A few days ago, we saw an intriguing glimpse into the world of shadow-work. What I will discuss today will be in a similar vein, but perhaps not so dark. Haha – ”perhaps….”
In Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil,” the great continental sage spends his first essay attacking pretentious philosophic types (like myself, and probably one or two of you as well). The theory, bastardized in the name of brevity, goes a little like this.
Philosophers, when first they pierce the veil of their own illusions, raise great and clamorous fanfare to herald some wild idea that they call a Truth. You’ve seen this happen once or twice – the mystic/vegan/nihilist/insert-ideological-bias here who has found their “revelation” and sprints home like an eager puppy dog, slobbering naivete all over the ontological bone they proceed to throw recklessly at their friends, family, and attentive neighbors (of which a philosopher will at first have many, but perhaps fewer as he gains in wisdom.)
Nietzsche, however, does not believe in Truth. In fact, were he to peruse these writings, he would probably mock me for capitalizing it (“What are you, some kind of Platonist?”). What Nietzsche believes is happening here is that, after dispelling those thoughts which do not sit well with either our biases or our logic, we project our deeper, often less rigorously-tested prejudices onto the void where other ideas once stood – this projection we call Truth.
I think this holds, even if we don’t dismiss Truth outright. Let’s start with an agent – we’ll call him Joe. Joe reads some elementary treatises, and after serious contemplation, chucks a bunch of his beliefs to the wayside. Where these beliefs once stood, new beliefs grow to fill the gap. Unfortunately, whether one believes in objective Truth or not, these beliefs will still most likely flow from those prejudices Joe is not skilled or experienced enough to have dispelled.
This seems to me as it should be. Really, all this shows is that enlightenment is a process; that we can grow without having to have found the irrefutable Answer. Also, this view provides with a road map for self-discovery – by understanding the nature of our prejudices, we understand the nature of our selves, and can perhaps find truths (lower-case intended) that serve to harmonize our own spirit with the cognitive dystopia of new millennium thought and culture (and, perhaps, in spite of it?)
Redpillneo is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.