Our faith is faith in some one else’s faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. Our belief in truth itself, for instance, that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other,—what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up? We want to have a truth; we want to believe that our experiments and studies and discussions must put us in a continually better and better position towards it; and on this line we agree to fight out our thinking lives. But if a pyrrhonistic sceptic asks us how we know all this, can our logic find a reply? No! certainly it cannot. It is just one volition against another,—we willing to go in for life upon a trust or assumption which he, for his part, does not care to make. —William James
Knowledge is the perception of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas. —John Locke
The following is really just an account of my own reinvention of a certain large wheel, which no doubt has been invented many times before. I’m still working on my own version of it, and have not yet fully come to terms with the situation. I’m not sure what to do at present, if anything at all.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve encountered a veritable shit-ton of conspiracy theories lately, in addition to the standard relentless onslaught of information of all sorts available on the Internet, and all this has resulted in my becoming more skeptical with regard to interpretation of mundane reality—skeptical in the classical sense of suspension of judgement, agnosticism, simply throwing up one’s hands and declaring “I don’t know.” The more information to which one has access, the more one may realize that there is insufficient data to be sure about very much of anything, at least at a worldly level.
The problem is compounded by the intellectual (or pseudointellectual) fashion trend of postmodernism, which has been incorporated into the new ideology of cultural Marxism (alias Social Justice, politically correct Progressivism, emancipatory politics, etc. etc.). According to postmodern philosophy, or postmodern sentiment, “truth” is nothing more than a cultural construct. This allows Social Justice activists to attack rationality, objectivity, and empiricism as the evil spawn of Whitey’s imperialist Patriarchy, and to champion feelings over facts as a foundation for engineering a new society along more utopian leftist lines. This sentiment, however, is now eroding the foundation of socialized globalism itself, since the basic metanarrative of scientific empiricism, reason, etc., is giving way to the idea that every group of people can decide their own truth—which of course balkanizes the former United Nations-style ideological common ground on which globalism was based.
To compound the problem even further, postmodern relativism is clearly nonsense at a fundamental empirical level. No amount of arbitrary sentiment is going to alter the charge of the electron, for example, or the number of protons in a carbon atom, or the force of gravity (including the inverse square law), or the basic laws of practical arithmetic, or for that matter the observation that males and females are biologically different. I would like to see a group of postmodernist progressives cook up an alternative set of laws of physics based on feelings instead of empirical observation and logic, and then use those laws to build a suspension bridge, or to launch an artificial satellite into space. It would not be difficult to predict the result of that. To some degree there is an objective reality that all relatively sane humans share, regardless of the possibility that it isn’t ultimately real, and is just some kind of Plato’s Cave.
Anyway, this postmodernist idea that truth is merely relative, and to some degree even arbitrary, has helped to generate the new, notorious paradigm shift taking place all over the world (except maybe in Communist China)—a paradigm shift that I cannot help but approve, considering the hysterical freak show that cultural Marxism is striving towards, and has partly succeeded in creating, and all in the name of compassion, justice, and equality. People and nations are gradually turning away from socialized globalism, including basic universal assumptions endorsed by it, in favor of their own ancestral traditions, or at any rate some kind of worldview that makes sense to them and does not threaten to destroy their quality of life, and the quality of life of their children. The postmodernist idea of truth being a cultural construct is now being exploited by the traditionalist right, in reaction against the globalist Brave New World
Add to all this some basic Buddhist philosophy and its differentiation between conventional truth and Ultimate Truth, the latter sort being ineffable and literally inconceivable—essentially an unthinkable Void—and the whole predicament has me thinking that the adopted worldview of a person, or of an entire population, is to some degree arbitrary, within reason that is, within the limits of unavoidable empirical reality. No Weltanschauung is going to be ultimately true anyway, with even some sort of clearcut empirical truth being not absolutely certain, so it may be that the best we can do is to settle upon an official narrative, scientific, religious, mythological, whatever, that works and is acceptable to the mass of the population. And this regardless of its ultimate truth, or rather its lack of it. This is what I’m wrangling with: To what extent should a person adopt an interpretation of the world and of life that one knows to be uncertain, possibly false, and to some degree merely arbitrary? But I’m getting ahead of myself. I suppose I should back up a little.
