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What Is Enlightenment Immanuel Kant Enlightenment is mans release from his self-incurred tutelage Tutelage is mans inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another Sapere aude1 Have courage to use your own reason--that is the motto of enlightenment Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a portion of mankind after nature has long since discharged them from external direction naturaliter maiorennes nevertheless remains under lifelong tutelage and why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians It is so easy not to be of age If I have a book which understands for me a pastor who has a conscience for me a physician who decides my diet and so forth I need not trouble myself I need not think if I can only pay--others will readily undertake the irksome work for me That the step to competence is held to be very dangerous by the far greater portion of mankind and by the entire fair sex--quite apart from its being arduous--is seen to by those guardians who have so kindly assumed superintendence over them After the guardians have first made their domestic cattle dumb and have made sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone Actually however this danger is not so great for by falling a few times they would finally learn to walk alone But an example of this failure makes them timid and ordinarily frightens them away from all further trials For any single individual to work himself out of the life under tutelage which has become almost his nature is
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