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  1. #1
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    Default Can we create a New Age of Enlightenment?

    Can we create a New Age of Enlightenment?

    If one half of one percent of the population acquires the hobby that I call the ‘intellectual life’ such a group could be the foundation for a new Age of Enlightenment.

    The original Age of Enlightenment occurred in Europe during the eighteenth century. “The men [in the 18th century the enlightened were still only half enlightened] of the Enlightenment united on a vastly ambitious program, a program of secularism, humanity, cosmopolitanism, and freedom, above all, freedom in its many forms—freedom from arbitrary power, freedom of speech, freedom of trade, freedom to realize one’s talents, freedom of aesthetic response, freedom, in a word, of moral man to make his own way in the world.”

    It appears to me that following the completion of our schooling the normal inclination is to pack up our yearbook and our intellect into a large trunk and store it in the attic. Occasionally one might go up to the attic and reminisce about the old days.

    What I propose is that following the end of our school days we begin a gradual process of self-actualizing self-learning.

    This period of our life is generally filled with our duties to family and career so that not a great deal of time is available for extraneous matters. However, time is always available for important things and the important thing is to ‘keep curiosity alive’.

    I suspect that if one does not engage in non job related intellectual efforts for the twenty years between the end of schooling and mid-life that the curiosity with which we started life will have dried up and blown away.

    What are non job related intellectual activities? Such activities are what I consider to be intellectualism. Intellectualism is active engagement with ‘disinterested knowledge’.

    There is in industry the concept of ‘applied research’, which is research looking for a good way to build a new mouse trap; there is also a concept called ‘pure research’, which is a search for truth that may or may not lead to an enhancement of the ‘bottom line’.

    Interested knowledge is knowledge we acquire because there is money in it. Disinterested knowledge is that knowledge we seek because we care about understanding something even though there is no money in it.


    The goal of intellectual life is similar to the goal of the artist "the artist chooses the media and the goal of every artist is to become fluent enough with the media to transcend it. At some point you pass from playing the piano to playing music."

    I think it is possible for a significant portion of the population of every nation to become intellectuals. What do you think?

    Quotes from The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism by Peter Gay

  2. #2
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    All pursuits are interested, disinterested knowledge is illusory if you allow for non material valuables.

    However, I agree that people could engage is a lot more creative thinking, the vast majority of people don't involve themselves in this passtime at all.

    I don't think the best way to do this is to glorify knowledge for knowledge's sake. Instead I would suggest glorifying knowledge as a means to happiness.

    "Ignorance is bliss" this idea has dug itself into the minds of many effective people (the ones who have habits we can read about in over priced books). No one seems to spend the time to determine whether "tis folly to be wise.".


    The last thing we need is more values, but I share your sentiments regarding mass sleep-mode.
    wails from the crypt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Masonry!!

    Quote Originally Posted by murkrow View Post
    I don't think the best way to do this is to glorify knowledge for knowledge's sake. Instead I would suggest glorifying knowledge as a means to happiness.
    Agreed.

    "Ignorance is bliss" this idea has dug itself into the minds of many effective people (the ones who have habits we can read about in over priced books). No one seems to spend the time to determine whether "tis folly to be wise.".
    I see both as having their perks. And it's partly about short term VS long term happiness. None is necessarily better if you take into account you don't know when you're going to die.

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    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    I see both as having their perks. And it's partly about short term VS long term happiness. None is necessarily better if you take into account you don't know when you're going to die.
    I'm confused.
    wails from the crypt.

  5. #5
    Listening Oaky's Avatar
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    New age of enlightenment? I just want to sleep. Won't the world be at peace if everyone just sleeps. Let's all just sleep.

  6. #6
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    Default The Shit Sandwich

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Can we create a New Age of Enlightenment?
    The Enlightenment has already occurred in Western Civilization and my home, Australia, is one of the results.

    Yes, Australia was settled at the time of and by the Enlighenment. And enlightenment values were carried here by everyone who came. And they built institutions based on the Enlightenment that are functioning around me today.

    In contrast, the New Age is a complete fraud. It is a confidence trick, very popular in Germany in the first part of the 20th Century.

    And the New Age has given rise to the pseudo science of Eugenics, Somatic Types, "Personality Types", and MBTI, a completely fraudulent personality test.

    In fact MBTI carries on the values of the pseudo science of Eugenics, not the values of the Enlightenment.

    And the pseudo science of Eugenics reached its apogee in the German experiment of the 1930s and '40s.

    However the pseudo science of Eugenics was most enthusiastically promoted at the highest official levels in the USA. And so how natural for the USA to create the pseudo personality test of MBTI and give it to the world.

    But MBTI is a shit sandwich.

  7. #7
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    I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma at a time when it was not completely unexpected to see horses used to pull wagons and plows. These horses were fitted with a head harness that placed leather shields next to their eyes that prevented the horse from seeing to the side. The horse was blinded to anything but straight ahead, and thus they were not distracted by anything but doing their job; pulling the wagon or plow.

    Our educational system is designed to produce graduates who are prepared to do a job. Mental blinders are set in place such that the graduates do not waste time looking to the left or to the right, but look straight ahead at doing their job. This is what industry wants and this is what graduates of schools and colleges are prepared to do. Perhaps this is necessary.

    Perhaps, however, we can have our cake and eat it too. If our graduates recognize that they are not prepared, after graduation, to become critical minded independent thinking personalities they can set about immediately upon graduation to preparing them self for that role. After they have gotten their job they can devote a small amount of their time to becoming that critical minded and independent thinking personality.

    I suggest that one of the important things that they might usefully do after graduation is fill in that vast area of ignorance left by our vocational institutions of education; they might usefully start reading history and studying Critical Thinking. History will give them a comprehension of how our society arrived at its present position and CT (Critical Thinking) will prepare them for learning how to think and to make good judgments.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma at a time when it was not completely unexpected to see horses used to pull wagons and plows. These horses were fitted with a head harness that placed leather shields next to their eyes that prevented the horse from seeing to the side. The horse was blinded to anything but straight ahead, and thus they were not distracted by anything but doing their job; pulling the wagon or plow.

    Our educational system is designed to produce graduates who are prepared to do a job. Mental blinders are set in place such that the graduates do not waste time looking to the left or to the right, but look straight ahead at doing their job. This is what industry wants and this is what graduates of schools and colleges are prepared to do. Perhaps this is necessary.

    Perhaps, however, we can have our cake and eat it too. If our graduates recognize that they are not prepared, after graduation, to become critical minded independent thinking personalities they can set about immediately upon graduation to preparing them self for that role. After they have gotten their job they can devote a small amount of their time to becoming that critical minded and independent thinking personality.

    I suggest that one of the important things that they might usefully do after graduation is fill in that vast area of ignorance left by our vocational institutions of education; they might usefully start reading history and studying Critical Thinking. History will give them a comprehension of how our society arrived at its present position and CT (Critical Thinking) will prepare them for learning how to think and to make good judgments.
    Good God man, we can't have critical thinkers because they might discover they have been sold one of the sandwiches mentioned below.

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