- Frithjof Schuon
Would you believe someone who told you they were going to mislead you so that you’d do what they wanted?
Would you trust a liar who told you he was going to lie to you? Would you trust the people who did trust him even after he told them that? Would you trust your children’s lives and dreams to the care and direction of any of these people?
And yet You do.
“I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith”.
That is the brazen declaration in the preface to one of Kant's main tomes, “Critique of Pure Reason”, of his "Copernican Revolution" in philosophy. Why ANYONE would bother reading a single word more of it in the pursuit of Truth and understanding, I can not for the life of me understand. What he is declaring is his intent to deny, twist & lie about how things are, in order to accomplish (or so he thinks) some higher task. In so doing, he set the pattern for what, in short order would become, the leftist pattern of self justification for all of its morally questionable thought and actions over the next 200 years.
This alone should declare nearly as well as branding a big red "L" for liar smack dab in the middle of his forehead, that he has failed to grasp the most rudimentary understanding of Philosophy and its foundational principles – mainly that the love of wisdom (Philosophy means “love of wisdom “) hinges on, at the very least, a respect for Truth.
If you were considering two sales pitches from salesmen to sum up their particular philosophy they were peddling as a method for leading you to a better understanding of the world, and they gave their respective pitches as follows:
• Aristotle: - "’A’ (thing) cannot both be ‘A’ and ‘Not-A’ at the same time.”
and “The ends don't justify the means"
• Kant: - “Reality is unknowable” and “I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith”.
You would think that that would be an easy decision.
The fact that the majority of Intellectuals not only read on, but sought to understand the lies he already declared he would be feeding them, is testament to how far principled adherence to reality had already been damaged among the philosophers of the west by the errors, misunderstandings and outright lying of Hume, Descartes, & Rousseau.
Why would they allow this, promote this, Celebrate this? Because they too, wanted to promote the ideas that they were enamored of – whether or not there could be established any correspondence to truth for those thoughts. From Descartes saying that thought comes prior to, and independent of Reality, to Rousseau promoting the idealization of the primitive over the civil, emotion over reason – these ideas were already in their dreams and desires, as if each saw themselves as their own little Dr. Faustus’, Kant offered them a bridge to respectability and a free ticket to peddle their personal favorite slop to their hearts content.
So now that this horrid swill had been perpetrated on a self stupefied mass of intellectuals, whose integrity had been willingly self crippled, they needed a method that would enable them to peddle it's corrosive evil off onto those honest and innocent students of theirs who would look towards them for wisdom. Kant gave them the method by example in spades: throw so many trees directly into your face, that not only are you not able to see the forest for the trees, but you can't even step back & see the forest, let alone notice that his forest is floating in nothing but rationalistic thin air.
One way Kant attempts to throw trees into your face, is with his extensive use of “necessary" and "contingent" statements or truths. The classic example of "2+2 equals Four is a necessary truth", and that there can not be round squares - because we cannot imagine (hear Descartes echoing through here?) it otherwise. Their purpose is to trick you into looking so closely at the particulars, that you miss the sleight of hand removal of the wider context within which they both reside - all issues of the molecular structure of water and your experiences of life here on earth, in reality, are removed from your consideration by the Kantian 3 card monty player who says "But Ice sinking in water, is merely a contingent truth, because we can easily imagine ice sinking to the bottom of a glass of water.", as he whisks reality, unseen and out of your attention, off of the table without your even relaizing it.
It is as if they are stymied by anything deeper than the perceptual level concept. Circles & Squares are too two dimensionally defined by their appearance for even them to deny. But anything whose conceptual depth is deeper than those 2 dimensions, and their conceptual grasp is strained, their mental gripping power too weak (Hume suffered from the same lack of conceptual gripping power 'Principle'? Too darn heavey) like an Ostrich, they seem to think “If I can’t see it’s properties, it must not be important”.
What that actually means, is that they've divorced their thoughts from having any connection to the real world. They've lost the understanding that reality IS. Things are. Squares are 4 sided objects where each side is of equal length - in that the length of the sides are all properties of a square, in the same way as the properties of Ice are just as integral to it. Just as they like to rip the meaning out of a word, while cherry picking it's desirable connotations to be used regardless of it's actual meaning - they do the same thing when having you imagine Ice as having the "look" of Ice, maybe being cold also, but then scrapping away all the other properties of ice such as being lighter than water. Ice is Ice - it is defined by all of its properties, you can’t separate its buoyancy from its temperature, its essential properties are reflective of what it IS, you cannot pick and choose them.
Whenever you hear them talking about whether something "could be true or false in some other universe", you should reject it outright as the worst of hypothetical garbage designed to divorce truth from that which makes it true, divorcing mind from body, thought from reality. Whenever you hear them start “Imagine a universe where…” they are not only going to play “lets pretend”, but then try to convince you that their conclusions formulated in their pretend world should take precedence over yours, and then even that their pretend world is more real than the real real one we live in. It is the source of all of their 'errors', and their disappointment in, and neurotic rejection of Life, and which can be seen in their art, literature and failed lives.
There are few words that can illustrate the world that the opposing philosophies must bring to life, better than an example of their idea of Art. Compare Munch and Godward.
