Berlin and the Romantic Artist

We are following along Isaiah Berlin’s essay on Romanticism in this series, and we have reached an interesting inflection point.

Before we came to it, we were talking about things that used to be understood. Things that were common wisdom several hundred years ago. These things were not challenged, but accepted as a framework for understanding man and his role in the universe  Berlin makes the point that this understanding was that our values are externally or factually given.

But Kant and others asserted that the supreme value of man is his freedom of choice. And if man is free to choose, it is a small step to argue that choosing is the ultimate expression that man can make in life.

here we pass through the inflection point to values that we moderns accept. Freedom to express oneself, especially in the arts, is the most sublime way to life. Artists do this not be responding but by creating and implementing.

Fichte took this step — to assert that one measures the quality of people by their commitment to creativity. This takes us into some dangerous waters. That is next!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s