Why are things so bad? And why will they continue to grow worse? The Enlightenment. Also known—or, rather, as it should be known—as The Great Corruption. Things are bad because we all believe the Enlightenment’s foundational axioms, all of which are false. But all of which drive much of our behavior and our thoughts.
The word 'expert' should never be used except in scare quotes.
There are no 'experts' in life - specialists in certain defined fields might, I emphasize 'might,' have more arcane knowledge, but they deal in the material and don't know or care about the soul.
Anyway, most of the fields in which the credentialists claim 'expertise' are largely if not wholly intellectually fraudulent.
N.B. I am not talking about the physical sciences here, although knowledge claims there must always be taken as contingent as well
Well said, yet a new dawn inevitably follows every plunge into darkness. It may not be on a schedule that we find agreeable, and the daylight probably won’t be the exact hue we wish, but it will certainly be glorious when compared to the preceding night.
The worst part about the Great Corruption is that it has given birth to both modernity and postmodernist, which have rendered the entirety of the world we currently live in desacrelised in places it has been allowed to spread.
Why are things so bad? Because we have no humility in the face of the unknowable.
"Blank slatism" is another foolish legacy.
There is no better indictment of the Enlightenment's failings than the French Revolution, the Terror and the reign of Napoleon. The full spectrum of human vulgarity and duplicity can be couched in intellectualism, pride, expediency and "science." Communism itself was/is explained as a science. Have we now a new war between the Rationalists and Empiricists? Melville wrote we should leave both heads behind and sail trimmed and high the water.
Marxists believe that humanity is perfectable. History shows this is a pipe dream. No theory can change human nature.
Good polemical piece. I mostly agree with you. My problem with the Enlightenment is not its basic premises, but that it has failed to deliver on any of its promises. I know some people argue that our current material wealth and so on, have all derived from the Enlightenment and without it we'd still be medieval peasants living in misery. Maybe, but that is just speculation. I remember reading years ago that pre-revolutionary France was making strides in science and industry and social reforms were on the table. Maybe that's true, an "expert" might chip in on that. The point of the piece I read was that the Revolution killed off social, scientific and industrial innovation, leaving the field to the British. I should dig that out and read it again.
Thanks for this thought-provoking essay.
For the most part I accept and agree with your critique. There is no equality among real living persons. Secularism and utilitarianism have been disastrous.
But part of me does still believe that the ideal of rights in the negative sense, a moral space around the individual that provides them with a certain inviolable distance from other individuals and the state, is genuinely worth caring about.
The question that nags at me is whether you can get this much without ultimately collapsing into a war of special interests motivated by "woke" resentment and envy. The other side of the question is, does that require the enlightenment's vision of a rational self-unto-itself, or do we get what is worth having in rights out of older traditions, like Catholic natural law? Each year that passes, I'm coming to believe it's the latter or nothing.
I really enjoyed reading this article. It is an odd paradigm shift coming to realize how destructive pure rationalism is to the human soul. In my twenties I celebrated much of the enlightenment. When I came back to church, I began to have doubts. When I began to study history and move towards the Catholic Church, the enlightenment seems less light and more dark. Thank you for the piece.
The enlightenment oozed from Venice's salons and infected European thought. It marked the beginning of the Venetian invasion of Netherlands and England which saw the establishment of the 3-city Empire - London, Vatican and Washington DC.
The Venetian Black Nobility, via their investment houses (BlackRock and Vanguard) now own all the corporations which are robbing the world into abject poverty.
This is the enlightenment of their bank accounts but the dark ages for humanity.