Tuesday, March 6, 2012


In the 18th century, philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote an essay on the question "What is Enlightenment?". He said “Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another.! [dare to know] "Have courage to use your own understanding!"--that is the motto of enlightenment.”

See his essay in entirety here: 

In Jr. high I had an enlightened, catty teacher who was constantly calling me immature because I refused to pay attention to her algebraic indoctrinations. "You can't sit there and expect me to believe in your imaginary numbers!"I would say. Who knew this was an enlightened response? I was simply trying to shrug off the guidance of my math master in an attempt to gain my own understanding of the numeric world. OK, I lie. I was just lazy, but this does make me think. What is the point of learning all about math and science if you never ask yourself what it all means for you? Furthermore, if one never expands the knowledge beyond ones self, what have they contributed to this interconnected world?

I think that as a society becomes more knowledgeable, more individuals have the potential to become enlightened. There are more fountains of knowledge to draw from. So why do we live in an age of the world wide web where there is a buffet of free information but people still remain in the dark about so many things?  I think, for one, some people fear knowledge, because having more of it makes you more accountable. You can't just walk down the street and watch a man choke to death as you do nothing when you knew how to save him. Most of society would expect you to act on your knowledge. Early on in my youth I made the mistake of learning how to make cinnamon rolls, and guess who got suckered into whipping up a batch every time gamma came to visit? ME! So I say no thank you to learning how to cook, or if I do I keep it to my selfish little self. So with that I invite you to watch this clip about the development of the French encyclopedia. I will warn you though. It might spark an interest inside you to gallivant around trying to learn about things. If this happens, just remind yourself, the more people know you don't know, the less they will ask you to do stuff.

Now the most dangerous thing you can ever get out clips like these, is learning how to learn. I made this mistake in college. Once I started learning stuff on my own other students in my classes started asking me questions which totally ate into my video game time. Then I learned how to give them wrong answers and they left me alone. But then I felt guilty about it. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't hide your corn chips under a bushel, put them on a candlestick for all the world to enjoy.

 A special thanks goes out to the worlds most enlightened guest Kevin Burntson, and to all who have contributed in one way or another to our journey to enlightenment. For more Professor Blastoff extras go to professorblastoff.com and for more info on me aaronburrellcomedy.com where you can link to backlogged blogs and more!

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