Up@dawn 2.0

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Is something missing, without religion?

No, says Peter Watson.
While I was researching my own recent book, The Age of Nothing: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God, I surveyed a raft of playwrights, poets, philosophers, psychologists and novelists who have been active since Nietzsche made his fateful pronouncement, many of whom did and do not share this view that there is something missing in modern life. Some did – Ibsen, Strindberg, Henry James and Carl Gustav Jung would all be cases in point. But far more did not see any reason to mourn the passing of God – George Santayana, Stéphane Mallarmé, Wallace Stevens, Stefan George, Sigmund Freud of course, and, not least, the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. Alfred Sisley and Gustave Caillebotte, Degas, Pissarro and Renoir were each very different in artistic style but they did have something in common. As the art critic Robert Hughes writes in The Shock of the New, “It was a feeling that the life of the city and the village, the cafés and the bois, the salons and the bedrooms, the boulevards, the seaside and the banks of the Seine, could become a vision of Eden – a world or ripeness and bloom, projecting an untroubled sense of wholeness.”
(continues at New Humanist)


But Alain de Botton's School of Life offers this:

Will the needs & desires (etc.) that "made us make up religion in the first place" really continue into the indefinite future, as a permanent fixture of our human nature? Or will we get over them?

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