Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Enlightened Worldview

I find it very interesting that all of the Enlightened minds we have read in the second half of this semester have taken a similar attitude towards people. Starting with Montague we have seen these men display a general faith in mankind. Montague placed his faith in other cultures, he believed they were more "civilized" and Europeans had much to learn from them. Shakespeare demonstrated his faith in humanity through his writings. He encoded many social and political messages within his plays and he expected his audiences to be able to decipher his work. By publishing his work and thinking the public would accept it, Galileo displayed his faith in mankind. He thought they would see the truth in his discoveries and embrace his revolutionary ideas. Finally, DesCartes believes all humans have an equal ability to reason. How each person uses this ability may differ, but each person possesses the same potential. Few people during DesCartes' time were willing to make such a generalization, placing all of humanity on the same level.
Many people argue that to this day this trend has continued. I have not seen enough of the world yet to make such a generalization. But from my experience so far, it seems that the "educated" sector is socially more liberal, which seems to be the modern day equivalent of the Enlightened thinkers. Does this mean that education opens your eyes to humanity's abilities? Does a greater education allow people to view people with more compassion? Or are there just as many people in the "uneducated" sector who share these beliefs but just do not have the means to vocalize them?

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