Tychiformation as “Neo-Enlightenment”

I recently corresponded with my dear friend Jeff Stevenson; an astute intellectual colleague. Jeff, who is familiar with my work, made an interesting observation that got me thinking. Citing the Enlightenment Movement of yore, he indicated that tychiformation perhaps reflects a contemporary parallel, which he dubs “Neo-Enlightenment”; he meant this in a positive sense, contrary to an earlier usage of the term to designate a counter enlightenment movement, also referred to as “Dark-Enlightenment”, or as Jeff labels it “Endarkenment”. Jeff cited contemporary political and societal ills, and pointed out the role of “Neo-Enlightenment” in addressing them.

The Enlightenment Movement, also referred to as “The Age of Reason”, was widely popular in Europe in the eighteenth century. It promoted personal liberty, tolerance, freedom of religion, and the separation of church and religion; among many other progressive doctrines. Most notably, the movement promoted reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy. Reading Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy”, way back in the sixties, I learned about the work of many who contributed to the emergence of the Enlightenment Movement, such as Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, David Hume, and Adam Smith.

The conditions that prevailed in the eighteenth century have evolved considerably since then. At present, civic society reflects numerous facets that were sought then, but are well established today; such as democratic republics that elect their leaders and law makers, and judicial structures that apply the law. Albeit, in time, we constantly discover glitches in contemporary civic structures, and new issues that need to be scrutinized and addressed. Thus, “Neo-Enlightenment” is meant to designate a movement that addresses contemporary universal issues in the same spirit as the original “Enlightenment”. Today, it is reflected in the views of many, as expressed in books, newspapers and television, as well as, more recently, in the social media. As such, I appreciate Jeff Stevenson’s suggestion to include tychiformation under his notable classification.

In addition, I wish to take this opportunity to highlight certain pertinent aspects of tychiformation. In particular, the application of a rigorous planning methodology in addressing contemporary global issues reflects two relevant points: a) it is considered to be novel, thus earning the designation “neo”, and b) it promotes and applies reasoning as the primary approach to addressing the human predicament, thus displaying affinity with the “Enlightenment Movement”.

Author: Ismail Rifaat

Ismail Rifaat is an architect and urban planner with extensive international experience in architecture and city planning. He also served as planning expert on two United Nations assignments. He is the author of "Shaping the Future: For the People, By The People" and "Planning for Survival". Both titles are available on Amazon.com.

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