[Marxism] The spiritual strength of Romanticism

David P Á david at miradoiro.com
Sun Sep 2 00:17:34 MDT 2012


Coincidentally I have been thinking some about this issue. My current 
mental short-hand for it is "materialism considered harmful", as in, I 
have this suspicion that, correct though it is, materialism sometimes 
conflicts with very powerful irrational motivations humans have, such as 
you describe.

> I have heard young Neo-Nazis extol the merits of "Pagan Europe" where "a
> Man was a Man" and each "freeman held his own farm and was a free man".

At the same time, a lot of this sort of stuff is idealisation of a past 
that never was. I wonder how many of these people imagine themselves as 
thralls working all day on a farm at near-starvation.

> I have heard young "pogressive-types" extoll the merits of "paleolithic
> Europe" where "you had your tipi, you had your bow and arrow, you would
> hunt reeindeers and mammouths, and you could live in harmony with the
> natural world and your fellow-humans (around 100 in a 100 km radius)."

The reason why I'm sometimes alarmed at greens and deep ecology.

 > [...]
> And yet such nostalgia is powerful, and is actually the
> only way to furnish a strong spiritual commitment to transcending the
> ordinary, reactionary way of life.

I don't know if the only way, but it definitely is one way, and one way 
which us materialists inevitably deprive themselves of. I wonder if a 
part of the problem is that utopian thought is no longer compelling: 
before the 20th century one could imagine indefinite progress towards an 
ever better society. Now, the experiences of the century together with 
things like environmental problems, make anchoring one's hopes in the 
future a little more difficult, to say the least.

I've no idea if there's a solution to this at all. Maybe just talking 
about materialism a bit less and focusing on practical action. But it's 
something worth pondering.

Blogger at Spirit of Contradiction: http://spiritofcontradiction.eu

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