Friday 15 October 2021

"Nae hauf-way hoose" - life at the right extreme

I'll ha'e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur 
Extremes meet - it's the only way I ken 
To dodge the curst conceit o' bein' richt 
That damns the vast majority o' men.

From A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926) by Hugh MacDiarmid

Translates as: I'll have no half-way house but always be where extremes meet - it's the only way I know to dodge the cursed conceit of "being in the right" that damns the vast majority of men.  

There is indeed a common curst conceit of being in the right, and seen to be so; which leads many people to decry 'extremism' and 'polarization' - and take a moderate half-way-house position on any public issue. 

Unfortunately, it is at one of the extremes - and the most extreme of all extremes (officially) is God, divine creation, following Jesus Christ, truth, beauty and virtue. 

The other extreme - which is that of totalitarian global governance and officialdom, the world mass media, and all large institutions - is the extremity of strategic demonic evil: the world of omni-surveillance and micro-control in pursuit of leftist materialism, comprehensive and mandatory value-inversion. 

And half-way-between these extremes lies the mass of the masses; who passively, unconsciously, self-righteously follow at a cautious and moderate distance the lead of the extremely wealthy and powerful, ultra-influential, highest-status and most-famous dedicated-servants of evil.

So the half-way hoose, that path between both extremes; that route of those sensible, sane, nice people who care-fully navigate the broad, calm waters between what it regards as the crazy, stupid, evil poles; that vast majority of Men are damned by their sensible, conscientious conformity.

Why so? Because: 

1. Half-way-between truth and lies is... lies

2. An average of the claims of truth and the claims of lies is... lies

3. A blend of lies and the truth is... lies.

The only truth is the-true. Add lies, and it is no longer true. 

Unless you are prepared to own-up (to yourself, as well as in the eyes of your neighbours) as a crazy extremist; you will surely have damned yourself by your own choices. 

But then, of course, you need to pick the right extreme, the extreme at which reality lies.

Because, contrary to Hugh Macdiarmid's assertion of a century ago; as of 2021, the extremes never do meet; but instead diverge further and further apart, faster and faster, for eternity. 


Brief Outlines said...

God, Truth, Goodness and Beauty are not in their own right extreme unless we fill each of these concepts with fallen worldly ideas that are the extreme opposites of other fallen worldly ideas like materialistic, leftist, mainstream secularism. God is infinite, He cannot be extreme to anything, otherwise it would imply God is no greater than His extreme opposite, ie, Satan.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Brief - "God, Truth, Goodness and Beauty are not in their own right extreme" - Not in their own right; but they are at an extreme in today's spectrum of opinion. .

jana gatien said...

Glad you extrapolated on this. You're really good at wrangling a slippery topic to a refined, upright & stable position. The somewhere in the "Middle Path" (the path most taken, though the middle is so broad that there is a wide spectrum within it so most don't see it as: ordinary) is the path of comfortable, palatable lies (fake context) intermingled w some true principles. Like Truman in the Truman Show (a decent enough person in a total fiction). Today's "respectable" path does not disturb the delusions of others. That may well be its entire criteria! (Replete w modern,zingless axioms like, "You do you, I'll do me" etc.) You'll be generally well-liked as a lying middleman who simply let's others enjoy their own lies. It is conceit that keeps us there. But as the world dissolves & the middle turns more & more to mush, the only buoy is the extremity of full truth. It does call up the implications of pre-determination/pre-destination for me. Although I cannot verify pre-destination under a microscope, I'm seeing the different natures, desires and encoding of people manifest blatantly before me. People literally DON'T CARE about what is true. I cannot fathom that orientation. Could we be fundamentally different, by God's own purposes?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JG - People don't care what is true - not enough to be inconvenienced by truth; and this is a rooted habit.

On top of this is this weird incapacity to hold two contradictory statements or actions in the mind simultaneously and compare them. The past (like the day before yesterday) goes down the memory hole. This is so striking and near-universal as to seem like a mass dementia.

It may partly be a product of the thinking/ living style imposed by the mass media, but seems to go much deeper. Even face to face, most people seem to switch off or blank out when faced by the gross contradictions of the 'normal'.

Much is, I think, due to a combination of the inability to understand evil combined with the refusal to consider evil to be motivating the major policies of the world, and collaborated-with by almost everyone (whether they are personally nasty or nice).

Stephen Murray said...

Even a drop of sewage into a glass of wine makes the entire glass a glass of sewage. So is it with lies, they contaminate all