Andrea Wulf on Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and The Invention of The Self
For centuries, Medieval life in Europe meant a world determined and prescribed by church and royalty. The social sphere was very much a pyramid, and everybody had to answer to and fit within the schemes of those on top. And then, on wings of reason, Modern selves emerged to scrutinize these systems and at great cost swap them for others that more evenly distribute power and authority. Cosmic forces preordained one’s role within a transcendental order…but then, across quick decades of upheaval, philosophy and politics started celebrating self-determination and free will. Art and science blossomed as they wove together. Nothing was ever the same. Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe. This week we engage with returning guest, New York Times best-selling author of seven books and SFI Miller Scholar Andrea Wulf, about her latest lovingly-detailed long work, Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and The Invention of The Self. In this episode we explore the conditions for an 18th century revolution in philosophy, science, literature, and lifestyle springing from Jena, Germany. Over just a few years, an extraordinary confluence of history-making figures such as Goethe, Schelling, Schlegel, Hegel, and Novalis helped rewrite what was possible for human thought and action. Admist a landscape of political revolt, this braid of brilliant friends and enemies and lovers altered what it means to be a self and how the modern self relates to everything it isn’t, inspiring later British and American Romantic movements. Arguing for art and the imagination in the work of science and infusing art with reason, Jena’s rebels of the mind lived bold, iconoclastic lives that seem 200 years ahead in retrospect. We stand to learn a great deal from a careful look at Jena and the first Romantics…maybe even how to replicate their great successes and avoid their self-implosion in the face of social turbulence. If you value our research and communication efforts, Please subscribe to Complexity Podcast wherever you prefer to listen, rate and review us at Apple Podcasts, and/or consider making a donation at santafe.edu/podcastgive. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage — in particular, you may wish to celebrate ten years of free online courses at Complexity Explorer with SFI Professor Cris Moore’s Computation in Complex Systems, starting March 28th. Learn more in the show notes…and thank you for listening! Podcast theme music by Mitch Mignano. Follow us on social media: Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn Related Reading & Listening: Episode 60 - Andrea Wulf on The Invention of Nature, Part 1: Humboldt's Naturegemälde Episode 61 - Andrea Wulf on The Invention of Nature, Part 2: Humboldt's Dangerous Idea The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and The Invention of The Self by Andrea Wulf Common As Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership by Lewis Hyde Episode 37 - The Art & Science of Resilience in the Wake of Trauma with Laurence Gonzales “Nature” (1844) by Ralph Waldo Emerson Chopin’s Preludes Finnegans Wake by James Joyce InterPlanetary Voyager (Interactive Golden Record Liner Notes) by SFI’s InterPlanetary Festival Blue Planet (BBC) with David Attenborough
From "COMPLEXITY: Physics of Life"