Nostalgia for the Absolute E–pub Download

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Rst framed my own deeply rooted skepticism I agreed with Steiner p to the point of his discussion of scientific truth Then I took a large piece of paper stuck it p on the wall of my apartment and wrote I piece of paper stuck it p on the wall of my apartment and wrote I t believe in anything Still don t I think It definitely pointed out the impossibility all systematic philosophy for me Good book for those who are into a myth A good short book that seems thoroughly sensible The gist is that the author argues that the major intellectual movements he calls them mythologies of 20th century stem from a reaction to the spiritual vacuum left in the wake of the rise of scientific rationalism The vacuum left in the wake of the rise of scientific rationalism The four sections are attempted take downs of Marxism Freudian psychology L vi Straussian anthropology and occultism respectively I m not informed enough on any of the topics to say whether the author is successful The final section deals with the Pursuit of Truth as the new Knights of the Hill Country ultimate hot thing Had I to do it over I d skip the first four sections Not as profound as I d hoped Prettynclear ending the search for truth via science and reason or something to replace the loss of Christian certainty God is Dead Doubling down on the Enlightenment despite truth being potentially harmful Didn t leave much to hope for but Steiner also seems to shrug at the current possibilities His conclusion reminded me of the first paragraph from Lovecraft s Call of CthulhuThe most merciful thing in the world I think is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity and it was not meant that we should voyage far The sciences each straining in its own direction have hitherto harmed A House Built out of Stone us little but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will openp such terrifying vistas of reality and of our frightful position therein that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark ageHis conceptualization of Marxism Freudian psychoanalysis and Claude L vi Strauss anthropology as pseudo mythologies to fill the void of Christianity is pretty Alma Mater useful however though exclusively pointed leftward He also has a ruthless chapter on modern spiritual replacements that will give some laughs if you roll your eyes that direction on occasion Summary as we seek philosophies and cosmologies to fulfill our need for the absolute we find there is nothing entropy Here s a pick mepper Two deities two gods to overwhelming agencies govern and divide our being said Freud Love and death Eros and Thanatos The conflict between them determines the rhythms of existence of procreation of somatic and psychic evolution But finally the contrary to all intuitive instinctive expectations to all our hopes it is not Eros not love but Thanatos who is stronger who is close to the roots of man What the species strives for finally is not survival and perpetuation but repose perfect inertness In Freud s visionary programme the explosion of organic life which has led to human evolution was a kind of tragic anomaly almost a fatal exuberance It has brought with it ntold pain and ecological waste But this detour of life and consciousness will sooner or later end An internal entropy is a work A great ietnes. The alternate mythologies Marxism etc and fads of irrationality astrology the occult Steiner argues that this decay and the failure of the mythologies have created a nostalgia for the absolute that is growing and leading s to a massive cla. Nostalgia for the AbsoluteS will return to creation as life revers to the natural condition of the inorganic THE CONSUMMATION OF THE LIBIDO LIES IN DEATH P20THE consummation of the libido lies in death p20The is a little dated at condition of the inorganic The consummation of the libido lies in death p20The book is a little dated at cold war ideologies and his gloss of Marx Freud and Levi Strauss tended to be frustrating Five lectures on the decline of Christianity the death of God and its effects on Western civilizationSteiner examines three modern mythologies which attempt to fill the gap the hunger for absolute truth left by the decline of religion Marxism Freudian psychoanalysis and Levi Straussian anthropology A mythology in Steiner s sense of the word has an easily recognizable beginning and development a prophetic vision preserved in canonical texts later disciples and prophets develop the teaching there is a passionate conflict between sects each believing they present the truth that they are the genuine heirs to the founding prophet competing with dangerous and deluded heretics The mythology presents a total explanation of history and humanity s place in the cosmos ite often it claims that the analysis is based on science though it will tend to be Thin Blue Smoke unfalsifiable and so notalify as a scientific theory The mythology has its own vocabulary its own rituals and legends and imagery His examination of Marxism is particularly effective eg We recognise in the history of Marxism each of the attributes We have the vision of the prophet and the canonical texts which are beueathed to the faithful by the most important apostle We find a history of ferocious conflict between the orthodox heirs to the master and the heretics an nbroken family of fission from the time of the Mensheviks to Trotsky and now to Mao Each time and this is the "Theological Scenario A New Group Of Heretics " scenario a new group of heretics away and it always says look we have the real message of the master