Journal Paper 3 - Essay Example

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It endorses rational exchange and combat fanaticism and violence. After middle ages and obscurantism with religious prejudice, and many…
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Ideology: Enlightens or Enslaves? The ideal of enlightenment activates the supremacy of reason so that society reformation can take place and comprehension can be advanced. It endorses rational exchange and combat fanaticism and violence. After middle ages and obscurantism with religious prejudice, and many social and political restrictions, due also to feudalism, the era of Renaissance came to Europe, and a new era of real social and cultural renaissance started.After it, the era of Enlightenment stared flourishing in Europe, with a real spiritual and social revolution. But this spiritual renaissance and cultural one, as well as social had not been coincidental. Enlightenmentwas actually derived from French Revolution in 1789, and then it spread all over Europe, dominating the mindsets. The leaders of Enlightenment were Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, all great leaders of that time, who were motivated by the French Revolution, thuswas the revolutionary spirit, new theories, and the social and political principles of France, that were established upon it. Then the social and political freedom after the end of monarchy, signalized a new era, for people in Europe, starting from France had found a new way of conceiving things and issues, an era of rationalism or enlightened minds.
Yet, the revolution was political, and so were the motives, and the dominating political power at that time, used actually spirit, and the way of thinking, to impose its own power and control over people. For example the use of religion, and taking advantage from Christian belief, had imposed a sort of spiritual power and domination over people of Europe, which was actually derived from political power. And this was lasting, as long as people were oppressed by monarchy. And this oppression has lasted. Nowadays, not only theuse of guns, such as in French Revolution, but spiritual overpower and domination is a force to be reckoned with. Idea is another means of exploitation and subjugation. In fact, historical evolution in terms of society and financial development has contributed to this changing of attitude towards older beliefs and principle.People really wanted a social and political change, but this went through ideological and mental change of attitudes towards some theories, dogmas and beliefs. All this became a matter of social evolution, but as Marx said, “Society defines conscience”, and this has been proven right to an extent. Immanuel Kent describes enlightenment to be the “freedom to use one’s own intelligence”. If it is believed that ideologies are instruments to gain rule and power over the minds, bodies and emotions of individuals then the observation gets negated by the fact that self-government of individuals leads them to think and do what they want, so how can a state exist in such a space and can it really exert any power over the individual’s thoughts and actions?
But as said above, enlightenmenthas derived indeed from political changes and evolution, with the main theme of new theories and beliefs, deriving from the ideas of freedom, equality and fraternity, and the milestones: democracy and globalization, for which people craved. And there’s no ideology, in the sense of belief and way of thinking, that is not linked to a general dominating social theory and social conception, that is based upon what really interest’s people, and the interest and truly for their sake.
Ideology has at times brought enlightenment to the people but then that ideology has been taken in by the hands of powerful and politically inclined people. It is than when these people, who are selfish in their interests, start to use and abuse the very ideas that brought them into a position of responsibility. A belief or conception may be a kind of social or spiritual weakness, which is actually used, against masses to manipulate those (Christopher Hedges, 2010).It has been seen that the elite never caters to the needs of the masses or the ordinary people. The ideas always come from the bourgeoisie class. So even if the intentions in the beginning are to free the minds and souls of people, too soon the elite take the ideas in hand. Than they use their political and social power and indulge their whims. The ideas become the weapon of the politicians and the people become their targets.
Hedges, Christopher .The Death of the Liberal Class .Newyork: Nation Books, 2010. Read More
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