Monday, October 25, 2010

The Dogmatic Denial of Reality

Our Norwegian correspondent Zylark returns with an essay about the persistent failure of postmodern intellectuals to perceive and understand the world as it is, rather than as they would prefer it to be.

Marat-Sade

The Dogmatic Denial of Reality
by Zylark


Why many intellectuals miss the point, and many who are not considered intellectuals do not.

Education is a double-edged sword, especially in the social sciences. It is no secret that most higher educational facilities are dominated by the more liberal professors and other like-minded faculty. It is the prevalent culture.

And that is quite fine, in principle. The campus is supposed to be a free zone, where ideas are to be tested on merit, not prejudice. Which requires tolerance, a mindset ready to admit fault, and not least the recognition that nothing is holy, beyond criticism.

It sounds nice, and in the more nature-oriented sciences, this is how it works for the most part. But in the social sciences it does not. Various social sciences have forgotten about reality, and instead got hung up in their own constructed ideal view of existence. They mistake how they want reality to be for how reality really is.

That is how you can find people calling themselves scientists who claim one’s sex is arbitrary to one’s development and identity. That one’s role and identity in society, not least with regards to one’s sex and sexuality is determined according to learned societal stereotypes, not the genes and sex itself and the inherent predispositions inherited with them.

In this view any girl can behave as a boy, and vice versa. Naturally, however, anyone more inclined to following actual evidence (as a proper scientist would) can tell you that there are some very significant differences in the inherent psychological makeup of boys and girls. It is not a coincidence that boys tend to play with cars, and girls with dolls, generally speaking.

This denial of realities is part of a dogma. It goes under the guise of a liberal intellectual mindset best described as postmodern relativism. That is: all ideas have equal validity. This dogma asserts that all basic understandings of reality, and as a continuation morality and ethics, are equal. Boy? Girl? Doesn’t matter.

This is, of course, true in the sense that both sexes have equal worth, and should enjoy equal opportunity. It is not true in the sense that both sexes possess the same interests, however. Obviously, this is not a clear cut dichotomy. It is more a soft-edged overlap. As are most things in nature.

But you do not need a higher degree to know that most girls like to play with dolls, and most boys like to play with cars. You do need a higher degree to say that sex has nothing to do with a choice of favorite toys.

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A similar situation obtains with regards to the West and Islam. A basic denial of facts. Various intellectuals and politicians alike assume Islam is just another religion, like those practiced by, say, Buddhists, Hindus, or Christians. Strike one. Next they assume religion is by definition a force for good. Strike two. And finally, strike three, they assume Islam can be tamed. They are very aware of the more feral variations of Islam, but they think in some ideal world, when it encounters tolerance, Islam will be domesticated.

Indeed, some even think that when Islam meets the West here in Europe — and providing we Europeans give up a few hard-won freedoms, all will be nice and honky-dory. As the “peace researcher” Johan Galtung claims:

“If we resist, the Islamic future will be hard rather than soft. Immigration, the large movements of people in this time, will bring this along. No one can stop it. And remember, the foreigners in their time were asked to come here, and they came here for economic and historical reasons that no one can do anything to change.”

And this is a world-renowned “peace researcher”! What he is prescribing is that Western Civilization should roll over and die. To submit. We’ve brought this on ourselves, which is true, but we cannot resist, which is false.

Now, I’ve met Galtung on a number of occasions, and I understand his intellectual position. Indeed, many of his ideas and conflict-resolution models have merit. But only insofar as a few assumptions are met. In essence that there are some commonalities between two conflicting extremities that one can work with to create “a third way”. Not a compromise as such, but rather a new way of working together.

His favorite example is of the financier husband and Buddhist wife, who grow apart due to differing world views and interests. The compromise solution, is for each to do his or her own thing. Spelling divorce in the end. His third way is for the husband and wife to start a Buddhist bookshop. Merging the business interest of the husband and the Buddhist interest of the wife. All fine and good so far.

But I do not quite see how you can merge the “Kill the Jews and subjugate the infidels!” interest of Islam with “let’s all be nice to each other, and make a profit!” tolerance of the West…

Yes, pacifism and dialogue worked with Gandhi and the British empire, but in that case both parties were not that keen on actual violence, for various reasons. And neither party was hell-bent on forcing the other to submit to his ideology. Gandhi advocated the same pacifist approach towards the Japanese during WW2 as they came closer to India and looked like they might threaten the British dominion. How likely is it that if the Japanese had been victorious, India would today be a free country? And how long would Gandhi have lived pressuring Japan rather than the UK?

The fact is that civility works only as long as one’s opponent is civilized. In all other cases, only force will work. There are no negotiating with despotism.

