Inconsistency and wish fulfillment
July 10, 2014 § 30 Comments
Intuitively we tend to think that inconsistency in a doctrine or ideology would make that doctrine or ideology less resilient. But in fact the opposite is frequently the case, with liberalism and sola scriptura as just two examples.
An inconsistent ideology can, by the principle of explosion, assert anything or its opposite. So subtly inconsistent ideologies tend to confirm what people expect or want to hear: they transfer (if only in an ultimately illusory way) “meaning” from the hard and fast objective domain of reality, over which we have no control, to the domain of the will.
Liberalism therefore is an (again illusory, but resilient enough to prove satisfying to most people) mechanism for making politics and morality conform to expectation: to make them what we want and expect them to be, as opposed to discovering them as objective aspects of reality that we have to live with and conform to. Sola Scriptura and scientific positivism (scientism) are two ways of doing the same thing with respect to religious truth (doctrine): of making religious doctrine conform to our metaphysical baggage.
Once folks have made a habit of thinking this way it takes on a life of its own: the result is as many Protestant denominations as there are theological opinions, a “scientific” outlook that degenerates into postmodern nonsense, and a hydra’s head of opposing forms of liberalism that each see the others as transcendent enemy, blissfully unaware that the same basic commitments animate each head of the hydra: unaware that they are all part of the same Beast. The embrace of untruth has only one ultimate end.
The reason I discuss positivism and liberalism and the like is because they are subtle errors that hold almost all modern people in thrall: much more subtle, and indeed frequently underlying, the really obvious “emperor with no clothes” errors like feminism and racial equality. As I’ve mentioned before I still pull little remnants of these subtle weeds from the garden of my own mind.
The words “nothing but” (“sola” in Latin) should automatically raise suspicion, every bit as much as the words “equality” and “freedom“. As with most of these terms in the context of weaponized nihilism, they aren’t always and necessarily used in a self contradictory way. Sometimes they just mean something banal and obvious. But until you’ve gotten some grasp of positivism it will be easy to be taken in by equivocation amongst positivist assertions, banal assertions, gnostic smugness, and unprincipled exceptions. These are some of the surgical tools that modernity uses against your mind in the modern asylum.