The intellectual underpinning of The Age of Enlightenment(roughly between 1706 t0 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 tradional beliefs. The discovery of the printing press and its rapid use to dessiminate the writings of the major intellectual theoretician of the time (from the radical Spinoza to the more moderate Imannuel Kant) gave rise to the mass education of ordinary folks on the merits of rationality and scientific discovery, as the best way to move forward from the chaos and ashes of all sorts of revolutionary fervor.
It has taken three centuries hence to fully complete the circle, but now that we are in this century... one can argue that the licentiousness that now pervades all aspects of human affairs and existence, is not what the 18th century philosophers had in mind when they unleashed man's EGO for the purpose of making man more amenable and subject to the laws of nature. 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.
In this sense our age could be considered The Age of Treason, because man has become treasonous to his natural bent.. to his natural abilities... to his natural intuition and instincts.
Not sure what you're trying to say. I'm not aware of any point in history in which humanity behaved any better than it does now. All the AOE experiment has shown is that people will use anything to justify their actions and that reason has little to do with it. Religion, philosophy, birth right, race, military strength, nationalism, economics, tradition, xenophobia and popular consensus have all been used to commit atrocities. It has more to do with convenience than anything else.
I agree. Many hunter-gatherer societies were non-militaristic. Most of them were wiped out by Europeans acting in the name of God. The best way to eliminate human sacrifice in Aztec culture, is, of course, by putting the entire civilization to the sword. Every major culture in history has justified bloodshed by appealing to religion, political expediency, economic necessity, honor, justice or some other excuse. The Terror was meant to free people from the tyranny of the nobility and church. Look how well that turned out.
what I am saying is,from the perspective of humanizing and civilizing man the philosophic conceps that were advanced by the great thinkers of The Enlightenment succeded brilliantly, but not to the extent of actually taming the rabid nature of man's ego....thus the chaos and trurbulence of his existence.
Well, I agree that they've done nothing for his ego, but the AOE philosophers don't impress me. Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism went far beyond Western philosophy hundreds or thousands of years ago.
When I hear 'civilized' I think 'less violent' not 'more sophisticated', so I don't think philosophy has done anything to civilize people. It's just made them more subtle about how they manipulate each other and justify their self-interest.
Love and compassion are what civilize people, not rules and regulations. Dogma just objectifies and alienates people, it puts them in classes, like 'sinner' and 'saved', 'heathen' and 'god-fearing', effectively turning outsiders into caricatures so that people don't need to feel bad about hating them, treating them like dirt, and tossing them like garbage into a lake of fire. Philosophy is great for creating and justifying dogmas, but it doesn't help you get your ego out of the way so that you can pay attention to people who need your help.
".....love and compassion are what civilize people...." reminds me of the lyrics: "what the world needs now is love sweet love..." I agree with what you are saying. Now if you are a believer in the Nazarene's narrative, then you know that his message of "loving one another" must remain the operating principle of man's existence, otherwise his continued rule over the earth would be in great jeopardy, either through self -destruction or devolution.
I don't believe any narrative. Believing a narrative is just another way of practicing a dogma. Atheists are guilty of it, too. Loving another person is only possible in the absence of dogma. If you're telling yourself that you should treat someone with kindness because your religion tells you to, you're not loving them, you're using them. Love begins where dogma ends.
When I used the word narrative, I meant to imply purely on the basis of a story line...not in any way related to dogma. The way I interpret it, the story of the Nazarene and his message, did not become enwrapped in dogma until his followers institutionalized the concept of an over-encompassing "church"
No doubt the story of the Nazarene is wonderfully inspiring and deserving of deep reflection. The moment you say that a person's salvation depends on believing that the story is literal truth, though, it stops being an inspirational story and turns into a destructive and divisive dogma.
The Buddha doesn't ask you to believe his story. He tells you point blank to go out and try it yourself. The Buddha is essentially saying: "This is what I found out. It's important, and I think you should try to discover it for yourself." He then directs you to observe what happens in your own experience and uses logic and reason to convince you that what you think is true is wrong, but that the truth is discoverable by anyone willing to put in the effort.
Christians, by contrast, tell you what the truth is and forbid you from questioning it. Anyone who questions the tenets is doing the Devil's work and will suffer eternal damnation for it. The Buddha says: "If you don't question for yourself, you will suffer." Christians say: "If you question us, you will suffer."
I don't follow any dogma, religious or otherwise; unless, of course, you consider refusing to follow dogma a dogma. In which case, there are few people more dogmatic than myself.
If, as you argue, human affairs have never been totally ruled by rationality, how come all the avowed rationalists on HubPages have not taken you to task for even suggesting that their beloved belief system is undergirded by a counter-intuitive idea.
The rationalist would emphatically say that there is no OTHER WAY to approach man's existence and affairs except by reasoned thinking. What you are suggesting is that, in the long history of human activity, it appears that animality almost always trumps rationality.
Rationalism, that is using reason, is a belief system? Are you arguing for argument sake or just write whatever comes to your mind?
