As Much Clearness as the Subject Matter Admits

Review of Metaphysics 14 (2):300 - 327 (1960)
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Abstract

In The Promise of Modern Life Professor D. W. Gotshalk calls our attention to the sickness of modern society--its crises, panic, tensions and fears--and asks, "How did we get this way and what are the prospects of moving out?" He recognizes a disease, offers a diagnosis, and suggests a cure. The causes of our distressing condition lie, in part, in the past, that is, in the assumptions made by previous periods of society. In modern life we can distinguish three periods each with a predominant value, namely, individuality, creativity, and interrelatedness. "We live today in an interrelational world, and the clue to maximum human good lies in developing the value possibilities of the interrelational principle." Individuality characterizes roughly the period of revolutionary changes following the medieval world to the late 18th century; creativity from the late 18th century to recent decades. Both individuality and creativity were heretical in the medieval value scheme, the first leading to pride, and the second to rebellion against established truth. Individuality is rather loosely defined as self-assertion and the striving for self-completeness; creativity seems to mean a kind of activity having a direction or aim, a striving for productive novelty.

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