The SYMBOLIST - PHILOSOPHER of the MODERN is/was Friederich NIETZSCHE. S Y M B O L I S M (1870s to the 1890s) can be seen as the first maturing of early 19th CENTURY R O M A N T I C I S M; that enormous undefinable Movement wedding :: ART * POETICS * PHILOSOPHY * PSYCHOLOGY * ECOLOGY * SCIENCE * JOURNALISM * the NOVEL * and the progressive developments transitioning the POWER STRUCTURE from ruling families to DEMOCRATIC and MODERN POLITICS. Then also, developments in SPIRITUAL theologies creating new and secular perspectives, as well as, redesigns of the JUDEO-CHRISTIAN program for religion. In the INDUSTRIAL upheavals of the newly emerging URBAN centers, globally, we saw profound restructuring of civilization...few people have really spent too much time reflecting on the ramifications of altering the whole faith-based and SPIRITUAL foundation of Western Civilization largely because of the effective propaganda domination of said 'civilization' by these INDUSTRIAL changes. By those who have financially benefited from these changes in the last 200 years. By the Robber Barons and the rise of Modern Corporations. BUT NIETZSCHE and SYMBOLISM brought up these questions.
Thus , continuing to look at our 'civilization' from a perspective of a FINE ARTS :: we can see not the cohesive MODERISM of all that majestic wealth so much as greater and greater POLARIZATION which in turn creates the fracturing and explosiveness (such as the combustion engines which created the machinery in the first place), which to this mind begs the QUESTION :: does MODERN CIVILIZATION create ART FORM or merely an endless production-line of ever newer possible forms with which to EXPERIMENT with in our conveyor-system we call MODERN CIVILIZATION? One dubious yet exceedingly successful example has been the fossil fuel market which has been the basis of our economic program for the last 100 years and the ROCKEFELLER CENTURY :: one other example is the industry of MOOD ALTERING DRUGS which were the result of the Nazi doctors who experimented on thousands of "undesirable" human bodies to create; steroids, meth, barbiturates, amphetamines...etc..; all of which have become AMERICA's playground of MOOD ALTERING wonderment since W.W. TWO and the rise of the Rock- N- Roll industry selling these products thru "superstars" such as ELVIS, the STONES, Marilyn Monroe, and...hell the whole WARHOLA POP culture of the 50s and the 60s.
Before I get ahead of myself; let me outline this ESSAY'S topic-subject :: the philosopher-messenger FRITZ NIETZSCHE, as thee SYMBOLIST-PHILOSOPHER became well positioned to look back on his early (pre-W. W. ONE) life, as well as, the ERA just before his which gave birth to the Movement we call R O M A N T I C I S M. As an early critic of R O M A N T I C I S M, NIETZSCHE at the same time held very deeply rooted commitments to the varied agenda's of the enormous project of R O M A N T I C I S M, and it's illustrious generation of intellectuals and ARTISTS. Throughout NIETZSCHE's twenty- odd- year-career as an 'experimental' writer :: cultural anthropologist, ART theorist/critic, New Age philosopher, Transcendentalist ;: NIETZSCHE held within himself the budding seed of a MODERN ARTIST/POET as it was continuously thrashing to come out in such masterworks as his ZARATHRUSTRA.
As a nineteen year old attending one of Europe's most prestigious Higher Learning Institutions at SCHULPFORTA; NIETZSCHE'S choosen poet of his personal illumination was Friedrich HoLDERLIN. HoLDERLIN had been one of the trio of PHILOSOPHER-POETS who would go on to have a great and profound effect on these fields right up to the present day :: the other two were G.W.F. HEGEL and FWJ von ScHELLING. These three close chums attended Tubinger Stift at Tubingen together. For NIETZSCHE, born some 45 years after this famous trio redirected the GERMANIC consciousness; the influence of the poet HoLDERLIN can help us, today, to help explain part of NIETZSCHES conception of Utopian-like zeal through his SYMBOLIST conceptions of HoLDERLINS stories of the HYPERBOREANS.
The HYPERBOREANS were according to the GREEK lyric poet PINDAR (518-438 bc) "the legendary race of APOLLO worshipers living in the far north, 'beyond the North Wind' ". HYPER means :: 'beyond' and 'above' // BOREAS is the name for the north wind; thus literally people 'beyond the North Winds'. In the seventeenth century the first Art Historian J.J. WINCKELMANN had created a foundation for developing a 'psychologically' connecting view of the manifestations from GREEK ART and it's difference from Roman Art, which for the following generations of HoLDERLIN and then NIETZSCHE,gave a greater basis for connecting the GREEK ERA with contemporary civilization and through the FINE ARTS, of MODERN AESTHETICS, this connection was made possible. This influence from WINCKELMANN on continued to influence not only GERMAN ART but European developments for the rest of the nineteenth century as seen in artists such as: Bocklin, Alma-Tadema, Max Klinger, von Stuck, Klimt and the whole Viennese Secessionists. HoLDERLIN and his friend HEGEL idolized and idealized the Ancient Greeks. His writings are infused with a Romantic longing for this lost, blissful youthful Humanity.
With NIETZSCHE'S skill as the consumate communicator FRITZ will criticize HoLDERLIN for his "confusion and obscurity". NIETZSCHE writes,"..by far the greatest number (HoLDERLIN'S Poems) are all together priceless pearls of our literature. I would only refer you to such poems as 'The HOMECOMING' , 'The Fettered River', 'Sunset', 'The Blind Singer', and the 'Evening Fantasy', in which the deepest melancholy and longing for tranquility are expressed. In other poems, especially in 'Remembrance', 'The Journey'the poet raises us up to the purest ideal spheres and we feel with him that this was the element where he was at home...".
Idealism is one of the platforms of the Golden Age of R O M A N T I C I S M ; as it was with AMERICA'S Founding Fathers; right up to the brilliant TRANSCENDENTALIST IDEALISTS after K A N T in GERMANY and Ralph Waldo EMERSON in AMERICA.