Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hearken Unto John C. Wright!

In his words (except for a few typos I corrected) --
Let us cut to the chase. 
Think back to the day when you first discovered that you were a meat robot without free will, without freedom, and without dignity. Did the discovery fill you with awe, rapture, wonder and gratitude? 
For, if not, the discovery is false. Truth is majestic and majesty provokes awe; truth is sublimely beautiful and beauty provokes rapture; truth is startling, because it shatters the lies we tell ourselves, and the bright surprise leaves us blinking in wonder; truth is a gift of prized above all price, and gifts provoke gratitude. 
If the discovery of materialism did none of these things, either your reactions are mis-calibrated and do not reflect reality, or your discovery was not a discovery at all, merely a falsehood you have yet to test with due rigor. 
So? What was your reaction?

My reaction (to his argument, not to materialism) --

The only modification I would make is to simplify that Truth affects -- as do Lies, except to opposite effect.  Some truth we'd rather not know, and of course then the effect might not seem as pleasant as is made out here.  And yet, we somehow know it to be truth -- because it affects.

I know a lot of people will dislike and disagree with this kind of argument, however, I think even such thinkers should deeply consider the slightly more primordial thought from which this train flows -- that the only way to know Truth, the only way to know or believe anything, is through experience.  There just simply is no other avenue.

Do you believe in the Bible?  Because you have somehow experienced the truth of it -- through reading it, through sermons, what-have-you.  Do you not believe?  Even that belief is through experience of some sort.

Do you believe in logic, even?  Because you have experienced the truth of it, you have seen it work before your eyes.  Otherwise, even logic itself is simply a proposition --  it might or might not have been true to your eyes.  I know a lot of people are not going to like that, but there it is.

These days a lot of people like to argue for some other basis of belief -- 'proving' this or that through 'pure logic', 'rationality', etc.  This is simply not the way it works.  Even if you were convicted of such a system it would be because of your experience of it, and not, strictly speaking, because of the logic itself, in a direct sense.

Experience is the ground of all knowledge.  It is the only way 'in.'  Of course, it is just as fallible as people are, but nevertheless, it's all anybody has got to go on, and the only 'evidence' anybody has of the veracity of anything.  Which means, at least to my mind, that experience is indeed very good and important evidence, i.e., that if you experience -- in some way or other -- that there very much is a divine aspect to reality, then there probably is, and you are absolutely right to believe even if it can't be 'proved,' even if you can't 'defend your faith rationally,' etc.  Yes, you should probably work on those things -- but they come second, not first!  Don't let the posers on the internet convince you that it is in some weird way otherwise.

This would all seem almost painfully self-evident, and yet, how many arguments have you seen where one side becomes incensed that the other won't accede once the case has been 'proven?'  And yet -- of course! -- that is not at all on what it all turns -- if the other party does not experience the truth of what has been presented, of course he should not (and almost certainly will not) be converted over.  He may be wrong or right in doing so; it may simply be that he does not understand, he thinks something or other important is missing, or maybe in some cases he is outright dishonest.  But it is rather silly to think that he should on logical or 'rational' grounds, as if that were really what it were all about.  If it is really one's purpose to bring him over, it would seem to be more prudent to search for a way to bring about the proper experience.  Apparently, the one presented wasn't up to the task.

As always -- in my opinion... for whatever that's worth...

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