Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Overcoming Of Unreason. Unfinished.

The historical Enlightenment was (and is) precisely this: Spreading the LIGHT (the metaphor can hardly be emphasized enough) over the human darkness of superstition, myths, religion, ignorance, and illiteracy of mankind more than 200 years ago. In practically every area of human enterprise we have advanced into the light. And yet, as always is the case with the concept of "development" (another ambiguous trope) we witness the ebbs and flows of thinking and practice.

Kant himself in his seminal answer to the question Was ist Aufklärung? from December 5, 1783, wrote,

If it is now asked whether we at present live in an enlightened age, the answer
is:No, but we do live in an age of enlightenment. As things are at present, we
still have a long way to go before men as a whole can be in a position (or can
ever be put into a position) of using their own understanding confidently and
well in religious matters, without outside guidance. But we do have distinct
indications that the way is now being cleared for them to work freely in this
direction, and that the obstacles to universal enlightenment, to man's emergence
from his self-incurred immaturity, are gradually becoming fewer.

So, Yusef, are we still there? The obstacles are fewer. Granted. The way is now being cleared for man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Granted. But are we confronted with a systemic flaw: Does man secretly wish for his self-incurred immaturity?
Painting by Stephanie Willis: From the Enlightenment Series, 2008


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you say is true enough and the gains for many people were very real.

But the so called "enlightenment" contained a very dark seed which found very fertile sustenance in the underground drive to total power and control at the root of the entire Western "cultural" project.
It eventually and INEVITABLY lead to the situation desccribed in this reference.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That should have been

12:42 AM  

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