listen to s the sacred texts have been corrupted the Gospel is in our keeping don t listen to the church at the centre How familiar all this is to students of the history of Christianity Marxism has its legends Marxism has its vocabulary Marxism has its emblems its symbolic gestures just like any transcendent religious faith It offers a complete explanation of man s function in biological and in social reality Above all it offers a contract of messianic promise concerning the future The fourth lecture examines modern superstitions and irrationality astrology UFOs occultism Eastern mysticism repackaged and hollowed out for Western audiences This lecture is lighthearted Steiner is having a good rant about things that clearly piss him off In the final lecture he talks about the history of scientific truth a relatively short history and how thinkers from the Enlightenment onward hoped that the pursuit of scientific truth would replace religious myths and mysteries Alas the pursuit of scientific truth subject to falsification experimental proof and logical constraints is not something that can ignites the passions of all hearts He discusses whether the truth when discovered will actually be beneficial to humanity I found this lecture a somewhat Restoration unsatisfying conclusion though it does have neat closing paragraph The truth I believe does have a future whether man does is much less clear But I cannot help having a hunch as to which of the two is importan. Sh between truth and human survivalUltimately he suggests that we can only reduce the impact of this collision course if we continue as disinterestedly as possible to askestions and seek answers in the face of our increasingly complex worl.

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George Steiner died yesterday His brilliant and wise literary and cultural critiue will be greatly missed I have commented on his book Nostalgia for the Absolute here Not an The Vanished (Roswell High, uninteresting book considering the topics it hoverspon But incomplete and incoherent The only issue where I disagree with Steiner is his all too 120 Jobs That Wont Chain You to Your Desk uick dismissal of what he calls orientalism but I can imagine that back then it involved a lot of superstitioussuperficial beliefs and practices and maybe still but probably a lot less I would say he s being rather eurocentric thereBut overall very good I came on this book through a tweet by Marc Andreesen where he claimed that it handily explained a lot of modern day Weltschmerz The central thesis is controversial but rings true Scientific rationalism induced the death of Christian religion in Western Europe and the popularity of aliens communism eastern religion Freud and structural anthropology can be explained as a direct replacement of the role religionsed to fillIn fact George Steiner goes one step further and calls these movements meta religions or mythologies that share key traits with religion George Steiner doesn t go into details for why movements with these characteristics resonate so deeply with humanity A meta religion Needs to have taxonomy a set of terms Taken by the Pterodactyl (Dinosaur Erotica) uniuely meaningful for the religion Needs a narrative arc a founding story a mythological founder apostasy Needs to be holistic and disprovable the mythology needs to explain everything about the world and be presented as a disprovable logical systemOne can definitelyibble with the criteria above Is that really the complete basis set Is it the right basis set In my opinion these criteria seem reasonable and his chosen meta religions clearly check the above boxes His chosen targets are also clearly important world movements and are worth discussing as pseudo religions The bulk of the book is spent proving that each is a meta religion Steiner s critiue mainly has to do with the pseudo scientific claims of these mythologies Each errantly claims a basis in scientific fact as a bulwark of legitimacy and this makes these mythologies dangerous and disingenuous It s definitely clear that these movements are important to the world and that their adherents really do believe in the inevitability of their claims the communist March of Progress rings faintly It s also clear especially wrt to Communism and Aliens that this deep belief can truly pervert the world how else to explain the humongous amount of money poured into Astrology Steiner s larger point is to shine a light on these movements to The Four Faces of God understand them as surrogates for religion as a means of explaining their popularity especially bolstered with pseudoscience The conclusion of the book is aite religion as a means of explaining their popularity especially bolstered with pseudoscience The conclusion of the book is a ite investigation of science as savior His inescapable conclusion is that science has actually driven people into the "arms of pseudoscience through recent ish discoveries like the inevitable heat death of " of pseudoscience through recent ish discoveries like the inevitable heat death of niverse and the acknowledgement that scientific advancement might come at the expense of humanity and not in service of it eg AI I bought this CBC Massey lecture when it first appeared a couple of millennia ago 1974 75 It was important for me in that it was only after reading it that I fi. Writer and scholar George Steiner's Massey Lectures are just as cogent today as when he delivered them in 1974 perhaps even so He argues that Western culture's moral and emotional emptiness stems from the decay of formal religion He examines.
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