The Contemporary Conflict in Social Values in the Lens of Enlightenment

The world has seen many milestones in philosophical change throughout its long history, but the ideas of the Enlightenment took the contemporary world of the 1700’s. Everything started to change from political systems to finances. The basic philosophical changes occurred around the view of the power of the individual and the rights that come along with being a human being living on the earth. These values were reflected in the political revolutions and resulting thought developed in the American Revolution and the French Revolution however today, these ideas seem to be under attack as social values are continually under attack because people have become less accepting of opinions which differ from theirs.

Occupy Enlightenment

One of the most significant social conflicts in the last decade was the occupy movement which spread over the entire country. What it managed to state was that there are one percent of our population that controls 99% of the wealth. This is a modern day inequity that is similar to the monarchies of the pre- Enlightenment world. As these protesters were depicted negatively in the main stream media, the basic idea that our society has a problem that hasn’t been addressed is still there. This was either a first shot in a longer revolution or a miniscule event.

Government Rule by the Will of the People

No matter how much money a particular segment of the population has and invests into the government and how it runs. When the majority of individuals are on the outside looking in, there eventually will be a conflict. This was the premise of all of the major revolutions in the world over that past 300 years. This will not change as people without homes or enough to eat are looking at people who have way more than they could ever need. This move toward revolution will continue. It will take an event that can’t be whitewashed, a government aggression against its citizens that can’t be ignored for change to come. One fact of the Enlightenment is that Change will inevitably occur when there are activities in society which are simply unfair and represent inequality.


Society has always responded to inequality through organized movements. Some have been organized, non violent movements, while others have been full on military revolts. All things are continually changing and the Enlightenment taught the world that the freedom of the individual in their experience in the world is one worth fighting for. The occupy movement of recent history shows that there is an unrest. It lacks a central focus, but when that focus occurs change is going to come, one way or another.

Published on  December 28th, 2013


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