Recognition of enlightenment as a Faith

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06 Dec 2018 09:43 #330185 by Twigga
The enlightenment movement of 18th century Europe, has been classified as "debunking" in these forums - but out of the ideas proposed through this website it is one in which I have the greatest faith currently. I do not find enlightenment to be "anti faith". I find it to be pro faith. It gives me faith, based in reason, in people to act well.

I have been saddened to find that enlightenment thinkers have been asked not to engage with other thinkers due to, what I see as a misunderstanding of what it means to investigate, challenge ideas, or explore. I do not believe that anyone has demonstrated a lack of respect for persons, or of an open space for opinion, except perhaps where there has been a lack of clarity in defining where " I think" and where "my opinion" lies, and where certain sources are less than reliable.

I hope that enlightenment thinkers will be allowed in future to engage with thinkers of other kinds, so that all ideas may be developed. I have not found myself able to develop or deepen my spirituality an echo chamber that only reflects back to me the same ideas that I already have.

I recognise that there is a dichotomy seen between "scientific thinking" and "other thinking". But I think this is rubbish in this context. It's all thinking to me, and so discourse should easily be possible if there is no creation of an artificial boundary.
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06 Dec 2018 11:02 #330191 by Thalamoore
I like this Twigga, in my opinion, I think there is nothing wrong with a healthy debate between persons of differing opinions, it opens your eyes to other horizons.
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06 Dec 2018 13:47 #330202 by Brick
Well said

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06 Dec 2018 23:17 - 06 Dec 2018 23:27 #330229 by OB1Shinobi
Nihilism is not necessarily the only possible conclusion of a purely rationalistic worldview, but its a very likely conclusion of a purely rationalistic worldview. I dont have faith at all that people will generally behave “well” in a fundamentally nihilstic society. Why should they? There isnt really any such thing to a nihilist as “good” behavior. The logical way for such a person to act is so that they get what they desire without being punished. This doesnt mean they behave well, but that they are careful not to get caught when they behave badly.

Edit: i do like the idea that “Enlightenment” qualifies as a faith, though.

"One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond that is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways"
-Lord Russel
Last edit: 06 Dec 2018 23:27 by OB1Shinobi.
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06 Dec 2018 23:33 #330232 by Kyrin Wyldstar

OB1Shinobi wrote:
Edit: i do like the idea that “Enlightenment” qualifies as a faith, though.


I see it as a faith in the process, not the end result of the process. It is the journey not the destination and if we cant explore the depth of truth what good will we ever hope to achieve as a species.

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06 Dec 2018 23:42 #330234 by Twigga
Hmm... I find nihilism very difficult too OB1 - but I've not found it synonymous with my exploring of the enlightenment thinking of the 18th century... Not yet. It has cool things in it, like rights for women, and the separation of powers as well as science and more amateur musicians :laugh:
There seems to be an awful lot of focus on learning, and development. The betterment of society for the poorest in society. And a lot of THAT is based on an unflinching attitude towards truth - sought diligently and earnestly - science was a great tool for spreading enlightenment thinking and the benefits of it in it's wake. That's my understanding so far.
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06 Dec 2018 23:48 - 06 Dec 2018 23:51 #330235 by Adder
The problem I find is that often these things only occur in either one form or the other, and so appear almost as a dichotomy of method, when in fact I find them both valid and therefore both useful.

My ideal Temple would have both echo chambers and fight pits, and with other places in between too!! I tend to like structure more then just open slather, because I find it enables focus to explore ones knowledge and ignorance by doing rather then being told. I just think its better to work with people rather then work against them.....

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Last edit: 06 Dec 2018 23:51 by Adder.
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07 Dec 2018 00:08 - 07 Dec 2018 00:17 #330237 by OB1Shinobi

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote:

OB1Shinobi wrote:
Edit: i do like the idea that “Enlightenment” qualifies as a faith, though.


I see it as a faith in the process, not the end result of the process. It is the journey not the destination and if we cant explore the depth of truth what good will we ever hope to achieve as a species.



Thats how i see it too. And i do have faith in the process- i think we NEED the process to be stringnent. I just also think there is a need for more...

Im not an expert and i admit that. Im just a guy with an opinion and here it is:

The thinkers of the Enlightenment were culturally steeped in the morality of a religious society to begin with. Its easy to say “do away with this outdated religious blither” when the subculture that you emerged from has already completely accepted the proposition that life is meaningful and that individuals are entitled to a bit of respect and autonomy. But the conclusion that we are entitled to respect or autonomy is likely the result of earlier religious proposotions that we are made in Gods image, that we are Allahs children or Jehovahs chosen people or that Jesus died for us and that we are all reflections of Brahman etc etc. Take away the inheret association with an underlying divine principle, and we are nothing but meat-bags. Our value as an individual is relative to our power over others or our utility to them. Which means “slaves and masters”, essentially.

