Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Philosophy

Abstract

While Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was universally proclaimed as one of Europe's greatest men, as well as Germany's greatest poet, the magnitude and diversity of his other achievements should also be examined. Not only was he a poet but also a painter, scientist, statesman, philosopher, critic and theater manager. Goethe was viewed by the world as the last universal man who pursued an unprejudiced search for truth. He endeavored to become a truly united man. Goethe came closest to being a complete man in the modern age of "dissociated and frustrated human fragments." Although the dualistic thought, which separated mind from matter and flesh from spirit, surrounded him, he believed ultimately in the unity of man as an individual and in the unity of man and nature. His life stood as a constant challenge to modern man "to strive toward a society of more complete integrated human beings." Goethe believed that the two realms of man and nature are governed by the same universal laws of growth and direction. Man works with, not against nature.

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