Posted by: Maureen Flynn-Burhoe | December 16, 2009

Courage to Be

Paul Tillich (1886-1965)

???? BCE Kabbalah and Hassidism, based on an ancient Midrashic source (Bereishit Rabbah 14:9) describe five levels of the soul, the animating life or consciousness within man: Nefesh (“creature” — the lower soul) relates to behavior and action, Ruach (“spirit”) relates to the emotions, Neshamah (“inner soul”) relates to the mind and intelligence, Chayah (“living one”) relates to the bridge between the first flash of conscious insight and its super-conscious origin. Experiencing awareness of God as continually crating the world, Yecidah (“single one”) relates to the ultimate unity of the soul in God, as manifest by pure faith, absolute devotion and the continuous readiness to sacrifice one’s life for God. The Ba’al Shem Tov taught that everything exists in three dimensions: Worlds, Souls, and Divinity. “Worlds” is the lowest, the physical dimension; “Souls” is the middle, the spiritual dimension; “Divinity” is the highest, Godly dimension. This concept of soul is similar to Plato’s (380 BC) three parts of the soul: phylakes: rational (intellectual), thymos: spirited (courageous) and appetitive (sensual-desire).

399 BCE The classical Athenian philosopher Socrates was convicted of corrupting the youth and impiety asebeia: of ‘failing to acknowledging the city’s deities and introducing new deities. The jury composed of Athenian citizensdetermined his guilt and Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking a toxic hemlock drink.  Socrates’ students’  Plato and Xenophon wrote accounts of the trial.

“Stoic courage is not an invention of the Stoic philosophers. They gave it classical expression in rational terms; but its roots go back to mythological stories, legends of heroic deeds, words of early wisdom, poetry and tragedy, and to centuries of philosophy preceding the rise of Stoicism. One event especially gave the Stoics’ courage lasting power-the death of Socrates. That became for the whole ancient world both a fact and a symbol. It showed the human situation in the face of fate and death. It showed a courage which could affirm life because it could affirm life. And it brought a profound change in the traditional meaning of courage. In Socrates the heroic courage of the past was made rational and universal. A democratic idea of courage was created as against the aristocratic idea of it. Soldierly fortitude was transcended by the courage of wisdom. In this form it gave “philosophical consolation” to many people in all sections of the ancient world throughout a period of catastrophes and transformations (Tillich 1952) .”

380 B.C. Plato wrote Laches, or Courage. Trans. Jowett, Benjamin. In this Dialogue, Lysimachus, son of Aristides, Melesias, son of Thucydides, their sons, Nicias, Laches and  Socrates. The grandfathers Aristides and Thucydides were courageous in battle. However, their sons Lysimachus and Melesias who live together, are ashamed that they were brought up spoiled and protected and cannot share their own stories of courage with their sons Aristides and Thucydides because they have never seen battle. They seek out the advice of the elders Nicias, Laches and Socrates so they can teach courage to their sons. Using the Socratic method they come to the conclusion that they do not know what courage is. Socrates finally asks, “Then courage is not the science which is concerned with the fearful and hopeful, for they are future only; courage, like the other sciences, is concerned not only with good and evil of the future, but of the present and past, and of any time?” Unable to answer they decide that they should all seek out the best teacher so they could study the nature of courage alongside their sons regardless of the expense or even ridicule of their peers. Socrates ended the Dialogue by citing Homer, “Modesty is not good for a needy man. Let us, then, regardless of what may be said of us, make the education of the youths our own education.”

360 B.C. Plato wrote The Republic. Trans. Jowett, Benjamin. There are three parts of the human soul: phylakes: rational (intellectual), thymos: spirited (courageous) and appetitive (sensual-desire) which correspond to the three part of an ideal state: 1) guardians or Philosopher-Kings, 2) soldiers or enforcers and 3) worker class of merchants and simple laborers. The enforcers ensure that the dictates of reason from the philosopher kings are obeyed by all. The enforcers require courage informed by spiritedness or thymos which is related to victory, anger, honour and excelling. Tillich (1952) described the phylakes or Philosopher Kings as the “armed aristocracy, the representatives of what is noble and graceful. Out of them the bearers of wisdom arise, adding wisdom to courage.” Plato believed that though education each part of the ideal state or individual could refine the necessary virtues. For example soldiers could be educated through music and gymnastics to be spirited persons using persuasion not force to guide them to justice, to prevent dissension, tyranny, harshness, cowardice or enslavement to flattery. However, Plato also believed that these roles in society were transmitted through generations. Rulers’ sons became rulers, soldiers’ sons became soldiers and citizens’ sons were simply citizens. Tillich argued that in spite of the central bridging position of the thymos-spiritedness-courage-will between the reason and desire, Platonic thought was dualistic. Tillich claimed that from Descartes to Kant western philosophers maintained that duality and eliminated the middle man, the center of the soul, the thymoeides.

Socrates and Adeimantus discuss courage: Citizens who are either courageous or cowardly will not make the city courageous or cowardly. The city is courageous to the extent that the city itself maintains clearly that which is to be feared and not to be feared according to the legislators. Courage is a kind of salvation. If the white ground dyers use is not prepared and dressed carefully, then the true sea-purple dye will not take in full perfection and will take on a washed-out look. If the ground is well prepared then whatever is dyed becomes a fast colour and will not fade with washing. Soldiers who are educated in music and gymnastic are being prepared so they will “take the dye of the laws in perfection, and the colour of their opinion about dangers and of every other opinion was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training, not to be washed away by such potent lyes as pleasure –mightier agent far in washing the soul than any soda or lye; or by sorrow, fear, and desire, the mightiest of all other solvents. And this sort of universal saving power of true opinion in conformity with law about real and false dangers I call and maintain to be courage.” A wild beast or a slave has uneducated unspirited courage which is excluded from this definition of courage.

65 CE Nero ordered Seneca to commit suicide. In Tacitus’ narrative Seneca’s only concern then becomes to have his death resemble that of Socrates. He reproaches his friends to remember that his soul is immortal that they should not express grief. Wise men show equanimity. “Where were those precepts of wisdom, where was the rational attitude against disaster, which they had mediated for so many years?” Seneca’s wife insists that she too will commit suicide (although she is rescued from death). Both Seneca and his wife slit their arms but their advanced age slows the flow of blood. Even after Seneca slit the veins of his knees and legs other means had to be used to end his life.

“The description of Stoic courage by a man like Seneca shows the interdependence of the fear of death and the fear of life, as well as the interdependence of the courage to die and the courage to live. He points to those who “do not want to live and do not know how to die.” He speaks of a libido moriendi, the exact Latin term for Freud’s “death instinct.” He tells of people who feel life as meaningless and superfluous and who, as in the book of Ecclesiastes say: I cannot do anything new, I cannot see anything new! This, according to Seneca, is a consequence of the acceptance of the pleasure principle or, as he calls it, anticipating a recent American phrase, the “good-time” attitude, which he finds especially in the younger generation. As, in Freud, the death instinct is the negative side of the ever-unsatisfied drives of the libido, so, according to Seneca, the acceptance of the pleasure principle necessarily leads to disgust and despair about life. But Seneca knew (as Freud did) that the inability to affirm life does not imply the ability to affirm death. The anxiety of fate and death controls the lives even of those who have lost the will to live. This shows that the Stoic recommendation of suicide is not directed to those who are conquered by life but to those who have conquered life, are able both to live and to die, and can choose freely between them. Suicide as an escape, dictated by fear, contradicts the Stoic courage to be. The Stoic courage is, in the ontological as well as the moral sense, “courage to be.” It is based on the control of reason in man. But reason is not in either the old or the new Stoic what it is in contemporary terminology. Reason, in the Stoic sense, is not the power of “reasoning,” i.e. of arguing on the basis of experience and with the tools of ordinary or mathematical logic. Reason for the Stoics is the Logos, the meaningful structure of reality as a whole and of the human mind in particular. “If there is,” says Seneca, “no other attribute which belongs to man as man except reason, then reason will be his one good (Tillich 1952) .”

