27. New names for old feelings

Neo-Classicism and Romanticism (1800)

 

The year 1800 AD marked the (re)emergence of tetradic thinking, just like the year 1200 AD was the approximate date when this particular frame of mind started to disappear from the stage of the European cultural history. Only the names given to the quadruple spirit were different.

AIKEN (1956) called the nineteenth century the ‘Age of Ideology’, indicating a moral consciousness which covers all areas of life. Basically, it is a newly discovered formulation of observation, which had been dormant since the Scholastic movement bogged down in the struggle of oppositional thinking. Neo-Classicism and Romanticism are both rather vague terms for a complex of thoughts, which might have strong ties with the world of tetradic thinking. It will come to no surprise, that there was never an agreement on the definitions, because any interpretation is implicit a matter of position (in time and place). The dynamic character of the words itself throw a barrier for a proper description.

Definition, as it became understood in higher division thinking, is a matter of viewpoint, and depends on the position of an observer in a communication. Roman classicism is different from the interpretation of classicism in the Renaissance and that, in turn, is unlike the upsurge of (neo) classicism around the year 1800, because each period had a dissimilar relation to the ‘Classics’.

‘The multiplication of party platforms, and the dizzying progress of the classicism debate through five centuries of modern history, have led us to a salutary despair of definition’, stated Jeffrey PERL (1984, p. 67) in his imaginative approach to the problem. This point was taken, but despite the lack of a unifying definition, there might well be a common ground with regard to the efforts of classicists to recreate the past in the nostalgic feeling of a well-developed division-thinking.

‘Romanticism’, although of a lesser lineage than ‘classicism’, goes as a conception through the same motions. It has its roots in subjectivity, feelings and emotions, which were relived over the ages in many ways. The emotions were not always of the same intensity. Romanticism had its historical highs and lows, often in symbiosis with classicism.  A quadralectic communication, based on the four quadrants with their own specific type of visibility, would position both currents of thought in the Fourth Quadrant where the language of feelings and dedication to the visible invisibility is dominant.

Bertrand RUSSELL (1945, pp. 675 – 684) could speak of a ‘Romantic Movement’, which started from the latter part of the eighteenth century to the present day. He pointed to Rousseau (1712 – 1778) as the great initiator of the movement, which wanted to be a revolt against ethical and aesthetic standards. In short, an opposition against the bankruptcy of dualistic thinking, so painfully exposed in the philosophy of David Hume (1711 – 1776) and his ‘Treatise of Human Nature’ (later shortened into the ‘Inquiry into Human Understanding’).

There was no way out of the rigid perceptions of a world of opposites after Hume and George Berkeley (1685 – 1753). The latter bishop-philosopher  denied even the existence of matter. An escape into complete skepticism or, like Hume hinted at himself, into the lofty realm of feelings and senses, seemed to be the only replacements of the rational:

‘All probable reasoning is nothing but a species of sensation. ‘Tis not solely in poetry and music, we must follow our taste and sentiment, but likewise in philosophy. When I am convinced of any principle, ‘tis only an idea, which strikes more strongly upon me. When I give the preference to one set of arguments above another, I do nothing but decide from my feeling concerning the superiority of their influence. Objects have no discoverable connection together; nor is it from any other principle but custom operating upon the imagination, that we can draw any inference from the appearance of one to existence of another.’ (David HUME, Treatise of Human Understanding; Book I, Part III, Sec. VIII).

The German scholar Friedrich Schlegel (1772 – 1829) was perhaps the inventor of the romantic/classic terminology, but it was T.S. Eliot (1888 – 1965) who understood – almost a century later – the implications of feelings as the leading agents in a communication:

‘We vary by passing from one point of view to another or as I have tried to suggest, by occupying more than one point of view at the same time, an attitude which gives us our assumptions, our half-objects, our figments of imagination; we vary by self-transcendence. The point of view (or finite center) has for its object one consistent world and accordingly no finite center can be self-sufficient, for the life of a soul does not consist in the contemplation of one consistent world but in the painful task of unifying … jarring and incompatible ones, and passing, when possible, from two or more discordant viewpoints to a higher one which shall somehow include and transmute them’ (pp. 147-48 in: ELIOT, T.S. (1964). Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F.H. Bradley).