Critical thinking is a method. I bet you use reason and not faith before jumping from a cliff.
If you believe that rationality alone could and should define and refine man's existence, then you are expressing a belief system. To strip critical thinking to the level of "methodology", is anathema even to my dualist( physical and spiritual) sensibilities.
Now regarding jumping off a cliff....I use reason informed by my intuition and instinct that doing it is not a very good idea. Our hominid precursors never heard about the Laws of Gravity, but they sure know that jumping off a cliff could mean their demise.
"If you believe that rationality alone could and should define and refine man's existence, then you are expressing a belief system. To strip critical thinking to the level of "methodology","
Critical thinking is thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false; hence a methodology. Whether you are aware of it or not we all use critical thinking to judge what others tell us, hence it is a methodology of analyzing arguments. The only people who do not do that are, children who accept whatever the authority says, and idiots who cannot think. But I didn't say it ALONE define and refine human existence, but if you want to 'communicate what you think' you should do it rationally and logically.
"is anathema even to my dualist( physical and spiritual) sensibilities".
It doesn't matter what your sensibilities are, if any discussion needs to be fruitful we should avoid subjectivity and be objective.
And 'spiritual' is a word without meaning.
"Now regarding jumping off a cliff....I use reason informed by my intuition and instinct that doing it is not a very good idea. Our hominid precursors never heard about the Laws of Gravity, but they sure know that jumping off a cliff could mean their demise"
What is this intuition and instinct you speak of, other than the collective reasoning through ages? But you accept you use reason and not faith.
"Spiritual is a word without meaning"....is a stunning statement to say the least. i'm sure my fellow belivers ( 1 billion or so) would say the same thing.
I know off course that the objectivist and reductionist in you would never acknowledge a sensibility of any kind, being to wedded to the nihilistic view that human interactions, specially communications could only executed througj the prism of rationality/physicality.
You are telling me that triangular laugh and married bachelors make sense to you!
Hyenas laugh in a somewhat triangular way; I see married folks who act like bachelors on TV reality shows....so I suppose they make sense in our topsy-turvy world.
So you indeed can make sense out of nonsense?
Which part of the hyena goes triangular?
I can act as the president, does that make me president?
Does your spiritual has the same meaning?
And making a sense is the same as having a sense?
Or is equivocation the right thing?
societies change and the Age of Enlightenment is brought about by many factors - secularity (the realization that you can improve yourself with other means not only by religion) and the knowledge that humans and their knowledges, talent - (the rise of humanism) are the main factors in development. Include the fast industrialization during that time and we can say that technologies changed societies!!! We continue to evolve because of new technologies which brings new way of doing things - the faster way!
It is not the age of treason at all!! This is the age of discoveries - making life easier!
I cannot agree this AOE has made life easier, but can agree it has made it more convenient -even quicker, which is not an altogether good thing. The quicker things progress, the less chance there is for complete scrutiny and reflection of those changes. The more convenient things become, the less fluid humans become -less apt to question, to refuse, to think freely -and more apt to become secular/secluded for even their secular citizens.
Religion, under the new umbrella of technology/sciences, may very well be speeding humanity into a point of no return. That makes me more concerned than my distaste for typical religions. This one is an all together different animal.
It is the reality though. You can romanticized a convenient life by these new technologies! It is the way it is, adaptation is needed. Most people are entrenched in this kind of life, fast life.
I love it that you reject all this stuff myself. It makes you more honest. Except for the fact that you don't. Oh wait..................
I'd like to leave the discussion of humanism and secularism for another time. 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: "...if you live with the sword, you dieby the sword..."would certainly apply to man's EGO driven dash towards technological nirvana.
What I am suggesting is for man to approach this journey not through the urging of his licentious EGO but through the prism of his consciencious SOUL.
Wonderful asessment, A.V.Can't add a thing...wouldn't presume to. I do believe that each of us creates the world in our own image, and in that sense, everything is illusory. Even normalcy.
This topic would make a good hub, hope you get around to it. It's an interesting subject to muse upon. We as humans have not progressed in any way toward a more peaceful existence. It appears that we have more knowledge of external factors. Our science seems, on the surface at least, to have progressed. Has it really? Our intelligence is questionable indeed. Progress has created a human malaise far beyond anything seen in the past. Is this the result of technology. I think in part it has a lot to do with it. Never before has so many people been aligned to 'things' instead of the social order - meaning individual well-being brought about by the human trait of caring. Progress may have made it easier to plow a field and travel but at what cost?
When I read recently that in all of human documented history there has only been 79 days without war on this planet - it begs a lot of questions. It is neither through religion or science that a peaceful future of human existence lies. I align to your statement that we have become treasonous to our natural selves. Philosophers may have hoped that through awareness and knowledge, assisted by the scientific studies of that time and future times, would steer humans toward a more virtuous peaceful existence. It is after all what we are all wanting. Are we further away from it than ever?
Did I mention how much I adore your words? I would say, "Get out of my head!", but that would be silly.
The only club I belong to, is the optimist club.
