Anesthetic Culture

  • Brent Dean Robbins


An examination of the figure of Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli reveals his central role as a cultural agent, whose influence contributed to the nominalist revolution, the revival of Neoplatonism in the Renaissance, the development of linear perspective technique in art, the new anatomy of Vesalius, the new physics of Galileo, and the launch of colonialism at the Council of Florence, which contributed to Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. A focus on America in the 1830s reveals how the anesthetic culture of the Enlightenment casts a shadow that culminates in the invention of medical anesthesia, the genocide of Native Americans, the emergence of the Temperance Movement, and the birth of consumerism beginning with the first department store, A. J. Stewart and Company. These historical developments are analyzed to reveal their implicit connection as expressions of a new Gnosticism which functions anesthetically to escape experience through psychic numbing.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPoint Park UniversityPittsburghUSA

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