Eff's Rambles (Archive)

1/02/2005

On the subject of enlightenment

I am sure this shall bother many people, but I do not believe in it. Enlightenment has become synonymous with some ideologies. No longer is it merely the advancement of understanding, presuming it ever was defined that way, but the acceptance of some philosophies of a pacifistic, tolerant and accepting nature. But for me to believe that is what in part defines an enlightened culture, I would first have to reject any argument for the necessities of force for the purpose of preservation of societies and their interests. And I have long rejected pacifism as the only approach to resolution.

Any given use of force might be deplorable by itself, but there exists negative and positive hypothosizing of the consequences of force and dimplomacy. This should not be taken as favoring force, but that the idealism of diplomacy has contingencies that may not serve the desires and interest of a given people, and who is right to preach acceptance of loss to said people?

It is said that enlightened people talk, that is only partially true. Enlightened people talk, understand and react as their circumstances allow; enlightened understanding might not translate into reactions at the same level. That it is possible for any culture to concede to many things, as might be necessary in any negotiation, is quite impressive. But the difficulty of concession on the grandest scale, and faith in the absence of force, is incredibly high.

Many believe in preserving something, something which they believe has a right to exist in their possession or that of certain others'. Whether they are fools or not, improperly prioritizing, they can only be persuaded once they become accepting of new priorities and confident in other methods for the attainment and protection of those new interests.

The idealism of the results of rejection of force and the supposedly selfish interests, is beyond my acceptance. I cannot automatically believe in the greatness of such a society, and I cannot wholly abandon my selfishness; not nearly enough to move all of us into the realm of enlightenment.

Enlightment should not be defined by any tenet beyond understanding. To call some behavior evil or good is fine, but to call it unenlightened or enlightened is not.

I am not a barbarian, and I doubt, I hope you will forgive me for this, that you are enlightened. I am most surely neither, though some might tag me as being the former.

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