Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anatole France

"It lends beauty to the terror of the gulfs
And fascinating eyes to perilous Gods,
Invests with grace the demon and the snake."
SRI AUROBINDO(from savitri)
As Satprem read this to Mother, "Charming!" she exclaimed sarcastically.
"It's absolutely the characteristics of the vital
, that which Theon called, 'the nervous world'."
Indeed, except perhaps for two or three, there was a real dearth of 'refined,' that is, clear-thinking minds in the Ashram. Yet, time and again, Sri Aurobindo laid stress on this quality. "One of the most fundamental requisites for the search of the Truth," he declared, "is a critical reason, almost a cynical mind which tears off the mask and refuses to accept current ideas, thoughts and opinions. It is a kind of solvent. Man must have the courage to see the Truth as it is without any deception about it. Shaw has got that critical mind to a great extent and we find the same in Anatole France."
And here is Sri Aurobindo on Anatole France.

Dilip Kumar Roy once sent Sri Aurobindo a quotation from Anatole France's Les Dieux ont soif (The Gods Are Thirsty): "Either God would prevent evil if he could, but could not, or he could but would not, or he neither could nor would, or he both would and could. If he would but could not, he is impotent, if he could but would not, he is perverse, if he neither could nor would he is at once impotent and perverse; if he both could and would why on earth hasn't he done it, Father?"

Then in his characteristic way
Dilip added, "I send this to you as I immensely enjoyed the joke and am sure you would too, hoping you would have something to fend it off with."

Dilip was right. Sri Aurobindo thoroughly enjoyed the joke and, what's more, didn't forget to fend it off. "Anatole France is always amusing whether he is iron-ising about God and Christianity or about the rational animal man or Humanity (with a big H) and the follies of his reason and his conduct.
"But I presume you never heard of God's explanation of his non-interference to Anatole France when they met in some Heaven of Irony, I suppose -- it can't have been in the heaven of Karl Marx, in spite of France's conversion before his death. God is reported to have strolled up to him and said: 1 say, Anatole, you know that was a good joke of yours; but there was a good cause 'too for my non-interference. Reason came along and told me: "Look here, why do you pretend to exist? You know you don't exist and never existed or, if you do, you have made such a mess of your creation that we can't tolerate you any longer. Once we have got you out of the way all will be right upon earth, tip-top, A-1; my daughter Science and I have arranged that between us. Man will raise his noble brow, the head of creation, dignified, free, equal, fraternal, democratic, depending upon nothing but himself, with nothing greater than himself anywhere in existence. There will be no God, no gods, no churches, no priestcraft, no religion, no kings, no oppression, no poverty, no war or discord anywhere. Industry will fill the earth with abundance, Commerce will spread her golden reconciling wings everywhere. Universal education will stamp out ignorance and leave no room for folly or unreason in any human brain; man will become cultured, disciplined, rational, scientific, well-informed, arriving always at the right conclusion upon full and sufficient data. The voice of the scientists and the experts will be loud in the land and guide mankind to the earthly paradise. A perfected society; health universalised by a developed medical science and a sound hygiene; everything rationalised; science evolved, infallible, omnipotent, omniscient; the riddle of existence solved; the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the world; evolution, of which man, magnificent man, is the last term, completed in the noble white race; a humanitarian kindness and uplifting for our backward brown, yellow and black brothers; peace, peace, peace, reason, order, unity everywhere." There was a lot more like that, Anatole, and I was so much impressed by the beauty of the picture and its convenience, for I would have nothing to do or to supervise, that I at once retired from business -- for, you know that I was always of a retiring disposition and inclined to keep myself behind the veil or in the background at the best of times. But what is this I hear? It does not seem to me from reports that Reason even with the help of Science has kept her promise. And if not, why not? Is it because she would not, or because she could not? Or is it because she both would not and could not? Or because she both would and could, but somehow did not? And I say, Anatole, these children of theirs, the State, Industrialism, Capitalism, Communism and the rest have a queer look; they seem very much like Titanic monsters armed, too, with all the powers of Intellect and all the weapons and organisation of Science! And it does look as if mankind were no freer under them than under the Kings and the Churches!! What has happened? -- or is it possible that Reason is not supreme and infallible, even that she has made a greater mess of it than I could have done myself?!!!' Here the report of the conversation ends; I give it for what it is worth, for I am not acquainted with this God and have to take him on trust from Anatole France."
"well,it's the god of anatole france @ J who has been causing all sorts of havoc"

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