Part Two of "How Does One Answer the Following Question??"
I thought that I would venture, at least in part, away from the world of music in this incarnation, and came up with several names to spar with:
Edward Teller came to mind as an example of defining brilliance in physics - he was known in mid-century as the "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb", he being an exponent of overwhelming power needed in order to dispel the possibility of another, and perhaps final world war.
A bit of humor connected with Teller: when Oppenheimer asked him to join the vaunted group in the Manhattan Project, which was the body of brilliant people brought together to beat Hitler to the Atomic Bomb, Teller said he would IF he could bring his piano with him in order to play his beloved Beethoven. Oppenheimer assented.
Well, I thought about Teller and the conversations which may emanate from him, but my thoughts rather quickly veered in the direction of Robert Oppenheimer, that genius from New York, who headed the Manhattan Project.
He was truly a man of great interest, in that not only was he a great physicist but also a great lover of the arts, learning classical music early in life, and becoming an expert in poetry, chiefly from other cultures. He must have been an inspiring teacher - on one occasion, a young woman who had been in one of his classes insisted upon repeating the course, even though she had passed the course with flying colors. She simply wanted to undergo the experience another time. In addition, many of Oppenheimer's students became world-class physicists in their own right.
I feel confident about my choosing J. Robert Oppenheimer as a person I should love to be in conversation with.
I also thought about the likes of a Hegel, or Schopenhauer , but steered myself toward a man who was not only a great philosopher, but wore other coats as well:
A medical doctor who established a hospital in Africa, and worked with leprosy and its problems.
A world-renown philosopher, as I had mentioned, with a panoramic view of the ethical world of Christ, and the ensuing ramifications.
A recognized theologian, with several defining books having been written.
One of the world's eminent organists and Bach scholars, with treatises written not only about Bach, but also about the art of organ-building. He had a lead-lined organ installed in his home in Africa, in order to ward off damage from the excessive humidity in that part of the world.
If I had to choose between Bach and Schweitzer regarding the art of conversation, I would have to move toward Schweitzer because of the immensity of world-view this man possessed.
I will continue with this "game" in the near future.