I am reading a collection of Isaiah Berlin's lectures on Romanticism. What is becoming more and more obvious is the fact that too often we classify or label Romanticism as a movement or an ideal. I am not sure, but I think Berlin would agree with me in saying it is not a singular event or movement, but an unconscious driving force brought to life amidst some of the ugliest times in history. Think of the French Revolution, Industrial Revolution in England, or the war waged between the Catholic church and the Protestant dissenters. There is much more at stake than freedom, and what we understand as Romanticism was born from these ashes. Romanticism is deeply individual. One would argue, successfully I think, that it gave way to how our society functions today. I do not necessarily mean in the capitalist sense, I mean the staunch American individualism. We have taken a steadfast and serene individualism, not budging no matter what the cost, and applied it to our modern lives where its true meaning is lost in our government. Think of the inability of our government branches to agree on healthcare, for example. This is not Romanticism. It is perverted, it is not honorable, it is ugly. The true romantic is a person of belief. A person who is not swayed by the populace, someone who may be willing to die for what they believe to be true and good. This is not motivated by greed, money, power, but by the heart. We have lost our hearts.
2 weeks ago