Friday, March 4, 2011

The Golden Mountain does not exist

At Berkeley, in the 1970’s, I audited an introductory philosophy class taught by John Searle.  He is not a deep thinker by any means, but he’s an engaging guy, and I enjoyed it. 
With us in the class (so the whispers went) was Jerry Mathers, aka “The Beaver”, now quite silent and overweight.  Hard to be an ex-child-star.  No-one ever outright asked him “Are you…?”, and he for his part was just silent, taking few notes, so I don’t really know whether it was The Beaver or not.  And in particular, I have no juicy celebrity anecdotes to sell.  Anyhow, be well, man, wherever and whoever you were/are.

To resume.
In the course of this class, arriving at the subject of Ontology, Professor Searle, introducing the views of (one whom we would then have described as) “one Meinong” (later known to his admirers as “Alexius the Great”), pronounced (in his typical, slightly nasal, “but I want to argue that…” voice, as far as can be from mysticism or reverie) the following astonishing sentence:

The Golden Mountain     does not exist
(* sigh *)
………………………………. (dream  dream  dream  dream  dream ) ………

What a beautiful sentence.    What a wonderful collection of words.

Now, Professor Searle is a busy man; having dispatched the matter of Existence and Subsistence and suchlike Meinongian curiosa, he hurried on to the next topic (if it’s Tuesday, this must be the Theory of Descriptions).   Yet did I continue to dream…

How sweet the fragrance of thy meadows, O mountain of gold!  Thy brooks -- how pure!  How melodious, thy larks!
Thy non-existence -- but a gentle defect, we forgive it freely.

I shall have nothing further to say about the Golden Mountain, here;
nor about Saint Alexius.

Supposedly a photograph of Meinong, but more likely a spectral image

This post is simply to have something to link to, when, in other essays,
when the fit comes on me, I blurt out “Golden Mountain!”
and the readers wonder, What the F---?!?

So now you know all about the Golden Mountain.


For further mystical insights, click here:
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1 comment:

  1. I think I've been there. (please note that there are several ways to interpret that simple statement too)