Friday, 13 March 2009

In search of a grand theory

Sheets of paper are scattered over the table. And more sheets upon cyclostyled sheets are scribbled all over in pencil, with some words and sometimes even complete paragraphs underlined with a heavy black line. And on smaller pieces of paper there are random words, names and dates scrawled. Arrows are marked here and there to demonstrate how ideas are built thought upon thought endlessly. Until we end up absolutely perplexed by this eternal creation and destruction of theories and ideas. And somehow the world never ends up prettier or wiser. That is what the flower sprouting from the y at the end of bounded rationality seems to indicate.

But you soldier on. For even if everything doesn’t fit or rather your brain isn’t able to comprehend it all and build a grand unified theory it’s all right for this is just one exam and there are 5 more to go. So you rush through Malthus, Weber, Parsons, Sartre, Foucault, reductionism, social alienation, and as you reach cultural dissonance you hear your father in the room next door get angry because he can’t find his shirt. An anonymous impulse, that you can’t quite pin down as you are still dealing with anomie and nihilism, passes on the information that they are neatly piled up in his cupboard just as they always are after they have been washed and ironed. And as the voices and the indifference grow louder and harder to ignore you conclude that the world has gone mad. But almost instantly realize that it is only your family.

So you push aside the incomprehensibility of theories dealing with beliefs, irreducibilities, symbolisms and ideal types and march straight to the cupboard and pick up the pile of shirts and dump them in the middle of the raging argument. And walk back to the comfort of dualism and objectivity, as the voices in the background seem to fade to an ineffectual murmur.


Ainara said...

Great writing.
I really like it.

Anvita Lakhera said...

Thanks Ainara.