Excursions Of A Bibliophile

What are u reading these days?

An Unintended Beauty

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on November 29, 2011

Writers in one sense resemble intrepid explorers and frontiersmen. Explorers discovered unknown lands while writers among others discovered and continue to discover newer word associations. Consider this sentence by Ray Bradbury from his classic story “The Fog Horn

“I’ll make me a sound and an apparatus and they’ll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the “sadness of eternity” and the briefness of life”

Briefness of life – I can understand. But sadness of eternity – that beats me. How does one know that eternity is sad? Probably one does not, till one has read this sentence. On a closer look, the association sounds a tad doubtful  and everything in our know appears to suggest the opposite i.e. that eternity is not sad. The desire for fame and legacy are also desires for eternity and permanence. The well springs of human passion resulting in the expending of blood, sweat, toil and tears is for most of the times driven by the need for leaving a mark, a something to be remembered by and a generic hope for an extended existence beyond mortal life. Probably the most sought after thing in this world – an afterlife in heaven – also has a dimension of eternity deeply embedded in it. If eternity is sad then by a convoluted logic heaven may eventually not be a happy place to live in – and going by convention appears inverted. This then leads me to ask the question: is the word association used by Bradbury an appropriate one?

For all the thoughts I have, Bradbury makes this word association appear natural, effortless, easy, beautiful and extremely pleasing. The words sit so well in one another’s company as if they were age old pals full of harmony with no friction what so ever. I guess the genesis of this beauty lies not in reason but in aesthetics which in any case is beyond reason

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