On Anti-Rationality

It is useful to begin with a simple syllogism. The Truth, conceived as a set of individual truths, is a vast space that contains every event of the universe, but also all the meaning that could be found in these moments, and the operative logic (or metaphysics) of whatever exists beyond what we call “the universe”.

The set of all non-truths mistaken for Truth shaded in light green.

It is clear that not everything that we know to be true is true, lest there be no further use of men that practice and advance the sciences. Yet clearly some proportion must be true (except under the Gnostic, and most pessimistic views!) and so it follows that not only must we go about understanding the world through apprehension of the Truth, but also by identifying the non-truth taught in our creeds and schools.

It is easy to see why we might regard the truth we rightfully see as True, for why otherwise regard it as such, if only by very fortuitous accident. And similarly it is easy to see that much (if not most) of the Truth is still left for us to find. What I argue herein is that truth misapprehended is fatal; for whatever Truth might hurt you will leave you no better off by knowing it (as in knowing one’s time of death), while in those circumstances where knowing is of any help, it is by contingent causes that one is spared, for the ultimate cause of evil is chance or intelligence itself. And evil intelligence benefits as much by Truth known as wholesome intelligence, and perhaps even more so. But by no means do I mean that Truth should not be sought, but rather that for every Truth sought and found we should purge and drown many (and, I argue, more dangerous) false truths.

Leaving syllogism aside, the reason false truth is such a pernicious problem is that there is much more untruth than truth, and ever more as we rely on truth (as we known to us) to make our judgement we make Reason bear the load of our lives, for it is thanks to reason that the most dangerous type of untruth comes to be, and that is through the misapplication (or suppression of) ulterior Truth by reason.

The difference with competing methods of apprehending truth is stark. One might regard Tradition as a body of knowledge produced by heuristic learning, in much the same way that evolution, or a convolutional neural network, might perform gradient descent, as judged by a given criteria of fitness, towards some optima. The problem with heuristic learning is that it is incredibly effective, but inescrutable. Reason does not benefit from heuristics because reason is concerned not with how things are but with why things are. The collection of data about how things are is of course a necessary first step, but unless one hazards a reason why, then you will discard the data as useless. And therein lies the problem. We have a lot more data than we have use for. And man is entranced by numbers. Numbers make man believe that he can unleash the power of capital S Science when he wishes, by ritualistically applying the necessary statistical formulations and reflecting on the “existing literature”. For these an other reasons, I hold that science is itself cause of its antithesis, and therefore a beast more dangerous than rational reductionists (materialists) take for granted.

Any type of Truth, true or untrue, becomes weighted down by the enterprises and reputations of those that uphold it, it grows with inertia that allows it to overcome stronger refutations. This in itself is not an error, but rather product of the assumption behind statistical sciences: that what we observe as confirming our truth further convinces us of the truthfulness of the explanation we give to some data. Through human enterprise we find ways to make Truth act as wedges, as rudimentary machines that extract utility, but often just profit, from underlying reality, seeking to split it open to look at the undiluted core. The problem, as we will find, is that humans have a way of manufacturing lowercase truth, which is simply by believing in any idea, because so long as enough people believe the same idea, this idea will sustain itself for surprisingly long, therein leading us to appraise it by proxy of historical record. But past results cannot be representative of future results, as every kid today learns when he tries his luck in the stock market.

It is for this reason that great enterprises and even nations collapse due to universal hysteria, because in the exhilarating ride towards collapse, untruth replaces truth in a self-reinforcing descent towards tragedy. And the reason we believe these truths is that when we came to replace Tradition with Science we created an engine that not only sought to dismantle and disprove all that we had come to know, for science is satisfied only by total saturation, but which also created a linguistics, a dialect that if spoken properly, if trained to mimic, could very well create the illusion of truth, not forever but long enough to bring us all ruin. For when the Devil lies it does so with a language we understand and worship even. It lies with statistics and graphics, with emotive but reasonable words, with the replacement of common sense with expert advice. But what do expert concern themselves other than for securing and multiplying their own jobs? And what else will we have left when scarcely a thing is left untouched by the intrusions and polite concern of experts, which are too often cited by far more dangerous types, like politicians?

The [expert -> policy] pipeline is what defines the danger that science poses, because science was never meant to inform politics, since science itself has recognized that it can only track truth by disinterested inquiry, and that very often it will be wrong, for it is by being wrong that it progresses. And this does not mix well with the elaboration and selection of policy choices. Just ask anyone what the LHC was supposed to bring about, nothing would have been better received than results that stymied scientists, for at least this would have amounted to a possibility of progress. But when our system of science, our compendium of useful heuristics, stop being challenged by reality, we know we have hit the hard limit of our ability to more closely approximate truth, for the moment this body of knowledge ceases to be challenged by reality, it becomes Tradition, and therefore we can rest assured that our philosophical and mathematical systems are all in agreement with our beliefs, for the only testament of Truth, as Plato recognized, is timelessness and perfection.

Is it then the case that the sciences, when taken to the limit, amount to tradition? How else would we come to regard the sciences if they had explained all Truth? But did we not define tradition as the culmination of heuristic learning through time? I hope I can convince you, dear reader, that science and tradition amount to essentially the same thing, taken to the limit, for reason is the method and not the result of science, and science taken to the limit is nothing if not just a statistical model of reality. But the question that we sought out to answer, the elusive why remains beyond our grasp. For the why is firmly beyond human understanding, recognition of why’s transcendence is what gives tradition, and by this I mean non-rational systems of knowledge, an edge over science. Because these systems, by recognizing mysteries all around, conceive of man in proper relation to his environs, whereby man is put in proper relation to the supra-human, which can only be called God, that is present in the world around him.

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