Abstract / Synopsis
In this article I analyse ￼Sándor Szathmári’s￼ utopian, satiric novel, The Voyage to Kazohinia, as an exercise in the portrayal of Platonist ideas. Through a discussion specifically of Szathmári’s portrayal of the way mathematics is conceived in two different, imaginary societies, I aim to reveal his preoccupation with exploring a solution to the essential political and moral problem of the alienation of interests between the individual and the group. This analysis locates Szathmari’s ideas within the Platonic tradition as well as within the context of 20th century philosophical ideas, particularly those of Georg Lukács. Szathmári’s portrayal of two worlds, one with mathematics and one without, is used to show that man craves an objective reality outside of himself, by which humans can escape from the subjective, psychological torments and uncertainties that assail all our lives. Mathematics, in the sense that it is stable and eternal (at least according to Plato) is both a means towards and evidence of the possibility of an eternal and knowable Good upon which a truly just society may be built.
Susan J. Siggelakis, "Sandor Szathmari's Kazohinia: Mathematics and the Platonic Idea," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 9 Issue 1 (January 2019), pages 3-23. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.201901.03. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol9/iss1/3