Galtung’s hope lies in a benign version of Islam. Here in Europe we spent a few centuries taming Christianity. I don’t think we have the patience to tame Islam.

And most who live in the free world and see how Islam behaves more or less understand that on instinct. However, some with higher degrees in the social sciences still deny reality. They live in their own ideal world of the imagination.

Living in the real world, keeping one’s mind on it, brings a perspective that academia forgets at its own peril.

17 comments:

Nick said...

Jamie Glazov is good on this point. I also recall reading Crispin Sartwell many years ago. He argued against these 'the world is a theory' merchants. If you drop a bowling ball on your foot, then suddenly you're snapped into focus, and you realise what reality is. And it's not some airy-fairy notion about an imaginary world. It's your throbbing tootsies! Reality trumps fantasy every time. After all reality is well ... real.

Nick said...

One project that is trashed in this book is the political state, which is problematic both on (anti)-ethical and (anti)-metaphysical grounds. I regard the state with ontological suspicion; I will suggest that the state, as it is usually understood, does not exist at all. And insofar as it does exist, the state is a grandiose project for the forcible transformation of what is. Every state is to that extent utopian: it dreams of a reality other than the one in which it is operating, even if that reality is merely one in which the dictator has become richer than he is. In that sense, the state is the codification or the fossilization of values; it is a machine for the forcible transformation of human beings.

Professor Crispy on reality.

Anne-Kit said...

“Next they assume religion is by definition a force for good”

Except, of course, Christianity!

sulber nick said...

Anne-Kit - that came to my mind also...

I don't know whether I fully agree with Zylark but certainly he's going in the right direction. I tend to think the problem is cowardice rather that wishful thinking. The pro multiculturalism pro mass third world immigration argument was lost years ago - that's why its proponents now prefer litigation to discussion. And as for everybody else, well, the maintenance of their employment is dependent upon them saying nothing and carrying on as if all the signs were pointing to a rosy future. A situation has been created in which people would rather go down with the ship than point out it's leaking.

Thank God for reality. My guess is the more water the ship takes on board the more this situation will be challenged.

trencherbone said...

"All narratives are of equal worth"
- this is the malevolent dogma of Postmodernism in our (taxpayer-funded) universities.

Postmodernism is the anti-rational, anti-Western, culturally self-loathing pseudo-philosophy which permeates academia.

Postmodernism is a self-induced cancer which allows the alien virus of Islam to spread like a secondary infection throughout body of Western Civilization.

Postmodernist leftards regard Mo's barbaric dark-age death-cult as a 'narrative' of equal value to the products of Judeo-Christian culture . In fact Islam may be a superior narrative because it is the product of victimhood.

I would strongly advise Kuffars who wish to understand the threat that Islam poses to our civilization not only to study and critique Islam itself, but to understand and work against the suicidal and culturicidal self-loathing of Postmodernism...

More at Islam, cultural self-loathing and postmodernism in academia

janicek said...

I too know Galtung but actually never saw any merit in his conflict resolution theories. Anyone with some modicum of intellectual fairness in him would know that islam is so much more than religion and thus incompatible with any conflict resolution theory. Not Galtung nor any other Scandinavian dogoodnik grown fat on doing nothing at all.

Adam West said...

@ Nick

I remember Lenin saying something similar about a cup of water being both a drinking tool and a dangerous projectle.

In truth law, politics, medicine and engineering are not intellectual in there AIMS, but are clearly studied intellectually.

You therefor don't confront reality through experience, but by changing, or altering it to suit your need.

That is what people like you and Lenin don't understand, that you need to alter reality first to know if your theories are right.

mriggs said...

The notion that islam can be moderated has already been put to the ultimate test - in the middle east in the 7. - 8. centuries. Islam was triumphant and unopposed and presented with the rich cultural heritage of antiquity. The result - wholesale rejection of these values by islam and return to a vegetative cultural state.

imnokuffar said...

"Living in the real world, keeping one’s mind on it, brings a perspective that academia forgets at its own peril."

And because of the influential positions they hold, at ours.

EscapeVelocity said...

No one is advocating these methods in regards to European Naitonalists/Nationalism and Christians/Christianity.

Which makes these propositions, inherently anti Western Euro Christian, or par for the Leftist course.

The goal is still to destroy these entities and groups, that the means are not only imperfect (but even worse given the Lefts grievances against Christianity and European cultures) are only a minor niggling concern to be worked out.

The bottom line is that Leftwingism is destructive.

allat said...

"Various social sciences have forgotten about reality, and instead got hung up in their own constructed ideal view of existence."


So what is Reality?

Haven;t the "science sciences"= the one that counts, Quantum Physics, doesn't it say, "The OBserver Effect?"