170-180 CE Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus was Roman emperor from 161 to his death in 180. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. While on campaign between 170 and 180, Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. He had been a priest at the sacrificial altars of Roman service and was an eager patriot. He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book has been a favourite of Frederick the Great, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, Goethe and Wen Jiabao. His stoic ideas often involve avoiding indulgence in emotion, a skill which, he says, will free a man from the pains and pleasures of the material world. He claims that the only way a man can be harmed by others is to allow his reaction to overpower him. An order or logos permeates existence. Rationality and clear-mindedness allow one to live in harmony with the logos. This allows one to rise above faulty perceptions of “good” and “bad.” wiki

“Stoic courage is not an invention of the Stoic philosophers. They gave it classical expression in rational terms; but its roots go back to mythological stories, legends of heroic deeds, words of early wisdom, poetry and tragedy, and to centuries of philosophy preceding the rise of Stoicism. One event especially gave the Stoics’ courage lasting power-the death of Socrates. That became for the whole ancient world both a fact and a symbol. It showed the human situation in the face of fate and death. It showed a courage which could affirm life because it could affirm life. And it brought a profound change in the traditional meaning of courage. In Socrates the heroic courage of the past was made rational and universal. A democratic idea of courage was created as against the aristocratic idea of it. Soldierly fortitude was transcended by the courage of wisdom. In this form it gave “philosophical consolation” to many people in all sections of the ancient world throughout a period of catastrophes and transformations (Tillich 1952) .”

c 85 to 105 AD. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father (Matthew 10:29).” This citation is used to argue for the Calvinist concept of predestination, whereby God controls every minute action and individuals have no power over their own fate. They must put all their trust and faith in God. Tillich refers to this as a belief in the God upstairs which he argued needs to be conceptualized as the God above God. Shakespeare refers to this citation in Hamlet (1599-1602).

1126 – 1198 Ibn Rushd (Arabic: ابن رشد‎) Averroes (1126 – 1198) renowned Muslim scholar who founded a school of philosophy known as Averroism. He has been described by some as the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe (Fakhry 2001) and “one of the spiritual fathers of Europe (De Libera 1991:121).”

c. 1256 Sa’di (1184-1292) wrote The Gulistan or Flower-Garden.

1225-1274 “Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) lived at a critical juncture of western culture when the arrival of the Aristotelian corpus in Latin translation reopened the question of the relation between faith and reason, calling into question the modus vivendi that had obtained for centuries. This crisis flared up just as universities were being founded. Thomas, after early studies at Montecassino, moved on to the University of Naples, where he met members of the new Dominican Order. It was at Naples too that Thomas had his first extended contact with the new learning. When he joined the Dominican Order he went north to study with Albertus Magnus, author of a paraphrase of the Aristotelian corpus. Thomas completed his studies at the University of Paris, which had been formed out of the monastic schools on the Left Bank and the cathedral school at Notre Dame. In two stints as a regent master Thomas defended the mendicant orders and, of greater historical importance, countered both the Averroistic interpretations of Aristotle and the Franciscan tendency to reject Greek philosophy. The result was a new modus vivendi between faith and philosophy which survived until the rise of the new physics. The Catholic Church has over the centuries regularly and consistently reaffirmed the central importance of Thomas’s work for understanding its teachings concerning the Christian revelation, and his close textual commentaries on Aristotle represent a cultural resource which is now receiving increased recognition (McInerny and O’Callaghan 1999-2009).”

1505 German theologian and Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483-1546), leader of the Reformation became an Augustinian monk in his early twenties only to reject the corruption of the Catholic Church in 1517. Throughout his years in the monastery he struggled with doubt, uncertainty and sought enlightenment including five years of study in humanism and the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek.

1517 German theologian and Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483-1546), leader of the Reformation, posted his 95 Theses in which he asked his superiors to put an end the the profitable sale of indulgences to the door of the Wittenberg church.

1521 The Pope excommunicated Martin Luther (1483-1546) from the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther (1483-1546) was in danger of being murdered for his radical stance. While in exile for his own safety in Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, hiding under the name, Junker Jörg (Knight George), Luther suffered extreme doubts that bordered on paranoia.

“It has rightly been said that Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) engraving, “Knight, Death, and the Devil (1519),” is a classic expression of the spirit of the Lutheran Reformation and it might be added of Luther’s courage of confidence, of his form of the courage to be. A knight in full armor is riding through a valley, accompanied by the figure of death on one side, the devil on the other. Fearlessly, concentrated, confident he looks ahead. He is alone but he is not lonely. In his solitude he participates in the power which gives him the courage to affirm himself in spite of the presence of the negativities of existence. His courage is certainly not the courage to be as a part. The Reformation broke away from the semicollectivism of the Middle Ages. Luther’s courage of confidence is personal confidence, derived from a person-to-person encounter with God . . . (Tillich 1952:162)

“The acceptance by God, his forgiving or justifying act, is the only and ultimate source of a courage to be which is able to take the anxiety of guilt and condemnation into itself. For the ultimate power of self-affirmation can only be the power of being-itself . Everything less than this, one’s own or anybody else’s finite power of being, cannot overcome the radical, infinite threat of nonbeing which is experienced in the despair of self-condemnation. This is why the courage of confidence, as it is expressed in a man like Luther, emphasizes unceasingly exclusive trust in God and rejects any other foundation for his courage to be, not only as insufficient but as driving him into more guilt and deeper anxiety. The immense liberation brought to the people of the idth century by the message of the Reformers and the creation of their indomitable courage to accept acceptance was due to the sola fide doctrine, namely to the message that the courage of confidence is conditioned not by anything finite but solely by that which is unconditional itself and which we experience as unconditional in a person-to-person encounter. As the symbolic figures of death and the devil show, the anxiety of this period was not restricted to the anxiety of guilt. It was also an anxiety of death and fate. The astrological ideas of the later ancient world had been revived by the Renaissance and had influenced even those humanists who joined the Reformation. We have already referred to the Neo-Stoic courage, expressed in some Renaissance pictures, where man directs the vessel of his life although it is driven by the winds of fate. Luther faced the anxiety of fate on another level. He experienced the connection between the anxiety of guilt and the anxiety of fate. It is the uneasy conscience which produces innumerable irrational fears in daily life. The rustling of a dry leaf horrifies him who is plagued by guilt. Therefore conquest of the anxiety of guilt is also conquest of the anxiety of fate. The courage of confidence takes the anxiety of fate as well as the anxiety of guilt into itself. It says “in spite of” to both of them. This is the genuine meaning of the doctrine of providence. Providence is not a theory about some activities of God; it is the religious symbol of the courage of confidence with respect to fate and death. For the courage of confidence says “in spite of” even to death. Like Paul, Luther was well aware of the connection of the anxiety of guilt with the anxiety of death. In Stoicism and Neo-Stoicism the essential self is not threatened by death, because it belongs to being-itself and transcends nonbeing. Socrates, who in the power of his essential self conquered the anxiety of death, has become the symbol for the courage to take death upon oneself. This is the true meaning of Plato’s so-called doctrine of immortality of the soul. In discussing this doctrine we should neglect the arguments for immortality, even those in Plato’s Phaedon, and concentrate on the image of the dying Socrates. All the arguments, skeptically treated by Plato himself, are attempts to interpret the courage of Socrates, the courage to take one’s death into one’s self -affirmation. Socrates is certain that the self which the executioners will destroy is not the self which affirms itself in his courage to be. He does not say much about the relation of the two selves, and he could not because they are not numerically two, but one in two aspects. But he makes it clear that the courage to die is the test of the courage to be. A self-affirmation which omits taking the affirmation of one’s death into itself tries to escape the test of courage, the facing of nonbeing in the most radical way (Tillich 1952:167-9).”

