Sunday, September 28, 2008

John Searle on Wittgenstein

John Searle (trying to) explain Wittgenstein's philosophy on a TV program with Bryan Magee.

Lots of philosophy lessons available here. All of them look consistently brilliant and extremely helpful.


Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften said...

Nice videos, will add'em to my favourites.

The reason I'm posting here is somewhat offtopic, though. I've been browsing trough your archives and I read a lot of references to Krasznahorkai's novel "Malancholy of Resistance".

From what I could gather you saw Bela Tarr's picture before reading the book and that's what I'd like to inquire about. Is it much of a spoiler to follow those steps? I ask because I have ordered a copy of the novel from a local importer (I live in Brazil) and it will probably take at least a month for it to get here so I wanted to know if watching the movie is going to ruin the "experience". From your posts it seems as if it actually helped you get past some intricate parts of the plot, but I wonder how hard those could be.

It's just that I recently read and then watched Lolita for the first time. Even thought I did it in this exact sequence I had previously read somewhere about Peter Seller's character and that ruined most of the mysteries in the novel for me (it was still superb, anyway) and then when I got to see the movie (which was scripted by Nabokov) I understood that it was supposed to show two aspects of the same situation (kinda like subjective-objective views).

So I wonder what is the relation between novel and film in the case of mr. Krasznahorkai's story.

Sorry to bother about this. Also, excuse my long-windedness. Thanks.

Alok said...

In my case watching the film doesn't really spoil the experience of reading the book. In fact while reading I begin the pay more attention to the writing and ways the film deviated and why, and it makes my reading experience richer. I read quite a few books recently after watching the films. Michael Cunningham's The Hours, The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham.

In this case the film follows the book quite closely (the screenplay was also written by Krasznahorkai) so I don't think there will be any disappointment. And the book is also written in a very intricate style (sentences going on for pages) and it can be a little easier to read if you already know the overall "what" of the story and read mainly for the *how*.

The book also contains discussions which touch on philosophy, music and religion (anarchy, need for order, death of God, Fascism) which are not readily apparent in the film. So even though you know the basic story there is still a lot more in the book.

Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften said...

Right. I'll probably end up seeing the movie then, since it doesn't seem to be so spoilerish and the novel being essentialy of a philosophical nature, it should not hurt.

I read your post on some dificulties concearning music theory while reading Melancholy and I could relate to you. I wonder if you've read Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus (not sure it's spelled this way); even though I'm not so strong myself in these fields - I enjoy my share of classical music - but man is that a wonderful novel. It has the best conversations on music I've ever read. Top-notch, really.

But anyway, thanks again for the advice.

Alok said...

Actually that's one of the two German language novels that has been sitting on my immediate to-read list for a long time (the other one is Broch's The Sleepwalkers). I love Death in Venice and the magic mountain (at least parts of it) very much. I am waiting for a long break to get into these books. Will do soon.

Actually for Melancholy of Resistance you don't need to know much of musical theory (basically the history of "temperament" and musical harmonies), I just got curious and tried to see what it all was but found it too complex and abstruse.

Krasznaharkoi in the book is just hinting at the idea that the world may not be harmonious at all and there can be no intrinsic order in the things and this he arrives at by speculating about harmonies and well-tempered musical scale (or the absence of it). This is a very interesting if somewhat abstruse idea. I am sure you will find it interesting. the film also has a brief scene which talks about it.

Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften said...

That's interesting. In Faustus, music is also used as a kind of metaphor for arranging the world in a more coesive and orderly way (and so the analogy could extend to fascim and Germany's nazism) as the hero procedes to devise a system of musical construction that is very strict and logical (whic is inspired by the actual twelve-tone system designed by Schönberg) and also very "dehumanized". It's actually far more complex than that, but you get the meaning. And the novel itself is also full with other symbolisms so it's very dense and rich.

I've read almost everything by Thomas Mann and am embarassed to say that my favourite of his works (in the way that it left a greatest impression, not that it is his best work, objectively) is a short story or novel called "Man and His Dog" (not sure of the English title, read it in Portuguese). It has such marvellous feeling of melancholy and nostalgia (but not in a decadent way) that reminds me of Hammershoi's paintings and long lost innocence. And no, the dog doesn't talk. But that's nonsense and I'm digressing again.

Oh, and I should mention that Sleepwalkers is also sitting on my shelf; I read the first part, which is a somewhat conventional romantic story and that didn't prompt me to continue but for what I've read about it the other two books are supposed to be much more interesting but I guess I'm also waiting for a break to get to it.

Alok said...

Oh wow, i think it sounds very similar to the idea in The Melancholy of Resistance too. Werckmeister Harmonies (or temperament) is not based on "natural" harmonies so the character tries to tune the piano back to natural temperament but then on the new piano Bach beings to sound just like cacophonous noise. So he begins to despair about the claim that music contains God's voice or that there is any inherent order in the universe, everything is not just chaos or that there is any meaning beneath all this. It is then linked to fascism too, because the main idea of fascism is to impose an order on the world from the outside.

I will try to start Doktor Faustus soon. Thanks for the tip about the short story as well. Will look out for it in his short story collections.