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Didn’t leave much to hope for, but Steiner also seems to shrug at the current possibilities. Love and death, Eros and Thanatos.

His conclusion reminded me of the first paragraph from Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu: But incomplete gsorge incoherent. But finally — the contrary to all intuitive, instinctive expectations, to all our hopes — it is not Eros, not love, but Thanatos who is stronger, who is close to the roots of man. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

Feb 07, Graham rated it liked it. Above all, it offers a contract of messianic promise georrge the future.

Nostalgia for the Absolute by George Steiner

Five lectures on the decline of Christianity, ‘the death of God’, and its effects on Western civilization. He became a founding fellow of Churchill College at the University of Cambridge inand has been an Extraordinary Fellow there since Steiner examines three modern mythologies which attempt geotge fill the gap, the hunger absoluho absolute truth, left by the decline of religion: A mythology, in Steiner’s sense of the word, has an easily recognizable beginning and absiluto Return to Book Page.

The bulk of the book is spent proving that each is a meta-religion. In fact, George Steiner goes one step further and calls these movem I came on this book through a tweet by Marc Andreesen, where he claimed that it handily explained a lot of modern-day Weltschmerz. Mar 18, David Withun rated it really liked it Shelves: Francis George Steiner is an essayist, novelist, philosopher, literary critic, and educator. Books by George Steiner.

The A good, short book that seems thoroughly sensible. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.


Marxism has its emblems, its symbolic deo, just like any transcendent religious faith [ No trivia or quizzes yet. Steiner’s critique mainly has to do with the pseudo-scientific claims of these mythologies.

Is that really the complete basis set? It was important for me in that it was only after reading it that I first framed my own deeply-rooted skepticism. The conflict between them determines the rhythms of existence, of procreation, of somatic steined-nostalgia psychic evolution.

Jul 03, steined-nostalgia rated it really liked it. He discusses Freudian psychology as a religion, Levi Strauss philosophy and further goes into reviving such old chestnuts in belief systems as mythology and astrology. This question of epistemology is, I believe, a fundamental question and on which, if the answer is negative and I believe that it must be if we adopt any sort of secular anthropologyhas significant ramifications for Steiner’s ideas.

As he examines these alternatives and replacements, he concludes that each is lacking in fundamental ways and fails to achieve its goal of creating a new system by which man can live and, most importantly for Steiner, sel evades the truth of the matter in favor of a new mythology.

I’m not informed enough on any of the topics to say whether the author is successful.

Open Preview See a Problem? Apr 26, Rhys rated it liked it. It’s definitely clear that these movements are important to the world and that their adherents really do believe in the inevitability of their claims the communist March of Progress rings faintly.

Lists with This Book. All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal and I recommend it to anyone interested in the state of thought in the modern world. Jun 28, Paul rated it it was amazing. Sylvarantinc rated it really liked it May 15, He lives in Cambridge, England, See also: His inescapable conclusion is that science has actually driven more people into the arms of pseudoscience through recent-ish discoveries like the inevitable heat-death of the universe and the acknowledgement that scientific advancement might come at the expense of humanity and not in service of it e.


The conclusion of the book is a quite-depressing investigation of science as savior. I bought this CBC Massey lecture when it first appeared a couple of millennia ago – I found this lecture a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion, though it does have neat closing paragraph: The final section deals with the Pursuit of Truth as the new ultimate hot thing.

George Steiner doesn’t go into details for why movements with these characteristics resonate so deeply with humanity. In addition, he seems to leave us with a scenario reminiscent of the famous Zen koan “if a tree falls in the woods and there is no one to hear it, does t make a sound?

Each errantly claims a basis in scientific fact as a bulwark of legitimacy, and this makes these mythologies dangerous and disingenuous. Steiner argues that this decay Writer and scholar George Steiner’s Massey Lectures are just as cogent today as when he delivered them in — perhaps even more so.

How familiar all this is to students of the history of Christianity. Is it the right basis set? I agreed with Steiner up to the point of his discussion of scientific truth.

Nostalgia for the Absolute

While there is much that can be said here, my own thoughts largely fall into two areas: Steiner concludes from his discussion that truth is paramount and that man should seek truth even at the risk of his own destruction. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.

It has brought with it untold pain and ecological waste. Apr 13, Barnaby rated it liked it. He discusses whether the truth, when discovered, will actually be beneficial to humanity.