Thursday, June 22, 2017

On Speaking Truth to Power, Light to Shadows, and Principles to Principalities

Another slow news day. Or rather, "eternals day." Slow but nevertheless foundational. Maybe we can pick up the pace tomorrow...

This morning I had an original thought: the truth sets us free.

I know. No, you can't buy some pot from me.

First of all, free from what? Second, toward what? Analogously, imagine you are trapped inside four walls with no exit. I install a door. You're free! But you still have to open the door and walk out, which points to the link between truth and will: in order to be free, you can't just know the truth but must do the truth. Truth is to freedom as knowledge is to will.

In the previous post we mentioned Kant, who effectively maintains (whether he knows it or not) that freedom isn't possible since truth is inaccessible to us. The "four walls" in the paragraph above are the forms of our sensibility (phenomena), beyond which is the noumenon we cannot know. In short, there may or may not be a reality, but there is certainly no door that leads to it.

Note the crude trick that has kept philosophers in the dark ever since -- as if to say: "man cannot know truth, and that's the truth."

Ironically, the Critique of Pure Reason was published in 1776. One can only thank God that our founders hadn't read it, and wouldn't have taken it seriously anyway. For Kant there can be no self-evident truths about ultimate reality except that we can't know it. Whatever. Go found your own nation based on the principle of unreality.

Better yet, just wait another century and progressives will have begun eating away at our founding truths. In The Political Theory of the American Founding, West writes that the founders had the audacity to claim knowledge of "living principles based on timeless truth." The nerve! Quick, find me a safe space from these fascists who presume to know ultimate truth and want to lord it over me!

Going back to our analogy in paragraph three, it is like saying: how dare you claim there is a doorway out of my little prison! Don't even think about installing one, or I'll sue!

Well, the door is there and there's not a thing you can do about it. You might say that the role of government is to maintain and protect the door. The state cannot compel you to actually use it. Rather, you have the right to leave, but no one can force you to do so.

Really, it's a very old story. One of our founding myths is Genesis 3. Another is Plato's allegory of the cave. You have the right to stop being fascinated by the shadows on the cave walls and turn toward the light. But that requires an act of free will. The state will not compel you to leave your cave.

That was before the progressive left took over the educational establishment. The purpose of education used to be to help us leave the cave -- toward the Light of universals truths -- whereas now the purpose is to rivet the mind to the shadows while denying access to the Light that produces them. Mention the Light and you are guilty of violating the "separation between church and state."

Which is a pretext for the left to enforce the separation between appearances and reality, phenomena and noumena, truth and opinion. Which is to literally efface any distinction between freedom and slavery. Which is the whole point. For if you do not possess a priori rights that the first duty of the state is to protect, then the state can do anything to you.

"Most scholars," writes West, agree with uber-moonbat Supreme Court Justice William Brennan "that the founders ideas belong to a 'world that is dead and gone.'" But how can timeless and self-evident truths ever die or go anywhere? If their world is "dead and gone," it wasn't a natural death. Rather, murder. And -- "ironically"-- Brennan was one of the murderers.

The current academic fashion is that man cannot know timeless truths. Therefore, any idiot with a Ph.D. in political science knows that it was equally fashionable in late 19th century America to naively believe in such fancies as "truth" and "freedom." Now we know better that "there is absolutely no foundation for deciding what is right or wrong," even "for preferring democracy over Nazism."

As Richard Rorty libsplains, "there is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves..., no standard of rationality that is not an appeal to such a criterion" (in West). We are sealed inside the Cave, with only competing narratives. And may the most powerful win.

Truly, the left is an organized cosmic inversion that speaks power to truth.

9 comments:

julie said...

One of our founding myths is Genesis 3. Another is Plato's allegory of the cave. You have the right to stop being fascinated by the shadows on the cave walls and turn toward the light. But that requires an act of free will. The state will not compel you to leave your cave.

In discussing Acts morning, we were hearing about how the first Christians - Jews themselves - were persecuted by the Jews and ultimately scattered to surrounding territories to spread the Gospel. Part of the great scandal of their behavior was that they were mingling freely with people who were either unclean or possibly not even Jewish. They stopped being fascinated by the little veiled room at the back of the Temple, and instead dared to preach that the light was everywhere present. Freedom! Scandalous freedom!

The purpose of education used to be to help us leave the cave -- toward the Light of universals truths -- whereas now the purpose is to rivet the mind to the shadows while denying access to the Light that produces them. Mention the Light and you are guilty of violating the "separation between church and state."

Apropos, to my utter surprise, it seems that next fall I may be an art teacher at a Christian school. The spirit blows where it will, yadda yadda. If so, my kids will be enrolled there, to potentially be brought up in a very Christ-centered educational environment, where there is no Common Core and they will actually start learning Latin in 3rd grade.

Whether it happens or not, in hindsight, everything seems like a conspiracy...

Gagdad Bob said...

Congratulations! Have you ever read Schuon's Art from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West? A compilation of his writings that place art and beauty in a cosmic context.

julie said...

I haven't, but that's a great suggestion. Ordering now...

maineman said...

That's wonderful news, Julie. I wish (maybe I should start praying) that my grandchildren might have the same opportunity that it looks like your kids will.

It seems like some kind of modified Benedict Option, which I take to be your trajectory, is going to be more and more necessary going forward.

ted said...

Congrats Julie! And Bob, that Schuon book looks beautiful!

julie said...

Maineman, with apologies for rambling,

It's starting to seem that way for us, at least a little. So far, for the lower grades we really did like the neighborhood school my son went to this year, and would be fairly comfortable with letting them continue for at least a few grades until things get weird. He learned a lot of essential skills there, I think more than he would have had with just me teaching him. His teacher there turned out to be a fellow parishioner at our church, which was a massive relief. Even so, there's the knowledge that with each passing year, it will be a battle against the worldly religion our public schools preach to the kids.

As for the future, honestly I have just been trusting the Spirit with whatever comes next. This week has been quite the ?! at my house; Last week, a friend at Bible study said, "Oh, you should be an art teacher!" I laughed it off, being happy to be home. Monday, another friend texted to ask if I knew anyone interested in being an art teacher at her school. I realized it would be foolish to reject the idea out of hand. If that's not where I need to be, it won't work out even if I do apply. Long story short, this coming Monday I go in for interview #2; we'll see from there.

Meanwhile, at exactly the same time my husband is pursuing a similarly unexpected opportunity that came up when someone else at our church passed it along. Both cases, opportunities unsought and essentially dropped in our laps, but would be answered prayers if either of us actually gets the job. Conversely, even if neither works out, it's been a great experience and we're happy to go on as we were.

All we want to do is what the Man Upstairs wants us to do.
Thankfully, He is often not subtle.

Van Harvey said...

"Ironically, the Critique of Pure Reason was published in 1776. One can only thank God that our founders hadn't read it, and wouldn't have taken it seriously anyway..."

Yep. IMHO our Constitution and first 10 Amdts, were written and ratified at the last possible historic moment, that it was possible to do so. Just a guillotine's edge away from dis-aster.

Van Harvey said...

Julie, that sounds like a fantastic opportunity, I hope out works out for you!

"Even so, there's the knowledge that with each passing year, it will be a battle against the worldly religion our public schools preach to the kids." - Speaking of last possible moments, I think that the time when a parent could expect to do what we did for the last 25 years, disentangling the daily deconstruction lessons, is about past. The final two years with our daughter, were a tough hoe, and it's getting worse, faster... one way our another, you'll all be better off taking them out.

Van Harvey said...

BTW, two thumbs up on today's post.