³Secularism and science replaced religion and mythology as theuppermost areas for intellectual exploration, discrediting many long-standing esoteric traditions.The effects spread from the arts and natural sciences to history, rhetoricand government, with the utilitarian aim of ³the promotion of a better life on earth by making man more rational, and therefore wiser, more just, virtuous and happy.´Achieved by avoiding the ³uncritical acceptance of the evidence of one¶s senses [«] of misunderstanding of words, of confusions bred bythe speculative fantasies of philosophers,´ (Bacon) the ³clouding of reason by emotions´ (Spinoza) and the ³fallacies and confusions due tothe misuse of language´ (Valla, Locke and Berkeley).Language had been handed over to the grammarians, knowledge to theencyclopaedists,´and the emergence of a secular world-view left littlespace altogether for esoteric and magical thinking.
Isaiah Berlin, µThe Divorce between the Sciences and the Humanities,¶
Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas
(London: 1955; Pimlico, 1997), pp. 80-109 (pp. 83-87)Christine Bergé, µIlluminism,¶
Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism,
pp. 600-606 (p.601)