But the question remains: where and when was it/is it coming in from? The following clip is from "A Religious Sonderweg? Reflections on the Sacred and the Secular in the Historiography of Modern Germany" by George S. Williamson (Church History, March 1, 2006).
...the 1890s and 1900s witnessed a proliferation of new religious movements and organizations that was perhaps unmatched in all of Europe. These included the Wagnerian art-religion in Bayreuth, Ernst Haeckel's "Monist League," Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy, and the dozens of groups associated with the volkisch Bewegung (folkish movement) that called for a new religion "suitable" to the Germanic "race." Declaring opposition to both the established churches and the "materialist" ideologies of liberalism and socialism, these groups sought to sow the seeds of spiritual revival. Some of the most interesting recent work on religion in Germany has been devoted to these movements, notably Corinna Treitel's study of occultism...
The study that last sentence refers to is A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern. Meanwhile, Richard Wagner's vicious antisemitism was a role model for the Nazis. Ditto that of Ernst Haeckel, the guy who coined the word ecology. Rudolf Steiner was originally a disciple of Madame Blavatsky, and never renounced her weird Atlantis-inspired notions about "root races" and Aryan supremacy. Perhaps your kid attends one of the Waldorf Schools he founded.
In a series of dense and often maddeningly difficult writings, Fichte argued that the free activity of self-consciousness must be the first principle of all philosophy. The acquisition of theoretical knowledge did not involve a passive reception of data from the senses but rather a continual striving by the self to overcome its own limitations. The key faculty here was what Fichte called the "productive imagination," which involved a continuous interplay of the finite and the infinite within the self. This dynamic gave rise to a "striving" through which the self literally created the world according to its own moral ideal.
Skipping over the blithe assumption of "the infinite within the self" -- quite the metaphysical quantum leap in itself -- recall that Fichte is what Emerson and Thoreau were reading in Concord back in the good old Transcendental days. However, if this all seems hopelessly mired in centuries past, note also that this create-your-own-world trope is the core message of that New Age extravaganza of stupidity, What the Bleep Do We Know? -- which in turn is the direct result of the "teachings" of J.Z. Knight and her 24,000-year-old Lemurian sidekick, Ramtha the Enlightened One (I wish I were only kidding).
But I dunno.
I often ask myself: am I looking too deeply into the past?
Or is it that...
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Wednesday, October 25, 2006