Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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findingblanks
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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For instance if people knew that I was having a disagreement with Tom and I then used their terms and said, "Actually X is no less a Y than Z is..." They would be correct to understand that I believe Tom is making a key distinctions between X and Z.

"The eye and the hand are percepts no less than the sun and the earth." - Rudolf Steiner, while showing what he thinks is the fatal flaw in Schopenhauer's philosophy.

If Steiner's interpretation of Schopenhauer's point is correct, I'm with Steiner.

But I just don't see that Schopenhauer is claiming the eye and the hands are precepts in a special way. I do see why and how somebody could interpret his sentences to mean that, just as Steiner has.
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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findingblanks wrote: Wed Jul 07, 2021 5:59 pm "Steiner did NOT, that is N-O-T, NOT think Schipenhauer was claiming hands and eyes are very very special."

I believe that entirely depends on what you mean and what I mean by 'special.' And I don't think we are bad people for not having had a technical conversation about that term. Just as I don't think Schopenhauer nor Steiner were being lazy when they spoke in clumsy ways.

"The eye and the hand are percepts no less than the sun and the earth."

Steiner thinks that Schopenhauer thought of the sun and moon in one very specific way and, yet, thought of 'hands' and 'eyes' in a very different way. How do we know that Steiner thought Schopenhauer had a different understanding of those terms. Well, Steiner contrasts his own ideas with what he believes are Schopenhauer's when he says, "The eye and the hand are percepts no less than the sun and the earth."

You see, 'no less' is often a way of saying something like, "There is no significant difference in this context..."

Steiner certainly thought that Schopenhauer was making a significant distinction between the sun and the eye that sees the sun. And Steiner, then, points out that if Schopenhauer were to be consistent with what he has said about the nature of representations, then he is not allowed to make this distinction when speaking about an eye that sees the sun. Steiner shows that this contradiction points to a fundamental flaw in Schopenhauer's philosophy.
Can you provide me the source for the Steiner quote? I remember reading it in one of his books but I can't remember where and I don't really want to go searching for it. Here is what you posted before:
Steiner wrote:This whole theory is wrecked by the fact, already mentioned, that the eye and the hand are percepts no less than the sun and the earth. Using Schopenhauer's expressions in his own sense, we could reply: My eye that sees the sun, my hand that feels the earth, are my mental pictures just as much as the sun and the earth themselves. That with this the whole theory cancels itself, is clear without further argument. For only my real eye and my real hand could have the mental pictures “sun” and “earth” as modifications of themselves; the mental pictures “eye” and “hand” cannot have them. Yet it is only of these mental pictures that critical idealism is allowed to speak.
I am saying that your interpretation above in bold is incorrect. The proper interpretation is, "Schopenhauer says everything we perceive, including our eyes and hands, are illusory mental pictures, but he does not consider the real implication of that assertion for his own philosophy of Will." What is that real implication Schop is missing? Well it would help to have more of the context to make it clear in this specific situation, but based on what I already know about Steiner's numerous critiques of Schop, the implication the latter missed is that the entire reasoning of the argument is "wrecked" if everything in the representational chain is only "[Schop's] mental images" without any objective knowledge contained within the unity of concept-percept which is brought about by our Thinking activity and its ever-present desire for harmonious world content.
However, I'm simply saying that it can be argued that Schopenhauer wasn't drawing the distinction that Steiner believes he is. I am not very smart, but I can see why Bernardo would say that Schopenhauer, in the paragraph above, is distinguishing all representations from his ontological primitive, that he is not implying there is actually an eye that allows for the representation of the sun. Schopenhauer would say - some of us might think - that the eye is just as much a representation as the sun. Just as Steiner hopes we realize. But maybe somebody will make an argument that convinces me that Schopenhauer literally believed that the eye is more than a representation. I'm going to wait and see. Steiner did not even try to make that argument. He simply took it for granted that Schopenhauer's words must have meant how he took them.
Again, for the reasons stated above, and several times previously, Steiner does NOT believe Schopenhauer is drawing the distinction that you believe Steiner believes. So, again, no one here is arguing the bolded and underlined strawman. Everyone knows Schopenhauer thought the eye was a representation just like any other representation, Steiner included. The critique is that Schopenhauer did not realize the implications of his own knowledge if he fails to account for objective meaning in the world "added" to percepts by our Thinking ("objective" as opposed to merely "personal" meaning, the latter being what Schopenhauer held to by way of Kant). I cannot make it any more clear than that, and for someone who has read Steiner's works at length, you should already know this and not require me to explain it to you, not once, but 3x or 4x already. You already know the essence of his philosophy of Thinking and why it is completely antithetical to Kant, Schopenhauer, etc. If you still don't understand that, then I suggest you re-read all of his works with fresh eyes and rediscover that essence of Steiner's philosophy.
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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"Can you provide me the source for the Steiner quote?"

