Blake & Modern Thought

Blake & Modern Thought

Blake & Modern Thought

Blake & Modern Thought

Excerpt

From the point of view of this study, the essential trait of eighteenth century thought is the shifting of creative power from God to Man. The seventeenth century had still lived on the idea of an absolute creative God, the maker of man, of the world, of the moral law. The eighteenth century began the destructive criticism of that conception of God. It rebelled against the Old Testament presentation of God and of morality. It insisted on the rights of the individual: les droits de l'homme and proclaimed the sacredness of the instincts of the natural man. It rebelled against law, and against the abstract intellect that had, they said, been the maker of laws. Voltaire led the rebellion against the ancient conception of God. Rousseau led the fight in favour of the natural man and against law, society, civilisation and intellect. Diderot went further than either, into practical atheism and amoralism. Hume ruined the claims of the abstract intellect. This revolt against an absolute God and an absolute moral law is the essence of liberalism-- essentially a negative movement.

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