Tuesday, February 19, 2008


JZ argues…

The Enlightenment was a sham that blinded people to their true human nature. The overall narrative and reason why we use the term Enlightenment tends to be this positive story of the European revolution against stagnant tradition and superstition. According to this story, Europeans suffered under the centralized authorities of the monarchy and the Catholic Church for centuries. These two authorities bolstered their power by creating an ethos of superstitious beliefs in which peasants were told that disciplined and orderly behavior would eventually benefit them in gaining the reward of the after life. Of course, this allowed the monarch and the Church to collect high taxes, maintain a strict hierarchy, and force the peasants into long and difficult work that benefited landowners. Then, along came the Enlightenment thinkers. Giants like Immanuel Kant, Descartes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Baron de Montesqieu, and Voltaire all had their differences. But, they commonly argued that human reason could discover Truth through individual study of the world. This meant that the limitations and superstitions of the monarch and Catholic Church were no longer necessary. Rather, the individual should free himself of tradition and authority to discover truth through the rational study of the world. This would lead to individual and societal progress.

However, this new Rationality was just as imprisoning as the old superstitions of the Catholic Church. Humans are not just rational but are also emotional beings that are driven by deep passions and intuitions. The Enlightenment tried to control these deep desires to produce the rational being. In essence, the Enlightenment created the human robot who was cut in half and not allowed to access his emotions and intuitions as a source of truth. Romantics showed that humans are driven by deep desires of love, friendship, community, ethnic heritage, and mystery of existence. This last issue was the most important and was titled the Sublime by the Romantics. The Sublime is that sense of utter wonder in the face of what reason cannot explain about life.

The best example of the Romantic revolution was the radical phase of the French Revolution. In the first phase, the Enlightenment reigned with the desire to create a parliament and democratic voting. However, the second phase unleashed deep seated angers and passions that were directed at the abuses of the upper class. Also, the darker fears of the French citizen was released as the fear of the foreign invasions of the Austrians, Prussians, and Spanish came home to roost. Romantics saw emotions and institutions as the foundation to human decision making.

This also led to the greater unifying factor of people to rebel against oppressors to gain their independence. The revolutions of 1848 in France and Germany were based upon people’s unification around a central ethnic heritage or the emotional desire to end economic oppression. People would not act based upon idealistic principles of democracy. But they would respond to the emotional slogans of ethnic traditions and oppression. This also helped in the national movements to establish their own communities in Greece, Italy, and Mexico.

The Enlightenment was simply another way to try to control people. It appeared to be freer because it gave people the ability to make their own individual rational choices. But, it in essence, cut human nature into an object. And, then it influenced people to try to neglect their most important side-The Romantic Emotional Side-the one the ladies like.


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JFF said...

The Enlightenment, although not perfect, was still a positive event, and it did help people to move beyond the traditions of Europe. Although Romanticism was an important step in that it allowed people to express emotions and embrace culture and intuition, the Enlightenment was the original method of freeing the self from the whole, and was not simply a way of creating the “human robot.” People were able to formulate their own opinions and express them through discussion and the voting process. People could choose to remain part of past traditions, but they could also evaluate the world in a purely scientific, mechanical sense. There was no law of the Enlightenment that people could not express wonderment with nature or express any emotion. If people did choose to abandon emotions in favor of pure logic, that was not a downside since it could only mean that they would make better decisions and would be unswayed by personal feelings. You make the point that “the second phase unleashed deep seated angers and passions that were directed at the abuses of the upper class.” This is exactly the point; while rational Enlightenment thought wanted only distribution of power and basic rights, Romanticism largely abandoned logic in favor of emotion and intuition.

Just because Romanticism did increase the amount of rebellion does not mean it was in any way superior to rationalism. While there is some value in having emotion, there is more value in learning to evaluate the causes of what exists. For example, a Romantic thinker would believe that a tree slanted because of the sublime state of nature, whereas an Enlightenment thinker would realize that the soil conditions and gravity had acted on the tree and caused it to grow on a slant. A Romantic thinker would believe, as you said yourself, that global warming is a result of humyns trying to control nature, whereas an Enlightenment thinker would realize that humyns could control nature if they could also regulate their pollution and carbon emissions. The Romantic mindset, therefore, while sometimes provoking rebellion on raw emotion, also encouraged people to simply accept happenings because of the state of nature. The Enlightenment philosophy by its very nature caused individuals to make rational decisions that benefitted themselves and others.
I’ll respond when someone else posts.

-Jan F-F
Period 4

sora the hedgehog said...

Gotta agree with you JZ. Honestly, after hearing benevolent this and natural laws that in Mr. Caldwell's class, it's not only getting tiring, but it also, as you say, "blinded people to their true human nature." The Enlightenment does make people like machines, especially Deists. They believed that by studying natural laws and doing good, they will go to heaven. They also believed that studying naturl laws would bring them closer to perfection because these laws are perfect and were created by a "perfect and benevolent" God. Thus, they study and apply these laws all day. When they're not doing so,they try to do good via satire or inventions *cough* Franklin *cough*. Maybe some aspects of the Enlightenment are good, but that's just a mask covering up what's behind it. There are two things that I have to disagree with,though.

Obviously people do have feelings. But to react based upon them is not always a good thing. This is where the Enlightenment comes in. I know you said that it's better to act then learn than to be confused by overwhelming knowledge when you were Devil's advocate, but that's not always a good thing. You need to think before you act, especially when emotions come into play. One little example is jumping off the top of Loyola hall. Horrible and stupid idea. I don't know about any other bloggers but I would rather think "You know what, I'm probably going to break a lot of bones doing this" and drop something off the ledge to see what happens before I do so than jump right off head first, break my skull, and, if I'm not dead, think "That was a horrible and stupid idea. I broke a lot of bones doing that. I'll never do it again." Another example is murder. Ever heard of being blinded by love or hate? Say Zero were to come and kill a family member. Don't worry, not going to happen. But say he did. You're probably going to be angry. Gut feeling cries out "Revenge! Revenge!" If you act upon that feeling and kill Zero (boy aren't some of you guys happy), not only are you responsible for his death, but chances are, you're going to have to suffer death penalty instead of him. Obviously, in a situation like that, you don't have time to think. Chances are, you're dead. But if somehow time froze, you probably would want to think about you're current situation. Maybe you could knock him out. Maybe you could flee and get help (assuming you could outrun him). Those choices are much better than mudering Zero and getting charged for murder. Moral: acting on your intuition or feelings might not.

