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The role of illustration in the formation of public opinion in today’s society
The concept of the Enlightenment arose in the mid -18th century and lasted until the first years of the 19th century. This current had great influence on the great revolutions such as: the French, industrial and North American revolution that transformed political, cultural and social aspects at that time.
For Luisa Salazar, the Enlightenment is called "The Century of Lights since at that time faith and reason were the light on the dark, this being human ignorance".
In that sense, the 18th century was for Europe a period in which countries were still governed by monarchies and elites that reserved for themselves and access to academic education and instruction, which is why the majority of the population wasilliterate and his opinion, did not exist or lacked importance and voice for the government.
This general lack of access to education added to what Kant calls "a lack of decision and value to serve by itself" (Kant, 1784: 2), referring to the use of reason and intelligence to take care of one’s own life, give rise to and justify the appearance of the Enlightenment. This philosophical movement was proposed, promoted and defined by renowned representatives such as Rousseau, Voltaire, James Watt, Barón de Montesquieu. But, the main one was Immanuel Kant and raises the following definition:
“The Enlightenment is the departure of the man from his guilty minority car. The minority of age means the inability to use their own understanding, without the guidance of another. Oneself is guilty of this minority of age when the cause of it does not reside in the lack of understanding, but in the lack of decision and value to use itself without the guidance of another ”.
According to what is stated by Kant, the Enlightenment offers people a higher state of self-responsibility and knowledge in which they become aware of their role in society, as well as the duty they have to use intelligence and reason to make listenHis opinion about what they consider is not correct and goes against their civil rights, therefore an “enlightened” person is someone capable of thinking for himself, who does not delegate to third parties the work of making important decisions and thatFind in reason, intelligence, in the constant search for knowledge, the tools to free itself from the "yoke of guardianship".
Thus, intellectual autonomy and taking charge of oneself, as well as their opinion, constitute the "intellectual majority", according to this idea, it is appropriate to ask if today’s society, and specifically Colombian society is still in condition ofintellectual minority.
To answer this question it is necessary to take into account the social and economic context of Colombia, which is in a process of "intellectual awakening" motivated by new ways to conceive the world and greater access to information.
Although in 18th -century Europe the information was controlled by the clergy and the church, today it is the great media who handle the data, which hinders and clounts the vision of the people, causing them to lose a certain part ofautonomy, although, on the other hand, every day the number of people with critical sense and autonomous thought is greater. Therefore, I can affirm that today’s society is in a process of gradual awakening and day -to -daysay and decide on your future. However, there are still many cases of individuals who entrust the work of thinking about the government or the media.
This critical thinking is fundamental when forming public opinion in people and about the issues of interest in the country, such as politics, economy, health, and education, which are always present in society.
Similarly, this critical thinking is the ability to analyze events, therefore, "enlightened" or "intellectually emancipated" are fundamental for the objective formation of public opinion.
I consider that in Colombia public opinion is divided into two groups on the one hand are the people who follow the media and traditional journalism, often loaded with political preferences and on the other, people who seek reason in different sources by comparingand analyzing information to form an independent criterion, demonstrating the importance of an illustrated society against public opinion.
Foucault and Kant’s thinking
As for the question, what is the Enlightenment?, An exclusive reference to the German philosopher Kant cannot be made, by directly relating to the author Michael Foucault, due to homonymy between the titles of both readings.
Well, the answer to this question generally depends on the link that the author may have with his time. It means the above, that each of them develops arguments under their own experience and of the time they lived. In that sense, for Kant, talking about the minority of age meant looking at the world with other eyes, from the changes being the most logical if it is analyzed that at that time the modernity was ongoing and in the same way all the all thetransformations that modernity brings.
Foucault, studies the relationship of philosophy with the present, which he calls "ontology of the present", in order to relate knowledge, philosophy and most importantly, their link with the thinkers and the position they must assume.
However, for Kant it is not a mere science or system, he relates the thinker with the time when he corresponds to live, making him part of the community (we) making him a subject who gets involved with his present. It is precisely that term of the "we" on which, Foucault believes that there are many cultural aspects that are a part of what we can call today, making necessary a reflexive process by the thinkers to the extent that they cannot be excluded from theirenvironment, of its news, and social reality.
In this regard, Foucault states that:
“What is, then, that event called AUFKLARUNG and that has determined, in part at least, what we are, what we think, and what we do today? Imagine that Berlinishe Monatschrift still exists in our day and that the question is asked: What is modern philosophy?;Perhaps it can be answered as in an echo: modern philosophy is the one that tries to answer the question thrown two centuries ago, with such imprudence: was ist afklarung?".
In sum, to the above Foucault proposes to integrate the speech, because in his opinion he can not only form subjects, but also constitutes a regulation mechanism. In this way, the subject always relates to his speech by making his own rituals, through circumstances, or behaviors.
In spite. Contrary to this, Foucault, bases the importance of discourse not only for what can be said expressly, but also from relationships, however, the minority of age is a state by which each subject is responsible.
- Kant, i. (1784). Answer to the question: What is the Enlightenment? Recovered from: https: // geography.Files.WordPress.com/2013/01/kant_ilustration.PDF
- Foucault, m. (1993). What is illustration? Philosophy Magazine.