The Age of Insight

Monday, April 02, 2012

Nobel Prize-winner Eric Kandel traces the ideas and advances made by the intellectual pioneers in Vienna in 1900–Freud, Schnitzler, Klimt, Kokoschka, and Schiele. His new book The Age of Insight places these five innovators in the context of today’s cutting-edge science, and gives us a new understanding of modernist art and a foundation for future work in neuroscience and the humanities.


Eric Kandel
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [33]

Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

Part 6 to Anna: I'm bowing out with an apology for having stepped on any toes. And a final footnote to your last comment, with which I agree. Just think how easy it is now for governments to count on the distractions of their citizens away from thinking about how they are ruled (or misruled). With the internet, hundreds of television and radio channels, instant and constant communication about trivial matters conducted through little mobile gadgets we are living in "the age of distractability". Some people would contest this by pointing out that these same media and devices can be used to organize protests and political movements, but, given basic human inertia and a tendency to follow the path of least resistance, I am guessing that all of these things will be more important to people as toys and time-wasters than as truly useful devices. I'm not optimistic about the future. And, as Kandel in his role as a neuroscientist would point out, we have to be aware of the irrational side of our minds (often manifested through art) in order to curb its excesses and render it less harmful (perhaps by constantly and incrementally tinkering with our institutions, in other words, using reason to try to control and direct our fundamental irrationality). Since reason itself is full of holes and often based on faulty premises, caution should be our watchword. But I'm sermonizing, so I'll end before I begin to find myself too ridiculous. (Though I don't have a religious bone in my body, I'll be celebrating with both Passover and Easter meals in order not to offend my friends and family.)

Apr. 07 2012 10:15 AM
anna from new york

Robert, this is very interesting and I agree with everything. It's a pity that we misjudged (at least I) and were acting on the principle: "He/she doesn't know anything, I can type (fast) whatever I feel like.
As far as music/sport is concerned, the "regimes" tend to see these disciplines as safe and distracting - listen to Traviata and suffer (forget about everything else) or root for ... and enjoy/suffer (and forget about everything else). Personally, I believe in superiority of ethics, and, frankly, I don't know how Jews, for example, can enjoy Wagner.
Happy Easter (I am guessing that this is the right wish)

Apr. 06 2012 06:20 PM
Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

Part 5 to Anna: Well, at least we agree on a few things. First, to clear the air, I was not trying to "inform you" of things which you already know, but to recite some historical facts (this is where the discussion strangely led) that might be of interest to followers of this forum. Because I know nothing of you or your life's experience, I cannot presume to do such a thing, nor can I read your mind (you only have to state what you want to state in order form me to respond appropriately).

I am in agreement with the idea that people whose devotion to "high Culture" as a sort of substitute for religion & philosophy are only fooling themselves. Rather than being "illiterate" perhaps they are just misled, too full of self-regard, and silly. Kandel is not of this ilk. On this subject, especially as it applies to Austria (reverence for Bildung, Kultur, etc.), and as you know, there are some good cultural historians (C. Schorske; Janik & Toulmin) who have written about "the aestheticizing of life" there as a response to the failures of an earlier period of tolerant political liberalism and its replacement by populist nationalism, with its emphasis on "ethnic purity". This failure was especially disappointing to Austrian Jews who loved their country and culture but who could find no way out of the vise of anti-Semitism (the subject of Schnitzler's very good novel, "The Path to the Open").

Unfortunately there has never been a successful merging of aesthetics and ethics. Some very good artists have been contemptible people, while some mediocre artists have been very good people. (E.g., Goebbel's "Chamber of Music" had R. Strauss and C. Orff as composer-members – producers of good music but also men who were cynical or opportunistic enough to go along with Nazi-managed careers). The paradigmatic case is R. Wagner, with his ludicrous opinions of Jews contaminating music and the other arts -- a thoroughly detestable man who happened to write some beautiful music, though much of it was about nothing beyond "exaltation in the service of death", as the critic Charles Rosen once wrote.

