Enlightenment 2.0: A New Era of Reason to Save Civilization

Something extraordinary happened in Europe at the end of 17th and 18th centuries, known as the diverse intellectual explosion enlightenment swept across the continent.

“Light” in Enlightenment is the Light of Reason – Distant Echo Plato‘s allegory of the cave Where the truth, so bright that it can blind you, can only be reached by the exertion of reason. Philosophers and natural scientists, artists and political scientists, all of them fiercely defended the freedom of an individual to use that cause in the pursuit of a society based on equal rights for all men – without the influence of politics and religion . The idea was an individual’s ticket to intellectual and political freedom.

Certainly, many Enlightenment philosophers today would be considered racists who placed the “civilized” European white man at the top of society. But the main message of the Enlightenment Project was the need to create a global civilization with moral values, shared and universal, dominated by monarchical and ecclesiastical powers. The Enlightenment declared war against religious excesses and blind nationalism. that, we can use.

For example, Adam Smith defended patriotism not only for his country, but as part of the great society of mankind. Immanuel Kant called it “global patriotism”. We can recognize the influence of these ideas on a 20th-century thinker at least compared to Albert Einstein, who often defended the need to abolish international borders. “There is no salvation for civilization and even for mankind except the creation of an international government with security on the basis of law,” Einstein declared in an interview with new York Times In September 1945, just after the end of World War II.

outline of a new enlightenment

21. moving towardsscheduled tribe century, we can revisit these ideas within our own reality. It is a reality where globalization is driven not by the removal of political boundaries, but by easier access to information and new scientific discoveries about our planet and our place in the universe. Given that the United Nations alone cannot maintain order in a highly fragmented world driven by greed and paucity of resources, perhaps it is time to reconsider the ideals of the Enlightenment and propose a new direction for humanity.

But which direction is it? The first step is certainly to move beyond the tribal notion of boundaries. But in the spirit of the Original Enlightenment, which placed logic at its center, a new vision for our future must rest on the science of our time, even if it differs from the traditional mechanistic modes of thought that inspired the Original Enlightenment was.

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I have suggested elsewhere that modern astronomy offers a new vision for humanity, which I called anthropocentrism, This form of human-centered thinking has nothing to do with any imagined superiority of the human species, nor does it believe that we are in any way the center of the universe. (For example, star wars fans criticize humanism as the belief that humans are the apex of the galactic spirit.)

In essence, anthropocentrism is the inverse of Copernicanism, which states that the more we learn about the universe, the less important we become. Copernicanism is the doctrine of human insignificance in the grand scheme of things. Humanism states the opposite. Its central goal is to inspire humanity to discover and embrace a new moral imperative. As we scan the skies in search of other Earth-like planets – using vehicles like the Sensational Kepler Satellite Who has found thousands of exoplanets – and as we better understand the history of life on Earth, we learn something new and essential about our planet, the nature of life, and who we are.

In fact, anthropocentrism is closely related to biocentrism, which defends the central importance of life in the universe, and in particular, on this planet. The link is inevitable, given that we are deeply co-dependent with all other forms of life on the planet, and that all forms of life are deeply co-dependent with the planet as a whole. There is a delicate systemic balance based on feedback loops that govern the dynamics between the planet and life, and we constantly attack it. Unless we adopt a new life-centered approach, our civilizational project will not be sustainable. Therefore, anthropocentrism is a branch of biocentrism that focuses on what we can do as a species to guarantee our collective future.

There is no place like home

Even if there are other planets or moons with Earth-like properties — sharing the same mass, liquid water, and oxygen-rich atmosphere — our planet and its geophysical properties are unique, with its large moons, its tectonic plates, its dense atmosphere, and magnetic poles. . These qualities are the key ingredients for success in life here. They have provided an environment that is stable throughout life, and provides protection from harmful cosmic radiation. On this favorable background the flourishing single-celled bacteria evolved into multicellular organisms, complex multicellular organisms and, finally, intelligent beings.

Each of these transitional phases was fragile and impossible, and this process is tied to the planet. Some steps changed the Earth itself, such as the oxygenation of the early Earth’s atmosphere by photosynthetic bacteria. We have learned that if there is complex life elsewhere, it will be rare – and far away from us. For all practical purposes, we are alone. And we matter as a species, because we are so rare.

Enlightenment philosophers saw intelligent, complex life as a given in other worlds. Voltaire’s micromegas A great and fun example of this notion is exploring human pride from the perspective of superhuman aliens. But our present attitude towards life should be different. A complex living being capable of contemplating its existence must also celebrate and honor its existence. And since we’re only here because Earth allows us to – no teleology implied here, only a reference to dynamic geophysical conditions – we must also celebrate our planet as being unique. Human reason and curiosity, which allow us to understand our place in the universe, must lead us to a new moral imperative, universal in its values: the equality of all beings, and the life and preservation of this planet.

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