“Luther had experiences which he describes as attacks of utter despair (Anfechtung), as the frightful threat of a complete meaninglessness. He felt these moments as satanic attacks in which everything was menaced: his Christian faith, the confidence in his work, the Reformation, the forgiveness of sins. Everything broke down in the extreme moments of this despair, nothing was left of the courage to be. Luther in these moments, and in the descriptions he gives of them, anticipated the descriptions of them by modern Existentialism. But for him this was not the last word. The last word was the first commandment, the statement that God is God, It reminded him of the unconditional element in human experience of which one can be aware even in the abyss of meaninglessness. And this awareness saved him (Tillich 1952:169).”

1536 Influential French theologian, and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin (1509 – 1564) published his seminal work Institutes of the Christian Religion after leaving the Roman Catholic Church c. 1530.

Erich Fromm in “Selfishness and Self-Love” (1939) rejected Calvin’s harsh recommendation of self-hatred, “We are not our own therefore neither our reason nor our will should predominate in our deliberations and actions. We are not our own; therefore, let us not propose it as our end, to seek what may be expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own; therefore, let us, as far as possible, forget ourselves and all things that are ours. On the contrary, we are God’s; to him, therefore, let us live and die. For, as it is the most devastating pestilence which ruins people if they obey themselves, it is the only haven of salvation not to know or to want anything by oneself but to be guided by God who walks before us . . .  Man should not only have the conviction of his absolute nothingness. He should do everything to humiliate himself. For I do not call it humility, if you suppose that we have anything left… we cannot think of ourselves as we ought to think without utterly despising everything that may be supposed an excellence in us. This humility is unfeigned submission of a mind overwhelmed with a weighty sense of its own misery and poverty; for such is the uniform description of it in the word of God (Calvin 1536 cited in Fromm 1939).”

158o Michel de Montaigne’s collection of 105 essays were published in one manuscript entitled Essais, inventing the literary form of essay, a short subjective treatment of a given topic. His pessimistic writing filled with skepticism and disgust with the Catholic-Protestant vicious rivalries were uncharacteristic of Renaissance literature.

1599-1601 William Shakespeare wrote the play “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” which is one of the most powerful and influential plays in the English language. Shakespeare chose as its setting, the Protestant modern nation of Denmark while Ophelia’s funeral was medieval and Catholic. Shakespeare mentioned Wittenberg cathedral the setting of Luther’s protest that provoked the Reformation. Shakespeare appears to be speaking the concept of predestination, wherein God controls every minute event, when his character Hamlet responds to Horation suggestion of reading the future, saying, “Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t to leave betimes, let be (Hamlet Act 5, scene 2, 217–224).”

In the section entitled “Being, Nonbeing, and Anxiety” Tillich claimed, “The late Middle Ages was not a period of doubt; and the anxiety of emptiness and loss of meaning appeared only twice, both remarkable occasions, however, and important for the future. One was the Renaissance, when theoretical skepticism was renewed and the question of meaning haunted some of the most sensitive minds. In Michelangelo’s prophets and sibyls and in Shakespeare’s Hamlet there are indications of a potential anxiety of meaninglessness (Tillich 1952:60).”

1673 Benedict de Spinoza (1632 – 1677)’s Ethics was circulated. It was posthumously published in 1677.

“Modern humanism is identical with ancient Stoicism that it may be called Neo-Stoicism. Spinoza is its representative. In him as in nobody else the ontology of courage is elaborated. In calling his main ontological work Ethics he indicated in the title itself his intention to show the ontological foundation of man’s ethical existence, including man’s courage to be. But for Spinoza as for the Stoics the courage to be is not one thing beside others. It is an expression of the essential act of everything that participates in being, namely self-affirmation. The doctrine of self-affirmation is a central element in Spinoza’s thought. Its decisive character is manifest in a proposition like this: “The endeavour, wherewith everything endeavours to persist in its own being, is nothing else but the actual essence of the thing in question” (Ethics iii. prop. 7). The * Latin word for endeavor is conatus, the striving toward something. This striving is not a contingent aspect of a thing, nor is it an element in its being along with other elements; it is its essentia actualis conatus makes a thing what it is, so that if it disappears the thing itself disappears (Ethics ii, Def . 2 ) . Striving toward self-preservation or toward self-affirmation makes a thing be what it is. Spinoza calls this striving which is the essence of a thing also its power, and he says of the mind that it affirms or posits (affirmat sive ponit) its own power (Tillich 1952) .”

Tillich concludes, Spinoza asks, “Why is it that the way of salvation (salus) which he has shown is being neglected by almost everyone? Because it is difficult and therefore rare, like everything sublime, he answers in the melancholy last sentence of his book. This was also the answer of the Stoics, but it is an answer not of salvation but of resignation (Tillich 1952).”

1646-1716 The German rationalist philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), is one of the great renaissance men of Western thought.  Leibniz eliminates the polarity of power and exertion, being in potentia and being in actu.  Terms like dynamis, potentia (Leibnitz) as characterizations of the true nature of being prepare the way for Nietzsche’s “will to power.”

“In later writings such as the Monadology, Leibniz describes this using the Aristotelian/Medieval idea of entelechy: the becoming actual or achievement of a potential. This word is derived from the idea of perfections. What becomes actual strives to finish or perfect the potential, to realize the complete concept, to unfold itself perfectly as what it is in its entirety. This active power is the essence of the monad. Leibniz has several different names for this property (or closely related properties) of monads: entelechy, active power, conatus or nisus (effort/striving, or urge/desire), primary force, internal principle of change, and even light (in “On the Principle of Indiscernibles”). This activity is not just a property of human souls, but of all types of monads. This inner activity must mean not only being the source of action, but also being affected (passivity), and of resisting (inertia). Again, what one calls “passivity” is just a more complex and subtle form of activity. Both a monad’s activity and resistance, of course, follow from its complete concept, and are expressed in phenomena as causes and as effects. Change in a monad is the intelligible, constantly, and continuously (recalling here the principle of continuity discussed above) unfolding being of a thing, from itself, to itself. “Intelligible” here means: (i) according to sufficient reason, not random or chaotic; and (ii) acting as if designed or purposed, as if alive–hence Leibniz’s contribution to the philosophical tradition of “vitalism” (Burnham 2005).”

1809 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775-1854) one of the three most influential thinkers in the tradition of ‘German Idealism’ (along with J.G. Fichte and G.W.F. Hegel) led the Existentialist attack against Hegel.

“The revolt against Hegel’s Essentialist philosophy was accomplished with the help of Existentialist elements present, though subdued, in Hegel himself. The first to lead the Existentialist attack was Hegel’s former friend Schelling, on whom Hegel had been dependent in earlier years. In his old age Schelling presented his so-called “Positive Philosophic,” most of the concepts of which were used by the revolutionary Existentialists of the 19th century. He called Essentialism “negative philosophy” because it abstracts from real existence, and he called Positive Philosophic the thought of the individual who experiences and thinks, and decides within his historical situation. He was the first to use the term “existence” in contradicting philosophical Essentialism. Although his philosophy was rejected because of the Christian myth which he reinterpreted philosophically in Existentialist terms, he influenced many people, notably Soren Kierkegaard (Tillich 1952:13).”