The last thing I have to disagree with is the rebellion. Grouping up is always a good thing...unless you're stuck with idiots but that's besides the point. Grouping up based on emotions (i.e. love that leads to marriage) is also a good thing...unless it blinds you and you have no idea what the consequences are of what you did, do, or will do. The rebellions are an example. The rebellions in South America: successful for a little while. The new government they formed made them worse off than they were under Europe and sent them into poverty. All because Bolivarsent them out. Couldn't come to an agreement. Acted on his emotions and sent South America into the poor area we know now it as. We look at Ghandi, good man. Great leader. Also acted on his emotions in order to free India from British control. Led to a horrible future of poverty that we see today. Maybe diplomacy would have worked better? Equal rights? Sound familiar? That's two for Enlightenment, one for Romanticism. I'm not saying that Europe should have stayed in those countries. I think they shouldn't have even been in there to begin with. I just think that they should have thought about the possibilities before they rebelled.

Seems Romanticism isn't as great as you make it. Then again, no belief is without its faults. Still, I can't help thinking that Romanticism was worse than Enlightenment. I agree with Jan completely. The Enlightenment was positive and started a movement towards the better, and emotions do not always lead to rational thought. I also agree with Jan that emotions can cover up rationality, especially with the Global warming example. A Romantic thinker probably wouldn't try to solve global warming unlike an Enlightened thinker.

Quote of the week: "All's fair in love and war, and this is a bit of both."-Ron Weasley Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Christopher Tan, Period 5

sora the hedgehog said...



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sora the hedgehog said...

She's a she...my bad.

kearney asada said...

I disagree with most of what you say, Mr. Zucker, and i will start my blog off by shedding some light on the correct ideas on the issue at hand. First, you made the Englightenment to seem like a controlling and manipulating movement. The thinkers of the Enlightenment had no intention to cut the human down into an object, and by no means were the intentions to cut the human into "a human robot," as you stated. This was actually he opposite of the goals of the Enlightenment. The great mines who promoted the transition to the Enlightenment promoted intellectual growth, thought, wonder, and science. The enlightenment gave a much more realistic view on the world and was a much more rational way about approaching situations. Rather than religious dogma and superstitions, the Enlightenment brought about some creativity and some excitement, as the mind and the body were free to choose what they want. How is freedom of choice and a human's total control of his life making him or her into a robot?

I agree with Jan Flattey Feldman, who also contradicts your absurd comment on robots in the enlightenment. I also like how Jan expands on your statement of the enlightenment restraining the expression of emotions. Jan's right. There is no boundary for people to withold emotions from the world. Where have we learned that? The enlightenment had no stand on emotions, and did not ever say that they had to be kept in. Even if emotions were not emphasized, that means that thought would be based on rational ideas and logic, making the enlightenment a better system than romanticism.

Also, you say that Romanticism was the time in which ethnicities came together and felt comfortable with eachother, which then lead to the independence movements. But if we look at history, havent there been rebellions and such no matter what? Look at Japan. After the arrival of the Jesuits, who were foreigners in Japan, they were eventually expelled because they tested the ethnic values of the Japnese. So are you saying that Romanticism exsisted back then too?

I do agree that Romanticism did have its positive movement, because yes it is true that we do not always think rationally because of our emotional thought before logical thought. Romanticism was correct in that manner, but it by no means tested the positive forces of the Enlightenment. In fact, I see the Romantic era creating more problems and moving backwards, rather than forwards. It was meant to combat the Enlightened ideas, however, the enlightenment was an Age of reason. It based things off of reality and of constant laws. Is that not what we follow and learn today? since when do we base nature off of emotions, and who today only feels safe around the same ethnicity?

Joe Kearney
Period 5

Kevin M. Hernandez Period 4 said...

I disagree with you Mr. Zucker. The Englightenment ideals were in no way "imprisoning" any people; the ideals were simply giving people an option of a new way to live and look at their lives. Like Joe Kearney said, the Enlightenment was not making an effort to make people into robots who could not access their feelings. I believe the Enlightenment gave people an outlet to express their emotions through the statement of their opinions. I agree with Jan when he says that people were not forced into the Enlightenment, and people stil had the choice of following old traditions or trying to find facts and laws in nature. However, I agree with you on the point that Romanticism was benefitial in the uniting of ethnicities and people of communities. Also, even to this day there are some happenings in nature that humans are not sure how they happen, and this can be an example of the beauty of the Sublime. However, who's to say that humans won't be able to understand all of nature in the future if we keep questioning and searching for the truth? In summary, I disagree with you, Mr. Zucker, because the Enlightenment was just an intellectual movement that did not force any person to join up and follow exactly as they were told. people had the free choice to follow whichever traditions they pleased, and therefore, they were not robots who were cut in half and could not access their emotions.

JFF said...


I agree with Chris Tan when he talks about the flaws of pure emotion. Under the beliefs of Romanticism, people needed no logic in their decisions; they merely needed the feeling that they should act in their chosen way. This justified essentially anything that one could feel. As you mentioned yourself, this drive to become one with others of the same ethnicity could be considered a justification of racial purity in the sense of Nazi Germany. After all, if one thought it "felt good" to be in a community with the same race of people, then it WAS good under the standards of the Romantics. I am not saying Hitler was a Romantic, but I am saying there are major flaws with Romanticism.

-Jan F-F
Per 4

trojans07 said...

Mr. Zucker I am going to have to disagree with you because I feel that the Enlightenment did not force people into becoming a human robot. On the other hand the Enlightenment opened up the door for an individualistic mindset and allowed people to break away from the pack. It allowed people to grow intellectually, become more resourceful and have the chance to make decisions for individually. However the Enlightenment also had its downs such as leading to many radical movements and later on rebellions such as the French Revolution.

I agree on the fact that Romanticism brought people together based on ethnical beliefs but I have to disagree on the fact that the Romantic way of looking at matters at hand made anything clearer. On the other hand I feel that it made society take a step back after the Enlightenment. The way people reasoned during this time period was a bit confusing because they believed that everything was explained by saying that it all happened because of the mystery of nature. You yourself mentioned in class that a Romantic philosopher would see global warming as a mystery of nature that was bound to happen, instead of actually accepting the fact that we human beings are the main cause of it.

