The Enlightenment was an 18th century movement that took a rational and scientific approach to social, economic, religious, and political issues. Enlightenment thinkers sought to lead the world out of the Dark Ages, a time of irrationality and superstition, and into a period of unending progress in a variety of disciplines. Followers placed great faith in the power of human reason and believed that through observation and rationality, underlying truths about nature and humanity could be uncovered.
This ideological shift led to many artistic, philosophical, and political developments including humanism, realism, and modernism. It also contributed to the rise of bureaucratic institutions and defined the world in dualisms. This belief set contributed to the view that things were clearly defined, and that for each element there was an opposing counter element. This constructed clarity was perhaps an element in the colonialist developments of the 19th century as well as the rise of fascism, and what Frantz Fanon refers to as Manichaeism.