Thursday, September 2, 2010

002. Sophist. A Poem By P S Remesh Chandran

002.
 
Sophist. A Poem By P S Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum


By PSRemeshChandra, 2 Sep 2010. Short URL http://nut.bz/oth.p1gi/ First Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Poetry


The ancient Sophist saints in Greece were exceptionally clever with the use of their tongues. Don't play with them- they can bind us cunningly with their tongues. And don't corner them- we will never forget what hit us. Here in this poem, one sophist saint is tried in Court for crime when Judges get stung. Classical sophists were well-versed in paradoxes, understanding the meaning of which won’t be easy. So, here, the court had to let him go free. 

A poem with a Greek theme, praising the sophists' skill in paradoxes.

Words are what convey human thoughts to others, and unless they are sharpened and used as weapons, mankind won't survive, for man has no other armour than words to defend himself against other human beings. A sharper precise word, sometimes spoken loud, may act like weapon and save one’s life. In times of crises, faculties with words come naturally to man: it is so, because anti-survival instincts also are inborn in man; it’s a natural safeguard against self-destruction. No other creatures in the world have so much self-destructing traits in them as man. Saints, scholars and sophists are needed by mankind for safe-guarding against its own anti-survival instincts.

SOPHIST

A Poem By P S Remesh Chandran

A sophist saint in ancient Grecian land
Said whatever he said was a falsity,

Was asked to state anything before he died,
When once he'd committed an act of crime.

He would be hanged, if tell the truth he did;
And would be beheaded, if he told untruth.

Being always prepared for th'unexpected,
That to be beheaded was he, stated he.

If he was executed cutting throat,
Then that would prove that what he'd told was truth,

For which the sentence had to be hanging him,
Thereby to prove that he had told untruth,

For which again to be cut the head apart,
Or if to be hanged; is this a paradox?

So thinking such and such the Judges swoon'd,
And asked the saint to step out from the Court.

Thus neither to be beheaded or be hanged,
He roamed the country side and forest land.

A magpie on the gallows, always swift to fly away.



A magpie on the gallows, swift to fly away.
Sophists were learnèd saints who lived among ancient Greeks and Romans. They were well-versed in paradoxes. A paradox is a statement which appears to be false, but which is true. One sophist once said: 'Whatever I say is false.' What is the true meaning of this phrase- is he a regular teller of lies or truth? If that statement is true, then he must be a regular teller of untruth. But what if that statement also is false? Then the meaning would be in the negative, meaning he would tell truth too occasionally. That is the skill of a sophist in dealing cleverly with words and escaping unscathed on occasions when faced with danger.

Sophists are sophistications in verbal combats, personified in human form.



Sophists can say tricky things, understanding the meaning of which wouldn’t be easy. Trying to understand the true meaning of their words would make our heads spin. That is why, in history, we see people keeping themselves at a distance from sophists, for fear of being outsmarted and also out of respect. Mathematics and Logic were developed remarkably well in ancient Greece. Analysis, logic and deduction were, and are, essentials to understanding the words of a Sophist. Sophists and their tricky sentences have always been a fascination for the world. They were sophistications of verbal combats personified in human form. In many lands they were known as Soofi Saints. We know Mulla Nazaruddeen was one among them. Such people who can soothe, please, entertain and terrorize the world through their words are what language, literature and society wants to have in plenty, but unfortunately is too short of. 

He roamed the countryside and forest land.



He roamed the countryside and forest land.

Sophists are not a lost race. In all centuries and in all countries, they are there. Entertaining their people through wit and wisdom, encouraging them to laugh and learn through life, they live safe and secure among the intolerant and the jealous of their times, inspiring societies, villages, towns and nations with their words and lives. A person recently, in the same place where the Portuguese Captain Vasco da Gama landed in India and thereby opened the oceans of the Orient to European trade, thought that enough respect and reverence were not being given to the hundreds and hundreds of Washing Stones situated at that famous Kozhikkode beach. After centuries of continuous service, he saw, they were being neglected by people, without respecting their good service. So, he organized a large public meeting and a parade, to honour the centuries-long services of these washing stones. Thousands of people took part in that meeting and the parade, and paid tributes to the meritorious services of those washing stones. His name was late Mr. Raama Daasan Vaidyan- the same person who delighted and enlightened people through half-crazy but thoughtful acts, including the starting of a Coconut Climbing Training College. In every society, if we look, we can see sophists still in vigorous action, in the east, as well as in the west.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Picture Credits:

01. A Magpie on the Gallows 1568. By Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
02. He roamed the countryside and forest land. By Andrew Smith.

03. Author profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem which will soon be released and link posted here in the next edit.

You Tube Link: Visit Bloom Books Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos

About the author and accessing his other literary works.



Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of 'Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book'. Edits and owns Bloom Books Channel. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Father British Council-trained English Teacher and mother university-educated. Matriculation with High First Class, Pre Degree studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship, discontinued Diploma Studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

03. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Visit author's Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Word Press at
http://sahyadribooks.wordpress.com/  and his Bloom Books Channel in You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos

Author's Google Plus Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PSRemeshChandran/posts
 

FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum


Tags:


English Literature, English Poems, Greek Saints, Indian Poems, P S Remesh Chandran, Poems, Poems With Greek Themes, Poetry, Poetry Appreciations, Poetry Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Soofi Saints And Scholars, Sophist


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Comments

PSRemeshChandra
9th Mar 2011 (#)



Sophists can say tricky things, understanding the meaning of which won't be so easy. In this poem the Sophist is said to have told people, whatever he said was a falsity. So we will begin to think that he is a frequent sayer of lies. But what if that very sentence also is a lie? Then it may mean that he may occasionally tell the truth. Trying to understand the true meaning of their sayings will make our heads spin. That is why in history we see that people kept them at a distance out of fear and out of respect. Such people who soothe, please, entertain and terrorise with words are what Language, Literature and the World wishes to have in plenty, but unfortunately are dwindling in numbers. Words are what convey human thought to others in the society, and unless they are sharpened and used as weapons, mankind won't survive. It is because anti-survival instincts are inborn in man. The relevance of saints, scholars and sophists lies in mankind's need for guarding against anti-survival instincts. 

Artur Victoria
9th Mar 2011 (#)

I believe it is quite easy to know where a sophist means just by pure logic – Am I right?

PSRemeshChandra
10th Mar 2011 (#)

Analysis, logic and deduction are essentials to understanding the words of a Sophist. Artur Victoria is quite right. Mathematics and Logic had developed remarkably well in ancient Greece. 

Rathnashikamani
31st Mar 2011 (#)

This is an excellent poem. Grecian conundrum.

PSRemeshChandra
22nd Jan 2012 (#)



Sophists and their tricky sentences have always been a fascination for the world. They indeed are sophistication of verbal combats in the human form. In many lands they are known as Soofis. Thank you Rathnashikamani for your fine adjective. The content of the poem, in essence, it is.


First Published: 02 September 2010 

Last Edited: 26 September 2015

Identifier: SBT-AE-002. Sophist. P S Remesh Chandran Poem.
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