The up side
Since the written record of our world's human history, Man's life expectancy has not been much more than an average age of 40 years old , up to mid 1800s.
We have double life expectancy and created many more opportunities of work and play, plus been able to travel more other parts of the world
Over population, pollution and poverty , yet we have been getting better with solution by being aware of these problems too. I recommend Religious people stop being so fruitful and multiplying STOP IT!!!. Plus stop being against every other group who do not believe in Yahweh and start being gay, (I mean be happy)
It is undeniable of course that man's earthly record has not been paradigmatic of unadulterated triumph... neither has it been emblematic of unmitigated disaster. In other words, a checkered record.
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 grace or intervention) has allowed him to develop a brain of such integrative complexitiy.. a brain that most of all has made him the most intuitive and instinctive of all animate entities on earth.
What animated man to achieve his current niche in nature is what will animate him towards his ultimate goal of fully understanding himself and the world.... and ultimately the universe that sorrounds him.
Meanwhile, back on earth, he will need to face the perplexities that have always bedeviled his existence. As some have suggested, in response to my intial post ( and in some other forum as well) man would continue to rely on his baser instincts to overcome those perplexities, thus paving the way to further chaos, tumult, and who knows... self-destruction. Some have also argued that despite the above scenario, man would continue to lord it over the earth, however fretfully, because of his technological superiority above and beyond nature.
Which leads me to the question: Was man's creation and evolution all an ACT OF FUTILITY?
How could it have been futile? As you say, man has faced potential extinction more than once, but it still here. He survived.
Man is lord over all other creatures and plants. He is in the process of even changing the very earth into something it isn't currently (although it has been in the past).
In this respect mankind is the most successful animal to ever exist. He occupies all niches appropriate to his physical size, displacing others as required. Time will tell if this is actually a winning strategy or not (come back in 10 million years to find out), but for now it is working.
Only when you set artificial goals that are contrary to man's nature (violent, murderous, self centered, etc.) can you claim that the species is a failure, or is treasonous.
What you call "artificial goals" are what I would term as sublime aims. Man must aim, in continuing his journey towards his destiny, to temper and harmonize his licentious instincts.
If he does not become more conscientious, more spiritual, more empathetic, more truthful, in the way he lives, his existence could become futile.
I have written in other forums that man, because of his overweening EGO, has formulated EGO driven belief systems that are counter-intuitive nonetheless... to name a few: objectivism, reductionism, secularism, atheism.
The almost unrelenting march of these Ideas/Ideals/Ideologies would, I suspect, come to a sudden halt, if only, man becomes less physically predisposed and more spiritually composed.
Actually, if people became more "spiritual", then society would die out because mysticism which "spirituality" is based on is based on intellectual dishonesty.
Thus, if people are truly going to be more dishonest then more chaos will ensue the planet and the human species will die out as a result.
I do agree that if more people concentrated on the "materialistic" mentality, then it will also work against humanity's chances of survival. However, what you're suggesting isn't going to improve things, but will result in the same results as what is already happening today.
If one adheres to the strictest definition of spiritualism and mysticism, one could argue that there is nothing mystical about spiritualism, and there is nothing spiritual about mysticism. The two terms are not mutually inclusive.
Spirituaism mainly invokes the concept of the DUALITY of man's nature i.e. that man is both physical and spiritual. Mysticism goes much further in that it provokes the concept that one could have a direct communication with God (or any such Supernatural Being)
Either way, there is nothing intellectually dishonest about both belief systems because of their aspirational conception and formulation.
And I am afraid the joke is on you.
Speaking of the ego and duality, A.Villarasa - have you tried to walk the line between the two. I say this because what Cags is alluding to is just that. And in practice it is very very difficult.
Even with mysticism and spiritual experiences, at the end of the day we are human's having a human experience. And to succeed in it there is the need to walk that line. The dow line, the line between ying and yang. It is a line with discernment without judgement, compassion without custard. To walk it requires integrity. I've not seen many on it to be honest and I fail miserably to stay there.
I have to say that with the spiritual work I do Cags, spirituality requires intellectual honesty so I can't agree with you there. I do however, know where you are coming from and why you made that statement.
Man has survived, but the cost. Is the sole purpose of existence to survive it? Interesting. Makes me muse over quantity not quality.
As animals we have done well. As spiritual beings we suck!
Quality: its the roof on the house of duality.
This is what modern religion (science & sensation) are pushing.
Quality of Life using their methodology (quantity of objects & objectives).
Am with you, as spiritual beings, we do suck. lol.
Quite a bit.
It is interesting that you asked this question.
As conscientious people, as a collective, we suck.
I agree with that, in fact, I go further, to say that the present state of christianity has wandered far from the master's teaching. I also believe that Jesus himself set it up that way. Thinking about the disciples, his imediate followers, I can't help thinking about Lot and the Angels at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. How many people were saved? What happened to Lot's wife? I also have problems with ritualistic cannibalism....bathing in the blood of the lamb, and such. As to the above , earlier comment about the Aztecs all being put to the sword...think again. Look around you. The U.S. will soon be in Aztec hands.
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