‘The same idea occurs in Schopenhauer, for whom the truth of the world is Will, which cannot be represented in concepts. Schopenhauer devoted roughly 500,000 words to this thing that no words can capture…’
‘…I too am tempted to eff the ineffable. like my philosophical predecessors, I want to describe that world beyond the window, even though I know that it cannot be described but only revealed. I am not alone in thinking that world to be real and important. But there are many who dismiss it as unscientific cast of mind are disagreeable to me. Their nerdish conviction that facts alone can signify, and that the ‘transcendental’ and the eternal are nothing but words, mark them out as incomplete. There is an aspect of the human condition that is denied to them. ‘
Scruton, Roger. “Effing The Ineffable” Confessions Of A Heretic. Notting Hill Editions Ltd, 2016. Print. (Pgs 87 & 88).
Personally, I’m not sure that all naturalists and people in the sciences I’ve known wish to reduce the world to strictly mathematical laws, nor consign all domains of human endeavor to ‘non-science.’
Some people, I suspect, have the onboard wiring and have pursued learning which make them profoundly interested in order, patterns, and logic. Some people are just really smart and dedicate themselves to a particular problem or two, maybe possessing the genius and courage, even, to define a new problem after years of hard work of mastering a field, leading to genuine new knowledge.
I am grateful for the Mars Curiosity Rover, and the hundreds of engineers that worked for much of their professional lives to land this thing on Mars. It’s still yielding valuable data.
But, I”m guessing there’s lot of waste and bureaucratic stasis at NASA. Perhaps a similar regression to the mean within institutions towards narrower ideas and ideologues happens here, too (if only x were removed, y will occur).
I see such outcomes partially caused by the decay of things, partially by design, and partially as a process of secularization (beneath the idealist and systematist lie human nature and reality). Such incentives don’t necessarily lead to leadership by the most knowledgeable, but over time, rather to leadership by administrative fiat and distant political winds.
Now, there’s arrogance, hubris and false pride to be in all of us, to be sure, and many sharp thinkers are no exception (in some cases the bigger the brain (or ego), the bigger the fool). I don’t find foolish and/or earnest conviction in any short supply on this Earth.
To be fair, I don’t think this proves, nor does Scruton even attempt to prove, that the ineffable, therefore, exists (or if the ineffable does exist, as it reveals itself to us, that it requires saying or expression through us, nor through Handel or Bach or post-Kantian German thinking).
Such expression surely offers me consolation, though, for I take refuge in works of art. I am profoundly grateful to walk at evening and listen to a few minutes of music:
I am profoundly grateful that I may share in someone else’s pain, suffering and disconsolation, across centuries, transmuted into an act of beauty and wonder, through a centuries-developed form and method (an orchestra is rather a thing of technical achievement, too, just as is a store-bought guitar or a Korg).
Sure, there’s much epistemological ignorance amongst some in the sciences and, frankly, within all of us.
Come to think of it, I think most of us manage one or a few things well, and mess up at least a few areas of our lives without even trying. It’s also very, very tempting to talk about that which we know very little (this blog, for instance), as though something is known.
This may make me no more than a 2nd or 3rd rate idea man, taking, essentially, more than has been given.
For today, I suppose this will do.