Essential Knowledge: Part III

Probably the first paradox presented to a young person is the age old question. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? For most people, this is a fun puzzle, which is why it has remained a popular gag for so long. Aristotle concluded that both must have come into being at the same time, as to have either come first violated the logic of causality. Marxists used this example to “prove” that linear thinking was false. Instead, we have to admit that the egg creates the chicken just as much as the chicken creates the egg.

Evolution answers this by pointing out that eggs existed before birds existed in the fossil record, so the egg preceded the chicken. If you reject evolution, this apparent conflict can only be solved one other way. Some agent, outside of observable nature, was the first cause. It created either the chicken or the egg first. It created all of life, setting off the great chain of causality that controls the natural world. Plato believed that all things in the natural world existed in spirit, as an idea, before coming into being. Jews and Christians believe that God created the natural world just like a clock maker builds a watch.

This is not a post about abiogenesis, but rather a starting point for understanding the great debate of the modern age. What is the nature of man? What is his true and natural state, outside the artificial constraints of society? Did society naturally arise, or was it imposed? This is the question that haunted the minds of the Enlightenment thinkers and it is the question that has animated the great political movements since the French Revolution. If we can know the nature of man, then we can built a just society where virtuous men can be free.

One solution to this question, one that is at the core of every Leftist movement in history, is that man is born as a blank slate. Humans come into the world as a formless blob that is shaped into a person by their parents and community. Eventually they are shaped into a citizen by their society. The reason a person born in France becomes a Frenchman is he was shaped and formed by French society to become a Frenchman. A person born in Niger is what he is because he was raised by Hausa. It takes a village to make a man.

There are a number of implications to this that are critical to understanding the last three hundred years of Western history. The first is that all people are the product of their environment. Therefore, if a person turns out to be a criminal or a bad thinker, it is the fault of society. The good citizen was raised correctly and given the proper education, while the criminal was failed by his parents and society. Of course, it is never too late. The criminal can be rehabilitated and people can change. Our nature is infinity malleable.

That leads to the second implication of the blank slate ideology. The virtuous have a moral duty to remake society so that it creates virtuous citizens. Collective guilt is an inevitable byproduct of the blank slate ideology, because all of us are, by definition, our brother’s keeper. That also means we are collectively responsible for “fixing” the defects that arise from our social institutions. This is why Mussolini said “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Society is a unified living organism. When one bit fails, it all fails.

The alternative to this line of thinking is that people are born with qualities they inherit from their parents. Long before anyone knew about genetics, people could see that the son resembled his father or mother, sometimes both in various ways. People saw that the daughter would usually marry a man like her father and a son would marry a girl like his mother. It was assumed that each person was the result of their line of ancestors, which is why the children of great families took up places in the elite, when they reached adulthood.

This was the standard view of humanity up until the Enlightenment. People all over the world just assumed that the people in various lands were the product of their lands. They did not understand biology, but they knew that Africans were different from Persians and not just in appearance. They knew that the Welsh were different from the Angels and the North-men who showed up on long ships. It was always assumed that nature did not distribute her gifts equally among people or between peoples.

The result of this is that the customs and methods of rule are a reflection of the people who compose the society. Arabs have their ways, because they have their own unique history that has shaped their culture and people. China is the way it is because it is full of Chinese who have lived the way they have lived for thousands of years. In other words, there is no transcendent order that applies universally. There is only a natural order that is rooted in the local population. What works in China, will not work in Arabia.

Since the French Revolution, the great conflicts in the West have been over these two conflicting views of man’s nature and the nature of his society. The Left has always assumed that man is infinitely malleable and that virtuous societies make virtuous men. The Right has taken the other side, defending the natural order of man, which is hierarchical and diverse. Since the Enlightenment, the men of the blank slate have held the dominant position, winning the political fights and imposing their views on the West.

It is largely impossible to grasp the last 300 years of Western history without understanding this intellectual conflict. More important, it will be impossible to navigate the coming battles without grasping this. The new science of genetics is largely confirming what people used to know through observation. Not only are people not blank slates, their cultures are rooted in the shared biology of the people. The next era in the West is about the fight between Liberalism and science, the blank slate and the double helix.

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57 Comments on "Essential Knowledge: Part III"

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Member

You heading toward the conflict of Kalgeri vs. Nationalism?

Member

Finally a worthwhile conflict.

Doug
Guest

The leftists conveniently leave out the one thing in their blank slate ideology they go on to revile. if man began as a blank slate, there had to be a cultural influence in order to imprint nature on this living blank canvas to begin with. So it begs the question about leftist human nature logic gymnastics and how they can justify whatever cultural influence of the moment to fit the narrative. If leftist ideology about culture is indeed correct, it is the biggest double standard imaginable and leftists are responsible for exactly what they accuse their enemies of being.

