Philosophers and Ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the Heart
- Closer to the Heart, Rush
When I see something from Ira Katz posted at Lew Rockwell’s site, I will almost always read it first. Recently, he asked the question, “What is to be done?” He asked it regarding the issues of our time, quoting Jonathan Pageau who describes these times as the end of our civilization. Readers here do not require a further explanation of Pageau’s sentiment. Katz offers:
But to understand the problems does not necessarily give us the direction for action.
In an earlier post, Katz referenced work being done by Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist from Evergreen University fame and who has further ridden the wave caused by the rise of Jordan Peterson. Given Peterson’s poor health for an extended period resulting in his disappearing from the conversation, it is probably Bret and his brother Eric who have come most to the fore in this discussion of the current situation.
In the earlier post, Katz made favorable comments regarding a project of Bret’s, a system for unity. I am not terribly familiar with it, only having heard enough to suggest to me that it is a project that lacks – as much of the current dialogue lacks – a willingness to grasp at the necessary foundations for resolution to the malaise and self-destruction that plagues Western society.
So, now, when answering the question of what is to be done, Katz has offered some comments from a reader – comments in response to his post on Weinstein:
The problem with Weinstein and Co. is they are part of the industrial state. And here’s what I mean. Not only have they been ‘educated’ in our Prussian style universities, where the teleological educational aim always pushes the graduate to reinforcing the state’s aims, they’re physically deficient as well.
They haven’t worked the land.
The land will temper intellectual abstractions quicker than Bret can recount a genome sequence.
The vast majority of any population is made up of real people – by real people I mean not those presumably brilliant intellectuals, those full of book smarts. Real people know something of the land – some in a narrow sense, many in a broad sense. They know something of it because they know something of themselves and their neighbors.
The Progressive Era is marked with brilliant technocrats devising and implementing actions to scientifically perfect man, with little foundation other than the intellectual abstractions learned in the self-reinforcing higher-education institutions. Those in this current discussion, despite their goodwill, are merely continuing this trend – devising a religion that is not a religion (John Vervaeke), or something to take the place of religion but that isn’t a religion (Bret Weinstein).
Peterson is the one who really brought this conversation to the fore. He certainly understood that western society has stripped western man of any meaning. Without meaning, life is…well…meaningless. And this meaninglessness leads to the malaise as seen in depressions and suicide. And worse: no desire, interest, or even awareness, in preserving and developing the cultural foundations that have given meaning to Western man for something like 2,000 years, plus or minus a few centuries.
It should be no surprise that Jesus came to us as a carpenter. He did not come as a product of higher learning as a Pharisee or some such, although He certainly understood as much as and more than any of these. Jesus, the carpenter and the friend of fishermen, knew something of the land – the real people. Just one example:
Matthew 12: 1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
After offering a couple of examples to demonstrate His point, the passage continues with Jesus citing from Hosea:
7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.
The Pharisees – despite being experts in the book – didn’t learn this from the book. They didn’t learn it because they didn’t know something of the land – of the real people. They had book-smarts, but without the knowledge of real people they had no comprehension of proper application.
This current conversation – the Weinstein’s, etc. – are missing the same thing. They cannot even offer an answer to the question: “what is good?” The best they can suggest is that they know “bad” when they see it – virtually useless information with knowledge of the good to temper it.
Western man has lost any idea of the good that gives life meaning, and this conversation, given its current boundaries, is incapable of delivering an answer regarding the good to Western man.
Jesus was obviously so much more, but one thing He certainly was for the world was the archetype for man, man’s purpose, and for what is “good.” He put into action the words, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Here, we find the good.