Ming the Mechanic:
The Great Enlikenment

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 The Great Enlikenment2004-09-28 21:22
1 comment
by Flemming Funch

Mitch Ratcliffe on "The Great Enlikenment":
At certain times in history, such as during the Great Enlightenment, differences have been sought out and appreciated. Differences of opinion and, especially, departures from the generally accepted wisdom of the age, have been important to the growth of thought, the evolution of society and industry.

Today is the age of the Great Enlikenment, to coin a word. Everything and everyone is lumped into categories in order to make sorting through the vast amount of information we face more manageable. Differences are minimized and undervalued.

The Great Enlikenment is good sometimes, at least it has salutary qualities, in that it makes teaming up with others by identifying a common goal or enemy quite easy. It also makes mass markets viable, because different products and services are lumped together by people of little imagination and, eventually, the differences disappear through competition and consolidation, so that vast amounts of revenue can be funneled through a narrowly defined organization. The Great Enlikenment makes fashion possible, even the "rebels" who redefine fashion, because sooner rather than later, we'll be dressed like the rebels. It makes George W. Bush possible, because when he looks out from a podium, he sees people screened for their agreement with his policies.
Yeah, lumping everything together in dumbed-down simplistic categories can be tempting, and is unfortunately an effective way of controlling the masses. Consolidate it all into an alluring cartoon format, and just ignore anybody who's trying to differentiate things more. We need an antidote.

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1 comment

29 Sep 2004 @ 05:22 by jstarrs : My friend, Yael...
...just finished an extremely well-received thesis on International Human Rights Law, in which she goes over this.
In order to encompass minorities, more & more categories are being found to, as you say, lump people in but to the detriment of the rights of the individual so there are, paradoxically, more individuals ignored by human rights laws!!!  

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