Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kuno Fischer on the brain. Or: Teach a man how to Fisch




Kuno Fischer on the brain.

Don't know why Kuno Fisher.

Kuno Fisher was W. Somerset Maugham's philosophy prof at Heidelburg.

I had the most incompetent guy teaching me Western Thought, though he did introduce me to Canadian thought and to friends of Marshall McLuhan, and I guess that was enough. At least I got to talk to the great McLuhan on the phone. And through my "incompetent" prof, I got to know people at MAD Magazine, on which I was writing my thesis. Heh.

Or is it Hoo-Hah?

Potrzebie in any case.

This morning, I have Kuno Fisher on the brain, Maugham's philosophy proff, specialist on Immanuel
Kant, the "a' priori" and "a' posteriori" guy.

Having a MAD turn of mind since I was writing a thesis on that serious publication, I thought not of Kant, but of that great young-old whippersnapper of history, the Marquis de Sade.

Here was de Sade's take on a' priori and a' posteriori: "You should turn your women around and go a' posteriori."

Wonder how the late really mad Marquis managed to have fathered four children all the same. Poor wife!

But my thoughts are really on Kuno Fischer, Maugham's prof.

Maugham, though an interned doctor, nevetheless had a an affinity for philosophy, like many another fine writer, to wit, Updike, Gardner and and Tom Wolfe.
Maugham took in a lot of Kuno Fischer's lectures.

Why do I have Kuno Fisher on the brain this morning.

Maybe because lately, people have been saying so much about teaching men how to fish instead of giving them handouts, certainly right over here, right in my own family, where my sisters are tired of my financial demands, even though they owe me a ton.

I answer that I learned to fish a long time ago, but it seems someone not only broke my pole, but cut my grass as well, taking spouse , job, bank account and jockstrap all in one fell swoop.

Last time I send my wife to night school!

Randy profs pi** me off!

And they tell me to learn how to fish.

Mothergrabbers dumped me into the water!


But they do tell me that poets always win, poets and their cousins, the preachers, who too are fishers of men.

Well, Dante had to go to hell for it, but he became the poet for all time.

I have been to hell, but I am a poet small time.

But I have broken up two marriages to get to the one I love.

There is only one marriage left to break up.

Batting .666

Kuno Fisher, I think I have gone MAD.

-30-

31 comments:

Donnetta Lee said...

Oh, philosophy professors! What do they really know?
Donnetta

islandgrovepress said...

Pretty well Ivory Tower, I guess.
Heads in the clouds.

But there was one who impressed me.
One Ludwig Wittgenstein, because he saw war, murder and mayhem first-hand as a soldier, and he always worried about "the case"--what is really going in what you see rather than generalities.

I do love the opening line of one of his treatises, especially as a wrier who once tried to draw.

Begins Wittgenstein, "A sentence is a word picture."
Maybe I'm just a crayon kid at heart, but I like that.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, do you still have your thesis on MAD magazine? I would love to read it.

Do you have any idea how lucky you are to have received a formal education? It is worth more than all the gold and jewels in the world. I knew I was very smart, and I "got it", but I was never formally educated. I don't envy anything in the world, fame, beauty, fortune, but I envy anyone who has a formal education. It is the greatest gift anyone can receive. Ever.

Josie

islandgrovepress said...

Aw, Josie, it was only a Journalism course very heavy on the social sciences and economics.

Post-graduate work was mostly writing-related.
I didn't major in something really smart like applied science or mathematics, or the biological sciences. It was all applied writing and "witchraft" disciplines like Sociology and Psychology.

In the upheaval of my divorce, house moves and conflagrations in political offices, I have lost my own copy of MAD MAGAZINE AS AN EXAMPLE OF DADA.
The thesis was presented forty years ago to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (As Ryerson University was then known).
It would really take some digging in Ryerson's archives to find the thing.

I recall that I did lean pretty heavily on the University Of Toronto's EXPLORATIONS Magazine, an informal forum for Toronto thinkers among whom was Marshall McLuhan and Edmund Carpenter.

