Sunday, January 20, 2013

TVFP: A Delhi Savant's Homily on a Box


A Delhi Savant's Homily on a Box

We were reading the news feeds and we thought you would appreciate this little gem plucked from the Letters to the Editor section of a certain Delhi newspaper. This man writes:

Now let us please agree that a box is a receptacle. It may have four sides or it may not; a hat box for instance, may very well be circular. The one property that they share is their availability as a receptacle. Of this there can be no doubt. In fact I mention it here at the risk of being accused of stating the obvious. However it is necessary to lay out our terms of reference before we can proceed, as men of good will and with an interest in understanding the truth.

Now let us say that an empty box is a box in name only. It exists in time and space however its emptiness is like a bird without a song, a poet without a voice, a flower that fails to blossom. In this we can agree, can we not, that an empty box is bereft, a sad thing, its emptiness like the sharp keening of sorrow across an expanse of water.

Thus we must agree that the thing in and of itself is only truly itself when it is put to the use for which it was constructed whether by man or by the gods themselves. And we know that a box can be put to many uses. One might use a velvet lined box to conceal a sparkling gem for the graceful neck of a beloved wife. One might use a plain box to store the treasures of one’s childhood such as cherished photographs or much loved toys.

But supposing one came upon an empty box that is, let us say, in the public domain? Perhaps it is on public transit. This box is empty this much is obvious. How does one respond? Clearly an empty box is, in that diminished state less than itself, it is a mere shade wandering in the twilight, an object pity for some, of scorn for others. Does it not then follow that to fill such an empty box cannot be condemned, but rather applauded, in the light of logic and reason? Is it not at the very least a human kindness?

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1 comment:

  1. At first i thought it may have to do with improving public spaces, such as our local guerrilla gardeners endeavor to do. I didn't actually know until i read the 'labels'. He does certainly have a point, doesn't he. Irrefutable logic, such as that should be applauded, right. What do you think the girl's family may say to him?