Note the view of life in someone like Godward's style of classical influences, descended from the Aristotelian side of philosophy. "He was the best of the last great European painters to straight-forwardly embrace classical Greece and Rome in their art. Herein lies his significance to art history. With him and his colleagues, we see the nightfall of five hundred years of Classical subject painting in Western art... It vanished during Godward's generation -- killed, as it were, by contemporary nihilistic philosophies".
And compare it to the type of life exemplified by Munch, illustrating the nature of expressionism, the "artistic style in which the artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in him. He accomplishes his aim through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy and through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic application of formal elements" directly influenced by Rousseau, Kant et al.
The core trick which Kant used to deliver us from the world of Godward and into the world of Munch, is to say that “[tons of unintelligible blah blah] and therefore X must be true. If that is so, then, this Y and Z Must be true as well” The result is similar to that of Zeno's paradox of Achilles not being able to beat a turtle in a race, if the turtle is given a head start. Zeno says that if you think about it, Achilles will be able to halve the distance between he and a turtle halfway down the track in the first 5 sec, and the same for the remaining distance halved in, say 2 sec, and half that in the next second, and so on - with the conclusion being that all Achilles will ever be able to do, is to continue halving the distance. The paradox being that Achilles, the fastest Greek won't be able to out run a turtle with a head start, because he'll only be able to continue halving the distance between them for eternity.
The trick is to zoom in the focus of your attention onto a specific, somewhat plausible, but isolated fact, and derive an unsupportable conclusion from it - leaving you with the sense that it was approached in a logical manner, and so, well... “it must be true...”. Once he's accomplished that, then he can continue to pronounce what you should think next based on that conclusion, “don't you agree?” So it is that Kant does with his Critiques, Metaphysic’s, Noumenal and Phenomenal worlds.
Here's a translation from paragraphs 29 & 30 from the Preface to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason:
|He Means:||He Says:|
|Blah-Blah- Blah-Blah- Blah-Blah- Blah-Blah- Blah-|
|This discussion as to the positive advantage of critical principles of pure reason can be similarly developed in regard to the concept of God and of the simple nature of our soul; but for the sake of brevity such further discussion may be omitted. [From what has already been said, it is evident that] even the assumption--as made on behalf of the necessary practical employment of my reason -- of God, freedom, and immortality is not permissible unless at the same time speculative reason be deprived of its pretensions to transcendent insight. For in order to arrive at such insight it must make use of principles which, in fact, extend only to objects of possible experience, and which, if also applied to what cannot be an object of experience, always really change this into an appearance, thus rendering all practical extension of pure reason impossible.|
|Therefore||I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.|
|X and Y must be true - thought shall be divorced from reality||The dogmatism of metaphysics, that is, the preconception that it is possible to make headway in metaphysics with-out a previous criticism of pure reason, is the source of all that unbelief, always very dogmatic, which wars against morality.|
|Blah-Blah-Blah||Though it may not, then, be very difficult to leave to posterity the bequest of a systematic metaphysic, constructed inconformity with a critique of pure reason, yet such a gift is not to be valued lightly.|
|Therefore the ends DO justify the means||For not only will reason be enabled to follow the secure path of a science, instead of, as hitherto, groping at random, without circumspection or self-criticism; our enquiring youth will also be in a position to spend their time more profitably than in the ordinary dogmatism by which they are so early and so greatly encouraged to indulge in easy speculation about things of which they understand nothing, and into which neither they nor any-one else will ever have any insight -- encouraged, indeed, to invent new ideas and opinions, while neglecting the study of the better-established sciences.|
|We must divert people down a false trail so that we can be secure in our pretentions to a faith we don't really have in a God we fear isn't strong enough to defend himself against the Reason he Created||But, above all, there is the inestimable benefit, that all objections to morality and religion will be for ever silenced, and this in Socratic fashion, namely, by the clearest proof of the ignorance of the objectors. There has always existed in the world, and there will always continue to exist, some kind of metaphysics, and with it the dialectic that is natural to pure reason. It is therefore the first and most important task of philosophy to deprive meta-physics, once and for all, of its injurious influence, by attacking its errors at their very source.|
Never forget, that behind all of Kant’s and his Intellectual descendents posturing and sneering at “simple people”, is the fearful statement: “I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.”
Kant then enforces his fantasy worlds through the Categorical Imperative, which is supposed to be a statement of ethical conduct that will be true in all situations – regardless of context. This is a typical example of what comes from Elites who not only distrust peoples ability to act morally, but fear their ability to judge for themselves. Typical of Listicism (the attempt to substitute “To-Do Lists” for active thought), is it's intent to make thought unnecessary and judgment replaced.
It is interesting to note that his own categorical imperative “Never Lie” is in direct opposition to “I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith.” – or do you think such categorical statements allow for little white lies of omission? Nah.
Kant's philosophy did get some attacks from his contemporaries, but unfortunately they bought enough of his contingent/necessary mind body conflict, that they ended up using his philosophy to attack it – and in the act became his supporters. Hegel opposed some of Kant, but again bought the main points of it, essentially only substituting his “World Spirit” of History for Kant’s ‘Religious’ mysticism. Marx branched off through Hegel, with his own variations, and a much more visceral application of both philosophies – much to the world’s detriment.
More on that and how it was spread into the American mainstream of life, next time.