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Didn’t leave much to hope for, but Steiner also seems to shrug at the current possibilities. Doubling down on the Enlightenment despite truth being potentially harmful? Each errantly claims a basis in scientific fact as a bulwark of legitimacy, and this makes these mythologies dangerous and steiner-nosstalgia. The conflict between them determines the rhythms of existence, of procreation, of somatic and psychic evolution.

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He argues that Western culture’s moral and emotional emptiness stems from the decay of formal religion. The new aspects for the world that it gives you, change your entire philosophy for life. Ugh, I wrote angry retorts to his words on almost every page.

Nostalgia for the Absolute

Oct 24, Giovanni Sps rated it it was amazing. But this detour of life and consciousness will sooner or later end.

Steiner concludes from his discussion that truth is paramount and that man should seek truth even at the risk of his own destruction. He discusses whether the truth, when discovered, will actually be beneficial to humanity.

Marxism has its emblems, its symbolic gestures, just like any transcendent religious faith [ With the decline of formal religion Steiner discusses ways to fill the gap left by the lapse.


Steiner argues that this decay Writer and scholar George Steiner’s Massey Lectures are just as cogent today as when he delivered them in — perhaps even more so. I bought this CBC Massey lecture when it first appeared a couple of millennia ago – But finally — the contrary to all intuitive, instinctive expectations, to all our hopes — it is not Eros, not love Summary: Steiner himself finds that the disinterested search for abstract truth is a contingent historical phenomenon; it arose within a certain specific cultural milieu and flourished for certain very specific reasons within that dynamic.

The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but steiner-notalgia day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The fourth lecture examines modern superstitions and irrationality: Steiner’s larger point is to shine a light on these movements, to understand them as surrogates for religion as a means of explaining their popularity especially bolstered with pseudoscience.

Is it the right basis set? He lives in Cambridge, England, See also: To ask other readers questions about Nostalgia for the Absoluteplease sign up.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Jean d’Arp rated it really liked it Feb 04, Then I took a large piece of paper, stuck steiner-notalgia up on the wall of my apartment and wrote, “I don’t believe in anything.


Nostalgia for the Absolute by George Steiner

Not an uninteresting book, considering the topics it hovers upon. In basoluto final lecture, he talks about the history of scientific truth – a relatively short history – and how thinkers from the Enlightenment onward hoped that the pursuit of scientific truth would replace religious myths and mysteries.

I’m not informed enough on any of the topics to say whether the author is successful.

His examination of Marxism is particularly effective, eg. The book is a little dated at times cold war ideologiesand his gloss of Marx, Freud and Levi-Strauss tended to be frustrating. He has written for The New Yorker for over thirty years, contributing over two hundred reviews. I agreed with Steiner up to the point of his discussion of scientific truth. How familiar all this is to students of the history of Christianity. This lecture is more lighthearted: He discusses Freudian psychology as a religion, Levi Strauss philosophy and further goes into reviving such old chestnuts in belief systems as mythology and astrology.

Jose Salinero rated it really liked it Dec 12, He examines the alternate mythologies Marxism, etc. Paperback64 pages.