Tuesday 24 September 2019

Metaphysical Ignorance

Have a look at this comment which I have taken from an article on the Guardian website. At first sight it seems plausible, philosophically sensible even, but it is based on a completely false assumption.

" It's a bit like how I felt about homophobia for a couple of decades: astonishment that such a mindset existed. The fact that a thing exists means - it exists. Full stop. As part of the human condition. So how can anyone be 'against' something that is part of the range of human behaviour? It's a bit like saying someone accepts the presence of tulips and roses but not geraniums. Geraniums 'aren't right'. So we'll make a law against geraniums.

The 'is-ness' of a thing creates its own authenticity. No further justification is needed."

The assumption is that we live in a materialistic world with no higher truth behind it and no absolute reality. But what about murder? That exists. What about all the flaws of this world, what about human vice and error? They all exist. Does that justify them? Of course not. No one would claim such a nonsensical thing but this person seems to think that the mere existence of a thing justifies it completely. Note that word, completely. It is not just something to be understood but something to be fully accepted and given equal authenticity, to use his word, with everything else that exists.

If you don't understand the spiritual background to the world then you understand nothing about it at all. If you think that truth just means what is or happens to be then you have no conception of truth. There is an objective reality 'out there' which, by and large, human beings have always acknowledged with varying degrees of insight. Not now.  Now we do not just ignore it. We actively reject it.

The single most destructive thing in the world today is metaphysical ignorance. It is this which is driving the ship of humanity onto the rocks of wreckage with the difference that in this case many of the sailors on board are actively steering the ship to disaster. A few shout out in warning but they are not heard. The good news is that the lifeboats are still available and will take anyone to safety if they just hop in.

I believe that the truth is in all of us and it requires an effort of will to block it out*. This means that the rejection of truth and attempt to establish ideas and modes of being that are in conflict with it is a moral issue. This is clearly more the case where there is active participation in falsehood but even those who passively accept the new status quo as it is established cannot be held entirely innocent. They are complicit in evil to some degree. God has not left us without witness to his reality, externally or internally. Those who deny him will be held to account.

God allows us to think or do whatever we want but if what we think or do is contrary to how life is we will suffer the consequences. We can eat rotten food if we like but we will get sick.

*Note: When I've made this point before I've been questioned by people who ask what about genuine agnostics or people who would like to believe in God but find they can't? I still say that the truth is in all of us but the ones I am really referring to here are the ones who take an anti-God stance which includes an anti-natural order of being as established by God stance as evidenced in the Guardian comment above. If you find yourself unable to accept God but sincerely try to understand, you may be outside the gates of heaven but are at least not walking in the opposite direction and that's a significant difference when accounts are reckoned.


Adil said...

Everything comes down to whether you view spirit or matter as primary. For example, as someone who has internalised a spiritual world view, I find myself having opposite views to the mainstream all the time. Materialism starts from the abstract, I always start from the personal. It is this basic assumption, of having things upside down, that over-saturates and obfuscates actual reality and intuition with 'information overload'. Objectivity according to materialism, are just collected independent 'facts'. But spiritual objectivity and subjectivity necessarily go together, and dissolves the dichotomy. Because the world is indeed intimately tied to the observing subject. So objectivity becomes harmonious intersubjectivity, but not 'dead' facts, or mere 'is-ness'.

William Wildblood said...

That's a good distinction between abstract/material and personal/spiritual. It seems we're afraid now to trust our instincts.

Adil said...

Yes, I think we lack spiritual self-esteem, and compensate with self-confidence in knowledge - through a quest for certainty. This of course blocks out our true nature and confines us in a mental box of dry binary thinking.

Moonsphere said...

Atheism is a illness and it seems certain that materialism is the prime vector by which it takes hold. Perhaps it can be compared to a childhood illness like chickenpox. It is probably not a bad thing to experience in ones earlier years. In fact that would mirror the divine/human path of the "Prodigal Son". We must after all find God in the fullest spirit of independence.

But that scenario harks back to a time when there was at least a childhood religion to question in the first place!

Many today - to quote a phrase - have an "internet assembled philosophy". I suppose the Jordan Peterson phenomenon would be an example. Similarly the so-called "intellectual dark web" which some may be aware of. Hard to watch such "cleverness", such deftness of ideas attempting to create an ersatz copy of what they have already rejected in the name of their materialist world view.

William Wildblood said...

I like your analogy of atheism and childhood sickness. I would just add that this is a sickness that is not hard to cure in childhood but may be for an adult.

Francis Berger said...

I find the use of 'phobia' to describe spiritual objections quite inappropriate and, frankly, tiresome. Phobia is a psychological term used to describe a type of anxiety disorder based on irrational fear. I very much doubt those who spiritually object to distortions of truth do so out of irrational fear or excessive anxiety, but rather out of rational concern about the metaphysical ignorance you have so well described in your post.

Employing psychological terms like 'phobia' is also an efficient way to discredit those who still possess some degree of metaphysical understanding. The implication is obvious - those who object or voice concern are obviously either mentally unstable/insane or consumed by illogical hatred.

William Wildblood said...

Absolutely Frank. Calling a natural reaction a phobia is just a devious way to win the argument by shifting the frame of reference.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I would distinguish the falsehood (and indeed incoherence) of materialism, from the idea that the material is primary. I am currently thinking a lot about that resurrection, and that it strongly implies that the 'material' in the sense of solid and incarnated is superior to the spiritual (or immaterial). Indeed, I regard the material and the spiritual as to poles of the same 'stuff' that everything is made of' but that the solid is *potentially* the higher, more divine - as with Jesus, who went to the trouble of resurrecting before ascending.

I read through the Guardian (or Independent) from time to time, to marvel at the explicitness and pervasiveness of evil that its exhibts on a daily basis. The world that they Want, the continual dishonesty, the constant denigration of beauty and virtue... It is quite amazing, in world historical terms - like a newspaper written by Caligula for a mass audience of Neros!

William Wildblood said...

I look at the Guardian too just to check on the latest things in Satan's agenda. That's not a joke.

Howard Ramsey Sutherland said...

If you should ever tire of the Guardian's lies, or the Independent's, and decide they're no longer brazen enough, just try reading The New York Times for outlandish lies galore.
What does the Guardian guard, if anything, and what, if anything, is the Independent independent of?