Unfortunately Explorations bit the dust in about l959, but by then, Dr. McLuhan had launched himself to world fame.

p.s.: If it weren't for the financial and moral support of my then-wife and her family, I wouldn't have been able to get to first base on any kind of seriout training...Always the money!

I.

Trevor Record said...

I don't know how to fish, but I am learning how to Fisch. Ot at least, I am working on gettng a degree in philosophy. To Donnetta Lee: What does anyone really know?

(Heh, isn't that the most typical philosophy response?)

My head has admittedly been stuck in the clouds ever since they pried it out of another place in 1985.

islandgrovepress said...

I do believe old Play Dough did say that real thinking starts when your realize you know nothing at all. Takes a crack in the head, I guess.
Trevor, you are precocious.
Philosphy will be a natural for you. Simon Fraser and UBC are good institutions, and I hope you find a prof better than mine, though he was practical enough to point me in the right direction when neither I nor my fellow students had any idea what in hell he was talking about. Smart man who didn't really have the gift of passing it on.

The'll likely expect you to know a lot of Marx, but Marx is really Hegel, and Hegel will wreck your mind...Good thing my uncle Tommy was a commie and he said, read Marx--don't even try Hegel.
Philosopby is a good place to start. From there on, you can specialize in something and go on to teaching or social work if those things interest you.

Writer?
I have given my life for this guy named Art and the bastard has extracted a terrible price.

Uh,
Cheers,

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

Don't know much about philosophy...

Reminds me of Sam Cooke's song "Wonderful World."

Okay, my Philosophy 101 class was taught by a Baptist Preacherman. I preferred Psychology. The prof acted out mental disorders -- schizophrenia, etc., and I was stoned.

Josie said...

Gosh, speaking of mental disorders, my daughter's is acting up again. I'm heartsick. She's coming after us all with AK-47s. Poor little Freddie. I wish his father would grow some cojones.

islandgrovepress said...

Liz,

Didn't we just love Sam Cooke?

"Don't know much about history
Don't know much about biology...

"But I know that you love me true...

Here in Ontario and before that in Great Britain, if a man was smart and had no money for an education, he became a parson...But a parson's salary was about the same as a McJob employee, so the preacher had to work in jewelry shops or teach to make ends meet.
I guess that's what your preacher man was doing. Keeping body, soul and frock coat together.

Wow. What a way to learn psychology! It's about human and animal behaviour and it looks like your prof was pretty adept at acting out the animal parts. :)

I recall we listened to a lot of Sgt. Pepper and got pretty stoned in graduate school. Incredible sense of being able to see around corners and all that :-)

Ivan

islandgrovepress said...

Saddened by this, Josie.

the insctinctive response is to take a stick to someone like that, but we are supposed to be more enlightened.
Does your daughter know she has issues?
Nutty folk seem the last to know there is somethig wrong with them.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, my daughter is highly intelligent and well-educated. She knows she has a mental illness. But she has also learned to give an Oscar-winning performance in acting "normal" when she needs to. I realize now she has been doing it for a very long time. She is consumed with jealousy, paranoia and resentment all the time, that is when she is not depressed or anxious. No one can help her, but everyone suffers.

I am heartsick.

Josie

islandgrovepress said...

Josie,

This is just the response of a layman, but it strikes me that she may be a bit jealous of you and your role as the mother.
From where I sit, you are prettier and smarter than she--of course you are: Mother knows everything, and mother is beautiful while the daughter didn't entirely benefit from all the good genes. This very well may cause some resentment in a daughter.

My mother-in-law was beautiful and successful. My own wife was pretty enough, but not as pretty as Mom, nor as accomplished.
This led to resentment from the daughter. I notice that my own daughter, who is, understadably, prettier than Mom--rarely visits Mom at Christmas. Probably bccause Mom used to beat up on her.

Mother-daughter relationships are complex, certainly beyond a man's understanding. Then there's the fact that your daughter didn't have a father after that awful event.

Perhaps a break in the action.

While in the air force, I heard the cutest little lay:

"Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding, here comes my wagon.
My wagon.
I can hear my keeper calling me
Just like the nuts that fall, I'm a little cracked that's all.

