Big Conclusions

The Truth, Good, Just, God, to be enlightened, to be awakened, Quality, Right, the Way this list could continue.  The point is, all of those heavy words or phrases which are used to define something that is inherently undefinable.  Yet somehow, when we hear these words we know what they mean until one tries to sit down and get a solid definition on paper.  Try, what is Truth? Or Good? Or Just? A lot of time has been spent by other philosophers to sort out what these words mean, entire sections of thought are devoted to these questions, political and legal theorizing for Justice, Ethical theorizing for the Good, religions for any and all of the words.  There is still seemingly no absolutely solid definition, Merriam Webster when you look up “truth” uses the word “true” in the definition.  So, go to that word and you still end up with true in part of the definition and the rest of it does not seem to fully cover what “truth” really is.  Try this experiment with “good” you end up with the word quality, so go on to that definition you get, “a peculiar and essential nature” for a definition, that is not too helpful if you are attempting to establish really hard facts.

The next experiment though, you can point to something or someone and say that it is good or bad.  That it has a quality, that it is good quality, low quality.  You can say that this is just but that is not that this is right and that is not.  You can claim that God is separate from everything and in everything and created everything.  All of these terms defy a really good, solid definition like the word “dog” does.  (Although dog can be hard to define too even.) You do know what it means though, you know what it means to you which is enough and we all operate off of this, luckily our definitions can be in enough agreement that our society can function on some level.

In short, there are terms that exist which a person can recognize when they see it in the world but cannot rationally define with any sort of quality.  This seems to be a fundamental problem, especially as a scientist or trying to be super logical like some philosophers.  This fundamental split seems to be the focal point of differences between philosophers and people in general.  Some go with the “front-end” gut definition and work with it and others attempt a “back-end” rationalization.

This difference also appears to be on a pendulum, swinging back and forth through history.  Although often history is not as peaceful as this idea of the pendulum is.  This argument over priority to front-end or back-end almost appears to be a constant war in western thought.  A war which western thought has brought to all corners of the world (if it wasn’t already happening before, I’m not well-read enough to know).  One side being those who fully support rationality and the “church of reason” as some might say.  The other side being less rational, considered a counter-culture in recent years.  Of course each side has its variances with more and less extreme people through the spectrum of reason to romantics.

I like to imagine this spectrum as one side of an equilateral triangle and at each end of this side is either reason or the other, the final vertex is this thing that is called Truth or Good or God or etc. etc. etc.  On this discussion of a triangle remember that a triangle is considered the most stable shape in mathematics (or so I was told anyway).  Which I think is an unusually convenient path into claiming that having an equal spectrum of rationalism and this other end leads to being a solid equilateral triangle and thus every human being has a life that they would consider good.  The problem though is that war I mentioned earlier.

The two extreme ends do not like to share and would prefer that everyone end up closer to one end of the spectrum or the other which leads to weird bulges towards one vertex or the other, de-stabilizing the triangle.  This triangle recently has been incredibly unstable, a heavy lean towards the rational end of this spectrum.  My beginning research into this idea has pointed to the Enlightenment being when this destabilization took its full effect and western society has been dealing with that ever since.  Luckily enough though, it seems that I am at a point in history where the pendulum has begun its downward sweep back towards the other end of the spectrum.  This is all I have for the moment, once I can get some more historical research I hope to come back to this.


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