Sunday 31 January 2021

The reductio ad absurdum is our last ditch defence against evil

We inhabit a world where - on the one hand - Men have, en masse, rejected god/s and eliminated the divine from core consideration and thus become genuinely insane: unable to perceive, think, reason and learn...

And on the other hand; this is a world where all the major social institutions - politics and government at all levels, the mass media, law, major churches, the military and police, education and science, health services... A world where all the major institutions have taken the side of darkness in the spiritual war...

In such a world of both inner passivity-incoherence and outer evil; how does anybody ever awaken to God and the Good; to truth, beauty and virtue? 

It would seem impossible to escape - given that Men are corrupted both within and without. 

Well, there is an escape - but of course it must be recognized and chosen. 

The escape becomes possible when someone's life reaches a reductio ad absurdum: by which I mean, the situation when a person finds-himself thinking, saying or doing something so monstrously wrong that he shocks and awakens himself

This shocking and awakening moment has happened to me, more than once; and on a particular occasion which made me recognize that my entire (atheistic) morality must-be evil - since it had led to this situation. 

There was a moment when I realized that if I can think this is right and proper, based-on and derived-from my moral principles; then my moral principles are revealed as rotten - therefore wrong

If I was not to be evil, I needed urgently to understand and reject the moral assumptions that led to the immorality of that reductio ad absurdum

It seems obvious that many people have gone beyond this point - and that our society as a whole has gone beyond this point. 

As a clear example: when a society has developed explicit and official moral principles that lead to coercively taking children from their loving natural parents and into the institutional horrors of state custody; in order that the children can be poisoned with hormones and surgically-mutilated; in order to enforce a delusion and pretense that they have thereby 'changed sex'... then that society has reached such an extreme stage of depravity that even the grossest and vilest reductio ad absurdum cannot any longer be recognized. 

At an individual level, the success of Alcoholics Anonymous often derives from an individual reaching such a point of personal degradation from drinking, that he wakens-up to the fact that his own rationalizations for drinking are absurd, that he is 'an alcoholic' who cannot deal-with alcohol; and stopping drinking must become the focus of his effort. 

The reductio has awakened him to the need to extract himself from his life as an alcoholic. 

To be effective, this entails not only explicit recognition and repentance; but having a higher reason to stop drinking: in a word God. Alcoholics Anonymous is built from the insight that the alcoholic will not change his life unless there is a higher and stronger motivation than the attainment of short-term pleasure (or the alleviation of short-term suffering). 

In other words, the reductio moment must be followed by a conversion experience

And if it is not - then insight will simply lead to despair, or will negate itself with a return to the old patterns. 

The capacity to experience a reductio ad absurdum and to respond by conversion is therefore is a test for save-ability, a test of whether a person is doomed to damnation - or can extract himself from from the downward vortex into self-chosen hell. 

The reductio relies-upon both a residual capacity for moral revulsion And a residual desire for meaning, purpose and coherence that can only come from a life based-around the reality of god/s. 

But when a person (an institution, a nation, a world...) finds himself thinking, saying or doing something monstrous derived-from what he supposes to be true-assumptions and correct-principles - yet having arrived he does not recognize he has arrived at a reductio ad absurdum...

Well, then he is beyond saving...


That point, for many individuals - and for all institutions, nations and the world - was reached in 2020. From 2020 the world itself is a reductio ad absurdum. Either one recognizes the fact... or not.  


Doktor Jeep said...

There is also the hindsight "if they can do that, they can do...." effect.
Like for example, if they can abort babies they can euthanize the old or invalids.
This with each fresh hell I have less tolerance for old conservafailures who come at me with things like "I have been knocking on doors for life since you were in diapers!".
But then I remember that any measure taken to get real results on such matters of the post modern, these same people would sit on a jury and condemn those who tried to save them or their civilization.
And maybe that's where the real evil is.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DJ - Yes. The trouble is that (as of 2020 - maybe not always, but now) somebody (or some church) can have-been right on 90%, or 99% of things for many years/ centuries - BUT if they are wrong on certain matters (e.g. but not exclusively what I call the Litmus Tests), they are already (or very soon will be) joining the dark side of evil.

It is a matter of *whose side you are on* - God's or Satan's - not of counting-up and averaging beliefs. And here and now the devil has set out his strategy for conquering the world. If someone believes/ supports any of these Big Lie Policies, they are actually members of the devil's side.

And will soon find themselves in a reductio ad absurdum, supporting/ believing something that objectively ought to horrify them - in fact they are almost certainly been in one already. The question is whether they recognized it, and were able to respond as they should.

To demand an explanation/ reasons for *why* the horrific *is* horrific ("let's debate whether kidnapping, poisoning and mutilating children is such a bad thing, after all...") is already to have surrendered one's discernment; as the demonic rhetoricians know very well.

TonguelessYoungMan said...

