laatste zinnen (88)

door johan_velter


It remains as true today as it was in the eighteenth century : the world needs more light than it has, not less; the cure for the shortcomings of enlightened thought lies not in obscurantism but in further enlightenment.

Our recognition of human irrationality, self-centeredness, stupidity beyond the philosophes’ most pessimistic appraisals demands not surrender to such forces, but battle against them.

In the light of recent history and today’s headlines, this may appear to be a truly utopian prescription. It will perhaps appear less quixotic if we recall that there was a time when tough-minded men looked to the young republic in America, saw there with delight the program of the philosophes in practice, and found themselves convinced that the Enlightenment had been a success.

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment : an interpretation II : The science of freedom, 1977 (c 1969)