Pulling the course together...

Consider this problem:

  1. What defines a golden age? What qualities make one "age" stand out over others? Significant cultural achievement: does it only reflect something "good"? does it have to be broadly based? consider the cases we have discussed: Athens? Florence? Berlin? Vienna? etc.... Broadly based cultural achievement?
    1. lit, theater, poetry,
    2. in the arts and architecture
    3. in political / philosophical contributions
    4. in discovery: exploration, science, and technological advances
    5. financial stablity
  2. What conditions promote a golden age?
    1. Consensual government? Role of the middle?
    2. Economic prosperity? to provide the resources to support, preserve the achievement
    3. Personal and/or civic freedom; "liberation" from established and monolithic culture? Creative destruction?
    4. How well art encourages self conscious reflection? empathy, toleration of different opinions or social / political unity/coherence.
    5. Liberty vs. license (1. authority to act; formal permission. 2.excess of liberty; freedom abused; licentious: lawless; unrestrained by strict rules of correctness); how to find a balance? how much of the latter does one have to tolerate to be able to enjoy the former?
    6. What is the connection between society, its values, and individual genius, and cultural achievement? Recall the question posed by Brucker...
    7. Do we favor these elements because they are familiar to us or because we judge them to be "objectively" true?
    8. Does one need a critical social mass of understanding?
    9. Peaceful innovation and improvement / Creative Destruction?
  3. But: to what extent is it true[in the case of Berlin] that the very turmoil of the period was the root innovation? Does one need a cathartic event to "liberate" / foster cultural innovation?

So what contributes transcendent cultural contribution? 


Is democracy necessary for these optimal conditions to occur? to allow for Creative Destruction to proceed peacefully?

Economic Prosperity