Picking up where we laughed off, Pieper speaks of a kind of lightheartedness connected with not knowing everything and, by extension, not being in charge of the cosmos; for it seems that omniscience and omnipotence are closely related, even in humans.
Put conversely, it's why most politicians imagine they are fit to rule, when they are actually too stupid to know they're not. Our political swamp is teeming with the infrahuman debris of end-stage Dunning-Kruger, as evidenced by Brandon and his line of suckcession, which goes from Kamala Harris to Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy, Antony Blinken, Janet Yellen, Lloyd Austin, Merrick Garland, and on. I could continue, but you get the point: it's idiots all the way down.
The larger point, if I have one, is that
The claim to absolute certainty contains not only something which is fundamentally humorless but even formally un-human (Pieper).
This checks out. Humor requires a self-awareness that is entirely absent -- even forbidden -- on the left. I'm old enough to remember when it wasn't this way, because Dems used to at least pretend to be more liberal than leftist. Now there are no classical liberals at all among the progressive left.
Omniscience and brittleness go together, hence the trigger warnings, the cancellation of truth tellers, the ban on noticing, the conspiracy of fake news, and the assaults on free speech more generally.
For human beings, omniscience is always a function of nescience: the less you know, the more you think you do; and the more you know, the less you imagine you know it all.
Now, the lure of omniscience is especially appealing to narcissists. This is why academia and journalism are such cesspits of intellectual narcissism, for what is ideology but a kind of cheap omniscience? Not only does it explain everything, but it simultaneously signals one's brilliance and virtue, plus it confers cost-free (except for one's soul) social status. It may be craven, stupid, and conformist, but you can't say it doesn't work.
Omniscience is always on offer by narcissists and sociopaths, for the simple reason that man is ignorant and always will be. Of course, we can know a great deal about a great many things, but there is is more that we don't know, plus a great deal that we can never know. It is always this last realm that the narcissistic political psychopath exploits.
Never know? Bob, you're the guy who's always telling us how the intellect-as-such is conformed to the Absolute, and how man is therefore capable of knowing everything.
That is correct as far as it goes, but what I actually say is that man is capable of knowing everything that can be known. I never say he can know what can never be known, so much so that I sometimes even wonder if God himself can "know the unknowable," but that would take us far afield. Suffice it to say that we cannot know what is absurd or fundamentally unintelligible, but we also cannot understand something that is infinitely complex.
Consider the human brain, which is by orders of magnitude the most complex entity in all of creation. As the old gag goes, if it were simple enough for us to understand, it would be too simple to host an intellect capable of understanding it. I just googled it, and there are said to be 100 billion neurons in the brain, with 100 trillion connections.
It's enough that a single brain is infinitely complex, but they're also interconnected with other brains in irreducibly complex and fundamentally irreducible ways. Which is where Hayek comes in.
For what is an economy but an irreducibly complex web of brains, each with its own particular knowledge of economic conditions, plus its own needs, desires, goals, and plans. The central planner ignores all this complexity, and simply steamrolls over it, most recently with the not even fraudulent Inflation Reduction Act. The only mystery is why they didn't name it the Live Forever on Sugar Candy Mountain Act.
Of course it will fail, but this failure will have no impact on the perennial human desire to be as gods. Yes, it's the same old Genesis 3 All Over Again, which is to say, the false promise of omniscience. Unless, of course, the serpent is the hero of the story -- the first omniscient central planner with a better idea of how to run things.
To be continued...