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Essay Preview: Enlightenment

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Robert Teal Stricklin

College Composition 1 With Workshop

5 July 2011

Professor Roberta Thornton

Obstacles to Enlightenment

In the 18th century there was a German philosopher named Immanuel Kant, who believed that the path we take to enlightenment can be blocked by our own self-imposed immaturity. Super Aude! [Dare to Know], he says. "Have the courage to use your own understanding!" Not only does stating that our self-imposed immaturity lies not in the lack of understanding, but it also lies in the lack of resolve, and courage to use it. He felt that there were three obstacles on the path to enlightenment.

The first obstacle he spoke of was fear. Overcoming the fears instilled in us as a child, and the fears we've developed ourselves. One of my biggest fears I've struggled with is the fear of failure. I've wasted nearly ten years of my life afraid. Afraid of letting people down, afraid of failing at all I try. For example going back to school has been a big fear of mine. "What if I fail? How will I pay back the university? Will it all just have been a big waste of time? What will my kids think of me if I am but another failure in their lives?" Getting down on myself for not finishing high school, and taking the easy way out. But one morning I sat with my seven year old little girl Alexis Nicole, and she said to me, "Daddy why haven't you gone back to school?" I continued to make excuses and dance around the issue when my baby girl said, "you have nothing to be afraid of dad. You're the smartest man I know." I broke down and told her my fear was letting my kids down. She said "I would be more upset, dad, if you didn't try to go back and finish that if you tried and failed." A tear came to my eye as I realized the only thing standing in my way anymore was me. Blame the ex-girlfriend for making my life hard, blame my mom for telling me I'll never be as good as some of my older siblings, or blame my dad for dragging me down while he lost his mind. It's all just excuses because I couldn't deal with the fact I was in my own way. Not them, there's nothing left to be afraid of except my own laziness.

Kant says laziness is a great obstacle on the path to enlightenment. Taking the strength to take what you know and use it, to break free from the shackles of immaturity. Kant also says, "such a portion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance, gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. As a teenager I did everything I could to break free from the shackles of my guardians. At age fourteen I had a part-time job, was still going to school, and spent all my free



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