Severian
Guest
Philosopher David Stove calls this “the Ishmael Effect” — if your theory is true, then by definition you can’t know it. If “man’s social being determines his consciousness,” for example, then how did you, comrade, manage to raise your consciousness above your social being far enough to be able to tell the rest of us about it? Same deal with the Postmodernist, who tells us for a fact that there’s no such thing as a fact. The feminist professor preaching about the all-powerful Patriarchy should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, not living a 1% lifestyle on the public… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Are you trying to con me with some fancy logic gymnastics cultural marxism is an innocent occurrence of omission and not commission? Whatever happened to good old fashioned bullshitting yourself and taking the easy way out?
Or is that now what passes for diversity?
Personally, if you haven’t picked up on it by my previous comments, there is no excuses for not being responsible for your actions. No matter how you try to spin it or rationalize it.
Isn’t that why we are as a nation the pickle we are in to begin with?

Member

All sorts of psychological and social factors will influence you and urge you to a particular action. Look at children. But you still retain the option to take responsibility for your actions and reject influences. This is called, “becoming an adult”. Some adults achieve this early and others never do.

Member
Then there are the “motivationalists” such as Limbaugh who insist you can be whatever you will yourself to be, and that all good and evil is a matter of choice.While this may have an element of truth, it fails to explain why the football-obsessed Limbaugh was unable to will himself into an NFL quarterback, and why Ben Shapiro has never had a prayer in the NBA, or any of those rappers as philosophers. I wanted to be an ace fighter pilot shooting down Fokker Triplanes, but vision limitations forced me to sublimate my aggressive inclinations in other directions. As a… Read more »
Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon
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Solomon Honeypickle, proud octaroon

that’s just the cover tory to feed rubes. underneath it’s just pure power politics. 80% of society is in the herd, 10% pulls left, 10% pulls right. philosophy isn’t jack shit in the real world. human nature is well understood; the only book you need to read on this is The Prince by M.

Doug
Guest

This…

“We divide reality, forget that we have divided it, and then forget that we have forgotten it.”
— Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness

…is that the reverse of the unknown unknowns?

Or this…?

comment image

…the commission of altering the knowns aka cognitive dissonance?

james wilson
Guest

The herd may be 80%, give or take, but !00% of the herd pulls left. Human instincts are left–socialist, communists, fascist, the order of survival in the small group for 100,000 years. People crave certainty, despise uncertainty. All civilizing advances are anti-instinctual. They must be defended each generation or fail. Instincts require nothing to start the same fight all over again. It’s easy work, and they even get to call themselves intellectuals.

Doug
Guest

Still don’t make them right or give them power to make others who disagree go along with it. If anything it makes those who withdraw consent the most legitimate in their persons and their freedoms.

CaptDMO
Guest

Meh, I promote Aesop’s Fables as “The One Book”, as it’s comprehensible even at the child’s level of intellect.
I’m not convinced that The Prince is suitable for the humans that instinctively pursue a life of
progressive ease.

Severian
Guest
The biggest problem will be the empathy gap. Liberals, of course, think they’re great at empathy, but they’re terrible at it. They think — scratch that, they know — that what everybody really wants is to be hipster SJWs like themselves, wearing goofy lumberjack beards and scarves and talking about “football” while sipping lattes and listening to bands you’ve never heard of. It’s not that hard to get them to accept that not everyone can do this — elitism is, after all, a major part of Progressivism’s appeal — but they really can’t grok that lots of people don’t want… Read more »
Toddy Cat
Guest

“And short of sending them down to the countryside, Mao-style,”

No need to rule this out so quickly.

Doug
Guest
They prey on something almost primal in many people. I think it is why American’s are both an easy target for cultural marxists, and an uncrackable nut. A fear, something that rises up out of the depths of our sense of origins as a country, a people, of privately examining, in the most private intimate manner, honestly examining, in our heart of hearts, the profound human founding of liberty as a conceptual basis of being a people and country. Something if it is to be examined honestly within our inner selves, it either has to be shoved back within it’s… Read more »
meema
Member
About 100 up votes. While I am somewhat skilled at seeing the dots, I also am something of a summarizer. I like to back up and see how it all comes together into the big picture. For me, it’s summed up as the ultimate war of evil against good. Evil is a capable shapeshifter. Imitation good. Good for goodness sake that is actually the exact polar opposite in truth. For me, the big picture is as much about the ancient and yet ever new battle for control. My faith concludes the war is won regardless the ongoing skirmishes. But what… Read more »
Doug
Guest
“I have no idea how to get them to get it…. but they have to, because they’ll never leave us alone until they do.” They don’t have to get it. It is not your or my job. Not our circus, not our monkeys. They have to stop. If they don’t they must be stopped, because they won’t stop till they are. They count on the weakness of their enemy of trying to accommodate them of compromising their principles of being vulnerable by thinking they think the same, are alike, and can be reasoned with. They won’t stop till that changes.… Read more »
Member
Beautiful summary, though I’d tinker at the margins. Where the idea of society or nation as an ‘organic’ entity, whole, or living being was actually most prominent in western political philosophy was on the reactionary right in the late 19c and early 20c, and it still seems to fit into a reactionary/trad/ or even in some ways ‘conservative’ view today. Granted they did not mean by it quite the things you suggest here, rather it struck them as the outgrowth of the idea of the naturally occurring people that you give as the ‘right’ worldview. In that sense, fascism and… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Is it simply about the question of nature verses nurture, or is a combination of both? But it begs the question for me at least, it doesn’t matter, just leave us dirt people alone, allright!?