It's from The Philosophy of Freedom, right where Steiner says he has shown that Schopenhauer's philosophy makes no sense. Right after Steiner has made it clear that he interprets Schopenhauer to be claiming that the eyes and hands have a special relationship that, if so, would be incoherent and nonsensical.

"The proper interpretation is, "Schopenhauer says everything we perceive, including our eyes and hands, are illusory mental pictures, but he does not consider the real implication of that assertion for his own philosophy of Will."

Sure, but you don't see that Steiner is implying that Schopenhauer thinks the eye allows us to perceive the sun. That is what Steiner is claiming hold the contradiction, that Schopenhauer would claim they are just representations YET contradictory also claim that without an actual eye we see no sun.

And this is in the formal section because it will be interesting to see if Schopenhauer actually believed that a material (Or some other literal) eye is what causes us to see the sun. From everything I've read, he doesn't ultimately believe this sort of thing and it goes against everything he claims about the nature of reality. Steiner, on the other hand, believes that Schopenhauer's entire philosophy is 'wrecked' because it presupposes such a relationship.

If Bernardo's book is accurately capturing Schopenhauer's core idea, then there is no way that he believed the human eye causes us to have a representation of the sun. That would mean that Steiner's interpretation in PoF is incorrect.
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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Schopenhauer:

"The world is my mental picture — this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and cognizes, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical discretion. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he knows no sun and no earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as mental picture, that is, only in relation to something else, to the one who pictures it, which is he himself. If any truth can be asserted a priori, it is this one, for it is the expression of that form of all possible and thinkable experience which is more universal than all others, than time, space, or causality, for all these presuppose it."

Steiner claims that when Schopenhauer says that we know no sun but only the eye that sees the sun, he contradicts himself because the eye would be every bit as much a representation than the sun is. Therefore, says Steiner,

"This whole theory is wrecked by the fact, already mentioned, that the eye and the hand are percepts no less than the sun and the earth."

The above quote is where Steiner makes his main point against Schopenhauer. It only makes sense if Steiner is correct that Schopenhauer is contradicting himself.

Steiner goes on:

"For only my real eye and my real hand could have the mental pictures “sun” and “earth” as modifications of themselves; the mental pictures “eye” and “hand” cannot have them. Yet it is only of these mental pictures that critical idealism is allowed to speak."

Steiner is saying that because Schopenhauer does not allow for a 'real eye', he can't evoke one when he tries to explain how he has a representation of the sun.

So when Schopenhauer says that we know no sun but only an eye that sees a sun, Steiner says, "Gotcha, you can't have it both ways."

But from everything I've read of Schopenhauer's and from Bernardo Kastrup's summation of Schopenhauer's main ideas, I read the paragraph very differently than Steiner. Yes, I see that Schopenhauer could have spoken more clearly. But I think we can see where Steiner goes wrong when we read the paragraph and see if Schopenhauer is really drawing the distinction between the representation of the sun and the 'real eye,' or, perhaps (despite the sloppy wording or translation) he is drawing the distinction between the representation of the sun and something else.

A couple more sentences down the paragraph, Schopenhauer says that this apparent surrounding world (which includes the appearances of the sun, trees, animals, hands, feet, bellies, mountains...)



"....is there only in relation to something else."

That is where we see what he is trying to say. That the appearances are only there in relation to something else. What does he say this is. The self. This would be Bernardo's alter or what Steiner sometimes called the everyday ego, but he also used other terms like 'subject', 'ego consciousness,' or "I" depending on the context and the point he was making.

So what if Schopenhauer had gone back and cleaned up his sentences like Steiner did when he was older? What if Schopenhauer had said this instead:

"The world is my mental picture — this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and cognizes, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical discretion. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he knows no sun and no earth, that the world which surrounds him is there only as mental picture, that is, only in relation to something else, to the one who pictures it, which is he himself. If any truth can be asserted a priori, it is this one, for it is the expression of that form of all possible and thinkable experience which is more universal than all others, than time, space, or causality, for all these presuppose it."

In the above, we don't have the contradiction which Steiner says destroys Schopenhauer's philosophy. In the above, Schopenhauer points more clearly to the distinction between appearances (percepts) and the subject to which they appear.

Steiner, Bernardo, and Schopenhauer all agree that we won't ever refer to things like suns and mountains and eyes and bodies unless they come to us as appearances. And they all agree that they are appearances of of a living reality which we have direct access to. They have very different ways of understanding and articulating what the nature is of this prior unity. However, all of those things are not what Steiner points to as the problem with Schopenhauer's philosophy.

If we are really sticking with what Steiner says about the paragraph from Schopenhauer, then we have to notice that Steiner believes Schopenhauer is claiming that mere appearances are the result of other mere appearances. I think that Bernardo and others can justifiably point to a different way the paragraph can be read which does not contain that logical contradiction and that is inline with Schopenhauer's view that all representations are ultimately of the living reality from which they emerge and into which they are recieved.

If somebody is going to argue that Steiner's interpretation is correct, they need to argue why Schopenhauer's

"....is there only in relation to something else."

isn't the primary relation he is talking about in that paragraph. And they'd also have to make an argument as to why Schopenhauer would suddenly, in one paragraph, stop believing that there is only reality and representations of reality.
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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findingblanks wrote: Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:36 pm "Can you provide me the source for the Steiner quote?"

It's from The Philosophy of Freedom, right where Steiner says he has shown that Schopenhauer's philosophy makes no sense. Right after Steiner has made it clear that he interprets Schopenhauer to be claiming that the eyes and hands have a special relationship that, if so, would be incoherent and nonsensical.

"The proper interpretation is, "Schopenhauer says everything we perceive, including our eyes and hands, are illusory mental pictures, but he does not consider the real implication of that assertion for his own philosophy of Will."

Sure, but you don't see that Steiner is implying that Schopenhauer thinks the eye allows us to perceive the sun. That is what Steiner is claiming hold the contradiction, that Schopenhauer would claim they are just representations YET contradictory also claim that without an actual eye we see no sun.

And this is in the formal section because it will be interesting to see if Schopenhauer actually believed that a material (Or some other literal) eye is what causes us to see the sun. From everything I've read, he doesn't ultimately believe this sort of thing and it goes against everything he claims about the nature of reality. Steiner, on the other hand, believes that Schopenhauer's entire philosophy is 'wrecked' because it presupposes such a relationship.

If Bernardo's book is accurately capturing Schopenhauer's core idea, then there is no way that he believed the human eye causes us to have a representation of the sun. That would mean that Steiner's interpretation in PoF is incorrect.
Suffice to say, you are still not understanding Steiner. I can see clearly how you are misunderstanding it, so maybe I should not have been so hard on you before, but on the other hand you have been studying Steiner for years so you should be familiar with his main critiques of Schopenhauer. And your misrepresentations of PoF make me think there is a deeper (perhaps unconscious) reason you keep changing his ideas. His critique of Schop is not at all what you apparently think it is right now. I noticed you also didn't address any points made by Cleric in his post, which are the real essential ones. I will try one last time to explain what is happening in these quotes, maybe I will think of a new presentation on my drive home.
“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self."
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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AshvinP wrote: Thu Jul 08, 2021 10:00 pm
findingblanks wrote: Thu Jul 08, 2021 5:36 pm "Can you provide me the source for the Steiner quote?"

It's from The Philosophy of Freedom, right where Steiner says he has shown that Schopenhauer's philosophy makes no sense. Right after Steiner has made it clear that he interprets Schopenhauer to be claiming that the eyes and hands have a special relationship that, if so, would be incoherent and nonsensical.

"The proper interpretation is, "Schopenhauer says everything we perceive, including our eyes and hands, are illusory mental pictures, but he does not consider the real implication of that assertion for his own philosophy of Will."

Sure, but you don't see that Steiner is implying that Schopenhauer thinks the eye allows us to perceive the sun. That is what Steiner is claiming hold the contradiction, that Schopenhauer would claim they are just representations YET contradictory also claim that without an actual eye we see no sun.

And this is in the formal section because it will be interesting to see if Schopenhauer actually believed that a material (Or some other literal) eye is what causes us to see the sun. From everything I've read, he doesn't ultimately believe this sort of thing and it goes against everything he claims about the nature of reality. Steiner, on the other hand, believes that Schopenhauer's entire philosophy is 'wrecked' because it presupposes such a relationship.

