Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Shift from the Renaissance through the Age of Enlightenment into a Modern world
I gather that during the Renaissance my life would be centred around pleasing God and following a path that I had no choice to follow. I am pleased that I find myself capable and encouraged to think about these things given, that I am a woman and during this time on Earth I would not. (Kant has and interesting view of how women think.) I am to understand that the Renaissance provided the seeds that the modern world has been reseed with. It was in this period that humankind was promoted to the centre of the universe. It took much longer however for the notion of self-governing autonomy to take root. During this time the scientific method was developing but without any concept of pursuit of knowledge. The authority of the church lost some of its bite but the idea of the authority of reason had not yet replaced it.
Fast forward to about 1650 when reason and the ability to think would begin to find its voice in the world in the age of Enlightenment. Imagine a time when humans felt they had no freedom to think or act independently. The ability to think logically began to be thought of as a basis for knowledge. Today given that so few of us take the time to vote I think we have taken for granted this delicious notion to be able to critically think. I mean it’s a gift really when you look at this historically.
I began this investigation because Gadamer keeps talking about Kant as if he was a super hero and I did not have a clue why. Now I begin to see why. While I have major issues with the way so many people are caught up in paradoxical understanding of the world they live it, I do believe this scientific vision was necessary in order to gain freedom from dogma and disrupt the churches control on how we thought of knowledge and how we went about getting more and passing it around to others. But it is the 21st century -people lets move on. The world is wonderfully complex why pretend it is simple? I am convinced we need to get knowledge out of our heads and connect it to where and how we live in the world, the more connections the better. I am very grateful for those that gave to us the idea of freedom to independently thinking inside and outside our heads but the biggest set back in actually getting people to critically think with enlightenment is this peculiar objective view of a wrong and right way of living in the world. Teachers would best support their students learning if they recognized this and stopped preparing their students to live in a wrong/right world and started to prepare them to actually think critically and participate in a nebulous world.