Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 March 2021
1745 E. Young Consolation 97 Nature delights in Progress; in Advance From Worse to Better: But, when Minds ascend, Progress, in Part, depends upon Themselves.Edward Young, Oxford English Dictionary
This metaparadigm will see the onset of the concept of “progress” in the inquiry and findings of all the arts and sciences. Moreover, it will stress the individual challenge and leadership in this endeavor in the initial three phases. The word “progress” did exist since the Early Enlightenment, but mostly in the understanding of advancement, but not in the concept of Progress as the rationale for human problem-solving that became the hallmark of the Modernist era. Young is the first who wrote on this subject extensively.
Additional epigraphs of the age:
This author stands now upon a hill where he can see more than the limited way others see before them (Prologue). What the education of single individual is, is the revelation for all humankind (Par. 1). Education is revelation that occurs for the individual; and revelation is education that has occurred for humankind, and still can occur (Par. 2) …
Education gives the person nothing that he cannot have on his own, only it is quicker and easier. Indeed, revelation cannot give humankind anything they cannot themselves grasp from their own reason, if left to themselves, only it gave and gives him the most important of things earlier (Par. 4).
There can be a third spirit of the times (Par. 89), beyond the lowest level of spiritual knowledge we received as humankind in our youngest years, when the old testament gave us law (Pars. 26 and 27). Beyond that as adolescent humankind we received the higher level of truth where the eternal nature of Christ's spirit within us pointed our way (Par. 75). Now, we can ourselves be the truth sayer based upon our own self-understanding, and the understanding of others (Par. 86).Gottfried Ephraim Lessing, The Education of Humankind (1780)
Lessing has captured in this observation the spirit of the Late Enlightenment, as well as the decades that follow in this Second Modern metaparadigm. Humankind is now selfaware, and learning more about its own complexity.