The synthesis was found in Eliot’s composition of the ‘Four Quartets’. According to PERL (1984, p. 96), ‘each quartet represents a mode, a season, of thought and sensibility, which repeats itself in the lives of nations, traditions, and individuals’. From ‘Burnt Norton’ to ‘Little Gidding’ was a journey through time, a process of return and reunion: ‘Romanticism and neo-classicism, sensation and reason, energy and style, spirit and letter, spirit and matter, the universal and particular, the abstract and the concrete, the poetic and the prosaic, the ultimate and the conventional, the fire and the rose are one.’

The distinction between opposites and their battle is, in the end (or beginning), the result from a mistake of perception. The over-emphasis of dualism, so typical for the Third Quadrant (or ‘Dry Salvages’ in Eliot’s nomenclature), leads to a false synthesis. This stage is, in Eliot’s words (The Use of Poetry, p. 81), ‘a period of apparent stabilization, which was shallow and premature’. Images of the nineteenth century, a childhood view of romanticism and Victorianism dominated the ‘Dry Salvages’. It was also a time of strangeness of reality, uncertainties and unpleasant facts.

The final part of the quartet (‘Little Gidding’) offered an understanding of the previous perceived opposition between the romantic intensity and neo-classical discipline: ‘In becoming the present, the past has come full circle with the future – this is the essence of the historical ‘process of return’, of the historical outlook that Eliot associates with the word ‘classicism’ (PERL, 1984; p. 105) (fig. 179).

eliot

Fig. 179 – A remembrance plate for T.S. Eliot in East Cooker (England), stage two in the cyclic journey of life (Photo: Marten Kuilman).

Eliot’s poetical journey, in search of the full circle, was also reflected in the history of music. The church-music of the Middle Ages was followed by the ‘Golden Age’ (1530 – 1700), which was dominated by Italy. The ‘canzonieres‘ of Petrarca and the ‘madrigali‘ (for three to seven voices) were poems, which preceded the recitations of the later operas.

Solo-instruments were developed simultaneously. John Dowland (1563 – 1626) in Engeland composed music for the lute. The ‘Parthenia’ or the Maydenhead of the first musicke that ever was printed for the Virginalls’ (1611) was the first sheet music for key-instruments. The ‘Commedia dell’arte‘ were guild-comedies with a long reaching influence.

Violins were built by Gasparo de Salo (1540 – 1609) in Brescia, the Amati-family in Cremona, Andrea Guarneri (1626 – 1698) and Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737). The latter had more than a thousand violins to his name. The musical instrument makers provided a base for a collective music-experience, which had its first highlight in the later-Baroque period.

William MANN (1982) called this period ‘The Age of Händel‘, which lasted from 1685 to 1759. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750), who celebrated his fame as an organ-player around 1722, was an influential representative of this time. High productiveness was also the hallmark of Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767) – ‘the most prolific composer of all time’ -, Arcangelo Corelli (1653 – 1713) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741). Their ‘rational’ music, build from distinct accords in a repetitive manner, were rooted in partition thinking.

gardenofmusic

Fig. 180 – Bob Thompson’s (1937 – 1966) painting of ‘Garden of Music‘ (1960). In the Whitney American Museum New York (Sept. 25, 1998 – Jan 3, 1999).

The first orchestras were formed around 1750. The symphony was an organized multitude fitting into a structural pattern (fig. 180). Frederic II (the Great), the philosopher-king of Prussia, supported in 1754 a great orchestra. Giovanni Battista Sammartini (c. 1700 – 1775) composed about seventy-seven symphonies, indicating the rapid growth of the new way of collective expression. Smaller forms of music were also popular, of which the quartet is of particular interest.

Quartets, described by MANN (1982) as ‘nude swimming’, consisted of four string-instruments: two violins, one alt-violin and one cello. Alessandro Scarlatti (c. 1720) was the first composer, who wrote specific music for a quartet. Luigi Boccherini (1743 – 1805) composed twenty-five symphonies, hundred-and-two string quartets, sixty trios and hundred-and-fifty quintets (a quintet has one cello added to the arrangement of the quartet).

