What else is there to say about the wilderness, a social landscape laid barren, made waste by our social and political ineptitude. Yes, what could I say about the desert we have understood from how many of our formative stories–Moses, the Baptist, Jesus, Mohammed, who else in the wastelands of societies and their politics. Call me Ishmael, no? The weeping prophet Jeremiah laments the social wilderness of Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Judah in the 7th century before the Christian Era. What else is there to say about the emptiness that subsumes every political day like an ever-growing tapeworm depleting us of sustenance. We are slowly dying of metaphysical malnutrition. There is political famine all about worldwide–yes, everywhere in the world people are politically starving to death. How can we not imagine that our democratic politics is also dying of starvation. We are so deluded about our democracy. Our media helps us there.
There is also a philosophical and literary anorexia–I do not want go through a laundry list of applicable metaphors for our social horrors. Let it suffice to say that we live in a culture void of Truth–a world where the upper case value Truth and any of the possible lower case valued truths are beset by a number of determinisms and a metaphysics of doubt that serves the interests of national and international power and money. We have to deny the existence of Truth (and any set of minor ‘t’ truths) to go on living as we have, ah! bravery as it gets defined in face of what it takes to get along in this new world of doubt, doubt and more doubt.
Of course, doubt, as I have said numerous times in other essays, is the highest form of wisdom, where we must all end, as well as begin. We do not begin with doubt as way to test what we know but to help us reach the forlorn conclusion that there is nothing to know. It is not what we know or what we think but how we feel. All of us must be committed to re-enforcing the ideas that there is no Truth and that there are no little truths either. We must accept, as we do day in day out the many received ideas of our culture unquestioningly, that there is no transcendence, nor absolution, nor objectivity. There is nothing but pure subjectivity which we imagined could make us more free but has only subjected us to a more greatly assertive Will to Power. Without Truth and without any Absolutes, there is only the Will to Power. We did throw the puppy out with the flea bath water; we wanted to avoid previous errors in our culture and civilization–errors that lead to misery for millions. However, the very metaphysics that left us able to critique something as heinous as slavery in the first place, however ineffectively initially, has been abandoned for one that leaves the power elite more powerful and the monied elite more monied.
We are no longer beings of spirit in spite of how often we give lip service to the idea of spirituality; in this culture and in our world we are first and last beings of material, beings of use, each of us a means to an end; each of us alone and fragmented. Each of us is no longer capable of asserting himself as macrocosm in a notion of We the People that understands that every man or every woman is in himself, in herself, the People. Yes, I am we not only because I am a Self of many selves, but because I am a Self of many selves I am also capable of standing for We the People, representing We the People, of being We the People by proxy of every one else, who like myself is also We the People. As the expanding universe has an infinite number of relative centers to its expansion, the great democratic en masse has a multiple number of relative macrocosms. Anyone can be We the People just as all of us are, but it cannot be only in this perpetually shifting number of its totality.
But in our country where doubt is the highest wisdom and I know nothing is not where philosophical wonder begins but where an all-pervading nihilistic doubt ends, culminating in the belief that knowledge is impossible; in this culture that attacks the idea of Free-will with one determinism after another, this idea that I am We the People is scoffed at and mocked. We are living in an America that is fast becoming the bureaucrats dream society. Everything managed by the petty bureaus where all becomes subjected to facts, figures and numbered percentages managed by bureaucrats, themselves the grotesques of human freedom. Ethics will become numerical, the State the only authority and the people replaced by the State serving and bureau managed Public. Each of us is no longer macrocosm in our guiding metaphysics. We are merely numerical facts. Our ethics or morality or sociology and our politics are all branches of Arithmetic and Book-Keeping. We cannot even say God help us because the bureaus are so bound up in their nihilism only the nuts and fanatics have anything to say about God or divinity or even humanity. The day when a man like the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr could say the bush still burns without equivocation or even the need for explanation are over–and it is not because we were more devout then, but because we were at least more intelligent and literate which always means more sensitive otherwise intelligent and literate is not what we are.