History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Modernity and its discontents

November 26th, 2015 · No Comments


The nature of ‘secularism’ has been so misdefined that it is small wonder religionists get paranoid. The reason is that the ‘secular’ crystallized very quickly in the nineteenth century around a limited set of modern themes, i.e. scientism, anti-religion, and the Iron Cage, leaving a vastly larger field behind. Shakespeare is a vital component of the early modern in the remarkable reappearance of the tragic genre. More generally the modern as the source of the secular (which doesn’t mean atheism) lies in a complex counterpoint of opposites, the Reformation, the rise of science, the emergence of freedom/liberation/revolution/democracy, the rise of new philosophies from Spinoza to Kant/Schopenhauer/Hegel, and much else such as the Romantic movement. The economic and capitalist flood at the end of the early modern swamped the whole transition to modernity, and was protested almost immediately as distorting culture.

Thus we are living in a culture that is misleadingly called ‘modern’. The issue of religion is dialectical (opposites in conjunction) and it is hard to resolve the contradictions.But religion and its critique coexist in secularism.
Freud is a late comer who confused just about everything. His theories are goners, peaking in the fifties and challenged by late seventies. The culture of therapy left in its wake is an overpriced descendant of scientism and not much help.
So the nature of the secular is still under definition.

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