good and evil’ was a disappointment. All the good parts of it I had already read on his Wikiquote experience. It is as if his best always comes in aphorisms – you read Wikiquote, you can say you have read Nietzsche, well the good parts. (I felt same thing with Oscar Wilde’s plays but Wilde had non-aphorism beauty in his in non-dramtic writing). There are lots of great quotes in it, but I had already read them. They might be more of a revelation to other readers. Much of his criticism of Christianity makes sense but he seems to want to correct it by forcing opposite values on society which is where he fails. It is a popular adage that philosophers are better at asking questions than answering them. Goes for Nietzsche too. Friedrich Nietzsche Moreover he can often be inconsistent. At one point he says Christianity has taken away virility

About Flowers, Tea, Tao and others

In the trembling grey of a spring dawn, when the birds were whispering in mysterious cadence among the trees, have you not felt that they were talking to their mates about the flowers?” Wow! “True beauty could be discovered only by one who mentally complete the incomplete.” Just wow! “Rikiu loved to quote an old poem which says: “To those who long only for flowers, fain would I show the full-blown spring which abides in the toiling buds of snow-covered hills.” More wow! “The tea-master, Kobori-Enshiu, himself a daimyo, has left to us these memorable words: “Approach a great painting as thou wouldst approach a great prince.” In order to understand a masterpiece, you must lay yourself low before it and await with bated breath its least utterance.” Wow, ad infinitum! Proper review (more or less): “Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.” Beautiful writing all around. In terms of prose, it has to be the best Japanese book I have read. Okakura’s

The demons within us

(Review by Sidharth Vardhan ofDemons by Fyodor Dostoevsky Also translated into English as ‘Possessed’) Wanna start with a 1984 like quote, here is one from ‘Demons’: “‘He suggests a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others, and it’s his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all to every one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases he advocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. To begin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A high level of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and they are not wanted. The great intellects have always seized the power and been despots. Great intellects cannot help being despots and they’ve always done more harm than good. They will be banished or put to death. Cicero will have his tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out, Shakespeare will be stoned that’s Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never been either freedom or equality without despotism, but in the herd there is bound to be equality, and that’s Shigalovism!”  Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Demons) ‘Demons’ kind of

Good, Bad and beyond

(A review of ‘Beyond Good and Evil’,a book by Friedrich Nietzsche First written on December 25, 2014) “I obviously do everything to be “hard to understand” myself” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) This kind of admission doesn’t excite confidence in humble readers; does it Nietzsche? The best of the book is mostly in that chapter of aphorisms which take about an hour to read. In the rest of the book; it is mostly author blabbering -at first condemning philosophers and church (which I can still bear for the occasional beautiful observation he offers every now and then); and then detail his prejudices about nations and about ideal women (which made me take that star away). In between though there is a little bit of beauty which can’t be thrown away – the notion of herd morality; slave morality the idea of laughing philosophers etc. More Quotes “Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) “The text has disappeared under the interpretation.” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) “One loves ultimately one’s desires, not the thing desired.” Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) “Objection,

Fiction
Non-Fiction