"Bildnis Johann Wolfgang von Goethe", 1828 Joseph Karl Stieler (1781- 1858) Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Goethe (1749-1832) inspired many and to such an extent as to became the National Poet of the German People and to belong to the World Pantheon of Geniuses. His immortal contribution to the world literature is te epic "Dr. Faust" - each reader is left to resolve the dilemma of the worth of a soul of a criminal hedonist sinner. As a precocious youth, Goethe wanted to become "an independent Genius" and he did - he became a polymath - an authority in theology, literature, drama, humanism and science. His emphasis on plant morphology and existence in general framed the questions that Darwin and Wallace sought to anwer. Some scholars note that Goethes sense of humanism led him to realize the dagner of exagerated "idealisms" emerging from philosophers like Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, later expanded by Hegel and Marx - Goethe felt that "philosophy" could poison the German people, a vision realized when "idealologies" and "superman" that did away with pitty for the "weak" and became "rationalized" as "eugenic" and "cleansing" or holocaust policies by J. Stanlin, A. Hitler and others like them. Goethe stands for the denial of the superiority of reason as the sole interpretation of reality - he felt that knowledge is not solely reason but also aesthetic (the most ancient Greek sense of "ethic" is "aidos" or knowledge of what is inherently repugnant to the human soul).