As to totalitarian regimes, I think that they try to co-opt their national "classics" as a quick way to grab prestige and align themselves with "national greatness". When it comes to sports they wished to claim their successful athletes as representatives of the "new improved man" (be he Aryan or communist) they pretended to create. By definition totalitarianism attempts to creep into and control every aspect of its subjects' lives, so neither art nor sports would be exempt from its intrusions. Stalin and Hitler, with their bizarre and limited notions of life, always considered themselves to be insightful "art critics" and wanted their systems to memorialize them through "great works". As to the art works they commissioned directly, all of them are kitsch, which is always popular.

So, peace and best wishes.

Apr. 06 2012 03:34 PM
anna from new york

Robert, we underestimated each other and as a result had an absurd discussion. You don't know, for example, how comical is your informing ME that there was an antisemitic campaign in 1968 in Poland. I don't want to continue this discussion.
My main beef is with what I consider illiterate crowd which believes:
- that if they say they love "culture" they are oh, ah so cultural
- more importantly they have no familiarity with the concept "ethics" and believe that die Kultur is "ueber Alles." I tempted to suggest that the most "musizierte" nations were Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. I have my own theory (which I don't think is unique) why totalitarian countries are such promoters of music (and sports)
dr anna

Apr. 06 2012 05:10 AM
anna from new york

Robert, I am not going to continue this nonsense.

Apr. 05 2012 05:49 PM
Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

Part 4 to Anna. The reason we "can't communicate" is obvious – you only wish to communicate about one thing without clearly stating what that one thing is. Let's go back to Kandel first – his book and his talk apparently angered you because of what it did not say. Drawing distinctions between European Jews who managed to escape the disasters of 1933-1945 (with or without property) and those who lost everything (their lives and families) is invidious. You don't have to have been there or been such a person or be related to such a person in order to discuss it or "communicate" about it or even understand it (if that were the case then professional historians would have nothing to do). Obviously no one can experience another person's life experience; they may sympathize with it or disdain it, but they can't duplicate it.

Second, and back to Polish history, I'm not lecturing or instructing, but merely repeating the consensus opinion of professional historians who may disagree on many things but who do agree on the role of the great magnates and the szlachta over a long era – obstructive, resisting a strong monarchy and central authority, backward with respect to the civic rights of the non-nobility (95% of Poles), and often dallying with foreign powers in order to feather their own nests and protect their "golden freedom". The "re-founders" of modern Poland were mostly from the middle class – professionals, artists, businessmen, lawyers, teachers, soldiers, etc. A few were from old gentry families, many of whom had fallen on hard times. And, by the time of the partitions and thereafter Warsaw was replacing Krakow as the central location of Polish nationalism and "resistance" politics. It's a fact. The Napoleonic Polish "state" and Congress Poland were centered in Warsaw, while Krakow managed to hang on a few decades more as a small "republic" (really a city state) too weak to be bothered with by the Great Powers. Yet it remained the cultural leader and repository of much history, both real and legendary. It continued in this role under the Habsburgs.

Because of a passing remark I made about the better position of Poles in the Habsburg lands than in Prussia/Germany or Russia, Anna has relocated the discussion from Kandel's talk and book (a book about Austrian painters, a writer, and Freud/Kraeplein) to Austria's anti-Semitism and then to Poland, a country in which both Jewish and gentile Poles suffered immensely at the hands of the Germans (and Russians) and yet, having a common enemy, they still remained at odds with each other. Post-war Poland, especially during Gomulka's reign in the 1960s became the primary scene of "anti-Semitism without Jews", a political game of cynical scapegoating in the realm of symbols and "history" and a way of defraying criticism of the leadership's dismal record. It's a story without a happy side.

Perplexed, but in the spirit of friendliness, I defer to her wisdom.

