By Peter Watson
Peter Watson's virtuoso sweep via smooth German proposal and tradition, from 1750 to the current day, will problem and confound either the stereotypes the realm has of Germany and people who Germany has of itself.
From the tip of the Baroque period and the loss of life of Bach to the increase of Hitler in 1933, Germany used to be remodeled from a negative relation between Western countries right into a dominant highbrow and cultural force—more artistic and influential than France, Britain, Italy, Holland, and the us. within the early many years of the 20th century, German artists, writers, students, philosophers, scientists, and engineers have been best their freshly unified kingdom to new and unimagined heights. by means of 1933, Germans had received extra Nobel Prizes than the other nationals, and greater than the British and americans mixed. but this notable genius used to be lower in its top through Adolf Hitler and his disastrous 3rd Reich—a brutal legacy that has overshadowed the nation's achievements ever for the reason that.
How did the Germans rework their state with a view to in attaining such pre-eminence? during this soaking up cultural and highbrow heritage, Peter Watson is going again via time to discover the origins of the German genius, and he explains how and why it flourished, the way it formed our lives, and, most vital, the way it maintains to persuade our global. As he convincingly demonstrates, it was once German thinking—from Beethoven and Kant to Diesel and Nietzsche, from Goethe and Wagner to Mendel and Planck, from Hegel and Marx to Freud and Schoenberg—that was once paramount within the production of the fashionable West. furthermore, regardless of global conflict II, figures corresponding to Joseph Beuys, JÜrgen Habermas, and Joseph Ratzinger make sure that the German genius nonetheless resonates intellectually at the present time.
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Extra resources for The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century
When children pretend that one thing is another, they experience two worlds: in addition to perceiving the world around them, they construct an imaginary scene. A block can become a horse, a banana a telephone, and a pen a comb. The hand may turn into a gun, and the cushions become an impenetrable wall. Children do not typically confuse the pretend identity of an object with its real nature and properties, however—they are rarely tempted to eat their mud pies. So they must be able to hold in their minds a representation of reality as well as a representation of a parallel pretend situation.
You might rightly wonder how one could know 5 It is still not known why our minds generate fantastic dream events. Some evidence suggests that dreaming helps memory consolidation and reorganization of recently experienced events. indd 45 8/27/13 1:11 PM 46 THE GAP whether, say, a wolf bolting into the distance is pretending to chase a rabbit or is simply running. Indeed, it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish imaginary play from other types of play in the absence of props such as the dolls and toys that human children use (which in itself may hint at differences).
This appears to be socially maintained behavior. In Borneo, Anne Russon and Birute Galdikas documented orangutans’ capacities as imitators. At the reintroduction center of Tanjung Puting, orangutans sometimes even copy peculiar human behavior. One orangutan, called Supinah, has been particularly curious about humans’ ability to light and control fire—not unlike King Louie in the Disney film adaptation of The Jungle Book. The ensuing experiments with kerosene and other materials understandably raised some concern but were ultimately unsuccessful.