The monumental changes of The Enlightenment were about more than liberty and justice. For many, in myriad ways, day-to-day life was getting vastly easier and safer as the technologies and knowledge at our disposal grew and grew.
Humanity Is Beautiful
Read excerpts from a living draft of Peter's upcoming book Humanity Is Beautiful: A New Story For A World On Fire.14 Posts
Baruch Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Leibniz, Rousseau, Voltaire, and many others wrote some of the early chapters of The Story of Progress.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century C.E., the Western world fell into what many Enlightenment-era historians and philosophers – and many people to this day – pejoratively referred to as the “Dark Ages.”
We are the ones who will create Heaven from this Hell we sprouted from.
The only way forward is to finally accept how truly ugly, reckless, and depraved we have become and to return to how we were before when we were wise, good, and whole. This is one of our favorite stories about ourselves today.
Many of my mental models are those shared with others. Together, they form what we call “culture.”
It is utter chaos all around us. Our brains are by necessity simplifiers, pattern seekers, and meaning makers. We use mental models to cut through the noise and give shape to the chaos.
It is not just outrage, despair, and hatred of others. It is not just fear. It is self-loathing. We are disgusted by ourselves.
Likely more than any other time in our history, humans believe our species is in decline, perhaps even careening swiftly, hopelessly toward our very demise.
Underneath all outrage, despair, hatred, cynicism, and apathy is just fear. We fear we are losing something essential, something that defines us, something that makes life worth living.
Anger, sadness, and disgust curdle into outrage, despair, and hatred only when they trigger an existential crisis, only when we are convinced our very identity is at stake.
Even amidst our profound division, we often share the same core emotions: outrage, despair, hatred. The reasons are different, but the feelings and judgments are strikingly similar.