Lobsters, Pianos, and Hidden Gods

Episode 54 · August 28th, 2019 · 1 hr 17 mins

About this Episode

"All things feel," Pythagoas said. Panpsychism, the belief that consciousnes is a property of all things and not limited to the human brain, is back in vogue -- with good reason. The problem of how inert matter could give rise to subjectivity and feeling has proved insoluble under the dominant assumptions of a hard materialism. Recently, the American filmmaker Errol Morris presented his own brand of panpsychism in a long-form essay entitled, "The Pianist and the Lobster," published in the New York Times. The essay opens with an episode from the life of Sviatoslav Richter, namely a time where the famous Russian pianist couldn't perform without a plastic lobster waiting for him in the wings. In Morris's piece, the curious anecdote sounds the first note of what turns out to be a polyphony of thoughts and ideas on consciousness, agency, Nerval's image of the the "Hidden God," and the deep weirdness of music. Phil and JF use Morris's essay to create a polyphony of their own.


Errol Morris, "The Pianist and the Lobster"

Sviatoslav Richter, Russian pianist
Nick Cave., Red Hand Files #53
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Bruno Monsaingeon (dir.), Richter: The Enigma
Bon Jovi, "Livin’ on a Prayer"
Brad Warner, "The Eyes of Dogen"
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition
Edgard Varèse, composer
Benjamin Libet, neuroscientist
Robin Hardy (dir), The Wicker Man
Frans De Waal, Mama’s Last Hug
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus
Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego
Tarot de Marseille - XVIII: The Moon
Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life
Carl Jung, "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry", The Red Book
Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods