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"The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman 
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Post "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
The Glass Bead Game
Hermann Hesse

A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO IT'S HISTORY FOR THE LAYMAN



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
I will join in before the July close if I can; every so often seasonal allergies will hit hard and become something else; it started when I was in mental health in the 90's, and these last two weeks have been nearly merciless (I am a bit of a whiner when I'm sick :)


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
This introduction, for me, has been the most intriguing if not confusing chapter of the book so far. After this introduction, the following chapters do present a story. The introduction though, wow, I had to read it twice, the second time going almost line by line, and it creates more questions about The Game then clarifies it.

One of the first questions that I have that may never be answered is the time period. It is clear that the narrative has been written long after the life of Joseph, I’m not really too concerned as to the time period of the narrative, but I would like to know when Joseph lived. I have not been able to find any real clues to definitively give me this information.

One of my favorite lines in this introduction is; “For like every great idea is has no real beginning; rather, it has always been, at least the idea of it”, pg 16. Like so many sentences in this introduction, this sentence is riddle like. But I do like the image these few words produce in me; every idea from the beginning of time is floating around waiting for someone to pluck it. It also insinuates that no idea is totally original, because it has already been created.

Much of this introduction is also pretty funny. He talks about Friedrich Nietzsche and his famous essay on Women’s Fashions of 1870. Maybe I’m wrong, I haven’t looked it up, but I have a strong feeling that Nietzsche never wrote such an essay, FN’s opinion about women is pretty derogatory. I think it is hysterical that Hesse has attached this essay title to him. Other funny passages are about crossword puzzles and the fools who take the time to do these puzzles, and the power of celebrities. Those who do enjoy a good NY Times crossword puzzle consider themselves intelligent, celebrities believe their status makes their opinions worthy. This individual perception of worth and intelligence may be what seperates the time period between Joseph's life, and the time in the distant future when the narrative was written. Hesse does make a strong commentary on pop culture, but most of this culture is from the 20th century. Did Joseph live in the 20th century? Castalia reminds me more of a monastery than a school, so if I take the mystery out of Catalia, there is nothing that I have found that could conclusively place Joseph’s life after the 20th century.

Hesse speaks a lot on the “Feuilleton era”, this era and the Feuilletarians , and feuilletonism appear over and over again. This again speaks about pop culture. Why do I get the feeling that Hesse is telling me that pop culture is ruining intellectual minds?
Overall, I love the introduction, and each time I read it something else pops out at me.

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Feuilleton (French pronunciation: [fœjtɔ̃]; a diminutive of French: feuillet, the leaf of a book) was originally a kind of supplement attached to the political portion of French newspapers, consisting chiefly of non-political news and gossip, literature and art criticism, a chronicle of the latest fashions, and epigrams, charades and other literary trifles. The feuilleton may be described as a "talk of the town",[1] and a contemporary English-language example of the form is the "Talk of the Town" section of The New Yorker.[2]

In English newspapers, the term "feuilleton" instead came to refer to an installment of a serial story printed in one part of a newspaper. The genre of the feuilleton in its French sense was eventually included in English newspapers, but was not referred to as a feuilleton.

In contemporary French, feuilleton takes on the definition of "soap opera," specifically ones aired for television.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuilleton



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
“For like every great idea is has no real beginning; rather, it has always been, at least the idea of it”

The quest for deep connections between maths, music, architecture, astronomy goes back to Pythagoras, Lull, Kepler, Kircher and many others who searched for the unifying principles of all knowledge, and the tangible results formed the backbone of the European system of education for nearly two thousand years.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
justknecht wrote:
“For like every great idea is has no real beginning; rather, it has always been, at least the idea of it”

The quest for deep connections between maths, music, architecture, astronomy goes back to Pythagoras, Lull, Kepler, Kircher and many others who searched for the unifying principles of all knowledge, and the tangible results formed the backbone of the European system of education for nearly two thousand years.


Re-reading The Glass Bead Game, I am reminded that the planet Saturn was in its current position thirty years ago when I last read it. This book entered my subconscious and influenced me more deeply than I realized. I was inspired by Hesse to take an interest in the old Chinese oracle the I Ching, to learn the game of Go, to read Chuang Tzu, and to explore the monastic ideal, at least in thought if not in life. Hesse was among the most influential bringers of Buddhism to Europe. The Glass Bead Game is suffused by Buddhist ideals, including the loss of self in a cosmic unity. Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this book, which presents a high ideal of how intellect can be the basis of peace and security. My study of Martin Heidegger, and how philosophy has forgotten the meaning of being, drew heavily on themes which I first encountered in The Glass Bead Game.

Perhaps the best example of my own work that drew unconsciously on the ideals of Hermann Hesse is my mathematical and musical model of the solar system, explained in my essay on the gas giants. This model brings a high empiricism with ideas that are not yet understood by others. My musical composition of the harmony of the spheres is a scientific exercise, using ephemeral data to form an eternally valid structure that encompasses history. It points toward the antinomy of faith and reason.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
Robert - what a fascinating site, particularly the lovely illustrations. Do you think there really is a music of the spheres? Even Kepler, who tied himself in knots trying to show how the solar system worked in a musical fashion analogous to the nested platonic solids in one of the diagrams on your site, eventually gave up in favour of the now familiar equations of elliptic planetary motion.

Until Kepler, astronomy was rife with unfortunate attempted applications of integer-ratio models derived from music. “Longomontanus had worked out a double-epicycle model for Mars, geocentric of course, equivalent to a heliocentric equant model with the eccentricities, from the mean sun to the centre of the eccentric and from the centre to the equant, in the ratio of 5:3. It could nicely reproduce 10 oppositions from 1580 to 1600 to an accuracy of 2’ of arc, although it failed badly for longitude outside of opposition and for latitude everywhere.” Astronomy before the Telescope, Christopher Walker

Kepler himself was seduced by the search for the “music of the spheres,” and in his Harmonia Mundi, by sheer force of intellectual will alone, he managed to shoe-horn extant observational data into supporting a system based on concentric platonic solids, and producing various (always slightly unconvincing) musical scales, before he moved to the entirely different paradigm of his laws of planetary movement which satisfied his aesthetic for simplicity and elegance, and allowed for a much more accurate treatment of the actual phenomena. “A careful inspection of [Kepler’s correlation of planetary speeds and string lengths in a musical scale] reveals what a shambles the scheme really is. All too many correspondences are approximate, as even Kepler admits. In a section that follows, Kepler gives no fewer than 50 propositions to justify every deviation, and to argue for an intricate set of interlocking harmonies and tonal intervals. But surely any intonation could be hammered into such a frame. From anyone else, the carefully crafted excuses and scales would be considered the edifice of a madman. But to Kepler, this was Divine Harmony, a geometrical vision into the mind of God and into the hidden workings of the universe. Kepler himself gave his [later] harmonic law relatively little emphasis, and it remained for later scientists to single out its importance. Nevertheless, it represents the culmination of a lifelong search and illustrates his imaginative approach to the mysteries of the universe. The harmonic law would prove to be a foundation stone for Isaac Newton’s grand gravitational synthesis. Thus Kepler’s great cosmic vision of celestial harmony – part fantasy and chimera – had indeed ultimately brought him closer to the eternal architecture of his Creator” The Eye of Heaven, Owen Gingerich



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
Welcome to BookTalk justknecht! Your user name wouldn't by any chance be connected with Joseph Knecht would it?

Have to say I am loving the novel, and I am very much enjoying this discussion. You guys are great!



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
I just received my copy of GBG, and I have read half of the Introduction. As others of you have mentioned the author alludes to infinity, to a timelessness of the game. I wonder if the GBG is allegorical though I would be remiss if I speculated beyond that at this point. It seems that Hesse has a sense of humor: He inserts serious thinkers--actual historical figures--into frivolous, absurd roles. The narrator's tone is ostentatious, even pompus, and it may foreshadow an upcoming satire. I look forward to more.

A history of intellectual thought bears mention since the GBG arose from it. The Middle Ages were characterized by by a revolt against authority, i. e. the church, as well as a search for another authority, presumably for validation. Out of this grew the Age of Feuilleton, a period of frivolity and foolishness. Intellects indulged in whimsey; laborers took on intellectual pursuits to escape the drudgery of their ordinary lives. The boundaries grew vague, and "culture" lost its allure. In response there developed a scholarly persuasion that encouraged self-examination and a spiritual one that espoused serenity and piety....and the artists and scholars ceased to ply their respective crafts. Culture, it seemed, had ceased to thrive. So without authority, or oversight, culture reached a ludicrous level of mediocrity in the hands of the middle class. Clearly there is a theme of class distinction and elitism, and as it disintegrates the GBG arises in response.
The "highly developed secret language" (p. 15) and eclectic orientation have application beyond the game itself. This suggests to me (again) that the GBG is allegorical, the dressage for a sophisticated intellectual and spiritual orientation. I have come to view science and art and spirit and all those other disciplines as not only compatible but congruent as well. I notice my own language refers to musical rhetoric, i. e. in sync, in tune, in harmony, regardless of the topic at hand. I have come to believe that the same threads run through multiple disciplines, manifest in art as easily as in science and as in spirituality. So I have been teased. I am intrigued, but I am still digesting the little bit I have read thusfar. I am eager to explore this important literary contribution with each of you.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
justknecht wrote:
Robert - what a fascinating site, particularly the lovely illustrations. Do you think there really is a music of the spheres?


Yes I do think there is a music of the spheres, as I explain in my paper on the gas giants linked above.

This is a highly complex question, worthy of the glass bead game. To explore the real possibility of a music of the spheres, we have to begin by excluding all supernatural and pre-modern ideas. What we are looking for is a systemic harmony, a place where all the patterns of the solar system come together into an integrated whole.

As I explain in my paper, we find this celestial harmony in the overall pattern of the solar system, integrated in the movement of the sun with respect to the center of mass. The center of mass, also known as the solar system barycenter, inscribes a perfect arc around the galaxy. The sun wobbles from side to side of this arc, shifting to balance the positions of the planets. The pattern of the sun's movement against the center of mass is where we see a real music of the spheres. My musical composition on this theme describes one cycle of the barycenter.

Key features of this pattern are caused by the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. As Isaac Newton observed, when Jupiter and Saturn are together, the center of mass is outside the sun, and when Jupiter and Saturn are opposite, the center of mass is close to the center of the sun.

Newton was not aware of the existence of Uranus and Neptune, so did not factor them into his model. The really interesting thing that I have discovered is that Neptune drives the stable pattern of the barycenter wave function, with period 179 years. This is an original scientific finding that I have tried to discuss with astronomers. Unfortunately, the perceived links to astrology have meant that this empirical material is ignored. I must emphasise that these claims are purely scientific and falsifiable. There is a modern tendency to see cyclic research as intrinsically tainted, but that bias has led to an unfortunate narrowing of astronomical interest.

How I see this relating to life on earth is that the barycenter period of 178.9 years is precisely 1/144th of the spin wobble period of the earth, 25764 years, so it appears there is a cosmic resonance linking long term terrestrial cycles to the stable pattern of the whole solar system. This stable link is reinforced by the fact that each triple conjunction of Jupiter Saturn and Neptune occurs precisely thirty degrees of arc later than the previous one, a gap of exactly one zodiac sign. The triple conjunction returns to its original position after twelve occurrences, defining a Zodiac Age of 2148 years, the period while the sun traverses each sign at the equinox. The gas giant cycles drift in and out of alignment in overlapping patterns, but they basically provide the main stable permanent harmonic structure of the solar system, matching to the main long term orbital pattern of the earth. The Great Year of precession of the equinox is in tune with this natural cosmic harmony of the whole solar system.

Linking to music, we see a similar very close twelvefold pattern appearing naturally in the cycle of fifths. Multiplying a frequency by 3/2 gives the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, with the error defined as the Pythagorean Comma.

I am well aware that this material is hard to understand. I welcome any questions of clarification, as it is a topic that I have studied in some depth.

In terms of the glass bead game, this material helps to address the antinomy of faith and reason, providing a physical cosmic basis to interpret the evolution of religion and myth. But that is a large additional topic.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
Just as a footnote to the introduction, and to help you understand the world Hesse had recently experienced, it is necessary to understand the reference to Pope Pius XV is actually aimed at Pope Pius XII, please do a search....


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
Thanks for a fascinating look at the balance of the universe. By what method(s) did you arrive at these findings?

I believe a central theme of the Glass Bead Game is that reason and experience are Yin and Yang of the Oneness.....


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
hesse wrote:
Thanks for a fascinating look at the balance of the universe. By what method(s) did you arrive at these findings?


Hello Hesse. I discuss the methods regarding my findings on the balance of the solar system at the paper I linked above, The Gas Giant Planets, the Great Year and the Holy City. If you wish to understand the methods in more detail, please see bautforum.com/showthread.php/80362-Spir ... lar-System. On a point of detail, this does not describe a balance of the universe (your phrase) but is restricted to considering the solar system as an isolated entity. This is a reasonable approach, given that if the solar system was the size of a coin the nearest star would be 100 yards away. I studied this material by obtaining data from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which provides information on the estimated position of the center of mass over the last 6000 years.

For many years I have been interested in the question of how the solar system can be analysed as a physical unity. The balance point of the system, the spot on which a scale model would rest evenly, is called the center of mass, or barycenter. My scientific discovery is that this point moves in relation to the sun in a regular 179 year pattern driven by the movement of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, and that this period appears to be in resonance with the spin wobble of the earth.

Intriguingly, this 179 year cycle of the sun is exactly the period known in astrology as 'the house of the age', one twelfth of a Zodiac Age. The astrologer Dane Rudhyar discusses this period in his book Astrological Timing, but does not link it to the center of mass. My finding shows that as each new 'house' begins, Jupiter Saturn and Neptune come together exactly one zodiac sign further on from their last meeting point. This is a purely empirical finding, but one that opens a door to analysis of the physical basis of astrology. For the purpose of this analysis I ignore all speculative symbolic interpretation, sticking purely to facts.

I find it quite intriguing that this scientific finding of the real harmony of the spheres is of no interest to astronomers, solely because of the astrological association. In terms of the glass bead game, the contrast here is between scientific observation and cultural tradition. The study of this material can explore how these conflicting attitudes relate to each other and how they can be harmonized.

Quote:
I believe a central theme of the Glass Bead Game is that reason and experience are Yin and Yang of the Oneness.....
That is a very metaphysical comment. You will probably have to expand on it if you wish people to discuss it. It reminds me of the discussion I just had with DWill regarding Sartre and the theory of freedom in the thread on Dostoyevsky and Existentialism. Reason is our capacity to project upon the world in existential freedom. Experience is our observation of the results of rational projection. Sartre argues that experience (essence) should not constrain rational projection (existence). This is a radical claim that rejects Plato's view that essence precedes existence. I agree more with Plato than with Sartre, but your introduction of the Chinese metaphysics of yin and yang illustrates that in this tension between reason and experience we can see two sides of psychology in dialectical relation.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
hesse wrote:
Just as a footnote to the introduction, and to help you understand the world Hesse had recently experienced, it is necessary to understand the reference to Pope Pius XV is actually aimed at Pope Pius XII, please do a search....


Thanks for the clue. I did a search, and I can understand why the author might have taken aim at Pope Pius XII: He refused to publically condemn Germany for atrocities against the Jews, and he deferred to the teaching authority of the Church. It seems he believe the soul, or essence, came first and was followed by being. I've read only the Introduction, but from what I've read in other posts I suspect these themes will feature prominently as the story unfolds.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
Murrill wrote:
hesse wrote:
Just as a footnote to the introduction, and to help you understand the world Hesse had recently experienced, it is necessary to understand the reference to Pope Pius XV is actually aimed at Pope Pius XII, please do a search....


Thanks for the clue. I did a search, and I can understand why the author might have taken aim at Pope Pius XII: He refused to publically condemn Germany for atrocities against the Jews, and he deferred to the teaching authority of the Church. It seems he believe the soul, or essence, came first and was followed by being. I've read only the Introduction, but from what I've read in other posts I suspect these themes will feature prominently as the story unfolds.


Think of Pius's character, and then read that he was an avid GBG player at one point....this should dispel any notion that this game is some divinely driven mechanism....

The first question to be asked is "What is Castalia and who put them in charge"....


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", A General Introduction to it's History for the Layman
Quote:
For many years I have been interested in the question of how the solar system can be analysed as a physical unity. The balance point of the system, the spot on which a scale model would rest evenly, is called the center of mass, or barycenter. My scientific discovery is that this point moves in relation to the sun in a regular 179 year pattern driven by the movement of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, and that this period appears to be in resonance with the spin wobble of the earth....

Intriguingly, this 179 year cycle of the sun is exactly the period known in astrology as 'the house of the age', one twelfth of a Zodiac Age. The astrologer Dane Rudhyar discusses this period in his book Astrological Timing, but does not link it to the center of mass. My finding shows that as each new 'house' begins, Jupiter Saturn and Neptune come together exactly one zodiac sign further on from their last meeting point. This is a purely empirical finding, but one that opens a door to analysis of the physical basis of astrology. For the purpose of this analysis I ignore all speculative symbolic interpretation, sticking purely to facts.


I thoroughly understand your adherence to the scientific method and yet something inside of me says "This guy had a to have had some kernel of faith to undertake such an arduous journey".....


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MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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