April 23: selbstdenken, vernunft, verstand in brexit britain

According to Immanuel Kant, the Enlightenment was the time for people to take responsibility for themselves. Selbstdenken, he called it; thinking for yourself. By the late eighteenth century humanity had grown up. It no longer needed to have decisions taken for it, by the Church or the State or the King. It was no longer a child. Man just needed to use his own understanding (Verstand) of things. It was as if his brain had evolved to reach the required size. He didn’t need experts to tell him what was what. He didn’t even need special analytical skills (Vernunft) to work stuff out. Humanity had evolved.
What went wrong? Did we de-evolve? We got the European referendum and proved ourselves unable to selbstdenken. In Turkey it was the same thing. The Turkeys voted for Christmas. There was also the Trump thing.
People are free to vote how they want. Maybe Brexit is the best idea. The issue isn’t that. The issue is that society doesn’t help us. It robs us of our ability to achieve decent agency. Is it the Press that makes it impossible for us to think straight? Is it fake news? Is it social media that mixes us all up? Mundigkeit (Maturity) is the key Enlightenment image used by Kant. Mankind emerges from the dark and steps into the light The way we allow the modern world to work us is as if we are being ushered back into the shadows.


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