1830 Auguste Comte’s Course of Positive Philosophy

1843 Lord Gifford heard a series of lectures by American lecturer, author, essayist, poet, and popular philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) in Edinburgh. Emerson who began his career as a Unitarian minister in Boston, achieved worldwide fame as a lecturer and the author. Drawing on English and German Romanticism, Neoplatonism, Kantianism, and Hinduism, Emerson developed a metaphysics of process, an epistemology of moods, and an “existentialist” ethics of self-improvement. He influenced generations of Americans, from his friend Henry David Thoreau to John Dewey, and in Europe, Friedrich Nietzsche, who takes up such Emersonian themes as power, fate, the uses of poetry and history, and the critique of Christianity (Goodman 2002 [2009]).”

Folksonomy: Edinburgh, Emersonian, power, fate, poetry, critique of Christianity, Gifford, Nietzsche, Self-Reliance, History, The Over-Soul, Fate, English Romanticism, German Romanticism, Neoplatonism, Kantianism, Hinduism, substance, Hindu incarnation, St. Bernard, metaphysics of process, epistemology of moods, existentialist, existentialism, self-improvement, ethics, Thoreau, Dewey, transcendentalism,

1844 In May 1844, while living in Windsor, in England, American theologian and Swedenborgian, Henry James Sr. (1811-1882), father of the philosopher William James, novelist Henry James, and diarist Alice James, was sitting alone one evening at the family dinner table after the meal, gazing at the fire, when he had the defining spiritual experience of his life, which he would come to interpret as a Swedenborgian “vastation,” a stage in the process of spiritual regeneration. This experience was an apprehension of, in his own words, “a perfectly insane and abject terror, without ostensible cause, and only to be accounted for, to my perplexed imagination, by some damned shape squatting invisible to me within the precincts of the room, and raying out from his fetid personality influences fatal to life.” James’s “vastation” initiated a spiritual crisis that lasted two years, and was finally resolved through the thorough exploration of the work of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), the Swedish scientist, religious visionary and teacher, and mystic. James became convinced that, as he put it, “the curse of mankind, that which keeps our manhood so little and so depraved, is its sense of selfhood, and the absurd abominable opinionativeness it engenders.” He remained attached to Swedenborg’s thought for the rest of life, and never traveled without carrying Swedenborg’s works with him. James returned to the United States in 1845 and began a lifetime of lecturing about his spiritual discoveries. He devoted his mornings to writing, and published a number of discursive, rather repetitive volumes devoted to the exposition of his thought. (See the list of his major writings below.) wiki

1858-1864 The internationally-recognised Schulpforta accepted the fourteen-year-old Nietzsche because Nietzsche was talented in both music and language. Nietzsche’s father, a Lutheran minister, died of brain injury when Nietzsche was only five. At the Schulpforta Nietzsche was introduced to literature including ancient Greek and Roman.

1865-66 Twenty-one-year old Nietzsche was first introduced to the works of Arthur Schopenhauer which would greatly influence his own writing. The next year he read Friedrich Albert Lange’s History of Materialism. “Lange’s descriptions of Kant’s anti-materialistic philosophy, the rise of European Materialism, Europe’s increased concern with science, Darwin’s theory, and the general rebellion against tradition and authority greatly intrigued Nietzsche. The cultural environment encouraged him to expand his horizons beyond philology and to continue his study of philosophy.” wiki

1867 Twenty-three-year-old had to leave the Prussian army because of a bad riding accident so he returned to his studies.

1868 Nietzsche met Richard Wagner.

1868 Twenty-four-year old Nietzsche was given a tenured track position as professor of classical philology at the University of Basel. Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship and remained stateless for the rest of his life.

1869-1872 The founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah (1817-1892), while imprisoned in the prison of Acca, wrote the following letter to Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890), a Parsi-Zoroastrian scholar who fought for the civil rights of the Zoroastrians in Iran. Zoroastrians who immigrated to India to escape persecution in Iran centuries earlier ( known as the Parsis in India) flourished as merchants, educators and writers. The Parsis in Bombay (now Mumbai) allied with the British East India Company and facilitated British colonialism. Baha’u’llah (1817-1892) had met Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890) in Baghdad in 1854. In 1854-4 Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890) was gathering data for his report (1855) on the increased persecution of Zoroastrians in Persia. Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890),  a British citizen, had excellent relations with the French ambassador, Count de Gobineau and the British ambassador in Persia, Sir Henry Rawlinson. Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890) obtained an audience (1860-05-15) with Nasir al-Din Shah and the oppressive tax on Zoroastrians was removed.  Baha’is and Zoroastrians were among the many religious groups harshly persecuted in Iran.  Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890) championed the cause of the promotion of pure non-Arabicised Persian (Parsiy-i-sari). Baha’u’llah who spoke Arabicised Persian, Arabic and Parsiy-i-sari, used Parsiy-i-sari for this letter which responded to specific questions asked by his friend Manikji Limji Hataria (1813-1890).

British orientalist Edward Granville Browne (1862-1926) who met with Baha’u’llah in XXXX translated part of this in his article entitled, “Three Epistles to the Zorastrians,” published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 24 in 1892. Neshati, Ramin Neshati provided a revised translation and introduction in 2001.

