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Saul segundo Flusser

This paper will focus on the first text of Vilém Flusser maintained until today. It is the play Saul, written by the thinker at the age of fifteen or sixteen, in 1935 or 1936. The drama, filled with an anguishing existential atmosphere, was written in Prague, the city dangerously neighboring Germany, where the Nuremberg anti-Semitic Race Laws had just began to come into force. In his first work, the author had already built up a dialectical structure, characteristic of his later texts. His very peculiar dialectics, however, does not generate a synthesis, much to the contrary; it generates another dialectics, which instead of limiting, broadens the reflection. In Saul, darkness is opposed to light, Saul to David, the Bible to the twentieth-century. In Flusser’s play, the elements obtain unconventional meanings: darkness is connected with feminine, with nature, with mythos and reconciliation; in turn light, which represents the Universal God, is related to violence and suffering. Saul is an errant character with flaws, weakness, and is deeply human, while David, with his perfection, is perverse. In the last scene, the biblical poetic world of lamentations and hymns cedes place to the prosaic universe of the twentieth-century. The dry, ironic and scientifically objective style of the dialogues between a physician and a man “in leisure clothes” dominates the stage on which lies Saul’s body. This brief text presents excerpts from the play and contextualizes it in light of Flusser’s later works.

Saul segundo Flusser (PDF 235.29 KB)

Flusser’s Moral Theory – Philosophy as Melancholy

~Flusser is a moral philosopher worthy of careful study and criticism. This paper is my attempt to critically investigate this crucial, moral, aspect of his writings. To focus attention on the significance of his moral theory, I shall compare Flusser with Hegel, a comparison that is not accidental as both philosophers tried to explain “evil” in dialectical terms by elaborating on myths derived from the Book of Genesis. Hegel discusses the issue in his version of the Story of the Fall of Man and Flusser does so in his interpretation of the Story of Creation. The contribution of both is obviously important, but I think Flusser’s narrative can achieve what Hegel set out as his aim but failed to accomplish. Flusser’s understanding of evil reflects on and fosters the exercise of a particular moral virtue, namely, modesty. There is little doubt that, for Flusser, the moral individual lives a heroic life. Is Flusser providing “the cure” to evil? There is no way of knowing it in advance. In the last analysis, this is a matter for each reader to decide.

Moral Theory (PDF 333.5 KB)