Infinite Play: On 'The Glass Bead Game,' by Hermann Hesse

Episode 109 · October 27th, 2021 · 1 hr 20 mins

About this Episode

JF and Phil have been talking about doing a show on The Glass Bead Game since Weird Studies' earliest beginnings. It is a science-fiction novel that alights on some of the key ideas that run through the podcast: the dichotomy of work and play, the limits and affordances of institutional life, the obscure boundary where certainty gives way to mystery... Throughout his literary career, Hesse wrote about people trying to square their inner and outer selves, their life in the spirit and their life in the world. The Glass Bead Game brings this central concern to a properly ambiguous and heartbreaking conclusion. But the novel is more than a brilliant work of philosophical or psychological literature. It is also an act of prophecy -- one that seems intended for us now.

Header image by Liz West, via Wikimedia Commons.


Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

Paul Hindemith, German composer
Morris Berman, The Twilight of American Culture
Alfred Korzybski, concept of Time Binding
Christopher Nolan, Memento
William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
David Tracy, The Analogical Imagination: Christian Theology and the Culture of Pluralism
Jeremy Johnson, Seeing Through the World: Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness
Teilhard de Chardin, French theologian
Joshua Ramey, The Hermetic Deleuze
Weird Studies, Episode 22 with Joshua Ramey
Joseph Needham, British historian of Chinese culture
James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games