Enlightenment

Enlightenment


Ignorance is Often Not Bliss

ignorance September 9th, 2022

There is a saying that passes as folk wisdom: ignorance is bliss. That is, if a person ignores information, facts, and wisdom (and remember that ignore comes from the same root word as ignorance, of course), or is otherwise benighted, misinformed, mentally lazy, or superstitious or biased to an adequate degree, then they will be happier, so it is claimed. Not so! I consider it dangerous, not a route to happiness. What follows are some thoughts I have about what a state of stupidity we humans seem to consistently find ourselves in. It’s a species-wide flaw!

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The Enlightenment Luminary Voltaire on Ancient Philosophy

ancient philosophy April 2nd, 2022

I have spent nearly forty years of my pilgrimage in two or three corners of this world seeking the philosopher’s stone that is called Truth.” With those interesting words, Voltaire, the 18th-century writer, skeptic, and iconoclast begins an interesting essay about ancient philosophers. It is actually the submission to The Philosophical Dictionary, a project of tremendous importance to the Enlightenment, and it is entitled “Precis of Ancient Philosophy.” Alongside Denis Diderot’s and Jean d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia, published starting in 1751, France was churning out some incredible works of Enlightenment nonfiction. Considering this was during the reign of King Louis the whatever and Pope whomever, the use of the pen was actually dangerous business. We should all take our hats off to these men of great courage and vision. And be happy Switzerland existed.

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Socrates, Russell, & Voltaire: Profound Provocateurs

Voltaire February 10th, 2018

In this blog, I compare and contrast three of history’s most trenchant and profound provocateurs: Socrates the Greek, Bertrand Russell the Englishman, and Voltaire the French philosophe. In addition to a bit of historical information, you will find Socrates quotes, quotations by Bertrand Russell, and an array of unvarnished insights by Voltaire.

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