Stuurman on existentialism

“Thinking isn’t reflection. Thinking is an active process. You think about whatever you want to think about, and it’s a creative business. It’s an interaction between you and . . . it’s like a painter painting a cow. He starts off with maybe a photograph; then he puts something on paper; and then it’s back and forth, and he ends up with something that’s not like his first photgraph of a cow, and it isn’t like the cow. It’s another world. It’s a created world. Well, the same way with thinking. It is preoccupied with itself, really – it’s own world that it is creating. And the word “reflection” is kind of a clue as to what it is about. The implication is that the mind is a mirror. John Locke, for example, said that if you’re going to be a good philosopher, you have to spend most of your time polishing the mirror of your mind to make sure it’s good and clean and that you get a good picture of reality.

And speculation is the same thing. Speculation is just the . . . “Speculum” is the Latin word for mirror, and that the mind is a mirror. And Shakespeare says, “Hold a mirror up to life, to nature.” The existentialist said no. The universe isn’t out there  –  not the one that interests us  . . . But the mind works with its own creations.”

. . . . .

Lane on meaning.

Stuurman on Hitler:

“Now Hitler’s was a gift for sensing what was in the mob and releasing the mob energy, but he had no intent . . . he didn’t even know what he was doing it for. There was constant amazement. . . . Now, when it came to speech making, this was what fascinated me and what was behind my studies of Hitler at the time, was that I was trying to figure out how he worked and why, because most of the time we are goal-oriented. We have some purpose in mind. He didn’t have any purpose. A few little general things like Lebeensraum, you know – they were going to create a big German state – but all of it was improvised and wasn’t thought through at all. Nobody was doing any leading. They were just exercising the energy that gets released in a mob situation. So, that was what fascinated me.”

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