Chad:I will not try to define enlightenment because I'm sure that it means different things to different people.
Dan: How does that stop you from defining it? If you can talk about it you must have some idea what it means to you..
Chad: Enlightenment to me is the gift of being able to gain insight and use that insight to solve problems.
But doesn't the notion of "intelligence" cover that?
Yes, however the English language is replete with redundancy.
And insight into what?
Into life in general. When a person solves a problem they gain insight; and arguably, even when a person fails to solve a problem they also gain insight; at least from the perspective that they learned that a certain approach fails.
What genre of "problems" are you referring to?
I'm speaking generally.
I know I'm being picky but what you said seems too nebulous to me.
Well, speaking generally carries with it a certain degree of vagueness. Feel free to narrow the discussion by citing a particular genre or possibly even a specific example. I introduce the concept of performing addition later in the post as a specific exmple.
Chad: However, I feel qualified to assert that a key element of enlightenment is to remain teachable.
Dan:[...] "teachable" with respect to what? The mundane features of life or what is ultimately true of Reality?
Chad: Teachable as in willing and able to learn.
Ok, but learn about what? Everday practical matters or things of a more ultimate nature? If you mean the former then sure, I agree.
Yes, everyday practical matters were precisely what I had in mind.
But with respect to the latter the enlightened person has nothing more to learn.
It appears that our ideas of what constitutes "enlightened" differ. Using your apparent view, that an enlightened person has nothing more to learn, I assert that there are no such persons. I believe enlightenment to be a journey, not a destination.
That's part of what enlightenment is - knowledge of what is ultimately true.
I agree with that because knowing anything that is true is part and parcel of being enlightened, but I also believe that enlightenment is incremental meaning that two arbitary individuals can be at different levels of enlightenment.
I am unsure what you mean by "or that which is true of reality in an absolute sense."
By that I mean the matters about which philosophy is formally concerned. Matters pertaining to Ultimate Reality. Once these are understood, because they are principles rather than contingent facts, there is nothing more to learn. Once you understand things such as the relativity of all finite things, that all things are caused, that Reality is infinite, that God doesn't exist etc, there's noting more to learn about such matters. One simply functions on the basis of the consequences of such knowledge.
I've never formally studied philosophy but it sounds like you are promoting conceptual understanding e.g. If a person knows how to perform addition, then that person can successfully complete any addition problem.
Chad: and if one is truly enlightened then they will recognize their own flaws and inevitable mistakes and failures, prepare for them as best they can and learn from them when their preemptive preparations fail.
Dan: What kind of flaws are you refering to?
Chad: Some examples include compulsions to deceive, steal, even murder.
Well, ok, those are pretty serious flaws!
Of course, those are extreme examples. A flaw is any quality that causes someone to make a mistake. Carelessness is a good example; if a person knows how to perform addition but makes a mistake in their calculations because, for example, they are pressed for time, then it can be attributed to carelessness. The goal in this case would be for the individual in question to own the mistake and perform calculations more carefully in the future.
Such compulsions would likely be viewed as character flaws in an organized society, but granted, it is based on contemporary societal norms. I must concede that the reverse would be true within a "gang" culture where sociopathical activity is espoused as a badge of worthiness for membership.
Well, yes, but character traits that are demanded of one's own group are never demanded against one's perceived enemies. You can deceive and steal from and even kill them, because, well, they are bad and probably deserve it. Probably Iraqi.
Thats all part of the culture of war. Dehumanization of the enemy is a psychological tactic that helps a soldier to reconcile any conflict he has with killing the enemy.
But what about more subtle forms of character fla such as egotism, willful ignorance. Don't you think those are entirely widespread and essentially give rise to all other flaws?
Those are excellent examples of character flaws. I don't know if they are the root of all other flaws but they are definitely undesirable traits. Character flaws are, IMO, a higher challenge than that which is posed by more practical aspects. A good illustration is a careless person making mistakes in addition. Carelessness causes the mistakes, the mistakes can be corrected, but until one's tendency to be careless (the underlying cause) is corrected, the mistakes in addition will likely continue.