Overall I feel that the Enlightenment period was more progressive than the Romantic, which leads me to agree with what Joe had to write about. He feels that the Romantic period was backward progress after the Enlightenment which is what I said in the prior paragraphs. I agree with Joe when he mentioned that the Enlightenment period in contrast with Romantic era was a time of reasonable thinking rather than imaginary.

Salvador Valle, Period 5

Bronson said...

Mr. Zucker I would definitely have to disagree with you on this one. The Enlightenment ideals were not “imprisoning” any people. Rather, the ideals were giving people an option of a new way of life and a new outlook at their lives. I would agree with Joe Kearney when he said, “the Enlightenment was not making an effort to make people into robots who could not access their feelings.” I believe the Enlightenment gave people an outlet to express some of their inner emotions through the outward statement of their opinions. I also agree with JFF when he says that people were not forced into the Enlightenment, and people still had the choice of following old traditions or trying to find facts and laws in nature. However, I would firmly have to agree with you that Romanticism was beneficial in the uniting of ethnic communities throughout Europe. Also, as it is present in modern day, there are some happenings in nature that people are not sure how to explain, or how they happen. This can be an example of the beauty of the idea of Sublime. However, I do believe in what KMH said when he posed the question, “Who's to say that humans won't be able to understand all of nature in the future if we keep questioning and searching for the truth?” This perfectly exemplifies the questioning of the meaning of life, which seems to be the butt of religious differences and social disruptions today. In conclusion, I disagree with you Mr. Zucker because the Enlightenment was just an intellectual movement that wasn’t forcing any person to join up and do exactly as they were told. Rather, people had the free choice, which was developed through ethnic communities, to follow whichever traditions they pleased.

Bronson Green
Period 5

K-SWISS said...

Mr. Zucker, the Enlightenment was a time of growth and individuality focused on science and facts, not creating human robots. The thinkers that you have mentioned such as Locke, Descartes, and Rousseau are by no means “human robots.” In fact, they are intellectually distinguished individuals who helped to form different viewpoints on all aspects of life so that the common man will begin to find truth through reason with the help of these intelligent individuals. Yes, the Romanticism movement was focused on emotions and passion, but how could the people of the Enlightenment period connect with their passion when they were previously faced with superstitions that ruled the common man? The only sensible reaction to superstition that has been apart of ones life for so long would be to find hard evidence through science and reason, not to focus on the emotional side of the individual.

Isaac Newton was one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment period. He proved and explained laws of gravity and was extremely influential to modern science until Albert Einstein was born. The modern world would be nothing like it was today if it was not for brilliant men such as Isaac Newton. Also, many of the founding fathers were influenced by the Enlightenment ideas and the constitution they wrote was based on these ideas and has formed the greatest country on earth. Therefore, even though the Enlightenment was not focused on the emotional side of a human being, the progress that was gained through this era was worth the lack of focus on it.

I agree with Jan when he says that there was no law against expressing feelings or emotions through nature, but the Enlightenment gave people the opportunity to find facts through scientific means. People had the freedom to discover what they wanted through whatever method they chose, so people chose science and reason. Eventually, people realized that the emotional side of the human being was important and should be focused on, but by no means does that take away from the accomplishments of the Enlightenment period or make the individuals and philosophers robots.

K-SWISS said...

kevin swick period 4

Otaku14 said...

I definitely agree with you on the fact that the Enlightenment tried to blind people to their true human nature.

If human intuition did not exist, than life may be a lot more rational, and people would make more "right" decisions, but life would be boring. Humans have feelings too and to push them aside for rationality might not always be a good thing. For example if you are going over a test and you see one that you got wrong but really thought was right and could justify it, then you should not just try and conform with the teacher's answer and just sit there, you should tell the teacher what you think your answer is and justify it. Who knows it may even be right and you might help some other people who thought the same way about the question.

I disagree with everyone saying that the Enlightenment did not turn people into the "human robot" but did the opposite and opened up the individualistic mindset. This may be true, but if the Enlightenment taught rationality and taught people to be individuals than everyone who is faced with a certain situation would make the same choice because it would be the "rational" thing to do. However, the romantics believe in true individuality because they said that people could make decisions by their own intuition and that they would learn and grow from the consequences.

Anime quote of the week: "All your hard work will prove worthless unless you believe in yourself." Might Guy- Naruto

Michael Porterfield Period 5

RussianDF said...

I disagree with you when you say that the Enlightenment blinded people to their true human nature. The Enlightenment was, in reality, a movement that allowed people to explore their brighter and more creative sides, and to try to find a new outlook on life. Also, the Enlightenment was not "forced" onto people. Even in the 1700s and 1800s, more then half of Europe's population still lived on farms and didn't know much about what was going on. You listed a number of different thinkers, such as John Locke and Rousseau. They were not forced into thinking the way they did; rather, they themselves explored their own potential in order to state their theories about mankind.
I agree with you when you say that Romanticism was in some ways a positive movement for Europe. It helped a lot of people discover their ethnic identity and be able to rise up and declare their independence from oppressive empires.
I agree with Joe Kearney when he states that the enlightenment did NOT make the human like a robot, and that people were still free to decide for themselves whether they wanted to take part in this new way of thinking.

Rude said...

Alright. You are arguing that the Enlightenment was a false movement that resulted in the control of people rather than it's goals of outside thinking and freedom. I would say that of this is incorrect. I doubt that people viewed the Enlightenment as the way you do during the movement and I am positive that people did believe in it. However, I believe that the circumstances that the Enlightenment was born into greatly affected it's overall outcome. Feudal society was dying off and the French Revolution beginning. Any new form of government or lifestyle was of course going to place people into situations they don't want- thats what always happens.

Remember the American Revolution? That was "based upon people’s unification around a central ethnic heritage or the emotional desire to end economic oppression." (JZ) But, the Founder Fathers are said to have been more influenced by the Enlightenment than the Romantic movement. So how did these "robots" overthrow a government if they weren't rational?

I would have to agree with Salvador and others opposing your views. The goal of the Enlightenment was not to cut off a person's emotions and views, it was to expand them. A person ultimately chooses to block his or her mind and restrict it, not the government or those around the person. There was still art being produced during this time period also.

