While sipping the morning cup and bumping around the internet, I suppose I'm always looking for something. I don't know what it is unless and until I find it, and this morning I found something that goes to the Matrix -- what it is and how it is formed.
It's a bit conspiratorial for my tastes -- I don't think there is a cabal at the top that's been pulling the strings for the last 75 years or so -- but certainly his description of the phenomena is accurate, irrespective of its cause. I think the cause ultimately lies in human nature, for if it didn't, man couldn't so easily fall into the trap.
For man to fall repeatedly into the same trap, just paint it a different color each time.
Humanity only changes the rhetoric of its stupidities.
Let me first provide a few excerpts that caught my attention: "ideological subversion" involves changing
the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.
The first stage of ideological subversion, or "active measures," involves what he calls "demoralization," after which
exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell nothing to him. Even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents, with pictures.... he will refuse to believe it, until... a military boot crashes his balls.
Again, irrespective of the cause, we have obviously reached a stage in which half the country is unable to assess true information -- for whom facts mean nothing, and who refuse to believe what is in front of their faces. They are living in the ball-crushing Matrix.
Now, how did we get here? Widespread higher education has a lot do do with it, as does mass media, but those are just means. How does the seed of subversion get planted, and what is it exactly?
Voegelin tries to get to the bottom of it in an essay called On Debate and Existence. In it he describes the difficulty of engaging in debate with matrix-dwelling ideologues: in so doing, we discover that
no agreement, or even an honest disagreement, could be reached, because the exchange of argument was disturbed by a profound difference of attitude with regard to all fundamental questions of human existence -- with regard to the nature of man, to his place in the world, to his place in society and history, to his relation to God.
Rational argument could not prevail because the partner to the discussion did not accept as binding for himself the matrix of reality in which all specific questions concerning our existence as human beings are ultimately rooted; he has overlaid the reality of existence with another mode of existence... called the Second Reality.
The argument could not achieve results..., as it became increasingly clear that not argument was pitched against argument, but that behind the appearance of a rational debate there lurked the difference of two modes of existence, of existence in truth and existence in untruth. The universe of rational discourse collapses, we may say, when the common ground of existence in reality has disappeared.
So, we're ultimately dealing with a different mode of existence. While this sounds extreme, anyone can see that the situation itself is extreme. One has only to tune into a press briefing by Karine Jean Pierre to see this elaborate Second Reality. The deeper question is why so-called journalists not only accept the Second Reality but help to construct and maintain it. Certainly no one questions it. There is sometimes a bit of carping at the margins, but not enough to damage the Matrix itself.
This breakdown of reality demands an explanation:
It doesn't feel as if it was that long ago that "the universe of rational discourse was still intact because the first reality of existence was yet unquestioned." But Voegelin suggests that the process has been unfolding for a long time, or at least has its roots in a process that began some 500 years ago.
Me? I suspect that the pathology is always present in some form or fashion, and that dates don't matter. The construction of second realities is more of a timeless temptation going back to Genesis 3. Reality and truth can be painful, so unreality is always an option:
the quest for truth is the perpetual task of disengaging it from error, of refining its expression in contest with the inexhaustible ingenuity of error.
The inexhaustible ingenuity of error. It almost sounds diabolical, no? As if these diverse ideological second realities have the same implicit Author.
For Voegelin, thinkers such as Aquinas and Aristotle might as well be contemporaries. He always speaks of them as if they are very much at the cutting edge of philosophy. Modern thought "does not modify the problem but only its symbolic expression," such that "the scholastic and classic problem is indeed identical with our own."
Today's thinkers are simultaneously more "critical" and naive; classic philosophy can appear naive, but this is only because "first reality" and the "truth of existence" were
not yet questioned; hence there was no need to distinguish it from an untrue existence; and consequently no concepts were developed for a problem that had not yet become topical. The truth of existence was taken so much for, granted that, without further preparation, the analysis could proceed to develop the problems of metaphysics as they presented themselves to men who lived in the truth of existence.
But now we've reached a situation in which thinkers living their existence-in-untruth are meditating on the truth of existence, and presuming to tell us what's what. Few would acknowledge the self-evident principle that "first philosophy is the science of truth," that is, "of that truth which is the origin of all truth." This goes to
the first principle whereby all things are. The truth belonging to such a principle is, clearly, the source of all truth; for things have the same disposition in truth as in being.
Until Kant and his progeny come along and ruin everybody's lives and eat all our steak.
Nevertheless, "a universe which contains intelligent beings cannot originate with a prima causa that is less than intelligent." Seems to me that unintelligence is parasitic on intelligence. If it's the other way around, then we have no intellectual defense against the Matrix.
To be continued...