what my friend wrote in response...

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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Thursday, December 12, 2002 at 5:21PM :

In Reply to: comment posted by Lilly from ? ( on Thursday, December 12, 2002 at 12:50PM :

on your first comment: totally!!! "Christianity" perhaps is nothing but amalgam of various pagan cults/folk beliefs, etc. which preceded it, and then, yes, I like the image of a feedback loop, in which it in turn shaped those beliefs...in our seminar the other day, someone pointed out the various polytheistic dimensions to Christianity (trinity + Mary) and the fact that there are images of God everywhere and that these images are sacred...and "progress"? yes, that's interesting...that the "godlike" man demonstrates a certain progress in nature. However, I might disagree with the author on Goethe--he does seem to write against certain trends in science and glorify nature--but if I recall correctly, largely to call into question this very notion of progress!!! Indeed, even on a very superficial level, an appeal to "nature" in philosophy can largely be an attempt to DENY the theory of man's superiority, and to acknowledge man's animality!!! that having been said there was certainly in Germany an attempt to see nature as teleological--Hegel, Schelling are in some sense exemplary--and perhaps Goethe in some ways, but I certainly wouldn't blame him for this structure. I think it, as you suggest, might have more to do with Christianity.

Nietzsche was the great war machine against "progress" by the way--his fundamental thought; in one of his earliest writings he begins an essay with this:

"In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of "world history"--yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.

One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened..."

-- Lilly
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