Sunday, September 08, 2019

Common Sense, Common Core, Common Crap

Here's a tasty repost that's even older than yesterday's exotic repast. Again, in preparation for diving into Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World, we're taking a trip down into the moldy hull of the arkive in order to see what we've already written on the subject of common sense.

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


julie said...

...there can only be one true philosophy but an infinite number of false ones.

Sadly and maddeningly, it is this very truth - that there are so many false philosophies and religions - that is often used to argue against the possibility that there is one that really is true.

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...

I was just ordering A Child's History of the World on Amazon. It's an older text, written originally back in 1924 or so, and so of course it will have things that people today find extremely problematic. Amazon has it, of course, but the top (sponsored) listing that comes up has nothing to do with history at all; it's a book on activism for kids. Just to make sure, I guess, that you know that the only really acceptable social studies these days have to do with activism right now, and not any unpleasantness pertaining to the icky past.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Godwin:

Just about everyone has more common sense than you do. Still, you are undeniably a brilliant writer and thinker, but it gets tiresome to push aside the serrotes studding your paragraphs in order to get at the good stuff.

I know, I know. Nobody asked me to come here and complain. Guilty as charged. I'm just having a bad evening. I'm a very fallen, very low infrahuman lefty, despairing of my own ugliness.

Tomorrow is another day, perhaps a better one.

Got out the old Ouija board and contacted good old Giles Corey. I couldn't resist, asked him "Aye or Nay?" The cagey Giles still won't enter a plea. Instead of asking for more weight, he rather cryptically remarked he like Joe Biden. Make of that what you want.

Anonymous said...

I actually have mixed feelings about multiculturalism. My mostly white midwestern high school (brand suburban new back in my day) is now mostly black and hispanic. But the sports mascot is still a blonde haired viking who now gets to dance to gangsta pop and tejano.

Now that's multiculturalism.

I wonder how this happened. We all know the reason for the hispanics is those dangblasted Democrats needing votes (or maybe a few unethical employers welcoming their cheap undocumented labor). The blacks moved from Detroit when those dangblasted Democrat leaders ran the place into the ground (never imagined the largest car makers would be Toyota, Volkswagen, and Hyundai, or that Chrysler and Jeep would be owned by that hideous Fiat company.)

Of course high tech is all American. Not a single east Indian or mainland Chinese to be found in that realm.

Could it be that countries from which the labor was cheap (white lands like Ireland, Italy, Poland...) have been replaced for labor stock? Could it be that "liberalism" (not all that innocent in all this), has been conveniently suckered into taking the blame? Whenever America gets involved in some never ending war situation, guess what? Cheap refugee labor!

For capitalists, "multiculturalism" is code for "cheap labor". And who loves cheap capitalist labor more than conservatives and Republicans? We should be embracing this stuff.

Anonymous said...

anon @9/08/2019 08:10:00 PM,

If these people could collectively corral evil without the use of any government, believe me I’d be all in. I don’t like plodding nepotistic crony bureaucracies any more than anybody else.

But not even Old Testament Yahweh appears to have had the will to make this so. Seems he constantly had to intervene quite harshly, when a few stern proto-Christian words might’ve sufficed. I usually obeyed my parents. Imagine an pissed off sky giant with an earth shaking voice!

I perceive that these people ignore evil since “it’s inevitable” and “everybody does it”, excepting whenever they perceive it being done by the other team in which case government must be used to stop it. This seems more like authoritarian tribalism than freedom.

I’m currently doing business with (by his own repeated admission) a staunch FoxNews-watching Democrat-hating conservative. I’m giving him a sweet deal, and he knows this since he keeps coming back for more of my business when there are so many others he can choose from.

Just the other day he tried to gaslight me. He was flagrantly lying about the simplest possible obvious issue with which I gave him many chances to recant. He wouldn’t budge. This meant that he was either in denial to the point of insanity, or that he was intentionally trying to get me to doubt my own sanity to get more power in that relationship. Is this what conservatism is, rationalizing the freedom to lie, cheat and steal, unless it's "the other team"?

Your thoughts?

julie said...

Why in the world should we have an opinion about someone we've never met, and of whom we know literally nothing except that supposedly he's trying to gaslight you? If what you say is true, and he's really all about trying to get more power in your relationship, maybe he's just an asshole.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 10:21

I hear what you are saying. In my opinion existing anti-trust and labor laws are effective in checking egregious abuses in the business realm. The FBI does take down offenders (watch American Greed?)

So you are essentially correct, "corralling evil" without the use of government has never been feasible, so government we must have, and this government will always be socialist in nature. This makes the Democratic political position very strong.

Conservatives are around to provide a check on abuses in government, such as being excessively wasteful, punitive, intrusive, corrupt, and unreasonable. Cadres of attorneys take care of this. Our armed citizens are some preventative of despotism. A healthy conservative electorate is a must, and we do have it.

So does the whole contraption work to stay balanced? I believe it does. I will hammer this point home to any who will listen, the middle of the road is the sweet spot. We are in it, let's stay in it.

I agree with Julie, your issue with the conservative guy is not necessarily due to political orientation, and he could just be manipulative. Besides, you can't go by what people say in any situation. Actions are the reliable tell. Cut loose any gas-lighting offenders you may encounter. If you are making money in the deals, then consider keep him around and letting him run his fool mouth all he wants.

Cheers, Sock1

Anonymous said...

anon @9/09/2019 11:53:00 AM,

I disagree that the Democratic party is at all socialist (as defined by conservatives). The New Deal died when the USSR fell, and Carter let OPEC, American corporation malinvestment, the fall of Bretton Woods, offshore industry competition, etc... get the best of his people and went Friedman. Wright Patman is dead, Democrat free trade agreements are libertarian in concept, and crony capitalism owns both sides of government now. I though it was well-known that the DNC sidelined the popular "socialist" Sanders in favor of their own very disliked establishment candidate.

This "balance" you speak of depends on your point of view. IMO most of what's being built in China should've been built here (China has 18,000 high speed rail miles vs 110 miles in the USA). And many more examples of how we used to have all the newest best stuff but they do now. The Chinese version of socialism (still offically Communist) went from poorest large nation to challenging the massively indebted USA for global dominance in just a few decades. I don't think it was because socialism works or because they're now a "free nation". Their human freedom index is still very low.

A six minute video from a nonpartisan organization:
...which I hope will explains my position better.

I know many conservative assholes. To be fair, I may be too old/white/male to know many liberal assholes as they seem to come in mostly the SJW/college age/Metoo/feminist flavor, none of it my cup of tea. My preference is people wanting a government that's proven to represent us.

Robert Curry said...

Gagdad Bob quoted and common sense discussed in the same article !

Anonymous said...

Bolton fired. Cruz blames the deep state (Mnunchin and Pompeo). Fake news at 11.