Patrick Geddes, Maker of the Future

Patrick Geddes, Maker of the Future

Patrick Geddes, Maker of the Future

Patrick Geddes, Maker of the Future

Excerpt

Patrick Geddes's life spanned the epoch between the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Great Collapse of 1931. From the period of his birth, Geddes inherited a buoyant sense in man's powers and his happy destiny. During the last twenty years of his life he saw the dream of the Victorian period fade, not into the light of common day, but into a darkness of almost unthinkable barbarism. Out of those early years Geddes carried an inexhaustible store of energy and hope; but in the final decades of his life, his thought was disciplined by a grim understanding of difficulties, and it was no accident that toward the end he was attracted by the work of a group of Adlerians in London who shared their master's concern over the frustrations and perversions of the will-to-power. Geddes, then, is a bridge between three worlds: the waxing world that gave him birth, the disintegrating world he confronted in his maturity, and a new world, still unborn, toward which all his own creative effort was bent.

There are a few people, whose judgments have a right to be respected, who regard Patrick Geddes as one of the truly seminal minds the last century produced: a philosopher whose knowledge and wisdom put him on the level of an Aristotle or a Leibnitz. This informed opinion contrasts with that of the ordinary educated reader who has, often enough, not even heard of Patrick Geddes.

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