SIEMEK - Philosophical coincidences

prof. emeritus Bronislaw Baczko, University of Geneva, 
previously Warsaw University
(Marek Siemek considered  Baczko his Teacher and Master

For the last year of so I have been working on a documentary about prof. Marek Siemek (1942-2011).  The film, with the working title "The Department of Historical Necessity", is half way through shooting.  In order to seek additional support (thanks to the institution and individuals who have already helped) I will share some of the aspects of the process on this blog.  Gathering the material I have been privileged to meet and talk with many amazing scholars and friends of Siemek. To start with I’ll try to signal their upcoming presence in the film.   

A seasoned and perceptive Teacher sees an eager and brilliant Student.  

What does the Teacher know about the future of the Student who badly wants to write his MFA thesis about Hegel?

He knows nothing, aside perhaps from some psychological intuition that belongs to wise men, you say.  OK.  

The Teacher gently steers the Student to write about Fichte instead. 

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) was emotional and passionate.  It killed him.  Which is just a footnote in the history of philosophy.  Or is it?

The Teacher explains to the Student  that “Fiche is simpler and more manageable, later you can approach such a vast subject like Hegel.”

The Student agrees.   The argument is solid.  

The Teacher, recalling this conversation focuses on the common sense aspect of their joined decision.  It’s all logical, emphatic, proper.  

Times passes.  Actually a lifetime does.  

The Student dies too early but lives long enough to imprint his mark on the world.  He turns out to be brilliant, accomplished, nurturing his environment.  In this respect very much following the footsteps of his (beloved) Teacher.  

The Student’s legacy reveals his great oratorial talent, like Fichte.  It also reveals him being painfully misunderstood by his contemporaries, again like Fichte.   And suffering from right wing zealots, which matches the Fichte’s story as well.  

According to some, the Student died because he miscalculated human reactions, because his impulses did not take under account the brutal jealousy of his opponents.  That to a large degree matched a certain drama in Fichte’s life.   

How much of that could be known to the Teacher when he was suggesting Fichte?

None, you say.   

And on a certain level you are right.  


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