William Blake’s Ghost of a Flea

All thoughts are like spoiled children. Some of them are illegitimate as well. They are conceived and are born as a result of one’s reactions to events in his or her everyday life. We turn out to become bad parents for most of them. The prematurely born, neglected thoughts grow up on their own and decide their own course of life and action without caring for anyone. As a matter of justification, they harp on the condescending attitudes received at the hands of their parents and an absence of all nurturing and disciplining efforts which they consider to be due to them. Our step fatherly behavior continuously produces a junk of a community of off springs which continues occupying spaces in our ever-expanding minds. We think of and treat these spaces in the same ways in which our governments think of the slums of our cities. We also dread them. The world becomes the dignitary which comes visiting our selves and we quickly and unhesitatingly hush the slums from its view. What is presented to the visitor is a selected scene which depicts a rich élite culture of our mind that we feel proud of putting up for display at exhibitions we arrange each day of our lives.

This step fatherly behavior is the most clearly visible in all those biased attitudes we show to another group of advantaged sons and daughters residing the same city. This branch dwells in the posh localities of our minds and selves. We value them so much. We snuggle with them in our private moments and keep discussing them again and again. As a source of warmth and relief, this population continues to amuse us. These thoughts are considered worthy of preservation and are written down on either paper or canvas. We speak about them in an eloquent way. All public expression favors these wealthy ones to the less privileged ones. We are promised a better audience if we talk of our positive and energy filled thoughts. Thinking of what to think before going off to sleep, we think of them and them alone.

The grotesque, undernourished bodies of the underdogs tease us all our lives. They seem eternally persistent. Haunting us while we travel through the joyous paths in our lives they keep reminding us of the degree of criminality they are capable of bursting out with, if left unattended for long. The share in the intellectual property that they demand is often not given away willingly. They always fight for it.

In writing of prose and poetry, painting, music and other pleasure-seeking activities we carry out, we play the role of the villain. Most often the irritable brats are ignored. They are brutally gagged. Some of us do walk the extra mile,display benevolence and try to do justice. In doing so, these brats are ‘ungagged’, cleaned and decorated and presented to the world. The artificial process of beautification uglifies them further and the world appreciates such exposure. The sense of justice that the artist possesses is lauded. Once these kids have performed well (under pressure), they go to the changing rooms, tear off their cheap gaudy clothes and come back to the father. They shout at him in the face and ask “You asshole! could you not talk about us and present us in the same state that you always force us to dwell in. Why do we need to borrow the left over costumes and cosmetics from those stupid siblings to whom you have willed all your wealth and heritage. We will kill you. We will kill you one day. And you will die. This is going to happen soon, you see”.

Knowing that we can not stand up to their genuine assaults, we gag them again. These path breaking works of art by the pioneers are declared by the world as exemplary and daring. Accolades are showered on them for aestheticising the violent, dark and ugly slums of their minds. The brats loathe such depiction. Aesthetics and the depiction of the ugly as beautiful are two things that cannot go hand in hand if one is to give the ugly a fair chance. The grotesque needs to be presented as it is, if at all one has the guts to present it.

However, the world rejoices and exclaims at whatever is presented to it. So the artist can relax and heave a sigh of relief. Injustice may continue. It is the age of the right to privacy!

14 thoughts on “Ugliness”

  1. यो यत श्रद्ध: स एव स:
    जिसकी जैसी प्रवृत्ति है, वह वैसा ही होता है। मनुष्य अपनी कुरूपता सयास बदल सकता है – अपनी फ्री-विल से। पर अपनी कुरूपता को अवगुण्ठन में रखने के प्रयास बहुधा और बहुत बुरी तरह असफल होते हैं।

  2. I love the comparison of our thoughts as children. That is how I have always referred to my novels, and the reason I didn’t present them for publication. As my ‘children’ rejection of them would have been too painful. Others shock or surprise at how my mind worked would have been traumatic. Non-fiction was less threatening, so I put my children to bed, in a box, in a cabinet. Luckily, I am learning to overcome this fear, and hope to send them out into the world to live or die on their own. Great post. It really spoke ‘volumes’ to me.

  3. I am so happy to have read your blog! you write so clearly, concisely, and with such a great variety of words. My favorite line is “Some of us do walk the extra mile,display benevolence and try to do justice.”
    great post

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