TRANSFIGURED MOMENTS, INDEED!
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
Vernon Johns wrote a beautiful sermon entitled "Transfigured Moments." It explains why it is better to be on top of the mountain of truth and morality with the prophets than to be popular or accepted in the larger society.
I cannot write like Vernon Johns. He was born into a religious family, was predisposed to the ministry, was educated in religion and served as a pastor. I write in a straight-forward, dry, scientific/social scientific style because that is me. The language of the Bible is beautiful, but I prefer a more scientific lingo. It's my nature.
I probably will repeat myself in this little essay, but I will also say some things that are new.
In the language of the prophetic tradition, almost all humans just are not thinkers, in terms of an overall scientific theory that sticks to the rules of science. Humans can apply science to the natural sciences, but they cannot to the social sciences. Their thinking breaks down as soon as they enter the social, therefore ,political, dimension of understanding. There is, for instance, no true sociology. There is only moral philosophy with a thin veneer of tests of statistical significance. But statistics is not a sociological theory and can never be a substitute for theory.
Humans think socially in terms of what is politically best for primarily their own society. And, since most social thinkers, at least in the universities, are political liberals, their ideas of a social theory is one that states the current liberal thinking of a given period of time. Now there are real structural reasons for this. Thinkers that deviate from the current politically liberal version of life are punished. They will not survive in the universities or the media, for they are seen as too "radical." And they will not be published. Liberals justify this censorship and lack of any real hard thinking by saying that the non-conformist thought will have negative impacts on the liberals' chances to accomplish their given political goals in their lifetimes and in their societies. This is summarized in the "liberal" phrase, I don't "like" it, politically they mean.
Liberal thinkers are human after all. They have worked hard to get where they are, and they do not want any one or any writing to expose what they say or write as mostly politically acceptable non-truths. After all, they get paid the big bucks. And they love to give each other "awards" for great thinking (even when it is not worth much at all).
I have been working in the prophetic tradition for many years now. And what I have discovered, besides the fact that most social thinking consists of just plain political orthodoxies, is that humans are not interested in the truth. I am far from the smartest human on the face of the earth. But damn if I am not the only thinker willing to apply scientific principles to social thinking without regard to their political meaning. I am a political liberal. But versions of thinking that are closer to science have to be accepted and then the political theories and methodologies can be applied in a liberal fashion. Truth before politics is the theme.
I am personally satisfied that my thinking on all subjects is in sync with the principles of truth, justice and equality, which is political liberalism itself. (Conservatives are interested primarily in justice for their group or class, so they will never be real thinkers. They are just too committed to being apologists for the injustices in the world.) But my fellow humans seem unable to accept the truth, for instance, the truth that evolution actually applies to the understanding of human thinking and behavior. For them, science has to bow to politics rather than vice-versa.
It's not that I am so smart, as I am not afraid to follow where the truth leads. It's just that I am not stopped by socially acceptable versions of the "truth". Civil rights leaders in an acceptable social path are not hard to find. Start a new civil rights movement that is socially acceptable, and people will line up to be the leader(s). What's almost impossible to find is someone who is not afraid to violate "liberal" ideas of what passes for the truth. It is easy to do something that is socially acceptable. It is quite another to blaze a new path without support, but with lots and lots of liberal opposition.
My political thinking has been undergoing considerable change for around two decades now, that is, ever since I had the epiphany that social "values" cannot explain the larger societal movements. I had to keep adjusting my ideas to be in sync with a lower evaluation of humans (including the intellectuals). They are primarily more interested in politics (writ large for their own self-satisfaction and self-achievement) than the truth and will work hard against any challenge to the current "orthodoxies" of the social sciences.
Now what has all this got to do with being on top of the mountain with the prophets or with the prophetic tradition? I know without a doubt that it is good to be on top of the mountain of thought rather than in the valley where everyone lives. I agree with Vernon Johns to that extent. But, unlike Johns, I find it personally very frustrating to try to write in a world that is closed to independent political thought. I refuse to think kindly of prejudice and blindness.
It made me feel better when I learned that a man named Vernon Johns had gone through experiences with censorship similar to my own, but I find it difficult to forgive those who do the censoring, especially those intellectuals who say they believe in things like freedom of speech and "academic freedom " They simply do not, either because they are too willing to conform or too weak to protest, to the nonsense that passes for social science. I cannot simply write "something that people want to read." I have to write to expose the untrue political approaches of the social sciences. No other option is acceptable. So damn me if I would write anything just to please conformist political thought. I would prefer to remain anonymous than write bullshit. But that's just me.
