• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What were the main characteristics of the Enlightenment?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Date 24.11.2000 Course title: Sociology Surname: Manesi Forename: Sofia Course code: SO 300 Essay No1 Essay title: What were the main characteristics of the Enlightenment? This essay is going to discuss the main characteristics of the most important event that took place during the 18th century, Enlightenment (1715 - 1799). However, before my analysis of its main characteristics begins, it would be helpful making a small review of how things were in society before the start of this movement. Until the 18th century, just before the Enlightenment era started, people's knowledge was really limited. The only information they had about world nature and society, human creation and about people's place, duties and destiny in the world, was from what the Christian Church was popularising through the Bible and many other religious scripts. The Bible and the several religious scripts were transmitted in religious institutes, colleges, schools, and churches. Obviously, the Christendom in combination to the monarchs was the ruler of the epoch. People strictly leant on tradition, and had total faith in religion. The clergy had managed to make them believe that there was no way of improvement and that they should blindly trust the Church. Consequently, commonalty could not understand the ideas and the expectations for any different in the future. ...read more.

Middle

They paid more attention in many different kinds of individual necessities like power, happiness, pleasure and security where each one of these requirements were creating different societies depending on individual's choices. A representative supporter of individualism is Jean Jacques Rousseau. He fought the contract theorists who supported the notion that individuals were the consequence of society. Rousseau on the other hand supported the idea that the basic elements of human nature were rather the product of society. John Stuart Lock also supported this idea, as he believed in the freedom of the human being and in its right to live, to have personal freedom and have its own property. Progress Enlightenment was mainly an idea of progress, which means those fields of nature and society that concerned people could become better by the use of science and reason. That way, the world would be forever in a continuous increasing level of happiness and well being. Many theorists tried to explain the deeper meaning of progress; they therefore divided it in two parts, that of reason and of science. Kant, in his book "Critique of Pure Reason" explained how he understood reason; he viewed it as both the subject and the object of the Critique. He also expressed some questions such as, "what are the conditions of our knowledge through which modern natural science is possible?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Through every legacy, change has both negative and positive results, winners and losers, as it also disposes of as well as creates problems. In the case of the Enlightenment the winners were the 3rd Estate who gained power and the losers were the Nobility and the Clergy whose power was dissolved. As far as the problems were concerned it threw away many problems as prejudice and inactivity was replaced by scientific research and rationalism. However, modernity brought new responsibilities and fresh challenges and it was not known if people would be able to deal with these new responsibilities or if they were going to reap the benefits by using their power in the right way. It is obvious in the above essay that Enlightenment made an important try to bring equality to the whole community, by challenging the power that was collected in the hands of the minority. People found it difficult to accept progress and the idea of change was really frightening for them. In contrast to nowadays, were people take progress for granted and at the same time people have started losing their ultimate values. Modernity is just a movement, which will slowly end to its starting point. 'Our civilisation destines us to realise more clearly these struggles again after our eyes have been blinded for thousand years - blinded by the allegedly or presumably orientation towards the grandiose moral favour of Christian ethics. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Buddhism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Buddhism essays

  1. Summarise and discuss the origin and development of Mahayana Buddhism.

    Therefore, they are nothing but conventional reality, and do not ultimately exist: 19 "From the conventional perspective, the Great Beings and heavenly Buddhas are those who have heroically striven to be close to, or attained to, Buddhahood. From the ultimate perspective, they are the symbolic forms in which the `minds' of empty `beings' perceive the Dharma-body, the all-compassing totality..."

  2. The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in the Western world

    Galileo treated the planets as if they were like earthly bodies. He thought about their movement as being governed by the same laws that govern the physical objects we can handle. Galileo's theories started from simple axioms, or basic statements, about the laws governing matter.

  1. Why were the topics of human nature and morality so important in the enlightened ...

    We search to diminish the pain and increase the pleasure for the greatest number. Also basing himself on reason, Bentham refuses to maintain laws and legislations that are rooted in traditions or other customs. His approach appears to drift further away from religion as his principles go against it: "the

  2. Comparison between Christianity and Buddhism

    (Pratt 1993:248) This is the big difference to Buddhism. Buddhists are longing for enlightenment within themselves, whereas Christians put all their faith in Christ. Another significant aspect that has to be considered when comparing these two religions are the executed ritual practices through which believers want to achieve their spiritual goals.

  1. Buddhism: The Concept of Dukkha

    Humans suffer because they fail to see the transience of the objects around them and thus, in their ignorance, begin to form worldly connections which are broken, sooner or later, causing suffering. Another common factor that is related to transience is change.

  2. The Eighteenth century saw a radical change in the way the church and state ...

    Mendelssohn had chosen his own path "I hoped to refute the contempt in which the Jews are held not through polemics but through virtue.8" Mendelssohn's tolerance allowed him to build bridges between his Jewish philosophy and Christianity. Yet he, a "Torah true" 9Jew, became the object of considerable resentment from traditional Jews because he translated the Torah into German.

  1. Religion is both a problemwhere its structures of dominance have oppressed women, as ...

    However, as time passed, women participated as religious sister (nuns) and their status and role in society was uplifted. The role of women in Christianity then became active and liberal. Women were then able to recognize their own role and status in Christian society.

  2. Reality, Morality, and the Afterlife: A Comparison of Christian and Bhuddist Thought

    Rather, the Christian's worldview should be captive to that which is according the revelation of Christ. The Buddhist Concept of Reality The Buddhist concept of reality is best understood through the three Buddhist doctrines of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self (Fisher 151).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work