If Bernardo's book is accurately capturing Schopenhauer's core idea, then there is no way that he believed the human eye causes us to have a representation of the sun. That would mean that Steiner's interpretation in PoF is incorrect.
Suffice to say, you are still not understanding Steiner. I can see clearly how you are misunderstanding it, so maybe I should not have been so hard on you before, but on the other hand you have been studying Steiner for years so you should be familiar with his main critiques of Schopenhauer. And your misrepresentations of PoF make me think there is a deeper (perhaps unconscious) reason you keep changing his ideas. His critique of Schop is not at all what you apparently think it is right now. I noticed you also didn't address any points made by Cleric in his post, which are the real essential ones. I will try one last time to explain what is happening in these quotes, maybe I will think of a new presentation on my drive home.
Thank you for reminding me where it is! That should make things much easier, because it led me to another quote of Schop in the next chapter of the book, Chapter 5 (The Activity of Knowing the World), which should really make Steiner's point, the one I was trying to relate here in various roundabout ways, crystal clear:

Schopenhauer wrote:In actuality, the sought-for meaning of the world which confront me solely as my mental picture, or the transition from this world, as mere mental picture of the subject knowing it, over to what it might still be besides mental picture, could nevermore be found, if the researcher himself were nothing more than purely knowing subject (winged angel's head without body). But now he himself has roots in that world, finds himself in it, namely, as an individual, which means that this activity of knowing, which is the determining bearer of the whole world as a mental picture, is after all given entirely through the medium of a body, whose sensations, as shown, are the starting point for the intellect in viewing the world. For the purely knowing subject as such, this body is a mental picture like any other, an object among objects: the motions, the actions of it are known to him in that respect no differently than the changes in all other observable objects, and would be just as foreign and incomprehensible to him, if the significance of his own motions and actions were not disclosed to him somehow in a completely different way.

... To the knowing subject, which arises as an individual through its identification with the body, this body is given in two completely different ways: one is as a mental picture when the body is viewed intellectually, as object among objects, and subject to the laws of these objects but then at the same time in a completely different way also as that something, known directly by everyone, which the word “will” characterizes. Every true act of his will is immediately and unfailingly also a movement of his body; he cannot really will an act, without at the same time perceiving that it manifests as a movement of his body. The act of will and the action of the body are not two objectively known different states, connected by the bond of causality; they do not stand in the relationship of cause and effect; but they are rather one and the same, only given in two completely different ways: one completely direct and one for the intellect in contemplation.


I have tried to use emphasis here so people can follow along easier, although I think it's pretty clear anyway. The bolded assertions = what Schop believed about thinking activity, and the underlined assertions = what he believed about willing activity. It should very clear that the former, in Schop's view, is completely personal (individual) and provides "mere mental pictures". And the latter, as BK also argues, is what truly bears the world's Unity in a "completely direct" way. Thinking (illusory) discloses things for Schopenhauer in a completely different way than Willing (non-illusory), and the latter is what provides any true knowledge of the noumenal world, while the former is mere intellect which is an "object among objects". This next part is small portion of Steiner's response to Schop (which is really spread throughout the entire book), but it should reveal clearly that Steiner understands Schop's argument.


Steiner wrote:By this train of thought Schopenhauer believe himself justified in finding the objectivity of will within the human body. He is of the opinion that, in the actions of the body, he feels directly a reality, the thing-in-itself in concrete. Against these arguments it must be objected that the actions of our body come to consciousness only through self-perceptions and as such have nothing over other perceptions. If we want to know their nature, we can do this only through thinking contemplation, that means through incorporating them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.

