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Human beings often do not want to guide themselves; traditionally they have wanted to feel guided. That is why, to Charley, all our religions, all our beliefs may really be subjective and fictional projections, which, of course, we do not want to discover to be so. Others may fend it off, but the great underlying fear of the age that surfaces in such as Charley is that conviction may be no more than an unconscious psychological defense against uncertainty, freedom, and loneliness. There is an easy way out beckoning here.

Then I asked: does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so? 1 It is of course William Blake, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), speaking in what the poet wills to be his own Age of Imagination – that is to say: an age in which you could naturally believe in what you imagined, and not merely think that you only imagined it. ” In post-Romantic times, most people might agree that the truth of a thought is not to be measured by the innocent subjective intensity Why Victorian Literature Still Matters.

It tries to rescue the phenomenon of belief (which is humanly valuable, like confidence) from belief in God (who is manmade and otherwise non-existent). With Feuerbach anything, potentially, can be the object of belief: in place of the one transcendent God, there is now the necessary risk of true or false human gods such as politics, money, love, kindness, private life. To Feuerbach you could choose – and consciously or unconsciously you always do have to choose – your own ground of being, in need of some justification for a life.

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