Matt Rude
Period 5

lucas said...

The Enlightenment Age marked the first time individuals were able to question God's existence as well as the patterns of nature. Without this breaking away from common understanding, Romanticism would not have occurred. Although you argue that Romantics saw emotion and intuition as the basis for human decision-making, I believe it is necessary to have rationality and emotion for someone to base their actions on. I understand that revolutionaries were driven by an intuitive and long-term goal but it is necessary for intellect to play a role in assessing the outcome and consequences of a revolutionary movement. Keeping this in mind, I agree that being soley rational causes the human being to act as a giant "robotic" encyclopedia, and this is destructive because that person will not experience any feeling whatsoever when all or any of their goals are accomplished. I agree that Romanticism provides mankind with a meaningful purpose for moving foward; however this can also be ineffective because it may only satisfy one person's desires while he/she is unconscious of the affect it may produce upon his/her surroundings. It is important to have a balance of both philosophies in order to productively tackle a situation and make decisions for the greater good.

I also disagreee that Romantics could label Enlightenment "heroes" as ignorant when they were able to make some great astronomical and philosophical discoveries. These philosophies were the origin of modern science and to call it ignorance is simply absurd to me. Nevertheless, Romantics are right that whatever is beyond our world is sublime and incomprehensible to humans. I agree with Joe Kearney when he states that the Enlightenment philosophes had no intention of limiting the human brain to its intellectual half only ; they merely wanted to bring about individuality through questioning the societal beliefs of that era.

Lucas Cielak
Period 4

leaningtower55 said...

Indeed, the Enlightenment had many flaws. The French Revolution, led by Enlightenment radicals, had disastrous results. But, I disagree with you Mr. Zucker on your statement that the Enlightenment created a "human robot". Instead, the Enlightenement opened a new era of freedom and individuality in contrast to the previous institutions and traditions that created human robots.
Also, we cannot forget the conflicts of romanticism. I definitely agree with Chris Tan's analyzation of the flaws of Romanticism, including the negative effects of leaders acting according to their emotions and intuition. The rebellions and independence movements of South America are a perfect example of the flaws of romantic-inspired revolutions. These South American countries, after winning independence, faced intense problems in nation building and a period of poverty. Another example of the flaws of Romanticism is the concept of nationalism. Romanticism's concept of Nationalism, though uniting countries by ethnicity, has created different tensions between ethnic groups in the future. One should reognize that Hitler was inspired by Romantic ideas of Nationalism to create genocide in his own country.
In conclusion, while Enlightenment had its problemss, we cannot forget the Enlightenment's contribution to freedoms that allowed Romanticism to flourish.

Karlon Johnson
Period 5

The Ballster said...

Mr. Zucker,
I would have to disagree when you say the Enlightenment was another form of restricting human beings. Although not perfect, like Jan argues, the enlightenment was foundation for a new tradition in European history that would ultimately place Europe ahead in all aspects of the economy. By promoting emotional thoughts, national and ethnic heritage, and tradition, Romanticism helps fill the void that so many people feel when living their solely by science and logical reasoning. However, unlike many Romantics like to believe; your description of Romanticism seems to add on to Enlightenment ideas and allows humans to act closer to their instinctive nature.

Today, most children are taught to find a balance between logic and emotions when dealing with social problems or confronting important issues. Both Enlightenment and Romantic philosophies are necessary when trying to find yourself in this mysterious world, and the mysteries of truth that surround it are waiting to be discovered. In a sense, what birthed from Romanticism did give people greater freedom and limited restrictions implied by Enlightenment ideas. However, leaning too much towards one side can be detrimental and it is the proper balance between the two that allows for emotional, scientific, and moral progression.

Matthew Ball
Period 5

mchogsta said...

I do not agree with several points of your post, Mr. Zucker. There were many aspects of the Enlightenment that helped advance science and promote democracy. In the colonies the Enlightenment came as a breath of fresh air after the Puritanical society that had been dominant there for so long. If the beliefs of the Enlightenment controlled people, these beliefs were better than the irrational, superstitious, ways of Puritans. But the enlightenment did not control people of this time period, it encouraged people to think, reason, and act in a way that would better the individual’s life as well as the community. The Romantics are correct to believe that it is impossible to fully understand nature, but the enlightenment encouraged people to strive to learn as much as possible, making great leaps in the fields of science.

I have found that the core beliefs of Romanticism are flawed. Where the enlightenment encouraged people to be logical and reasonable, Romanticism seems to advocate trying things that could greatly hurt yourself or others just so that you can make the mistake a learn from it. Acting impulsively often does not give you a chance to learn or right a mistake you might have made.

I agree with Jan on the point that the enlightenment did not encourage a suppression of emotion, but rather a surge of intellectual growth through logical reason. I also agree with Jan when he stated that Romantic thinkers tend to act irrationally, seeing a problem and determining it is the mysterious way of nature. An enlightenment thinker would inquire as to why and how the problem occurred, a much better option if you ask me.

Marcus Hogsta
Period 5

tdav said...

Hey Mr. Z,

Alright, finally another blog! Wohoo! Here we go...

The classic Enlightenment vs. Romanticism debate. As you pointed out, the Enlightenment was basically a movement to define everything with laws and rules to understand the world around us. According to you, this is "bad." You claim that the Romanticism respose to this was one of deep passion and emotion. But think for a second...what was truly the motivation behind the Enlightenment? It was to define everything; compartmentalize Nature in order to grasp it and advance humaniety using knowledge gained. Isn't the desire to know perhaps THE basic human emotion? Through viewing the Universe through an unbiased perspective, we truly began to follow the "need to know." It is the reason there is a Catholic Church, a NASA space program, and yes, even why Columbus would cross the ocean blue into, literally, uncharted waters. Every single course offered at Loyola is based in a scholastic, unbiased manner. We view history in textbooks and discuss its implications in discussions. We memorize solubility rules and complicated formulas to better understand the way the world works. When something's broke, we figure out what's truly the problem and how to fix it. As you see, everything we do is rooted in the Enlightenment movement and philosophy.