With regard to anything that can’t simply be observed, counted, and measured empirically, especially anything that involves value judgements, there just is no absolute certainty, not even in a mundane, materialistic sense. To some degree matters that are not purely logical or empirical degenerate into mere matters of opinion; this includes anything that is supposed to have occurred in the distant past, social sciences, politics, etc. (Was Theodore Roosevelt one of the greatest US Presidents or one of the worst? Is Marxism realistically plausible? Is science itself a reliable means of explaining reality?) If conspiracy theories can be taken seriously, then even carbon 14 dating, mainstream archeology, long-established history, etc. are thrown into discord and doubt…and if radical skepticism is taken into account, which questions even basic metaphysical assumptions, then pretty much anything is uncertain—unless maybe it is something purely intellectual and self-contained, like Euclidean geometry or the rules of chess. But I’ve discussed this predicament before, more than once, even.
We really are outgrowing, or wearing out, what is vulgarly called modernity; that is, the idea that a single worldview, including value judgements, can be valid for everybody in the world, or for any and every culture. Thus Enlightenment values of democracy, human rights, equality, etc. are also thrown into doubt and can be rejected, because of course “truth” is merely a cultural construct. Even scientific empiricism is being increasingly disbelieved lately—with its assumptions, or rather articles of faith, that there is an external material world regardless of anyone perceiving it, that rationalism is the one sure means to arriving at certainty, and of course that there is only one possible correct interpretation of reality. Enlightenment values, a product of modern western civilization, have been tried throughout the world, over the past hundred years or so especially, and this has resulted in some spectacularly disastrous failures. Enlightenment values may not work for everybody, and if taken to their logical conclusions may ultimately be suicidal. 20th-century Marxism is a glaring example of this.
Postmodernism really is taking over the various civilizations of the earth now, and ensuring, along with other factors in play, that globalism is not going to work. The globalist, modernist metanarrative is collapsing, especially when the new worldview proposed and promoted by the globalists is becoming more freakishly castrated and insane, not to mention spiritually bankrupt. And of course, by a bizarre irony, the left-leaning globalists, which appears to be most of them, have rejected the same common ground on which they depended.
Again, every cultural narrative is fundamentally, necessarily uncertain; yet most people just don’t have the stomach for classical skepticism. They desire, maybe even need at a deep emotional level, to believe in something. People tend to feel insecure, sometimes even frightened, if they can’t explain things, especially with regard to their everyday environment. The more something is inexplicable, the more out of control it appears to be, and thus potentially the more dangerous and scary. As I’ve explained elsewhere, this is one of the main reasons why religion was invented in the first place: to give the common person a sense of emotional security by giving him some explanation for what caused the world to exist, what makes the weather, what gives good hunting, what causes illness and health, and so on. This same emotional need is found even in classical scientists who ignore, scoff at, or just plain attack parapsychologists or anyone else who intelligently questions the validity of basic assumptions (articles of faith) on which “scientism” is based.
Consequently, as people of the Paradigm Shift are backing away from a globalist-modernist paradigm designed to bring about a barren, spiritually destitute Brave New World, technologically innovative darkness and chaos, or possibly a European Caliphate, they are largely turning back towards their traditional pre-globalist cultural values and ways of explaining things in general. And since each region of the earth has its own set of traditional values and beliefs, the world is heading towards ideological and cultural balkanization. It’s already happening, and it appears to be accelerating.
Whether or not the various nations or civilizations or societies of the earth turn back toward a premodern traditionalist worldview, at any rate they will all have to settle upon a worldview that suits them. Recent history is showing that people, and groups of people, just aren’t all the same, and cultural values are not “one size fits all.” It may be that there will come to be some fairly radical differences in interpretation of reality—much more radical than now—much as there was in the past when different religions provided the official narrative for an explanation for Everything, including basic assumptions of metaphysics, and right and wrong. Imagine the radical differences between western classical liberal Protestantism, Marxist materialism, and Islamism multiplied several-fold.
The old-fashioned faith-based religions really are more satisfying at an emotional level than is the alienating, fragmenting, superficial, increasingly chaotic scientism still prevailing at present. (Now even “hard” science is being politicized or even weaponized, derailed by hysterical feminists and rigged by panicky environmentalists demanding a socialistic global regulatory bureaucracy.) A simple “because God made it that way” or “because God says so” really does settle matters much more absolutely than any western materialistic attempt. Even so, scientific empiricism is unlikely to disappear completely, especially considering that technology produces power and wealth.
I suspect that ideological civil wars in the near future will be much hotter conflicts than the polarized social hysteria already running amuck in America today. Then the chaos must inevitably settle into a worldview acceptable to the masses, or else the people incapable of settling the matter will be replaced by some other masses that have already done so, and in their own way. And the losing side(s) of such a conflict will have the options of conform, flee, or die. Or, if they are lucky, they might be able to persist as a despised yet tolerated, “marginalized” minority.