The ‘Classical Period’ of music (1780 – 1828) had its center in Vienna (Austria), in the heart of Europe, and around the year 1800, the marker point to a new period in the cultural history of Europe. Representatives were Haydn (1732 – 1809; ‘The Creation‘, 1798; ‘The Four Seasons’, 1801; fig. 181), Mozart (1756 – 1791), Beethoven (1770 – 1827) and Schubert (1797 – 1828).

fourseasonsFig. 181 – The ‘Four Seasons’ by Haydn (1801): music at the brink of a new era. In: AVENI (1990).

Franz Schubert’s composition ‘Die vierjährigen Posten’ (1815; Deutsch 190) represented the musical setting of the freshly gained emotional freedom. The piece remembered a sentinel, who stayed for four years on his outpost, because his friends did not warn him that the war was over. This symbolic theme reflected the situation of the tetradic way of thinking: it had been a forgotten sentinel in the background of six hundred years of predominant lower division-thinking, but now a modern era of intellectual freedom opened up, based on a rediscovery of ‘feelings’ as the fourth major constituent in a communication.

‘Romantics’ like Weber (1786 – 1826), Mendelsohn (1809 – 1847), Chopin (1810 – 1849), Schumann (1810 – 1856) and Liszt (1811 – 1886) formed the backbone of what is commonly called the ‘classical’ music. This particular type of music is, to a large extent, the expression of a collective harmony found in the width of higher division thinking.

The tetradic mood took shape in the predilection for the classical sonata. Four-fifth of Beethoven’s music consists of this harmonious form of organization, which could be played by an orchestra or string quartet. Beethoven wrote thirty-two piano sonatas, plus sonatas for cello and piano and violin and piano. The sonata is organized in four parts, expressing the four different ways of communication:

1. A long and slow introduction in the main key, in which a second theme is introduced;

2. A slow part in a contrasting key (Andante, Allegro or Largo);

3. A minuet or gay dance in three-quarter mode. Within the minuet is a trio.

4. A fast dancing finale (Molto allegro) in rondo, with a repetition of the theme.

The majority of the musical compositions of Haydn, Mozart en Beethoven followed this pattern and their work is, either conscious or unconscious, a tribute to the four-fold way of thinking.

Van den BERK (1995) pointed in a brilliant study to the connections between Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’ and the world of alchemists. He called the work ‘an alchemical allegory’. Mozart’s masterpiece is in the history of music a most curious and characteristic contribution to the conceptual setting on the borderline of Classicism and Romanticism around the year 1800.

The three phases of the alchemical ‘Magnum Opus‘ are related to the composition of the opera. The ‘Quintessence‘ to reach the ultimate unification and find the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ consisted of three steps:

 ——————————————-    nigredo       (black)

——————————————–   albedo        (white)

——————————————–   rubedo        (red)

The ‘tria principia’ – salt, sulphur and mercury – were personified in ‘The Magic Flute’ as Pamina, Tamino and Papageno/Papagena, the leading figures in the opera. They symbolize the body (Corpus), the soul (Anima) and the spirit (Spiritus) of the human being in a process of:

——————————————–  separation    (separatio)

——————————————–  purification   (purefactio)

——————————————–  unification    (conjunctio)

——————————————– multiplication (multiplicatio)

The (three-fold) composition and the (four-fold) processes were earlier described by Philippus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus (1493 – 1534). He studied the art of alchemy under Trithemius, the Abbot of Spannheim (In search of extremes fig. 164). Paracelsus’ interpretation, influenced by the pivotal, two-fold thinking of the time, was an inversion of the ‘Seven Steps to Heaven’ of John Scotus Eriugena. In its original appearance (in the higher and lower unifications of Eriugena) the holy, supra-natural division is three-fold and the human, natural division is four-fold. In the Paracelsian, and later Rosecrucian interpretation the holy division is four-fold and the human division is three-fold (fig. 182).

rosecrucian

Fig. 182 – The basic scheme of division-thinking in a Rosicrucian treatise, written by Schleisz von Löwenfeld. This figure is an example of the type of division thinking as the alchemist Paracelsus (1493 – 1541) described it. In: van den BERK (1995).