The response is super simple and obvious, but that doesn't mean it isn't a devastating response. Yes, he truly does "wreck" Schopenhauer's entire argument here. You may not like the way that is characterized, but that's the way it is. Because to know the nature of the Will-percept is to do so through "thinking contemplation", and that is exactly what Schopenhauer is trying to deny in the quote above. I really hope this gets the job done, because there is no way to make it any more clear, or at least I have been unable to think of another way yet. If you still do not understand, FB, then I ask you to please limit your questions or assertions to the quotes above, rather than to the "eyes and hands" quote in the previous chapter which is very small in comparison and not nearly as clear about Schopenhauer's position as the one above. Thanks.
“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self."
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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Thanks, I look forward to talking to people who consider themselves knowledgeable about Schopenhauer. Personally, while I grasp Bernardo's interpretation of Schopenhauer, I still don't have your intense confidence. Therefore, I'm stuck with a strong but open-minded sense that Schopenhauer did not assume what Steiner claims he did. I get why that drives you mad because you feel you have grasped Steiner without any qualms and Schopenhauer. Trust me, I take a strange comfort in being around people who have such blazing certainties. But the fact is that you haven't yet accurately reflected my belief. Unlike you, I don't blame you for that. I never have. I keep making a gesture in this conversation that you simply haven't even made once! But that has to do with how 'good it feels' to have a very clear system of thought. And I know that each time I point to ambiguities in Schopenhauer and Steiner it nearly brings a smile to your lips, you knowing that my noticing ambiguity in each of those thinkers merely reveals my ignorance of their meanings. At least I'm giving you that!
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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findingblanks wrote: Fri Jul 09, 2021 2:44 pm Thanks, I look forward to talking to people who consider themselves knowledgeable about Schopenhauer. Personally, while I grasp Bernardo's interpretation of Schopenhauer, I still don't have your intense confidence. Therefore, I'm stuck with a strong but open-minded sense that Schopenhauer did not assume what Steiner claims he did. I get why that drives you mad because you feel you have grasped Steiner without any qualms and Schopenhauer. Trust me, I take a strange comfort in being around people who have such blazing certainties. But the fact is that you haven't yet accurately reflected my belief. Unlike you, I don't blame you for that. I never have. I keep making a gesture in this conversation that you simply haven't even made once! But that has to do with how 'good it feels' to have a very clear system of thought. And I know that each time I point to ambiguities in Schopenhauer and Steiner it nearly brings a smile to your lips, you knowing that my noticing ambiguity in each of those thinkers merely reveals my ignorance of their meanings. At least I'm giving you that!
It is empty gesture to say "sorry, I am to blame for your misunderstanding" and then continue doing the same thing you just "apologized" for. Come on man, can we stop playing games for once and deal with the issues? Your response above was basically, "thanks, but I am not going to consider any of the quotes you pulled, highlighted, and commented on, because they do not agree with what I already believe". You don't need to look forward to people knowledgeable about Schopenhauer... you are on BK's forum right now and have access to a wealth of resources. My understanding of Schop is the same as BK is the same as Cleric is the same as anyone other "scholar" you will find, and you know it! There's no shame in admitting you were wrong this time - it doesn't mean no one will ever take you seriously again. It just means you were off on your assessment of this one topic of Steiner-Schopenhauer. No big deal. You can admit it and we can all move on to other productive discussions.
“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self."
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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Yes, some people really really really believe this is about one of the men being right and the other wrong. Show me an example of anybody on earth ever overcoming this kind of mindset. I am just a medium sized brain dude who certainly isn't going to make history in a debate framed this way.

The good news. Some people will see that it was actually part of Steiner's absolute genius that he may have misunderstood what Schopenhauer meant. Also, maybe somebody respectable like Bernardo will someday be helpful in showing that Steiner's summation didn't capture what Schopenhauer thought. I've said why I think he was somewhat off base. Shockingly, some people understood me. But, not surprisingly, I sounded very confused and misguided to others.

That's the joy of having more and more voices jump in. Like I said, for some people it is as simple as reading Steiner's paragraph, understanding it, and saying that it's airtight. I can respect that to a fairly large degree!
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Re: Schopenhauer being clumsy or sort of dumb?

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findingblanks wrote: Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:37 am Yes, some people really really really believe this is about one of the men being right and the other wrong. Show me an example of anybody on earth ever overcoming this kind of mindset. I am just a medium sized brain dude who certainly isn't going to make history in a debate framed this way.

The good news. Some people will see that it was actually part of Steiner's absolute genius that he may have misunderstood what Schopenhauer meant. Also, maybe somebody respectable like Bernardo will someday be helpful in showing that Steiner's summation didn't capture what Schopenhauer thought. I've said why I think he was somewhat off base. Shockingly, some people understood me. But, not surprisingly, I sounded very confused and misguided to others.

That's the joy of having more and more voices jump in. Like I said, for some people it is as simple as reading Steiner's paragraph, understanding it, and saying that it's airtight. I can respect that to a fairly large degree!
So... I take all of that to mean you are not going to read and/or respond to this comment which reveals Schop's position clearly and Steiner's understanding of Schop's position clearly - viewtopic.php?p=8558#p8558. I wonder why that is? Rhetorical question, no need to answer.
“I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the Self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the Self."
- Jung
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