Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: Simplicity Personified in Literature

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Simplicity Personified in Literature

                  Simplicity is not Stupidity


One of the side effects of rapid advancement and consumerism is the extinction of simplicity from society. The youth is sapiosexual and is aroused  by intelligence only. It is also taken for granted that all successful people are intelligent or vice versa.

The qualities like an opportunist, cunnings, street smart, hypocrite, snobbery which were once looked down upon by the society are now being appreciated. Some rich people act modestly and people take a note of it, but for too small of a man, modesty is in vain.

The word simpleton has originated from simple which means a foolish or gullible person. Homer describes a combination of socialist and simpleton as 'knowing many things, but knowing them all badly'.

The Idiot by Feodor Dostoyevsky is said to be an autobiographical novel. Prince Myshkin had spent time in mental sanatorium. He is subjected to many disasters just because he is a simple man. Author confirm the view that sanatorium is the only secure place for stoic saints who do not believe in the power of money and sex.

How bad it is to be innocent in this corrupted world? The command  'Let child be thy father' is in the praise of innocence and purity of heart. No child is born crook, we make him so. We don't want to take responsibility so we say he is born like that. The age of innocence of children is also thinning out fast. The time is not far when only a nascent child would be innocent.

Michael K in J. M. Coetzee's book "Life and Times of Michael K"  is such a person. He is a pure soul untouched by perils of the world and fails to understand why anybody would harm him when he does not want to harm anybody. Actually, this innocently simple man is a depiction of our inward journey that wants to take its dead mother (conscience) back to its rural home (purity).

Harper Lee in "To kill a mocking bird" suggests to kill a mockingbird could be a sin because mockingbirds simply provide pleasure with their songs, saying, "They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us."

 To kill a mocking bird is to kill someone simple and harmless. What was once prohibited is now a treasured game of rich and affluent. The coming generation (not youth, but middle aged neo rich) is haunted  by the ruthless savagery of cut throat competition and has already put all values at stake to win the race. Simple people happily provide their shoulders to aid them in climbing the stairs of success.
William Barrett in his book "Irrational Man" writes about a story by Kierkegaard. The story is told of the absent minded man so abstracted from his own life that he hardly knows he exists until, one fine morning, he wakes up to find himself dead.

 The whole civilization is that absent minded man, busy in creating a weapon of its own end. Would you call it smart or simple?

Kalidas is an Indian Scholar who created literature in Sanskrit was simple to the extent that he cut the same branch of the tree he was sitting on, thus he would fall as soon as he cut the branch.
The modern society does not dare to be philosophical. 

Milan Kundera, who claims that Nietzsche's hugging of the abused horse to be a symbolic gesture against the dominance, the arrogance of the human mind over nature, against the blind worship of progress.

The cycle of comprehension goes like this. Simple to Complex to Simple. The initial Simplicity is of ignorance. When learning starts the things become complex, but with the dawn of ultimate knowledge the simplicity reoccurs. That is the Wisdom.

It is easy to be complex. In fact, everyone around us is complex. We have forgotten the taste of simplicity. A simple man is queer, incomprehensible and easily rejectable. His humble acceptance of rejection  proves our theory that he deserved to be condemned.

Authors tend to appreciate simplicity in their text. They want to save the world from the madness of so called progress.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said "In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."

© Vipin Behari Goyal
Author is also Advocate at Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur

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