Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Darwin, Nietzsche and Picasso, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 819

Essay

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a time of great and tumultuous change. The Industrial Revolution drove people from settled, agricultural communities and into great, teeming cities like London.  Political changes gave a greater portion of the population a right to vote and be active in political life.  Women clamored for the basic freedoms that are taken for granted today.  Out of the midst of this change came challenges to the stable, generally positive, traditional Western values that for many people seemed to no longer be applicable to the modern world.  Currents of though in the scientific, intellectual and artistic spheres all tended towards what might be called the Cult of the Individual: an affirmation of the liberty and freedom of the individual as opposed to the collective values embraced by former generations that emphasized the group.  Three men –Darwin in the scientific current, Nietzsche in the intellectual and Picasso in the artistic – typify this worship of the individual.

Darwin: Life as A Struggle for Individual Survival

Darwin’s theory, maintaining as it did that the individual’s struggle for survival was what drove the slow changes in species over time that he called evolution (Western History, 736), was one of the currents of thought in the scientific community at this time that presented a direct challenge to traditionally held beliefs.  Within the Christian community, it was not the implication for such matters as the age of the Earth that was troubling, but the idea that nature was not controlled and directed by a higher benevolent power but by the individual struggle for survival which takes place in all species all over the world (Western History, 737).  There was no sense of governing morality in this theory. An individual did not thrive or die because it was good or bad – it thrived or died as a process of the natural selection of traits that made survival possible.  The depiction of the often violent competition between individuals for food and resources left little room for traditional Christian morality.

Nietzsche: Man as A Creator of His Own Morality

While Darwin’s theory was eroding traditional beliefs in the current of science, Nietzsche’s philosophy was doing very much the same thing in the realms of intellectual thought. Nietzsche (unlike Darwin, who reconciled his Christian faith with his evolutionary theories) was openly hostile to the norms and values of Judeo-Christianity which he equated with the bourgeoisie and saw as futile attempts at self-delusion (Western Civilization, 738). Even more importantly, he saw these norms and values as restrictive and even destructive to true intellectual thought and freedom.  Nietzsche’s ideal of mankind, his “Superman”, was individual who was strong enough to break away from the constraints of traditional morality and constructed his own set of beliefs and values that were based on his perceptions alone. (Western Civilization, 738).  Again, like Darwin, this emphasized the important of the individual rather than the group, the “I” taking precedence over the “we”.

Picasso: Art as an “Expression Over Representation”

Set against the backdrop of the radical changes of the late 19th and early 20th century, beliefs about the nature of art were changing just as much as philosophical or scientific beliefs.  This artistic current took many different forms, but there are a few things held in common. First and foremost, they rejected the more traditional, academic style that emphasized a precise and realistic representation of the object being painted. Instead, artists like Picasso opted for “expression over representation” (Western Civilization, 742) and in his portrait of Amboise Vollard, it is possible to see this theory coming to fruition.  The painting is severe, almost fractured in its style, reflecting the “hard, angular aesthetic of the machine age” (Western Civilization, 743). Most importantly, it is not an accurate, photograph-like representation of Vollard: it is, rather, the artist’s impression of Vollard.  The viewer must, by necessity, see Vollard through the artist’s eyes.  For Picasso, and for many of his contemporaries, experimentation and individual expression of the world through art were much more important than simply rendering an accurate facsimile of what they saw around them.

Concluding Thoughts

At first glance, it may seem that these three men – a naturalist, a philosopher, an experimental artist – have little in common.  However, looked at in their historical context, they represent the scientific, philosophical and artistic currents that were swirling through society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These currents all call into question the traditional beliefs about a stable, progressive, and ultimately conformist society that emphasized the norms and values that had until this time made up Western thought.  They seek, instead, to emphasize the importance of the individual to the universe, as the ultimate driver of life (Darwin), as the creator of a new morality (Nietzsche), and ultimately as the viewpoint from which the universe is seen (Picasso).  In this sense, the three individuals discussed in the paper were all very much products of their time.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Socrates and Locke, Essay Example

Something both Socrates and Locke emphasized from what I gathered was the notion of truth. Socrates was a curious man, always wanting truthful answers, delving [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 563

Essay

Locke’s View of Philosophy, Essay Example

I believe the questions about ethics, knowledge, and reality mattered to Locke and Socrates. In Locke’s opinion man is a free agent, even before God, [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 294

Essay

Trust and Tacit Knowledge Sharing and Use, Essay Example

Tacit knowledge is the opposite of explicit knowledge, meaning that is difficult to communicate orally or through text (Reber, 1993). Tacit knowledge management is an [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 2058

Essay

Training the Multigenerational Workforce, Essay Example

After reading your proposal, I became curious as to whether research exists that explains why cohorts from different generations cannot be effectively trained using the [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 822

Essay

Tacit Knowledge Management, Essay Example

Tacit knowledge management is an essential component of business because it allows employees to gain a greater understanding of unspoken protocols and traditions within a [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 2002

Essay

The Three Fundamental Aspects of Crime, Essay Example

Discuss the three (3) fundamental aspects of crime and how each central to the concept of crime The three fundamental aspects of crime are, firstly, [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 242

Essay

Socrates and Locke, Essay Example

Something both Socrates and Locke emphasized from what I gathered was the notion of truth. Socrates was a curious man, always wanting truthful answers, delving [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 563

Essay

Locke’s View of Philosophy, Essay Example

I believe the questions about ethics, knowledge, and reality mattered to Locke and Socrates. In Locke’s opinion man is a free agent, even before God, [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 294

Essay

Trust and Tacit Knowledge Sharing and Use, Essay Example

Tacit knowledge is the opposite of explicit knowledge, meaning that is difficult to communicate orally or through text (Reber, 1993). Tacit knowledge management is an [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 2058

Essay

Training the Multigenerational Workforce, Essay Example

After reading your proposal, I became curious as to whether research exists that explains why cohorts from different generations cannot be effectively trained using the [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 822

Essay

Tacit Knowledge Management, Essay Example

Tacit knowledge management is an essential component of business because it allows employees to gain a greater understanding of unspoken protocols and traditions within a [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 2002

Essay

The Three Fundamental Aspects of Crime, Essay Example

Discuss the three (3) fundamental aspects of crime and how each central to the concept of crime The three fundamental aspects of crime are, firstly, [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 242

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!