“Praise be unto Him, the Eternal Seer, who through a dewdrop of the ocean of His Generosity raised up the firmament of existence, begemmed it with the stars of knowledge and summoned mankind to the court of perception and understanding! This dewdrop, which is the Primal Word of the Almighty, is at times called the Water of Life for it quickens the lifeless souls in the desert of ignorance and at other times it is known as the First Rays. When this radiance shone forth from the Sun of Wisdom, the Primary Movement was made manifest through the bounty of the Incomparable, the Wise One. He is the Knower, the Merciful! He is sanctified above every statement and attribute! The seen and the unseen fail to attain a measure of His understanding. The world of being and everything therein bears witness to this Utterance. Thus it is established that the First Bestowal of the Almighty is speech and its acceptance by Him is conditioned upon wisdom. It is the First Instructor in the School of Existence and the Primal Emanation of God. All that is visible is but through the radiance of its Light and all that is revealed is through the appearance of its Knowledge. All names originate from His Name and the start and end of all affairs are in His Hand. Your letter reached this Captive of the world in this prison. It brought happiness, increased friendship and renewed the remembrance of former times. Praise be unto the Possessor of the Universe for permitting our meeting in the land of Arabia. We met, we conversed and we listened. It is hoped that forgetfulness shall not follow that encounter, that the passage of time shall not erase its remembrance from the heart and that from what was sown shall sprout the flora of friendship, verdant, luxuriant and imperishable. You have asked about Divine Names. The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements. We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy. Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty profereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remainteth dead, shall never live. You have written regarding languages: Arabic and Persian are both good, for that which one desires of a language is to attain insight into the discourse of the narrator and this can be obtained from either tongue. However, as in this day the Sun of Wisdom shines forth from the horizon of Persia this language is all the more praiseworthy. O friend! When the Primal Word appeared in these latter days, a number of the heavenly souls heard the Melody of the Beloved and hastened toward it, while others, finding the deeds of some at odds with their words, stayed far and were deprived from the radiance of the Sun of Knowledge. Say, O ye sons of earth! Thy Lord, the Pure One, proclaims: In this glorious Day whatever will purge you from corruption and will lead you towards peace and composure, is indeed the Straight Path. Purity from the stains of desire means detachment from all things that occasion loss and abate human nobility, which in turn comes about when one favors his own words and deeds, notwithstanding their merit. Serenity is attained when one becomes the well-wisher of all who are on earth. He who is informed will readily testify that if all the peoples of the earth were to attain to these Heavenly Utterances they would by no means be prevented from the Ocean of Divine Generosity. The heaven of righteousness has no Star, and shall not have any, brighter than this. The first Utterance of the Wise One is this: O ye sons of earth! Turn away from the darkness of alienation and seek the radiance of the Sun of Unity. This is that which shall benefit the people of the world more than aught else. O friend! The Tree of Utterance has no better a Blossom and the Ocean of Wisdom has no brighter a Pearl than this. O ye sons of wisdom! Flimsy as it may be, the eyelid yet prevents the eye from seeing the world and all that is therein. Consider then what would result when the curtain of greed veils the vision of the heart. Say, O people! The darkness of avarice and envy obscures the light of the soul even as clouds eclipse the radiance of the sun. He who listens with the ear of intelligence to this Utterance shall unfurl the wings of freedom and soar with great ease toward the heaven of understanding. When the world was environed with darkness, the Sea of Generosity was set in motion and Divine Illumination made visible the deeds. This is that same illumination foretold in the heavenly books. Should the Almighty desire it, He will sanctify the hearts with pure speech and shine the Light of the Sun of Unity upon the souls and thereby regenerate the world. O people! Words must be demonstrated through deeds, for the latter is the true witness of the former. Words alone shall not quench the thirsty nor unlock the doors of sight to the blind. The Heavenly Wise One proclaims: A harsh word is like unto a sword, while gentle speech like unto milk. In this manner will the children of the world attain to knowledge and improve their lot. The Tongue of Wisdom proclaimeth: He that hath Me not is bereft of all things. Turn ye away from all that is on earth and seek none else but Me. I am the Sun of Wisdom and the Ocean of Knowledge. I cheer the faint and revive the dead. I am the guiding Light that illumineth the way. I am the royal Falcon on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and start it on its flight. The Peerless Friend says: The path of freedom has been opened! Hasten ye! The Fount of Knowledge is gushing! Drink ye! Say O friends! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.  Truly I say: Whatsoever abates ignorance and augments knowledge has been and shall be pleasing to the Creator. Say, O people! Walk under the shadow of Justice and Righteousness and take shelter under the pavilion of Unity. Say, O thou possessor of sight! The past is the mirror of the future; see and be apprised thereof that perchance you may recognize the Friend and not be the cause of His displeasure. In this day, the best fruit from the Tree of Knowledge is that which benefits mankind and improves his condition. Say! The tongue bears witness to My Truth; do not defile it with falsehood. The soul is the treasury of My Mystery; do not surrender it to avarice. It is hoped that in this Dawn, through which the universe has been illumined with the rays of the Sun of Understanding and Knowledge, we may attain to the good pleasure of the Beloved and drink from the Ocean of Divine Recognition. O friend! As ears are few to hear, for some time now the Pen has been silent in its own chamber, to such an extent that silence has overtaken utterance and has been deemed more favorable. Say, O people! Words are revealed according to capacity, so that newcomers may stay and beginners may make progress. Milk must be given according to prescribed measure, such that the babes of the world may enter into the Realm of Grandeur and be established upon the Court of Unity. O friend! We have seen the pure ground and have sown the seed of knowledge thereupon. Now it is left to the rays of the sun…will they singe the seedling or cause it to grow? Say: In this day, through the greatness of the Peerless, the Wise One, the Sun of Knowledge has appeared from behind the veil of the soul. All the birds of the meadow are inebriated through the wine of Understanding and are content with the remembrance of the Beloved. Well is it with him who comprehends.
(Baha’u’llah 1869 [1929]).”

Baha’u’llah. 1869. Lawh-i -Manikchi Sahib (Tablet to Manikchi).

1870-1871 Twenty-six-year old Nietzsche served as a voluntary as orderly during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). He was an eye-witness to traumatic events.

1870 William James  (1842 – 1910), experienced  his own “vastation” at the age of 28 resulting in his breakdown as he searched for his true vocation. He had successfully passed his exams as medical doctor at Harvard University but never practiced medicine.  He wrote about this phenomenon in “The Varieties of Religious Experience,”

“The worst kind of melancholy is that which takes the form of panic fear. Here is an excellent example, for permission to print which I have to thank the sufferer. The original is in French, and though the subject was evidently in a bad nervous condition at the time of which he writes, his case has otherwise the merit of extreme simplicity. I translate freely. “Whilst in this state of philosophic pessimism and general depression of spirits about my prospects, I went one evening into a dressing-room in the twilight to procure some article that was there; when suddenly there fell upon me without any warning, just as if it came out of the darkness, a horrible fear of my own existence. Simultaneously there arose in my mind the image of an epileptic patient whom I had seen in the asylum, a black-haired youth with greenish skin, entirely idiotic, who used to sit all day on one of the benches, or rather shelves against the wall, with his knees drawn up against his chin, and the coarse gray undershirt, which was his only garment, drawn over them inclosing his entire figure. He sat there like a sort of sculptured Egyptian cat or Peruvian mummy, moving nothing but his black eyes and looking absolutely non-human. This image and my fear entered into a species of combination with each other. That shape am I, I felt, potentially. Nothing that I possess can defend me against that fate, if the hour for it should strike for me as it struck for him. There was such a horror of him, and such a perception of my own merely momentary discrepancy from him, that it was as if something hitherto solid within my breast gave way entirely, and I became a mass of quivering fear. After this the universe was changed for me altogether. I awoke morning after morning with a horrible dread at the pit of my stomach, and with a sense of the insecurity of life that I never knew before, and that I have never felt since. It was like a revelation; and although the immediate feelings passed away, the experience has made me sympathetic with the morbid feelings of others ever since. It gradually faded, but for months I was unable to go out into the dark alone. Compare Bunyan: “There was I struck into a very great trembling, insomuch that at some times I could, for days together, feel my very body, as well as my mind, to shake and totter under the sense of the dreadful judgment of God, that should fall on those that have sinned that most fearful and unpardonable sin. I felt also such clogging and beat at my stomach, by reason of this my terror, that I was, especially at some times, as if my breast-bone would have split asunder…. Thus did I wind, and twine, and shrink, under the burden that was upon me; which burden also did so oppress me that I could neither stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet.” “In general I dreaded to be left alone. I remember wondering how other people could live, how I myself had ever lived, so unconscious of that pit of insecurity beneath the surface of life. My mother in particular, a very cheerful person, seemed to me a perfect paradox in her unconsciousness of danger, which you may well believe I was very careful not to disturb by revelations of my own state of mind. I have always thought that this experience of melancholia of mine had a religious bearing.” On asking this correspondent to explain more fully what he meant by these last words, the answer he wrote was this: “I mean that the fear was so invasive and powerful that if I had not clung to scripture-texts like ‘The eternal God is my refuge,’ etc., ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden,’ etc., ‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ etc., I think I should have grown really insane.” For another case of fear equally sudden, see HENRY JAMES: Society the Redeemed Form of Man, Boston, 1879, pp. 43 ff.

Whereas Henry Sr. battled his demons with mysticism, William wielded philosophical arguments. This led to various philosophical positions — most profoundly, the assertion of the will’s primacy, even in choosing what to believe. “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will,” he recorded in his journal, in 1870. The key to so much of James’s thought is his hand-to-hand combat with his own sick soul, his (willed) belief that the will can — that it must — insert itself into the fight and determine how the man shall experience the world. The heroic mind, he wrote in his groundbreaking “Principles of Psychology” (1890), “can stand this Universe,” finding “zest in it” by a “pure inward willingness to face the world with those deterrent objects there.” James put his whole will behind willingness, behind seeking zest and standing life. He eventually began teaching psychology and philosophy at Harvard University (1873-1907). During these years and after his retirement he wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and the philosophy of pragmatism. “Philosophers of life and pragmatists tried to derive the split between subject and object from something which precedes both of them “life” and to interpret the objectified world as a self -negation of the creative life (Dilthey, Bergson, Simmel, William James (1842 – 1910)  (Tillich 1952:13).”  William James

1870 The German Empire was established on the ruins of the Prussian Empire. Nietzsche followed the establishment and the rule of of Otto von Bismarck with skepticism.

