Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Devil Made Me Lose It

Welfare states have existed for long periods of time without the development of a modern underclass. The missing factor was ideas.

Human behavior cannot be explained without referring to the meaning and intentions people give to what they do and do not do. Everyone has a world view, whether they realize it or not.

And their ideas are the source of their misery.

Their ideas are revealed in the language they use, in the frequent remarks of passivity, for example. An alcoholic, explaining their conduct while drunk, will say, "The beer went crazy." A heroin addict, explaining their resort to the needle, will say, "Heroin's everywhere." The beer drank the alcoholic and the heroin injected the addict.

Other remarks serve an exculpatory function and reveal a denial of agency and therefore of personal responsibility. The murderer claims the knife went in or the gun went off. The person who attacks their sexual consort claims that they "went into a rage" or "lost it", as if they were the victim of a kind of epilepsy of which it is the doctor's duty to cure them. Until the cure, they can continue to abuse their consort, for such abuse has advantages for them, safe in the knowledge that they, not their consort, are the true victim.

from Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass, by Theodore Dalrymple

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Heuristic Universals and Necessary Truth

At the pinnacle of questions about the total in every sense, there is not only a set of irreducible values and rules of thumb about questions themselves (as well as everything else), but an entire structure of such identities and rules arises from the overall statement-question set itself. And then it becomes self-repeating, of necessity.

So there is this godlike objective rule set according to which everything is thought about.

To follow such rules is to express or predicate truth about values and increase the value of values themselves, by using those rules and thereby valuing them as valuable means to an ultimate value or goal, of a better situation in every conceivable sense, to approximate an ultimate good of some kind, which is the highest value (God is the best of all possible situations, among other things), the ideal by which all value judgments are themselves adjudicated.

And it's this expression and use, discovered from a set of questions and considerations, a set of universal or general statements in other words (questions themselves being interrogative statements) that is itself questioned, and therefore explained, first.

This explanation is the set of Ultimate Truths.