I’m continuing to enjoy these lectures.
In the last article, I speculated about how at the end of every great age of Western history two different types of radicals emerge. There are the status quo fanatics who combust the current social order by taking it to a ludicrous extreme and there are reactive creative deviants.
At the end of the 18th century, we can see the turning from the Enlightenment to Romanticism. The French Revolution is setting France ablaze. It is the time of the Jacobins and The Terror. The Napoleonic Wars are coming which will fall like an avalanche on the German states. Meanwhile, there are these assholes in the future Germany who are beginning to break with the Enlightenment.
According to Isaiah Berlin, an obscure figure named Johann Georg Hamann was at the forefront of the Romantic reaction against the Enlightenment. He claims that Romanticism which dominated the 19th century grew out of the German Counter-Enlightenment at the end of the 18th century.
Note: We live in a different time. The Enlightenment era is long since dead. It was followed by the Romantic era which in turn gave way to the Modernist era which began to emerge out of the art and philosophy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is Modernism which has shaped our world and which should be the focus of our criticism.