1870 Nietzsche delivered his inaugural address at the University of Basel entitled “Homer and Classical Philology”.

1870 During this post war period Nietzsche began his lifelong friendship with theologian  Franz Overbeck.

1873 Nietzsche’s friend  Russian philosopher, Afrikan Spir published his book entitled Denken und Wirklichkeit. Afrikan Spir influenced Nietzsche at this time.

1873 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) wrote “On Truth and Lie in the Extramoral [Nonmoral] Sense” 1873 which was published posthumously. Heidegger referred to this in his book entitled Being and Time (1929).

“We can compare it to a tiny grain of sand; more than a kilometer of emptiness extends between it and the next grain of its size; on the surface of this tiny grain of sand lives a stupefied swarm of supposedly clever animals, crawling all over each other, who for a brief moment have invented knowledge (Heidegger 1929:4).”

1870s Nietzsche regularly attended lectures by his colleague the historian Jacob Burckhardt which had a significant influence on him.

1872 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) published The Birth of Tragedy.

1876 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) published The Untimely Meditations.

1878 [1879, 1880] Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) published Human, All Too Human.

1881 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) published The Dawn.

1882 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) published Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Gay Science).

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) first used the phrase “Gott ist tot” (the death of God, God is dead) in The Gay Science (1882) in the sections entitled “New Struggles”,”The Madman”, “The Meaning of our Cheerfulness”. In the section entitled “The Madman” (1882) Nietzsche primarily addresses the particular anxieties faced by atheists who must retain a value system in the absence of a divinity, God and a divine order.

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? (Nietzsche 1882 in the chapter entitled “The Madman.”

1883–1885 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) published Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra).

“Nietzsche is the most impressive and effective representative of what could be called a “philosophy of life.” Life in this term is the process in which the power of being actualizes itself. But in actualizing itself it overcomes that in life which, although belonging to life, negates life. One could call it the will which contradicts the will to power. In his Zarathustra, in the chapter called “The Preachers of Death” (Pt. I, chap. 9), Nietzsche points to the different ways in which life is tempted to accept its own negation: “They meet an invalid, or an old man, or a corpse and immediately they say: ‘Life is refuted!’ But they only are refuted, and their eye, which seeth only one aspect of existence.” Life has many aspects, it is ambiguous. Nietzsche has described its ambiguity most typically in the last fragment of the collection of fragments which is called the Will to Power. Courage is the power of life to affirm itself in spite of this ambiguity, while the negation of life because of its negativity is an expression of cowardice. On this basis Nietzsche develops a prophecy and philosophy of courage in opposition to the mediocrity and decadence of life in the period whose coming he saw (Tillich 1952:27-8).” Like the earlier philosophers Nietzsche in Zarathustra considered the “warrior” (whom he distinguishes from the mere soldier) an outstanding example of courage.” ‘What is good?’ ye ask. To be brave is good” (I, 10), not to be interested in long life, not to want to be spared, and all this just because of the love for life. The death of the warrior and of the mature man shall not be a reproach to the earth (I, 21). Self-affirmation is the affirmation of life and of the death which belongs to life. Virtue for Nietzsche as for Spinoza is self-affirmation. In the chapter on “The Virtuous” Nietzsche writes: “It is your dearest Self, your virtue. The ring’s thirst is in you: to reach itself again struggleth every ring, and turneth itself (II, 27). This analogy describes better than any definition the meaning of self-affirmation in the philosophy of life: The Self has itself, but at the same time it tries to reach itself. Here Spinoza’s conatus becomes dynamic, as, generally speaking, one could say that Nietzsche is a revival of Spinoza in dynamic terms: “Life” in Nietzsche replaces “substance” in Spinoza. And this is true not only of Nietzsche but of most of the philosophers of life. The truth of virtue is that the Self is in it “and not an outward thing.” “That your very Self be in your action, as the mother is in the child: let that be your formula of virtue! ” (II, 27.) Insofar as courage is the affirmation of one’s self it is virtue altogether. The self whose self-affirmation is virtue and courage is the self which surpasses itself: “And this secret spake Life herself unto me. ‘Behold,’ said she, 1 am that which must ever surpass itself ” (II, 34) . By italicizing the last words Nietzsche indicates that he wants to give a definition of the essential nature of life. “. . . There doth Life sacrifice itself for power!” he continues, and shows in these words that for him self-affirmation includes self -negation, not for the sake of negation but for the sake of the greatest possible affirmation, for what he calls “power.” Life creates and life loves what it has created but soon it must turn against it: “so willeth m[Life’s] will.” Therefore it is wrong to speak of “will to existence” or even of “will to life”; one must speak of “will to power,” i.e. to more life. Life, willing to surpass itself, is the good life, and the good life is the courageous life. It is the life of the “powerful soul” and the “triumphant body” whose self -enjoyment is virtue. Such a soul banishes “everything cowardly; it says: bad that is cowardly” (III, 54) . But in order to reach such a nobility it is necessary to obey and to command and to obey while commanding. This obedience which is included in commanding is the opposite of submissiveness. The latter is the cowardice which does not dare to risk itself. The submissive self is the opposite of the self-affirming self, even if it is submissive to a God. It wants to escape the pain of hurting and being hurt. The obedient self, on the contrary, is the self which commands itself and “risketh itself thereby” (II, 34). In commanding itself it becomes its own judge and its own vei?rim. It commands itself according to the law of life, the law of self -transcendence. The will which commands itself is the creative will It makes a whole out of fragments and riddles of life. It does not look back, it stands beyond a bad conscience, it rejects the “spirit of revenge” which is the innermost nature of self-accusation and of the consciousness of guilt, it transcends reconciliation, for it is the will to power (II, 42 ) . In doing all this the courageous self is united with life itself and its secret (II, 34). We may conclude our discussion of Nietzsche’s ontology of courage with the following quotation: “Have ye courage, O my brethren? . . . Not the courage before witnesses, but anchorite and eagle courage, which not even a God any longer beholdeth? . . . He hath heart who knoweth fear but vanquisheth it; who seeth the abyss, but with pride. He who seeth the abyss but with eagle’s eyes, he who with eagle’s talons graspeth the abyss: he hath courage” (Nietzsche 1886 TSZ IV:4:73 cited in Tillich 1952).

“‘And what is the saint doing in the forest?’ asked Zarathustra. The saint answered: ‘I make songs and sing them; and when I make songs, I laugh, cry, and hum: thus do I praise God. With singing, crying, laughing, and humming do I praise the god who is my god. But what do you bring us as a gift?’ When Zarathustra had heard these words he bade the saint farewell and said: ‘What could I have to give you? But let me go quickly lest I take something from you!’ And thus they separated, the old one and the man, laughing as two boys laugh. But when Zarathustra was alone he spoke thus to his heart: ‘Could it be possible? This old saint in the forest has not yet heard anything of this, that God is dead!'”

Zarathustra calls for a new morality in the form of the übermensch, the new man, the overman:

‘Dead are all the Gods: Now do we desire the overman to live.”

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)’s phrase “Gott ist tot” (the death of God, God is dead) became popularized through his book entitled Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which is most responsible for popularizing the phrase. German soldiers were given copies of this book during WWI and it was interpreted by the right-wing as promoting militaristic values.