The four-fold, elementary division (of the material world) is placed in the (quadralectic) First Quadrant (God the Father), while the three-fold division (Sulphur/Salt/Mercury) is positioned in the Second Quadrant (Nature, Son). The human two-fold division (male – female) is situated in the Third Quadrant (Holy Ghost). Finally, the process from nature to supra-nature (Art), embodied in the (Christian) human being, is placed in the Fourth Quadrant.

The inversion of the three- and four divisions – in comparison to the original ‘Seven Steps to Heaven‘ – started at the pivotal point in European cultural history (1500) and flowered in the Rosicrucian ideas of the eighteenth century. The conceptual position was still in the lower division realm, concerned with a shift in power from God to man. The year 1800 marked a true widening into genuine tetradic division thinking.

The world of Hermetic philosophy and alchemical wisdom, with its strong roots in classical division-thinking, was given a new lease of life in the early seventeenth century by the Rosicrucians. This (secret) society started with two ‘Rosicrusian manifestos‘ (abbreviated as the ‘Fama’ and the ‘Confessio’), which were first published at Cassel in 1614 and 1615 and gained momentum with a strange alchemical romance by Johann Valentin Andrae, named ‘The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz’ (published in 1616).

The movement of the ‘Rosicrucian Enlightenment‘ – as Frances YATES (1972) called it – was a genuine effort to develop the lost world of higher division thinking in a time which was heading for the ultimate consummation of dualistic thinking. This interpretation, which has – to my knowledge – never been put forward before, throws a complete different light on the historical events and phenomenon of the ‘second half’ of the European cultural history. Writing a history from the viewpoint of dominating division thinking might be just as valuable as one, which is based on political violence or religious quarrel.

Yates explored the beginning of the movement and the socio-political context in Central Europe and England at the time. She followed ARNOLD (1955) in his suggestion of a parallel between Spenser’s ‘Red Cross Knight’ in the ‘Faerie Queene’ and the Rosy Cross Brother in the ‘Chemical Wedding’. The comparison can be extended to the red cross of St George of the Order of the Garter. The cross was the symbol of an era.

‘I would think that there was both an exoteric chivalrous application of ‘Rose Cross’, and an esoteric alchemical meaning, Ros Crux (Ros = dew; Crux = light). On this theory, Dee’s ‘Monas‘ would be the origin of ‘Rosicrucianism’ in the alchemical sense, and the name would have had chivalrous overtones as ‘Red Cross’. Both origins would be English, English chivalry and English alchemy combining to influence a German movement in which the name translates as ‘Rosencreutz‘ and takes on new shades of meaning in the new environment’ (YATES, 1972; p. 102).

The Hermetical and alchemical interest continued throughout the eighteenth century. Its adherents used the old vocabulary and imagery of higher division thinking, but the cultural development forced them into a dual setting. This type of presentation can cause genuine confusion in the valuation of particular expressions of thought.

The transition of the ‘Rosicrusian furore‘ and its counterpart of the Freemasons – who developed in the same spirit of society-forming  – into the ‘Romantic movement’ is gradual, but the actual historical division-line (1800 AD) is clear. It coincided with the cognitive change from classicism to romanticism, which was characterized (by SCHRIJVERS (1990; p. 16) as a transition from the constant general-human aspects to the unique individual-personal experience.

The creators of ‘The Magic Flute’, said Van den BERK (1995; pp. 63/190) must have been Rosicrucians, who adhered to the three-principle theory of Paracelsus. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) stood on the borderline of a major cultural divide in European history and was as much a late representative of the classical heritage as an early representative of the Romantic movement (fig. 183). He showed – in a musical setting – for ages to come, what it was like to release the constraints of dualism in favor of a renewed tetragonism.

mozart

Fig. 183 – The summerhouse where Mozart composed ‘Die Zauberflöte’ (The Magic Flute).  The house was part of Schikaneder’s ‘Theater im Starhembergischen Freihause auf der Wieden‘ in Vienna. It was moved to Salzburg, in the middle of the nineteenth century, and rebuild on the Kapuzinerberg. In: DENT  (1913/1962).

Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’ was also part of the so-called ‘Egyptian Revival’, another cultural offshoot of the mainstream Classicism in the nineteenth century (CARROTT, 1978). The beginning of this movement was in 1731, when a French book called ‘Sethos’ was (anonymously) published in Amsterdam. Jean Terrasson (1670 – 1750), a professor in Greek at the College de France in Paris, was the writer. The book was enthusiastically received by those who were dissatisfied with the Christian belief and longed for ‘old wisdom’.

The German poet Mathias Claudius (1740 – 1815) translated the tri-partite book in German in 1777, and it was probably this edition, which came under the attention of Mozart and Schikaneder. The description of a pseudo-Egypt, and the extensive report on initiation-rites, created a new interest for Egypt as a cultural center and influenced the ideology of the Freemasons (ROSENBERG, 1965; van den BERK, 1995; p. 246).

DENT (1911, 1913/62, p. 224) proved the connection between ‘Sethos’ and ‘The Magic Flute’ in a convincing way. Van den BERK (1995) gave a number of examples of a close similarity of texts. Part of the reasons for the Egyptian revival could be the appeal of tetradic division, which was firmly embedded in the Egyptian culture – although this was hardly understood at the time and even less expressed.

The distinct historical times of European interests in Greek (c. 1200), Roman (c. 1500) and Egyptian (c. 1800) cultures could be connected with phases of division-thinking in the development of Europe as a cultural entity. This interesting subject has never been studied, but warrant further investigation.

The general, non-descriptive curiosity for everything connected with Egypt – pyramids, obelisks, hieroglyphs and the like – was not yet hindered by too much knowledge of the subject (fig. 184). It was a tell-taling detail that the name of the ‘Magic Flute’ was originally ‘Die Egyptische Geheimnisse’ (The Egyptian Secrets), and was changed only shortly before the definitive version and performance in 1791 (Van den BERK, 1995; p. 146). Emanuel Schikaneder (1751 – 1812), who wrote the texts of Mozart’s opera, created in 1798 – seven years after the death of Mozart (1756 – 1791) – a follow-up of ‘The Magic Flute’ under the title ‘Das Labyrinth oder die Kampf mit den Elementen‘, indicating the same vague interest in expressions of the four-fold division.

tia2

Fig. 184 – A great interest in the Egyptian history and its cultural heritage became eminent in the second quarter of the eighteenth century of the European cultural period. The eager to find a lost world of four-fold thinking might have sparked off by the desire to oppose the overwhelming presence of dualism at the time. Knowledge and preservation-methods were poor in those early days of discovery. The illustration shows the four sides of the pyramidion of Tia and Tia. The apex of the pyramid was drawn and published in the eighteenth century by Alexander Gordon, but is since lost. Given by MARTIN (1991; fig. 76).

A strong feeling of defeatism was associated with the revolutionary developments around the year 1800. A book like ‘The Ruins’ of Constantin François de Chasseboeuf, Comte de VOLNEY (1791/1796) opened with the sentence ’Hail to you, lonely ruins! holy graves, silent walls!‘, setting the tone for some pessimistic conclusions. Egoism was the cause of everything and the ‘general causes of the turmoil and decline of the old nations’ were provoked by inequality of the law, despotism and anarchy.

The ‘worship of the two basic principles of dualism’ and the two powers of nature gained his undivided attention: light results in fertility and is creative. Genius, science, benevolence, purity and virtue are on one side, while the spirits of darkness are on the other side: destruction, death, ignorance, anger, sin and vice. It is with a feeling of sadness and nostalgia that Volney reviewed the past in his encyclopedic work. It cannot be recommended as joyful reading.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) was, on a philosophical level, the representative of pessimism. Brian MAGEE (1983) wrote an excellent introduction to his work, but reading the master himself is still a strenuous effort. MAGEE (1983; p. 95) described him as follows: ‘Schopenhauer was trying to find a solution without formulating his problem. That is to say, he was unwilling to confront the problem until he was sure he could solve it.’ This may be true, but in the present view, he is also seen as someone who opened up the long-closed roads to a philosophical approach of the tetradic way of thinking. He simply could not see, at that particular place in time, all the problems ahead, which he knew, would look different if a wider division-thinking was applied.

