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The first comprises roughly the apolitical features of Gnosticism and forms a public belief system of the masses, the chief features of which are self-exaltation, a quasi-official atheism (public banishment of God, if not his murder), moral relativism, social determinism, scientism, pantheism, the elevation of individual rights over responsibilities and duties, and the rejection of traditional concepts of common good or virtue.
In self-portraits of artists, we can find examples of self-reflection, self-satisfaction, self-exaltation, self-promotion, self-obsession, self-aggrandizement, self-doubt, and self-assertion.
It was not just a lust for food or knowledge or wisdom but for the egregiously arrogant self-exaltation of being "like God.
But instead of Romantic self-exaltation or traditional Augustinian self-transcendence, Newman's visions create a new paradigm of dialogue between Self and God, in which, "self-transcendence and self-assertion coalesce" (92).