Few new truths have ever won their way against the resistance of established ideas save by being overstated. — Isaiah Berlin
The very desire for guarantees that our values are eternal and secure in some objective heaven is perhaps only a craving for the certainties of childhood or the absolute values of our primitive past. — Isaiah Berlin
Our world is in a state of pregnant perpetuation over the incessant need for information. Turning on our televisions demonstrate this quite clearly. Within a 2-minute span there are commercials telling us what we lack, there are advertisements numbing us to war-torn countries and bloated babies, there are pictures after pictures subconsciously brainwashing us to believe we need to feed the consumer within. This new era has and is being called the Information Age. It seems we depend on information to tell us what to believe, to inform us of what we lack, to direct us in our life goals. The information age has become another name for irresponsible binge thinking. It seems we have become zombies to our pre-fabricated environments. We easily accept rather than question.
We sign-on-the-dotted-line without knowing what we’re committing ourselves to. Some or most of this brain-numbing slavery is do to the Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment was good in that it inspired a resurrection in the art of questioning. I think where the Enlightenment has failed us is that it has now empowered us with the ability (yet with an apparent unawareness) to create information into a pantheon of deities. Even within religions across the board, this seems to be taking place. We depend upon the dissemination of ancient information to fully inform us in the now. To be clear, there is a need for information, for holy writ, even if only to challenge it. The issue is when followers of any religion transform their information into a deity that becomes the leader or structure to measure the validity of another’s life.
The Enlightenment has assisted in this movement by empowering people with the desire and capability to transform information not only into a rubric but into a messiah. Rather than seeking the messiah beyond the messiah, we have accepted the first construct as the real one. Much like the Matrix.
Yet, there is also the apparent flip-side of this dichotomy as well, some people are starting to question.
Some people aren’t okay with the hidden undergrowth of indoctrination. Some people have seen the real wizard behind the curtain. They are people of the counter-enlightenment. This was inspired by Isaiah Berlin who saw that we needed to rescue beauty. We needed to free ambiguity from its cage. That we had a responsibility to restore the need for mystery.
The counter-enlightenment is about reduction.
Reducing our answers, dethroning them and finding God beyond them.
This new counter-enlightenment denies that words alone have power and re-invites mystery to return from exile to speak to us. To teach us. To inform us of what we have been missing. The counter-enlightenment* is an all-inclusive open movement that invites any and all people, from all religions, from all spaces to come and sit and rest in silence. Rest in the reality that God wasn’t in the storm, or the lightning, or the earthquake, but that God himself was in the silence**. This is where we want to be in the silence. Where do you want to be?
*The hope is to create a real-time counter-enlightenment movement. Anyone interested, contact me.
** Rabbinic Scholars translate this story to mean that God wasn’t just in the silence, but that his voice was the silence itself.