Once upon a time, enlightenment held a lot of promise. I think this “once upon a time” is more to do with youth and naivete than anything else.
No, I don’t mean Enlightenment, though that is dead also.
The thing about enlightenment is that every young person believes that this is an attainable goal, or at least one worth pursuing. This is when nearness to natality, a great leveler, gives the erroneous impression that all men are created equal. They aren’t.
Most of the population should not be allowed to breathe for themselves, much less vote or operate a motor vehicle. They are utterly, utterly intellectually and ethically hopeless; they have the reasoning skills of mustard.
The only reason for the wise and the clever not to form an alliance and ensure that the rest are herded like sheep and not allowed to have too many broken thoughts is that the second largest contingent in the population are the predators (many of them the clever), who go invariably on to be the “elites” in any such pact, eventually to ruthlessly exploit and oppress everyone.
And so, the Hobson’s choice. The only thing better than totalitarianism and a universal protection racket run by sociopathic mobsters—that we can actually have—is idiot rule.
And so it is that broccoli has a soul, hamburgers have “toxins,” the Kardashians are major figures, and “activism” is seen as a social good. In this particular epoch, enlightenment comes in scents like organic sandalwood, and flavors like organic acai, and practices like organic fucking yoga.
You get older and you realize that there was never any hope for enlightenment, and none, as a result, for Enlightenment. And you begin to see that the best thing to do, if you are neither amongst the sheep nor the wolves, is to close your ears, bob your head in agreement with everyone, and go along to get along—because either and any way, the world—and society—are fucked, have always been so, and will always be so.
It’s not anybody’s fault, really. Just the human gene pool.