The Penumbra of the Empty, Part I
"This was the beginning of the secularization of the political; from this point onwards, religious claims were progressively withdrawn from the political and public spheres of society. This made possible the freethinking attitude of Thomas Jefferson, who said, ‘It does me no harm for my neighbor to say that there are many gods or that there are none.’”--Carlos,The Importance of History.The historical enlightenment is defined according to a “dividing practice”: the practical division of religious from secular.
Dividing practices continue to characterize the enlightenment, and are the enlightenment’s form of rationality—what the enlightenment understands to be rational practice.
However, the enlightenment understands its rationality, not as dividing, but as universalizing—how could dividing practice be considered consistent within a rationality understood as universalizing ?
Religious claims are progressively withdrawn from the political and public spheres even as the political and public spheres claim a universalizing progressiveness. In the symbolic terms of the historical enlightenment, this suggests that there can only be heartless universality...That there is no universality of the heart....That dionysus doesn’t live here anymore.
(After the little ape left his mother and big sisters, he abandoned his loving and tolerant girlfriend for an important and engaging business career on Wall Street and Madison Avenue. The little ape wonders: where, what, and who am I now? Naked or empty, he's one messed-up primate. In bed alone, no woman around. )