The Enlightenment, the Rights of Man, the US Constitutional Convention, coffee parties in the various salons, calls for tolerance and the birth of rational man. You and I?
The Enlightenment may or may not have existed, as my old teacher, Mick Lemon, used to say. Rational man should act, ‘in accordance with reason or logic.’ In my whole life, I have not experienced a period where humankind has acted within the realms of what might be deemed to be rational, according to how the original thinkers defined it. This really worries me. Voltaire wrote the most amazing satirical expose on the inexplicable and attacked the perceived justifications for why life was explained in the way that it was. That was more than two hundred years ago. Put simply, it is essential not to accept things as they are. We can all make a difference, if we choose to act and live differently.
What of the Enlightenment? It may or may not have existed. Are we more enlightened now? I am really not sure. Will life progress to a point where we all act together to ensure our mutual survival, based on the original conception of what it originally meant to be ‘rational?’ That point has yet to be determined. The point is this. We all have the capacity to collaborate and determine our future together, if we bother to try. That would equate to true Enlightenment.
Rational man would exist and I would be less worried.