The First Enlightenment Versus The Second Enlightenment
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Definitions: The 1st Enlightenment was a Second Wave 17th and 18th century intellectual movement in which faith in reason, science and experience (rather than dogma and tradition) gave new hope for freedom and progress. First to industrialize was the United Kingdom during the Industrial Revolution, commencing in the 18th century. It is this very faith in reason, science and experience that empowered the machine inventors to start this revolution. Industrialization was part of a wider modernization process, where social change and economic development are closely related to technological innovation. Part of the social change was the general weakening of blind faith in religion and the strengthening of people's faith in reason, science and experience. The 1st Enlightenment triggered the Industrial Revolution.
Enlightenment is daring to think for oneself, and the process of enlightenment is becoming progressively self-directed in thought and action through the awakening of one's intellectual powers, which in turn leads ultimately to a better, more fulfilled human existence.
The 2nd Enlightenment is our term for the Third Wave (see the Tofflers’ The Third Wave) philosophical movement in which the following is occurring:
- Instead of individuals and families relying on half-baked knowledge (dripping with vested interests, unscientific biases, political agendas, etc.) from elitist political heroes, orthodox authorities like churches, media spokespeople and “experts”;
- and instead of individuals and families waiting for said elites to use this pseudo-knowledge to socially engineer society to work better by use of collective, Big Government, centralized, mass-man strategies, socialism, and politically inspired “programs” administered by expensive, ineffective bureaucracies with built-in conflicts of interest;
- individuals and families will finally take full responsibility for their lives, choose to be at cause rather than at effect, and drop the idea of depending on others to figure out how to make life work well. And they'll use Third Wave knowledge to guide their relationships and parenting. The 2nd Enlightenment has occurred only for the few, not the many, in 2016.
The jury is in. We look back at the track record of the social engineers and we wince, frown or upchuck. The entrepreneurs, inventors, pioneers and scientists have a good track record, and have mostly led us toward a better, happier and more comfortable life full of natural and technological abundance, even though there have been those who have misused these advances. But the social engineers mostly have a bad track record, relying on authoritarianism, coercion, and mass-man solutions that often did more harm than good—sometimes devastatingly so. Some mass-man mindsets and authoritarian contexts may have worked passably (but hardly optimally) during the Second Wave industrial era, but most such contexts are anachronistic in the 2nd Enlightenment thinking of Third Wave civilization and the 21st century—a century in which mankind has the knowledge needed to live productive, creative, inspiring lives, and yet mankind is failing to find the wisdom and courage to act on this knowledge, preferring instead to quake in fear, hiding under the "protective" skirts of various authorities, authoritarians, and "leaders" (mostly neocon elites out for themselves only) who will guide them like frightened children through the fog of a confusing 21st century full of unique challenges and scary potentials.
The sad fact is that, with only a few exceptions, the mass of humanity is mostly heading AWAY from the 2nd Enlightenment. Worse yet, they're not even heading back to the 1st Enlightenment. They're regressing toward pre-Enlightenment thinking that depends upon "authorities" to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. So life will be about two things: tyrants and religion. It's almost as though civilization is stuck in reverse. If enlightenment is daring to think for oneself, and the process of enlightenment is becoming progressively self-directed in thought and action through the awakening of one's intellectual powers, which in turn leads ultimately to a better, more fulfilled human existence, then what is this fearful, regressive movement AWAY from enlightenment? It's the preconditions for a 21st century Dark Ages of religion, ignorance, regression, repression, oppression, exploitation, environmental devastation, and endless wars. The world situation will be ripe for exploitation by tyrants, demagogues, and psychotics.
Enter Donald Trump (elected president in 2016), who many have realized has—like Joseph McCarthy—the personality common to demagogues. The potential is for him to decide to do what he promised and use his great powers of marketing and persuasion to hit reset on the American machine as he ushers in The American Dream 2.0. and he returns us to our Founders' vision of a democratic republic that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. The ugly temptation will be for him to do what he has usually done in his life: exploit the situation to lord it over people and find the best way to extract maximum profit for himself and "let the people eat cake" (a phrase from the French Revolution connoting disregard for the peasants' welfare). Hopefully, if he follows this tempation he at least will spare us his The Apprentice mantra: "It's not personal. It's just business."
