Nietzsche’s Parable

“Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33). That be far from Thee to do in this manner — to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)

“In some remote corner of the sprawling universe, twinkling among the countless solar systems, there was once a star on which some clever animals invented knowledge. It was the most arrogant, most mendacious minute in world history, but it was only a minute. After nature caught its breath a little, the star froze, and the clever animals had to die. And it was time, too: for although they boasted of how much they had come to know, in the end they realized they had gotten it all wrong. They died and in dying cursed truth. Such was the species of doubting animal that had invented knowledge.” 

Thus spake Nietzsche in his work, On the Pathos of Truth.  But what is the point of the mad man’s parable? 

It is an elegantly savage assault on the power of truth. What good is truth in the face of uncontrollable catastrophe, or the knowledge of inevitable disaster? 

And where on earth is progress in all of this? Can a human being truly believe in progress and reconcile it with the annihilation of the human race, or the unavoidable holocausts to come 

How many setbacks will it take before we abandon our belief in progress? Here Nietzsche is not just attacking the progress-believing Liberals of his day, but Christians as well.  

The Christian believes that truth will conquer all and that the light of the world will snuff out the darkness. Therefore, when Nietzsche questions the power of truth, he questions the all-powerful nature of God himself.  

Can the progressive and the Christian survive these indictments against their central dogma, their seemingly unmovable belief that life will find a way? 

The Christian will be quick to say that Life shall never cease even after death. They preach of the resurrection and the world to come, but what does that even mean? Against the barrage of rationality and skepticism, the Christian is struck dumb.

And the progressive’s response? Speechless.  

But, maybe there is hope after annihilation. After the nuclear flash fades away, and we return onto the dust from whence we came, will not life find a way? 

If it started once, who’s to say it won’t start again? After all, does not all chaos collapse into order in time? Can’t new covenants be made between new life and the logic of this world? Is there not a life after death?

And after new microbes come into being, won’t they evolve too? There is no doubt in my mind that they won’t learn all the tricks of life; how to create, how to destroy, how to sacrifice themselves for one another 

In time, maybe they too, like all new life, will start to crawl around and grow. Will not life rise again? 

Every Christian knows that life can scratch out an existence in even the most extreme conditions; whether it’s at the bottom of the sea or from the bottom of our hearts.

But can we call the force of life’s persistence through the universe? What is the Logos behind all things that are sustainable, harmonic, and dare I say everlasting? Is this God’s love, or even love itself? What’s the difference?

And if the universe itself is destroyed, who’s to say that it won’t start again too, like it had once before?  

Maybe next time we’ll get it right and realize that our love of life, as broken as it may be, is the only force keeping us around.

And I mean love, not truth (in so much as they can be separated). After all Nietzsche (immediately after reciting his parable) goes on to say that “this would be man’s fate were he nothing more than a thinking animal; truth would drive him to despair and annihilation, truth eternally damned to be untruth.”


The photo shows, “The Sick Child,” by Edvard Munch, painted in 1896.

Kant’s Three Questions

Like Descartes, Kant set for himself the formidable task of reviewing all knowledge in order to answer the questions: What can I know? What ought I do? What may I hope for?

The first of these questions, the nature and validity of human knowledge, he investigates in his book, The Critique of Pure Reason. Though he proceeds in an entirely different manner, he arrives at the same conclusion as Descartes: that man can never have direct and certain knowledge of anything outside his own mind.

We cannot, he says, know reality, things as they are in themselves, but only the appearances of things, because our faculties impose their own forms upon that which enters the mind. Neither sensation, judgment nor reasoning can give us a valid picture of the world outside ourselves. We can never reach the noumenon, the thing as it is in itself, but only the phenomenon, the thing as it appears to us.

Neither science nor philosophy can enable us to reach the substance, or essence of things. Nor can they tell us what the soul is, what matter is, or what God is.

Consequently, Kant teaches us another type of judgment called synthetic a priori, which leads to scientific knowledge. It enjoys the universality and necessity of analytic judgments without being tautological, and possesses the fecundity of synthetical a posteriori judgments, without being restricted to the particular beings existing in the empirical world.

For the formation of any synthetic a priori judgment it is necessary to have form and matter. The form is given by the intellect, independent of all experience, a priori, and signifies the function, manner, and law of knowing and acting, which the subject finds in itself prior to all experience.

The matter is the subjective sensations, which we receive from the external world. Thus, in The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant makes the essential elements of all knowledge (universality and necessity) dependent, not on the content of experience, but on a priori forms.

He shows that the truths that have always been considered the most important in the entire range of human knowledge have no foundation in metaphysical (or purely speculative) reasoning.

Therefore, what can I know? I can know the absolute knowledge of things, or causality. But this knowledge can only operate within the confines of the world – through what we are made to perceive with our senses. I cannot possibly know the noumenon, or the world-in-itself.

