Saturday, July 31, 2010

faith, knowledge and the art of confusion 3

Allow me to remove my hardcore atheist hat for a moment. It fit well enough, aside from the flow of blood being cut off to my brain.

"Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions." Friedrich Nietzsche, you always know exactly the right thing to say. I've gone from mormon true believer to logical positivist (who harbors great sympathy for existentialism), and now traverse a middle way that is a strange extreme of its own. An opposition to oppositions. A state of being where all possibilities exist even if only in one's mind. I am a walking talking Hegelian dialectic.

The human capacity for self deception is nearly infinite. Why not exploit this fact? The grand narratives have failed us. God [the unreliable narrator] is dead. All that is left is chaos and our predilection to impose order. Indulgence of personal bias is the apotheosis of autotelic experience. Walk in a waking dream. We live in postmodernity. Everything is a construct. Everything is a power game. He who writes the rules wins the gold. We see the man behind the curtain and can joyfully embrace the world anyway (after filtering it to conform comfortably to our own specifications).

If you were sick and believed at heart that no cure existed, would you really do all in your power to reclaim your health? There is nobility in striving for the impossible. Lie to yourself, the results may be surprising. All progress through history has been driven by the discoveries of men and women who had faith in an idea that had not yet been proven. This type of unfounded belief may underpin all action that leads to any worthwhile achievement.

There is nothing more satisfying than stating matters of opinion as if they are absolute fact. I create my world one truth or lie at a time, it doesn't much matter which. "If the facts don't fit the theory change the facts." (Will you permit yet another Nietzsche quote?) "there are no truths, only interpretations." We can and do reshape the world in our image. Best then to select a philosophy robust enough to withstand the paradoxes and tensions of a dynamic mode of interface with the universe. Create axioms that need not be self evident, like: Everything that happens to me is for my best benefit. Whether they are true is not as important as if they are useful.

Umm, this is madness. Where did I put my hat?


Faith: inventing what is true -- Loren


Andrew S said...

are you becoming a new order mormon on us? lol

Someone once commented on my blog that Joseph Smith was a theistic Nietzsche.

Loren said...

Even for me that would be too extreme, ha. Actually I briefly passed through that phase. In fact, to the best of my knowledge I'm still the YSA rep of my ward.

As for the Joe Smith/Nietzsche comparison, it's interesting. They both decried the state of religion and society in their day, but Joe, as revolutionary as he was, was no Nietzsche (in my humble opinion).

Andrew S said...

"Joe, as revolutionary as he was, was no Nietzsche"




maybe he was

the Ubermensch

Loren said...

Wo, dangerous territory maybe. If I didn't think that Joseph was superman to start with, I might actually believe some of the things that he has to say now.