When Friedrich Nietzsche maligned Richard Wagner, after years as his laudatory “prophet,” he did so not because the great composer diminished in artistry but because he moved from operas based in Teutonic mythology (epitomized by Der Ring des Nibelungen to a final trio based in Christian religiosity — Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Parsifal.
Tagged: Creative Mythology
Descartes culminated as much as innovated. Concerned with clarity of thought — or “purity” of consciousness, per Susan Bordo (17, 81, 88) — Descartes held that erroneous perception and understanding (including religious conceptions of “God”) derive from “prejudices” having “their origin in a hyperabsorption in the senses” (ibid., 91). Indeed, Descartes viewed the “prison of the body” as the essential component in humanity’s incapacity “to perceive clearly and distinctly” (ibid., 89), writing that an infant “has in itself the ideas of God, itself, and all such truths as are called self-evident… [I]f it were taken out of the prison of the body it would find [such truths] within itself” (Kenny 111).