Twilighting Idolatries

Genius is always sufficiently the enemy of genius by over influence.
The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius. This is good, say they, — let us hold by this.
They pin me down. They look backward and not forward.
But genius looks forward: the eyes of man are set in his forehead,
not in his hindhead; man hopes: genius creates.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar

The motives behind scientism are culturally significant. They have been mixed, as usual: genuine curiosity in search of truth; the rage for certainty and for unity; and the snobbish desire to earn the label scientist when that became a high social and intellectual rank. But these efforts, even though vain, have not been without harm, to the inventors and to the world at large. The “findings” have inspired policies affecting daily life that were enforced with the same absolute assurance as earlier ones based on religion. At the same time, the workers in the realm of intuition, the gifted finessers – artists, moralists, philosophers, historians, political theorists, and theologians – were either diverted from their proper task, while others were looking on them with disdain as dabblers in the suburbs of Truth.”
— Jacques BarzunFrom Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present

We don’t need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders
of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate
to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power
that’s within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others
and competing against them, things begin to work for us.
— Benjamin HoffThe Tao of Pooh


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