Humans are regressing toward pre-Enlightenment thinking that depends upon "authorities" to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. So life will be about two things: tyrants and religion. It's almost as though civilization is stuck in reverse and along with that it would seem that human evolution is stuck in reverse. Think about it: brains that cease thinking for themselves and instead let authorities do it for them are unused organs that will degenerate. Thinking takes lots of effort and energy, but replaying tired old religious dogma in one's head takes hardly any energy. Sort of like watching a movie compared to writing a movie or using an app compared to programming an app. Humans are more evolved than apes because they think. Nonthinking humans are like apes without body hair—not much else is different. There are sayings that point out that if something isn't growing it's dying, and a flowing river stays healthy, while a stagnant pool generates diseases and smells bad. A mind replaying tired old religious dogma in place of thinking and being closed to new experiences and ideas does not flow, grow, or create. It stagnates, degenerates, and is unproductive.
If something isn't growing it's dying, and a flowing river stays healthy, while a stagnant pool generates diseases and smells bad—we must either be flowing in life’s river or trapped in a stagnant pool off to the side
As mentioned, the 21st century Dark Ages (a.k.a. Dark Ages 2.0) will be ripe for exploitation by tyrants, demagogues, and psychotics. Narcissistic political performers will fill leadership positions—they will be people out to gain power and wealth not for the people but for themselves—to stroke their egos and improve their lot in life. Sometimes their goal will be to try to make up for the fact they dislike themselves by getting others to admire them.
Narcissistic political performers will fill leadership positions in the 21st century—they will be people out to gain power and wealth not for the people but for themselves
"Regrettably, it is usually the narcissistically damaged actors who become political performers [when the society is regressing and eager for meaning, guidance, and more inspired leadership]. Hitler, for instance, was constantly torn between delusions of grandeur and suicidal tendencies. He could have been intriguing as Hamlet. As a politician he was a catastrophe. . . . In the end, demagoguery works when the electorate lacks the integrity and cultural imperative necessary to reject tangible and immediate gain in favor of principles that require sacrifice, effort, and personal responsibility. [A demagogue's] real aim is to exploit the common people’s support to advance his or her own interests or those of a small coterie. . . . Citizens’ alienation and disenchantment with politics breed demagoguery, when parties or the institutional resources available to citizens are not capable of delivering." (Source: What History Teaches Us About Demagogues Like The Donald)
U.S. citizens in 2016 are noticing not only that the politicians and leaders of both parties are incapable of delivering decent benefits, leadership, economic health and a healthy jobs market to citizens, but also that said leaders and politicians are VERY capable of delivering benefits to themselves and their friends and the special interests that sponsor them! So the alienation and disenchantment with politics that breeds demagogues is omnipresent in 2016 in the 99%. On the other hand, the 1% couldn't be happier with the way things are going—in fact, they're the ones who caused conditions to favor the 1%. While the elite 1% get tax breaks, lots of deductions, foundation tax shelters, offshore tax shelters, and legislative loopholes built just for them, the 99% keep seeing their wealth being transferred into the wallets of the rich.
U.S. military policies screw the 99% and reward the very rich
All this is the economic bias that screws the 99% and rewards the very rich. The rich neocons and oligarchs in the elite class also run things so that U.S. military policies screw the 99% and reward the very rich, the banks, the armaments industry, companies like Blackwater and Halliburton, and the corporatocracy in general. The 99% get used as cannon fodder in the military and the elites are happy to send them to battle. There is no way they'll serve in the military—elites feel like they're above all that, especially because it's dangerous!
Like early 20th century Germany, 21st century United States citizens suffer from alienation and disenchantment with politics and that is the perfect scenario to breed demagogues (e.g., Donald Trump). See Psychological Dysfunction. A demagogue in a nuclear armed nation like the U.S. is likely to push us into WWIII with enemies that have nukes.
The 99% get used as cannon fodder in the military and the elites are happy to send them into battle
The old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm still has a few constructive applications even in the 21st century, but it is mostly dangerous, obsolete, destructive and naïve. The new, ecological-holistic paradigm is the vital, systems worldview for our new millenium, and the reductionistic adherents of the old paradigm are overdue to confront the following question: If more is surely better and growth is surely good, then how do you explain the cancer tumor? Or much of the 20th century?
We have the means to kill all life on the planet, with the possible exception of the common cockroach
There are many reasons why religion is replacing science: Science has become the whore of politics so it can no longer be trusted. Science has gifted us with amazing ways to ruin the environment and amazing ways to kill each other—if these two continue, life will eventually degenerate to rats fighting in a toilet. We have the means to kill all life on the planet, with the possible exception of the common cockroach. (They're damnably resilient!) So we need to reject science to survive. Also, people are afraid, due to war, terrorism, and pandemics, and religion gives them hope and comfort while science gives them only more ways to kill man and kill nature. And finally, the real clincher: Religion and science disagree. They contradict one another. The Bible is God's word so since science disagrees with religion, science is simply wrong. So believe religion and reject science. However, since the Bible is riddled with errors, perhaps religion is getting too much credit for being inerrant, since—inspired by God or not—it was written by men. See What The Christian Fundamentalist Doesn't Want You To Know: A Brief Survey of Biblical Errancy, by Scott Bidstrup.
