The ideal of individualism is a core value of Western culture. A society’s world view specifies personas that regulate how citizens interact thus bringing about social stability but opposing individualism. Enlightenment is the emergence of a world view that guides creating self-identities that also produce a new kind and level of social cohesion. The history of Western culture is a sequence of four enlightenments each differentiating a new world view leading to a greater degree of individualism that also promotes social cohesion. The third, modern science enlightenment, which followed the Greek and Medieval enlightenments, produced the mystical objectivity vision that reality is unknowable, but one can construct valid, interpretations of it. This vision, while generating constitutional, liberal democracies, degenerated to rational positivism and radical, laissez-faire individualism. The differentiation of the fourth enlightenment, which began around 1885 with avant garde modernism, accepted but subordinated positivism to subjective constructivism. After the 1960s countercultural revolution, it produced postmodernism that generated radical, ego constructivism that, if pervasive, would destroy any society. Back lash to this radicalism produced government gridlock and cultural wars. The election in 2008 of Barack Obama to be the U.S. president will bring an extensive political realignment. In creative dialogue with Americans, especially Millennials, President Obama will symbolize the maturation of the fourth enlightenment.
|Keywords:||Barack Obama, 2008 Presidential Election, Millennials, Narrative Constructivism, Creative Dialogue, Mystical Perspective, Scientific Constructivism, Positivism, Scientific Enlightenment Transdisciplinarity, Manichaeanism|
Teacher and Professor of Biology, Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA
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