Sunday, 15 September 2013

A minority of one: Why it is impossible to communicate truth


Given the constraints - that almost all communication is extremely time limited, and takes place in public (or potentially public) situations - it is impossible to communicate truth in the modern secular Leftist context (by which I mean, essentially everywhere for many or most people).

So all people who are serious about truth are, apparently, in a minority of one.

This is not an eternal human situation - but something new.

It used to be possible reasonably to assume that behind all the constraints and limitations of actual communication - there was a primary unity: that differences were superficial and agreement was profound.

But this is not the case anymore.

What happens is that there are superficial differences of opinion, as there always have been - but it is when we reach back from these superficial differences, to try and settle disagreement on the basis of fundamental principle, that we find the truly vast, indeed oppositional, differences.

Typically there is some kind of dispute at the level of superficial bureaucratic procedure, regulation, law, practice... and an attempt is made to try and clarify what is the deep aim and purpose of these regulations, laws practices in order to settle the case - and it is then that the chasm yawns: when it is realized that superficial disputes are as nothing compared with the vast underlying differences...

The typical modern person has so completely rejected tradition, orthodoxy, common sense, natural law, the validity of the spontaneous... that whole complex of underlying stuff which united 'reasonable human beings' that commnuication has ceased.

On the one side there is the dominating complex of modernity - which is everywhere - and on the other side a tiny and weak individual perception of the monstrous falsity and evil of all this.

The mismatch between the gross and chaotic mass of lies and deceptions and what the individual flickeringly perceives in his own heart, is so huge that questions of persuasion, or explanation, or argument become laughable.

So the traditional human situation is reversed - in the past people differed superficially, there was sin and weakness and bad luck,  but we knew that deep down there was commonality of values and purposes; now we have the reverse. The only things that hold us together are superficial habits, pragmatic compromises - none of which are believed and which are constantly being problematized, subverted, destroyed and inverted.

What remains? In what do people believe? It is not so much they disbelieve in something, but that they believe in nothing: and I mean they believe in it - they actively believe that nothing underpins the human condition. They are convinced that behind the surface there is nothing.

This means that the surface (the habits, regulations, laws, cultures) are on the one hand the most important things in the world because the only thing in the world; but on the other hand we know and believe that they are contingent, arbitrary, incoherent, weak and always changing and inverting.

This is the world we inhabit - as extremely feeble single souls - it is a world in which the idea of communication functions more like a temptation than a possibility - in such a context the hope that there may be a possibility of communication in the public arena (which is ever larger, encroaches ever more) is like a cruel trick.