A Forum for and the Background of the Mediation of Dialogue in Ancient and Modern Academies

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Fragments of Love: Peter Stein and other Demons

As I was taking my regular evening walk, I realised I love Berlin. In Gendarmenmarkt various concerts take place since Thursday, this evening is devoted to swing. And so I circled the beautiful square for a couple of times as the tickets are not inexpensive.

I love Berlin; to come to think of it, without having fallen in love with the city. There was no spell. I just loved Berlin from the first encounter. What was it? How did this happen? Did the seminar on "Nietzsche and the Greeks" initiate my sympathy or the very well-hidden chapel I discovered in the center of the city or the avant-garde corners that the capital has to offer in abundance?

I shall not gather any fragments or cherry-pick elements that aroused my interest, gradually increased my sympathy or provoked my fascination. But I shall provide one quite special and crucial reason for my love for Berlin: Peter Stein, the authority of German theater direction. Although I have experienced very good productions in Residence Theater (Munich), no direction stood out. In comparison to all these marvelous Strindbergs, Becketts and Ibsens, Peter Stein's excellent work transformed von Kleist's famous Lustspiel "Der zerbrochne Krug" into a theater feast. This summer he ventured a twelve-hour adaptation of Dostojewski's "Demons": www.welt.de/kultur/article7911323/Peter-Stein-und-seine-Zwoelf-Stunden-Daemonen.html
How do I wish the play would reach Berlin! Unfortunately it does not seem to be the case despite the fact that the Demons travelled all around the globe (Vienna, Amsterdam, Napoli, Ravenna, Athens and New York). On the 25th of August, the Berliner Ensemble will celebrate the premiere of Stein's Oedipus at Colonus.

How can I love this city? What do I love in this city?


Monday, 5 July 2010

3rd July 2010: Was this one single day?

Everything is wonderful in Berlin apart from the weather which reminds of Greek summer midst in the German capital. Berlin is not beautiful, but this does not mean the city is ugly either. It is always under construction, which raises the hope that it is transforming itself into even better surroundings. It is a capital where one can live: even in the centre, there is no suffocation like in Athens for instance.

My seminar on the Platonic Timaeus is doing fine and is gradually coming to an end. My students prompt me to develop even better reasons and explanations in “the game of giving and asking for reasons”. Some problems have caught my interest that I had never had the opportunity to immerse into before. Some among them are: the sensible παθήματα (against the background of the Theaetetus), Plato’s implicit dialogue with Democritus, “heavy” and “light” as sensible πάθημα and the difference to the Aristotelian concept of weight, and above all and throughout the Timaeus: ἀνάγκη. In contrast to his seventh book of the Republic, Plato has done his homework on the πολλαχῶς λέγεσθαι of necessity.

Unfortunately there is not enough time for updating my blog. This lack of leisure accords at least with my general aim not to inform on fashionable trends.

I am willing to write some notes on the 3rd of July.

The most important happening of the day was that I realized I am a Platonist. This is not a big deal you may think for someone who has been working on Plato, but I will reply it is well indeed. Delving into the Timaeus and fathoming the philosophical paideia in Plato’s written work, it has been so difficult to begin with the aftermath in my Berlin project. I pondered different strategies so as to proceed with my authority named Plato (my philosophical psychoanalysis) and accomplish my “Kehre von Platon zum Platonismus”. What happened on the 3rd of July? I realised I interpret the philosopher’s descent in the Republic (my paper for the Tokyo-IPS-conference, 1.-7. August 2010http://phil.flet.keio.ac.jp/ips2010/abstracts.html) in a manner that Alcinous, the middle Platonist, would have apparently welcomed! This was the πάθημα of my morning, which needless to say would be sufficient to provide afterthoughts for the entire day.

In the afternoon, the German football-team beat the Argentineans. The team spirit of the young German footballers turned me into a football fan and as such I encountered the capital that was awkward in its celebration of the unexpected result.

The day accomplished its course with Bizet and his Carmen (Deutsche Oper, Charlottenburg, http://www.deutscheoperberlin.de/). This day could not have ended differently. The bond that binds my day is still the notion of ἀνάγκη. Now we are not in first, second or even third philosophy but rather in the realm of human action where we have to broach necessity in relation to freedom.

I shall need some days to reflect on the 3rd of July. For sure, now I shall willingly devote myself to Alcinous’ Didaskalikos. Only now may I speak of innate and not external necessity: Ἀνάγκη ἐστι.

P.S: Unlike the German young football player Thomas Müller, I cannot send my greetings to my grandparents as they unfortunately are not alive any longer.
Let me send my greetings to you, dear Peter, on the other side of the Channel. Finish your book on Pindar that we all await. And then we will experience Peter Stein’s direction and Klaus Maria Brandauer, the actor you are so right to deeply appreciate.