Apr. 05 2012 05:15 PM
anna from new york

Robert, we are not communicating and we can't. I'll skip Kandel. Almost. There is a difference between leaving with entire family (even more so with family and property) and losing entire family (not to mention property). If you don't understand this how can we communicate?
No, my mentioning of Krakow makes my point and very strongly so. I deliberately was vague about "my point" waiting for your response and you missed it.
Krakow is more than a center of cultural life in Austrian times. It was the Polish capital for centuries (when Poland was powerful) and its/her? kings and prophets are buried there. If you don't know/don't appreciate this, how can we communicate?
Your lecturing me on the topic of magnates is absurd. This what wiki says about Polish magnates: "From the second half of the 17th century, the magnates emerged as the victors in the struggle for power in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as they were able to concentrate most of the land in their own hands and bribe smaller nobles to preserve the appearance of democracy."
When talking about Masaryk, I just stressed the differences between Polish history and Czech history affecting their sense of identity.

Apr. 05 2012 01:07 PM
Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

Part 3 to Anna: I'm still not sure what the source of her anger about Kandel's book and talk is. He's a neuroscientist with an interest in art who wrote about certain cultural affinities between Austrian painters and Freud's ideas about consciousness. And he included Schnitzler who, of all the talented Jewish Austrian writers, was the most-clearheaded and pessimistic about the dismal political possibilities open to European (not just Austrian) Jews (though neither he nor Joseph Roth foresaw the Holocaust, nobody else did either). So fleeing persecution (even with your china) is a bad thing? I don't get it. Kandel evinces not a whit of "Austria ueber Alles" – this whole argument is a red herring and nonsensical. Read the book and re-listen to the broadcast.

By the way, I have been to Krakow, a wonderful city, and stayed in Kazimierz where I went to an "authentic Jewish" restaurant ("Once Upon a Time in Galicia") whose staff was uncertain of whether or not any kosher dishes were available (one of the ironies of modern life, no doubt). Anna's remarks about the city make my point – during the Habsburg years it was the center of a vibrant Polish cultural life (as was Lemberg/Lwow in more modest way), which in contrast to the policies within the German- and Russian-ruled portions, was not prohibited by the government ("The Wedding" could never have been performed in Warsaw or Wroclaw at this time).

And back to Polish history. Even the most energetic and ambitious Polish kings (e.g., some Piasts and Jagiellonians) were constrained by the magnates and their clients, the gentry. The Sejm was a nobles' assembly, and for hundreds of years it resisted not only reforming or abolishing serfdom, it wished to curb the rights of middle-class town dwellers as well. It was only late in the day (the May 3rd constitution of 1793) and then after the destruction of Poland in 1795 that a new leadership class began to make social reforms part of their nationalism. It's a matter of well-documented historical record. As many Polish magnates fought on behalf of the Russians as those who supported Kosciuszko. The real hero of a tolerant, multi-religious, polyglot, socially responsible Polish society is still Pilsudski, with all his baggage and authoritarian instincts.

Anna, read a little more carefully. Masaryk and Czech appear in my sentence together – the point being that a Czech nationalist who was highly critical of Austrian rule still considered a federated state within a reformed Habsburg Empire to be both desirable and viable at one point in his career (his experience in Russia in 1918 disillusioned him about Russian-sponsored pan-Slavism as a source of support for a Czechoslovakian state). And, as admirable as he was, he still stole Teschen/Cieszyn from Poland. Reality is complicated and no nation or major historical figure is one-dimensionally "good" -- such a thing doesn't even exist as a human possibility.

Apr. 05 2012 11:38 AM
anna from new york

BTW, Robert, why don't you look at pictures of yet another "Austrian" (Jan Matejko) extremely popular, to know what the Poles were thinking about the past and the future.
All sorts of positivist/pragmatic/opportunistic ideas were floating after the 1863 as a way of dealing with yet another disaster. So what? What kind of argument is that: oh, the Poles didn't agree, some were considering being part of Austria. Which nation is monolithic? Particularly the Poles who are so proud of their "democratic" traditions. Clearly, the Poles never gave up the dreams of independence - even the positivists suggested just a different path. Now, can you imagine free Poland (from Russia and Prussia) without Krakow? Visit the city.
Tomas Masaryk wasn't a Pole. The Czechs lost there independence a century and a half earlier and were totally germanized. While the Poles had an uninterrupted national literature (and truly great and very patriotic literature in the 19th), the Czechs, stirred by Romanticism, basically had to start national literature in the 19th century. Quite a difference.