You wanna know what else? Romanticism took advantage of the Enlightment. How? Well look at it. The Romantics saught to nearly undo everything the Enlightenment had accomplished. This was because Romantics were arrogant enough to believe that everything had been figured out that could be and from here we could only sit in awe of the Sublime. Romantics were lazy and thought that we could only sit back and watch "Nature" work. And then do what? Nothing! They figured they had "progressed" enough during the Enlightenment and wanted to ride the drug-induced, depressed band-wagon of "Romanticism." Now we have emo poetry and dark, so called "passionate" artwork. Is this really the inner human emotions? Or is this the look of a soul trapped by Romantic ideals longing for Enlightenment. If depression is truth, what is the point? Acoording to Romantics, truth is dark because humans, deep down, are also dark. If humans are in essence dark then, wouldn't that mean we have no concept of what is actually truth? Eh, at least that's my rationale.

In case you haven't noticed by now in my argument, Romanticism was just a depressed, lazy movement of dark, disturbed minds. Truly, the answers lie in Enlightenment and the desire for knowledge - the most basic human emotion there is.

And...someone to comment to...

nindafunky - you make some good points. I like the deep analysis, although I disagree with your overall argument. The citations helped, but I honestly think you just need to focus a little bit more in your overall presentaion.


Jan, thanks for picking the winning side. I totally agree with you, and specifically that we will NEVER be robots. We are always human, and whatever we do, we can never do without that "human touch." Look at the way we innovate. Its a try, try again approach. Even if we don't get the exact outcome we were looking for, we figure out so much more from our so-called "mistakes." Therefore, Jan, you are so right. We learn from rational and thought before action. Relentlessly rushing into new things will not allow us to review and analyze what went wrong. So think before you act next time!

And with that, Im out.

Tyler Davenport, Period 4

Manalo said...

I disagree with almost everyone saying that the Enlightenment did not create a "human robot."

I believe that the ideas of Romanticism were far more effective than the ideas of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was an age of great intellectual and objective movement. However, these ideas and intellectual movements did not lead to the truth. The Enlightenment rather programmed these "human robots" to think that the nature around them is the sole truth. The enlightenment made opinions banished, and stressed that facts are what matter. Not being entitled to an individual's opinion blocks that person from his human nature, thus making an individual lack his/her individuality.

However, The Romantic's ideas revealed the truth. The Romantics stressed that one's deep desires are the truth. One's intuitions greatly show individuality and what is right. With intuition, one can do an action now and learn through the consequences of their intuition, as Porterfield said. For example, Philip II(?)of Spain believed that Christianity will prevail and sent his Armada to fight against the Protestant state led by Elizabeth Tudor. His intuition was proven wrong when Tudor won over the Armada, and Philip learned that Christianity cannot reign over everything.

Also, being put in the sublime, incomprehensible nature reveals the truth. Individuals will learn better when put in the darkness, rather than the perfect and benevolent nature of the Enlightenment.

Patrick Manalo
Period 5

Alopez said...

I agree with you JZ on how you say that the government was stopping one from exhibiting their human nature during the enlightenment. If there aren’t laws people will go out of control and rebel against an authoritative figure. This scenario is similar to families present day. If the parents allowed a child run around the house and do anything he wanted, he would eventually make the house a mess. But if the parents set some guidelines and rules for the child to follow and punishments when the child behaves, the house would stay in constant order. But by doing this, it is stopping the child to think for himself without being told what to do. During the romantic period, intuition and emotions had a huge part to play into the development of individuality. People began to think openly and started to question the government. When people began to feel like they were being mistreated, they rebelled against the government in hope for gaining rights.

I agree with Patrick Manalo when he says that through one’s mistakes they are able to learn from them. This is why I believe that people were able to make more progress than the enlightenment period.

Alex Lopez, Period 5

John Sapunor said...

I'm gonna disagree with you on this one. The Enlightenment was a great movement that stressed individuality, and i don't think anyone was forced into this movement. Reason is the real way to truth, and this can be seen in our school and its science courses. This type of thinking has improved the state of the world, since the study of how things work has led to many developments such as modern medicine and other things that have improved the conditions we live in. I have to completely disagree with some of the ideas of Romanticism such as the organization of nations according to ethnic heritage. This idea was proven to be false by genetics, which goes back the Enlightenment's use of reason instead of human emotion. The Enlightenment thinkers didn't just view humans as objects. Rather, they had to look at humans from a different perspective in order to study them. They had a much more optimistic view of humans than the Romantic thinkers had, since the Romantics thought that humans were chaotic and had to be placed in communities, showing their negative view of human nature.

I agree with Nindafunky. That is some free and easy money.

Going back to Romanticism, i disagree with Patrick Manalo. I think that the truth is found by using reason. Why would you act before thinking? You can't always learn from experience. Oh, im gonna go and kill that guy cuz that's my emotion right now. Wow, i learned my lesson, but im on death row. No, that is completely ridiculous. If people acted on their emotions before thinking, the world would be an awful and warlike place, since anger and hate are emotions. Putting aside those emotions, our deep down desires can often be unrealistic, and as we know, the world can't be made up of 6 billion rockstars or presidents.

John Sapunor
Period 5

Clint Rosser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
connor said...

I am pretty sure that the enlightenment was not a bad thing. It led to many scientific discoveries like gravity. Because The people believed that they could control these forces led to the idea of the airplane. To say that the enlightened people only used reason and absolutely no emotion is a huge exaggeration. They used science and reason to figure out decisions and root out superstition. They could still feel. I think that I will have to agree with JFF, the enlightenment was definitely good.

Connor Sharpe Period 4

connor said...

Quote of the day: "ARRRHHOOOO!" Scoobie doo

Sukos said...

