Which you might be tempted to think is boring or trivial. Quite the opposite, especially in our mentally and spiritually retarded day and age, in which common sense is under assault from all sides. The question is, why? You wouldn't teach a child to stare at the sun or play with matches. Why then would you teach him that people have no gender until they decide what it is?
By the way, these old posts are extensively edited and revised, so there's no excuse to avoid reading them unless you just don't feel like it.
We've been exploring the controversial (!) notion that knowledge exists and that it is a real and efficacious adequation to reality -- i.e., that man may know the truth of existence.
Before going any further, I would say that if common sense exists, it can only be rooted in this principle: that knowledge does exist and that (therefore) it is a real and efficacious adequation to reality. Schematically it looks like this: reality --> knowledge; knowledge exists because there is a reality, but equally important, we know reality exists because we have knowledge of it.
You know the old gag that all happy families are alike, while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way? Well, it's not true of families, but it is true of common sense. We might say that all people with common sense are alike, while every person without it is stupid in his own way. It's why (by definition) there can only be one true philosophy but an infinite number of false ones.
A false or partial philosophy results from the elevation of cosmic stupidity to first principle. But stupidity in, garbage out, no matter how one tries to spin it. Conversely if truth comes out of your philosophy, something must go in in order to make it possible. By extension, you can't say "chemistry in, soul out," or "chaos in, information out," and leave it at that. That's just magic.
Speaking of which, a couple of days ago the WSJ had a review of a book called Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self. Now, right away I see problems with that title, because there can be no "science" of the "self," because science deals only with the How, not the Why. A better title might be something like "Why Science Cannot Tell Us Anything Important About the Self," but it would be a blank book.
--The doctrines that explain the higher by means of the lower are appendices of a magician’s rule book.
--To believe that science is enough is the most naïve of superstitions.
--Science, when it finishes explaining everything, but being unable to explain the consciousness that creates it, will not have explained anything (NGD).
The author evidently searches for herself in all the wrong places, including her genes, brainscans, personality tests, and more. But as the reviewer correctly points out, "even if we could measure every atom in a brain, we would need creativity and ingenuity to add a layer of interpretation to the data, and complete comprehension would still remain beyond us."
Thus, as it pertains to persons, even the most complete possible science is infinitely distant from the "object" it is attempting to comprehend. Instead of being an adeqation to reality, it is an inadequation to unreality. Or, to put it colloquially, science is inadequate to the task of comprehending subjective reality.
This isn't at all surprising, because a scientific approach to the self is like counting the digital bits in a CD to try to understand the performance it encodes. The performance by definition not only transcends the bits, but is their sufficient reason. In other words, the bits exist for the sake of the performance, not vice versa.
In her final chapter, the author suggests that self-perception may be a fiction -- a conclusion that will make perfect sense to anyone who is totally bereft of personal insight. But self-deception only exists because there is a self to be deceived.
The author confesses that, in her quest for a scientific explanation of the self, she veered "dangerously close at times to the precipice of philosophy."
Oh dear! Speaking of people who are bereft of insight, how can someone fail to understand that science becomes a philosophy -- a naive philosophy called scientism -- when it tries to transform a method into a doctrine?
--Those who reject all metaphysics secretly harbor the coarsest (NGD).
The self partakes of both universality and particularity. In other words, we are all unique individuals, and yet, there exist self-evident truths available to all functioning adults. Much of this has to do with our embodied-ness, that is, our common corpus. We all have the same five senses, the same brain structure, the same developmental sequence.
Which raises some interesting questions about the possibility of a "common core." This subject has become controversial, because the left wants to impose its common crap on the nation's children, even while insisting there is no common human nature. Therefore, when they say "common core," what they really mean is indoctrination -- not what all humans can know, but what all humans had better know, or else, in order to be compliant subjects of the State (the one Great Body we really have in common).
A recent Hillsdale Imprimus touches on this subject. In it, Larry Arnn writes that a "true core" would have a "unifying principle, such as the idea that there is a right way to live that one can come to know."
But the leftist common core has precisely the opposite purpose: multiculturalism, for example, is founded upon the principle that all cultures are equally beautiful except ours, which is uniquely racist, misogynistic, imperialist, and homophobic.
Aren't you being a little polemical, Bob? Well, Arnn cites a passage from the Teacher's Guide for Advanced Placement, which tells us that such antiquated terms as "objectivity" and "factuality" have "lost their preeminence." Rather, instruction is "less a matter of transmittal of an objective and culturally sanctioned body of knowledge, and more a matter of helping individuals learn to construct their own realities."
Oh. Who knew we had to be taught how to live in our own realities? And who knew, for that matter, that reality had a plural? Indeed, if it has a plural form, doesn't that violate its own definition? In short, if "perception is reality," then neither of these terms exist, because in equating them they lose all meaning. In other words, perception must be of reality, and reality is what is perceived.
So, if we are going to have a "common core," I propose that it shouldn't exclude reality. Rather, I suspect that this thing called "reality" is what human beings have most in common.
This is because man is a kind of membrain between intelligence and reality. Ultimately, man is the point of contact between two spheres or dimensions.
In reading this short book on the apostle Paul, we are reminded that -- speaking of our cultural heritage -- "the lid covering the Ark of the Covenant... was considered the point of contact between God and man." Later, a sect of deviant Jews would come to regard Jesus as this point of contact, in whom we could participate in the Absolute reality. Interestingly, this is truly a "common corpus," AKA Corpus Christi.
This point of contact is actually a kind of abyss. In the absence of God, then it is the abyss of nothingness, with no possibility of a common core.
But in reality, this is an "abyss of divine goodness," and by plunging into it we are drawn up into the Great Attractor which we all share in common. In this sense, faith is a kind of conformity to reality, a cosmic Yes, whereas the faithlessness of the left is a cosmic NO! to God, to Man, and to the fertile reality in between.
Common sense is the father’s house to which philosophy returns, every so often, feeble and emaciated. --Dávila