BC says: "To demand an explanation/ reasons for *why* the horrific *is* horrific ("let's debate whether kidnapping, poisoning and mutilating children is such a bad thing, after all...")"

"Let's have/we need to have a conversation" is a popular phrase among the left.

Francis Berger said...

I've often employed the example you cite in the post as a sort of line of demarcation (I mean that in the medical sense of the term). Whenever people inform me that mutilating children is defensible because of "the science", individual rights, or personal liberties, I immediately know I am dealing with individuals who are likely beyond saving. If they can justify and rationalize that evil, they can justify and rationalize any and all evil. Put another way, nothing will ever strike them as absurd. Nothing.

People who support such measures have become utterly incapable of viewing humans, including children, as anything more than meaningless abstractions. I think they view themselves as meaningless abstractions as well. I suppose it's difficult or inexpedient to recognize absurdity when everything under the sun is abstract and meaningless.

R.J.Cavazos said...

Great series of insights. I heard a discussion recently the point of which relates albeit obliquely to your powerful ideas. To wit--the west's current elites suck! They do not support cultural traditions, personal excellence, courage, beautiful art, acts of self sacrifice for the common wealth, no vision for the future. Quite the opposite, they support ugliness,destruction of beauty and elevation of mediocrity...Soulless technocrats at best. .From either a ethical, psychological or spiritual basis I wonder when the switch was turned.....

Joseph A. said...

It has been both interesting and troubling to see the shift happen. I long thought that the change in public opinion revealed a generational change . . . demographic changes, with the passing of the pre-boomers and the rise of the millennials. Certainly, this has happened, but it seems that many folks have simply changed with the times. They're sheep, and they've started following a different shepherd.

I've written about this before on my site and on the Orthosphere, but I have a friend whose late father was a Methodist minister -- a brilliant and good man. My friend grew up in a pious household and got to know his father's expansive network of friends. In grad. school, my friend slipped from the Methodist world as he lived hundreds of miles away and no longer participated in his family's day to day lives. Since his father's passing a few years ago, he has been in contact with many people that he knew from his youth -- his father's associates and their families. In the 90s, he said that these people were strong evangelicals -- biblically-centered, culturally conservative, and politically centrist, as Americans of their time were . . . mostly Reagan Democrats, many of whom who gave Clinton a chance in 92 but abandoned him in 96. Well, since my friend has re-established contact with these folks two decades later, he's amazed how they have jumped on the Zeitgeist's bandwagon. People who 20 years before would have been labeled religious fundamentalists by Hollywood have since adopted Hollywood's cultural values. Redemption has been replaced by inclusion, the gospel by "social justice" (which is neither social nor just).

I've seen evidence of this change elsewhere, too, where previous liberals (both in the classical sense and in the 20th century American way) have abandoned liberalism altogether for ideology farther to the left. Not only the so-called "mainstream Protestant" groups but even the "moral majority" evangelicals, Baptists, Pentecostals . . . they have been swayed. It's really shocking to witness. Even in my own Church, there are global movements led, it appears, by Constantinople to accommodate or even join the current madness. It's possible that we'll witness a lasting schism in our lifetime between the modernist Greeks and everyone else.

The ground is rumbling.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - "People who support such measures have become utterly incapable of viewing humans, including children, as anything more than meaningless abstractions."

Indeed. Abstractions - like Equality or Race - have All the meaning and significance; and what happens to actual people is irrelevant.

@Joseph - I cannot account for the profundity of such change except by assuming both internal and external change. I think what happened to people such as you describe is that they had a modern consciousness that had no confidence in its own validity (or capacity to know truth) looked outward for 'objective' external guidance; and when that external guidance changed (overall, including society generally) so did they. They did not known God directly, but only via institutions - and were actually obeying institutions rather than God.

But on the other hand, those who were driven *only* by internal factors and who did not acknowledge the objective reality of God; also followed the same path, since they were manipulated by the powers who control human incentives (sex, status, wealth, security etc).

What is horrific is that way that a single weakness is *wedged* to 'turn' someone (or an institution). e.g. I know of a good and decent person who began by swallowing the global warming lies and becoming an activist; and ended by zealously, aggressively, believing every single piece of evil nonsense propagated by the Global Establishment. Similar stories could be told for socialism, feminism, race, birdemic etc. If the reductio ad absurdum mechanism was working properly, then such a person would recognize the apologist monster he had become - yet that does not happen.

What is an interesting speculation is why such people as us are incarnated Now: what was the divine purpose and hope for us? Clearly not what we are doing!

But the many speculations on End Times through the ages shows that it has long been understood that it is almost inevitable that humans will eventually make a spiritually doomed world. It seems that some kinds of people have only a small chance of choosing salvation - but it maybe that this world offers their best chance, since evil is much more easily seen than it was 100 years ago.

Those masses of devout Christians of the past may well have not been Christians at all - but merely socially conformist and expedient individuals who we fooling themselves and others; but that was not obvious. Now their true nature is very obvious to those willing to use discernment.