The Enlightenment had a positive, optimistic dimension.
Like Thomas Paine said, the American Revolution, and the emergence of universal human rights, naturally endowed, means we can start all over, starting now!
Then it got dark. The Enlightenment still suffered the old delusions of grandeur, conserved as naturally endowed, and the new method for knowing how nature really works became the dismal science of creating surplus value.
Breaking Bad on the Goods
Creating more goods than The People are paid to consume (in the aggregate) is an emergent property (progressing the object of singularity) on demand. Classical economists (like Adam Smith and Karl Marx) called this surplus value. Since its value had the old identity of being attributed to the god-like delusions of “the ruling class” (hoarding the value of labor) it meant a crisis proportion, to which there was (and still is) a noble obligation–a duty to control for the moral hazard–on demand, of course.
Far from being Enlightened, the surplus was accumulated and distributed in an aggregate (gamma-risk) dimension to control for the externalities (the fully assumed risk of loss). Referred to as “networking the externalities” (attaining a TBTF proportion) it appears that (like Hobbes postulated) we are compulsively self-destructive (naturally existing in a TBTF dimension), which then requires elite authority, much like the model of power we use now, having the authority to control for the probable risk of extreme detriment, naturally existing in the aggregate dimension.
Even today, it appears that the capacity to use nature (surplussing value in the pursuit of happiness) far outpaces the duty to the self (actualizing the moral imperative) as we get progressively closer to what objective reality actually is on demand. (See articles by griffithlighton on the “factorial” and “retributive value”–published on the World Wide Web.)
The Enlightenment was positive. It was a bright, new identity, but on the dark side, we were destined to move down on the up indicator. Now, here we are, breaking bad on the goods, surplussing value, going up on the down indicator, deriving the good from the bad by default.
Existential Objectivisim argues to be the positivist logic of an arbitrary existence. If a meaningful existence is just whatever a person makes of it, then power is, naturally, a function of me aggressively resisting you. It is Nietzsche’s nihilism…the postulate of self-destruction!
Is that really the naturally endowed value of universal human rights we expect from modeling a natural existence?
When using the scientific method, and we outpace the capacity to use it without causing mega-mayhem, or the always menacing madness of a Mutually Assured Destruction, are we not actually measuring the duty to passively deal with the aggravating detriment, aggressing on a daily basis, resisting absolutely nothing?
Do we really have to swap universal rights for the dark delusions of grandeur Objectivists say dominate a natural existence in the positive pursuit of happiness?
Necessitated nihilism, naturally aggressing in the pursuit of happiness, is pure poppycock!
Aggressing a passive resistance at the margin does not have to be the picture of “The Scream!” Rather, the rapid expansion of knowhow (surplus) at the margin exists the measure of moral imperative.
It is not just empty space at the margin, but a measurable (aggressive) passive resistance, categorically defined (occupying space over time), always having useful value (meaning!) NOW (always existing at the margin).
The moral imperative (right or wrong) is always now. It is a measurable existence that, without the arguable ambivalence of a natural, available, on-demand ambiguity, otherwise means categorically nothing.
Aggressively expanding the marginal existence (what capitalism refers to as the marginal profit) resists nothing, allowing us to move up on the down side and actually know the real value of the surplus, existing beyond the mere belief (or any delusion) of its natural, moral existence.
Surplus value is, really, the American Dream. It provides the opportunity for everyone to enjoy its value, with common divisibility, in the pursuit of happiness.