It's what we envision? And then go work it?

So, you see, the islamics envision their horrid world, and are forcing it through.

What are we doing?

Could this be the problem?:

"America the doped!

We may have found why Americans sit on their rear-ends while Iceland, France, Greece, etc. etc. etc., are standing up to the abuses of their government and the bankers. We're pumped full of mind control chemicals, courtesy of the medical establishment which has profited so handsomely from the same US Government that needs us to be kept sedated!

Aldous Huxley, in his book "Brave New World" conceived of the lower classes kept permanently in a state of drug-induced stupor, to keep them controlled. The drug pressed on the public by the state was called "Soma."

And here is something else to consider. Just because you are not on a prescription tranquilizer doesn't mean you are not taking them. Any medications not 100$ metabolized by the patients on these drugs winds up going down the toilet into the sewers, then to the water treatment plant. The reality is that while the water treatment plant can remove the solid wastes and bacteria to make the water drinkable again, those water treatment plants are unable to remove medical chemicals. Which means what you are making your coffee with this morning is that your neighbor took as a pill a few days ago! Tests in 25 major US cities found detectable levels of prescription medications, including tranquilizers!"

allat said...

"Various social sciences have forgotten about reality, and instead got hung up in their own constructed ideal view of existence."


So what is Reality?

Haven;t the "science sciences"= the one that counts, Quantum Physics, doesn't it say, "The OBserver Effect?"

It's what we envision? And then go work it?

So, you see, the islamics envision their horrid world, and are forcing it through.

What are we doing?

Could this be the problem?:

"America the doped!

We may have found why Americans sit on their rear-ends while Iceland, France, Greece, etc. etc. etc., are standing up to the abuses of their government and the bankers. We're pumped full of mind control chemicals, courtesy of the medical establishment which has profited so handsomely from the same US Government that needs us to be kept sedated!

Aldous Huxley, in his book "Brave New World" conceived of the lower classes kept permanently in a state of drug-induced stupor, to keep them controlled. The drug pressed on the public by the state was called "Soma."

And here is something else to consider. Just because you are not on a prescription tranquilizer doesn't mean you are not taking them. Any medications not 100$ metabolized by the patients on these drugs winds up going down the toilet into the sewers, then to the water treatment plant. The reality is that while the water treatment plant can remove the solid wastes and bacteria to make the water drinkable again, those water treatment plants are unable to remove medical chemicals. Which means what you are making your coffee with this morning is that your neighbor took as a pill a few days ago! Tests in 25 major US cities found detectable levels of prescription medications, including tranquilizers!"

Nick said...

@ Adam West,

As someone who worked in engineering for many years, I know perfectly well that the discipline can be studied in depth, and if one does this, one will gain a greater understanding of the world around us (reality).

In addition, you seem to have misunderstood the point I was trying (in the early hours of the morning) to make. So try this:

If I, in my capacity as an engineer, went out to repair a broken down engine, then I would use my understanding of reality to figure out what had happened. I would need to deal with reality. Actual facts. And with my hands in the guts of that engine, I would be 'in the moment'.

If my understanding of reality was based on the truth (if I had identified the problem correctly) then when I finished altering reality (stripping down then rebuilding the engine) and pushed the starter button, the engine before me would run.

If I insisted on living in a fantasy world, then I wouldn't even be able to fix an engine, let alone run an entire society. What good are these people anyway?

Nick said...

@ Adam West,

Oh and btw. - what was your point again? I could say that reading your post was 'like' reading something by Adolf Hitler. I could say that 'people like you and Hitler' both have dark hair (or a moustache, perhaps?) and therefore link you to him, but this kind of ahem, 'reasoning' is obviously faulty. I shan't go on because if you have the intellect to understand why your 'reasoning' is faulty then there's no need, and if you don't then that's your problem and no one else's. Now toddle off and have a nice day, my boy.

Juniper in the Desert said...

Thank you Zylark, for the first para, mainly!

rebelliousvanilla said...

“If we resist, the Islamic future will be hard rather than soft. Immigration, the large movements of people in this time, will bring this along. No one can stop it. And remember, the foreigners in their time were asked to come here, and they came here for economic and historical reasons that no one can do anything to change.”
1)Immigration can be banned and reversed
2)Muslims can be stripped of citizenship and any political power
3)How they got here is inconsequential
4)You can make their economic situation in Europe worse than in their home countries
I can go on. I find it funny how these people think that immigration is inevitable and that the current citizenship and governmental organizations are unchangeable. And in the same time, they think intelligence is all nurture and that sexes are just like that due to gender roles.

Kairos said...

I almost forgot:

I translated this article into German:

http://fjordman.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/das-dogmatische-dementi-der-realitat/