Thursday, November 21, 2019

Social Thought and Social Change Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 words

Social Thought and Social Change - Essay Example 6). For Enlightened thinkers, the desirable direction and final destination they aim for is a place where everyone lives in â€Å"a perfectly happy existence,† free from religious control, aristocratic discrimination and monarchical oppression (Bury 1920, p. 6). This idea is oftentimes criticised by modern thinkers as a naive belief in man’s capability for achieving perfection (Israel 2001, p. 3). However, Israel (2001, pp. 3-4) argues that â€Å"Enlightenment progress breathed a vivid awareness of the great difficulty of spreading toleration, curbing religious fanaticism, and otherwise ameliorating human organization, orderliness, and the general state of health.† Concurrently, even though famous Enlightened thinkers have opposing ideas about how to go about achieving progress, it cannot be denied that they share the same principles and morals. For instance, while Voltaire did not believe in the notion of equality and moved to educate and enlighten aristocrats i nto bettering the world, Rousseau detested them and lobbied for equality through revolution. However, both detested the Church and absolute monarchy and sought to change the status quo (Brians 2000). It is unquestionable, then, that the Enlightenment—though ripe with strife and conflicting ideas—moved towards the same destination; and that is, the achievement of progress through positive societal changes. The Enlightenment symbolizes civilisation’s actual forward movement towards a desirable direction. It is progress personified. Both supporters and critics of the Enlightenment and even opposing Enlightened thinkers show that its end-all and be-all is achieving progress through reason—progress that aims to create a better society at a time when religious tyranny and absolute monarchy and aristocracy ruled the world. II. Stages of History and Revolution Karl Marx views human history as a series of stages wherein man struggles to deal with and control the e conomic benefits of the resources of the world in order to achieve power and position (Weiner 2008, p. 42; Cohen 2004, p. 23). â€Å"The growth of human power is the central process of history. The need for that growth explains why there is history† (p. 23). Hence, Marx evaluates history as the process of man’s struggle for control over the developing system of production (Shaw 1978, p. 152). Marx (1904, p. 28) states the first stage of history as primitive communism where goods and property are shared and the means of production include hunting and gathering; the second stage is slave society where a class society based on private ownership is established (pp. 285-286); third is feudalism (p. 216); fourth is capitalism (p. 19); fifth is socialism (p. 10); and the final stage is pure communism exhibited through a classless society and the abolition of private ownership (Marx and Engels 1858 qtd. in Schumaker 2010, p. 46). This is a history of class struggle, as â€Å" new forms of society arise appropriate to the new forms of production when the new classes win power† (McCarthy 1995). It can be seen here how each historical stage moves on to the next only with the destruction of a socio-economic system through the uprising of the lower classes. For instance, feudalism evolved into capitalism after the landed aristocrats was challenged by craftsmen and merchants (Bowen 2011).

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