Monks of the Cultural Apocalypse: 'The Glass Bead Game,' Part Two

Episode 110 · November 10th, 2021 · 1 hr 13 mins

About this Episode

In the current "attention economy," which has resulted in plummeting literacy rates and the almost wanton neglect of various cultural practices, what significance does culture even have? Why seek to preserve something our age has decided doesn't have to exist? Perhaps Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game can be read as an answer to those questions. The order of monastic scholars in the novel exists mainly to remember what others were happy to consign to oblivion. In this episode, Phil and JF discuss Hesse's ideas on the order and its sacred game in terms of how they might help us meet the challenge facing anyone who believes the value of culture can't be expressed in dollars and cents.


Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game
Pope Benedict XVI, former head of the Catholic church
J.S. Bach, Well Tempered Clavier, Rosalyn Tureck interpretation and Glenn Gould interpretation
Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Chauvet Cave
Peter Bebergal Strange Frequencies
Andy Goldsworthy, British artist
Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists
William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light