The Enlightenment – An overview

The Enlightenment – An overview


The Enlightenment came about in the 18th century and freed Western civilisation from the stranglehold of religious fundamentalism. It enabled all the progress we now take for granted.

Prior to this time there was a type of extreme fundamentalism that was akin to ISIS. It was illegal to oppose Christian religious belief. Europe was a theocracy. The word of god was the only rule. Heretics, or those the Church/establishment deemed to be heretic could be tortured to death to save their souls. All methods of torture were devised and deployed including the most barbaric that can be imagined.

To even publish the Bible in English was an offence punishable by death. The Church wanted the power and that resided with the clergy. It was not right for ordinary people to have access to the teachings; they could misinterpret the meaning.

It was a regular event to have blasphemers, witches and heretics publicly burnt to death. Science and rationalism were not permitted.

What is obvious is that all this was much more to do with power than religion.

In the 1620s there was a scientific revolution which brought about a wave of rationalism and doubt. The theological certainties of flat earth, earth at the centre of creation and even man in god’s image were brought into question.

In the 18th Century philosophers such as Kant developed the philosophy of rationalism. This grew among the intellectual classes and led to a movement to create a society based on reason. This led to the separation of religion from politics and the formation of a secular culture.

Secular politics was based on tolerance and reason.

The philosopher Locke the radical idea that government should be through the consent of the people and not the imposition of religious dogma.

This led to a flourishing of the Arts and Science which created the greatest impetus of social development in the history of the world. The West flourished.

The enlightenment led to the ethos of the French Revolution – Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

It separated the state from religion.

It led to the American revolution and the enshrined doctrine of freedom, religious freedom and individuality.

It has enabled the West to create democracy, pluralism, tolerance, freedom, science, liberalisation, the arts and a diverse and vital culture.

If we had not had an enlightenment and reformation we would still be in medieval costume burning Catholics, Muslims and anyone who was different in our public squares.

Long Live the Enlightenment! Something worth fighting for!


Poetry – What we stand for – I can’t hear you!

Poetry – What we stand for – I can’t hear you!


What we stand for

The freedoms we have, the standards we enjoy, have been well fought for with blood, thought and bravery. Nothing is given lightly and the freedoms and standard are rapidly eroded.

We are paid with sops while the top table dine on swallows’ eggs.

The inequality that runs the world is creating poverty, war and disease. It is time we stopped electing psychopaths and began to look at a fairer way of running things.

This inequality breeds fundamental madness.

In order to look into the future it is best to have a firm knowledge of the past.

Britain has achieved much but there is still much worth fighting for. The world is in a mess.

The planet is being trashed. Wild-life is being decimated. There is mass migration due to fascism, fundamentalism, climate change, overpopulation and war.

Who’s shouting?

I can’t hear you?


What we stood for


There is resilience.

There is determination.

There is skill.

There’s a sense of justice.


And ‘trouble at mill’.


Industrial revolution,

The enlightenment,

And Trade Unions too;

Scientific discovery,

Evolutionary theory,

And a benevolence or two.



With revolutionary style,

Education for the masses

And going the extra mile.

Fighting for a worker’s rights

With intelligence and guile.

Forcing through new laws

To create fairness in the trial.


So much we owe

To so many in the past.

Still more to do

To make their efforts last.


Opher 11.12.2015

Anthropocene Apocalypse – Imagine a world without Chimpanzees, Elephants, Gorillas, Rhinos, Orang-utans, Hippos, Tigers and thousands more. That’s what we are heading towards.

dolphins 5chimp ptg00402816 - Copy Elephants butchered Elephant tusks

All over the world the population of humans is soaring, the habitats are being polluted or destroyed, jungles being cleared, strip mining, logging and farming are taking their toll, and the animals are being slaughtered for meat or superstitious medicine.

We seem to be sleep-walking towards a concrete jungle.

The seas and rivers are overfished, the natural world is built over.

It’s time to make clear lines of demarcation – 50% for us and 50% for the rest of the animal life.

It is almost too late.

Consciousness – a poem


Firing electricity through
Throbbing pink jelly
To create
A version of reality.

Altering perception
Flooding with chemistry
A new world to see.

An unreal world
Not the real deal
Just Biology
Pretending to be real.

Opher 22.6.2019

I’m always fascinated by our consciousness. We really believe we see and feel the universe as it is – which, of course, is a joke. All our consciousness is, is a product of chemistry and electricity.
If we stimulated our sensory nerves the brain would perceive things that did not exist. It makes things up anyway. What we see is not what it is.
Flood your brain with chemicals and reality changes.
Our conscious is a construct. It is not real.