"Believing is easier than thinking. Hence [there are] so many more believers than thinkers."—Bruce Calvert
Science has gifted us with amazing ways to ruin the environment and amazing ways to kill each other—if these two continue, life will eventually degenerate to rats fighting in a toilet
|FIRST ENLIGHTENMENT||SECOND ENLIGHTENMENT|
|Old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm||New, ecological-holistic paradigm|
|Knowledge for some||Knowledge for all|
|Apply social science through “experts” and politicians in a mass-man context||Apply social science through individual, family, and group responsibility (e.g., MCs) in a Third Wave context of choice, freedom, and knowledge|
|Authoritarianism still ruled even as faith in reason, science and experience expanded||Authoritative—knowledge and wisdom lead|
|Social engineering is foolishly imposed, led by sociological theories||Diverse populace chooses appropriate lifestyles|
|Politicians as heros, since they’re the father figures who impose the social engineering and “save” the “ignorant” mass-men (e.g., Reagan)||No heroes needed, but wise people (e.g., Thomas Gordon, Dr. Louise Hart, Philip Slater, and Richard Louv) offer guidance that all are free to choose or reject|
|Dependence leads to inadequate character and irresponsibility||Independence and social choice leads to better character and more responsibility|
|Collective, centralized, standardized, mass-man, Second Wave solutions including socialism, welfare states, etc.||Individual/family/group, decentralized, locally decided, Third Wave solutions including MCs, cottage industries, the electronic expanded family, and empowering local communities|
|Inner-directed and other-directed||Autonomous|
Unfortunately, in 2016 we're seeing a lot of backsliding, resurgence of authoritarian fundamentalism, and loss of faith in reason, science, environmentalism and common sense. In the contest between science and religion, science lost decisively. Fear is driving the huddled masses to pile ass deep into megachurches so they can let the "authorities" do their thinking for them. In the U.S. the science books are being ignored by fundamentalists and replaced by belief in nothing but the so-called word of God, to be found solely in the Bible. In Mideast countries, the Koran tells all and the science books are good only for ass wiping. These anti-Enlightenment forces are trying to turn back the clock several centuries to a time with less fear and danger and more stability and certainty. But ironically, the more they turn back the clock for themselves and their groups, the more danger and instability prevails as the world's people scramble for their share of dwindling resources. In the mad scramble, environmentalism is forgotten, and even further instability evolves as global warming starts taking a heavier toll. (Al Gore was right—it's already happening.)
Danger and instability prevail as global warming starts taking a heavier toll
Russia went from democracy (sort of) to pseudo-democracy to kleptocracy before one could blurt out the phrase "Russian Mafia." Iraq went from dictatorship with religious overtones to pseudo-democracy to religious and political insurgency to a damnable mess. Syria went from stable oppressive dictatorship to unstable oppressive dictatorship but the rebels met with Assad's chemical weapons and torture chambers and the Assad-controlled part of the country is headed back toward a stable oppressive dictatorship but the rest of the country vacillates between rebel groups, diminishing ISIS control and lots of bombs courtesy of U.S. and Russia. Meanwhile, ISIS is losing ground in the Middle East and sending more would-be jihadists to Europe to await instructions. But they are also counting on using social media to create would-be jihadists that attack on their own initiative, both in Europe and America (San Bernardino shooting, Orlando shooting, Boston Marathon bombing). For instance a bunch of Oregon militia guys that are angry with the U.S. government were targeted by ISIS to receive not jihadist propaganda but instructions on violent insurrection.
Meanwhile, as the US and its allies prepare to launch a major offensive for Mosul, US service members are on the ground in growing numbers and increasingly in harm’s way in spite of Obama's claim that they train but not fight. U.S. forces are performing kill-or-capture missions, conducting surveillance, calling in airstrikes, carrying out sniper attacks, participating in direct combat missions, and pounding ISIS positions with mortars and artillery. The US-led coalition fighting ISIS has carried out 9,562 airstrikes in Iraq and another 4,838 in Syria. (Do Americans feel okay about the war? "Fewer than 1 percent of Americans are willing and able to serve.") Obama promised to get us out of Iraq, but in reality he had to send 6000 troops back in. "We have to give a clear mission and end game to our troops. The alternative is that we keep sending US troops back to fight and die for battles that we’ve already won." (Source: Inside the Real US Ground War On ISIS)
George Dubya Bush—'I'm declaring victory!'
