Doing homework for my MA here, found some general resources of interest:
n discussing the Enlightenment, we stressed that it arose, in large part, as a strong reaction against what had characterized the previous one hundred and fifty yearsa series of inconclusive but extremely destructive religious quarrels and, often under the guise of religious issues, collisions between rival nations growing in power. From this perspective, the Enlightenment we can view as Western civilization's attempt to seek through reason a means of understanding human problems and discussing them without involving conflicting traditions, especially religious traditions, which, given the loss of unity in the Christian Church, provided no longer a continuing way of reaching a consensus.
All of our political options, no matter what we call them (Liberal, Progressive Conservative, Christian Democrats, Social Credit, New Democratic Party, Republican, Democrat, or whatever) all adhere to this Enlightenment program. We have no significant electoral options outside of this tradition. The parties may quarrel about the extent of government control, about rates of taxation, about support programs, but underneath the apparent richness of choice there is a massive fundamental agreement about how society ought to be organized, what priorities society ought to pursue. This is particularly true of North America, since both America and Canada were founded as Enlightenment experiments and have no traditions from before this period, other than the Aboriginal cultures, which have been generally marginalized or exterminated in the service of this agenda.
There seems to be considerable agreement that what happened in that period we call the Romantic Era (in England from 1798 to about 1840) was of almost unparalleled significance, not simply in the amazing resurgence of quality in English poetry but also in our very understanding of art. Isaiah Berlin, a very well known historian of ideas, called the Romantic Movement the single most important shift in the sensibility of Western thinking since the fifth century BC.
In a spirit of boldness I want to offer the following idea as central to what was truly revolutionary about the shift known as the Romantic Movement: it marked for many people (although not for all) the abandonment of the idea that there was a given order in nature; it posited the notion that order was something not discovered in nature but created by the human mind. In words of John Adams: Chaos is the law of nature; order the dream of man.
The Enlightenment was the idea of rationality, and his definition of Romanticism is probably limited, because while it celebrated human choice it based itself on the antiquities and beauty of nature.
I think death metal, more profoundly than black metal, understood that the Enlightenment was a rejection of nature along with the church, and that the best aspects of Romanticism were its praises of nature and the chaotic, bloody, struggle-bound process by which our world came about.
Praising death as having meaning, for example, totally shits all over the idea from this author's "Romanticism" rejects the order of nature. And one more from a Romantic poet.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; (1)
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, (2)
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus (3) rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton (4) blow his wreathed horn.
This reminds me quite a bit of this:
As a "rational" being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he universalizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his life and conduct to them.
At other times it endeavors, with gloomy officiousness, to show the way and to demonstrate the tools to a poor individual who covets existence; it is like a servant who goes in search of booty and prey for his master. But now it has become the master and it dares to wipe from its face the expression of indigence. In comparison with its previous conduct, everything that it now does bears the mark of dissimulation, just as that previous conduct did of distortion. The free intellect copies human life, but it considers this life to be something good and seems to be quite satisfied with it.
Paradoxically, death metal is in praise of life, not by mourning death but by cheering its order in a time of insane delusion. I found that particularly fascinating.