preview

HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE DURING THE REVOLUTION OF THE MIND

Powerful Essays
HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE DURING THE REVOLUTION OF THE MIND

"Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Dare to Know! Have courage to use your own reason!- that is the motto of enlightenment."

-Immanuel Kant, 1784 (1)

From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, a drastically new way of thinking developed in Western Civilization, a way of thinking that has shaped and defined the modern world. This new mode of thought evolved within two movements, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. These movements led Western Civilization to a departure from reverence for traditional authority, from a fatalistic view of the world, and from a blending of the spiritual and the secular, allowing the emergence of the individualistic, scientific, progress-oriented attitude that fuels the Western world today. The thinking of the leaders of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment built upon and revolutionized that of Medieval and classical intellectuals. It introduced a belief that human beings could learn to control and conquer nature, defining their lives in new ways and leaving a fear of the supernatural behind.

Departure from Traditional Authority

The most obvious form in which this new way of thinking deviated from the norm was its rebellion against traditional authority, particularly the powerful authority of the Church. The rebellion against traditional authority, particularly the powerful authority of the Church. The astronomer Nicolaus Co...

... middle of paper ...

...vilization, ed. Perry M. Rogers (Upper Saddle River,

NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997): p. 23-24.

19. Marquis de Condorcet, "The Progress of the Human Mind," in Aspects of Western

Civilization, ed. Perry M. Rogers (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997): p.

25-26.

20. William Harvey, "I Learn and Teach From the Fabric of Nature," from On the

Circulation of the Blood, in Aspects of Western Civilization, ed. Perry M. Rogers

(Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997): p. 20-21.

21. Voltaire, "If God Did Not Exist, He Would Have To Be Invented," in Aspects of

Western Civilization, ed. Perry M. Rogers (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,

1997): p. 35-36.

22. Immanuel Kant, "What Is Enlightenment?" in Aspects of Western Civilization, ed.

Perry M. Rogers (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997): p. 32.
Get Access