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The Age of Treason

Updated on January 24, 2013

Intellectual Perplexities and Complexities

The intellectual underpinning of the Age of Enlightenment (roughly between 1706 to 1792) aka the Age of Reason as propounded by Thomas Paine in his seminal book of the same title, was supposed to unbound man from the constricting embrace of both religious and governmental maelstrom, as well as release him from his self-created mythologies, ignorance, and faithfulness to traditional beliefs. The discovery of the printing press and its use to rapidly dessiminate the writings of the major intellectual theoretician of the time ( from the radical Spinoza to the more moderate Immanuel Kant) gave rise to the mass education of ordinary folks on the merits of rationality and scientific discovery as the the best way to move forward from the chaos and ashes of all sorts of revolutionary fervor.

Arguably, it has taken 3 centuries to fully complete the circle, but now that we are in this century, one can say that the licentiousness that now pervades all aspects of human affairs and existence, is not what the 18th century thinkers had in mind when they unleashed man's ego, for the purpose of making man more amenable and subject to the laws of nature. However, it was, is and will be man's ego that has made him think that he is above and beyond these natural laws, and thus act un-naturally. So from the perspective of humanizing, civilizing, and secularising man, the philosophic concepts that were advanced by the great thinkers of The Enlightenment succeded brilliantly, but not to the extent of actually taming the rabid/vapid nature of man's ego.

In this sense, our age could be considered the Age of Treason because man has become treasonous to his natural bent... to his natural ability,... to his natural intuition and instinct. Thus the unrelenting chaos and turbulence of his existence.

Some would argue that our age is not the Age of Treason, but rather the age of Scientific Discovery(ies), unpararelled in human history. Leaving aside the issue of the exuberant humanism and rampant secularism that resulted from the Age of Enlightenment, that even now continues to fester, the issue of scientific breakthroughs and technological advances do present something of a conundrum. It is absolutely true that science and technology has afforded man to aim for a better level of existence. However, science/technology is a two-edged sword, and the verity of the statement " you live by the sword, you die by the sword" would certainly apply to man's ego driven dash towards technological nirvana.

Man's earthly record, undeniably, has not been paradigmatic of unadulterated triumph; neither has it been emblematic of unmitigated disaster. From the evolutionary perspective, Homo Sapiens has so far been a very successful specie. He has survived several potential extinction events all throughout the millenia because evolution (some would call it divine intervention) has allowed him to develop a brain of such integrative complexity... a brain that most of all has made him the most intuitive and instinctive of all the animate entities on earth.

Man will need to face the perplexities and complexities that have always bedeviled his existence. What I am suggesting is for man to approach his earthly journey not through the urging of his licentious ego, but through the prism of his conscientious soul.


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    • A.Villarasa profile image

      Alexander A. Villarasa 5 years ago from Palm Springs

      Thanks for you kind comment...I'd carry it as a badge of encouragement from a fellow artist.

    • profile image

      Stiffy Magnum 5 years ago

      This article is brilliant! A breath of fresh air from open mic coffee house poems and cookie recipes.

      I also believe that we are heading in the wrong direction.