Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

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Mark_Lee
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Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by Mark_Lee » February 9th, 2020, 4:07 am

I don't even have a solid definition of whatever the "Zeitgeist" is. But is Zeitgeist basically... The belief that all of observable reality is a part of a gigantic "super spirit" that is immaterial and includes even our abstractions like consciousness and personalities? I'm sorry but is that a correct definition of it?

And if it is, isn't it just some German version of pantheism?

I'm really drawing a blank here...

Thanks.

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ctruxall0284
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Re: Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by ctruxall0284 » February 10th, 2020, 11:54 pm

I believe zeitgeist just means perceiving the past through the eyes and morality/values of the times/era. Many history books written in the 19th and 20th century imposed their present beliefs/norms on how they interpret history - an example is that the zeitgeist of an era may contain what would be perceived as evil or perverse now, but during that time it would be considered normal; therefore changing the whole context and understanding without imposing our morality and norms in the telling of the story.
That's my understanding but it can be expanded on

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ctruxall0284
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Re: Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by ctruxall0284 » February 11th, 2020, 12:02 am

Also, look into Hegel's definition (much better than I could ever give). When talking about Pantheism and paganism, as in the zeitgeist of the era when worship of multiple gods flurished - it was considered normal have selected deities among others, give tributes and possibly sacrifices, and attribute gods to forces of nature. This was part of the zeitgeist of the times.

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Re: Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by Steve3007 » February 11th, 2020, 3:10 am

It means "the spirit of the age" (Zeit = age, geist = spirit, related to ghost). The only context in which I've used it or heard it used is to refer to paradigms or large scale ideas that are deemed to encapsulate the general mood or atmosphere - or spirit - of an entire era.

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Re: Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by Papus79 » February 11th, 2020, 8:03 am

It's often a term for the flavor of the cultural layer during a particular era. On the other hand the term 'egregore' is much more arguably panpsychist in flavor, really if one takes the existence of egregores literally it fits into functionalism with multiple realizability.

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Re: Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by Hereandnow » February 11th, 2020, 11:49 am

You are thinking of Hegel. He had this view that grand historical movements that constitute a cultural "thesis" which presented in the world, not being an absolute realization of God and eternity, a fallible position, were inevitably met with competition, an "antithesis" which resolved in a "synthesis" thereby advancing toward God's self realization, and this is what it is all about. We are, in our culture, our "zeitgeist," part of the process of the unfolding of God's nature, which is intrinsically rational. Hegel was a rationalist.

In the more mundane sense of the term, it simply means something like the spirit of a historical period, how a society of like minded people comported themselves in their thoughts, feelings, institutions, and so on.

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Re: Is the "Zeitgeist" basically just pantheism?

Post by Terrapin Station » February 11th, 2020, 12:04 pm

Re the online APA dictionary:

"German, 'spirit of the times': a term used by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) to refer to a type of supraindividual mind at work in the world and manifest in the cultural worldview (see Weltanschauung) that pervades the ideas, attitudes, and feelings of a particular society in a specific historical period. Used in this way, the term has a distinctly deterministic flavor. A Zeitgeist theory of history stresses the role of such situational factors as economics, technology, and social influences in contrast to the great man theory of history. The term was first used in English by British poet and literary critic Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) and introduced to psychology in 1929 by Edwin G. Boring, who used the concept as an organizing theme for his discussions of creativity, scientific change, and historiography."

And Wikipedia:

"The zeitgeist [1] (German pronunciation /ˈtsaɪtɡaɪst/ About this soundZeitgeist (help·info)) is a concept from eighteenth- to nineteenth-century German philosophy, meaning 'spirit of the age' or 'spirit of the times.' It refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history.[2]

"Now the term is mostly associated with Hegel, contrasting with Hegel's use of Volksgeist 'national spirit' and Weltgeist 'world-spirit,' but its coinage and popularization precedes Hegel, and is mostly due to Herder and Goethe.[3] Other philosophers who were associated with such concepts include Spencer[year needed] and Voltaire.[year needed][4]

"Contemporary use of the term may, more pragmatically, refer to a schema of fashions or fads that prescribes what is considered to be acceptable or tasteful for an era, e.g. in the field of architecture.[4]"

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