Apr. 05 2012 07:57 AM
anna from new york

"The country had been run for almost 500 years by the great magnates and the lesser gentry (the so-called "szlachta")"
Oh really? This would significantly precede Kazimierz Wielki, his expansion and the BEGINNING of the creation of the magnate class.

Apr. 05 2012 07:22 AM
anna from new york

In my last comment, I meant of course:
"were one of the main themes of Polish political and cultural discussion from the end of the 18th century to 1918.

Apr. 04 2012 05:53 PM
anna from new york

"– the idea that Polish peasants would somehow prefer to be governed by them in the same old brutal fashion is absolute nonsense"
Not exactly, Robert, not exactly. The role of peasants in some past, present or future uprisings, why they didn't participate/will they participate etc., their and others hopes and disappointments were one of the main themes of Polish political and cultural discussion from the end of the 19th century to 1918. The did participate, even though to a lesser degree than was needed or expected by organizers. A friend is proud of her peasant great grandfather's familiarity of Russia which he acquired while returning by foot from Siberia after the uprising of 1863 and ... his term.

Apr. 04 2012 05:43 PM
anna from new york

Robert, I don't have much time, so I address a couple of issues, mostly those which are right at the beginning of your comments or the ones which caught my eyes.
First, Kandel. There is a difference between fleeing and being burned or buried alive. You don't know the difference and it's possible Kandel doesn't know either. I feel obliged to inform you that there is difference between "fleeing" (with china or not) and losing everyone you knew. 2/3 of German Jews emigrated. I don't remember Austrian statistics. Look up statistics for other countries, such as Poland. Kandel can bubble about Austrian whatever "ueber Alles," other victims, if they are normal, can't.
I can assure you that I know all about Polish history and culture I should know, including the fact that Pilsudski is a national hero precisely because he fought for the independence from all "friends" whatever his transitional ideas were. Theodore Herzl is a founder of Zionism even though he toyed with the idea of a Jewish State ... somewhere else.
Although Austria was more tolerant than Russia and Prussia, it was still a foreign power and was regarded as such. Below is a quote from Wiki regarding Stanislaw Wyspianski's (yes, a "Krakus"): "The drama made references to the current situation in Poland, and showed the picture of the powerless society. Although the censorship barred the sale of copies of Wesele (The Wedding), the play was staged in the theatre."
I can assure you that there was as much talk about independence in Krakow coffee houses then as it was some 70-80 years later in the same or newer "kawiarniach."
Again, as far as Jewish history is concerned ... leave it to me too. Emancipation in Austria actually was granted very late. In Germany it was a long process which ended more or less at the same time. Look at the chart
No, I can't blame Mozart for the Holocaust, but I can despise those who
value die Kultur over human lives and ethics.

