Ava Lon, who translated two videos about Jürgen Habermas and the Frankfurt School (here and here), wrote the essay below in response to commenters on one of those posts. She was born, raised, and educated under communism in Poland, and her opinions are informed by her experience.
The Truth Hurts, But The Lie Hurts Even More
by Ava Lon
This essay is a response to comment by William on the post about Jürgen Habermas, “The Truth is Determined Through Marxist Discourse”:
The latest conviction in physics is that the universe is just all kinds of “fields” — gravitational, bosonic, hadronic, gluonic, electrostatic — and guided by field equations which are all probabilistic. Particles are just quanta of the fields. This means that the word “noumena” used by Kant, the objective world that is really out there, and not influenced by our subjective view (which is hopelessly affected by our sense organs) AND our subjective world and feelings and thoughts about the noumena, all have to be a subset of the universe, and are all statistical. Truth of all kinds is statistical. This means that the truth, however we define it, is sometimes what we think it is and sometimes not what we think it is. This gets us away from postmodernism because if truths are all statistical we really can’t even use the word truth. It loses its hard meaning.
I found this comment by gjest helpful:
Let’s assume that all that exists in the universe are fields. If the best that we can do to describe the behavior of these fields is by use of statistical equations then perhaps that reflects the limitations of our understanding. It doesn’t mean that the fields themselves actually operate by probabilistic principles.
Right now the best that we can do to predict the weather in Stockholm for next friday is to rely on statistical models. However, every bit of next friday’s weather will have been causally determined. None of it will have been the result of statistics or probabilities.
I would disagree that “Truth of all kinds is statistical”. Our knowledge of the truth or falsity of any particular proposition may be uncertain. In those cases we assign probabilities to our truth assignment. However, just because the truth value of a proposition remains unknown to us doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a distinct truth value.
When I was twenty, my French literature professor in college, an old, witty gentleman, gave us an assignment, asking whether a certain statement was true or false, and requiring us to write the answer in a form of an essay, explaining our position on the matter. I went to him after class and said: “If I have to write about the veracity or falseness of this statement, don’t I first need to know WHAT THE TRUTH IS?” And he answered: “Aren’t you a little pretentious, eh?” Boom! Use common sense. Stick to the facts. To the old fashioned, human-senses-supported, low-resolution facts.
The Greek philosopher Zeno described a series of paradoxes:
Zeno’s paradoxes are a set of philosophical problems generally thought to have been devised by Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea (c. 490-430 BC) to support Parmenides‘ doctrine that contrary to the evidence of one’s senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion.
Here’s one of them:
Suppose Homer wishes to walk to the end of a path. Before he can get there, he must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, he must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on.
So: if I have to go from A to B, first I have to make it halfway, but before that, the halfway of that halfway, and so on, until I can’t move from the spot, because there is an infinity of halves of halfways that would have to be crossed first. How very paralyzing! It does make one feel glued to the floor!
[Gets up, goes in the kitchen, makes coffee, comes back carrying the mug, sits down again.]
I think this and other philosophical divagations that play with words are very intimidating. So intimidating in fact, that Frankfurt “Scholars” chose language games as a weapon, in order to make things sound so complicated that we would conclude that we should give up, disengage, feel subdued, and kowtow to the Neo-Marxists, “who know best”.
If Jürgen Habermas had been honest enough to be a scientist (hard science), he would have been one. Instead he became a charlatan for whom even the word “scholar” is too generous, as it suggests a certain expertise, and expertise means: “knowing the knowable truth about something”. He was — still is in his advanced age — a part of academia, teaching his madness as “revealed truth” to young people, who believed that he was teaching in good faith, to the best of his knowledge. The university used to be a place where people were looking for the Truth. Frankfurt “Scholars” turned that quest into a joke.
There is such a thing as “too much information”, though, and not only in an inappropriate way. Distorted language, appropriated truth, and — yes — scientific information, such as that quantum physics brought up in our discussion about Marxism, could all be weaponized and used to intimidate, to cloud the vision and to discourage anyone from speaking about reality seen by their “lying eyes”.
We are being told:
If you don’t understand quantum physics, if you aren’t an expert on it, then you cannot discuss current events, philosophy, or the restaurant menu! Besides, even quantum physics doesn’t have all the answers, therefore the Truth is unknowable, which is what had to be demonstrated.
And I say:
That quantum physics, brought up in our discussion about Marxism and Truth, doesn’t amend or doesn’t add useful information to the fact (a.k.a. truth) that millions were killed by communism, and it certainly cannot deny that millions were killed by communism. If I don’t know quantum physics, I cannot move from the spot? I’m glued so to the floor? Or is it only another Zeno’s paradox? If you don’t know everything about something, than you can say nothing?
I had two fried eggs and ham (no, they weren’t green) for breakfast today. For the sake of this account, do I need to see every single particle in those eggs to determine if they were indeed eggs and if there were two of them?
No. In our low-resolution world, detected by our low-resolution senses, this is enough certainty.
For my entire life I have had two legs, and maybe there is, somewhere out there, a pair of my anti-legs or even countless pairs of my mirrored legs, distorted legs, out-of-this-dimension legs, undetectable-by-my-senses-or-by-any-of-our-current-measurement-methods legs, or indescribable-by-any-human-language legs (are they even still mine?), but: for my everyday errands, dog walks, and restless leg syndrome, two is just right.
This isn’t negating the existence of a higher-resolution, more complex world. However, if I’m walking in the woods and manage to avoid, at the last moment, a root sticking out of the ground, and don’t trip over it, the knowledge that the root belonged to an oak and not to a beech, and that the tree was 130 and not 80 years old, is not necessary for me in order to avoid tripping over it. And don’t get me started on the possible symbiotic relationships those roots have with some fungi, deep in the soil! This information is irrelevant for my hitting-the-ground-and-kissing-the-moss situation. I’m glad if biologists figure that relationship out, and I might read about it one day, if it’s described in a book, but not for the sake of walking my dog in the forest and coming back alive from that experience (which is what I’m trying to do: to be alive at the end of every day. This result might be pure luck, or my basing my decisions on my senses and my common sense — how very Jordan Peterson of me!)
Turning the complex into the complicated, a.k.a. unknowable, and “don’t you worry your tiny little head about it, honey” is what Marxists do really well, to prevent us, the plebs, from detecting and describing a very palpable reality of empty store shelves in Venezuela and Cuban rafts washed ashore on Florida beaches, to cite just two tropical paradises turned into Hell by Marxists. A very palpable, real Hell. Because if anything is real, it’s pain, and Marxists sure brought hurting people to the level of a philosophy masquerading as a science, but in actuality nothing more than a very successful pernicious cult.