The Age of Enlightenment (or Age of Reason) flourished in Europe between about 1620 and 1781 (or 1685 and 1815 depending on your point of view), when intellectuals advocated ‘reason’ as a means of freeing humanity from superstition and religious authoritarianism and opening the way to an appreciation of an objective truth about the whole of reality.
A big ask, you might say, but nevertheless, we owe them a lot.
But then, of course, we muddied the waters by diverging into warring interpretations, vigorous backlashes and a deep-seated reluctance to give up our best-loved superstitions. And here we are, up to our eyeballs in what might be called The Age of Muck.
Not that I’m a red-hot advocate for reason above all else. A world without creativity and imagination would be fairly boring in my view. And I’ve never been too sure about the possibility of objective truth except in matters like did you clean your teeth this morning and is the earth flat. But these guys (and yes, they were all men: women weren’t capable of logical thought back then) did at least start people thinking instead of simply following along.
But perhaps the problem is that we like being sheep. Like the sense of belonging. Feel reassured by numbers.
Even if sheep do get eaten.