The leftist critique of the enlightenment (The classic Dialectic of the Enlightenment is the most famous case) is both understandable and usually misguided. We have suggested a larger project of founding a leftist movement on a generalized framework of modernity and that includes a full set of complements: religion and reformation, the scientific revolution, the revolutions of the early modern, liberalism, utopian, ideas of freedom, a revolution in philosophy (kant, hegel, schopenhauer…), the enlightenment as such in six versions, german, dutch, english, scottish, french, etc…
And so on. A useful framework is that of the eonic effect and the way it enforces a ‘dialectical’ spectrum of multiple opposites. A revolutionary left based on positivistic materialism of the nineteenth century is too narrow and has been left behind in the era when even quantum mechanics has challenged crude materialistic viewpoints.
The left had a natural ambivalence to modernity but in the end it must be able to create societies that are robustly modernist without eliminating all the social factors that we see in what we call the ‘modern transition’:
From Reformation to Revolution
A recent call for the left to adopt enlightenment values is excellent but too narrow: what are enlightenment values?
If we adopt the perspective of the eonic effect we can adopt a true universalism we consider as relevant the entire spectrum of civilizational histories shown in the so-called macrosequence…