This ideological transition of society, indigenous or invasive, will very possibly be accompanied by real political, geographical balkanization of different populations within current political states. In other words, the end of the modernist metanarrative could easily lead to national fragmentation, in addition to some ethnic cleansing. Kevin MacDonald, in his conclusion to The Culture of Critique (already banned by Amazon.com), has this to say about our future:
The prediction, both on theoretical grounds and on the basis of social identity research, is that as other groups become increasingly powerful and salient in a multicultural society, the European-derived peoples of the United States will become increasingly unified; among these peoples, contemporary divisive influences, such as issues related to gender and sexual orientation, social class differences, or religious differences, will be increasingly perceived as unimportant. Eventually these groups will develop a united front and a collectivist political orientation vis-à-vis the other ethnic groups. Other groups will be expelled if possible or partitions will be created, and Western societies will undergo another period of medievalism.
MacDonald made this prediction back in the 1990s, mainly as a result of multi-ethnic multiculturalism in America; the invasion of non-assimilating non-Europeans into Europe, at the time that he wrote that, was nowhere near the levels it has become in recent years, and the western Europeans are much more emasculated and “progressive” than are Americans, so I predict that western Europe will be more of a battleground than the USA. With regard to the collapse of the globalist metanarrative, I’m not exactly sure what MacDonald foresaw, although it does seem to increase the odds that ideological conflict within ethnicities as well as between them will also intensify before the smoke clears.
Each of the western nations, the USA obviously included, will have to settle on a new acceptable paradigm for itself, or else balkanize into smaller, more tribalistic/ethnocentric societies, each with its own belief system and system of values. The center is no longer holding, and things are beginning to fly apart at an accelerating rate. Just consider the jubilant loyalty of half the USA to its President, compared to the raging hysterical hatred for the same guy coming from the other half. I am unaware of any situation like this in American history since shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. Though it may be, as I’ve said before, that the worst of it will be in Europe, which may help America to come to its senses before a second Civil War bloodbath becomes inevitable.
So now the question is: what will replace globalist modernity in the west? A return to Christianity? That does indeed appear to be a real possibility, especially in eastern Europe. Islam, maybe? Some new religion for the west, possibly promulgated by a prophet or sage not yet famous? Or maybe there could be some kind of tactical retreat back to a loose set of Enlightenment ideals, such as those accepted by the American founding fathers, which served the west rather well, for a while anyhow. But if so, it would have to become less universalist and more nationalist, more inclined to promote greater respect for one’s own countrymen than for foreigners—because the universalist idea that every human is equal and entitled to the same respect and consideration is what is largely responsible for the west’s current stampede towards self-righteous self-destruction. I really don’t know what will replace the dying, the decline and fall, of modernism and globalism; but it will really have to be something, and that very need, that inevitability, will certainly bring something forth.
And that is where I have philosophical uncertainties. That’s where my quandary lies. I have a degree in biology, and even though I’m not philosophically a materialist I do have a deep appreciation for scientific empiricism and attempts at unbiased objectivity. Charles Darwin is one of my heroes, despite the aforementioned unavoidable uncertainty with regard to what happened on this planet millions of years ago. I also like some of the perennial western ideals of meritocracy, civil rights (within reason), and personal freedom. At this point I realize that a civilization’s unifying worldview is necessary; but I can’t really be a Christian and have no desire to convert to Islam. Whatever arises in the west, political, social, ethical, and spiritual, will be necessary even if I can’t take it seriously, or if it interferes with my own values and ideals. It may be repressive, and ideologically “backward.” I have to realize that; yet my growing appreciation of conservatism requires me to see the necessity of a unifying worldview for any stable civilization, at least an extensive common ground, even if I am doomed to become a total misfit in such a state, and to fall by the wayside.
Will I be able to submit to a state religion other than Buddhism, maybe even an ethnonationalist, neo-fascist one? How well would I fare with a return to fundamentalist Christianity, or a mass conversion to Islam in the west? At this point I’ve come to the conclusion that just about anything would be preferable to neo-Marxism, against which abomination I would fight unto death if necessary. I might even be willing to “take one for the team” and be martyred, or just driven out of my home country, for being a Buddhist. But I’d guess the neo-Marxists would be more inclined to martyr me than the right-wingers.
Anyway, Buddhism was originally intended to allow us to avoid the whole predicament of societal chaos and insanity by encouraging us all to opt out of the Plato’s Cave of worldly life. So there is that. But I do have enough faith in the human race to expect that what arises in the not too distant future will be an improvement on socialized globalism. That would be good news for the majority who aren’t ready to go meditate in tropical forests, and want to raise children into a better world.