I think reason and emotion are both important, but between Enlightenment and Romanticism, I prefer the idea of Enlightenment. I think the ideas and methods of Enlightenment are much more feasible than that of the Romanticism. Because many ideas of Romanticism are based on personal and ideas. Then, there are questions arise that different people would inevitably have different views. Taking aesthetics as an example, no one will argue against that though have several general principles, aesthetics is still a subjective idea. Hence, Romanticism’s idea and method would still cause divergence.
Learning the ideas of Enlightenment gives a new perspective of considering the constitution of modern western society because most of western society have built their constitution based on the idea that people have certain inalienable natural rights and the duty of government is to protect these rights. What is more, Enlightenment’s ideas also give me a better understanding of the balance between personal freedom and the effectiveness of government.
I think the most interesting thing I take from this class is the idea of Romanticism because I think Romanticism depicted a way of life I sometimes want to live. This is something I have never thought about because most time I consider myself as living according to reason. However, when I find I have ideas the same as Romanticism, I have changed my view a lot.
In this picture, a fledgling rest on the tree stump. The fledgling still has thick feathers, so it is obvious that it is not able to fly. What’s more, as most kinds of fledglings have the habit to stay in the nest so that they can be fed by their parents and avoid the predator outside, it can be deduced from the picture that the nest of this fledgling is on the tree which has been cut down because this is the only reason why this little creature would leave its nest. Adding the fact that this fledgling cannot fly yet, which indicates it has no ability to live on itself, there is no wonder that it is in extremely dangerous situations.
Viewing this fledgling, people will have a better understanding of the importance of environmental protection. Because in the dark quiet night (the universe), humans are just fledglings rest on the only nest, earth. Just like the destiny of this fledgling who is out of its nest, the only destiny for humans when they left the “nest” is death (for now at least). Hence, people will understand that protect the environment is never about protecting the earth. Instead, we protect the environment just because we want to protect ourselves. Understanding this, people would reconsider their actions when they left permanent damage to the environment.
“Declaration of the Rights of Man and if the Citizen” is the definition of natural rights which the National Assembly gave during The French Revolution. The painting below is “prise de la bastille” which pictured the capture of the Bastille, one of the most important events of The French Revolution. Considering the policy of King Louis XVI’s government unbearable, French civilians decide to revolt the governing of King Louis XVI. This revolution is their pursuit of natural rights.
One of the goals of French civilians was to build a government according to Article 12 that “To guarantee the rights of man and the citizen requires a pubic force; this force is therefore instituted for the benefit of all, and not for the personal advantage of those to whom it is entrusted.” However, the French Revolution was not perfect. From 1793 to 1794, the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror, and at least 16594 people had been executed for counter-revolutionary activities during this period. But this violation of the natural rights seemed necessary in that period because, to build a new bureaucratic system that protects redefined human rights, the old one must be destroyed. In this process, people who relied on the old system for a living would definitely be affected.
Then, there rises a question that in a country that has settled a bureaucratic system will the redefinition and pursuit of natural rights inevitably lead to violations of the natural rights of some people in this system? If so, isn’t that contradict Article 2? if not, how could the old system be destroyed without affecting people relying on it?
Recently, I have seen a collection of lecture notes from Standford University. The main theme of the course is the origin of human cooperation. In this collection, Prof. Tomasella talks about several experiments they performed on infants. In the experiments, researchers give infants several tasks which they can only complete by cooperating with others. By observation, researchers found that helping others is a naturally emerging behavior to help others. This conclusion is concordant with my assumption of human nature in The Basic Political Writings that “Pity is what carries us without reflection on the aid of those we see suffering” (p.64). What is more, researchers also found another interesting phenomenon that infants who work well with others are more popular. Researchers thought this is what we can esteem in society. This fact proved my idea that esteem is one origin of inequality in The Basic Political Writings “as soon as men had begun mutually to value one another, and the idea of esteem was formed in their minds, each one claimed to have a right to it, and it was no longer possible for anyone to be lacking it with impunity” (p.73).
Hello! My name is Zijia Guo and I am a second year Electrical Engineering Student. Recently I am trying to declare double majors with Applied Math. I come from China. When I have leisure, I like to play TRPG and video games with friends. My favorite TRPG game is Dungeons & Dragons.
My favorite book in the HUM series is The New Organon by Francis Bacon. I really like this book because in this book Bacon basically established the fundamental opinion about modern scientific study. What is more, I believe his opinion about the four idols of human beings can help me a lot.