I have heard it a million times…it’s become simply a toll I must pay daily to make my commute to philosophy and back. I am too much of an absolutist (I love that one…makes me sound almost tyrannical); too “black and white”. I am unwilling to compromise…things are either this or that, yes or no, there’s no room for negotiation, no allowance for mystery, the unknowable, divine intervention, truth beyond man’s mind; that there are notions and ideas which matter but which we cannot fully explain. Which of course begs the question: If we can’t really explain them, then how do we know they matter?
But we won’t worry about the rational failures coming from my critics. Rationality clearly isn’t a priority. Pity.
By being labeled an absolutist, too committed to stark demarcation between truth and lie; right and wrong; black and white, it is insinuated that I reject the bell curve. That I believe and assert that there is no such thing as degrees of anything, but all either is or is not. This is ludicrous. Now, I can understand how one might initially perceive this to be the case with me, as my focus is on rooting out contradiction from meaning and understanding…which is to say, to indicate what MUST be false, and from that determine what MUST thus be true, and then explain why truth then cannot be integrated with its own nullification (though I’m not sure why this needs explaining at all, exactly…once we know what must be false it seems to me a pretty direct and obvious line to the determination that it cannot also be true). So, in the sense that contradiction is in fact NOT a bell curve, yes, I am an absolutist. For example, the contradiction that says that it is somehow relevant for us to know that God controls all things but yet we are still responsible for our own moral choices is COMPLETELY false. Why? It’s obvious! Why does this even need explaining to anyone not five years-old or younger?! You cannot integrate the concept of personal responsibility with an utterly determinist God. To attempt to merge these mutually exclusive concepts is not “thinking in degrees” or some form of virtuous compromise, it’s complete bullshit and should be rejected out of hand by anyone with an ounce of intellectual integrity.
You don’t have ANY frame of reference for the assertion that A is simultaneously B! You can’t assert that such a contradiction is true without implying that you have NO MEANS by which you can EVER ascertain truth. Because your fundamental epistemology is rooted in the fact that something can both be true (God controls ALL things) AND false (man makes his own choices and thus bears responsibility for them, which means that God doesn’t actually control all things) at the same time. In which case truth is impossible, because it intersects with falsehood. Truth is and isn’t true, in other words. And THAT is nothing. Just irritating noise coming out of your mouth hole.
But by making it a constant theme in my philosophy that contradiction cannot somehow pass for rationally consistent truth I am called too rigid…an absolutist. Just too doggone black and white. No compromise; no bell curve. The only two flavors are chocolate and vanilla. The only dinner options are Italian and Mexican. The only breed of political ideology is American Republican or American Democrat. By rejecting contradiction as in any way meaningful, I somehow reject the existence of strawberry; believe that Chinese food is a myth, and declare that Libertarianism is only practiced in Fantasy Land. There are only dog people and cat people, no one ever owns a turtle; there are only squares or circles…the liar claims to prefer rectangles. There is no gray…no spectrum of color. My philosophy is fundamentalist in the most LITERAL and OVERT of ways. EVERYTHING is an illusion that isn’t A or B.
C, D, E etc. are mere interlopers.
I show myself nothing more than an immovable ideologue…nothing but “black and white” philosophy, you see, because I DARE commit the OUTRAGEOUS intellectual sin of declaring that black cannot simultaneously be white. This makes me a moral pariah to “learned” and “less judgemental” Christian acquaintances, who are much more versed in the holy and compassionate virtues of wisdom, compromise, temperance, and forgiveness than a recalcitrant asshole like myself could ever be. I’m a prick because I won’t let people have their cake and eat it, too. The bromide of soft contradiction is something I refuse to ingest, and that makes me a criminal.
Do you remember who it was that was so intent on convincing Adam and Eve that knowledge (truth) came from OUTSIDE of themselves, from a tree, and not from their own rational minds…not from living life as a thinking agent? Do you remember who it was that was so enthusiastic about the idea that man’s own reason had nothing fundamental to do with reality? That truth is a function not of man’s own innate ability to reason fact from fiction, and thus integrity from perniciousness, morality from mendacity, but from some special, magical, ethereal enlightenment granted from beyond? And thus implied that man’s mind itself could not be trusted to SAY what is TRUE at any given moment because what man says “IS” might simultaneously be “IS NOT”, and so man should simply accept a DICTATED truth, rather than think for himself….do you remember who this was?
You who are so quick to judge me as stubborn and cruel and arcane and abstruse and exacting and pedantic and judgemental…why don’t you root out the serpent in your own tree?
END PART ONE