Kant's arguments for the enlightenment of humanity appears to be heavily idealized in that he foresees a time in which all of humanity will become enlightened through the process that he describes in these writings. The formation of this end society reminds me of the transition from The One to the many. The process occurs because it has no other option. If there were an option, that, too, would have to be fulfilled in some capacity (I think). However, for Kant, there is only one path or method and through our agency we are able to facilitate the process by becoming enlightened ourselves (i.e. start thinking about things and applying our thought to our actions). I like the idea of motivating people to think about things, but doing this through governance seems contradictory to any real world governmental model (even ours).
Kant's ideas are too narrow for my taste. While I can appreciate his opinion, he is too bold in his assertions. Call me a product of a post-modern society, I guess. The teleological talk just sends me spinning; it rigidly dictates the nature of humanity in such a way that is too constraining for the advancement of new ideas and opportunities that we may happen upon. Again, I'm reading this from my day and my time. I find it very hard to fuse my horizon with a world that is just coming to view reason as critical to advancement (or even advancement as something possible).
While I'm highly critical of Howard Bloom in many ways (e.g. I'm certainly no subscriber to the ideas of strict sociobiology), he does make a few good points in his book The Lucifer Principle. One of these (from memory) is that studies of ant colonies show that even these societies have lethargic and lazy ants that don't seem to accomplish very much while others are dramatically engaged and active in doing the work of the colony. The interesting thing is that when the engaged ants disappear, the "lazy" ants become engaged and the whole colony reforms with a portion being engaged and another portion becoming lazy. To me, this represents a parallel to any social or communal society. Is this because we are driven by our DNA to act in this fashion? Are there psychological issues going on that determine this kind of behavior? Or, is it possible that the very communities that we live in instill this kind of behavior in some epiphenomenal way? I dunno, but it's certainly interesting.
Why yes, it has been years
4 months ago