I see ‘enlightenment’ as understanding all things in existence are kin. We all have the same basis for existing and owe all of our consciousness to the massive, complicated, mash up of evolved forms from atoms to chemicals to cells to organs which create a path for our entire body to work together. Quantum soup creates atomic building blocks which create atoms which create molecules which create DNA which instructs bacteria on how to create cells which create organs which work together to make a human which create society which together create all of the amazing fabrications surrounding us by exploiting the laws by which atoms, molecules, bacteria, cells and organs work.

Enlightenment is defined by Google:

  • n. The act or a means of enlightening.
  • n. The state of being enlightened.
  • n. A philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms. Used with the.

While researching the Buddhist/Hindu form of enlightenment, I realized the term is universally relative to the user. The Buddhist/Hindu form is more like an intense feeling of peace, calm, serenity, or the pinnacle of meditation.

Do you a personal definition?

Views: 79

Comment by Jake LaFort on January 31, 2017 at 5:56pm

Enlightenment is the realization that we are limited and may never get answers to ultimate questions. Enlightenment is the realization that as we become more educated we sense how ignorant we are. Enlightenment is the realization that those who assert knowledge of ultimate reality have not a fucking clue and are dangerous. To be enlightened is to to experience moments of existential joy. To be enlightened is to sense the absurdity of existence and the futility in the quest for meaning beyond existentialism.

Comment by Davis Goodman on January 31, 2017 at 6:42pm

The most important kind of enlightenment, is escaping the kind of ignorance mankind has, that is the ignorance which was a bi-product of how we evolved into intelligent animals that could quickly adapt to completely new environments. There is a price to evolving into an intelligent species and that price is inventing nonsense explanations behind almost everything and an extreme reluctance to change these explanations over time. An example of the most well known moments where man kind (some of man kind) was enlightened (in this sense) are:

Realising there are universal unhangable laws in nature and applying those laws to utilize objects in new ways and predict things in new ways

Realising that there is no supernatural

Realising that the best way to gain reliable knowledge is through objective analysis, well contructed testing, falsifiable theories and rigorous attempts to disprove it...continually trying to improve upon the theories.

Realising that different forms of sexuality are common in nature, can be accepted within cultures and the world will not explode when members of the same sex live together.

Realising the toxic problems man kind have when they congregate in groups of say, more than 200 people, and the tools needed to ensure one group is not notably discriminated against or suffer for the betterment of the rest (to some extent at least).

Realising that there is no need to define gender roles, limit one gender and that society and personal relationships highly benefit gender inclusivity and mutual respect.

Realising eye colour, skin colour, hair colour, body deformities, penis size, shape of the nose, missing fingers etc. says almost nothing about the person.

Realising we can put the dignity and autonomy of the individual human above supernatural claims, political ideologies, tradition and dogma.

Realising fully how the body works and the means to maintain/repair it (even repairing the gross stuff inside).

Realising the invisible world and the particles, tiny organisms and physical forces that come with it.

Realising the enormity of the universe we live in and the unremarkable position Earth has...as NOT the centre of the world.

Realising that there are limits to our knowledge and that absolute certainty is an impossibility.

Realising that all things die and that you almost definitely won't graduate to a spooky magical world after brain death.

Realising the roots of the human species through natural selection

Realising the explanations behind geological, climatological and aquatic features (no it wasn't caused by Zeus).

and so on.

Comment by Belle Rose on February 1, 2017 at 2:23am
I think to be enlightened means to reach our highest potential and the utmost peace about ourselves. I remember starting a discussion once about Nirvana...and there's this idea of blowing out a candle (or something) that means (I think) we learn to master our own mind, desires and actions.

I think I've reached a place of enlightenment. It doesn't mean you are perfect or that your life is perfect. It means you know how to ride the waves and let go of the things you can't control, master the things you can, and be true to yourself.

I was very fortunate. And now, I am paying it forward.
Comment by destitute on February 1, 2017 at 5:18am

a stipulative definition of enlightenment? I personally don't use the word.  I'm guessing some use it as synonymous with epiphany and insight?

Comment by Simon Paynton on February 1, 2017 at 6:19am

I think it's got to do with freedom from desire and aversion, and with perfect truth and compassion. 

Comment by Andrew Brown on February 1, 2017 at 5:03pm


I love the sentiment!

Enlightenment is something that happens to you many times during a curious life. Some people say Enlightenment is as simple as learning a new fact everyday, others won't use it without an Epiphany, and other won't use it without an intense spiritual experience.

I say they are all justified as long as they can explain the meaning to another.

Words are just proper names for common ideas. Using more words to explain yourself is never a problem, it just takes longer :)

Comment by Belle Rose on February 1, 2017 at 5:09pm

I think it's more a state of mind that never goes away no matter what life throws at you......you know?

Comment by Belle Rose on February 1, 2017 at 5:12pm

Oh and I think a lot of enlightenment means learning to manage our attachments to things and people. That (for me) is HUGE - again the idea of Nirvana - blowing out a candle meaning relinquishing the urge to try to control things and people, and instead controlling your own mind. I think this thing we call life is 90% mental lol. It's ALL IN OUR HEADS! Hahahahahahahahaha!!!

Comment by Simon Paynton on February 2, 2017 at 1:40am

@Belle, you might be interested in Steve Taylor and his ideas on spiritual awakening. 


Comment by Simon Paynton on February 2, 2017 at 1:42am

In his book "Out of the Darkness" he talks about how liberating it is to let go of attachments.  Check out his website too https://www.stevenmtaylor.com/


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2021   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service