"Ding, ding, ding, ding, here comes my wagon

my wagon

My twuck."


And, to the tune of Frara Jocka:

I am crazy
I am crazy
So are you
So are you

Happy little morons
Happy little morons

Hoo hoo hoo.



Not meaning to be disrespectful.
Just trying a little humour, which, I am told, is the best medicine.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, you managed to get me laughing. You must be a hoot in person. Boundless energy and wit.

Yes, it's a very complex situation, but aside from that, I do think she has bipolar syndrome, definitely. Doesn't help.

Josie

islandgrovepress said...

Well then,
the Woodstock response:

*&;;-!&!!!

Everybody needs a friend, even Snoopy. Living in
a nest close to Snoopy's dog house, Woodstock is
Snoopy's closest confidante, friend and sounding board.

Despite the fact that Woodstock speaks entirely in
apostrophes and/or exclamation marks, he still is one
smart bird, using those marks to express a wide range
of emotions and thoughts.....that apparently his
friend Snoopy is able to understand with ease.


Ivan

Josie said...

I once went to a very bad hairdresser who gave me a haircut just like Woodstock's. I looked just like him - for weeks.

Josie

islandgrovepress said...

%!%&&!!!!!

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, Trevor is right. What does anybody really KNOW!

Sorry to hear about daughter having a bad go of it, Josie. I know it upsets the family-those who love her the most.

Liz: Stoned? Oh, I'm so shocked.

Ivan, I love your own philosophies. Probably because I usually agree with them. Whoa! I just saw something around the corner.

Donnetta

Josie said...

%!%&&???

Heh, heh.

Donnetta, thanks. I feel bad, but Ivan always seems to cheer me up.

Josie

islandgrovepress said...

Donnetta,

Heh heh.

I suspect that our our beautiful and talented Liz is seeing around corners about now.
I guess it's her work, which she describes as hacking on stone for the Pharaoh. I mean, Dylan says, "Everybody must get stoned."

I just drove by a business in these parts, called, strangely,
Port Bolster Natural Stone.
It gave me a giggle.
And an insight.
"Stop doing that stuff and call your local editor."

I did.
She took my story suggestion, but had somebody on staff write the story.
I don't mind at all.
Better a friendly editor than the usual response I get from the Toronto Glitterati crowd.
What I'm getting from the Toronto Glitterati crowd is something out of graduate school of put-downs, that is to say, a
"F-off."
In case there was any doubt in my mind as to what was meant, they seemed to add, "This means you."
LOL.
Anyway, now that the big Editor seems friendly, I wonder if I could inveigle her into printing the story of the horse they named after me in Australia. I mean, the Editor owes me one!
I don't mind at all to have someone do the spadework on my story suggestion.
I mean, journalism is chores.
I hate chores. I hate facts. Facts bore me.
Did I tell you that I once made a living out of just story ideas for the big slick magazines? Twenty-five oldfashioned dollars for just the suggestions alone.
I would dig up twenty story ideas a day and I was soon rich.
But then I hit a clunker.
I went to a United Steelworkers party and there, I saw people dancing. At least I think they were dancing. Oh no! They weren't dancing. They were snogging. Right on the dance floor!
I came up with this idea for a story on how United Steelworkers dance and the editor wrote me off as a nut case.
They dance funny in some parts of Canada.
Some of my story ideas are, well, right off the wall.

Yeah, Trevor.

Bright, extremely talented guy.
Too bad he's going to end up like the Diogenes he once quoted in his blog.
Diogenes looking for truth, with his lamp.
Some of the idiot literary bloggers out there might be so dishonest as to steal poor Trevor's lamp, so mean and put-up is some of the genre talent out there. They seem to hate talented young writers like Trevor.

But then old Voltaire says somewhere that the untalented make the most noise, and I'm certainly making a hell of a lot here.

Egad. I am going through cigarette withdrawal over here.
My body knows what to do.
But I've got to put new life into my credit cards. Credit cards gone up in smoke. Goddam things are about a dixie a pack, and it is small wonder that I'm going broke, since most mornings I open my eyes to see if my cigarette is drawing properly; I practically eat the damn things.
Aw well. Got off the smokes just long enough to get an idea or two.

