Written Assignment 4
A Cultural Determination of Meaning
Throughout historic culture, we can identify several changes in philosophical thought. Through the emergence of romanticism, we see a realization that, through passion, the paths of the hero and saint can be merged. In the agony and ecstasy of Michelangelo, it is obvious how the paths of hero and saint can be merged in the form of art, to attempt to reconcile the tension between them. In the enlightenment patterns of cultural mutation, we begin to realize that the way we converge the two paths depends on the historical context in which we view them. And finally, as a response to his cultural climate, Kierkegaard’s portrayal of Abraham shows how the hero-saint convergence has irreconcilable, and paradoxical tension. Through careful analysis, it is clear that the development of philosophical thought, over time, shows the swings of tension from one worldview to the other, and that the attempt to converge them brings meaning itself.
With Saint Francis and Dante, the blending of both paths around a central figure of the romantic lover was a way to converge the path of the hero and the saint. The path of the hero, in the cultural context of Saint Francis and Dante, is one that emphasized freedom. The saint emphasized love. In their time they were challenging the norms by choosing their lovers instead of letting society choose them. By doing this, they effectively merged the path of the hero with the saint. They used romantic relationships to describe their faith, and this gave them a way to preach it to society. Through the use of passion, they were able to merge the two paths; this was made possible by their cultural climate, directly following the attempts to converge by the Christian and Islamic traditions. Another means for convergence stems directly from romanticism – convergence through art.
Michelangelo realized that, through art, he could give society a means to see how the path of the...