Festival of Failure: Life, Dreams and Actions

Jun 2014
Planning to organize a festival of failure/s

Failures in life, dreams and actions.

Freedom of failure and failure in freedom.

In the world of celebrating successes, gains, or winnings do we need to take failures to be negligible by any means?

If no, how do we go with the experiencing of failures and their consequences?

Phenomenological (individual's emotional), historical, cultural perspectives of failure!!

Tyranny of success?

Chasing success?

Race for....

Craving for....

And cursing, condemning, demonizing failure.....

Conquers, wars, taming, subduing..... expressions of success nuances?

Civilizational traits?

Decline, collapse, degeneration, etc. also require to be articulated.
There is the problem of going by success/failure binary.

It is paradoxical that failure becomes a moment of achievement despite it gets fetishized, stigmatized, delegitimized, disqualified, or disparaged. Same way the reverse involves the moment of tragic, but the percieved success goes without any criticism of its irony. Not sure how do we transcend the contrasting scenario of their semantics.

A critique of success failure binary may become imperative on many grounds. And so transcending it might require a context specific analysis.

One way would be to see the

multiple degrees/levels of existence and capabilities.

Success failure polarity is brought to homogenize the diversity of existence and capabilities.
Jun 2014

Christina Nichol:

Words cannot express how much I love this.

My American friend who taught in Calcutta last year and is now miserably back in the US, says:

" I ALSO LOVE THE FAILURE CONFERENCE!!!!!! YES!!!! It's so ******* cool. I've had thoughts that circled around this theme for so long, but never put them down so succinctly. I LOVE IT. Seriously. I especially want to talk and write about my failure to find a home."

Argo Spier:

I, visit many modern art musea regularly and today I saw a painting with written on it "... if a painting (art) is a failure then it is still there" now you think about this! its unbelievable clever!

You have a very strong point here! What I appreciate even more is your academic approach to the issue of failure ... and not a refutistic one. I move sometimes among old people (my age ha ha ha!) and what pisses me off so much is how they constantly are occupied how old they are, how much pains they have, how muich the world has changed, etc. OMG it bugs me so much. Mostly I do Tai Chi and feel like a child, laugh about nothing like a child. Old age, pain, stress, unhappiness, 'failure' its all so boring.

Sanil. V:

I agree with you. Instead of talking about various criteria of success we need to talk about failure. Of late I have been working on intentional errors and the idea of philosophy as non-work. This is a preparatory step of a politics of knowledge.

Wish you all success in your failure studies.

P. J. Cherian:

The binary of failure and success sounds shallow ? Wonder what is the domain or topic under consideration.

To transcend these sort of contrasts is to have a philosophical understanding of life and its predicaments. Unfortunately humanity relish the poverty in deep thinking, humanity, humility etc if not they hardly try to define what is life. They abhor such simple questions. Hence failures and successes?

Multiple degrees of existence and capabilities are multiple levels of poverty and helplessness.

Asoke Chattopadhyay:

Very interesting topic. Yes, I also feel that transcending success/failure binary can impart an entirely new and refreshing way of looking at life. Tagore and Gandhi both contributed to this. Among other Indian traditions, maybe Advaita Vedanta - but which variety: pre or post-Sankara?

In the West, I can think of Existentialists esp. Kierkegaard. Nietzsche? Not so sure. Must read more.


Success is not hundred percent honest task. Marketing is biggest fraud thing happening in our society. Corporates are sucking blood of public.behind every successful person there are stories of manipulation. None looks at intention and method of doing things . Everyone looks at result. Whether selling a product or scoring marks,everyone look at result. Everyone looks at marks and not whether person had copied or used any other method. Parents and teachers wants only marks and none looks at method of getting marks. America is successful, but none looks at manipulations made by them. They had done Iraq war for getting oil. They sent spy to Kerala at time of establishing first communist party in world through ballot paper. Trump won in election by getting support from russia. Space crafts are send to space for geo politics. America do not even follow instructions by United Nations organization. America will do anything for getting money. They have no ethics.they despite having nuclear weapons, they are trying to ban nuclear research in other countries. Capitalists and corporates are not selfless. Their aim is only money and power. For that they will do anything and they are ruthless and hypocrates. Franklin Roosevelt who had been president of America had misused Einstein's finding of e=mc square for developing atom bomb for their defense purpose. It is very difficult for honest people to be successful.

Pushkar Singh:

I'm sharing here a story of Yasa which is somehow related to festival of failure. Yasa was a bhikkhu during the time of Gautama Buddha. He was the sixth bhikkhu in the Buddha's sangha and was the sixth to achieve arahanthood.

