There have been times during my journey when I believe hearing the word “enlighten” or any of its’ various forms, just one more time, shall make me scream.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that “Enlightenment” now sells nearly as many goods and services (or perhaps more) as sex does.

That said, I will share with you Matthew Taylor’s 21st Century Enlightenment, anyways!


Quick and easy, Mr. Taylor puts forth easy-to-understand concepts that shift our perspectives, open our hearts and minds to a new vision of where we can go and asks, “What, exactly, Is Progress?”

Some of my favorite ideas from his speech:

  • Learning to have relationships with our reactions, rather than be captive of them.   Being willing to move away from our tendency to make “Right” or “True” that which is familiar and “Wrong” or “False” that which is merely strange.
  • Modern Society is based on Three Logics –
    • Scientific and Technological Progress – If something can be designed and developed, it should be.
    • Market Logic – If something can be sold, it ought to be.
    • Bureaucracy Logic – The Rules come before and above the Ends
    • Devoid of Ethical Reasoning, these Logics are limited by their indifference to substantive concern for the collective good.
  • We should acknowledge the healthy activity of Public Disagreement and move away from the unhealthy activity of Public Disparagement.


But what really caught my little database building, love of logical thinking mind, was the following:

“Rationality can tell us best how to get from A to Z, but without Ethical Reasoning, we cannot discuss where Z should be.    What we aim for can be as Important to our Well-Being as what we achieve.”

In closing, he quotes anthropologist, Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Way to go Mr. Taylor!   I’m with you!

See Mr. Taylor’s Full Lecture


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