Apr. 04 2012 04:24 PM
Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

Part 1. To Anna, who is refreshingly moralistic and very certain of her views, though her understanding of history and what it might mean is shaky. First, on the old Habsburg Empire – by the 1860s it had granted full civil rights to Jews and was one of the few states that enforced them from the top down (e.g., ennobling various Jewish citizens, allowing them to attain high positions in both the civil service and army, etc.). However there was a great deal of popular anti-Semitism throughout the Empire (as there was everywhere in Europe, e.g., in France, England, Spain, Germany & Russia) and not only among the Austro-Germans; the ruled (or "oppressed") nationalities also had anti-Semitic parties. Second, setting aside the Hungarians who had assumed the position of co-rulers in 1867, with respect to the other nationalities in the Empire (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Romanians, Ukrainians, Bosnians, Italians) their national movements often had at least two factions: radicals, who wished complete independence (or being merged with adjacent countries such as Italy or Serbia) and moderates who saw the Empire as a necessity for stability and prosperity in this part of Europe – what they wanted was cultural autonomy and true federal status, along the lines granted to the Hungarians. Even Tomas Masaryk, who had been a member of the Austrian Reichsrat, did not opt for full Czech independence until WWI broke out – the war put an end to any and all dreams of a federal reorganization and other progressive changes in the lands of the Empire. Third, regarding who pays taxes to whom, Anna shows her complete ignorance of Polish history. The old Polish monarchy that vanished along with Poland in the 1772-1795 partitions, was a notoriously weak monarchy – it was elected by the nobility and was constrained by them. The country had been run for almost 500 years by the great magnates and the lesser gentry (the so-called "szlachta"), who enforced serfdom and mistreatment of the peasantry with great rigor – the idea that Polish peasants would somehow prefer to be governed by them in the same old brutal fashion is absolute nonsense. Anna should read up about the peasant's revolt of 1846 in Galicia, in which both Polish and Ruthenian (Ukrainian) peasants rose up in a frenzy, killing anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 Polish landlords. In fact the position of peasants was steadily improving under the Habsburgs during 1860-1914. Even Pilsudski, the real founder of the Polish state in 1918, had dabbled with the idea of Poland as a constitutional monarchy with a Habsburg occupying a ceremonial throne. About the famous Austrian Nazis – while they may have learned their anti-Semitism in the Empire, they detested the Empire and its dynasty – it was far too "racially" mixed for them; the Habsburgs reciprocated and detested and feared the "pan-German" political movements of the late 19th century. A's remarks lack historical depth

Apr. 04 2012 02:36 PM
Ronert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

Part 2. Dedicated to Anna: Eric Kandel knows all of this. As Jews his family fled Austria after the German takeover of 1938, so he is well aware of his native land's sins and crimes in this respect. However, in writing his book about the connections between art and early Austrian psychiatry he's dealing with a different subject. An author is not obligated to deal with everything under the sun, but only his or her chosen topic – there are countless political and cultural histories that deal with anti-Semitism in the old Austro-Hungarian lands; this isn't Kandel's territory in this particular book. Don't blame Mozart or Haydn for political movements that weren't even imagined during their lifetimes – it's absurd. Austria has never been acclaimed as "the land of Bach" – the man was never there and his career was entirely in the north of Germany, which did not even exist as a nation during his lifetime. Whatever you hear on NPR promoting travel to Austria to enjoy its artistic heritage, you're hearing advertising, plain and simple. Advertisers are not known for their commitment to truth or history, rather they're chasing the dollar like everyone else. Take it in stride, and try dismounting your hobby-horse and learn to deal with complexity, or at least accept it.

Apr. 04 2012 10:30 AM
anna from new york

"but by the mid-19th century state coffers were being filled by taxing a growing, prosperous middle class."
Well, Robert, it didn't hurt the empire that both peasants and this middle class were so ... how to put it ... international. I suspect that middle class of Krakow, for example, would rather pay taxes to a Polish King than to this or that ... Habsburg.

Apr. 03 2012 08:09 PM
anna from New York

OK, Robert, Himmler wasn't an Austrian, other charming individuals were. I don't understand your argument about the dislike of the empire by the top ranking Nazis. They did like what bred them - Austrian antisemitism, not true? What am I missing?
"The details of these movements and their impact on public life are well described and documented in works by Carl Schorske and Robert Wistrich -- read a book, folks. Being Jewish, Kandel knows all of this, but this was not the substance of either his book or the interview about the book -- again, it's that simple."
OK, it's time for me to cancel my half-apology. So, he knows about the role of Austria/Austrians in the extermination of his people, but ... who cares about some missing millions when one can bubble about ... Musizierung. Oh. Ah.
Personally, I hit the ceiling any time I hear on NPR: "Austria, the land of Bach and Beethoven ... Really? Nobody/nothing else has been there. Only according to illiterate and immoral American liberals.
Ah, I read the books.

