ArpitGarg's Weblog

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Archive for May 2008

Book v/s Author

with 3 comments

Whenever I read a book which talks about life and philosophy, tries to preach and influence the readers, I am not readily able to connect with it. It is important for me to first know about the author, to know that the writing is from the heart and experience of the author. Not just some set of arbitrarily penned down fundas.

When I read fountainhead neither was I able to accept it nor respect it. I simply couldn’t believe that some human being (Ayn Rand) could be so cruel as to design, follow and propagate such a philosophy in deed. It seemed to me a past time after thought of a wasted mind. It was only after I read about Ayn Rand that I was able to understand the mindset of the author and could relate to her writings. Born in socialist Russia, her book and her thoughts were a classic example of the rebellion, an anti-thesis straight from the Hegelian dialectic.

When recently I saw her 50 year old televised interview and could feel the conviction in her voice, in her eyes, was I able to respect her thoughts and philosophy even further. For me to accept and to respect are two different phenomenons. Maybe I am not able to accept it but given her belief in what she wrote, I do understand her writings better.

Same was the case with Paulo Coelho. When I finished reading the Alchemist, to me it was a very simplistic short story with a bit about goal and path thrown in. However I was able to relate to it more than the fountainhead at the first go, but respect was missing here too. I still didn’t know about the purity of the origin of the thoughts I was reading.

I just finished “Paulo Coelho-Confessions of a Pilgrim”, a book of conversation b/w Juan Arias and Coelho himself. This book brought me face to face with Coelho. His disturbed childhood, his hippie days, drug influence, abduction by paramilitary and spiritual awakening on the trip to Santiago. It was as if I could feel the man himself in all his writings. His constant search was now clearer to me through all his books.

One may be inclined to ask, what’s new about it? Whenever we hear a speech or read a column, if we know the author well, does it not help us to understand him better? I never said that there is anything new, but recently I have observed a trend, a mad rush for the search of the ultimate question. Hence, a mad race for clinging on to any and every preacher, round the corner. We should be circumspect, not just fall for anyone.

Opposite to the contrary, I believe, “Judge the author before being engulfed by the preaching” So is the case with a book, if its philosophical, I ought to understand where and how this philosophy was born or else it’s a junk to me.

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Written by arpitgarg

May 18, 2008 at 8:47 am

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