Sunday, December 13, 2009

enlightenment 2.0

Recently added to this thing is a side gadget (as they are called) of what I am currently reading. Figured what the hell: always reading something and it typically informs these thoughts.


It is interesting how books' content can bleed into each other in succession in unexpected or unforeseen ways. A previous read ArtScience by David Edwards as bled into the current read Joseph Beuys: The Reader in, as it is thought about now in a way that should not be too surprising, but sparked the following thought:

There are ways to describe the category of a time period as what we now know as Modern as the resulting compartmentalization of the various facets of human intelligence. Meaning the separation of science, art, philosophy, etc. Stemming from the Romantic period and I would think the Enlightenment, the widening of banks of knowledge, the expansion of insights was almost too much to take in on its own and just filling up the well of knowledge was in itself a arduous undertaking. It would have been too much to handle trying to figure out how these various avenues of human intellect fit together to contribute a harmonious and more well rounded images of our species capacity to perceive our own realities and collective reality.

This ground work of compartmentalization created habits that have kept us from tying some of these incredible advancements and achievements together in a way which could very well uplift the nature of such achievements. The aestheticizing science in a way to make it more accessible to a greater number of people, and visa versa. We are seeing more and more cross-disciplinary institutions, but perhaps not enough. Specialization is like a link in a chain gang. Things are tied together only in so far that they are part of a whole but not able to flourish or advance through a chance to mingle fully.

To figure out what the intellectual endeavors of our ancestors is meant to accomplish today, it may be interesting if nothing else, to actively pursue the blurring of the boundaries intellectual subjugation. It could be beneficial to allow these ideas to swim in the same waters, to bump into each other and procreate new unexpected ideas to carry us into an Enlightenment 2.0 of sorts.


  1. I'd bet that, before we compartmentalized everything—either for reasons of purposeful exclusion, a desire for superiority, or just plain ignorance—art, science, life, and commerce were all considered the same thing, all coming from the same "base" of knowledge that we used when we needed to answer our observations of cause-and-effect.

  2. Annotated Margins: I think that you make a really important point, which could mean that as things come full circle, as is the rhythmic coarse of nature, reaffirmations of some kind of primal use of collective knowledge will unveil aspects of a harmonious convergence we have somehow abandoned along the way as populations grew with knowledge gained from our observations. The idea as "art" is only a few centuries old, decorating a pot or basket either had spiritual significance or was simply decor which was seen as a fluid integration of everyday life. The interconnectedness of our knowledge reflected that of every aspect of nature.