What’s Next for the West?

Superman Meets Beethoven

Until World War I, Beethoven was the hero of the European ideal of civilisation. His Ninth Symphony was a musical expression of the hope for the elevation and fraternisation of humankind through art and beauty. Two World Wars later, this ideal has become far from self-evident: in spite of music, in spite of the Ninth Symphony, man still turned out to be capable of atrocities.

What ideal of civilisation can inspire us now? Is Superman our new hero, who stands for science, technique, and human progress? Should we turn other, non-Western values into our ideal? Or has Beethoven’s ideal retained its validity after all?