Here are some notes of something I’ve been working on lately.
First we know truth
The world unfolds before our eyes, and we understand it. We know things in themselves, we understand right and wrong, we know the reality of god and science and angels. We are the most gifted of philosophers; we tread the world as godly epicenters of knowledge. This is how we come into being.
In this state we say many things, all of us. We speak with absolute authority on politics, on relationships, on good and evil. We spout ethics and metaphysics, and endless epistemology. We all say different things, but we say it in the same way.
There are no statements that can be made about the content of this state, because the various forms that it takes change with the times. Those in this state can also make no meaningful observations about the nature of their state, because they do not perceive themselves to be in any sort of state at all. Those in this state readily judge the state of others however; those who disagree are taken to be in the dark.
Thus we all come into existence as dogmatists.
This state can perpetuate for an entire lifetime. Those living in the truth have no need to seek beyond it. However, this state is fragile. The dogmatist’s world does not always act as it should, and this shakes the dogmatist. People disagree, predictions fail, and proclamations are treated with ridicule. The dogmatist struggles to shore up the fractures and cracks (and can do so for a very long time), but with the right conspiracy of circumstances their world collapses.
The once-dogmatist is confronted with ambiguity and doubt. They no longer know themselves or their world. They are lost.
There are a number of moves that the once-dogmatist’s makes from here, but they all share the same form. They can become nihilists, solipsists, relativists, among other options. The commonality is that they become obsessed with the limits of their own experiences. They become the Lost.
The Lost’s dogmatism has been destroyed in the face of plurality. They lose belief in truth – the world becomes opaque smog, an insubstantial illusion. The Lost however cannot accept this, and so they struggle with themselves. They endlessly chase their own tail, because though they disbelieve the world they are continuously drawn back to it. They turn away, only to find that it lies around them in all directions. They fight to reject it, but in the rejection only find more of what they seek to avoid.
The Lost can give an account of the Dogmatist’s circumstance. Dogmatists are united in their mistaken assertiveness. The dogmatist is inevitably wrong because they dare to assert right. The dogmatist is only wrong in the loosest sense though, since there is no ‘right.’ To the Lost the dogmatist is naïve, striding boldly through a life given shape by nothing but the Dogmatist’s own certainty. Some of the Lost fight the Dogmatists, some of them condescendingly humour them, but they see the fight as ultimately futile. The dogmatists perceive themselves to be playing the highest stakes game, while the Lost can find the activity as nothing more then an idle game. On the other hand, the Lost have nothing to lose, so while the Dogmatist is stronger they can only fight the war defensively – the Lost can pull the dogmatist down, but the dogmatist cannot make the Lost like themselves.
Thus say the Lost, on their relation to dogmatists.
But what of the world of the Lost?
The Lost can only define their world against the Dogmatists – the Dogmatists believed in Truth. The Lost, having discarded Truth, are left with nothing.
The Lost’s state is inherently unstable – it is a perpetual inner struggle to turn away from the world, but the world is infinitely present in every direction. This instability can fall back into dogmatism, but it can also take on a new form: the form of the Explorer.
The Explorer returns to the world with new eyes. They again take the world as existent, but they do not take it as obvious. Explorers no longer thinks that their thoughts are reality itself, but instead take all experience as someone to delve into. The views of the Explorers are in a perpetual state of flux.
The Explorer can characterize both the Lost and the Dogmatist. The Dogmatist is a slave to appearances – they take that which the world first gives them as the one and only truth. Their opinions transition at random from Truth to Truth as dictated by chance and circumstance.
The Lost are those who have abandoned the world. They do not take their experiences to be of anything, and yet they are trapped in their own existence which continuously denies their own reasoning.