Fiver years back, we had started an online business school for freelance translators called Wordsmith University. Eventually, the school discussed on many themes not directly related to business.
In these years, thanks to my life as a Li-Der (Life Designer) which means getting modest income, more valuable leisure and narrow and minor global fame, I was able to study some classic works of philosophy, literature, science, political philosophy, history, art, architecture and law. The word study needs qualification and some anatomical explanation. For me, study means – reclining or sleeping and holding a book (printed book) and reading. Then for a break, leaving the book somewhere (where ?) and after a tea/coffee/ smoke, coming back and continuing. Sometimes, reading two books and then losing the threads.
Purpose : In the Vedantic school, definition of ultimate reality is not given in a positive manner but in a negative way – neti, neti – not this. I shall use similar negative definition to explain my purpose
- Not for passing any exam – far or near
- Not for teaching students – far or near
- Not for any seminar / workshop as our Professors must
- Not for any publication – will not perish if not published
- Not for any research impact (by the way, I had found that some 20+ writers whose book I have written will have very little research impact, judged by current standards of academic excellence)
- Not for becoming a scholar (The Sanskrit / Bengali word is পন্ডিত – “pandit” and in a summer afternoon, hundred years ago, Rabindranath Tagore classified, light-heartedly, a pun with the Bengali word “পন্ড” meaning “Someone whose all the enterprises did not come to any fruition”.
- Not for becoming an intellectual
Format : 2300 years back, a Greek whose name was Aristotle, while expounding the Art of Rhetoric gave an advice which was put to fantastic use, first by Martin Luther in Germany (he nailed his protest in the form of a document having 92 bullet points and put the presentation having 20 slides [ 5 bullet points per slide] in front of a church some 500 years back, then by Microsoft Power Point some 20 years back and by Twitter some decade back. The core insight is this : In a democracy, people individually are generally weak, distracted, in a flux and although in continuous activity, they differ much from one another. Hence for any important idea to burn into their mind, all the devices of Art must be marshaled and minimum demand must be made to their attention and energy.
What this series will do :
This series will feature great authors and thinkers and will compress their core teachings in the size of a face-book post with pictures and videos.
This is Wordsmith Tribute to all the classics of the world and as I make out, this is probably one of the foremost duties of an University – to borrow light from the past to illuminate the future.