1. II. Toward a New Understanding of the Irrational
    • a.      Decades before 1914: combo of contradictions
    • Small groups of intellectuals attacked idea of optimistic progress, dethroned reason, and glorified the irrational
  2. Nietzche
    •                                                               i.      Glorified the irrational
    •                                                             ii.      To him, western bourgeois society was decadent and incapable of any real cultural creativity, primarily because of excessive emphasis on the rational faculty at the expense of emotions, passions, and instincts
    • 1.      Reason, Nietsche claimed, played little role in human life because humans wre at mercy of irrational life forces
  3. Christianity
    •                                                               i.      Christianity should shoulder much blame for enfeeblement
    • 1.      “slave morality” of Christianity obliterated human impulse for life and crushed human will
  4. Western society
    •                                                               i.      Western society could be renewed by:
    • 1.      Recognizing that God is dead
    • a.      Killed by Euroepans and no longer possible to believe in cosmic order
    •                                                                                                                                       i.     
  5. Elimination adn REjection
    • Eliminating God and Christian morality freed humans and enabled the superman
    • 1.      Superior intellectuals must free themselves fro the ordinary thinking of the masses, create their own values , and lead the masses

                                                                  i.      Rejected and condemned political democracy, social reform, and universal suffrage
  6. Bergson
    •                                                               i.      Against reason; lectures made him one of most important influences in French thought (20th)
    •                                                             ii.      Accepted rational, scientific thought as practical instrument for providing useful knowledge but maintained that it was incapable of arriving at truth or ultimate reality
    • 1.      To him, reality was “life force” that suffused all things; couldn’t be divided into analyzable parts
  7. Reality
    •                                                               i.      Reality was a whole that could be grasped intuitively and experienced directly
    •                                                             ii.      When we analyze it, we have a description, no longer the reality we have experienced
  8. Sorel
    •                                                               i.      Combined Bergson’s and Nietzche’s ideas with his own interest in revolutionary socialism
    •                                                             ii.      Understood political potential of the nonrational and advocated violent action as only way to achieve socialism
  9. To destroy capitalism
    •                                                               i.      To destroy capitalism= general strike, envisioning it as a mythic image that had the power to inspire workers to take violent, heroic action against the capitalist order
    •                                                             ii.      Came to believe that the new socialist society would have to be governed by a small elite ruling body because the masses were incapable of ruling themselves
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