During a particular time of the most tumultuous upheaval in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, though few know it today, a small cadre of German Romantics were set to inspire an ever expanding freedom of thought that has rarely been afforded man since the inception of civilized society.
At the time the real players in Europe, that set the rules of the game, were Great Britain, France and Austria.
Great Britain, fueled by their desires to colonialize and amass wealth and power, sailed the worlds seas in seek of spoils. This mentality fostered a more austere, if not pretentious congeniality, that released the minds and hearts of those who resided on the island nation, from the annoyance of the more mystical and esoteric concerns in life.
Locke, Hume, Berkeley and others, framed a more Materialst and externalized view of life, resulting in the populations reliance upon reason and logic in the affairs of daily living and in their communications with other souls, to the detriment of their collective intuition and emotion.
France, having fought wars with and against the grandiose ambitions of Napolean and suffering a rather impotent Revolution, was rich in culture and through the minds and words of geniuses like Voltaire, held the intellectual high ground of that era.
Austria wielded the most influence on the continent, as it was the seat of the land rich meandering Prussian Empire, leaving Germany in the middle of two hegemonies who occasionally traveled through its dense forests annexing a hodgepodge of disjointed territories fought over by any number of power hungry despots.
Though the waters of The Rhine flowed along the borders of the three countries, few paid any attention to the affairs of the sylvan landscapes of the Rhineland, nor concerned themselves much over the fate of Germany, save for the Monarch that was snatched from its environs to preside over the pomp of Great Britain.
Germany, serendipitously found itself in a state of wonderful indifference, and through its apparent weakness blossomed a seed that would elevate the soul of so many people around the world for generations to come.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was then bequeathed a giant playground in which he did freely exercise his souls greatest desires, absent the limiting influences of the restricting dogmas of either government or religion. After publishing his first romantic novel, he became a literary celebrity in many parts of Europe, though Germans were still considered “rednecks”, relative to the culturally unified powers that encircled it.
With an endowment, from the now staunchly English king who hailed from their fatherland, liberal university education flourished, quite uninhibited relative to the rest of the world.
Herder, Fichte, Schiller, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and others were greatly influenced by a mind that had the luxury to go wherever it chose to wander, ultimately producing a freedom of thought and imagination that has fortunately been a stealthy but worthy counterbalance to the sterility of empiricism that we are now unwittingly ensnared by.