Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Army as the New Religion

At dinner over the weekend, I was chatting with a PhD student who is working with 15th century art - specifically religious art in Italy where neighbours faces randomly appear in artist's depiction of religious situations. Our conversation hence centered around religion and art - topics where I certainly can hold my own. It was during this conversation that it struck me -

Religion has(/had) its positive aspects. It helped enhance the visual arts and music (at least in Christianity and Hinduism) and is thus, for the arts, like the army is for science. The benefits of the arts/science have seeped down to enrich the life of "civilians" - while serving their original intended purpose.

And yes, both (Army and Religion) were created to make us feel safe and have their fair (or larger than fair) share of problems - but let us not go there.

7 comments:

arvind said...

welcome back rahul

Iyer the Great said...

Thank you Arvind!!! Hope to sustain it a bit longer this time.

Rahul

Anonymous said...

I’m sitting on the floor in my bedroom, laptop on my lap, when I read this posting, which makes me direct my eyes towards a framed drawing hanging on the wall. It’s a black and white drawing of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”. A gift from a friend dated 23rd Aug 99.

A warm feeling overwhelms me as a gaze at the picture. Suddenly, and inexplicably, tears run down my face. I take a few minutes to re-establish my grounding and look at the drawing again trying to understand what just happened. I realize what overwhelmed me was the realization of how far I have come these 7 years from my own believes and faith, or lack thereof, my personal aspirations, my willing to understand different religions, or most importantly, the fundamental similarity of their origins. It enlightens me the fact that now I understand what my friend meant when he said: “you love because it makes you feel happy” and he tried to reason to me “you should be happy that he has shown he’s capable of loving” one time when I was raging in jealousy about of my boyfried’s (now loved husband) ex-girlfriend. And yet, despite how different I feel 7 years passed, there is one constant, and that’s how much I cherish my old friend. How much I believe his words have helped me to choose the path I followed this 7 years and how thankful I am for that.

Interestingly, I don’t think I asked him to draw this picture based on my religion at the time. Not I keep it on my bedroom wall for appreciation of the art (no offense, I still think it’s awesome work) or religious reasons. If religious belief was the reason why Michelangelo created this art or the reason why it is so famous, so be it. To me, it has become simply a symbol of friendship and gratefulness, independent of what it means to anyone else. And today, it brings me close to my endeared friend.

Namaste

G

Anonymous said...

Correction... In the second paragraph, I meant how far I have come 'with' and not 'from' my beliefs. You probably noticed that that was a mistake anyway.

Iyer the Great said...

Hey Glen.. That you??

Anonymous said...

Yeah!! I knew you would know who was.

Loved the global warming picture.

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