SJC

Expressive Individualism, the Cult of the Artist as Genius, and Milton’s Lucifer

Time: 4:00pm
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Location: SJC Boardroom

Presenter: Dr. Patrick Madigan, SJ, Editor of Heythrop Journal

Dr. Madigan, SJ, begins with what the American Sociologist Robert Bellah and the Canadian Philosopher Charles Taylor call ‘Expressive Individualism’, and which they present as the default life style of our time, especially in the West. He will give some examples and then ask about the origin of this life style. He first traces this back to the cult of the artist revered as a ‘genius’, which flourished during the 19th-century; this cult has been democratized and universalized in our time. He then traces its origins one step further to the depiction John Milton gives of Lucifer in his poem PARADISE LOST; in Milton’s altered portrayal, Lucifer rejects not only Jesus as the highest creature, he rejects the Father as father. He declares ‘I know none before me: I am self-begot’. In so far as we embrace ‘expressive individualism’ as an ethic for our time, therefore, we are implicitly committed to Milton’s Lucifer as an archetype for human fulfilment; he suggests this might be a toxic model.


Everyone is welcome; an RSVP is requested but not required to Sara at: sara.mckeon@ualberta.ca
Light refreshments will be available.