To me, Enlightenment ideals are more important than Romantic ideals. I feel it serves human-kind more purpose, both on an individual and a social scale, to go through life’s decisions and struggles by using reason and personal betterment as the discerning standard as well as motivation. However, when the Romantic ideals of listening to one’s heart and heeding natural impulses are involved, the human experience becomes complete in my opinion. One becomes able to handle situations safely and profitably using reason, without losing himself to a siloed, specialized trade asked of in purely Enlightenment-led society. The Romantic aspects allow a diversity of trade and interest, and this is why it works well as a right-hand man to Enlightenment ideals.
I view Western Culture as a society as something that gives you hope that you can have the best of both worlds in terms of Enlightenment and Romanticism, although this is mostly untrue. It tells you you can make money and still have time for your family, love life, hobbies, and interests, but this becomes more untrue the more you need money or pursue money, which is the leading motivation in Western Society. Moreover, in this capitalist society, the necessity of money is stressed top-down and bottom-up, so the Romantic ideals are viewed as detrimental unless they get you money, such as being a musician despite low success rates. Therefore, I believe learning about these 2 schools of thought has given me a better perspective of Western Culture, allowing me to expand my understanding using the ideals of each to describe today’s lifestyle.
The most important takeaway from this class is that many scholars and authors strongly ponder societies and how to best exist in them, choosing greatly different methods to describe their beliefs. Voltaire’s satirical stories, though contain strongly clash with the styles of Locke and Kant, who structure their arguments in a bullet-point essay, in my opinion. There is merit to all of these clashing opinions and we need more deliberate argumentation questioning leadership and society as such as we face increasingly challenging times.