Apr. 03 2012 07:19 PM
Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River

OK, part two of my possibly unwanted two cents' worth of commentary. Lisa S. has it right. Dan's right about Beethoven's origins, but obviously Beethoven is still considered by musicians and musicologists to be a great composer in the "Viennese classical tradition", as are many composers who may have been born elsewhere but who gravitated to Vienna, for both publication and performance, including the "minor masters" (e.g., Hummel, Vanhal, Dussek, John Field, Dittersdorf). After all, even Mozart came from Salzburg and Haydn from the dinky Rohrau-am-Inn, while spending most of his life at various Eszterhazy estates. Still, they are among the pre-eminent Viennese classicists.

As to Udo's comments on what he deems to be commonplace knowledge. No, in fact, most people do not understand how our senses work by intutition (intuition itself needs a "cognitive neuroscience" explanation) any more than they know how an internal combustion engine works -- what they know is how to use their senses and their cars, a very different thing. You do not have to know how the brain maps the world in order to use your brain to map the world (just as you need not know how your brain organizes the acquisition of your native language in order to use it well). Udo apparently would not know a neuroscience argument/demonstration from a hole in the wall(e.g., how, as Kandel and other neuroscientists have discovered, the brain breaks down incoming sensory stimuli and constructs the composite images that emerge in consciousness; in other words, what is the phsycial basis of the truths of Gestalt psychology). Everything is obvious (and dumb) to him; perhaps this is one of the perquisites of ignorance

Apr. 03 2012 05:03 PM
Robert T. O'Keeffe from Pearl River, New York

Well there's a certain amount of ignorance and self-preening in the comments so far. First, the interview was structured on the basis of Kandel's book about the intellectual intersections between certain scientists (or intellectuals, if you view Freud as a non-scientist) and artists (primarily painters) in Vienna during the late Habsburg years and thereafter. Lopate did bring up Austria's musical tradition and its two schools (Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven-Schubert; then Mahler-Schoeberg-Webern -- leaving out Bruckner and everyone's admitted inspiration, the anti-Semitic R. Wagner), but there was not enough time left in the show to have a thorough discussion about how their work might fit into Kandel's interpretation. It was that simple.

Second, there's a plethora of history missing or unknown to the commenters. The Austro-Hungarian Empire (aka the Dual Monarchy) was vast, polyglot, complicated, and, in its final years riven by intense nationalism and potential class warfare. In between the wars the rump Austrian state was extremely politically conservative (called "clerico-fascist" by many historians), and, although for geopolitical reasons (the incipient Cold War) it was allowed by its western allies to call itself the "first victim of Nazism" in 1946 it was in fact its opposite, the first enabler of Nazism. By the way, Himmler was Bavarian, not Austrian, and the well-known higher ranking Nazis who were Austrian by birth, starting with Hitler, detested the old Habsburg state, which by later standards was humane and tolerant in spite of the noisiness and popularity of various anti-Semitic movements (including the party led by Karl Lueger, Vienna's "beloved" mayor). The details of these movements and their impact on public life are well described and documented in works by Carl Schorske and Robert Wistrich -- read a book, folks. Being Jewish, Kandel knows all of this, but this was not the substance of either his book or the interview about the book -- again, it's that simple.

The sources of Austria's wealth were no different than those of other states (including Western democracies or the USSR) who spent large sums on grandiose sums on public structures. In earlier days (pre-19th century) state treasuries and dynastic wealth may have been based on exploitation of a downbeaten peasantry, but by the mid-19th century state coffers were being filled by taxing a growing, prosperous middle class. (In contrast, in order "build socialism" as rapidly as possible the Soviet extraction of wealth - via confiscations and the slave labor of the Gulag) from its own peasantry far exceeded in scope and brutality anything done in the old European empires and large nation states such as France, so let's not tar the Habsburg realms with that particular brush.

