The first Enlightenment
a.k.a. Age of Reason
began around 1650 and lasted about 150 years.
It was a philosophical revolution
and rational thinking
in society as well as in each individual person,
above the powers of traditions and institutions.
got propelled forward;
striving for knowledge
, understanding, insight
was an ideal shared by many.
Through all that also technology
progressed as never before.
And, most importantly, the power structures
got called into question.
These didn't passively watch that for 150 years,
but kept learning in their own way and continuously
worked the so-called Counter-Englightenment
The end of the Enlightenment
came only with the French Revolution
which, though born from the Enlightenment,
lead by massive excesses of violence
to a traumatizing shock
This and the return of power corruption in the
leaders of the very revolution caused a deep
and lead from the Age of Reason
to the escapism of Romanticism
Those in power had learned a lot in the Enlightenment
and began to purposefully filter and steer
in which fields progress
would rapidly continue
— and in which fields not, what the masses learn
— and what not, which ideals and values
would be widely shared — and which ones not.
This works never perfectly
minorities and individuals always go their own ways,
but only the mass effect
determines the world.
Therefore we have fascinating, rapid developments
, whereas in politics
and the general intellectual advancement
we do not make any real progress.
Particularly the power-serving developments
lead, by way of
the relative to them increasing inadequacy
to ever greater threats
Of these, the nuclear bombs
and the Holocaust
are but the widely recognized
tip of a gigantic iceberg
of suffering caused
and future at risk
Intellectual circles have tried again and again
and continue the Enlightenment
But a truly New Enlightenment
one that consciously learns from the failing of the first,
that consciously factors in adversary currents
that consciously compensates
for the past
two centuries of power manipulations —
and that consciously prevents excesses
such as those of the French Revolution.
The New Enlightenment simply has to strive for
such social and philosophical progresses
that exhilerate and liberate all people
including those who today still live off harm,
such as exploitation or conflict.
"Enlightenment" still fits today;
to speak of a Second Enlightenment
however, would be incorrect.
Firstly because, even though only from 1650-1800
people officially actually spoke of "Enlightenment",
earlier progress movements
get counted as periods of Enlightenment, too,
such as a Greek and a Roman one,
so there is big confusion as to the numbering.
Secondly because the first Enlightenment
shall not and can not be repeated
Indeed, the fundamental ideals
and goals remain
(education, knowledge, insight, justice),
yet the New Enlightenment has to, as mentioned,
consider several additional issues
, and it should
not only strive for reason and knowledge,
but also explicitly for wisdom
This series here can only be a spark
too decide now if it will be fully realized.