Time we cared – a poem

Time we cared


Ice is melting – water rising

Up to their knees

And still denying.


Bird croaks it’s last fanfare

Frog’s last gasp

Of heated air.


We carry on without a care.


Heat increases – animals frying

Floods and droughts –

Not surprising.


Still they believe scientists are lying.


Concrete and plastic – land and sea

I’m alright Jack

Don’t worry about me!


Trophy hunting – forest clearing

Sounds to me

That no-ones hearing!


At least that’s what I’m a fearin’.


Making room for bird and tree

Before they pass

Into history.


Buried under life’s debris.


But it’s always the cash that counts

Stashed away

In large amounts.


Whatever they do it’s the cash

As long as they’ve got

Their share of the stash.


I think we’re heading for one ginormous crash.


Opher – 22.18.2019



I wrote this for the politically motivated climate change deniers! May they wake up soon!

Guanatanamo Bay – an offence to civilised behaviour.

Guantanamo Bay is a complete flouting of international war. It should be vilified by all civilised people. The fact that it exists at all is an illustration of what I believe is wrong with the USA.

Following Al Qaeda attack of 9/11 there was what was called ‘A War Against Terror’. Despite the fact that the 9/11 was carried out mainly by Saudi Arabians (an ally) with no Iraqis involved, it was decided to invade Iraq – and then Afghanistan (which at least did have some connection with the planning – although some planning was carried out in Germany and they weren’t bombed).

The turmoil in the Middle East resulted in the rise of various militant Islamic groups such as ISIS.

A lot of ISIS soldiers and other terrorist suspects were rounded up.

There was a new term in use – unlawful combatant.

Despite the fact that these people (Taliban and ISIS and Al Qaeda) were largely fighting in their own lands they were rounded up and designated ‘unlawful combatants’.

Nobody knew what to do with them. There were no ways of processing them. If released they might go back to fighting.

So they weren’t awarded prisoner of war status. They were not held on US territory. They were shipped to Guantanamo Bay where they could be held indefinitely in subhuman cages. They were not given a trial or any due process and were tortured.

This basically means that anybody could be rounded up, locked up and tortured at will. All human rights were denied.

Now, I know many will shout – ‘Good riddance’ ‘They deserve it!’ ‘They are a bunch of terrorists’.

Well I contend that if they are terrorists they should be tried in a court and punished accordingly. If they are soldiers they should be afforded prisoner of war status. And if they are innocent they should be set free.

Guantanamo seems to me to be a brutal, uncivilised way to treat human beings. If we are setting an example to the rest of the world I don’t think this is the way to do it.

Guantanamo is an outrage!

Neil Young – Seed Justice

I won’t quit either! Big corporations destroying land for greed. Big logging companies destroying habitat and killing animals. Big corporations selling modified seed, seed that does not produce viable seed, to farmers so they have to keep buying it. Big corporations greed destroying nature for profit!

Justice for all living creatures!!

I won’t quit!!

Show me the love
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
Fighting for the farmer in the land
In the good old ways that were here
Since time began
Slapping and clapping at the corporations greedy hands
For trying to steal the farm credo
Turning soil into sand
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
Bring back seed justice to the land
Bring back seed justice to the land
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
In the way we treat the earth
And in all living things
Do we know what they are worth?
Show me the love
We keep poor creatures down
To stand in their own sh*t
Then we blindly go on
And kill it, to eat it
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
Bring back seed justice to the land
Bring back seed justice to the land
I won’t quit
I won’t quit

There are no Answers – A Poem

There Are No Answers


There are no answers

To the heavens,

To life,

To thought.

There are no answers.


There are no answers

To death.

There are no reasons

To be found

For being,


Or wondering.

There are no answers.


But there are mighty questions

To be wondered at.


Opher 1.8.2018



To sit among the wonders of infinity and wonder – that is remarkable. I find myself surrounded by questions with no answers in sight.

But it is good to wonder.

So What Are You Happy With Oph?

So what are you happy with Oph?

I am happy to believe that humans are capable of using their intelligence for the good of all living creatures and themselves.

I am happy when I see people smiling, helping one another and caring for other living things.

I am happy when I hear of people opposing cruelty, conserving nature, and using their intelligence.

I am happy when I see beauty, hear beauty, taste beauty and touch beauty.

I am happy when I love and am loved.

I am happy when we are in harmony with the world.

I am an extremely tolerant easy going individual. I do not want everyone to think like me. I am appalled by the mess we have made in the world and I hold religion, politics and greed to be the worst culprits.