We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. (HT: Bill Powell)
No man is without muddled beliefs, for Truth is all alike in singularity while lies are multifarious, protean; the former cuts away the bulk, is clean like a summer salad, the latter adumbrates like the brambles of a forest which when one is fallen upon them twist around him with thorns and thistle ever digging in to bleed him and entangling him within the mesh. Lies are a dark place that Truth has yet to penetrate.
An age of relativity grants to all things equal status banishing Truth to the realm of lies. Equivocation strips truth of its special status, strips what is important of its significance. All insipidity is substantial, all substance is fatuous. Jejune media: facebook, television, the MSM, unable to rise to the level of mediocrity pull down whatever is excellent into the mire. The foundational questions of man become as inconsequential as the winner of the dancing bear circus. Who can stave off the befuddlement in such a climate?
The banality seeps in, he, like a thief, comes over the fence, through the window, kicks down your bookcase, overturns the mattress; tumultuous destruction is his wake. Every hour spent locked into the television, every hour on WoW, makes a deposit. Is it any wonder so many men live without a purpose, without meaning?
The stalls of your mind must be scraped clean. All the shit must go. Each man must approach his Cartesian moment where all beliefs are stripped away. Descartes wrote first dubito, ergo cogito: I doubt, therefore I think; everyone knows the rest of the line: I think therefore I am, but when being and thinking are given priority the seminal moment is passed. First there is doubt. Where there is doubt, there is freedom.*
Go back to that first red-pill moment, that impetuous moment when you thought could it be true, could this edifice be a mere white-wash? The blue-pill is safe; it dares not approach the precipice worried that in peering over the edge the world will turn out round and not flat; the blue-pill cannot question because it is insulated, its ingrained, programmed by the constant ululations like waves slapping a beach with all the peace and serenity of a force that erodes cliffs and cave and canyons. The red-pill is dangerous, destructive; it does not set to stun.
The Cartesian moment is the red-pill moment which dresses the stage for foundational questions; like the psalmist a man must reach the point where he asks, ‘What is Man that you are mindful of him?’ Each man must ask first What is Man? From whence has he come? Where is his place?
Is man an animal like any other, or is he something different, something more? Is he only a bipedal creature without feathers? Is he, by nature, a political creature, a rational creature, a spiritual creature?
What is man’s place in nature? Has he evolved like the beasts provided with tendencies weeded out by millennia but without greater significance? Is his place his own by virtue of longevity, or is man created within nature for a purpose? Is there a natural law in the heart of man, or is law no more than the statutory will of the existent powers?
When you have come to a place of unknowing, of unassuming you are ready to begin. This is clarity, the prize of a hard won fight. When a glass is filled with murky water it must first be emptied before fresh water is poured in, for the fresh will not clean, the murky waters but will be tainted by them. Such is the mind.
Be bold in questioning all things for where there is consensus there are often lies.
. . . raging like a flame, doth in his charge appear,
And boasts himself the best God’s son. Be you conceited so,
And fire so, more than human spirits, that God may seem to do
In your deeds, and, with such thoughts cheer’d, other to such exhort,
And such resistance: these great minds will in as great a sort
Strengthen your bodies, and force check to all great Hector’s charge.
Illiad – Book XIII (trans. George Chapman)
Remember, it was the Trojan who stole beauty; the lies are Troy.
Veritas numquam perit,
*Ubi dubium, ibi libertas