At that time there was in Benares a noble youth named Yasa, son of a gild-master, and delicately nurtured. He had three palaces, one for winter, one for summer, and one for the season of rains. He spent four months in the palace of the rainy season, surrounded by music-girls, and did not leave the palace. Now, Yasa, the noble youth, thus attended, endowed with and possessed of the five passions of sense, once fell asleep sooner than usual, and afterwards his attendants also fell asleep. All the night an oil-lamp was burning. Yasa, the noble youth, woke sooner than usual, and saw his attendants sleeping, a flute in the arms of one, a tambour on the neck of another, a drum in the arms of another, one with dishevelled hair, another with drivelling mouth, and muttering. It was like a cemetery round him. As he saw this, the evils of life became clear to him, and his mind became set with aversion. So Yasa, the noble youth, made this solemn utterance: "How oppressive it is, how afflicting it is!" Then Yasa, the noble youth, put on his gilt shoes, and went to the door of the house. Superhuman beings opened the gate, saying, "Let no one put an obstacle before Yasa, the noble youth, in his going forth from the house to a houseless life."

And Yasa, the noble youth, went to Isipatana, the deer-park. At that time the Lord had arisen at night, as it was dawning, and was walking in the open air. The Lord saw Yasa, the noble youth, as he was coming from afar, and on seeing him came down from where he was walking, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. Yasa, the noble youth, on drawing near the Lord made this solemn utterance: "How oppressive it is, how afflicting it is!" And the Lord said to Yasa, the noble youth, "This, Yasa, is not oppressive, this is not afflicting. Come, Yasa, sit down, I will teach you the doctrine." Then Yasa, the noble youth, at these words, "This is not oppressive, this is not afflicting," was elated and glad, and taking off his gilt shoes approached the Lord, and having saluted him, sat down at one side. As he was seated at one side, the Lord gave him a due exposition of this kind: he preached a discourse of almsgiving, of the commandments, of heaven, the misery, worthlessness, and impurity of lusts, and the blessing of renunciation. When the Lord saw that the mind of Yasa, the noble youth, was prepared, susceptible, free from obstacles, elated, and happy, then he preached a most excellent discourse of the doctrine of the Buddhas: suffering, the cause (of suffering), the destruction (of suffering), and the path. And as a clean cloth free from stain duly takes the dye, so in Yasa, the noble youth, as he sat there, arose the pure, unstained, insight into the doctrine, that everything subject to birth is subject to destruction.

Hope to all success in failure like Yasa.
Jun 2014
A. Kanthamani:

Learn to celebrate the failures: they are the pathways to success!!
We learn more from failures than successes!!!
Failures then cause no frustration!!!
They can never any frustration!!!!
Frustration is Phoenix-like: it sneaks through and leads to more and more successes!!!
Not more and more failures!!!
So, no paradox!!!!


I would like to disagree with your take on failure. The celebration of failure is not meant here for the sake of success, and to be able to make it norm or pathway for success. Rather it wants to disagree with the ways in success is being privileged as the norm for everything. Or it might question the assumptions behind the regime of success-failure polarity, which is paraded against the divergent status of existential imagination and performance. Thus the percieved failure or success cannot go without ideological and ethical scrutiny. Critical scrutiny requires to expose the paradox inherent in them.

A. Kanthamani:

Probably you’ve not understood the real polarity: the celebration of failure is definitely not for the sake of success, but for the failure itself. No norm governs either. No privileging of success: it is privileging for opening the path for success. Only those who understand the structure of failures as not exclusively as failures can carve the path to success. It is not cultural, nor ideological. It deserves no ethical scrutiny. It naturally grows out of the richness of experience in life situations.It must give you stance to look back not with anger or frustration. The pang will open more sanguine paths of success. Failures are dead ashes, success lends them a modicum of life. The binary triggers anew understanding!


Yes, most of the ruling class who want to control majority of the ruled ones set certain paths for success, and thus exclude or exterminate those are not able make it. The teleology and hierarchy of success are founded on the dichotomy of failure and success. Ethos of competitive race seems to be the cultural product that has been emerged from civilizations created by conquerors and imperialists. Their notions of enlightenment and liberty are infected with germs of violence and repulsion. Justifications for privileged existence are advanced on the basis of different models of success. Why there should be any path to success at all, if success is not not taken as the privileged telos? Any talk of path way to success seems to be utilitarian and instrumentalist. What is this if it is not an ethic of privileging and exclusion. You assertions of goes like this:

"No privileging of success: it is privileging for opening the path for success. Only those who understand the structure of failures as not exclusively as failures can carve the path to success."

Is it something sane or ludicrous to place or see failure as an imperative force or principle of success? Your further assertion seems to fix it unambiguously: "Failures are dead ashes, success lends them a modicum of life. The binary triggers anew understanding!"

