Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Scholar Takes Up the Disputation Against the Cult of "Basic Instincts"

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Courage of the Spirit-On the Cult of Naturalism
In the follow up to the first essay to appear in the Zurich newspaper, my father took up the cudgel against the neo-Romantic spirit of thought, the rebellion against the “reine Vernunft”, the Pure Reason of the 18th and early 19th century. The new Zeitgeist  emphasized emotion , experience, or will against straight logic as opposed to the ideal or the intellectual, the realm of the mind ( as expressed by the term “ Geist”, translated here as “ Spirit”).  While acknowledging the excesses of absolute rationality, he warns of the destructiveness inherent in the unrestrained adoration of the instinctual forces deep inside the human soul. The line led from Nietzsche’s  “Beyond Good and Evil”  to the horror of  Riefenstahl’s paean to the embodiment of power in “Triumph of the Will”.  Not only six million Jews but tens of millions around the world would fall as victims to the unbridled power of human savagery let loose.
The solution is in the application of “Chochmah”, the wisdom approach of classic Jewish thought which seeks a fusion of these two dichotomies in human existence.

Jüdische Presszentralle Zürich ( Jewish Central Press of Zurich)
15 Oktober 1937  No. 962 of 15th October 1937, page 1-2 Mut zum Geist- Courage of the Spirit
By Dr. Wilhelm Weinberg, Vienna
2nd Essay
The Cult of Naturalism

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