Like Descartes, Kant had attempted to tear down the whole structure of previously existing human knowledge, only to build it up again on what he considered a more solid foundation. For him, this foundation was the imperative command of conscience, which every man experiences in himself.

For Kant, the ultimate test of truth is not found in external reality, but is something in man’s own mind. This command of conscience, he declares, imposes itself with insistence and with certainty. Once the voice of conscience tells me that “I ought” to do something, I cannot escape from the certainty that I am obliged to do what my conscience commands. However, I can choose to obey or to disobey. In The Critique of Practical Reason, Kant makes the universality and necessity of the moral law dependent, not on the empirical act and the end we might intend in our actions, but on a categorical imperative, in the will itself.

For an act to be morally good, the will must be autonomous; it must be determined to act, not in view of the result of its action but only in view of its duty. Thus, duty for duty’s sake. This is Kantian morality. This means that among all the imperatives that can determine the will to action, it is necessary to distinguish the hypothetical from the categorical. Also, we cannot attain the suprasensible (noumenon) because our forms of knowledge (categories) are empty: their content is only phenomenal, conditioned matter.

Now, instead, the form of the will (categorical imperative) possesses the content independently within itself; it is not conditioned by any material element. It is the will itself that makes the human act morally good, and not vice versa. In fact, according to Kant, the empirical act will be good on condition that it be done for the sake of duty. Hence the will is beyond the phenomenal and mechanical world; it pertains to the world of noumena, of the unconditioned.

Thus, these truths rest on a solid moral basis, and are thus placed above all speculative contention and the clamour of metaphysical dispute. He has overthrown the imposing edifice which Cartesian dogmatism had built on the foundation “I think”; he now sets about the task of rebuilding the temple of truth on the foundation “I ought.” The moral law is supreme.

In point of certainty, it is superior to any deliverance of the purely speculative consciousness; I am more certain that “I ought” than I am that “I am glad”, “I am cold”, etc. In point of insistence, it is superior to any consideration of interest pleasure or happiness; I can forego what is for my interest, I can set other considerations above pleasure and happiness, but if my conscience tells me that “I ought” to do something, nothing can gainsay the voice of conscience, though, of course, I am free to obey or disobey.

This, then, is the one unshakable foundation of all moral, spiritual, and higher intellectual truth. The first peculiarity of the moral law is that it is universal and necessary. When conscience declares that it is wrong to tell a lie, the voice is not merely intended for here and now, not for “just this once”, but for all time and for all space; it is valid always and everywhere. Therefore, what must I do? My duty.

Now, what may I hope for? In order to understand this question, we have to consider Kant’s philosophy of religion, or critiqued, that is, the application of reason. In other words, the question: when I, as a finite being, have done what I should, then what may I hope for? – can be raised without assumption and honestly only when the human being as a finite, rational being knows both his/her limits and (therefore) freedom.

Thus, one has to accept a teleology merely as ‘the result prescribed by law’ rather than a motive of moral conduct, thereby the ‘summum bonum’ is postulated as an a priori synthesis of virtue and happiness. And for the sake of this synthesis is postulated a supreme being of holiness, grace, and justice – that is, God. Hence, morality leads unavoidably to religion and hope only starts with religion. Therefore, what may I hope for? God.

Thus, Kant’s three questions: 1) What can I know? 2) What must I do? And 3) What may I hope for? – become thematicized as metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy.


The photo shows, “Magdalen with the Smoking Flame,” by Georges de la Tour, ca. 1638-1640.

Atheism Is Rebellion

Atheism is rebellion – it is hardly a methodology of thought, truth, or even science. Unknown to its cheerleaders is the fact that atheism cannot overcome apoptosis – it is programed to commit suicide. Its genetic contradiction kills it. This is why atheism is now regarded as a genetic mutation, slotted for destruction.

Its death sentence – is simply this – it cannot build an equitable, just and good society in which humans will want to live. Morality is not brain-washing. As recent studies clearly, infants come equipped with a sense of right and wrong. In other words, the Socratic tradition had it right all along.

While nature has its own innate laws, described by science – humans are born with natural law. In other words, because humans are naturally moral, there is God.

Thus the entire effort of “proving” God by quantifiable methods is a false one. Ludwig Wittgenstein said it best, at the end of his Tractatus: “…if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all.”

To try to answer these problems (why a human has worth, purpose and meaning) with quantifiable methods (which is Scientism) is useless. Again, Wittgenstein points out that each is purpose-specific; it cannot be extended into all areas of life. If it is, then he says, “language goes on a holiday.” Thus, scientism is simply illogical, because it cannot be rational, and therefore wrong. Simone Weil understood this clearly, for she observed: “Science is not a fruit of the spirit of truth.”