Schopenhauer graduated, in 1813, on a thesis called ‘On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (‘Die Vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom Zureichenden Grunde‘). Sufficient reasons fall, according to Schopenhauer, into four logical categories:

——————  Category    ——————————————————————  Causation ————

   1. physical world                                                                                            science

   2. ongoing history time/space                                                       mathematical determination

   3. organic physical objects moving through space and time              logical entailment

   4. medium (to animate physical objects)                                               motivated action

This division, which covers every ‘necessary connection’, was an effort to construct a communication-model between the innate natural world and the human interference (intentions) therein. This presentation is, at scrutiny,  an example of tetradic thinking, because it showed a fourfold subdivision  in which the original quadrant-sequence is given (in a reverse order):

———————-          First Quadrant (I)  : motivated action

———————-          Second Quadrant (II) : logical entailment

———————-          Third Quadrant (III) : mathematical determination

———————-          Fourth Quadrant (IV) : science

His main work was called ‘The World as Will and Representation (‘Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung‘), which was published in 1818. The book consisted of four parts: epistemology, ontology, aesthetics and metaphysics of the person (ethics), and a critique of Kant as an appendix.

1. The ‘Will’ (noumenon) is an all-embracing entity, just like gravity. It is described by DESSOIR (1925) as ‘ein Bewusstsein frei von den Formen der Erscheinung‘ (a consciousness independent of the forms of appearance). The ‘Will’ is seen, in a quadralectic interpretation, as an entity of the First Quadrant (I).

2. The ‘Representation’ (‘Vorstellung‘) is the human experience (phenomenon) of: ‘An Object, stretched in time, and bound to space, causal specified’ (‘ein Objekt, zeitlich ausgedehnt, an Räumliches gebunden, kausal bedingt‘). This description is parallel with the ‘visible visibility’ of the  quadralectics, positioned in the Third Quadrant (III).

The ‘objectification’ of Schopenhauer is the ‘visibility’ in modern parlance, and his ‘self-objectification’ is the visible visibility. It is positioned between Plato’s ‘ideas’, as representatives of the Second Quadrant (II) and the ‘phenomena’ being the world of the Fourth Quadrant (IV): ‘The entire world of phenomena in time and space internally connected by causality is the self-objectification of an impersonal, non-alive, timelessly active energy’.

The dualistic world of ‘Will’ and ‘Representation’ was developing into a fourfold world, which Schopenhauer visualized, but could not completely grasp. Schopenhauer lived in a two-decker reality, according to MAGEE (1983). Will and Representation manifested itself in two irreducible categories: noumenon and phenomena. However, Schopenhauer actually used a three-decker reality, consisting of Will, Platonic Ideas and Representations.

He criticized Plato’s (and Kant’s) identification of the noumenon. The noumenon should be ‘free from all plurality, although its phenomena in time and space are innumerable’.  Plato saw his ‘Ideas‘ as the ultimate, while Schopenhauer proposed a singular ‘Idea‘ (identified as ‘Will’). In my view, Schopenhauer laid here the foundations of a the quadralectic division:

   Quadrant              I                            II                              III                                 IV

—————————————————————————————————————————–

   Division

   twofold             Will                            –                      Representation                   –

   threefold      Noumenon                   –                      Phenomenon               Phenomena

   fourfold            ‘Idea’                      Ideas                 Phenomenon               Phenomena

The story of the impact of Schopenhauer’s ideas is worth studying. Not much happened after the first publication in 1818, except the bankruptcy of his publisher. He lectured in Berlin at the same hours as Hegel and got very little attendance (and refused to change the hours). He complained about the wrong timing of his message: ‘Mein Zeitalter is nicht mein Wirkungskreis‘ (a feeling which is very familiar to the present author). PISA (1977) called it ‘die Komödie seines Ruhmes‘ (the comedy of his fame), because it was only after some thirty years (1851) that his ideas were more general accepted. He found in Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) a dubious admirer.

