American Elephants


Defining Reality, Or Explaining What is Really Going On by The Elephant's Child

Clearly it is time to explain what is really going on. One gains enormous wisdom by staring at the blank walls of a very fine hospital. So somewhere between a second civil war and an impeached president, or the election (this time) of good old Hillary, there must be, somewhere, some clarity. Elections are always contentious, but this is ridiculous.

We are in a battle over defining reality. To quote Daniel J. Boorstin, the late Librarian of Congress and notable historian at the University of Chicago, in The Americans: the Colonial Experience:

We have too long been told that a “unified” scheme of knowledge is required to give meaning and unity to society; that men have a greater sense of sharing values and of working to a common end if they are united by a grand overarching system of thought; that somehow an articulate and systematic philosophy is likely to provide such a system of shared meaning. The stock example is, of course, the Middle Ages when such theologians as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus constructed monuments of speculative philosophy. that has become an unexamined commonplace that a more unified philosophy will produce a more unified society, that ours  would be a better and more meaningful  world if we in America possessed such systematic and “unifying” thought.

But is this really true? It may have seemed so in earlier societies where the frame of meaning was supposed to be accessible only to a priestly or ruling class. Could it remain so in a modern literate society where most people would be expected to understand the purposes of the community? One cannot unify such a society by mere concepts, however refined and subtle, however vivid to a few philosophers or theologians. “The attempt to bridge the chasm between multiplicity and unity is the oldest  problem of philosophy, religion, and science.”

You may have noticed that “the ruling class” is not in particularly good grace at present, a problem rather than a solution. They are unaware of their predicament, are unwilling to give up the slightest bit of their cherished power.

Those who supposedly report on the society and the people and the ruling class assume that, instead of accuracy, their task is to get attention by featuring what celebrities or politicians may have to say, not because it might be of interest, but because the celebrity or politician might have a bit of click bait interest to promote the career of the reporter. Their interest is not in attempting to describe reality, but what, instead, might be sensationalized. They’re not on our side either. Which President Trump grumbles about as “fake news”. Which in turn infuriates the press, because they differently define their assigned task.

It’s only human nature to wish to advance one’s self, to look for what is readily available rather than work hard, but there you are. The current debates and argument is over the nature of reality, which is up in the air, struggling to be properly defined.




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