Aight well I don't agree with you on the enlightenment. This movement absolutely was not a "sham that blinded people to their true human nature." You go on to say, " The Enlightenment created the human robot who was cut in half and not allowed to access his emotions and intuitions as a source of truth." You are arguing that Romanticism was a more liberating movement for the people because it encourage emotions and passions to guide our decisions and you are against the enlightenment which strongly supported reason in our decision making process. Yet, do you truly believe that if we all based our decisions off our emotional desires and ignored our REASON, that we could actually have a functioning society? No. These polar opposites, as you make them seem, between reason and emotion, knowledge vs. passion, are actually intertwined in our heads. Both movements merely highlight that which is true. It is most definitely necessary to enforce reason and rational thought to all that we do, and use our emotions to help guide us and allow us to pursue that which we want. Society became far too opressed with fear under the dogmatic and supersticious authority during the pre-enlightenment era, so they wiped societies slate clean and started to reteach people from the beginning, reason. After a base of reason was established within man's mind, emotion is encouraged to help inspire the deepest desires and hidden capabilities that we all possess. Enlightenment never spoke out again emotions, rather it saw facts as a basis for knowledge and not whims of our complicated and twisted emotions. Romanticism was a very positive movement that did allow many countries to unite and create strong and healthy ethnic communities, yet the Enlightenment era, too, was positive in the progress technology and human thought made in its time. So, we really should not be pinning the two movements against eachother in a battle to see who was right or wrong, but rather appreciate the succession they made to lead us to our pragmatic society of today. Additionally, swick is right in saying " The only sensible reaction to superstition that has been apart of ones life for so long would be to find hard evidence through science and reason, not to focus on the emotional side of the individual." Enlightenment thinkers were merely adressing the issues of their time.

Alex Kutsukos
Period 4

B.C. said...

Dear Jz,

I completely and utterly disagree with you. The enlightenment was a time of progress not only through philosophies by amazing thinkers, but a time of turmoil and war that resulted in the modern Western dominated world we know today. Without the enlightenment we would not have been able to progress. The Enlightenment allowed for individuals to think for themselves, unlike the peasant feudal based society in which each person was a mindless drone. The enlightenment also allowed for the creation of new philosophies and even new governments that ensured rights for the people they ruled over. The enlightenment was not a sham at all!!!!!!! The word enlightenment by definition means a state in which one is free to decipher life for oneself. The enlightenment was not a sham formulated by evil rulers, but a bunch of different individuals interpreting life and God’s creation. For example, the study of natural laws and the discovery of their benevolence was not a sham that blinded people, but an awakening of scientific discovery and amazing intuition by individuals. Furthermore, another example is the creation of America. The founding fathers took the enlightenment concepts and values and applied them in the creation of the best system of government this world has ever known. Without the enlightenment the modern world of reason would not exist. Reason is another example: the process of knowing truth about something known as the method of truth was the predecessor for the scientific method and other amazing philosophical achievements.

I also agree with Jan Flattey Feldman when he contradicted the “robot statement.” In no way are human’s robots; we have individual expression, emotion, and decision-making that affect our lives and the people around us. For example, if natural laws make us into robots, how come is it that we are different and that our decision-making makes a difference in our lives. According to the author of Collapse human decision making not environmental determinism determiners a person and culture’s identities. Romanticism on a closing note was a reaction against the enlightenment. This Romanticism displays a “devil advocate’s” view on the world saying that humans are irrational, nature is too big to comprehend, and essentially there is no God, only coincidence. I would much rather believe in the Enlightenment philosophy. Wouldn’t you? Don’t we today?

Benjamin Coupe
Period 5

Sweet N' Low said...

There is no way I can say that the Romantic ideals were a sham or not important to the advancement of Europe, but I shall disagree with you when you say that the Enlightenment was, "a sham that blinded people to their true human nature"(JZ). In some way, shape, or form every movement in Europe up to 1800's(Or at leasts the ones we have talked about) has advanced most, if not all, of the nations of Europe; The Enlightenment and The age of Romanticism are no different. The Enlightenment brought upon an age of prosperity in Europe; one can not look over the fact that the industrial revolution began in the Enlightenment, without the industrial revolution Mr.Zucker I would not be typing this blog, rather, I would be writing this paragraph 2 weeks ago so the Carrier Pigeon I sent could reach you in time. Now onto the Romantic period. This as you said is a very influential period in Europe's history; Without it Countries like Venezuela and Italy would never have developed such a strong sense of ethnic heritage and identity and broken free from external rule. Now yes, some countries saw Romantic principles such as Ethnic identity as a way to gain and hold power over their countries, but we must not overlook the fact that not only did it establish a strong sense of Ethnic unity then, but also in modern times, People are proud of where they come from or where they are born. This sense of Ethic identity goes all the way back to the Romantic age and will continue until the end of time or we all combine into one race. In conclusion, Both the Romantic period AND the Enlightenment were revolutionary movement that changed Europe's History forever.

I agree with my good friend Mr. Sapunor when he says , referring to rational thought, "This type of thinking has improved the state of the world, since the study of how things work has led to many developments such as modern medicine and other things that have improved the conditions we live in". Humans are rational and the Enlightenment brought this to everyones attention, children grew up knowing they could achieve great things through reason. This, as John said, led to the Industrial Revolution, modern medicine, and many other things we enjoy these days.

Sweet N' Low said...



I wrote the one that is written by Sweet N' Low

Clint Rosser said...

I do not agree that the enlightenment sham in the least bit. Although the Enlightenment may not have been perfect it was still much better than the pervious situation the people were in. Rome was not built in a day. For a full scale change in the institutions and government to occur in such a short amount of time is not realistic. What really matters is that it was a step up. Improvements are the important thing. If we continue to progress and improve the way our system of government and society as a whole works, the end result will be highly favorable than what was previously accepted. Thanks to the Enlightenment thinkers, people were able to step outside the sphere of knowledge they had been trapped in and to explore and learn new things. Much of the Sublime that the Romantics believed was dissolved by the rational thinking spurred by the Enlightenment. If we as a people had just accepted the Romantic belief in the Sublime, and that we cannot understand many aspects of life, we would have been limited once again. The truth is that through reason and hard work, we are shrinking and shrinking the Sublime. This is evident with the exploration of the deep seas, rainforests, and outer space. The Enlightenment was also a good time in Europe. The Industrialization began in the Enlightenment as well. This created more jobs and more products. America, which today has one of the best governments ever, was started based off of Enlightenment philosophies. In no way am I completely against Romanticism, however. It was yet another advancement. It brought many great aspects to human culture, like people making dicisions based on their feelings. The Idea of ethnic heritage, although it may have influenced racism, has also created a sense of pride in one’s origins.

I agree with Alex Kutsukos when he says that we should not be comparing the two movements and pinning them against each other. We should rather appreciate the improvements brought about by both and recognize the flaws contained in each. I also find myself in agreement with Ben Coupe. The author of Collapse and you seem to both support the fact that even though ones environment does influence how individuals live to a certain extent, the choices we make and how we deal with our situations determines our lives more than the environment.