Neo-Classicism was focused on division-in-general. ‘La verité des faits‘ (the truth of the facts), which could only be established in a limited environment. Partition of labor and organization became the name of the game and turned out to be very successful in a world based on the values of visible visibility (the material world). The Industrial Revolution in England pointed the way – in an orgy of human misery – to a modern technological society (fig. 185).

industrialrevolution

Fig. 185 – The Industrial Revolution in England, with its regulated exploitation of human beings and nature, brought, after some incredible growing pains, the prosperity which is now characteristic for Europe as a cultural entity. This etching shows the ‘Haunted Mill’ in Willington (1847). In the house besides the factory at North Shields lived between 1835 and 1837 a member of the ‘Society of Friends’ (Quakers), Joseph Proctor, who had to leave his house because of ghosts. In: ALEXANDER (1982).

The French economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767 – 1832) viewed with a hardly hidden envy to the developments in England in his book ‘Traite d’economie politique’ (Treatise on political economy, 1803).  He stated in another book (‘Cours complet d’economie politique’, 1829): ‘There are in Great Britain at the moment 15.000 steam engines with an average of 25 horsepower’. Say had a keen eye for the immaterial aspects of the production-process: ‘It is impossible to compare the ‘richesses‘ of two different times or countries, because their means of measurements are different. It is the quadrature of the circle of the political economy’. In other words: they ‘feel’ different. The credo of the liberal economy of Quesnay – ‘laissez faire et laissez passer‘ – was of foremost interest in the newly discovered world of Say: give every entrepreneur his freedom and the market will sort things out. In the end, this will be true, but the brute mechanisms which are involved led within half a century to the theories of Marx and Darwin.

An interesting article by Anne DIGBY (1983) described the change in treatment of psychiatric patients in York (England): from a harsh and inhumane approach in the first half of the eighteenth century to a more curative policy from the year 1777. After 1815 a relapse into inhumanity took place.

Michel FOUCAULT sketched in his thesis (1961) – and later in his book ‘Histoire de la folie a l’age classique’ (1972), translated by Richard Howard as ‘Madness and Civilisation’ (2006) – the theme of psychiatric care in historical (‘archeological’) perspective. The trend of the ‘great interment’ from the middle of the seventeenth century onwards in  ‘hopitaux generaux‘ and ‘houses of correction’ was initiated, according to Foucault, by a commandment to work.

It soon became clear that the ‘real’ psychiatric patients (lunatics) were distinct from the heterogenic group of unemployed, vagrants and adventurers, who were kept busy either voluntary or involuntary. It was only at the end of the eighteenth century, that the distinction between the ‘work shy’ and the ‘insane’ led to appropriate action and resulted in a more humane treatment. The French physician Philippe Pinel (1745 – 1826) unlocked the chains of the mentally ill in the Parish Bicêtre Hospital (‘the prison of the innocent’) in 1794 (FOUCAULT, 1961/2006; p. 467).

Another option to approach the history of the insane within a cultural development would be a study of the psychiatric care in relation to the dominant form of division thinking in a particular period. This connection has never been tried before, and could lead to interesting conclusions. Notions as expulsion and exile (in force in the Middle Ages for lepers and victims of the plague) to measures like the shipment of the insane in a boat down the river (Brant’s ‘Ship of Fools’, 1497) were closely related to a narrower frame of mind. Interment and forced labor were again a step further on the road to dualistic thinking. The nineteenth century offered a relaxation of the regime and humanization of care as a (possible) result of a wider frame of mind.

AIKEN, Henry D. (1956) (Ed). The Age of Ideology (The 19th Century Philosophers). New Amer Library/Mentor Books, New York.

ALEXANDER, Marc (1982). British Folklore, Myths and Legends. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London.

ARNOLD, Paul (1955). Histoire des Rose-Croix et les origines de la Franc-Maçonnerie, Mercure de France, Paris.

AVENI, Anthony (1990). Empires of Time. Calenders, Clocks, and Cultures. I.B. Taurus & Co. Ltd, Publishers London. ISBN 1-85043-215-5

BERK, van der, M.F.M. (1995). Die Zauberflöte. Een alchemistische allegorie. Tilburg University Press, Tilburg. ISBN 90-361-9834-8

CARROTT, Richard G. (1978). The Egyptian Revival. Its Sources, Monuments and Meaning, 1808 – 1858. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-03324-8

DENT, Edward J. (1913/1962). Mozart’s Operas. A Critical Study. Oxford University Press, London.

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