Main Currents of Modern Thought: A Study of the Spiritual and Intellectual Movements of the Present Day


In examining the life and thought of to-day it is impossible not to be struck in the first place by the extreme confusion which prevails and the accompanying painful insecurity as to the real aim of life. On every side we perceive not only a division of humanity into factions, but often a division within the individual himself. This state of confusion and uncertainty may at first sight appear to be the result of historical traditions working themselves out. We are surrounded to-day by various tendencies which have come down to us from the past, and these are not infrequently hostile to one another; they constitute the heritage and burden that the labour of thousands of years has bequeathed to us. It is the fact of thus being torn by contradictions which more than anything else distinguishes modern culture from the simpler conditions of the Ancient World. The Middle Ages handed down a whole philosophy of life containing within itself modes of thought so fundamentally different as the Grecian and the early Christian, the artistic and the religious, the tendency to embrace life and the tendency to reject it; these were, however, rather pieced together than harmoniously combined. In opposition to this structural solution the Modern World brought forth a new life energy, the desire for the unhindered expansion of force and for complete dominion over the material world. The detailed development of this, however, led at once to a division within the Modern World itself. On the one hand, there was the soul, with its capacity for thought, demanding to rule the world and human life (intellectualism) . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1912


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