Our world intellectuals do not have the truth because they are committed to liberal political goals rather than to the truth. But the truth is neither conservative or liberal, republican or democrat, fascist or socialist. The truth is the truth, as measured by its adherence to the scientific method. The truths of the natural and social sciences can then be politically applied in a just and equal manner, but little progress will be made if lies are seen as the truth.
I really think that there is no room for prophets in the current world. It is too politically corrupt. In a country/countries like the United States where objectivity is seen as laying somewhere between the traditions of conservatism and liberalism, where is there room for the prophet who knows that all three approaches (conservatism, middlism, and liberalism) are just so much contemporary corrupt politics writ large.
Our intellectuals think they already know the truth and therefore all's right in the intellectual world. This, however, is extreme arrogance. I certainly do not know "the truth" but I am closer to it than my contemporaries because I know their theories of society are closer to lies than to the truth.
Yes, it's great to be at the top of the mountain where others are afraid to venture. But those intellectuals in the valley are so beset with clouds that they think their hill is the top of the mountain. (But they are well paid.) One can only hope that at some future time humans will be more open to considering more truthful approaches to reality, because today's intellectual spheres are closed to the truth. (They are open for business and politics, but not the truth).
Patrick L. Cooney, Ph. D. July 24, 2006
I was groping to say something in the above, but had no clear sense of where I was going or what I wanted to say. But these days I find myself to be a very angry human being. And so I thought what is the source of this anger? And I figure it's source is the loss of any faith in the progress of thought in the social sciences at least for the foreseeable future. One cannot really talk with liberals about the faults in their logic. They are completely cut-off from critical thinking that challenges their basic "orthodoxies." The problem with the social sciences is that they don't blush at using the term "orthodoxies."
I find that it is useless for me to talk to them. I can only write my thoughts and hope that some who are not so devoted to orthodoxies will be able to read them with an open mind. But I cannot publish these thoughts. This is forbidden by the closed minds of the liberals. And if as a man of critical thought I cannot really talk to liberals who only get personally insulted at the possibility that their orthodoxies are wrong, then why do I want to talk with them at all? I don't actually. I find it an exercise in futility. And if 99.9 percent of the liberals are ass-holes (closed-off, non-critical thinking jerks) then what's the point of having discussions with them? There is none. I think being surrounded by such a stultifying atmosphere and by jerks is going to create anger in a rational, critical thinker. The problem is that I do care what happens in the world but this caring takes place in an environment without the possibility of free speech and free writing. And so how could a critical thinker not be angry? I find this to be the rational response to the lack of even any decency in the liberals' mindsets. My personal experience has been that liberals are so closed off that to challenge their assumptions is to bring out the really nasty, more primitive side of them -- that dark side of humans that is only thinly veiled by what passes for "civilization."
What's the point of writing more on civil rights? The liberals are all closed up anyway. They have a whole litany of what is acceptable to say, to think, to write about civil rights. The South had a similar type of heavy social control on thought, speech and writing during the days of slavery and apartheid. The liberals are just as, if not more, controlling of thought than the conservatives.
I've said all I really wanted to say. It is more than enough to keep sociologists and other social scientists busy for decades trying to re-examine their wrong-headed orthodoxies. This raises another question. Is their really hope for mankind? If regardless of country, all liberals share the same untruths, then how is there any hope for a scientific social science? I can only hold out the hope that eventually the natural sciences will be able to explain the workings of the human brain with such great success that the absurdity of many of the sociological orthodoxies are exposed as being falsehoods. At some point, social scientists will have to mesh social thought with natural science thought to look at the world not as liberals want it to be or should be, but for what it actually is.
When people are so cut-off from rational discussion, then what hope is there from and for the present-day liberals?
So, yeah, I'm angry and I should be. I deal with it in positive ways by focusing on writing about less controversial topics: botany, history and movies. But I still find myself unhappy with so little hope of even decent treatment from liberals. I'll never be able to hide the anger or "cure" it. I'll be angry until the day I die. (And anger is not good for the body's health.) But paraphrasing Patrick Henry, give me freedom to write or give me death. I am not interested in joining in on the politically-correct band wagon at the sacrifice of a search for thought beyond false liberal political orthodoxy.
It's a great gift to see beyond socially acceptable falsehoods, but it is also a curse. I would never abandon the gift for social or political acceptance, but I am aware of the heavy price I have to pay.
Patrick L. Cooney, Ph. D. November 17, 2006.
P.S. In a racist society, is their any room for prophets? The prophets played a key role in Israel, a role that doesn't really exist in the United States or most other nations either. The liberal community already figures it knows what the truth is, so there is no search for something better or for something more moral. The motto of the liberal is "Do not speak against the day". Just speak badly about the conservatives, because the cause of liberalism dominates the heavens and all is right with the world.
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