1885 Adam Lord Gifford (1820-1887)  bequeathed for the good of his fellow-men, large sums from his estate, to establish an institute (preferably with Scottish Universities) with a lectureships or classes for the promotion of the study, teaching and diffusion of sound views among the whole population of Scotland on subjects about and relating to the true knowledge of God.  His interest in philosophical religion was well-known in Edinburgh. After retiring in 1881 he gave lectures to popular audiences on such subjects as Emerson, substance, Hindu incarnationism, and St. Bernard. Ralph Waldo Emerson in fact had been something of a hero for Lord Gifford ever since 1843 when he heard a series of lectures by Emerson in Edinburgh. Emerson’s transcendentalism appealed to Lord Gifford as did his later reading of Spinoza. He did not explore his own religious and metaphysical ideology to the point of answering the question of whether or not he believe God was a person. Of course it is out of this interest, this passion really, that Lord Gifford’s bequest arises. To use his words he was “firmly convinced that the true knowledge of God … when felt and acted on, is the means of man’s highest well-being, and the security of his upward progress…”

“I having been for many years deeply and firmly convinced that the true knowledge of God, that is, of the Being, Nature, and Attributes of the Infinite, of the All, of the First and the Only Cause, that is, the One and Only Substance and Being, and the true and felt knowledge (not mere nominal knowledge) of the relations of man and of the universe to Him, and of the true foundations of all ethics and morals, being, I say, convinced that this knowledge, when really felt and acted on, is the means of man’s highest well-being, and the security of his upward progress . .  (Gifford 1885-08-21).”

Folksonomy: Emersonian, metaphysical ideology, religious ideology,

1886 Paul Tillich was born in in Starzeddel, then a province of Brandenberg, Germany (now part of Poland) (Addison). Tillich was brought up by the Romantic movement, through which he sensed and realized his particular relation to nature and history (Wu 1999).

1900 Paul Tillich’s family moved to Berlin when his father was called to a position as a Lutheran pastor (Addison).

1901-1902 William James delivered the Gifford Series of Ten Lectures on Natural Religion entitled The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature at the University of Edinburgh.

1904 Paul Tillich graduated from Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium, an advanced high school for preliminary university education. During these years, he studied the philosophy of Fichte and Kant (Wu 1999).

1911-1912 Paul Tillich received a doctoral degree in philosophy from the university of Breslau, and earned the licentiate in theology from the university of Halle in 1912. Between 1904 and 1911 Tillich matriculated in several universities located in Berlin, Tubingen, and Halle where he became familiar with the works of Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Shelling (Wu 1999).

1912 Paul Tillich was ordained as a minister in the Lutheran Church (Addison).

1914-1918 Paul Tillich served as military chaplain in World War I and witnessed the terror and cruelty of the war. Through this experience Tillich realized that much of his classical philosophy was inadequate 1919 to 1924 (Wu 1999).

1920 Miguel Asin Palacios suggested that Dante had drawn on Ibn ‘Arabi’s writings for his Divine Comedy. (Paul Tillich (1952:129) described [La Divina Commedia] as the “greatest poetic expression of the Existentialist point of view in the Middle Ages. . . [La Divina Commedia] remains, like the religious depth psychology of the monastics, within the framework of scholastic ontology. But within these limits it enters the deepest places of human self-destruction and despair as well as the highest places of courage and salvation, and gives in poetic symbols an all-embracing existential doctrine of man.”)

1919-1924 Paul Tillich was at the University of Berlin where he lectured on the philosophy of religion by presenting the theology of culture which related religion to politics, art, philosophy, depth psychology, and sociology respectively (Wu 1999).

1924 Paul Tillich taught at the University of Marburg where the neo-orthodoxy theology of Karl Barth was incredibly popular. In this university, cultural problems, social and political ideas were all excluded from the theological agenda (Wu 1999).

1924 Tillich met Martin Heidegger the University of Marburg and was deeply influenced by Heidegger’s thought. In Tillich’s words, Heidegger’s thought could be described as the “existentialism in its 20th century form” (Kegley and Bretall. Ed. 1964:14 cited in Wu 1999). For Tillich, Heidegger’s existentialism was not a new way of thinking. Rather, it is an analytical pattern which took Tillich as far back as the thoughts of Hegel, Schelling, and Kierkegaard. Synthesizing what he had learned from Schelling, Kahler and Kierkegaard and Husserl, Tillich reflected himself in his subsequent theological works with tremendous indebtedness to the thought of Existentialism (Wu 1999).”

Thomson,  J. Arthur. 1925. Concerning Evolution. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Millikan, Robert Andrews. 1927. Evolution in Science and Religion. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Compton, Arthur H. 1927. The Freedom of Man. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Hocking, William Ernest. 1928. The Self: Its Body and Freedom. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Russell, Henry Norris. 1927. Fate and Freedom. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Brown, William. 1930. Science and Personality. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Montague, Wm. Pepperell. 1930. Belief Unbound: A Promethean Religion for the Modern World. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Weyl, Hermann. 1932. The Open World: Three Lectures on the Metaphysical Implications of Science. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Jennings, H. S. 1933. The Universe and Life. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

1912-1933 Tillich lectured on philosophy and theology at many universities, including Berlin, Dresden and Frankfurt. He also spent four years serving as a military chaplain during World War I. His philosophical and theological views developed as he gained exposure to varied academic environments, from the neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth to the existentialism of Heidegger (Addison).

1933 Paul Tillich was dismissed from his teaching position in Germany because of his liberalism and opposition to the Nazi movement (Addison).

1933? Reinhold Niebuhr, whom he had met in Germany, offered Paul Tillich a position at the Union Theological Seminary in New York (Addison).

1940 Paul Tillich became a U.S. citizen.

Simpson, James Young. 1934. Nature: Cosmic, Human and Divine. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Dewey, John. 1934. A Common Faith. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.
Needham, Joseph. Order and Life. 1936. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Macmurray, John. 1936. The Structure of Religious Experience. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Jung, Carl Gustav. 1938. Psychology and Religion. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Barcroft, Sir Joseph. 1939. The Brain and Its Environment. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

1939 Fromm, Erich. 1939. “Selfishness and Self-Love.” Psychiatry. Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Process. Washington (The William Alanson Psychiatric Foundation), Vol. 2 (1939), pp. 507-523.

“Erich Fromm has fully expressed the idea that the right self-love and the right love of others are interdependent, and that selfishness and the abuse of others are equally interdependentBut despair is also the despair about guilt and condemnation. And there is no way of escaping it, even by ontic self-negation. Suicide can liberate one from the anxiety of fate and death as the Stoics knew. But it cannot liberate from the anxiety of guilt and condemnation, as the Christians know. This is a highly paradoxical statement, as paradoxical as the relation of the moral sphere to ontic existence generally. But it is a true statement, verified by those who have experienced fully the despair of condemnation. It is impossible to express the inescapable character of condemnation in ontic terms, that is in terms of imaginings about the “immortality of the soul.” For every ontic statement must use the categories of finitude, and “immortality of the soul” would be the endless prolongation of finitude and of the despair of condemnation (a self -contradictory concept, for “finis” means “end” (Tillich 1952).”

1944 In May just before the liberation of Paris, Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist play entitled Huis Clos (No Exit) was first performed at the Vieux-Colombier. Sartre’s most famous quotation, “l’enfer, c’est les autres” “Hell is other people” is from Huis Clos. Garcin, Serrano and Estelle Rigault are locked inside a gigantic room which seems to get hotter and hotter although that may only be psychosomatic, triggered by anxiety. They realize thourgh time that the sharing of their own sins, memories and experiences is their self-inflicted torture. When Garcin finally demands that the exit be opened, the actors are frozen in place too anxious for the unknown to leave.

