Saturday, September 12, 2015

Western self-destructiveness

Listening through Tarnas' over-written but still interesting and informative history of the Western mind --White and Male-- I am getting one of his central themes: that each modern lurch toward freedom from tradition and the past eventually winds up undercutting itself. He is certainly no traditionalist, but the pattern is pretty clear. Each new "advance" contains within it the seeds of its own destruction.

One of the themes is the increasing skepticism of philosophy about the human mind's capacity to know reality.  Yet, as an inveterate theist, I cannot help noticing that there seems to be, in modern thought, an assumption that only divine knowledge is true knowledge, that only perfectly objective knowing deserves the title of knowing. Seems to me like a game rigged for failure, issuing in cynicism because the goal was obviously flawed from the beginning. The theme seems to be that since we can't know perfectly, we can't know at all.

We start with Plato and wind up with Nietzsche and the PoMo's. What a decline.


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