Author Topic: Truth =/= knowledge  (Read 935 times)


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Re: Truth =/= knowledge
« on: September 16, 2020, 03:06:02 am »
"they are merely trying to repudiate the hubris of Westerners, who claim intellectual "superiority"."

Yes, but by doing so in their way, they are implying that if calculus is owed to Western civilization, then even they would agree that Western civilization is intellectually superior.

What we need is a different standard of judging intellectual superiority. Seriously, what is so intellectually superior about recklessly discovering stuff, especially without looking ahead and predicting the potential consequences of doing so (as Western civilization has failed to do every time)? Is not the clarity to refrain from unnecessary discovery (and, preliminarily, the ability to discern what is unnecessary) the true mark of intellectual superiority? We need to start looking at accumulation of knowledge the same way we look at accumulation of consumer products. The smart shopper is not the compulsive shopper who spends all their time browsing and who cannot resist buying (probably paying using credit cards) everything that catches their eye (but who is never satisfied by what is bought, instead only moving on to thinking about what to buy next), but the one who spends as little time and money as possible to buy strictly what is really needed (and is satisfied with this). Why should it be any different with knowledge?

Perhaps we should describe Westerners as compulsive discoverers? Our enemy Duchesne agrees with me about this, though of course he spins it positively:

In Faustian Man I expanded on the importance of Spengler in our understanding of the West. Spengler believed that Western civilization was driven by an unusually dynamic and expansive psyche, by a personality driven to go beyond the known and master the unknown, reach new territorial frontiers, new frontiers of knowledge, transcend all possibilities and reach the highest peaks of achievement. I used the example of exploration as an endeavour that could clearly bring out the essence of this Faustian spirit. A standard explanation for the unsurpassed European drive to explore every corner of the earth is that Europeans were just more rapacious in their thirst for wealth and domination of lands. But I argued that the history of exploration during and after the Enlightenment era offered us with an opportunity to apprehend the essence of this Faustian soul. For while it is difficult to disentangle the pursuit of economic goals, gold and lands, in the earlier explorations of the Portuguese and Spaniards, for example, we can clearly apprehend the non-economic, purely spiritual nature of this soul in the explorations that Europeans carried from about the 1700s onward, because from this point on we can see explorers who had no interest in wealth, but were driven by a will to discover, to be the first to climb that mountain, to cross that dessert, to reach the center of Antarctica, irrespective of the economic costs, the possibilities of trade, or even the scientific knowledge to be gained. My point is not that only in the unadulterated desire to explore do we witness the Faustian soul. The urge to accumulate wealth and advance knowledge may exhibit this Faustian will just as intensively. The difference is that in the desire to explore for its own sake we can see the West’s psyche striving to surpass the mundane preoccupations of ordinary life, comfort and liberal pleasantries, proving what it means to be a man of aristocratic character.

I of course utterly disagree with his use of the term "aristocratic character". The correct term is hubris. True aristocratic character is asceticism. We could even use the term intellectual asceticism to refer precisely to consciously refraining from unnecessary discovery/invention. Thus true intellectual superiority is intellectual asceticism.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 03:24:51 am by 90sRetroFan »