“But despair is also the despair about guilt and condemnation. And there is no way of escaping it, even by ontic self-negation. Suicide can liberate one from the anxiety of fate and death as the Stoics knew. But it cannot liberate from the anxiety of guilt and condemnation, as the Christians know. This is a highly paradoxical statement, as paradoxical as the relation of the moral sphere to ontic existence generally. But it is a true statement, verified by those who have experienced fully the despair of condemnation. It is impossible to express the inescapable character of condemnation in ontic terms, that is in terms of imaginings about the “immortality of the soul.” For every ontic statement must use the categories of finitude, and “immortality of the soul” would be the endless prolongation of finitude and of the despair of condemnation (a self -contradictory concept, for “finis” means “end”). The experience, there fore, that suicide is no way of escaping guilt must be understood in terms of the qualitative character of the moral demand, and of the qualitative character of its rejection. Guilt and condemnation are qualitatively, not quantitatively, infinite. They have an infinite weight and cannot be removed by a finite act of ontic self -negation. This makes despair desperate, that is, inescapable. There is “No Exit” from it (Sartre). The anxiety of emptiness and meaninglessness participates in both the ontic and the moral element in despair. Insofar as it is an expression of finitude it can be removed by ontic self -negation: This drives radical skepticism to suicide. Insofar as it is a consequence of moral disintegration it produces the same paradox as the moral element in despair: there is no ontic exit from it. This frustrates the suicidal trends in emptiness and meaninglessness. One is aware of their futility (Tillich 1952:56).”

1950 Paul Tillich presented his lecture entitled “Being and Courage” at the Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. 27th series held at Yale University. The lecture was published as the first chapter of his publication entitled The Courage to Be (1952).

Folksonomy:  acceptance, affirm, andere, anderen, anxiety:of fate anxiety:of guilt, Ausdruck, Bedeutung, Begriff, being-itself,Bewegung, Bewegungen, Bewußtsein, Boden, Buddhism, bürgerlichen, Gesellschaft, character, Christianity, collectivism, courage, creative, culture, Dämonie, Dämonische, Dämonischen, Dasein, denen, despair, Dinge, divine, doubt, eigentliche, Einzelnen, elements, encounter, Endlichkeit, Ewigen, existential, Existentialist, Existenz, expression, finite, finitude, Form, Formen, Frage, Gegensatz, gegenüber, Gegenwart, Geist der bürgerlichen, geistige, geistigen, gibt, Gott, Göttlichen, Haltung, holy, human, individual, Kampf, Kirche, Kraft, Leben lich, lichen, liegt, Macht, man’s meaning, meaninglessness, Menschen, muß, mystical, myth, nature, Nietzsche, nonbeing, one’s oneself, ontic, ontological, participation, Paul Tillich, philosophy, Protestant, Protestantism, Protestantismus, quasi-religions, question, reality, religion, religiöse, religiösen, religious, Richtung, Rudolf Otto, schaft, sche, Schriften, secular, Seite, Seiten, Sekte, self-affirmation, Sinn, Sozialismus, Sphäre, spiritual, steht, Stoic, Stoicism, symbols, theism, Theologie, Theonomie, Tiefe, Tillich, tion, transcends, truth of faith, ultimacy, ultimate concern, unbedingt, Unbedingten, unconditional, unserer, Welt, Widerstand, wieder, Wirklichkeit, wurde, zeigt, Zeit, zugleich,

1951 Paul Tillich book entitled Systematic Theology was published.

Folksonomy: liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, idealism, realism, Protestant theology, Roman Catholic theology, philosophical theology, correlation method, interpretation, systematic theology,

1952 Paul Tillich’s lectures were compiled into the publication entitled The Courage to Be.

“The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt (Tillich 1952).”

1953–1954 Paul Tillich presented lectures entitled “Systematic Theology.”

1953–1954 Paul Tillich presented lectures entitled “Systematic Theology: Existence and the Christ.”

1953–1954 Paul Tillich presented lectures entitled “Systematic Theology: Life in the Spirit.”

1954 Paul Tillich took up a position at Harvard University

1959 Henry Corbin’s book (1958) entitled L’Imagination Creatrice dans le Soufisme d’Ibn ‘Arabi was translated into English. In the introduction of the 1997 reprint/publication Harold Bloom wrote “Henry Corbin’s works are the best guide to the visionary tradition…. Henry Corbin, like Scholem and Jonas, is remembered as a scholar of genius. He was uniquely equipped not only to recover Iranian Sufism for the West, but also to defend the principal Western traditions of esoteric spirituality.”  His book on ’Ibn ‘Arabi is “a profoundly moving and beautiful volume [that] stands as one of the great works of theology and comparative philosophy of the 20th century.”

1962-1965 Paul Tillich taught at the University of Chicago.

1986 On the occasion of his 100th anniversary of Paul Tillich’s birth, Writings on Religion with introduction by Robert P. Scharlemann was published.

2000 Peter J. Gomes wrote the “Introduction” to Paul Tillich’s publication The Courage to Be.

Folksonomy

self-affirmation, anxiety, doubt, Heidegger, existentialism, Karl Barth,

Webliography and Bibliography

Addison, Sam. No Date. “Gifford Lecture Series – Biography – Paul Tillich.”

Corbin, Henry. 1958. L’Imagination Creatrice dans le Soufisme d’Ibn ‘Arabi. Collection Homo Sapiens. Paris: Flammarion. Review

Burnham, Douglas. 2005. “Leibniz: Metaphysics.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

De Libera, Alain. 1991. Averroès et l’averroïsme. PUF: p.121.

Donaghy, John Albert. 1990. “Spiritedness in Plato’s “Republic”: The education of to thymoeides.” PhD dissertation. Boston College.

Fakhry, Majid. 2001. Averroes:  His Life, Works and Influence.  Oneworld Publications.

Gilford, Lord Adam. 1885-08-21 “Lord Adam Gifford’s Will.”

Goodman, Russell. 2002 [2009]. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Gomes, Peter J. 2000. “Introduction” in Tillich, Paul. 1952 [2000]. The Courage to Be.

James, William. 1901-1902. “The Sick Soul.” in The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. Gifford Series of Ten Lectures on Natural Religion. Delivered at the University of Edinburgh.

Tillich, Paul. 1952. The Courage to Be.

Wu, James. 1999. “Paul Tillich: Biography and Systematic Theology I. Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology.

McInerny, Ralph; O’Callaghan, John. 1999-2009. “Thomas Aquinas.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Selected Publications in the Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Compton, Arthur H. 1927. The Freedom of Man. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Thomson,  J. Arthur. 1925. Concerning Evolution. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Millikan, Robert Andrews. 1927. Evolution in Science and Religion. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Hocking, William Ernest. 1928. The Self: Its Body and Freedom. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Russell, Henry Norris. 1927. Fate and Freedom. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Brown, William. 1930. Science and Personality. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Sa’di. c. 1256. The Gulistan. Trans. Ross, James. 1890. The Gulistan of Sadi. Sacred Books of the East Series. London.

Simpson, James Young. 1934. Nature: Cosmic, Human and Divine. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Montague, Wm. Pepperell. 1930. Belief Unbound: A Promethean Religion for the Modern World. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Weyl, Hermann. 1932. The Open World: Three Lectures on the Metaphysical Implications of Science. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Jennings, H. S. 1933. The Universe and Life. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Dewey, John. 1934. A Common Faith. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Needham, Joseph. Order and Life. 1936. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Macmurray, John. 1936. The Structure of Religious Experience. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Barcroft, Sir Joseph. 1939. The Brain and Its Environment. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Jung, Carl Gustav. 1938. Psychology and Religion. Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy. Yale University.

Tillich, Paul. 1950. Being and Courage.
Neshati, Ramin. 2001-10. Introduction to Baha’u’llah’s Tablet to Manikji Sahib. http://bahai-library.org/provisionals/lawh.manikji.html

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