Of all the things I learned this year in this course on enlightenment is that enlightenment, and the ideals expressed by the enlightenment thinkers, can be discovered through different methods that simple study. The most important part of enlightenment is to be able to take the ideas and opinions of others and digest them to the point where you either understand why you disagree or you can integrate them into your own worldview and set of ideas. Enlightenment, as we learned throughout the course, if being able to shed your nonage and understand the world without the impediments that plagued your unenlightened ways of thinking, and the most effective way to do this is to learn about, understand, and attempt to change your own ideological prejudices so that you are open to anything but still able to differentiate between the helpful and the harmful.
Most importantly you must be able to overcome your own ego and to understand that you do not know nearly as you think you do on your own. But with the help of others, and the input of those around you, you should be able to index all of this information of ways that are optimistic but still seasoned by skepticism and self-evaluation. It is sort of akin to the way Descartes was able to place everything that he know on his metaphorical table and strip down his ego to it’s most basic form. He did this so that be could shed his former nonages and build himself up to a higher state of enlightenment that he had previously achieved. It’s kind of like when a forest becomes too crowded with decay and foliage and must be set ablaze to give way for new life to grow and become strong and powerful.
Shedding your nonage sounds like a personal journey, but the most important part of becoming enlightened is not what you can teach yourself but what others can teach you about yourself. Humans are social creatures who thrive on interaction and connections between each other. You can always learn something from anyone, regardless of whether it is the right way of doing something or the wrong way. The true key to shedding a nonage and achieving enlightenment is through the mutual respect for everyone’s ideas and their own egos, for the ego can never truly be conquered, but it can be tamed. The most effective way for the ego to be tamed is to let someone who is not controlled by it offer reflection onto the nature of itself. Human interaction. Through understand others you become must more intimately attuned to the understanding of yourself, and that is truly what shedding a nonage is all about.
Enlightenment is subjective and its pathways are as numerous as they are treacherous, but self-awareness, objectivity, interaction, skepticism, and most of all optimism are the quickest and most effective ways to navigate the minefield of our environment. Whether you decide that it exists or not, the true path to enlightenment is for you to find out, but impossible to do on your own. That’s what enlightenment is all about.