Saturday, April 16, 2005

Dawson's the New Age

Excerpts from the first pages of Christopher Dawson's Christianity and the New Age:

"The men of letters . . . turned to literature and art as a means of escape from reality. That was the meaning to many of the catchword, 'Art for Art's sake.' Symbolism and aestheticism, the Ivory Tower and the Celtic Twilight, Satanism and the cult of 'Evil,' hashish and absinthe; all of them were ways by which the last survivors of Romanticism [in the late nineteenth century] made their escape . . . There was, however, one exception, one man who refused to surrender . . . Friedrich Nietzsche."

"So we have the paradox that at the beginning of the Renaissance, when the conquest of nature and the creation of modern science are still unrealized, man appears in god-like freedom with a sense of unbounded power and greatness; while at the end of the nineteenth century, when nature has been conquered and there seem no limits to the powers of science, man is once more conscious of his misery and weakness as the slave of material circumstance and physical appetite and death. . . Man is stripped of his glory and freedom and left as a naked human animal shivering in an inhuman universe."

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