Thanks for the appreciation of ye olde philosophy blog.

Your unofficial Writers' Forum has turned into a success!

Ivan

islandgrovepress said...

Josie,

I do get a giggle out of just thinking about that Woodstock haircut you got.
"I came upon a child of God..."

Heh.

Ivan

Josie said...

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

islandgrovepress said...

Indeed.

Ivan

Sienna said...

It's so like you say Josie, the poor kids, caught up in the midst of their Mum's problems.

I don't know what you must be going through but it makes me feel so sad for them...and I'm thousands of miles away, you are too, caught up, no way forward, no way back...and just the shit in the middle.

Ivan, you are seriously the funniest person on this earth!

Thankyou as one human being to another for cheering Josie up, and getting her giggling.

Pam

Anonymous said...

Heh heh.

Thanks, Pam.

Josie said...

Pam, I agree Ivan is the funniest person on the planet.

%!%&&!!!!!

Cheered me up right away.

Leslie and I are off to the theatah this evening. "Gypsy". It'll be fun.

Josie

islandgrovepress said...

Josie,

You're going to see Gypsy?

And you didn't invite me, the randy DOM?

"But burlesque is an art form."

Yeah, right.

A cunning display... :)

JM said...

Ivan:

It was that same Editor who burst into the newsroom one day -- everywhere she burst, never entering quietly, but always with much urgency and din about her -- waving in the stale air a wrinkled piece of paper (an epistle from her constant correspondent, Ivan).
"Such a character!" she crowed (for crowing was her way of speaking). "We must do a profile on him!"
Her enthusiasm was met with silence (understand, an editor's enthusiasm invariably equates as a reporter's anguish) until JM piped up.
"I'll do it," I said.
And I did.
Spent the day scribbling in a notebook while Ivan stalked the length and breadth of his apartment, smoking and drinking instant coffee (I declined the fortified beer he offered soon after ushering me in) and telling me everything.
Best conversation I ever had.
Pretty good story, too.

islandgrovepress said...

PRETTY GOOD STORY INDEED, JEFF MITCHELL, BEST WRITER IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO.
I DIDN'T MAKE THE COVER OF ROLLING STONE, BUT THE FRONT COVER OF THE
ERA-BANNER, WAS FINE, JUST FINE!
SUDDENLY, 70,OOO PEOPLE KNEW WHAT THE HELL I'D BEEN UP TO UP TO BY
2,OO3.

BELIEVE IT, THE STORY WAS PASSED FROM HAND TO HAND AND WAS EVEN COPIED BY AT LEAST TWO LADY CALLIGRAPHRS WHO HAD TAKEN A SHINE TO ME. THEY PRESENTNED MY WITH BEAUTIFULLY BOUND COPIES OF THE STORY YOU DID ON ME, COMPLETE WITH THE EXCELLENT PHOTO BY BILL ROBERTS.
MEETING YOU AS AN EXPERIENCE AND AS I TOLD CORRESPONDENT E.A. MONROE HERE, I STAND IN AWE OF YOUR WRITING ABILITY.
YOU HAD PUT ME ON THE MAP, AGAIN, JEFF.

Ivan

islandgrovepress said...

p.s. to JM,

I just realized that the editor-roporter-Ivan account was a short story in itself.
As one of my correspondents would say (Miss A),
Mazel Tov.

Ivan

Trevor Record said...

Wandering the internet with a lantern, you say? Sounds good, Ivan.

Yeah, I think I will go to UBC eventually, but it's expensive. Community college is fine for now.

islandgrovepress said...

Trevor,
If it is at all possible((student loans, bumming off parents--anything!) try to get into a university. Or at least a night class in Writing at a university.

You will meet idiots at the communty college, both staff and students.
I speak from experience.
Boy do I speak from experience.

I was told at the community college where I taught that I was god-awful, i.e., I taught new writers about Homer. Horrors!
"A guy as bad as you should be teaching University, that's how bad you are!

Go figure.

Ivan