The veil of unknowing — and of knowing


This started out as a comment:

There is a not uncommon intellectual deformation among us admirers of Dr Marx. We seem tempted to believe that because the old Moor gave us some very important insights into the big picture of history, we must therefore be able to divine in detail what’s going on in the streets of a city halfway around the world, though we don’t speak the language, we’re not present, and our sources of factual information are next to useless. Perhaps even worse than useless, come to think of it.

It occurs to me that this is under-generalized. Isn’t this in fact the besetting sin of our time? Isn’t it also the problem with sociobiology, and ‘evolutionary psychology’, and so on? Aren’t there those among us who are shallow, dogmatic Darwinians in just the same way that many of my Lefty comrades are shallow, dogmatic Marxists, always trumping each other with proof-texts?

Surely there is nothing less ‘scientific’ than the belief that one has found an all-purpose answer for every question.

And yet, how we crave it!

6 thoughts on “The veil of unknowing — and of knowing

  1. Science itself isn’t that scientific.

    P.S. – shouldn’t you be putting Lefty in scare quotes? Or does he refrain from that on the mailing list?

    • Whether science is scientific depends, I suppose, on how you understand the latter term. In my dialect it means something like ‘the stuff scientists actually do, as opposed to the stuff they would like people to think they do.’

      • The term ‘scientist’ itself is rather unscientific since there really is no such thing. ‘Science’ just describes a method of human investigation, we’re all using ‘science’ all the time. The Science everyone seems to refer to is really the religion of Modern Technology, whose motto is “Religion Sucks, Listen to the Scientists and Newer is Always Better”. No one understands the shit they expect everyone else to blindly agree to, all they know is that some ‘Scientist’ said they should. And most of the ‘science’ you see is really just the results of surveys of leading scientific minds, i.e., “95% of scientists think clouds are made of newspaper”. And although that 5% of doubters may be meteorologists and climatologists, just try refuting the science of agreement using evidence and reason.

  2. The way I look at it: if Marx never wrote about it, it doesn’t exist. Hence, I am currently communicating via some imaginary machine called a ‘computer’. We all know that the development of real technology ended with the smoke stack and conveyor belt.

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