Sadly, Most Americans Have Lost All Sense Of Truth by: Bill Heid for Off the Grid News
It’s not a stretch in any sense to say that our postmodern world no longer believes in absolute truth. Objective knowledge and absolute truth are long since gone. Fragmentation, multi-culturalism, and rejection of any overarching meaning are now culturally normal assumptions. In essence, truth is “truth” for the moment. It becomes “truth” for this group of people or that group of people, for this occasion or that occasion.
The postmodern mindset sees every cultural community or social group generating its own “story,” its own explanation of the way things are in an attempt to empower itself. White Anglo-Saxon males, for example, supposedly have their own story and their own truth. African Americans have their story. Women have theirs. And so none of these collective stories are true in any absolute sense. Furthermore, none are an accurate representation of reality. That’s because for postmodernism, reality isn’t real, and truth is, at best, painfully relative.
The roots of modern relativism and irrationalism can be found in the rationalism of the Enlightenment and, beyond that, the rationalism of ancient Greece. Though the Greek philosophers were perhaps more self-consciously religious than those of the Enlightenment, both spoke of man’s autonomous reason as a self-sufficient and absolute judge of what is and what can be. Once “reason” pronounced judgment… the matter was settled.
Is Truth Limited To The Mind Of Man?
In fact, appeals beyond that autonomous reason to actual evidence, eyewitness testimony, or even divine revelation seem almost nonsensical. History, human experience, and even the very being of God were only real because human rationality said it was. Moreover, truth was never bigger than the human mind. “Which human’s mind?” was always the awkward question that relativistic philosophers avoided at all costs. Additionally, the very same relativistic philosophers were notorious for rejecting each other’s metaphysical systems. It just makes sense, right?
The truth is that rationalism as a system of thought, in all its forms, was and is inherently irrational. The choice of human reason as an absolute foundation for all intelligent predication and judgment ends up being radically subjective, arbitrary, and naïve. Seriously, how do the thought processes of a single, finite human mind bear any relationship to reality at large? This is an especially important question given the materialistic presuppositions of Rationalism. Why should anyone trust what happens in the neural pathways of a randomly generated, cosmically insignificant biochemical unit?
How Greek And Enlightenment Philosophers Sought Their Own Truth
The Greeks, again more self-consciously religious than their Enlightenment successors, could at least speak of man’s participation in divine Reason. In particular, they spoke of the eternal Logos that structures reality. But this was an act of religious faith. (And of irrational faith at that!) However, the universe never spoke personally to the Greek philosophers. Their Logos never took on flesh and revealed itself… at least… not the Logos that they thought they knew. Ultimately, Greek rationalism rested on a ladder made of water in a bottomless sea.