Clint Rosser
Period 5

wiznewski said...

I have to disagree with what you said about the Enlightenment as being as "imprisoning as the old superstitions of the Catholic Church." The Enlightenment allowed people with logic and reason to discover truth for themselves. For example, people such as Benjamin Franklin where able to conduct experiments in order to discover more fully how the forces of nature worked. People no longer had to wander aimlessly following people such as the Church and Kings who wanted to keep the people in a state of confusion to gain power. If people were not able to discover truth through logical thought processes, no societal progress would be made because everything is not based solely on feelings and emotions. This is what causes problems for almost everyone. When people act on their passions and disregard logic, they mistakes and are not able to act logically and they do things that they regret.
However, this didn't make everyone "robots" with a separation of their emotions and intuitions from their logic. I believe it was completely the opposite- with the advent of the Enlightenment people where better able to gain a grasp over their surroundings and truly understand life. For example, people no longer had to fear things such as disease and famine as much because they gained a better grasp over what was causing it. Also, people’s emotions played a role in the Enlightenment because people were able to study things such as nature and become closer to the perfection of God. Enlightenment allowed people to break out from the bounds of society and let people gain power through their knowledge.
I agree with Ben Coupe regarding that the role of Enlightenment helped to create the modern governments we see today. Government is not based on the impulses of emotion and neither are societies. If society and government were based solely on the principles of Romanticism, we would be in for some serious problems of utter chaos. Only after we solve our problems through science and deduction should we turn to our emotions to help us better understand life and society.

-Michael Wisniewski
Period 5

jack said...

Mistaa Zucker,

Haha very nice to see the blogs back... ish. I do agree with you on the fact that there were some restraints on emotion and ethnic pride during the Enlightenment. I disagree, however, on your remark, "The Enlightenment was simply another way to try to control people." You make it seem as if the Enlightenment was quickly initiated by leaders and the upper class in order to keep people under control. The Enlightenment as you have stated many times before was a gradual movement that slowly developed over many years. It was begun by scholars and many common people who looked back to ancient greek and roman documents in order to gain knowledge and learn about different philosophies. I do not believe that the Enlightenment was "imposed" in order to keep the common people in check. People before the Enlightenment had much less freedom than after. The upper class and officials had more control over the serfs and lower class. I do not see why the Enlightenment would have been started as another way to control people.

This blog focuses on the Enlightenment and Romantic views of the government. The romantics responded based on emotion and pride. This often resulted in violent behavior in order to achieve goals and get messages across. I believe that reaction based in individual study and thought is much better than reacting based on emotions alone. If anything, the resisters of the Enlightenment would be smarter and would be able to run a more thought out and efficient rebellion than the Romantic thinkers. Both reactions based on thought and emotion are dangerous in their own ways to the government leaders and upper class. Imagine if our government leaders today reacted based on emotion rather than thought. The United States might have fired nuclear warheads after the attacks of September 11th. We however thought of possible reactions and looked to past events in history in order to decide how to handle the situation. Reactions and rebellions based on thought rather than pure emotion, gave power to the people while maintaining relative peace and stability in the countries. I disagree with sora the hedgehog's statement, "The Enlightenment does make people like machines." People before the Enlightenment operated like machinery! Day after day, surfs worked under their masters. They were often forced to do backbreaking, repetitive work. People during the Enlightenment had more opportunities and options to do other things and try new ideas. Ideas from institutions were imposed on the common people. They were not allowed to think for themselves or even have the notion that they were thinking for themselves. During the Enlightenment, people were encouraged to study the arts and Sciences. They developed either their own opinions or opinions based on those of others.

"Last Words" of the week, "Don't worry, it's not plugged in."

John Hawley
Period 5

Tostitos said...

As much as I love the Romanticism era, I am going to have to half-disagree with you and support the Enlightenment (you'll see what I mean). The Enlightenment caused a break away from the past systems of complete control and made people more independent. Through reason, people were able to see that they deserved more than what they had at the time.

The Enlightenment allowed humans to move into a new time period. It had its flaws, but did, in my humble opinion, have less flaws than the world before it. Also, Romanticism used the Enlightenment to come up with its ideology. Think about it--do you truly believe that if there was no Enlightenment, Romanticism would exist? "Enlightened" thinkers freed people from their previous beliefs that they had to stay in their placed and taught them about individualism. If no one knew about individualism beforehand, I am pretty sure most of them would not be ready to overthrow any signs of government or even know the power of emotion.

Another quick statement I would like to make is the "human robot" metaphor. This is the one point I would have to agree with you on(don't get to excited). Enlightenment created a half-human, half-robot. The half human part was that of rationality. Emotion and intuition was the other half, both of which were found in the period of Romanticism. Each side only got what a human was half-right and ignored the other without even putting some thought into it.

Now, Tyler Davenport metioned the whole Romanticism view on darkness and emotion. Firstly, darkness does not make a person blind. The "darkest" person in the world can also be the most rational. Neither side restricts the other. I believe that if people ignore their emotions, both good and bad, they can never truly be rational. Ignoring emotions makes one, well ignorant. The same goes for people who are purely emotional. If one focusses (sp.?) only on emotion, they will not have any progress whatsoever.

Philip Tostado
Period 4

I think Edgar Allen Poe just needed a hug…

Rabbi said...

I agree with the Romantics that emotions and heritage are very important in driving people. But just because something drives someone, that does not mean that the person is going the right way, when emotions come into play people lose their heads awnd rush into a situation without thinking of the consequences. Even though over thinking something can be just as bad as rushing in head on, without some thought behind whgat you are doing, you wind up in a situation that you never intended with a lose-lose situation that could have easily been avoided. The most important factor in human decision making is summed up in the title of a book by Thomas Paine. This factor is Common Sence. But evan so, without some emotion in what you do it will not have the same power as something with emotions in it. As you can see, I am not advocating the Romantics or the Enlightenment. I think that they are both right and they are both wrong. Logical thinking will only get you so far, where as emotion will get you somewhere, but it might not be the place that you wanted to go.