Horace Pinker
Guest
It’s taken me over five years, but I’m finally reaching the point where I no longer find it worthwhile to try and debate the blank slate crowd. There really is no reasoning with the True Believers. This can be frustrating when you’re dealing with people you know in real life who are kind and otherwise intelligent. I guess we’ll have to have the debate without them. The other day I came across this: “Our goal in this article is simply to promote a more civil discourse about race differences and behavior. Our approach is unique: one of us is a… Read more »
Dutch
Guest
The WSJ today has an article about people who can play multiple games of chess simultaneously, while blindfolded or otherwise banned from actually seeing the boards. They are told the moves of their opponents in the chess-speak, I suppose. They play 5 or 20 or 40 games simultaneously, and win most of them. Tell me how the blank slate thing can explain that. If one assumes blank slates, then it is really an excuse to meddle in the lives of others, IMO. If you are born with a semblance of who you are, then perhaps you don’t really need others… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member

I think it is just an excuse to cover up their own messed up lives and blame everything else except … themselves. It is always someone else’s fault. YOU are terrible.

Al from da Nort
Guest
A related aspect of this important discussion is philosophical materialism. For some strange reason the blank slate folks, particularly the Marxist variety, used to insist that they were/are staunch materialists. The driving force of history that was going to bring utopia was posited to be dialectical materialism. Why does this matter_? To begin with, the ‘science’ they’re so fond of saying as supporting their world view is really a lot about information. As evidence, several weeks ago the subject was mathematics. And if there’s one ‘science’ that is independent of physical, materially existing objects, it’s mathematics So what is mathematics_?… Read more »
Member

Which came first? If the rooster’s any good, the chicken.

LetsPlay
Member

Now that is funny! But I hasten to correct … it is the Rooster who would come first! wink wink!

Member
“Jews and Christians believe that God created the natural world just like a clock maker builds a watch.” Do you really believe this? With respect, this is just plain wrong, probably the least insightful thing you’ve ever written–and I say that as a great admirer of your writing. I’m usually in agreement with your thought. But creation ex nihilo is not comparable to the assembly of a human artifact, and the idea of the First Cause means much more than the the Big Bang: more fundamentally it refers to that which is indispensable to the existence of all being in… Read more »
Member
You guys are going to need the Christians if you indeed intend to be free men. I think in many respects we are natural allies. So if I might. “Jews and Christians believe that God created the natural world just like a clock maker builds a watch.” This sentence is largely false. Your preceding paragraph gives better glimpses of Christianity with slight modification. This is what Christians believe; “Some agent, outside of observable nature, was the first cause. It created either the chicken or the egg first. It created all of life, setting off the great chain of causality that… Read more »
Karl Hungus
Guest

where have the christians been all along, while America was being dismantled? What have the Christians done to help their brethren in the middle east? so no, keep your christians, they aren’t worth much. maybe if we have a bake sale.

Member

Sorry, but without Christians and Christianity, you have no Western Civilization, and without them there is and will be no recovery for the West. It is the rejection of Christianity that has given us the present sorry state of affairs throughout Europe and North America. Christians have their fair share of blame for that result, but then so do you and everyone else who has rejected Christianity. Where were you and the like-minded while America and the rest of Europe was being dismantled?

Doug
Guest

I think you will end up eating those words Karl. You wouldn’t have the luxury of free speech without the values and principles of Christianity and it’s influences in creating the West, in particular America, to begin with.
It just so happens, Christianity and Christians are tolerant of many things and many ways not found in the rest of the world.

Member

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

The churches in America were nationalized in 1954 under the Johnson amendment. There was a pastor in Texas that was making the president angry because he wouldn’t stop telling the truth about his policies. So congress violated the first amendment and incorporated the churches under the IRS code. They get a bi-annual letter telling them what they can and can’t preach. The churches are dead. And to be honest, I’ve met mostly nothing but pussies in the churches of America.

Trump talked about rescinding this while on the campaign trail.

