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Philosophy: Have We Achieved Enlightenment? Essay

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Updated: Oct 4th, 2021


This paper examines the movement of enlightenment and then whether the existing state of affairs requires a reformation or whether it is adequate. The present state of affairs is examined by analyzing the socio-economic state prevalent in various states and in the conclusion, it has been determined that dew dawn of “enlightenment” is required for the betterment of the common man.

The basic definition of enlightenment is that of a movement thaws started in the 18th century against the traditional doctrine and it was done to enforce intellectualism and philosophy. This movement also resulted in the removal of the power of the then extremely powerful church. As a result of such a movement, the common man became more important and as a result, there was complete restructuring in the order of things. The moral code of behavior was replaced by a doctrine of reason and logic; hence arts and trade greatly flourished during this period.

If the order of the world of today’s was observed, it could be seen that though we live in a democratic system in which we have the right of choice more than ever- yet we are still bound as we were during the era of the church in certain ways. When certain nations are attacked by others without the consent of the entire world, the law of supremacy comes into play. The new world order can be perfectly explained by the neo-colonial system in which one nation asserts itself on the rest of the world. The common man though is much more enlightened in a lot of ways than the common man was ever during the 18th century, yet still faces a lot of exploitation-exploitation which is done in the name of “protection” and sovereignty.

Burdened by a number of taxes amongst many other issues, the common man allows the government a free hand which results in certain unfavorable policies getting implemented. In certain nations, dictatorship still exists. An example of such a nation is that of the isolated one; North Korea, where people cannot dare to voice an unfavorable opinion about the dictator as a result of massive oppression. The common man has lived for decades in such a system and hence, it is way past time that enlightenment was allowed to flourish in the spirit that it was allowed to during the 18th century.

In today’s world, certain establishments with vested interests have taken charge of major economic forces allowing the exploitation of the oppressed. As a result, many African nations, after decades of oppression by the colonial states, continue to face exploitation at the hands of certain companies. Such companies favor the better off and as a result, the divide between the richest and the poorest is on a rise around the world.

More and more people continue to fall below the poverty line while some flourish at their expense. Nations like Pakistan, India, and even the United States have been found on the list of some of the most corrupt nations in the world. The so-called politicians, who are chosen by the people, continue to exploit the people and oppress them while the common man suffers. Debt is taken in the name of development and the funds squandered by these same politicians. In a way, the church has been replaced by many others; the politicians and certain religious clergy who incite hatred against other races.

The world of today is caught in a situation of mass hysteria where the common man suffers as rising fundamentalism has resulted in a number of people dying every day as a result of a certain suicide attack. The situation has become so appalling that it has become something of a norm in a country like Pakistan where such attacks are thought to be a normal situation. And yet, the ruling government continues to remain unscathed while the common man suffers.

Fundamentalism is the new face of the church which used religion as a means to gain power and influence over the common and. In today’s world, in the name of religion, hatred and violence are being taught and as a result, the entire world faces threat from the perverse ideology of a few. While the coffers of such people get filed by the donations of millions, many get killed as a result of their teachings.

Therefore, it can be said that today’s world might have much more enlightened in certain ways but the common man is still not free from the oppression of a few who do so in the name of “development’” and sovereignty. Many suffer as a result of the actions of the rulers who come into the office on the votes of these people and yet continue to act in their own interests.

Therefore, according to me, enlightenment has not been achieved in its true spirit and what is required is that the political and social order be structured by the actions of the common man himself. Greater transparency is required along with a complete breakdown of those “demonic” forces which in the face of their own interests continue to exploit the common man.

Enlightenment might exist somewhat but it is clearly insufficient as long as there is oppression, mass inequality, corruption amongst some of the vices. While one cannot expect these to be eradicated completely it is essential that the common man learn to step up for himself and fend for his own basic rights which are and continue to be exploited.


Bronner, Stephen Eric(2004) Interpreting the Enlightenment: Metaphysics, Critique, and Politics.

Brown, Stuart, (2002). British Philosophy in the Page of Enlightenment.

Buchan, James(2003) Crowded with Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh’s Moment of the Mind.

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