And because of moral law, atheism is also not true. Since modernity is an age of confusion, because it is an age of relativism, truth is defined as opinion, personal preference, choice, or taste. Thus, atheism is simply all that – it is not a verifiable, quantifiable fact.

Each time, an attempt is made to disprove, or prove God, by way of science, language goes on a holiday. Therefore, atheism can only be opinion, taste, preference, choice, which is the only viable explanation possible.

Atheism also seeks to replace religion – and it simply does not have the logical means to accomplish what it seeks. It is deficient in a viable language that will satisfactorily explain the “problems of life.” And “language” means ideas.

If atheism truly wants to replace religion, then it must abandon the language of science and create one that properly explains why each human life is valuable, purposeful and meaningful. Humans as creatures with an innate natural law continually need these explanations. They do not only scientific ones, which can only be true according to their own purpose of quantification.

But since atheism is scientism, it is inherently unable to formulate a language for morality- because the result would then be religion. This is the fatal flaw. Death is the only possibility. It is like asking a tree to find a way to use dental floss.

Given this problem, the only possible way out for atheism is to do what Nietzsche does – declare the death of God – and then entirely abandon morality. To fully recognize that man is only an animal, and nothing ever more, destined for the dust, like any animal dead in the forest.

Second, atheism must fully embrace Hitlerism (this term is preferable to Nazism which was the political and social practice of Hitlerism. Nazism is dead, but Hitlerism is alive and well – and embodied by every atheist, whether s/he understands this or not).

This means that atheism needs to accept what a life without God fully entails. And that life cannot then be based upon morality, since that is simply brain-washing and an expression of weakness – that life must be based upon the full consequences of man being an animal – existing “beyond good and evil.” It was Simone Weil who very elegantly understood this connection and identified it.

So, here is the challenge for atheists – if they actually believe their opinions, tastes, and preferences – they have to accept that they must Hitlerism, which is the best and most accurate (and even courageous) explanation, or program, of living a life without God and denying natural moral law. Therefore, a true atheist must be unapologetically Hitlerian, which alone had the courage to describe what life without God is like.

The corollary to this is another question – after deny God, why do atheists then proceed to live like perfectly decent Christians, worrying about human rights, social justice, tolerance, fairness?

Should they not, instead, be striving to express their will to power – the destruction of the weak, the strengthening of the species, the struggle to survive? There can be no decency in atheism – because that is weakness – and weak animal lives for too long.

There is indeed an adolescent quality to atheists who frolic about having tossed off all authority – perhaps this is why the greatest “thinkers” of atheism tend to be academics – and yet they do not understand the consequences of their “thinking.”

First, atheism is simply a preference, a world-view, an opinion, which is unable to generate a particular type of society in which humans might want to live. Why? Because atheism is no more than a critique of normative thinking; it is not an alternative to it. There is reason why ideas are normative.

Therefore, atheism can only last for the life-time of the individual atheist. And studies by Eric Kaufmann bluntly point out that atheists just do not have enough babies to keep their world-view going into the future. Atheism will die with the atheists. Religious people have more babies, and therefore religion will keep on going.

Atheism needs to answer why this is. Historically, to exist and think without God is alien to what it means to be human. Archaeology points this out continually – even that civilization is not the result of economic forces, but rather of religious worship (as, say, in Gobekli Tepe). Farming, domestication, metallurgy, cities, social hierarchies, culture are the consequences of religion alone. Doubt is neither creative, nor generative – socially or biologically.

Second, the position of atheism is arrived at by way of reason, as expressed in scientism (which says that only quantifiable probabilities exist and are therefore true). But if atheism is correct, then rationality is simply the result of random chance, which is to say, it is the product of pure irrationality. How can rationality be created by irrationality? Atheism provides no answer.

Third, the famous philosophical question – why is there something, when there could be nothing? Physics tell us that all things are forever falling into entropy, which means that all objects prefer to be at rest rather be active.

Therefore, once the first accidental burst of creation happens, and random things get created, why do all things become self-generating? Why does life keep producing more life? Why the instinct for procreation, which is an on-going waste of energy, given that entropy is the normal state? In other words, why does life need to keep on going?

Fourth, if atheism is correct, then why must humans continue to exist on the earth? They have been nothing but trouble, and highly destructive to boot. Why did nature (which is viewed as all-wise) carry on with this experiment? What good have humans ever done to the planet?

Fifth, if atheism is correct, then man is certainly animal. But why would nature, in her wisdom, let evolve a creature that is so utterly unsuited to live in nature? All man has is intellect, with which to fashion the earth into a world in which he alone can exist. Why this disconnect creature and natural world?

Such unresolved questions also build internal contradictions within atheism. For example, why is it that atheists first deny the existence of God and regard religion as ignorance, superstition, and barbarity which has oppressed and imprisoned mankind, but then promptly behave, think, act, and live like good Christians? Why can they not embrace and “celebrate” their “animalness?”