A. Kanthamani:

You jump (without any warrant) to politics of failure and success (you speak as if you’re one who has understood society!): the ruling class may not have a model of this, contrary to your belief. You speak as if you’ve the competence to understand the society. No Indian has understood this whether they are marxists, capitalists or any other social scientist or anything worse than that. This is because Indians have no understanding of their own society. If you’ve any model, it cannot be a success model to prescribe what is success or failure. I said that the richness of life experience gives you a stance to look at your failures; you know how to revise it quite independent of the ruling class. The ruler cannot be blamed for either success or failure. You’re blamed if you do not know how to read the failure. The way you understand your success or failures are related whoever be the ruler! Good Day!


Well, perhaps there may be a jumping!! But it is warranted by the sociocultural dimensions of the failure experience. The burning issues of the world, in history and present, seem to have been stemming from the experience of people being made failure and victimised. Yes, there are political and ideological machinations to make failure individuals and collectives in their preferred lives and free actions. That politics is designed in favour of the interests of ruling and privileged classes of different hues. This would be the larger context in which some are made always failure. Thus the issue of failure is proposed here for debating. And the issue is not a simple failure due to incidental matters of lacking merits and skills. It is part of a wider machination for deprivation, exclusion, exploitation, discrimination, hegemony, cleansing, and what not! Failure also implies many other subaltern categories (conceptual cognates) that are placed at the opposite or bottom of hierarchy such as, idiots, fools, illiterates, ignorant, untouchables, blacks, primitives, pagan, locals, natives, folks, tribes, adivasi, traditional, peasants, demons, devils, witches, Indians, Africans, and others. There are systemic operations for socializing people to be submissive, inferior, fools, idiots, etc. Schools and educational systems seem to do their lot in this regard. Question of failure here is not at all a personal incapacity. And even if one gets succeed according to the standards of success set by the privileged elines, that might become double failure, if s/he is self conscious about the authenticity.

A. Kanthamani:

You’ve some bad (you agree that there is a jump from the ground to the attic!) political cues (not ideas!) which are not food for thinking or reflection. No one can socialise people to be submissive unless they are fools at the first instance. If you are under a system which requires to be submissive and failure-cases, then it is you who are responsible and not the system. You cannot experiment with half-baked ideas which you gather from dreams. You mix up these ideas with some dose of peanut marxism or worse form and try to pose as a philosopher with social standing. I’ve not spared any Indian to be in the category of social understanding (you should seriously reflect on why!: why Indians have no understanding of the social ensembles as Marx calls it!). And appropriately dismissed their illegitimate ideas. Politics is the last avenue of opportunity for those intellectuals who show some skill in understanding this ensembles. That is, it comes last! But for you it comes first from nothing! But you can join these class not by jumping but studying them carefully so as to demonstrate why they are born of illegitimate ideas. You study your peers first! You apply the same trick to your impulsive reaction! No one debates these ‘cues' before you do this! You must bring fresh ideas from your reading before setting them for ‘debating’. Your ideas, as far as I could see, are not worth debating! You should debate them without jumping and then poise them to flourish as key ideas! You’re not doing this because you lack the training in ideas as your peers are: they also jump to discuss Lacou, Guatarri before knowing the fundamentals of philosophy - a disease that afflicts many of your peers! You pose as if you’re socially minded when you’re born!! This comes after severe training and ordeals!!!y

With all best wishes for starting afresh!

P K Sasidharan:

It is okay, if jumping is taken as a procedure-failure (methodological failure) of any standard model of discussion. This would be the typical way those philosophers (technocrats, pundits, scientists?) keep attacking the so called indisciplined reactions that spring from bitter real life experiences. They are dumped as impulsive and erratic (other cognates of failure, for instance). SILENCING MECHANISMS ĶEEP INSISTING ON SUCCESSFUL MODELS AND PROCEDURAL DISCIPLINES!!! The history of humanity would reveal the cruelty that they perpetuate. The climate emergency is the situation that the brought in. THE UNSUSTAINABLE MODELS OF SUCCESS MAY/CAN BE A BETTER CONTEXT FOR CELEBRATING FAILURES!! Hence festivals of failures seem to become an existential imperative for humans.

Jackson K David:

What if is it a jump or a leap....a topic that's initiated to deconstruct the so called notions on which the society thrive cannot be expected to follow the usual norms and beliefs used to interact. Here the discussion is trying to debate on the basic facts on critical thinking where the constructed formats are questioned. As it's already mentioned how can we perceive it not only as a binary or the other side of success. Hence an epistemological enquiry is needed.

Hegemony stays every where. Even in the spheres of the so called knowledge. We shouldn't forget that all the fields of learning is a way to interpret life. Hence what's the issue if one can refer the great philosophies and philosophers while dealing with a common problem in life. It would be great if we can understand the purpose of discourses are not only for intellectual amusement of the so called intelligentsia but to understand and empathize with the common people.