Fire and Ice

8 Nov

Is truth enough?

Truth alone has never been enough.  It’s only when will and truth coincide that  things happen.

The secret is that will always has a self-justified component.  Belief systems serve to hide this component from the masses.  It’s justified by Jesus, or the Cause, or a Utility function, or some other delightful item.  Our personalities often serve to hide this component from ourselves.  We easily lose sight of our own political shadows. “When the other guy is doing what he wants, it’s politics.  When I do what I want, it’s right. ”  History bears this out, but every age ends up certain of its own end of history status.  Sigh.

Hint:  We’re not at the end of history.

Some human beings have confronted the existential situation more honestly, but since will is as critical as truth in the game of life, these sorts are destined to remain forever on the fringes.  Another passive approach is to seek “pure truth and science” in the hopes that these will work a sort of voodoo and produce a kind of objectively valid will in the seeker.  The Buddha may have been right, but our Universe doesn’t reward that sort of passive righteousness with decisive and lasting political power.  It rewards a curious mix of will and competence.  One can oscillate on whether or not they approve of this state of affairs, but the Universe isn’t gonna blush about it.

Others have gone drunk on the pursuit of pure power, but eventually they lose touch with reality as their fealty to duty and definitive inviolability weakens.  Power depends on knowing how things work, on showing up to work on time, on people taking care of their kids, etc.  The will requires structure and discipline.  Common sense incorporates both lens and reflex.

Evolution punishes both extremes.  I would not go so far as to claim that this means evolution shows us what’s right and wrong.  I prefer to see it in a more detached manner.  I have sympathy with the position — which has sometimes been attributed to Gnosticism — that our Universe itself may be fundamentally flawed.

Our time is curious in its refusal to be honest about the nature of will.  There are neurotic tendencies to absolutely justify something which actually has an irreducible implicit component.  Do ya really think science gives objective reasons to roll out of bed in the morning?  Nah.  Today, this justification is sometimes packaged in faux-scientific reasoning — especially under the banner of “rationality”.  That’s bad.  Legitimacy and self-assertion have always been combative topics, but I was holding out hope that there could be a more open discussion of their deep nature.  That’s sort of what I was trying to do here; maybe I’m just being naïve.  Oh well.

The Game rolls on.


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