Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press

Word of the Day: Zeitgeist

Word of the Day: Zeitgeist

Today's we discuss the word Zeitgeist. This word is of German origin and literally means ghost or spirit of the time. It is used to describe the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era according to Merriam Webster's and what we see from dictionary.com says more or less the same thing.

Definition of Zeitgeist | Dictionary.com
Definition of Zeitgeist from Dictionary.com, the world’s leading online source for English definitions, pronunciations, word origins, idioms, Word of the Day, and more.

So the zeitgeist is what makes the 60s, 70s, and 80s what they were. Now according to Merriam Webster's commentary it's believed that you can't know the zeitgeist of an era until the era is over. I don't know if that's necessarily true. I also don't necessarily believe understanding the zeitgeist is limited to artists and philosophers. Maybe it helps to understand the full depth if you are more focused on those things, but if you look at the world today, there is a very clear current pushing us down a path. This current builds on the zeitgeist of previous eras. Even if you don't necessarily recognize this as the zeitgeist, I'm sure everyone can recognize the direction society seems to be moving. Building on this current analogy, it's like we all know we're headed down the river, but some of us are paddling to get there quicker while others are looking for a branch to grab onto because the map that history provides is showing a waterfall up ahead.

Subscribe to Jeffersonian Report

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson
Subscribe