Apr. 03 2012 04:17 PM
anna from new york

OK, I was slightly wrong. In the past, Kandel was an exception and behaved decently. Why not continue it, Professor?

Apr. 03 2012 02:05 AM

By the way, when Kandel mentions a great school of economics in Austria at the beginning of the last century, I'm presuming he is referring to what is called the "Austrian school of economics," represented by Carl Menger, Eugen Böhm-Bawerk, and Ludwig von Mises:

Apr. 02 2012 06:37 PM

Lisa Spraragen: You are right. I should have waited to hear the interview before presuming something just from the introductory text at the top of this page.

Apr. 02 2012 06:35 PM
anna from new york

Laura's question:
"How did Vienna become wealthy enough to engage in such grand building projects, universities, arts institutions?"
My answer, Laura:
The empires tend to be rich. The recipe is simple: grab, grab and grab, exploit, exploit and exploit.
Look up "The Holy Roman Empire" "The Habsburgs" etc. Ah, look up also such concepts as "history"

Apr. 02 2012 02:43 PM
anna from new york

The right is of course right. American liberals have no sense of decency, no sense of ethics, just "cultural" pretentious and posturing. Many dozens of millions perished because among other things Austrian decadence, but this and other privileged bastards are Oh and ah.

Apr. 02 2012 02:28 PM
anna from New York

Well, Austria was of course the country of Lueger, Hitler and Himmler which not surprisingly our echte Austrian guest forgot the mention and our polite host forgot to ask. Such a pity that sickly opportunistic and primitive by definition "cultured" Austrian "Jews" who together with German Jews had contibuted to the Holocaust, left their wonderful Oesterreich and Deutchland and prospered in America while millions of decent human beings perished.

Apr. 02 2012 02:08 PM

I want to marry Dr Kandel. I would wash his socks, cook for him, dust his books, put his bow ties out in the morning . I am a great cook. I would not want the snail at home though because I would get jealous.
There was the Austrio-Hungarian Empire. Thats part of how they got so rich. Look at the geography.

I will wait for you forever Eric.

Apr. 02 2012 02:05 PM

Yes, we can interpret 2 dimensional representations as 3 dimensional.

Is this news from science? lol.

Apr. 02 2012 01:57 PM

You think Germany in the 30s was unique? You think it can't happen here, anywhere?? HAH. Don't get so smug . . .

Apr. 02 2012 01:57 PM
Laura from UWS

Question: How did Vienna become wealthy enough to engage in such grand building projects, universities, arts institutions?

Thanks for a great segment! I'm going to download it and listen again.

Apr. 02 2012 01:56 PM

I can't disagree more with the Author.

a) There is nothing that he has said that we don't understand already and much better by intuition. E.g. that our different experiences makes us interpret what we see differently. Sure. Who do not know that?

b) There are op-art artists, and Freudian surrealists and so on. But, there was no scientific knowledge, and no needed, by the op-art to paint confusing pictures, and Freud is not a scientist, and no science was had by the surealists, they knew nothing, and painted dreamlike fantasies.

c) The pointilists did not know science, only the synthesizing abality of our vision, something everyone knows implicitly.

and so on. This just a dumb hot topic.

Apr. 02 2012 01:56 PM
Lisa Spraragen from Manhattan

Dr. Kandel is very interested in music, and I'm sure he will address this subject in the future. Actually, he is discussing it right now! All the arts are connected, but it takes a great humanist and a generous, open-minded scientist to raise this to another level by seeking to connect the arts and sciences.

Apr. 02 2012 01:55 PM
DAN from Manhattan

Beethoven was born and raised in Bonn, so he was certainly German. But I guess you could say Vienna formed him...

Apr. 02 2012 01:54 PM

Why just painters? What happened to Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, i.e., the Second Viennese school of classical music?

Apr. 02 2012 03:54 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.