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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Shelley-Nietzche-Russell

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. STUDY - DAY


  4. PETER checks phone notifications.


  5. PETER (V.O.): Quora sends me a daily reader's digest. Some are philosophical short pieces. Recently, I have read many about Friedrich Nietzsche.


  6. Pausing.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was in my teens, life was very hard. I wondered what was the meaning of life. A classmate stood out and I wanted to learn from him.


  8. FLASHBACK


  9. INT. CLASSROOM - DAY (1971)


  10. Peter (17) is listening to his CLASSMATE (18) talking.


  11. CLASSMATE: Philosopher Nietzsche says to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.


  12. Peter nods.


  13. CLASSMATE (Cont'd): Nietzsche also says he who has a why to live can bear almost any how.


  14. Peter nods and takes a deep breathe.


  15. PETER: How to pronounce his name?


  16. CLASSMATE: I don't quite know. He's German, living in the 19th century.


  17. END FLASHBACK


  18. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): That was my first taste of philosophy.Years later, I was surprised that he didn't study philosophy in university. From 1976-1981, I read philosophy as a London University external student.

  19. Act 2


  20. INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS


  21. Reflecting.


  22. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I didn't study any primary works of Nietzsche as I don't know German. I also prefer the thematic approach in my philosophical investigation rather than focusing on the thoughts of certain philosophers.


  23. Pausing.


  24. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But people must have heard some of Nietzsche's quotes eg "God is dead" and "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger."


  25. Pausing.


  26. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): How long did he live?


  27. Peter surfs the web.


  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, he was born in 1844 and died in 1990. At age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward a complete loss of his mental faculties.


  29. Reflecting.


  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There's a lot I've to catch up.


  31. Peter reads his phone screen again.


  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Today's digest is about why Bertrand Russell dismissing Friedrich Nietzsche so readily. I read a lot of Russell's works, from Epistemology to the Philosophy of Religion. He has influenced me a lot.


  33. Peter surfs the web.


  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Russell was Welsh and lived from 1872 to 1970 - 97 years of age. Could it be because he exercised a lot of his mental faculties? He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, when he was 77.


  35. Reading.


  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Russell has influenced other great thinkers too, including Ludwig Wittgenstein, A J Ayer, Rudolf Carnap, Karl Popper and W.V. Vine etc. I read their works in my philosophic pursuit too.


  37. Pausing.


  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Who influenced Russell then?


  39. Peter surfs the web.


  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When he was at 11, he was influenced by the works of Euclid of Alexandria (300 BC), the founder of geometry.


  41. Reading.


  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): During his formative years, he discovered the works of Percy Shelley and learned him by heart. He even thought how wonderful it would have been to know Shelley.


  43. Pausing.


  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I studied English Literature in my matriculation days, I heard about the English romantic poet.


  45. Peter surfs the web.


  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Here is one quote from Shelley that I like: Our sweetest songs are those that tell the saddest thought.


  47. Pausing.


  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, Shelley lived from 1792 - 1822, aged 29 only. It is said that he influenced Karl Marx (1818-1883), Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) etc. When he was studying at Oxford, the frequently read 16 hours a day.


  49. Reflecting.


  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I read law at HKU (1981-1985) as a mature student, I attended all the lectures and read for the remainder of my time in a day, including New Year holidays.

  51. Peter counts with his fingers.


  52. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): That was some 35 years ago. During the time when I took up law, my hobby was to study the Philosophy of Law only. I didn't get a distinction in jurisprudence, and I had reason to believe my original thoughts weren't appreciated.


  53. Act 3


  54. INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS


  55. Pondering.


  56. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Shelley died young. Here's what he says about death: Death is the veil which those who live call life; they sleep, and it is lifted.


  57. Pausing.


  58. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Nietzsche optimized his potential when he could. I'm examining his observation that: "t

  59. There are no facts, but interpretations."


  60. Peter types on his phone: Friedrich Nietzsche pronunciation. And we hear in German the pronunciation: Friedrich Nietzsche.


  61. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): It's so easy to learn these days. In the 1970s, I had to ask others travelling to London to buy philosophy books for me.


  62. Pausing.


  63. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Russell lived a long life. He has an interesting observation which explains the world's trouble:"The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."


  64. Thinking.


  65. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Very true.


  66. FADE OUT.


  67. THE END


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