Thursday, January 17, 2013

Neuhaus on Nihilism Masquerading as Intellectual Sophistication

You want to understand a big chunk of the contemporary, middle-brow intellectual landscape, I'd say that you couldn't do much better than to reflect on this:
"He simply breathed, as all of us do, the toxic cultural air of a disenchanted world in which the mark of sophistication is to reduce wonder to banality. Even more, the acids of intellectual urbanity turn sacrifice into delusion, generosity into greed, and love into self-aggrandizement. In academic circles, this is called 'the hermeneutics of suspicion,' meaning that things are interpreted to reveal that they are not in fact what they appear to be. At least things that seem to suggest the true, the beautiful and the good are not what they appear to be. They must be exposed and debunked if we are to get to 'the truth of the matter.' The false, the self-serving, the ugly and the evil, on the other hand, are permitted to stand as revealing 'the real world.'"
(from Death on a Friday Afternoon)

I haven't read the book, and I disagree with Abrahamic theism on innumerable points...but that passage is fantastic I say. It would be damn hard to capture the phenomenon more accurately than that.


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