I am writing because I do not know what else to do. We live in a world that has been devastated by an unrelenting assault on the essential nature of reality for decades. We have destroyed our ability to observe and confront the world around us, and as a result of our paralysis we have allowed incalculable suffering at home and abroad. Postmodern culture has pushed us away from the sense of a knowable objective truth, and while I do not categorically vilify the idea of postmodernity (I welcome it) it has become an end rather than a means.
To quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“At the end of a life spent in the pursuit of knowledge Faust has to confess: ‘I now do see that we can nothing know.’ That is the answer to a sum, it is the outcome of a long experience. But as Kierkegaard observed, it is quite a different thing when a freshman comes up to the university and uses the same sentiment to justify his indolence. As the answer to a sum it is perfectly true, but as the initial data it is a piece of self-deception.”
The truth is that we cannot know the truth. We see things as through a glass darkly, and I believe that one day we will see things as they are. But unmoored from philosophy, faith, and critical thinking we are not left with a sense of postmodern contentment and tolerance. We have embraced nihilism and darkness.
We have burned down our homes because the only thing we know is that the earth will swallow them anyway.
I have some caveats. I do not consider myself to be particularly wise or intelligent. I am not as familiar as I ought to be with science, philosophy, or history. I expect that as often as I write things that are true I will write things that are false, and I hope that I will be held accountable for those things. But I say this not to abdicate a sense of responsibility (“we can nothing know”) but to lay claim to the one truth that we must recover in order to free ourselves from the darkness we have made:
I can be wrong; I have been wrong; I am wrong.
I am writing because I do not know what else to do.