The enlightenment is ongoing. It is not something that was purely limited to the time period beginning with Descartes. It’s a progressive revealing of the grey areas of our existence and increasing awareness of our ongoing moral dilemmas.
I recall a 3hr conversation with somewhat of a modern day philosopher Max Kaye a few years back. We were traversing many topics as these conversations go. One point I was making is that the period of the enlightenment is ongoing. Not in the sense of the “Age of Reason” but more so the symbolic aspect. Coming into the light.
The spotlight is easily shone on our shortcomings and our potential.
We can bear witness to our amazing power. To cure diseases, to heal wounds. To feed and educate billions of humans. Then observe the impact of financial engineering gone wrong. Bringing depressions, further entrenching poverty and psychological sickness. We get to see the profiteering off of terrorism, destruction and wars.
The advent of the internet has accelerated this. It is easier for us to become aware of the greatness and vileness of human behaviour. At network speed in one session of scrolling our “feeds”.
We get the stories of a once deaf child hearing her mothers voice for the first time. The inspirational quotes and the odd positive news story. Technological innovations and people coming together as communities to make the world better. But we also get the stories of rape and torture, malfeasance and political corruption. Anger and frustration at incompetent political “leaders”. More recently the latter gets amplified. Not because we are vile, but because the algorithms optimise for engagement. For rage and reaction. We are more aware of the dualisms, the contradictions and the many points of moral tension.
It’s what we are being enlightened to. Not an end state that comes from rational inquiry. As the title goes. This is not black and white. It all reveals the grey.