Doug
Guest

comment image
Syriac Christians
Known as the “Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers” – in reference to the stretch of traditionally Syriac-inhabited land between the Tigris and Euphrates, the all-volunteer unit consists of Syrian mothers, wives and professionals who pray in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.

Member

Cool

LetsPlay
Member
Seriously folks, where would our civilization be without the women? (and I don’t mean that as a joke about the chicken and the egg!) Seems to me that instead of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day which are so commercialized as to lack real meaning, men should organize an honest-to-goodness Women’s Appreciation March (all across the country) that recognizes the daily accomplishments/contributions/sacrifices of ALL women who help make our land and civilization a better place. Protesters are included. Peaceful, honorable protesters. Not hateful and destructive people. But men should take the lead on doing this and make it a thing from… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member
Sounds like you are judging the whole batch of apples by the few you have seen and maybe tasted (experienced). While most of America is Christian, or would identify as such, it is a shame that the “government” pretends to represent such when they, the elites, make their own moves to suit their own needs. Look at your own country and tell me they do what your citizens want? Like any group, many help in their own ways, quietly going about their business without drawing attention while others are media hounds seeking money and attention. Others are all talk, and… Read more »
Doug
Guest
History is circular, it phases in and out, it is coming around again to the second 5000 Year leap. Agrarian pluralism was the antedate and turning point to the anthropological pessimism that prevailed until the colonial patriots chose secession from Britain. The founders didn’t hold each other in contempt if they didn’t all adhere to the same scripture, just that scripture was paramount in creating dignity of the individual and liberty. Imagine Jefferson and Henry, Franklin and Hamilton, Stark and Washington, bickering and alienating each other because they didn’t all see things exactly the same way. It’s preference cascade. The… Read more »
Joan Of Argghh!
Guest

I tried to upvote this twice.

Rod1963
Guest
You know just about any HS student in FFA or farmer who raises animals knows this instinctively. The same can be said of serious sports fans. They know champions are born. That you can’t become a contender for the Worlds Strongest Man or be a top NFL draft pick merely on effort alone. That a lot rides on having the right parents.begin with. Of course it’s not openly talked about because it hurts feeling. For example back in the late 80’s it was all the rage for Wall Street execs to send their boys to high end sports camps in… Read more »
notsothoreau
Guest

If you read the Norse sagas, they start out with a discussion of the families involved. People knew which families were reckless, which were the peacemakers. You just needed to know who was related to who and you’d have an idea of how the story would turn out.

Doug
Guest

The Norse Nine Noble Virtues
Courage
Truth
Honor
Fidelity
Discipline
Hospitality
Self Reliance
Industriousness
Perseverance

LetsPlay
Member

The Scout Law.
A Scout is:
Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind
Obedient
Cheerful
Thrifty
Brave
Clean, and
Reverent.

And balance that with Gen. Mattis saying “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

kokor hekkus
Guest

In fact, so far from mankind being a blank slate, intelligence is now known to be 70-80 % heritable, while all behavior (and attitudes) is at least 50% heritable. There’s your culture and civilization, if any, for you. For a dismal example, subSaharan Africans average an IQ of 70, more than two standard deviations less intelligent than Northern Europeans. Not much potential for civilization there…

Jack
Guest

The egg IS a chicken in embryonic form. The first chicken egg was begat (that’s a Biblical term, I hear) by two birds that were almost, but not quite, chickens.

MSO
Guest
Frazer’s book ‘The Golden Bough’ illustrates the commonality of all the myths ever devised by mankind throughout history. Further, the Jesuits are credited with boasting that if they were given control of a child for the first seven years of his life that they would then return to the world the man as he would always be. This is strongly indicative of a built-in faculty to organize life’s experiences into recognizable patterns; more of an unfilled form than of a blank slate. Of course, some persons are broken from the start, blind, deaf, psychologically, etc., so exceptions to the rule… Read more »
thor47
Guest

” abiogenesis ” There were no rock groups before Genesis?

Joan Of Argghh!
Guest
The hinge of Western thought is Christianity. Full stop. It pushed back against the idea that man can save himself and held forth that men were born inherently unable to live up to even the Golden Rule. Look around at the most virtuous vegan you know, and they’ll admit to lapses. The most devoted to “love your neighbor as yourself” cannot live up to it, for they will curse him on the way to work, in line at the DMV, or anywhere where “neighbor” has failed to live up to one’s expectations and judgments. Christianity addressed the utter helplessness of… Read more »
Audacious Epigone
Guest

It’s insinuated but worth noting since this will in time come to be a highly referenced piece (as will the rest of the posts in this series) that the neocons and the Respectable Right are firmly and mostly in the blank slatist camps, respectively.

J Cass
Guest

Said it for years. When you reverse cause and effect every answer you get is wrong.