In The Art of Being, Erich Fromm voices harsh criticisms of the moneyed guru types that amass wealth by selling pathways to spiritual enlightenment. He worries that this turns spirituality into a commodity-a concern that I share. But his argument also rests on the premise that achieving enlightenment must be difficult, and that these gurus only sell an immediate feeling of peace and well-being that is unsustainable. For Fromm, this does not lead to true enlightenment.
Immanuel Kant believed that enlightenment was not achievable for the individual, but that each person’s growth contributed to the eventual enlightenment of humanity as a whole.
Clearly achieving enlightenment is markedly difficult for nearly every human being on this earth. But my question for you tonight is, does it have to be? And, do the smaller moments of joy, peace and connectedness “count” or are they just mostly insignificant snippets of true enlightenment? What do you think?