Out of these three revolutions: science, enlightenment and politics, which is most important to your world?

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herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In order to offer a different perspective to this great question I would argue that, from a personal point of view, "my world" is greatly grateful to the influence of the Enlightenment, which occurs during the late 17th century and in the 18th century.

The Enlightenment corresponds to an epoch in which individuals finally begin to think for themselves. If you think about it, it takes a LOT of courage to part ways with traditions and systems of belief that your entire ancestry has been raised to believe. To question authority, to inquire beyond the limits that are set by a group within society, and to challenge the status quo are actions that require a strong personal conviction that nothing and nobody can stand in your way on your quest for knowledge.

It is during the "Age of Reason", as Thomas Paine names it in his treaty The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology, that names that are still relevant to this day begin to resonate. Isaac Newton proposes that it is not  a combination of spiritual forces, but the very real laws of gravity and motion what set the world as we know it. Montesquieu, Locke, and Rousseau stand up for the rights of all individuals, rather than of a selected few. Montesquieu even proposes the separation of one government into equally-balanced powers. Even more interestingly, from a historical point of view, these are the years when Yale University is founded as a reaction to Harvard's rejection of old Calvinist ideas, only to see Yale also moving forward to a more modern view of religion.Yet, these are minimal facts compared to the huge impact that this period of time effects in the entire civilized world.

However, I hold a more important reason behind my gratefulness to the influence of the Enlightenment: It is because, during this time, the founding fathers of the United States of America find the inspiration, the logic, and the rationale that they need to take the destiny of the colonies into their own hands and form a country that will eventually become a world power.

Aside from my own sense of patriotism and my deeply-rooted American pride, the thought of so many countries becoming inspired to be better thinkers and leaders-rather than followers- is a refreshing thought that brings hope: One can create and build a better world when the proper mentality is in place. Hopefully the Enlightenment will not limit itself to the 17th and 18th centuries. Let's pray another huge period of deep intellectual motivation permeates the world again in the near future.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I assume that "politics" means the American Revolution.

Of these three, I would argue that the Scientific Revolution has the greatest impact on my life.  There are two reasons for this.

First, the Scientific Revolution came before the others and had some degree of influence on each.  The Scientific Revolution is generally said to have started in the 1500s.  The ideas and modes of thought that came with it had a great deal to do with the rise of the Enlightenment.  The Enlightenment, in turn, helped to cause the American Revolution.

Second, the Scientific Revolution laid the foundation for our modern, technological society.  It had a great impact on technology, setting in motion the process that has given us the things that we use every day such as electric lights and computers.

For these reasons, I would argue that the Scientific Revolution was the most important.


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