Sapere aude

Sapere aude

Over 230 years ago, in 1784, Immanuel Kant wrote his famous essay “What is Enlightenment”. He defines Enlightenment as the emergence from our often self-imposed immaturity, i.e. the inability to use our own understanding without being led by others. Kant adds that relying on others is often only due to our own indecisiveness and lack of courage. His remedy is ”have the courage to use your own understanding”.

“Sapere aude” is Immanuel Kant’s motto of the Enlightenment.

“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.”
(Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist)

“Truth acquired by thinking of our own is like a
lateral limb, it alone really belongs to us.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher)

Today, we need another Enlightenment, but not one led by technology. We need an Enlightenment led by us, the people: Lateral thinkers, responsible citizens, determined rebels and courageous radicals. We could describe it as an intellectual version of BYOB, “Bring Your Own Brain”.

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking
time is that we are still not thinking.”
(Martin Heidegger, philosopher)

Are we all manipulated in one way or the other?

How free are we really?

Are we – at least partly – bound by what we are born into?

Will we go off auto-pilot and think for ourselves?

Are we free to use our own understanding to become our true selves?

Will we have the courage and determination to use our own understanding?

What about VB, i.e. Venture Brain, as the new VC, i.e. Venture Capital?

Will we be skeptical and question everything?

Will we think the unthinkable, be radical and disruptive?

Will we develop our own ideas, thoughts, hypotheses?

Will we unlearn, unfollow, forget and delete?

Will we make up our own mind?

Can we start all over?

Can we re-think ourselves sustainably and not so much the world around us?

“He alone is great and happy who fills his own station
of independence and has neither to command nor to obey.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

“It is society which, fashioning us in its image, fills us
with religious, political and moral beliefs that control our actions.”
(Émile Durkheim, sociologist)

“Reading is thinking with someone else’s head
instead of with one’s own.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher)

While this is true, I also found that reading stuff written by people, I vehemently disagree with – for now – can be quite enlightening, as it helps to break the armor protecting our beliefs.

“No, no, you are not thinking, you are just being logical.”
(Niels Bohr, physicist)

Last but not least, why do we always want to influence, rather than to enlighten?

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