Sunday, November 18, 2012

On Viewing the World

A good friend of mine always forces me to think hard about reality. When we have coffee, chaos is always part of the equation with creativity, science, art and governance always bandied about, as we do muffins and java, with complete abandon. To that end, the topic of Thomas Paine and his impact on America, was introduced into the discussion, something that intrigued yours truly as Paine has always been a hero of mine as one who viewed the world in truly modern terms. In talking about Paine, I found out, through Doug, that he was and remains, the best selling author in America courtesy of his pamphlet Common Sense,  the document that jump started the American Revolution, "at a time when the question of seeking independence was still undecided"

While thinking about Paine, yours truly recollected another seminal thinker who's viewpoint on the world was just as revolutionary. Denis Diderot,  the French philosopher, who dared to question religion and governance, with a dash of scientific inquiry, stated his point of view with the same eloquence and power as that of Paine, the forgotten Founding Father of the United States of America.

Reading unfiltered Paine and Diderot is definitely the best way to see why these people mattered.



Because Diderot was French and preceded Paine by a few years, chances are Paine read Diderot when Paine was in France writing his The Rights of Man given just how similar their world views were.

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