9 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2022
    1. Whig history (or Whig historiography), often appearing as whig history, is an approach to historiography that presents history as a journey from an oppressive and benighted past to a "glorious present".[1] The present described is generally one with modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy: it was originally a satirical term for the patriotic grand narratives praising Britain's adoption of constitutional monarchy and the historical development of the Westminster system.[2] The term has also been applied widely in historical disciplines outside of British history (e.g. in the history of science) to describe "any subjection of history to what is essentially a teleological view of the historical process".[3] When the term is used in contexts other than British history, "whig history" (lowercase) is preferred.[3]

      Stemming from British history, but often applied in other areas including the history of science, whig history is a historiography that presents history as a path from an oppressive, backward, and wretched past to a glorious present. The term was coined by British Historian Herbert Butterfield in The Whig Interpretation of History (1931). It stems from the British Whig party that advocated for the power of Parliament as opposed to the Tories who favored the power of the King.


      It would seem to be an unfortunate twist of fate for indigenous science and knowledge that it was almost completely dismissed when the West began to dominate indigenous cultures during the Enlightenment which was still heavily imbued with the influence of scholasticism. Had religion not played such a heavy role in science, we may have had more respect and patience to see and understand the value of indigenous ways of knowing.

      Link this to notes from The Dawn of Everything.

  2. Jan 2022
    1. The Renaissance ob-session for order

      The Renaissance was obsessed with creating hierarchies and imposing order. The Enlightenment was focused on examining and questioning these hierarchies and breaking many of them down.

    1. It was largely the speakers of Iroquoian languages such as theWendat, or the five Haudenosaunee nations to their south, whoappear to have placed such weight on reasoned debate – evenfinding it a form of pleasurable entertainment in own right. This factalone had major historical repercussions. Because it appears tohave been exactly this form of debate – rational, sceptical, empirical,conversational in tone – which before long came to be identified withthe European Enlightenment as well. And, just like the Jesuits,Enlightenment thinkers and democratic revolutionaries saw it asintrinsically connected with the rejection of arbitrary authority,particularly that which had long been assumed by the clergy.

      The forms of rational, skeptical, empirical and conversational forms of debate popularized by the Enlightenment which saw the rejection of arbitrary authority were influenced by the Haudenosaunee nations of Americans.


      Interesting to see the reflexive political fallout of this reoccurring with the political right in America beginning in the early 2000s through the 2020s. It's almost as if the Republican party and religious right never experienced the Enlightenment and are still living in the 1700s.


      Curious that in modern culture I think of the Jesuits as the embodiment of rationalist, skeptical argumentation and thought now. Apparently they were dramatically transformed since that time.

    2. Enlightenment texts took the form of dialogues; mostcultivated an easy, transparent, conversational style clearly inspiredby the salon. (It was the Germans, back then, who tended to write inthe obscure style for which French intellectuals have since becomefamous.)

      Through the Enlightenment texts took the form of dialogues and it was the Germans of the time who began writing in a more obscure argumentative style which changed the form of the discourse.

    1. in Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” which has a chapter called “How the Americans Combat Individualism by the Principle of Interest Rightly Understood.” Despite our ambient certainty that it is natural, Tocqueville describes individualism as a newfangled phenomenon. The word “individualism” itself entered the English language largely through translations of his work. Somehow, our leaders are educated into the error of dangerously discounting this “enlightened self-interest” (also a term Tocqueville invented). 

      Alexis de Tocqueville coined the ideas/phrases "individualism" and enlightened self-interest.

  3. Dec 2021
    1. We will suggest that there isa reason why so many key Enlightenment thinkers insisted that theirideals of individual liberty and political equality were inspired byNative American sources and examples. Because it was true.
    2. For Europeanaudiences, the indigenous critique would come as a shock to thesystem, revealing possibilities for human emancipation that, oncedisclosed, could hardly be ignored.

      Indigenous peoples of the Americas critiqued European institutions for their structures and lack of freedom. In turn, while some Europeans listened, they created an evolutionary political spectrum of increasing human complexity to combat this indigenous critique.

    1. The unwritten rule of Cybernetics seems to be - Maintain the homeostasis until you break it for the better. #Cybernetics #Ashby

      This is a good rule of thumb for political science as well. Some of our issue in America right now is that we're seeing systemic racism and many want to change it, but we're not sure yet what to replace it with.

      The renaissance created scholasticism which created a new system, but too tightly wound religion into the humanist movement. Similarly Englightement Europe and America subsumed the indigenous critique, which opened up ideas about equality and freedom which hadn't existed, but they still kept the structures of hierarchy which have caused immeasurable issues. These movements are worth studying to see how the new systems were created, but with an eye toward more careful development so as not to make things even worse generations later.

  4. Jul 2021
    1. Critical theory upends the universal values of the Enlightenment: objectivity, rationality, science, equality, freedom of the individual. These liberal values are an ideology by which one dominant group subjugates another. All relations are power relations, everything is political, and claims of reason and truth are social constructs that maintain those in power.

      Critical theory versus Englightenment