f(q) = Is everything moving? (#TSAM)
SynTalk is a freewheeling interdisciplinary talk show with a philosophical approach to understanding the world from a long term perspective.
Uhntākshurry - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol VI)
The Antakshari Scene: The antakshari scene located mid-film is a prime example of the intertextuality found in MPK and the originality that comes in part from the film’s recontextualization of various fragments from pop culture. Even though the song sequence does not contain original music but rather a medley of songs from previous Hindi films, it still functions as an important vehicle for plot development and the articulation of feelings that cannot easily be expressed through dialogue (see Ganti 2004, 178-179). Antakshari, as played in the film, requires two opposing teams that alternate singing popular song lyrics, with the first word of each song starting with the same syllable that ended the previous song. These rules are embedded on the name of the game itself, as antakshari combines ant (end) and akshar (a letter of the Hindi alphabet). The competition continues until one team cannot continue the back-and-forth. Given the centrality of lyrics in Hindi film songs, and the hegemonic popularity of cinema in India, antakshari is a pleasurable mode of “timepass” during long train rides, parties, or wedding celebrations. (An excerpt from ‘Antakshari in Maine Pyar Kiya’ by Peter Kvetko, ch. 2 in ‘Music in Contemporary Hindi Film: Memory, Voice, Identity’, edited by Jayson Beaster-Jones, Natalie Sarrazin). Listen in...
Jocelyn - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol V)
The intensity of celestial sources passing over the fixed field of radio receivers was recorded on strip charts and had to be analyzed by visual inspection. This task fell naturally to the graduate student of the group, Jocelyn Bell. On August 6, 1967, she first noticed a peculiar train of radio signals when the sky at right ascension 19h19min passed through the field of view. What could have caused such a transient periodic signal? The first suspicion was of course interference from some electric equipment, like the ignition of a passing car or a satellite. But to the surprise of Bell the signal appeared again at about the same time of day. After a few months it was obvious that the regular pulses were coming from a celestial source beyond our solar system. Furthermore a recording of the source with sub-second time resolution on November 28, 1967, revealed pulses repeating at a regular period of 1.33 s. At that point - the discovery of the phenomenon was still kept secret - the thought that radio signals from an extraterrestrial civilization had been recorded was seriously considered, under the code "LGM" (little green men). (An excerpt from ‘Gamma-Ray Pulsars’ by Gottfried Kanbach, chapter 6 in ‘The Universe in Gamma Rays’ (2001), edited by Volker Schönfelder)). Listen in...
Subjectivity - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol IV)
One of the central theses underlying the phenomenology of body is that of bodily subjectivity. It might appear as though by speaking of “bodily subjectivity” one is in effect assimilating “body” into “consciousness,” so that instead of the real body one is talking about thought or the idea of the body. Nothing could be farther removed from our intentions. Body is neither a modality of consciousness, nor is subjectivity coextensive with consciousness. In fact, one of the implications of the concept of bodily subjectivity is that the concept of subjectivity is wider than the concept of consciousness. It also entails that intentionality is a distinguishing feature, not of the domain of consciousness, but of the larger domain of subjectivity. The concept of subjectivity should also be dissociated from the epistemological concept of “subject.” Nor do the concepts of subjectivity and consciousness necessarily hang together with the concept of “representation” (of reality) and/or the priority of the temporal dimension of presence over the modalities of time as Heidegger would have us believe. (An excerpt from ‘Intentionality and the Mind/Body Problem’, essay 9 in ‘The Possibility of Transcendental Philosophy’ (1985), by J. N. Mohanty). Listen in...
Hypochondria - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol III)
Frankfurt, 1797: at twenty-seven, Hegel plunged into a profound crisis. He no longer knew what he thought; he no longer knew what to think. The republic and the revolution had collapsed under the repeated blows of German history. Several years later, Hegel would speak of this episode as an attack of “hypochondria”. Hypochondria: literally, under the cartilage of the ribs, with one’s heart cramped. When the perception of the world is too closely concerned with chaos, the heart suddenly, without reason, sinks. Without any reason: one might say that reason gets muddled. Look closely at the letter in which Hegel, at forty, describes the crisis that overcame him in Frankfurt: ‘I suffered from this hypochondria for a number of years to the point of total exhaustion; no doubt every man experiences such a turning point in his life, the nocturnal point where his whole being contracts and he must force himself through the narrows until he becomes secure and certain of himself, secure in ordinary daily life, and if he has already made himself incapable of being fulfilled by that, then secure in a more inward, more noble existence. (emphasis added)’ (An excerpt from ‘Syncope: The Philosophy of Rapture’ (1994), by Catherine Clément). Listen in...
Commencement - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol II)
Defarge closed the door carefully, and spoke in a subdued voice: “Jacques One, Jacques Two, Jacques Three! This is the witness encountered by appointment, by me, Jacques Four. He will tell you all. Speak, Jacques Five!” The mender of roads, blue cap in hand, wiped his swarthy forehead with it, and said, “Where shall I commence, monsieur?” “Commence,” was Monsieur Defarge's not unreasonable reply, “at the commencement.” “I saw him then, messieurs,” began the mender of roads, “a year ago this running summer, underneath the carriage of the Marquis, hanging by the chain. Behold the manner of it. I leaving my work on the road, the sun going to bed, the carriage of the Marquis slowly ascending the hill, he hanging by the chain—like this.” Again the mender of roads went through the whole performance; in which he ought to have been perfect by that time, seeing that it had been the infallible resource and indispensable entertainment of his village during a whole year. Jacques One struck in, and asked if he had ever seen the man before? “Never,” answered the mender of roads, recovering his perpendicular. (An excerpt from ‘A Tale of Two Cities (1859), by Charles Dickens). Listen in...
Scenes - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol I)
“What do you do at his place? What do you and he talk about?” asked Stolz. “You know, it’s so proper and cozy at his place. The rooms are small and the sofas are so deep, you sink so far down no one can see you. The windows are quite covered with ivy and cactus, and he has more than a dozen canaries and three dogs, such good ones! He always has something to eat on the table. The engravings all depict family scenes. You come and you never want to leave. You sit there without a care or thought in the world, and you know there’s someone nearby. Naturally, he’s not smart, and there’s no exchanging ideas with him or thinking, but on the other hand he’s not crafty but good and kind, and he has no pretensions and won’t stab you in the back!”. “But what do you do?” “Do? Well, I arrive and we sit opposite each other on sofas with our feet up, and he smokes.” “What about you?” ”I smoke, too, and listen to the canary trilling. Then Marfa brings in the samovar.”(An excerpt from 'Oblomov' (1859), by Ivan Goncharov. Translation by Marian Schwartz (2008)). Listen in...
Such a refreshing podcast. It makes one look at the world differently. It’s so enriching and full of knowledge, which is articulated so beautifully by all the guests and the host. I’m always looking forward to a new episode. Thank you so much, please keep going!