Gold, therefore, is worthless; truth is pointless. Value, therefore, is not determined by purity, but by the emotional intensity of the claim.
Truth is the currency of philosophy. At least it used to be. People throughout history have taken great risks – often to their physical person and property – in pursuit of this metaphysical coin. “Plato is dear, but truth is dearer still,” says the Philosopher; “Great is truth, and stronger than all things… it endureth, and is always strong; it liveth and conquereth forever more” (I Esdras 4); “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (Jesus of Nazareth, John 8, 14).
But what happens when that currency is debased? Debased with the base metals of subjectivism, relativism, and existentialism?
Modern philosophy tells us that any person may have their truth, and it be just as valid or valuable as another person’s truth. People who assert such things are not philosophers at all. They are counterfeiters – forgers of philosophy; truffers of truth.
They would insist their straw is as much legal tender as your gold; and rob you of your gold if you do not agree.
Alchemists have existed throughout history – mechanics interested in manufacturing rarity and worth from the cheap and ordinary, particularly, turning base metals into gold. But alchemists have largely been relegated to the dustbin of science. Why then are the alchemists of ethics given a captive audience, revered among those who seek value from the worthless.
“Come as you are!” cry the frauds, “your rags are now your riches! Your sin is now your salvation! Universal pardon is the essence of justice!”
Such is the consequence of this godless philosophy: that truth is sacrificed upon the altar to self-indulgence. If it feels good, do it. Live your best life now. Live your truth. This above all – to thine own self be true, and truth be only to thine own self.
Holding truth claims, then, declared true only by fiat, they become obsessed with identity. Being told their essence is found within their existence, they therefore externalize our internal desires rather than seek to internalize truths external. Their identity is therefore in a state of constant creation, but not progress. There is no recognition of potential toward the ideal; rather, their “self” is in perpetual actualization, even amidst perpetual change. This “self” is likewise perpetually valid – not just valid, but virtuous.
There is but one intolerable, unpardonable sin in such a paradigm – and that is the failure to affirm this philosophy; to claim that “whatever” emphatically does NOT go; to claim that perfection does not live within the authentic self; to refuse to call your dross purity; to refuse to call your slag gold. “Who are you to judge!?” they cry, and demand a universal affirmation of “their truth.”
Karl Popper (with whom I agree on a great many things) incoherently warned, “We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” This has been turned into the existentialists’ categorical imperative: tolerance until intolerance is perceived. But intolerance to the forgers is not the failure to forebear their existence; no, intolerance is the failure at any point to affirm or praise the virtue of their identity. Tolerance must not just allow wooden nickels to exist; tolerance must now accept wooden nickels at the face value claimed by whoever puts them into circulation.
Gold, therefore, is worthless; truth is pointless. Value, therefore, is not determined by purity, but by the emotional intensity of the claim. Passion and furor define the value of a claim; the substance is irrelevant.
Claims that incite outrage, now, have the most value, the richest capital gains, the highest return on investment. With little risk, peddlers of indignation will incite masses to purchase their wares – share in the indignation, the outrage, the furor and fire of a cause. Not because it is true, but because in all reality it gains them attention toward their expressed authentic self – in which all their stock is held.
This is why for the counterfeit social sages, the value of propositions is not determined by their coherency, but rather by the resistance to them. Resistance implies intolerance; intolerance implies hate; hate inspires passion; and passion is the heroin of the self.
When meaning is found in subjective emotion instead of objective truth, it’s no wonder the frauds will create passion from the banal. It doesn’t matter if the passion is based on real truth; they will have received their fix, and feverishly continue their eternal quest of internal fulfillment, with no regard to the casualties they create in their wake.