I agree with Jan F-F and Chris Tan when they say that there are EXTREME flaws with pure emotion. As Jan said, the drive to act on how you feel can justify anything, from genocide to extreme torture. This idea sets the stage for what happened in Nazi Germany and Rawanda as well as what is happening today in Darfur. The idea of no emotion seems a bit odd to us, but as you can see, the idea of pure emotion should be absolutley terrifying.

Alex Flynn
Period 5

Kucitizen08 said...

I take quarrel with your comments MR. Zucker, I rise in strong affirmation of Enlightenment philosophy. In contrast to you, i believe that the enlightenment ideals were in no way imprisoning. On the contrary, the enlightenment opened up for greater autonomy;people were not forced into accepting it. Furthermore, enlightenment combated religious dogma ans superstition. This new combat allowed for greater humanity progress that relied on science and reasoning to lead the way.

However, I totally agree with swick when he states," The only sensible reaction to superstition that has been apart of ones life for so long would be to find hard evidence through science and reason, not to focus on the emotional side of the individual."

-Jeremy Molayem
Period 4

AAA said...

Undeniable argument, JZ... although I do have a few differing opinions. First, I don't believe the Enlightenment brings about emotionlessness, but, rather, demonstrates humans' inability to understand such a benevolent, complicated philosophy. A rational being should be able to understand the importance of expressing one's emotions and the impact that can have. Isn't it irrational for a human being to not express emotions? Secondly, as everyone has stated, the Enlightenment period, or something close to it, needed to come about to exploit the traditional monarchies in Europe. For instance, France, I believe, could only have experienced the French Revolution through Enlightenment ideas, which led to further revolutions in Europe. One might believe that the French Revolution is a bad example of the benefits of Enlightenment but it was through this revolution and the impacts it made that Europe is in its current prosperous state.

I agree with Sweet Lou who states that the beneficial Industrial Revolution in Britain and, later, Europe rose out of the Enlightenment (good carrier pidgeon reflection, too). Amazing technological, philosophical, and scientific discoveries were made during the Enlightenment and you called it "a sham"! In general, no philosophy is perfect, but at least Enlightenment can be recognized as a needed breaking away from traditional monarchies, and beneficial philosophy towards intellectual advancements.

KFH said...

This is an interesting blog because I somewhat agree with you JZ but at the same time I disagree. How can you say that the people were being imprisoned by the ideals of the Enlightenment. These ideals helped people become rational beings which they couldn't have become before this time. However I also agree with JZ because Romantics help to unlock the other part of human nature, emotion. What I am saying is a person succeeds when they have a balance of the heart and the mind. And the perfect example of this balance is none other than the USA. Today our government has structure which coms from the Enlightenment values. We have a heiracrhy of power and different levels of government that are rational. Also in America there are Romantic ideals. We can use our emotions to protest or speak out on the government. We still retain our ability to invoke emotions while using rational.
I really agree with tostitos when he talks of the balance and how neither side hinders the other but only makes it stronger. I also agree with sukos when he says we should appreciate what the two movements brought to the table. Then after looking at the movements we can put ideas of both together to create an even better system.

KFH said...


Colin said...

I think you are wrong; the Enlightenment was not just as bad as the previous system. The enlightenment was advancement from the previous system. The Enlightenment was a progressive movement. I am not saying that the ideas of the Enlightenment were perfect, but those ideas were a vital part in the advancement to what we hold to be true today. If no one had ever stepped up and tried to change the ideas, we could still be living in a society of feudalistic values. The Enlightenment did not put people in a pigeon hold; rather, it freed the people to a possibility of growth. If anyone agrees with the ideas of today, they would have to admit that the progress made led us to our current position. The Enlightenment led people out of an age where they were controlled and manipulated by the Church. In conclusion, the Enlightenment led Europe out a dark age and catapulted them into progress.

I one-hundred percent agree with K-Swiss. The Enlightenment eliminated the superstitions that were placed by the Church. Science and reason led the Europeans out of the inhibiting, superstitious age. Without people like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, science and technology would be nothing like it is today.


First off, I would like to say that the Enlightenment did not come right after the middle ages. The Renaissance brought some of these ideals of individualism and freedom among men through artistic expression and returning to Greek and Roman philosophy. Without the Renaissance, we could not have achieved the Enlightenment.

I have to agree with Kevin M. Hernandez. The Enlightenment was an outlet for personal emotion and individualism. Opinions were valid at this time and were not put down or demolished by some hierarchy. The Enlightenment brought many good ideas to the table, such as democracy and the rights of man. I think that it is right to say that the Enlightenment was a good a thing and didn't minimize people to robots.

The Romantic period, I will agree with you here, did benefit to the ideas of the Enlightenment. It brought a different aspect of human behavior and emotion to the ideas of individualism. This aspect was more personal and more relatable to society and government. "Dark and mysterious" was the mindset of a Romantic. He/She would be filled with passion for his or her ideas. This created a relatable government to the people and took the ideas of the Enlightenment and benefitted from them.

Thorvald Blough
Period 4

Christian said...

I disagree with you Mr. Zucker in that Romantic Philosophies are equally manipulative as the Enlightenment Philosophies. Though the Enlightenment Philosophies create a cold machine out of the world and break it down to logic, Romanticism was able to incite similar reactions within people, yet stronger. Men like King Emmanuel II of Italy played on people’s emotions and passions in order to help him control them. People like Garibaldi of the Redshirt army where easily influenced by emotional ideals like nationalism, the Romantic equivalent to Democracy but without any benefits to the people. Sure, the people where able to fight for their country, but all that that did was strengthen the central government. To use Garibaldi as an example again, he was talked into giving his armies to the king by Cavour who was playing on his nationalism. That strengthened the central government, just as Bismark in Prussia was able to endow his own government with more centralized power by saying it was to strengthen the nation.
I also disagree with Mchogsta, who said that the impulsive nature that Romantics teach do not allow someone to learn from their mistakes. To leap before you look may not allow one to have much foresight, but without leaping there is no way to see what the consequences of such actions are, or hindsight. Hindsight and Foresight are equally important, but foresight is only what may occur while hindsight is historical. While there is no use crying over spilled milk, it would be much worse to begin crying because you may in the future spill milk if you are not careful with your elbows.

Christian Williams, Period 5
Poster on AP USH Blogs
Master of bad analogies.