Dubya Bush the Liar lied us into the illegal Iraq invasion
Barack Obama ('OhBombEm') the Liar-in-Chief is an even bigger liar than Dubya
Hey, George Dubya Bush ("I'm declaring victory!"), Obama ("OhBombEm") and America, are you sure we got our money's worth in those wars? How much money? About 1.7 trillion and counting got poured into that Iraq fiasco! (The total cost of the Iraq War, however, is 6 trillion since one has to add .49 trillion in benefits owed to war veterans and 2 trillion in interest [through 2053] paid on the 1.7 trillion we borrowed to pay for this fiasco.) The bottom line is that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan were huge errors by neocon warmongering empire builders that Congress had the responsibility to stop in their tracks. But they didn't. They failed us. They were supposed to look out for our interests instead of kissing neocon backsides to go along to get along. They failed, and the consequences of that failure will haunt this country forever—especially because of all the humans on the planet that died or were maimed due to this colossal failure. So the ugly truth is that it was all a waste of money, time, lives, equipment, and effort. (One hopes neither Dubya nor OBomb'em sleep well at night. Or Cheney or the rest of his neocon accomplices.)
The Iraqis might as well be Vietnamese since the same thing happened there that happened in Iraq. (The Defense Department reported that the overall cost of the Vietnam war was $173 billion [equivalent to $770 billion in 2003 dollars]. Veteran's benefits and interest would add another $250 billion [total: $1 Trillion in 2003 dollars].) It's all sad. We sincerely salute all the brave troops that sacrificed so much in both of these lost causes and in Afghanistan as well. Now the Iraq War veterans know how veterans of the Vietnam War felt. Sad, deceived, tricked, used, exploited, hurt, lied to, and wasted. Will this country EVER learn to stop getting military advice from the warmongering military industrial complex that profits from conflict?! See The Neoconserative Threat to World Order: America's Perilous War for Hegemony.
9/11 terrorist attack
"After 9/11, President Bush declared regime change to be official U.S. policy. He took this country to war to create regime change in Iraq. How does the president know which governments to overthrow? According to Bush’s criteria, a government must:
- build or sell weapons of mass destruction
- violate U.N. resolutions
- threaten, invade, or dominate its neighbors
- exploit many of its own poorest citizens
- erode the civil liberties or human rights of its people
- fail to live up to democratic ideals
Iraq + Afghanistan Wars—6,717 U.S. dead: but for WHAT?
Vietnam War—58,209 U.S. dead: but for WHAT?
It’s time to stop wasting tax revenues on expensive weapons systems that are mostly needed to boost the profits of the corporations who build them. . . . It’s time to redirect our resources to meet human needs. It’s time to bring the war dollars home. (Source: Paying for America's War Machine Is a Terrible Waste of Tax Money)
Millions join fundamentalist churches in the U.S., surrendering reason and thought for all-knowing Authority
Unfortunately, the authoritarian conscience with its pseudo-security is being chosen more and more in the Mideast as well as in the U.S. as millions join fundamentalist churches, flocking to them like sheep, giving up their own reasoning and decisions as they bow before the absolute authoritarianism of ministers, priests, Popes, who tell them to heed only the Bible and ignore all science in books and media. Aggravating this regressive trend even more is the fact that neither scientists nor their findings can be trusted any longer, as they are all beholden to—and heavily influenced by—special interests, politicians, investors, academia pressures, and the Corporatocracy itself. In essence, then, in the 21st century, science has become the whore of politics. And now we have schools bowing to fundamentalists' pressures and teaching Creationism. Evolution has been downgraded to a mere theory. Think of the swinging banjo in the movie Deliverance. Goodbye science, hello Dark Ages.
Science becoming the whorehouse of politicians is the swinging banjo in the movie Deliverance
In essence, then, in the 21st century, science has become the whore of politics
Recheck the above table where we itemize the key differences between the 1st and 2nd Enlightenments. The world in general, and the U.S. in particular, are choosing out of fear and ignorance to replace science with religion, and they are choosing authoritarianism over democratic freedom and humanism, profit over environmentalism, and dogma over wisdom. This is suicidal regression and head-in-the-sand blindness. The 2nd Enlightenment is not a luxury to choose if we happen to feel like it. It is an essential survival strategy. Not choosing it will be selecting the wrong side of the Shakespearian proposal in which "to be or not to be" is the question. It truly is the question!
The world in general, and the U.S. in particular, are choosing out of fear and ignorance to replace science with religion, which is head-in-the-sand blindness