Mukesh Williams

An Incommensurable World

If every philosophy is spinning in its own universe
And does not claim affinity with the other,
Then why this burning passion to find a unifying principle,
To standardize disparate ideas into a magical concord,
To knit the world into a composite whole!

Perhaps we still believe that it is possible to find
A common quality amongst diverse peoples,
A single principle that binds societies together,
One single thought that may signify us and
Separate us from the animal kingdom.

We impose a common language,
Despite Kuhn’s remarks to the contrary,
But find a polyglot empire,
Impure in its multiple ethnicities,
Opposing each other with new paradigms.

We have been unmasked by Feyerabend
That we first assume and then interpret,
We create a new theory, find new terms,
Step out of a logical discourse and
Claim to be both rational and consistent.

Our concepts are different,
Our cosmologies are far removed from each other,
And yet we believe that we can
Play language games with synonyms
To create a commensurable world.

Mukesh Williams teaches English and American Studies at two universities in Japan and also writes poetry. A small book of his poems, Nakasendo and Other Poems, was published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta, in 2006. An Indian citizen, Mukesh has a doctorate in Contemporary American Literature from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on English poetry, fiction, prose and drama for nearly two decades at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He has also been the editor-in-chief of The Stephanian and was the President of the Shakespeare Society at St. Stephen’s College. He has been on the faculties of Soka University for nine years and at Keio University-SFC for six years. His third and latest co-authored book, Representing India: Politics, Identities, and Literatures has been released by Oxford University Press in December 2007. He can be contacted through his blog site.