For example, we adverted to the limitations of mere fact and logic, when our adversaries seem to think that these things not only speak for themselves, but can say everything there is to say. But then Gödel comes along and says "no way," because the human mind is bigger than math and logic put together.
Schuon says something similar:
There is doubtless no truth more "exact" than history, but what must be stressed is that there is a truth more "real" than that of facts.... Historical reality is less "real" than the profound truth it expresses, and which myths likewise express; a mythological symbolism is infinitely more "true" than a fact deprived of symbolism.
Here we are really on to something, almost a kind of cosmic meta-law that transcends anything even Gödel might have ventured; for in the end, he was a mere logician, wasn't he?
The reason there is no truth more exact than history is because it happened. Exactly. And yet, what was it? What did -- or does -- it mean? The most exact representation of what happened won't tell you that.
This reminds me of what was wrong with my formal education. For example, I remember studying a different facet of history every grade: US history, California history, European history, world history, etc. There were countless facts and dates to memorize, but I don't recall anyone pulling it all together and explaining What That Was All About.
So, yesterday I randomed into an article called Education as Enchantment: Tolkien’s Essay “On Fairy-Stories.” In it, the author describes perfectly the distinction between mere historical fact and historical reality:
When we teach, our aim isn’t merely [heh] to relay a subject matter -- a curricular “story” -- that otherwise remains “out there” at a level removed from the student himself. On the contrary, our desire is to be so competent and compelling in our teaching-cum-story-telling that our students and children are able, by an act of what Tolkien calls “literary belief,” to enter into the subject matter fully, and “see” and “feel,” even “be” inside of it.
Exactly. Which is ironic, because we're obviously dealing with a higher level of exactitude than mere fact! More:
Yet in casting our pedagogical “spell,” of course, we understand that we are engaged in no mere [heh] game or play-acting; we are not trying to get our students to believe something that is false.
Rather, we are engaged in the perilously important task of trying to seduce -- or “delude,” as Tolkien has it -- our students out of the so-called “real world” that they think they already know by leading them into the even more real “Secondary World” that is being “weaved” by the teacher.
Understood as a form or state of Faërian drama, then, education is to be appreciated as no mere [heh] means to some other, ulterior end, but rather education seeks to bring about much the same effect that all our arts ardently long for (but which only God’s own Faërian drama of the Gospel most fully achieves). In sum, our teaching must strive to imaginatively substitute the existing world with a new and redeemed because enchanted view of the old one.
I don't think I have sufficient time to unpack all that, but perhaps it's unnecessary, for either you get the point or you don't, and certainly Pinker and his ilk don't.
One central point is that the world isn't flat but hierarchical, such that exactitude on one level may be blurry or misleading or meaningless on the next. Nor is it possible to transcend from below, although people -- especially leftists -- never stop trying.
Bob, why did you just throw in that gratuitous insult to the left? Because the left practices a perverse, counterfeit version of Faërian drama by superimposing an ideological superstructure over events, AKA the Narrative. In denying myth, they descend into a kind of systematic and rigid delusion.
In the words of the Aphorist, Nothing is explainable outside of history, but history is not enough to explain anything.
For Real history exceeds what merely happened. Therefore, Facts need the historian in order to become interesting. Unless the imagination refines it, every event is trivial.
No. Exactly trivial. For The event without an intelligent narrator dies in frustrated virtuality. What this ultimately means is that history is consummated in the soul; or rather, it is woven of fact and imagination, horizontal and vertical, but conditioned from above.