Chess Story Stefan Zweig

chess storyIn 1942, after sending a manuscript to his publisher, Stefan Zweig committed suicide. Chess Story was that manuscript; Chess Story is his suicide note.

I’ve always been strongly opposed to dividing by two, saying things like: there are two kinds of people: introverts and extroverts; maximizers and minimizers; good guys and bad guys. All of these are false dichotomies designed to make simple that which is extremely complex; the brain after all is the most complicated system in the universe. From simple beginnings, a sea voyage, Zweig uses the black and white world of the chess board to plunge deep into the mind, to explore the profoundly deep sea of consciousness in search of the source of these dichotomies we seem intent on projecting upon the outer reality.

Chess Story is a timeless masterpiece. Even today, we modern people have not been able to escape the harsh realities described so engagingly within those pages. Case in point: the current circus playing out across the days of 2016. That’s right I’m talking about the presidential race. Here again we have the same old, same old dichotomy, the one we see repeated in the pages of history like some kind of massive plagiarism. On the one side, there is a man who uses the exact same tactics used by Hitler way back in the last century and they’re following him in droves: the disaffected, the angry, the disappointed, and who disappointed them; who drove them to despair? Yeah, that’s right: the establishment, the establishment which once upon a time was called the monarchy, the establishment which nowadays is looking more and more like a monarchy of corporations, but even though Zweig concluded that there was no escape from these evil alternatives, Chess Story left me feeling hopeful at least until I listen to another debate.

In conclusion, Chess Story should be required reading by one and all, because maybe if enough people put their minds to it, we can come up with a third alternative; maybe we can escape the chess board.

Marcia Letaw

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