Misery loves company.... so read it!!

Read any good books lately?
nmblum88
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Misery loves company.... so read it!!

Post by nmblum88 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:42 pm

I must confess to having spent a few minutes trying to relate (for those who are sticklers for adhering to a topic, or who demand relevancy to Forum purpose) this offering to issues of religion.
It can be done (although, to hell with it, I'm not going to do it): nature versus nurture for instance, with an emphasis on the religiously (as well as culturally,of course) discouraged racial intermarriages.
We have, after all, long understood that in-breeding doesn't produce necessarily inspiring results.
And then too, the theme of religions - all of them- being in the forefront, always of whatever battles occur between science and adherence to traditional religious beliefs, including the discouraging if not forbidding of birth control.
Anyway, I just finished, with my morning coffee, "the House of Wittgenstein:A Family at War" by ALexander Waugh (himself the scion of a brilliant, eccentric and troubled, tribe).
Highly recommended (especially those who have spent a lot of time convinced that their own family influences have kept them from fame, fortune, love, and a stint at "Dancing with the Stars).
One of the great family sagas, and it could not be more fantastical if it were fiction, as well as a reminded that whatever Tolstoi was wrong about, there is no doubt whatever that unhappy family are in no way alike..
If there is another family (other than the Jukes and/or the Kallikaks) so benighted, including the ill-fated clans of Greek tragedy or the pallid confines of American soap opera, they have yet to be revealed..
Just a hint:, without even touching on the parents who are worthy of a volume each of their own: in addition to the incredible Ludwig (star in the firmament of 20th century Philosophy) there were 7 other little Wittgensteins.
All of them talented, perhaps even brilliant, and unsurpassedly morbid.
(Are those blessed with supra-normal intelligence doomed to morbidity, depresseion, and even schizophrenia?)
At any rate three of the brothers committed suicide barely out of childhood, the sisters lives were beyond-belief-downers, and Wittgenstein of course went on to as much fame as Philosophy as a discipline allows (an enormous fish in a small pond especially as in Europe at least science, especially Physics was producing competitive stars of its own... and for good reason.
However he was as famous as for his effete eccentricities as for his intellect.
Paul, the other surviving brother, a superbly accomplished concert pianist (the entire family was musically talented) with a great career in the offing, enlisted in the Austrian army in WWI, losing.... are you ready you god-is-gooders?..... an arm.
Only temporarily deterred, he practiced endlessly, rewrote his repertoire to work for a one-armed piano player, and actually created a few concert works for himself and others afflicted in the same way....
They are still played today..
Hard to not love such a crew, who despite having been raised as Christians, were, under the Nuremburg Laws, deemed to be Jews based on the fact that three of their grandparents, Jews, did not convert to Christianity until they were adults.
No, matter, two of the sister s were on Hitler's side as far as the concentration camp incarceration of their brother Paul was concerned.
Hard not to love this family, ever a dull moment ... who it should be mentioned could not blame their family dramas or personal failings on poverty....
And it is hard to avoid comparing the authentic, non-fictional Wittgensteins with that pillar of pre WWII Gerrman literature, "Buddenbrooks..."
But the Buddenbrooks family of Thomas Mann's imagination, did among other things survive for at least four generations before falling into historically as well as personal, hard times.
The Wittgensteins... the 8 siblings produced no offspring... disappeared after only two..
But WHAT two!!
Remarkably informative (one thing leading to another, as the best books always do) and incredibly entertaining (Waugh even has a better than most understanding of the nature of Philosophy and philosophers).
Again, highly recommended: I finished the book barely 15 minutes ago, and I miss the Wittgensteins already.

NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."