Some observations on An Answer to the Question: “What is Enlightenment?” by Immanuel Kant.
I find it interesting that Kant uses metaphors denoting struggle, effort, and breaking of bonds as essential to the achievement of enlightenment. By my reading of Kant it is impossible to achieve enlightenment, a state of human maturity, by doing nothing. One must make an effort and toil to achieve enlightenment. Kant believes that public/societal enlightenment can be achieved by ensuring the freedom of the individual to reason in public.
“Thus it would be very harmful if an officer receiving an order from his superiors were to quibble openly, while on duty, about the appropriateness or usefulness of the order in question. He must simply obey. But he cannot reasonably be banned from making observations as a man of learning on the errors in the military service, and from submitting these to his public for judgement.”
Kant uses the example of a clergyman who is compelled to preach in accord with church dogma while in church, but who must be permitted to use his public reason in a public domain in oder to achieve his own enlightenment:
“For to maintain that the guardians of the people in spiritual matters should themselves be immature, is an absurdity which amounts to making absurdities permanent.”
Kant believed that rules and edicts that are set in stone for all time are contrary to progress toward enlightenment which he says is a human entitlement.
Which leads me to the tension that is at the heart of my thesis and that is who has sovereignty over what a person says about their work in a public space? Where does work begin and end? And even if a company can argue that they do have dominion over a person’s speech on a private blog, is the denial of their rights, and therefore of their potential to achieve some form of enlightenment, the best or smartest strategy.
I argue it’s not.