Post-truth world. Is that where we are? If so, how did we get here? And how do we get out?
The first question is obviously a very complicated one, indeed, as complicated as you wish it to be. Many fine books have been written on the subject, too many to catalogue here. They all look at the matter from a slightly different angle, and yet, I think it can ultimately be boiled down to the unsurpassable wisdom embedded in Genesis 3: you shall be as gods. This constitutes a permanent temptation, and I would say that postmodernity -- the post-truth world -- represents nothing less than the institutionalization of the Fall.
This deference to Genesis will strike modern ears as too mythic sounding, and yet, it is quite literally true. We embrace the truth, no matter how pleasant, whereas postmodernity prefers the imbecilic fairy tale. For
An irreligious society cannot endure the truth of the human condition. It prefers a lie, no matter how imbecilic it may be (Dávila).
And regarding the permanence of the Fall, For man to fall repeatedly into the same trap, just paint it a different color each time. Deconstruction, scientism, feminism, critical theory, et al, are just shiny new colors in the rainbow of lies.
The left likes to call us "reactionary," but as usual, this is a literal inversion. For truth is never a reaction; rather it just is, irrespective of whether or not someone believes it. Conversely, falsehood -- the lie -- is always parasitic upon truth; it is a reaction to truth, sometimes unconscious, other times conscious, willful, cynical, and manipulative.
As we've discussed many times, it is sometimes difficult to determine when this or that leftist's lies are unwitting or sincere. In my view, for the people at the top -- e.g., Pelosi, Obama, the Clintons -- it is purely cynical and instrumental, promulgated only to manipulate the masses in order to attain power. Note how quickly they went from defending traditional marriage to undermining it in the blink of an eye.
Conversely, for the masses, the beliefs are sincerely held. Now, the crisis we are currently witnessing in the Democrat party is that its cynical leaders are losing control to the morons who actually believe the BS the leaders have been peddling for the last generation or more. The morons have grown up in a world steeped in progressive lies, going all the way back to kindergarten and preschool. In short, the left has been too successful in indoctrinating this herd, and now it is taking over the party.
This is the deeper dynamic of the Pelosi vs. AOC struggle: Pelosi will say anything to increase the left's power, whereas AOC actually believes, for example, that the world will end in 11.5 years if we don't take away your straws, cars, and cheeseburgers.
Which goes to one of the deep ironies of our post-truth world: no one is more passionate about truth than the person who has rejected Truth. This sounds like an exaggeration, but once again it is literally true, and even necessarily true, like the banal observation that "no one is more religious than the person who has rejected God." Why is this? Because the atheist (the activist kind) claims a kind of knowledge that only a god could possess. For which reason we say: if atheism is true, only God knows it.
Back to the passion of the relativists. Why are they so passionate about their lies? Well, first all, to the relativist, they aren't lies. Again, I believe AOC is sincere, which makes her not less, but more, dangerous than the cynic. It reminds me of Inglourious Basterds: you can't negotiate with a true-believing Nazi. But you can do business with a cynical one such as the Jew Hunter.
Indeed, this is why the Republican congress could do so much business with Clinton after 1994. This couldn't have happened if he weren't such an insincere cynic. Obama was a transitional figure -- half cynic and half true believer, with both sides dominated by his narcissism. His combination of grandiosity and intellectual laziness was such that he didn't believe things because they were true; rather, they were true because he believed them.
Now, one feature of truth is its dispassion. Or at least the dispassion must be prior to the passion. For example, I can be passionate about math, but math itself is conducted in a dispassionate way; 2 + 2 = 4 does not become more true if I get really emotional about it. Nor is gravity stronger, or can there be more than two biological sexes, depending upon how I feel about it.
I am reminded of something Schuon says to the effect that with the assimilation of a truth, the ego dies a little. In other words, the truth doesn't care about your feelings. Which is why the left's most preposterous lies are always accompanied by such great emotion -- the bigger the lie, the more the emotional incontinence. Imagine people being "triggered" by the truth!
Well, actually, this is a well-documented psychological phenomenon. While it is associated with Freud, he can't have been the first to notice that an unwanted truth pushes the buttons of the person who doesn't want to hear it. He called it "resistance," but I prefer Bion's way of discussing it. I don't know if Catastrophe Theory was a thing back when he was writing, but he talks about the catastrophic impact of truth upon the mental system -- especially an unwanted truth upon an immature system, which to say, one that cannot tolerate the pain of realizing the truth.
Truth can be a joy or a pain. But the pain comes from resisting it.
I gotta get some work done, so, to be continued, and we'll end for now with a few pointy aphorisms. They will either sting or tickle, depending:
Men are divided into two camps: those who believe in original sin and those who are idiots.
The intelligent man quickly reaches conservative conclusions.
To scandalize the leftist, just speak the truth.
After conversing with some “thoroughly modern” people, we see that humanity escaped the “centuries of faith” only to get stuck in those of credulity.
The conservatism of each era is the counterweight to the stupidity of the day.
Let us say frankly to our opponent that we do not share his ideas because we understand them and that he does not share ours because he does not understand them (Dávila).