Twigga wrote: .... based on an unflinching attitude towards truth - sought diligently and earnestly...



Which has culminated into the rule of “prove it with evidence it or you cant claim it is true”. This is a great rule for building functional knowledge but it leaves us devoid of a justification for ethical behavior thats any more significant than “i just LIKE being nice” or “i dont want to be punished”

Because at the end of the day, we cant PROVE that any of it actually it MATTERS.... so it doesnt matter what sort of person i am, or if i live, or die, or kill. It doesnt matter if people in general are happy or if they suffer. Its all equal except to the degree that the deed or its consequences make ME happy or unhappy, because my immediate pleasure or power is all ive got.

Thats the way i understand it.

"One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond that is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways"
-Lord Russel
Last edit: 07 Dec 2018 00:17 by OB1Shinobi.
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07 Dec 2018 00:25 - 07 Dec 2018 00:30 #330239 by Twigga
I think there is a deep respect for life in enlightenment thinking due to it's inherent difference from death - I can observe a living organism interacting in an ecosystem that is healthy and whole; I cannot do that with a dead organism. I think you may have confused enlightenment thinking with reductionist thinking, possibly, here OB1(?)

As for the "does it matter if I do right things or wrong things?" - the enlightenment thinkers seemed to have a strong sense of justice (rights for women and slaves) that their predecessors lacked. I think this stems from a pro-education attitude - that when I learn, and understand what it is like to have to do without - to have a thing taken from me - and I face that suffering, without seeking revenge (which would be to be distracted by a completely different aspect or issue entirely) - I recognise that it feels bad.

"In a world of abundance, that I am able to create out of this world of scarcity, using my science..." (thinks the enlightenment thinker) "... we no longer need to face this problem of feeling bad!" The enlightenment thinker has faith in their community abilities to overcome the difficulties and adversities facing humanity as a whole. I believe it is a hopeful "faith".
Last edit: 07 Dec 2018 00:30 by Twigga.
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07 Dec 2018 01:08 - 07 Dec 2018 01:55 #330242 by OB1Shinobi

Twigga wrote: I think there is a deep respect for life in enlightenment thinking due to it's inherent difference from death - I can observe a living organism interacting in an ecosystem that is healthy and whole; I cannot do that with a dead organism. I think you may have confused enlightenment thinking with reductionist thinking, possibly, here OB1(?)



I dont think so. Unless “reductionist thinking” means more than i think it means. And I do admit that i havent read either Locke or Hobbes since around high school, which was a very long time ago. Im confident they presented a cogent and essentially altruistic moral system for interacting with society. What i say here is not meant as a critique of that system. If you can use it then go for it! I will respect it as your faith.

But they are long dead and whatever system they may have advocated, and whether or not you and some other subset of modern people might adopt it, culture at large is moving on. Im not referring to their specific opinions on any given subject. I am extrapolating the end result of the general process of relying soley on rational analysis of the observable and provable “facts” as the model that we use to determine our relationship with reality. The legacy of the Enlightenment thinkers is the primacy of rational thinking: i am talking the relationship between nihilism and strict rationality.

As for the "does it matter if I do right things or wrong things?" - the enlightenment thinkers seemed to have a strong sense of justice (rights for women and slaves) that their predecessors lacked. I think this stems from a pro-education attitude - that when I learn, and understand what it is like to have to do without - to have a thing taken from me - and I face that suffering, without seeking revenge (which would be to be distracted by a completely different aspect or issue entirely) - I recognise that it feels bad.

"In a world of abundance, that I am able to create out of this world of scarcity, using my science..." (thinks the enlightenment thinker) "... we no longer need to face this problem of feeling bad!" The enlightenment thinker has faith in their community abilities to overcome the difficulties and adversities facing humanity as a whole. I believe it is a hopeful "faith".



I think thats awesome! Its a wonderful and positive way to view ones place in society. I notice in your example that “feeling bad” is the means used to determine what actions ought to be taken. “Feeling bad” holds roughly an equivilant place to “sin” or “evil” of the religious systems, in the sense that its something to be avoided or reduced. As a consequence of his or her personal magnamity, the Enlightenment thinker in your example will say “with my science i will reduce fhe suffering of my community”, and thats wonderful. But theres no logical reason he or she might not instead conclude “with my science (or power) i will increase my own happiness, even though it cause great suffering to others”. In a world without divine underpinnings (which cannot be proven with replicable evidence) both are equally valid aims, rationally.

Edit

Also, Im not “debating”.
I have no need to make you believe what i believe and im not trying to prove you wrong. Im only saying what seems right/true to me based on my own experiences and frame of reference.

"One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond that is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways"
-Lord Russel
Last edit: 07 Dec 2018 01:55 by OB1Shinobi.
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