Archive for May, 2012

The Fable of an Entomologist

Once upon a time, not too long ago ( certainly after the advent of ‘search-engines’ and facebook  ) there lived an entomologist. His search topic was “How do the flies hear?”. His Thesis was,” Flies hear through their Wings!”

In order to prove he ran a “scientific test”, successfully. Thus went the test: He took a clear jar. Captured a fly. Put the fly in the jar. Placed the lid back on top and started tapping on the jar, ordering, “Fly! Fly!!” And the fly kept on obeying him – flying, even though hitting the inner wall of the jar on all sides.

He took the fly out, pulled its wings. Put the fly back in the jar. replacing the lid back on top, he started tapping the jar with repeated orders, “Fly! Fly!! Fly!!!” But this time, the fly didn’t obey him. It just laid on the jar-floor. Now, it’s not hard to deduce the inference, “Because the second time fly didn’t have its wings, the hearing-organs, couldn’t hear, couldn’t obey the scientist.” “Flies hear through their wings.” Q.E.D.

We all are conditioned, programmed, opinionated, and hence, have strong preconceptions about everything. We need to be extremely aware, alert about it. It wasn’t without a reason that Buddha said,” It’s harder to ‘Unlearn’ than it’s to Learn.”

We have strong opinions about ‘What is Haiku’ and the “Required Elements of Haiku”. When we approach Classical Haiku with our preconceptions, we are bound to find “those” elements. If those “elements” are not obvious in a ‘ku by a contemporary, it’s easy to discard it as a Non-Haiku, end of discussion! Even if it happened to be lovely ‘ku. But if the “desired element” is not found in a Classical haiku then, we’ll prove those elements to be present there, no matter how many wings of how many flies we may need to pull off.

© 2012 Dalvir Gill