An atheist is also a Darwinian nowadays, which means that men and women must be driven by instinct, which is the urge to survive and the will to power. Thus, an atheist must be a powerful predator, who seeks to destroy the weak.

Such is the true calling of an atheist, to be a strong animal, free of morality, which is part of the prison created by religion.

Thus, why live in family groups, why behave decently, why be nice, why worry about “human rights,” why love anyone other than your own self, why object to killing and murder, why not seek to destroy charity work (which only promotes life for the feeble), why have doctors and hospital who prolong life for the sick who should rightly die, why care for the elderly who are useless, why have education for all, why not kill the handicapped and the mentally challenged, why have prisons since criminals are only being good animals and they should be free to win even more power?

Indeed, are there any true atheists in the world?

There was one, and he wrote the best manual for the atheist, liberated from the prison of religion. This book made the author an instant millionaire, with worldwide sales. The appeal of the book was that it laid bare man as a true animal who survived through strength who had no need of God and morality.

The book was Mein Kampf, the author Adolf Hitler, who was a millionaire-writer long before he became the Fuhrer. He did create a purely atheistic culture, in which man the animal reigned supreme. It six years and about fifty million lives to destroy this atheist world. It is Simone Weil who made this insightful connection between atheism and Hitlerism.

But why does modernity need atheism?

First, it captures perfectly the relativist ethos that permeates the world today, with its denial of truth, history, morality in favor of opinion, taste, preference, choice.

Second, by being in a state of denial, atheism is a rebellious throwing off of constraints which has come to define freedom.

Third, as Charles Péguy observed long ago, there really is no such thing as atheism, because what passes for the denial of God is really an “auto-theism,” a deification of the self.

By removing God, man can worship himself. Thus atheism is attractive, because it is validated narcissism, for atheism has no interest in the future – it is merely the mirror with which to gaze upon oneself – in the illusion of an unending present.

The photo shows, “Echo and Narcissus,” John William Waterhouse, painted in 1903.

Plato And Virtue: A Brief Analysis

In the Meno, Plato explores the process through which virtue can not only be defined but also acquired.

The problem of understanding the acquisition of virtue stems from a crucial question that arises early in the work: Why do worthy people in one generation cannot pass on the values they have acquired on to their children?

This larger question leads to the further, more detailed, questions. Can virtue be taught if we do not know already what it is? And if virtue can be taught, then awareness of this knowledge can change one’s life, in one or several ways.

If virtue is already embedded in the human soul (assuming that virtue partakes of the larger good, or the beautiful), then learning must be merely recollection. Thus, there is a link between knowledge and true belief.

This leads us to the awareness that all learning is a remembering. Socrates demonstrates this by teaching the slave boy geometry by asking questions.

However, Socrates did not teach the slave boy anything – he was merely helping the slave boy remember what the slave boy already knew; Socrates is merely reminding the slave boy through his questions; he is helping him remember.

Thus, the slave boy seeks the beautiful for a reason – because he has an idea and seeks a way to give birth to this thought. Therefore, he is drawn to the beautiful. However, he is merely giving birth to something that he always and already possessed.

Nevertheless, this attempt at explaining virtue ultimately fails leading us to “Meno’s paradox,” wherein Plato expounds his theory of recollection. The paradox hinges on the problem of acquiring knowledge, and clearly understanding the knowledge thus arrived at.

Meno’s paradox states that either we know what we are searching for, or we do not. If we know what we are searching for, then the search is pointless, since it would be difficult to search for something that we already know.

And if we do not know what we are searching for, the search is impossible, because how can we search for something that we will never know? Therefore, to search for knowledge is either pointless or impossible.

In effect, when we search for knowledge, we are engaging in a process that is all or nothing. A question akin to this process is whether we can know something partially, and then we search to expand our knowledge.

But this again implies that if we have partial knowledge, we still have acquired knowledge about that something. Consequently, both empirical and non-empirical inquiry disintegrates.

It is at this stage that Plato expounds his Theory of Recollection, wherein he argues that we have knowledge prior to birth, and that the soul knows everything, but forgets it.

Therefore, the acquisition of knowledge is merely a recollection of all that we have forgotten. The slave-boy is test case for this theory. First of all, the slave boy gives two misguided answers. Then, Socrates guides the slave boy to true belief. Lastly, Socrates suggests that this true belief can be made into true knowledge.

Virtue, then, is knowledge, and this it can be acquired through education and training – although it is crucial to realize that this acquisition is an act of remembrance by the soul. And one soul may by nature have a greater aptitude than another for acquiring virtue.

Thus, we see that virtue is an innate quality that can be made to emerge under the proper guidance and education.


The photo shows, “The Pet Lamb,” by Eastman Johnson, painted in 1873.