• Chopin: Piano Concerto #2 In F Minor, Op. 21, B 43 - 3. Allegro Vivace
  • Emanuel Ax/Charles Mackerras: Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment
  • Chopin: Piano Concerto #2, Grand Fantasia On Polish Airs, Grande Polonaise

Chopin - Piano Concerto No. 2 In F Minor, Op. 21, III: Allegro Vivace

Performed by Emanuel Ax on solo piano and Charles Mackerras conducting the Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment

Enlightenment is a destructive process. It
has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the
crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing
through the facade of pretence. It’s the
complete eradication of everything we
imagined to be true.

~ Adyashanti


The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment in Poland were developed later than in the Western Europe, as Polish bourgeoisie was weaker, and szlachta (nobility) culture (Sarmatism) together with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth political system (Golden Liberty) were in deep crisis. The period of Polish Enlightenment began in the 1730s–40s, peaked in the reign of Poland’s last king, Stanisław August Poniatowski (second half of the 18th century), went into decline with the Third Partition of Poland (1795) – a national tragedy inspiring a short period of sentimental writing – and ended in 1822, replaced by Romanticism.

Polish Enlightenment, while sharing many common qualities with the classical Enlightenment movements of Western Europe, also differed from them in many important aspects. Much of the thought of the Western Enlightenment evolved under the oppressive absolute monarchies and was dedicated towards fighting for more freedom. Western thinkers desired Montesquieu’s separation and balance of powers to restrict the nearly unlimited power of their monarchs. Polish Enlightenment, however, developed in a very different background. The Polish political system was almost the opposite of the absolute monarchy: Polish kings were elected and their position was very weak, with most of the powers in the hands of the parliament (Sejm). Polish reforms desired the elimination of laws that transformed their system into a near-anarchy, resulting from abuse of consensus voting in Sejm (liberum veto) that paralyzed the Commonwealth, especially during the times of the Wettin dynasty, reducing Poland from a major European player to the puppet of its neighbours. Thus, while men of the Enlightenment in France and Prussia wrote about the need for more checks and balances on their kings, Polish Enlightenment was geared towards fighting the abuses stemming from too many checks and balances.

The differences did not end there. Townsfolk and bourgeoisie dominated Western Enlightenment movement, while in the Commonwealth most of the reformers came from szlachta (nobility). Commonwealth szlachta (forming the 10% of its population) considered the idea of equality to be one of the foundations of its culture, and reformers fought to expand it towards other social classes. Religious tolerance, was an ideal of the szlachta.

Ideas of that period led eventually to one of the greatest achievements of Poland, the Constitution of May 3, 1791 (second-oldest world constitution) and other reforms (like the creation of the Commission of National Education, first ministry of education in the world) which attempted to transform the Commonwealth into a modern constitutional monarchy.


A friend isn’t a friend until they acknowledge the fact that there will come a time when they will have to choose between what favors them and what favors you, and admit to knowing they won’t pick you. In life, people will always put themselves first. Even in relationships. They put the other person’s happiness first simply because once that person is happy life is that much more tolerable for them. People are selfish and it takes a realist to be up front with that.
—  (bvldior)