Chapter 17 The Baroque …such stuff as dreams are made on… Summary Sophie continues to find postcards from Hilde’s father, but she does not know how they are getting to her. She tells her mother the entire account of Knox and his philosophy lessons. She and her mother then plan a birthday party for her on Midsummer’s Eve. When Sophie returns to Knox’s apartment, he teaches her about the 17th century's Baroque period, the name of which comes from a term describing an irregular pearl. It was a time characterized by extremes—a life of luxury and a life of spiritual seclusion. The ephemeral nature of life was a focus, with the motif of the theater often recurring, particularly in the works of Shakespeare. The main question of the period is "what is real and what is but a dream?" Thomas Hobbes presented the idea that only matter exists, thus supporting the philosophy of materialism. This view of the universe and mankind as machines spread in the scientific world. All that exists is predetermined, whether by the machine or by God. This is called determinism, in which there is no free will. However, there was still a strong strain of spirituality existent. There was also an acknowledged separation between the spiritual and the material, but the nature and characteristics of each continued to elude philosophers. The two greatest philosophers of the day were Descartes and Spinoza. Notes Baroque: comes from a word that was first used to describe a pearl of irregular shape. Irregularity was typical of Baroque art, which was much richer in highly contrastive forms than the plainer more harmonious Renaissance art. Albert Knag writes to Hilde: Life consists of a long chain of coincidences. God’s providence Carpe diem=seize the day Memento mori=remember that you must die References to life as theater/dream: All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts. Shakespeare As You Like It Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Shakespeare Macbeth What is life? A madness. An illusion, a shadow, a story, and the greatest good is little enough, for life is all a dream…. Calderón de la Barca Life Is a Dream Once I dreamed I was a butterfly, and now I no longer know whether I am Chuang-tzu, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly dreaming that I am Chuangtzu. Chuang-tzu The Fish Rejoice Idealism (what exists is spiritual) vs. Materialism (what exists is concrete material substance) Thomas Hobbes: all phenomena are particles of matter (even human consciousness) Mechanistic World View: The world is one big machine (Newton) La Mettrie: L’homme machine = man, the machine Laplace: determinism==everything that happens is pre-determined Leibniz: the difference between the material and the spiritual is that the material can be divided into smaller parts, the soul cannot be divided at all.