Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Was ist Aufklärung?

"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! (Have courage to use your own understanding!)

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless gladly remain immature for life. For the same reasons, it is all too easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians. It is so convenient to be immature! If I have a book to have understanding in place of me, a spiritual adviser to have a conscience for me, a doctor to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon enough take the tiresome job over for me. The guardians who have kindly taken upon themselves the work of supervision will soon see to it that by far the largest part of mankind (including the entire fair sex) should consider the step forward to maturity not only as difficult but also as highly dangerous. Having first infatuated their domesticated animals, and carefully prevented the docile creatures from daring to take a single step without the leading-strings to which they are tied, they next show them the danger which threatens them if they try to walk unaided. Now this danger is not in fact so very great, for they would certainly learn to walk eventually after a few falls. But an example of this kind is intimidating, and usually frightens them off from further attempts..."

... intro to What Is Enlightenment?, Immanuel Kant

10 comments:

"the" anonymous said...

Looks like normal service is resumed... :)

Nizar said...

...with the same abrupt ends.
haha!

Minah said...

haha.... that's a good one :)

TheHoopoe said...

there is a point ... you gotta see it.
abruptness is not one of it :)

Nizar said...

i know i know... enticement for the reader to seek his own "enlightenment"...

Anonymous said...

"...if it is asked now whether we at present live in an enlightened age, the answer is: No, but we do live in an age of enlightenment. As things are at present, we still have a long way to go before men as a whole can be in a position...of using their own understanding confidently and well in religious matters, without outside guidance. But we do have distinct indications that the way is now being cleared for them to work freely in this direction, and that the obstacles to universal enlightenment, to man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity, are gradually becoming fewer."

so when does history end?

p.s. you're lovin it :)

TheHoopoe said...

"Thus it is difficult for each separate individual to work his way out of the immaturity which has become almost second nature to him. He has even grown fond of it and is really incapable for the time being of using his own understanding, because he was never allowed to make the attempt. Dogmas and formulas, those mechanical instruments for rational use (or rather misuse) of his natural endowments, are the ball and chain of his permanent immaturity. And if anyone did throw them off, he would still be uncertain about jumping over even the narrowest of trenches, for he would be unaccustomed to free movement of this kind. Thus only a few, by cultivating their own minds, have succeeded in freeing themselves from immaturity and in continuing boldly on their way...

For enlightenment of this kind, all that is needed is freedom. And the freedom in question is the most innocuous form of all freedom to make public use of one's reason in all matters...

But which sort of restriction prevents enlightenment, and which, instead of hindering it, can actually promote it ? I reply: The public use of man's reason must always be free, and it alone can
bring about enlightenment among men; the private use of reason may quite often be very narrowly restricted, however, without undue hindrance to the progress of enlightenment. But by the public use of one's own reason I mean that use which anyone may make of it as a man of learning addressing the entire reading public. What I term the private use of reason is that which a person may make of it in a particular civil post or office with which he is entrusted."

And when does history end? I am writing a paper on it for class next week..

So, are you a subscriber of Kantian modernism or postmodernism of Nietzsche (which I presented in class this week)? Or maybe a deconstructionist in the line of Derrida?

And yes ... I am lurving it :)

Nizar said...

that was an entry in its own. bravo.

Anonymous said...

perhaps...it might be the case that the end of history begins with Cartesian dualism (resonating in Kant) - overbearing and rabid with the urge to dichotomize - being put in its proper place? quizás, quizás, quizás...

relating to geertz post...'embodiment' is THE buzz-word. was just venturing into this hermeneutic universe when melbourne ended, abrupt. fun and seemed to me pregnant with intellectual promise esp for 'authentic' islamic studies. if you're going this way, saba mahmood, thomas csordas, butler, foucault, olivier roy, et al. have nice things to say.

also: Joachim Matthes, “Religion in the Social Sciences: A Socio-Epistemological Critique”, Akademika, 56 (2000)

will be tuned in for more juicy excerpts. i should subscribe to sms alerts or something. thankyouverynice :)

TheHoopoe said...

anonymous,

why do you think i am doing a course on "Islam & the Politics of Affect"? and i am familiar with those scholars as part of my text... urrgh!

the whole theme of "affect" is the concept of emotion etc being embodied. so, embodiment is the buzz word for me. as long as it is embodied, i devour it.

needless to say, there are things which are present yet are not embodied... but that is for another semester :)