The human mind seeks to create order out of Chaos
It is in the nature of humanity to attempt to formulate laws from experience as a guide to future action. Acting as a feedback-response mechanism, the mind considers the results of previous behavior and creates laws of action in an attempt to repeat past good results and avoid bad results. In the individual this is known as personality, in the communal world it is known as science.
Science attempts to map the universe as a result of previous collective experience. Since this is limited to what has actually been experienced so far, it is always inadequate, and since it is not what has been experienced it is always human-centered. It cannot be objective because the object does not experience, only the subject, humanity, experiences. Two approaches have been used to tackle this problem. The philosophy of the western world posits that an external, objective world interacts with us through scientific experiment, thus science creates objectively true laws. Other European philosophy holds, correctly in my view, that talk of an objective reality is beyond experience and is thus meaningless babble. Moreover, scientific experiment is no more objective than a child's attempt to walk. To Know is not a high ideal, it is an instinct born of our particular way of survival, and is thus survival-centered. Science is our Elephant Trunk, our Giraffe Neck, and since it is inherently inadequate, it is a belief system, a set of interconnected ideas-about-things. In terms of European, Post-Hegelian philosophy, it is an ideology.
Every ideology, whether science, Christianity or whatever, seeks to and succeeds in creating a coherent view of reality that satisfies its believers. The problem is that there is inevitably a gulf between the ideology and reality. Ideologies are fixed; reality is fluid. Thus all ideologies are subject to readjustment when a new discovery challenges the existing view. The rediscovery of the Greek text of the New Testament and the discovery of the non-existence of the Ether each corroded the existing ideologies of their day.
The Christian world responded with Reformation and Counter-Reformation. (Historical note: Counter-Reformation was the Reformation of the Catholic Church rather than an attack on the Protestant Reformation.) Science responded with Einsteinian relativity. These new elements are Chaotic. The extent to which the ideology can reform depends on how deep the Chaotic element bites into the ideological structure. Every ideology has central tenets upon which the rest depend: so the discovery that Jesus was actually stoned to death rather than crucified would cause major rumblings; the discovery that he was a woman would cause deeper rumblings; but the discovery that he was a spaceman carrying out a standard sociological experiment would bring down the ideology entire. Several ideologies have completely collapsed in the past, such as Ptolomaic astronomy, and it can happen again. Moreover, the spread of a unified ideology over the whole globe, Western Democracy, leaves the way open to a bigger collapse than ever before.
All present Western ideologies depend upon a concept of innate worth, whereby certain things are automatically "better" than others. The White Race, Men, Adults, all have had their "innate" value knocked for six. Even the Animal Kingdom is no longer seen as of higher worth than the Vegetable as the spread of the Gaia hypothesis shows. This is the Chaotic element that can bring down a whole pack of cards. There is no ethical reference point, no beginning from which to derive an end to aim for, to praise, to work towards. As it says in Liber Al: "let there be no difference made between one thing and another". The result is a confusion of belief as people scramble to find a new ideology. Fundamentalists choose deliberate blindness and perverse stupidity. Thelemites choose "pure will, unassuaged of purpose". Chaoists worship the confusion itself as the only "true thing" left. Pagans begin to construct a new ideology based on the absence of hierarchy and turn to cyclical and egalitarian beliefs. That a new ideology, or many, will arise is inevitable; even the truth of Chaos is only true to us, in our experience. But so what. All things considered, I think that things are going pretty well.
Knowledge and Human Interest, J. Habermas, 1967
Differance, translated as Language and Difference, Derrida, 1959
Anything by Sir Karl Popper for the view from the oppositionWith fractalic greetings and laughter * Fra.: Apfelmann *
This site has received 12926980 hits since Aug 4, 2000
The entire content of all public pages in The Pagan Library (graphics, text and HTML) are free information, released under the terms of the GPL. All copyrighted items mentioned are the property of their respective owners, and no form of ownership or endorsement is implied.
Last modified: March 23 2018 16:18:45