Disclaimer: I am not recommending anything literally reminicscent of the following idea; this is an expression, and exploration of where we are, who we are, who we can be, and what yours truly idealises as virtuous. Don’t read this politically/literally, but symbolically/literarily. This is more an excercise in psychoanalysis than any real idea I have.
A series of events, sequenced in an order that we construe as the linear progression of time. A sequence of events, called a timeline, that pertains to the events of humanity. We want to characterise the temporal progression of events of humanity in certain undercurrents; are we going in a particular direction?
Forget about the direction of humanity genera. What about individual units; you, me, and so on. Mentioned is a suggestion of putting an underlying theme to human history. What of our own lives?
There are many aims one can have in life, many directions and motivations. The most fundamental distinction is this; one can live with motivations given by sentiment and conditioned preference; the given way to live; or, one can live guided by the faculty of reason, deciding which is the best possible way to live.
Much can be said for a life that is driven by sentiment and conditioning. Life goes on, one day, after another, judged by how happy one is, how much pleasure one recieves and their mindset for the future; life is judged by quantifying.
What of reason? The life of reason is not judged so much by what is achieved, what is pleasured. Reason is pursued as an ends in itself. The ideal life is the contemplative one, its nice to have a full understanding of the world, let me know if you have one; let me know if you have derived axioms of human behaviour, a model of semantics and pragmatics in the performances of utterances and communicative acts. Tell me your ontology, your epistemological foundations, your appreciation of the verstehen, your account of the human condition and its trajectory, what about the laws of thought and its relation to the laws which construe our reality, apodictic principles which fit our universe and explain much about it. Do you have any of those things?
We don’t need to start off with big, complex questions, but atomic and direct ones with address a single issue. Start with definitions, elucidate your thesis and then do your proof.
There was a time when reason began to seep through tradition. The Catholic Church had St. Anselm proclaim ‘Fides Quorum Intellectum’: where faith directs rational inquiry.
Descartes’ through several points, showed us that reason was a force to be reckoned with, but in a distinct way: reason is a force independent from tradition/faith.
The great rationalists came and blew us over with their metaphysical and logical fireworks, Leibniz showed us Monads, Spinoza showed us there was no evil, Mendelsson goes back to Platonic intuition.
The age of reason came, this thing called reason began to set the program for humanity, questions such as:
i. Rule of the powerful
ii. Political economy
iii. How to live a good life
iv. True knowledge and its justification
v. Understanding reality
vi. Understanding beauty
Although we were not in enlightened times we were in the age of enlightenment. Reason was a shining beacon on our dark land of irreason and dogma. But what happened?
Somehow, the enlightenment failed. I’m not sure how, or why. My best-fit explanation comes from Weber; after the capitalist political economy was formed, a new type of thinking became predominant in the increasingly capitalist society; namely, instrumental rationality which lead to the parasitic and life-draining bureaucratic management that dominates our lives today as an end in itself.
What if heroes, greater than the Greeks, greater than contemporary characters, greater than say, the Justice League, the X-men or the Seven Dragons of Heaven (x/1999). Heroes who are tragically flawed, but it is only in virtue of their flaws that they are great.
They will be a group; a fellowship: let me introduce you to the members:
i. Sophos – her head lies in the transcendent world, often disjoined from her own body.
ii. Tracker – he is an information wizard; he knows what is going on, where it is happening, how to get there. Tracker applies most of the abstract principles of the other members but has his own end of information management, Tracker is embracing of technology but reflexive of its consequences.
iii. Fixer – in conjunction with Tracker, he is a designer of technological implementations to practical problems. Fixer also uses the techniques of the other members, but his focus is on helping others, not just in practical terms, but also the members in and of themselves.
iv. Cleric – A person who does not fully adhere to the enlightenment values as construed as non-traditional. Cleric is traditional, but rational. As a member and envoy to the dogmatics, he represents the willingness to change. Cleric is unreliable to the project of the enlightenment’s success, but without him, the project would not be open and available to all. Cleric represents that the vanguard is non-partisan